18 May 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - May 15, 2014

Chris Regal
After last week's shocking heel turn by MVP, I was looking forward to this week's show.  This week's Impact had one objective and that was to kick off the Eric Young vs MVP feud with a bang.  And I'm happy to say that TNA did exactly that.  The second Impact opened, Eric Young was seen literally waiting for MVP to arrive, which is a little detail that many faces in pro wrestling seem to neglect.  Throughout the night, we saw the two engage in a talking promo, a physical brawl that started backstage and found its way into the ring, and finally, an impromptu world title match.  The writers set it up perfectly.  Last week, I was on the fence about an Eric Young vs MVP feud and a potential world title match at Slammiversary but I must say, I'm fully on board after this week's turn of events.

As shocking as MVP's turning on Eric Young was last week, it paled in comparison to Kenny King and Bobby Lashley aligning themselves with MVP and forming what appears to be a dominant stable, comprised entirely of African American members.  I'm really excited about this group.  Putting aside the interesting scenarios in the main event scene that this development creates, it gives Lashley and King a sense of purpose within the company.  It seemed like neither felt like part of the roster since their return and of course, we now know that it was all by design.  An exceptional job by the writers.

Elsewhere, Bully Ray invaded Dixie Carter's home but we saw the President of TNA turn the tables on him by setting him up to get knocked out by Ethan Carter III's iron fist.  The Dixie vs Bully saga has been a really fun angle that has already given us some great moments.  It appears now that Bully Ray's target will be all of Team Dixie so it'll be interesting to see what shenanigans the writers have up their sleeves.  Incidentally, a Bully Ray vs EC3 match at Slammiversary is something I can definitely get behind.  One common theme that I've noticed in the two above angles is that it appears there's one babyface (Eric Young and Bully Ray) feuding against an entire stable.  This leads me to believe that help will come and it looks, judging by the preview for next week's show, they're coming soon.

In other developments, the Mr Anderson vs James Storm has gotten off to a hot start with the Cowboy gaining a victory over Anderson via the Last Call super kick.  It looks like Samuel Shaw has a new friend in Gunner, who appears willing to help his fellow man out.  It'll be interesting to see how the writers go with this storyline but I'm personally already looking forward it.  Gunner and Samuel Shaw are two of the company's brightest young stars right now.  And finally, the Bram/Magnus story is interesting to watch as it's a battle of a thinking man's wrestler vs a cavalier brute.  I think this is a wonderful story that will hopefully restore Magnus' status as a future top TNA star as his title reign did quite a bit of damage.

Favorite Moment - This week, my favorite moment was the Kenny King/Bobby Lashley reveal that they are align with MVP.  It was a shocking moment and one that sets up so many great feuds going into the Summer.

Least Favorite Moment - I don't think there was a moment that I disliked this week.  The show was pretty solid.

MVP of the Night - The award goes to MVP and Eric Young this week.  This show was all about their feud.  They argued, they fought, they wrestled, and it all led to the shocking twist that ended the show.

Grade - After last week's lackluster show, I'm glad to see TNA rebound with a really good Impact this week.  The Road to Slammiversary is finally taking shape and I'm much more excited about the PPV than I was just one week ago.  Overall, a great episode that gets a well-deserved A- from me.

Nice opening with EY confronting MVP in his limo as it arrived at the IZ.  MVP is a better heel than a face.  I still was not buying into him being the main focus of Slammiversary VS EY at this point of the show.  However, at the END of IMPACT when Kenny King and Bobby Lashley came out and beat down EY one by one I was genuinely shocked and now feel more invested.  MVP should eventually put Kenny King over AFTER putting EY over.  Kenny King is a star.  Lashley and MVP will eventually find that out too.  Again, there's a positive value about not reading the spoilers ahead of time.  I didn't know about the new faction scenario and it came across very well.  I laugh at people that are yet again calling this new group a WWE ripoff.  If TNA farts right now, smarks are calling it a WWE ripoff.  Give it a break.

The Bully/Dixie/Spud vignettes were much more enjoyable this week.  Last week it was super cheesy with all the actors chanting and stuff.  This week it was presented as a vehicle for starting a new feud between EC3 and Bully Ray so it made more sense and had more purpose.  The Willow VS Magnus & Bram match was decent.  I am interested to see what Bram looks like in singles competition.  He has tons of potential and I can see why TNA signed him because he possesses a charisma that is very captivating.  Gail Kim VS Velvet was ok, but I'm finding myself looking forward to Taryn and Brooke coming back to active competition in order to inject some life into things for the KnockOuts.

Crazzy Steve VS Kazarian......LOL!  You can't really call it a match per say.  I'm gonna break it down for you, The Menagerie is meant to do exactly what it DID last Thursday.  It is a freaky, insane sideshow!  That's what it is supposed to be.  A chaotic sideshow with larger than life characters.  Rebel is a sensation amongst fans as her flexibility with those splits has gained her an instant reputation.  Crazzy Steve is attracting an audience outside of TNA's normal viewing audience with his bizarre clown character.  The Freak is a strong-man spectacle and is more over than Rob Terry ever was.  The music and antics and craziness is intentional.  Get used to it because it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.  Knux is doing just fine as the Ring Leader/ Carnival Barker but they need to get him something to tweak his look.  #KnuxNeedsTopHat    

Anderson VS Storm was a nice fight.  Storm needed to get a win here and I'm glad that he seems to be moving up the card again after losing multiple times to Gunner.  The X-Division Sanada VS DJ Z VS Tigre Uno match was well done and Sanada continues to be presented well in his vignettes.  The most intriguing part of the whole show to me was Samuel Shaw finally being shown in the psych ward.  Nobody could have predicted that Gunner would be shown as his first visitor.  Which direction are they going with this?  Is Gunner going to try and "save" him with religion?  Or does he want to recruit him as a tag partner?  Or does he simply want to befriend him?  I'm a big Samuel Shaw fan so his re-introduction has me highly anticipating next Thursday.  The World Title EY/MVP match to end the show was intended to further the build to Slammiversary.  I can see more clearly the direction things are going in for bringing Aries, Roode and Samoa Joe back into the fold and it should be a fun ride. 
Favorite Moment  - The Samuel Shaw vignettes have me very excited for his reintroduction.   

Least Favorite Moment -  The KnockOuts again.

MVP of the Night - Crazzy Steve had quite the debut on the national scene.  He is someone that you will never forget.  Never.

Grade - This was a fantastic show.  I give it an A- .

The EY/MVP stuff this week was a good start to selling Slammiversary. You can tell MVP is much better suited as a heel, which gives me more optimism concerning them selling this main event over the next few weeks. I'm glad Austin Aries made an appearance with MVP, while it was short, and Aries made comments about it on Twitter, I'm hoping this means he's coming back and going after MVP. The new alliance between MVP, Kenny King & Bobby Lashley should be interesting, it adds another layer to the MVP turn, and from the preview for next week, it is the start of all out chaos breaking out across all of TNA.

The Bram/Magnus vs Willow match was decent. I like how this story with Bram & Magnus is playing out, Bram is determined to bring out the ruthlessness inside Magnus, yet Magnus is very resistant to embrace his old ways. With Magnus losing the match due to hesitating on whether or not to use the crowbar, will it lead to Magnus falling out with Bram and refusing to listen to him? Or will Magnus take his old friend's advise and go back to his former ways without hesitation, I have a felling very soon we will find out.

The Crazzy Steve vs Kazarian segment was just pure nuts, I can't call it a match because it wasn't. I will admit, I chuckled a little while watching, and its clear to me that the Menagerie will be comedy relief aimed mostly at the families in the audience going forward. Enjoyable match between Mr Anderson & James Storm, I'm really liking Storm as a heel, and this feud with Anderson should lead to some great promos in the next few weeks. I was surprised by the video of Gunner visiting Samuel Shaw, I really don't know how its going to play out, and that's exactly why I'm interested in this, I couldn't quite tell what was next for Shaw after being committed, but I'm happy to see where going to get some video's of him in the mental institution.

I enjoyed the 3-way for the X Division title, its a damn shame though that with these three along with Manik & Kenny King on the roster they haven't done anything concrete with the X Division, and are only putting the Division out there in random title match. One thing that I can praise about the Division is the presentation of Sanada, they're really building him up as a future star than understands what he is representing, and how much he respects a legend like the Great Muta, which wants you to see him succeed even more. With the mention of Destination X returning, I'm hopeful the focus of the Division will return and we get a solid story surrounding the Title and its Option C stipulation on the road to Destination X.

The Dixie/Bully segments were better this week. While at first it seemed a little far-fetched that Dixie would cower in her own home instead of calling the police, it came to light at the end the fix was in and Dixie was playing Bully's game, and just when Bully thought he had Dixie on the back-foot, The Carters got one over Bully and EC3 took him out from behind. I like the sounds of an EC3/Bully Ray feud, the promos alone could be gold, and because there was no way we were ever going to get Dixie vs Bully, this sounds like the perfect climax for the Carter's vs Ray feud.

Favorite Moment - I was really surprised/interested in the Samuel Shaw/Gunner video and where this story will go.

Least Favorite Moment - The Sky/Kim match, nothing new here and nothing that re-gained my interest in the Knockouts division.

MVP of the Night - It would be hard to not give it to MVP, Kenny King & Bobby Lashley. They certainly put everyone on notice and have really out MVP in the driver's seat as both the authority figure and the #1 Contender.

Grade - Much better show than last week, a mix of some good action, surprises and foreshadowing of what's to come made this show for me an A.

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