13 April 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Apr 10, 2014

Its hard to deny that this week is the biggest week of the Wrestling year, with more attention on the industry, it puts pressure on every company to deliver on all fronts, and in my eyes, TNA did just that with Thursdays Impact. The biggest thing TNA delivered on was shock value, it was pretty surprising when EY won the Gauntlet Battle Royal, it was even more surprising when the World Title match that was supposed to headline Sacrifice was moved to later in the show, and it was shocking when Eric Young achieved his dream and defeated Magnus. Some people don't like the move, but I must say EY as World Champion is pretty cool.

The bottom line is there's no coincidence as to why Young appears on 3 different TV shows, the guy is a born entertainer, he's hilarious, but that doesn't mean I can't be serious. Because Young has played a comedy character for so long, people overlook the fact he can really go in the ring, when EY started doing his World Elite gimmick in 2009, that showed us a side we'd never seen before, and to me, showed that he had what it took to be a World Champion, and finally that's happened. While the Reign of Magnus wasn't what it could have been, the blame can't be put on the man himself, now that Magnus is no longer Champion, it gives him a chance to break away from the cowardly champion and stand on his own as a man on a mission, and show just why he can be Champion once again.

That wasn't the only thing that happened this week, as Dixie Carter returned and went after Bully Ray. Unfortunately for her Bobby Roode wasn't enough to keep Bully down and make him feel the #WrathOfDixie, and both Roode and even Dixie found themselves almost going through a table. While Roode has his own reason's for going after Bully, it seems he's also looking to avenge Dixie, I can't wait to see Roode and Bully go one-on-one, as it should be a very physical and highly entertaining match. The BroMans once again tried to get out of defending the Titles against the Wolves, unfortunately for them MVP was sick of their excuses and made DJ Z fill in for Robbie E. It was a good match, and with them having DJ Z fill in for Robbie, and Jesse having both belts, I thought that the Wolves were going to win the belts, however the fix was in as Robbie appeared and got his buddies disqualified.

Angelina Love became #1 Contender to the Knockouts title after defeating Gail Kim, Brittany and ODB with a little help from Velvet Sky. Its interesting that Gail Kim was on the receiving end of the spray, purely because she was the only other heel in the match, Kim isn't one to just let something like that to happen, so it will be interesting to see if she pursues revenge on TBP. I thought we were seeing the last of Samuel Shaw on Thursday, I wasn't sure whether sending him to the psychiatric ward was a way to get him off TV for a while or end the creepy bastard character, but until that very last second when he kicked the door open I though he was gone. It really intensifies this story as Shaw is now on the run and knows that Christy tricked him, making her more of a target than ever before. A lot happened on Thursday and it made for a great show.

Favorite Moment - After following EY for all these years, him winning the World Title was a great moment.

Least Favorite Moment - Its pretty picky, but the lack of follow up on Kenny King's return and fight with MVP last week, I was hoping for something but it never came.

MVP of the Night - It has to be EY, he won the Gauntlet Battle Royal and then achieved his dream by becoming World Champion.

Grade - Really good show in my eyes, and deserves an emphatic A from me. 

Chris Regal
I mentioned in my Randomania column this week that the Magnus title reign was simply not working for me and had hoped that TNA would book him to drop the belt as early as Sacrifice.  I was even willing to accept a title change at Slammiversary as long as the plan was to end a title reign that had overstayed its welcome.  Well, you can imagine my elation the moment Eric Young hit a piledriver on Magnus and pinned him to shockingly become the new TNA world heavyweight champion.  Let me say it again...Eric Young is the new TNA world heavyweight champion.  This is exactly what TNA needed.  After a month of treading water, TNA made me care about the world title again in one night.  On Thursday night, Eric Young became the company's torch-bearer and some of you may scoff at the thought but I think EY will excel in the role.  He's a company guy that fans simply adore.  They cheer for him and they genuinely laugh with him when he's being funny.  And they even get emotional when he does after winning the world title.  Whether it's in laughter or tears, Eric Young moves us.  That's the thing that separates the pretenders from those who become the real stars of the wrestling industry.  Eric Young has star written all over him.  I just hope TNA knows it.

In other developments, a plan by Christy Hemme and Mr. Anderson to have Samuel Shaw committed to a psychiatric facility backfired as he escaped and is now on the loose.  I can only imagine what it is that Shaw is planning to do now and if I'm Hemme or Anderson, I'd be worried.  This storyline continues to deliver the zany goodness and I, for one, am loving every moment of it.  Angelina Love with the help of Velvet Sky became the #1 contender to the Knockouts champion in a very good Knockouts match that featured good action by the ladies, including some nice athleticism by Brittany.

It was the return of Dixie Carter this week and she had a very intense confrontation with Bully Ray.  I thought this was Dixie's best work to-date on the mic and she even seemed to interact with the crowd more.  I'm curious to see where this goes simply because Dixie already got her comeuppance when she lost control of wrestling operations.  Could she perhaps be willing to take a bump this go-round?  It's interesting because there's not much she can lose that doesn't involve taking a bump or going through a table.  And lastly, the BroMans are still the TNA tag team champions and although I sulked like a little baby after their match on Thursday, I now completely understand why the Wolves winning the tag team titles was not the right move, due to what happened in the world title match later in the evening.  I've now accepted the fact that the Wolves will most likely win the title on a PPV, hopefully the next one.

Favorite Moment - I don't think any moment deserves this honor than Eric Young winning the world championship.  It was truly shocking and probably the best TNA moment of the year so far.  For longtime TNA fans, in particular, it was a special moment that will be cherished for a long time.

Least Favorite Moment - The BroMans once again cheating to retain the tag titles although I explained above why it was acceptable this week.  I'm just eager to see the lame duck status of the tag team champions end so we can finally begin to get the Tag Team Division back on track.

MVP of the Night - Eric Young, who I predict will make more of an impact as world champion than some believe.

Grade - After a week in which I felt Impact underwhelmed, I'm happy to see the show rebound nicely this week with an action-packed two hours that ended with a shocking title change.  In addition, many storylines and feuds progressed nicely as we approach the Sacrifice PPV.  Overall, a fantastic show this week which has earned an A from me.

I just want to say again how absolutely SHOCKED I was on Thursday night.  I think it may have been the most shocking moment since Bobby Roode turned heel on James Storm with the beer bottle shot in 2011.  In some ways it was even more unexpected because of the underdog feel to it all with EY.  TNA is not sticking to the previous status quo so you better prepare for a wild ride from this point on.  Magnus is not to blame for how stale his title run became.  I won't bash on it anymore, but needless to say it was a welcomed change to the World Title scene.  So now we will move past the unpredictability aspect of Eric Young being the new champ and see what happens next.  I am enjoying not reading the spoilers and have done so for almost 3 months straight now.  I know it doesn't make a difference to some but I REALLY enjoy the show more when I don't know what will happen.  Don't think for a second that the LIVE element of Thursday was not was considered in why a title change happened.  Do you remember that Magnus got the World Title on a taped show over the marathon of taped episodes during the holidays?  It didn't necessarily have the same OOMPH because of that.  People had weeks to analyze and bash on it.  Also the stink of AJ leaving the company made a lot of fans angry and Magnus became a symbol of him leaving in a way.  So now we have a LIVE title change, going to a TNA original in Eric Young that was a complete surprise.  That is OOMPH! (the Pee Wee Herman word of the day is OOMPH)

Back to the rest of the show, the opening gauntlet was fun and felt old-school.  I liked the participants involved but I really wanted Aries to be included, which obviously didn't happen.  Sanada replacing Samoa Joe was an interesting surprise but of course it was just a formality with him being eliminated.  The finish of how Abyss and Eric Young did the underdog spot was fantastic.  EY actually used Abyss as a springboard to avoid hitting the floor.  How athletic is Eric Young?  He did the "Skin the Cat" rope trick like 3 times?  Just as fans were processing EY's win, then he calls out MVP and demands his World Title shot tonight!  Magnus, who was great on commentary btw, was not happy but remained in the overconfident-heel mindset. 

I enjoyed the Rockstar Spud involvement again tonight as he continues to prove his worth as an entertainer.  Willow just keeps abusing the shit out of him (Poor Spud).  Bully and Dixie had a nice in-ring segment as they hashed things out in the ring.  Not sure why it was coined "The Wrath of Dixie" but whatever.  Bobby Roode unsuccessfully came to Dixie's aid and Bully teased doing a table bump on Dixie Carter, which the crowd was chanting for.  I must say that the IZ was more alive than usual also, which was a welcomed sight.  DJ Z & Jessie VS The Wolves was anti-climatic as Robbie E was playing possum and interfered to ensure a DQ Title retain.  In retrospect it makes sense that the tag title and World title didn't both change hands on the same show.  Maybe TNA Creative originally were going to do the tag title change and somewhere along the line called the EY audible and now The Wolves won't be champions until Sacrifice?  Who knows. 

Angelina winning the 4-way Knockouts match was semi-predictable, but still the match was pretty damn good.  The Beautiful People are going to be hard to deal with for the other women now as they simply don't play fair.  Samuel Shaw and Christy had kind of a racy in-ring promo as we saw how easily Samuel could be manipulated by her charm and advances.  Mr. Anderson took advantage of the vulnerable situation and we assumed Samuel was headed for the Funny Farm.  However, this was not the case.  At the last possible second, The Creepy Bastard gets out of the Looney Bin van and heads for the hills.  It would have been fun to get some " One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" type of vignettes from the psychiatric unit with Samuel but it wasn't meant to be........for now.  Now, Samuel is going to be even more dangerous as Christy violated his trust and he'll be out for vengeance.  I am so damn intrigued by this character and storyline.  Great, great show overall. 
Favorite Moment  - Eric Young winning the belt was such a feel good moment for long-time TNA fans.  I loved it!

Least Favorite Moment -  A picky item (really just a logistics thing), but the Universal Studios staff need to fill in all of the seats in the main section of the IZ crowd.  Seat-fillers and moving people around, look into it. 

MVP of the Night - EY! EY! EY!

Grade - I give this show a solid A.  So much to like and the unpredictable nature of the night pleased me.

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