04 May 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - May 1, 2014

It seems as though IMPACT has a new, refreshing vibe to it.  EY winning the belt has sent TNA into a lovely direction as it has been coupled with debuting wrestlers and excellent matches.  There is a beautiful sense of anticipation in the air with fans as The Menagerie is debuting next Thursday.  Bram made a nice impression also and there is a buzz about other names being brought into the fold.  Now, let's talk about this show.  The main focus of this show was the World Title scene again.  Gunner, Roode and Mr. Anderson being in the mix for a shot at The Fighting Champion seemed appropriate.  I agree with others that Aries should be in the mix also but I'm still optimistic that he will be at some point.  MVP is starting to seem a little shady as time goes on as he doesn't act like a Robin Hood-esque Director of Wrestling Operations anymore.

Magnus and Abyss seem to be furthering their feud as Abyss brought Janice into play much to the delight of the "Janice, Janice, Janice" chanting IZ crowd.  The Dixie/Bully Ray feud seems to be pushing a limit that has never happened with Dixie Carter before.  Some criticize TNA for not following through with violent teases, but you have to consider that they may be saving some of those types of things for the NYC tapings or a big PPV.  As others have speculated, I think Dixie may finally be willing to take a bump to generate some buzz in the wrestling world.  For the Dixie haters out there, she should earn your respect if she actually follows through on this.  Bully has no problem doing spots like this with women so it's definitely more than possible. 

The Gunner/Anderson & subsequent Roode/Gunner matches were well done within the TV time allotment.  Storm & Anderson may feud now which should be entertaining.  The EC3/Spud stuff was some of the funniest stuff I've seen from TNA in a long time.  Both men are hilarious, especially together.  I think EC3 should go over on Angle.  Kurt seems to have check out from TNA mentally.  The Menagerie has already caused buzz with their impending debut at the IZ, baseless claims of forgery from the IWC and misreporting from lazy reporters of pro-wrestling sites.  I am PUMPED to see what this group will actually do as they've caused controversy without even being all together  on TV yet.  The Beautiful People stuff seems to be a way to get them in their underwear to satisfy the horn-dogs out there. 

Willow VS James Storm was fine, but we've seen these 2 wrestle a lot in the past so it wasn't anything special.  The broken beer bottle tease seemed kind of edgy but it didn't really materialize.  The 6 man tag was fast-paced and a nice exhibition of both the Tag & X-Divisions.  I'm looking forward to new tag teams to fight The Wolves soon.  The main event of Eric Young VS Bobby Roode was as good of a free World Title match as you'll find anywhere in the world.  Even WWE marks praised the match on Twitter, which is really saying something.  Showtime continues to cement his place in TNA history as a popular and respected World Champ.
Favorite Moment  - EC3 and Spud. Wow.....lots of laughs.

Least Favorite Moment -  The KnockOuts stuff seems like it's getting kind of trashy.

MVP of the Night - Eric Young is still being billed as the most important part of the show, which is obviously appropriate.   

Grade - This was another solid A show for me.  A great series of shows under The Reign of EY so far.

I liked how we started Impact this week, it was a reset on the World Title picture, Magnus had his chance and lost, and now we had 3 men looking to get their shot. I think this is always the best way to reset the World Title scene after a PPV, with the men in contention being those who won their matches at the PPV. The concept was unique, and it's always nice to do things a little different every once in a while to keep things fresh. Abyss attacking Magnus was a hot way to kick things off in the Impact Zone, it also gets Magnus further away from the title picture now he has to deal with his former employee. Its interesting to see Bully continue to tease putting Dixie through a table, surely they can't keep teasing it and then not do it, right? Right?!

Anderson vs Gunner was as pretty good match, it was interesting that Storm clipped Anderson, and in turn caused Gunner to win, its a pretty smart way to bridge Storm from his feud into a possible feud with Mr Anderson. Pretty surprising to see Bram debut backstage with Magnus. Bram came off well and I liked the chemistry they seemed to have their, as their back-story of being old friends came off as very genuine, its going to be pretty interesting to see whats to come with Magnus now that Bram is in TNA for "his own good". Good god EC3 & Spud are pure gold, that sparring session was fantastic, Angle interrupts and hypes the match with EC3 next week, which should be very entertaining. The Menagerie debut next week, and the concept of them being like a circus act has me interested, it's yet another unique gimmick in TNA which should make them interesting viewing.

Roode vs Gunner was another solid match, Roode goes over and goes into the main event against EY. It made sense for MVP to stop Bully putting Dixie through the table, if MVP did nothing and TNA's president was injured on his show without him doing anything, he'd more than likely get punished. Him banning both Bully & Dixie from the IZ should make for some very interesting videos from Nashville. Willow vs Storm was good, I liked the tease of the broken beer bottle from Storm, his character right now is great. Mr Anderson getting revenge seems to have officially moved Storm away from Gunner and into a feud with Anderson, which should be very entertaining from both a promo and match standpoint.

The 6-man tag was a fun showcase of the new Tag Champs and the Current X Division Champ. I really didn't see the point in the Knockouts segment, it just didn't seem to have any purpose, we ended up seeing two people who hated each others guts just a month or so ago work together to strip the Beautiful People, and the former Knockouts champion who was screwed out of her title didn't seemed bothered at all. Very good main event match with EY retaining against Bobby Roode, as a guy who can remember these two as NWA Tag Champs as Team Canada, it was really cool to see them face off for the World Title. The EY title run continues and gets stronger and stronger every week.

Favorite Moment - EC3 & Spud were so funny in the sparring session. Once again this duo is the most entertaining part of the show. 

Least Favorite Moment - The Knockouts segment didn't seem to have any point to me, and I find myself once again uninterested in the division.

MVP of the Night - EY continues to come off great as World Champion, he's so over with the fans and crazy skilled in the ring, and his match with Roode was top quality.

Grade - Really good show with so much going on. Other than my Least Favorite Moment, I enjoyed everything that I saw on Impact, making this show for me a solid A.

Chris Regal
The first show of a new set of Impact tapings is always the most interesting simply because TNA oftentimes reveals a new character or a new feud, etc.  This week was no exception.  Firstly, it appears, judging by the opening of Impact that Bobby Roode, Gunner, and Mr. Anderson will be moving on to new feuds.  However, other than Anderson who it appears will feud with James Storm, the other two's road moving forward is less clear.  A Storm vs Anderson feud should be a lot of fun especially when the two strong personalities meet in the middle of the ring for a face-to-face promo.  This pairing is interesting as the two have really elevated their game in recent months.  TNA have done a really good job building them back up after a lackluster 2013.

For Roode, the road appears to lead him back into the world title scene.  After a fantastic match against Eric Young for the TNA world championship, I don't think we've seen the end of these two squaring off against each other.  There's so much history between them, and much of it was referred to by Mike Tenay during their match, so I'd like to see a full program between them.  As for Gunner, I'm not sure what the plan is for him going forward.  He suffered his first clean defeat to Roode this week since late last year I believe so it'll be interesting to see how he bounces back.  The writers protected him, however, since it was his second match of the night and in less than an hour I believe.  But one thing is clear, TNA see Gunner as the future.  He has the look, the story, and his performance in the ring is getting much better.

Eric Young, once again this week, defeated another quality opponent in Bobby Roode and has essentially forced even those who were against him winning the title to take notice.  I won't rehash the nonsense that was said about his title win but I will say this, TNA have booked EY perfectly since the night he became the TNA world heavyweight champion.  I mentioned in my Randomania column this week how interesting the top TNA champions currently.  In addition to the aforementioned Young, the Wolves and Sanada were apart of a really fun six-man tag match that saw all three hit their finishers on DJ Z.  All three champions were in the spotlight this week and I'm loving how TNA are showcasing them.  They're all fresh young talents and have added a sense of excitement to their respective divisions in, I'd say, months and even years.  It is now TNA's job to find them suitable opponents.  They've done it with Eric Young and now it's time to do the same for the Wolves and Sanada.  In Sanada's case, the opponents are there.  It's only a matter of using them.  In the case of the tag team champions, however, it's not so clear.  But there appears to be some interesting pairings coming up with the debuts of Bram and the Menagerie, next week.  Although I don't see Bram and Magnus being used in the Tag Team Division just yet, it's something I could definitely see down the road.  The Menagerie is another option with Crazy Steve and the Freak acting as teammates.

Speaking of Bram, his debut was interesting in so many ways.  Firstly, I think he's going be another diamond in the rough talent that fell into TNA's lap like Ethan Carter III.  Secondly, his storyline appears to be that in which he builds Magnus back up after the damage his failed world title reign.  Let's be honest, his title reign did enormous harm to his character and TNA have even admitted it, judging by the addition of Bram's character.  He basically told Magnus everything that fans have been saying about him for months.

And lastly, the Dixie Carter vs Bully Ray feud truly took an interesting turn this week.  Not only did I come away believing that TNA are truly planning to have Dixie go through a table but they made me question MVP's motives.  I initially thought that he stopped Bully Ray from putting Dixie through the table in order to avoid issues with the network but when he barred both of them from the Impact Zone, I immediately suspected that MVP is planning something.  He even went as far as to coerce Bully Ray to continue his agenda outside of the IZ.  It'll be interesting to see what MVP has planned because it looks like he wants the President of the company and one of it's top stars out of the way.   

Favorite Moment - Quite a few this week but I will give the honor to segment featuring Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud.  TNA makes me laugh on a weekly basis because some of their stuff is genuinely funny but the last time I laughed as hard as I did this week, EC3 was pinning Earl Hebner.  This was another classic TNA segment. 

Least Favorite Moment - I don't believe there was anything that I disliked this week so I'll pass.

MVP of the Night - Eric Young, once again, prevailed over a tough opponent in Bobby Roode and took another step in his massive growth as the TNA world champion.

Grade - I thought this week's Impact was an excellent show.  It was the first chapter in the Road to Slammiversary and although that road is yet unclear for many wrestlers, it looks like crystal clear for Eric Young, the Wolves, and Sanada, who are leading the way right now.  Overall, this week's show had a nice mix of matches and promos with some interesting storyline developments.  Impact gets a well-deserved A from me.  

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