25 May 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - May 22, 2014

This whole episode was about establishing the MVPKingLashley group (who still doesn't have an official name yet) as a powerful faction.  Mission accomplished.  While I don't personally like MVP still, I can see how making him a heel and surrounding him with King and Lashley has fortified his current persona.  The Wolves feeling betrayed and used is compelling and Davey Richards will be out for revenge after taking some MAJOR spears from Bobby Lashley.  Eric Young came out to run the new Black Power group down and received a beating for his efforts.  Austin Aries finally made his return to a TNA ring on IMPACT with the save and challenged MVP to a match later on. 

The Knockouts match between Angelina and Brittany was OK, but it still feels like something is missing to me.  The drinking contest vignettes featuring Mr. Anderson and James Storm were very entertaining.  Anderson played Storm like a fiddle and got his revenge for now.  Austin Aries had a much-anticipated return match on IMPACT, of course it's going to be shorter since TV matches usually are.  Again the new heel faction MLK beat up Aries and EY as it became a bit repetitive at this point.  Dixie Cater and EC3 then confront MVP, which eventually turned into Bully Ray confronting MVP. MVP, MVP, MVP and more MVP.  It was nice, however, to see EC3 put Bully through a table to further their feud leading to Slammiversary. 

Magnus w/ Bram VS Willow was a decent fight. The real crux here is the dynamic between Bram and Magnus.  Not sure what the end game will be but I find it very intriguing.  Bram is a great addition to the roster but I'd like to see him wrestle someone one on one to fully evaluate him.  The Eddie Edwards/Kenny King impromptu brawl was very well done with some quality fighting.  I loved the Samuel Shaw/Gunner psych ward vignettes.  PTSD is a very real condition with many returned soldiers so that adds a fresh element into the equation here.  Not sure where this is all heading with Gunner and the Creepy Bastard but my gut says that there is no helping Samuel (he is too sick to be cured that quickly).  The Lashley/EY main event was fine, but again the end game was making MVP's group look dominant.  This was the episode dedicated to them; a necessary evil.
Favorite Moment  - The Samuel Shaw/Gunner vignettes were my favorite parts of the show.    

Least Favorite Moment -  Lashley talking was horrible.  Keep that mic away from him please, for the love of all that's good and holy.  

MVP of the Night - Kenny King stood out BIG TIME to me.  He is the star of MLK.

Grade - This was a set-up show for future shows.  Some good stuff happened.  I will give it a solid B overall.

Chris Regal
In the final moments of last week's episode of Impact, we witnessed the reveal of MVP's new faction that includes Bobby Lashley and Kenny King.  Going into this week's show, I was looking forward to a couple of things: firstly, an explanation by MVP as to how his alliance with Lashley and King came about; and secondly, the reactions of several individuals including the Wolves, Eric Young, and Dixie Carter.  In the case of the former, I thought that MVP's explanation was conventional by pro wrestling standards but I would've liked to see the writers get a bit more creative. At the end of the day, however, the explanation was plausible enough for me so I can't get too upset over it.

As mundane as the backstory was, I thought the rest of the show was quite interesting due to the numerous clashes that took place between MVP's faction and several of TNA's faces, many of which ending with a Lashley running powerslam or a King fireman's carry/side slam.  First up were the Wolves, and predictably, they took exception to MVP's stunt.  It was a good segment which saw Lashley absolutely decimate Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards with spears, the latter's off the ramp and onto a table.  It was a very good spot.

Next up, TNA world champion Eric Young challenged MVP to a fight and received a beatdown of his own.  In a surprising moment, Austin Aries ran down to the ring to help Young and was able to momentarily deter the beatdowns, while demanding a match against MVP.  A match that was granted.  I was very happy to see Aries on Impact again and his involvement in this storyline promises to keep him in the main event scene for the foreseeable future.

In a moment we had anticipated all week, Dixie Carter confronted MVP and although she seemed resentful of his abuse of power, the President of TNA proposed an alliance of some kind to him.  This seems like the most realistic scenario, one in which Team Dixie and Money Power Respect can co-exist without tearing each other apart.  This understanding came into play this week when MVP's faction attacked Bully Ray, leaving him vulnerable to Dixie and Ethan Carter III.  I absolutely loved how this segment played out.  I suspect that MVP realizes that there are only three of them and perhaps, it would benefit him to be on Dixie Carter's good side.  This is faction warfare at its best.

Later in the night, Eddie Edwards challenged one or all members of Money Power Respect to a fight, which Kenny King accepted.  This led to one of the most enjoyable moments of the show for me.  In a night of gang-style beatings, here was a fight involving two men who deeply hated each other.  It was vicious and brutal and physical and every other adjective you can think of because it was that good.  In the end, King prevailed and proved to everyone that he's not simply the court jester of Money Power Respect but someone who can kick some ass.  I have a feeling we will look back at this week's episode as the turning point of Kenny King's career.

The beatdowns continued all night.  By the end of the show, MVP, Bobby Lashley, and Kenny King stood tall over their enemies, and made a statement to the entire world that with MVP's executive power, Lashley's brawn, and King's wildcard status, they are truly unstoppable.  On their first night as a faction, they showed that they can dominate, which bodes well for this storyline's future.

Favorite Moment - So many to choose from this week but I will give the honor to the fight between Eddie Edwards and Kenny King.  It signified to me that TNA's future is bright.

Least Favorite Moment - I don't think there was a single segment or moment that I disliked this week so I'll pass.

MVP of the Night - This honor can go to anyone who was involved in the top story of the night.  They all had a part to play and they did so exceptionally well.  However, one man stood out above the rest.  Kenny King.  This was King's coming out party and like I said above, we will remember this as the week King truly became a star.

Grade - Overall, I loved this show.  I thought it was one of the best written episodes of Impact in quite some time.  The writers did a phenomenal job with all the moving parts in several complex stories.  I don't think people realize how difficult it is to write one story with great complexity, let alone multiple ones.  TNA, this week, showed us that they intend to tell intricate stories that often involve sensitive issues, like mental disorders and racial tension in pro wrestling.  I, for one, applaud the company for challenging themselves at a time when they could have so easily taken the safe road.  I gained so much respect for TNA this week and for that, this show gets an A from me.

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