22 June 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Jun 19, 2014

Off the heals of a great Slammiversary PPV on Sunday, Impact continued the trend and delivered a great show this week. This was the first Impact on the road this Summer in a smaller venue, and I must say I liked how it looked. The crowd was hot all night, the hard camera just behind the stage was a smart move, and while the venue wasn't lit up great, the ringside area and fans in the bleachers opposite the hard camera were, and made the show look good. We stated with Team MVP cutting a promo, like Slammiversary, MVP flubbed some of his lines here and went on a little during the night, but the opening promo brought the TV audience who may have not seen Slammiversary up to speed on MVP's injury so it made sense that he opened the show.

Kenny King vs Eric Young was short, but was a good, fast paced bout to open the show. I don't think MVP needed heat from firing Earl Hebner, but if this is to add more to him being drunk with power and eventually losing his job, then it was a nice little addition to the story. The 3-Way Tag Team Titles match was very fun, Joe & Aries teaming up was a cool moment, and their interactions with The Wolves was great for this long time fan. Sick finisher from The Wolves on Willow and a nice rub for them getting the victory over a tag team legend in Jeff Hardy. The Wolves vs Bram & Magnus later in the show was also good, especially the finish. It continued the story of Bram & Magnus wanting to hurt people, and with no clean finish, it also let open a re-match between these two teams in the future.

What a great segment with Dixie & Dreamer, Dixie's opening bit dragged a little, but by god I couldn't care about it once Dreamer started talking. Everything Dreamer said was spot on, and I thought that it was really smart that they used Tommy here to show Dixie what she had become and convince her to turn face, rather than him just trash Dixie. Kudos to Dixie here with her facials, by the end of the promo she looked really emotional and I thought that she may very well turn face, but the knee to the nuts was surprising and got even more heat on the most hated women in the biz. How great was it to see Taryn Terrell back? And how great is it that even though they are both face, Taryn & Gail want one more match with each other as a decider to who the better Knockout is. I really hope TNA have realised that TBP reunion hasn't worked well and that it shouldn't be the main focus of the division, because now Taryn is back, its the perfect time for Angelina to drop the belt to either her or Gail, and then have Taryn vs Gail for the title as the main feud.

The interaction with MVP & Kurt was interesting, hopefully it means Kurt will be sticking around on TV for a while as like the figurehead of the Anti-MVP/Dixie guys while he fully recovers from his knee injury. Very good main event with EY & Lashley. I was shocked when Lashley won, simply because I thought the title change would be in NYC. I don't mind the title change, EY had a good run, and Lashley is as legit as you can get, plus the dynamic of the Heel World Champion defending against the underdog X Division Champion is now in play for Destination X, which I think is a good move to get more people behind Sanada, unless they do a title switch before Destination X. Bobby Roode returning was awesome, and I fully expect him to be the guy that takes the belt from Lashley, whether it be in NYC or at BFG, one way or another, I think this turn will lead to Roode regaining the Title.

Favorite Moment - Great to see Roode back, having his come back as an anti-authority face should be fun to watch.

Least Favorite Moment - Honestly, I can't think of anything, this was a great show for me

MVP of the Night - Even though Lashley won the belt, I think Bobby Roode takes it this week. He ruined Team MVP's victorious moment and put Lashley on notice.

Grade - Really enjoyed this show from top to bottom, there wasn't one segment I didn't enjoy, every match was fun to watch and the crowd just added to the great vibe TNA has right now. I think this show deserves an A, and hopefully this starts a great trend for TNA.

Chris Regal
It's been quite a week for TNA that saw the company produce a truly memorable anniversary event on Sunday and an Impact episode the other night that hopefully will be the template for future shows.  I say this because all the elements that are needed to make a wrestling show successful came together on Thursday night to produce the best episode this year.

Firstly, I'd like to applaud the fans in Bethlehem for their part in making this week's show a wonderful experience for the viewers at home.  Their enthusiasm was infectious.  Secondly, the Sands Bethlehem is an ideal setting for TNA in size and location.  I think TNA needs to change the narrative from 'how many tickets are sold' to 'how passionate their fanbase is' and by booking venues like this and the Grand Ballroom, they're well on their way to accomplishing that.

As for the show, I thought TNA did a wonderful job capitalizing on the crowd's energy by bringing the chaos.  TNA is best when chaos reigns supreme and keeps you on the edge of your seat all night.  This week, Impact essentially grabbed you by the neck and didn't let go until the final moments that saw the much anticipated return of Bobby Roode.  We also saw a new world champion crowned in Bobby Lashley, which will now create a new dynamic going into the next few episodes as the babyfaces try to dethrone him and his allies.  I enjoyed Eric Young's title reign but I think it had run its course and a change was needed.

One thing that I loved about this week's show was the focus on the Wolves, who found themselves defending their tag titles twice in one night and prevailing both times.  This was easily the Wolves most impressive show since their TNA debut and hopefully, it's a sign that the company has plans to find challengers for Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards.  At the moment, Bram and Magnus appear like a formidable team and with the reunion of the Hardy boys and the possibility of Team 3D coming together for one more match, things could be looking up for the Wolves.

And lastly, Taryn Terrell made her return to TNA and it didn't take long for the writers to re-visit her matches with Gail Kim, in the process teasing a third match between the two.  It's amazing how much fans want to see one more match between Taryn and Gail so I'm glad to see the company going in that direction.

Favorite Moment - This one's tough because there were so many but I will go with the brief period in which Davey Richards and Austin Aries were facing each other in the three-way tag match.  This encounter screamed for a full singles match down the road so I hope we see it.

Least Favorite Moment - None.  There were no negatives to this show.

MVP of the Night - Anytime there's a title change, you have to give the new champion kudos and I will do that here.  Bobby Lashley was this week's MVP.

Grade - Like I said earlier in my review, this was the best Impact of the year with a world title change, the returns of Bobby Roode and Taryn Terrell, a focus on the Wolves, and an amazing crowd.  For this reason, I give Impact a nearly perfect score: an A.

I ended up not watching this show LIVE due to unforeseen circumstances but it still really impressed me, even on a later replay on my laptop.  MVP started the show off with some impressive heat from the crowd on himself and his 2 compadres, Kenny King and Bobby Lashley.  However, MVP is the least impressive of the 3 members of Money Power Respect.  Kenny King always gets my attention when he's in the ring and on the mic.  He showed he can hang with the best of the best again (after his impressive match with Aries at Slammiversary) in this hot match with Eric Young to kick-off IMPACT.  It was so refreshing to see another energized LIVE crowd for TNA.  It may have been only of fraction of the size in comparison to the Slammiversary crowd, but they were still very vocal and knowledgeable about the product.  EY retains with a small package roll-up which made MVP irate.  He starts slapping around the time-keeper and going ballistic when the good guy team (Joe, Aries & The Wolves) got involved again, just like they did during the opening bout.  HOT start to this episode as EY is forced into another World Title match later with Lashley.

MVP firing Earl Hebner was even interesting to me because it may be a legit way for Earl to retire and let some more physically capable and younger refs handle the matches.  He may come back though still.....who knows (unless there's something in the spoilers)?  This event won't be perceived as super important, I suppose, but it does cement MVP as a heel even further and could be a nice change heading into NYC and the new ring.  A hilarious and entertaining backstage segment with EC3 and Dixie as Helga, a massage therapist, is mentioned.  There was a nice flow and pacing to this LIVE (slightly tape delayed) version of IMPACT and it was really captivating.  I'm sure that smooth element contributed to the increased audience as well.  The Wolves VS Joe/Aries VS Willow/Abyss match was pretty damn good also.  Lots of action and good tag wrestling.

Backstage, Kenny King hinted at taking out a returning (in a non-wrestling role) Kurt Angle.  The Wolves were forced into another title match, just like EY, against Bram and Magnus.  What a buzz-generating confrontation between Dreamer and Dixie!  The crowd was hanging on every word and the Internet community was eating it up.  Bram is a frickin' MAD MAN!  I love his character and intensity.  He has altered the entire dynamic of Magnus' persona as they are formidable opponents to anyone now.  The Wolves escape without getting hurt too badly as Bram/Magnus had destructive ideas in mind before Abyss & Willow made the save.  Taryn Terrell returning was a really nice moment and great addition to the Knockouts as it appears that she instantly will feud with TBP, adding new match-ups into the mix.  She was on fire last year before being forced to take time off.  Kurt Angle took out Kenny King backstage which added to the procession of everyone being vacated from the backstage area.  A fantastic match with Eric Young and Bobby Lashley in the main event.  I admit that I was shocked at the title change but I am not upset with it at all.  The writing was on the wall for EY to drop the title, I just thought it would be in NYC instead.  Good run with EY, now it's Lashley's time to carry the ball.  Bobby Roode's return was very well done and I was so happy to see the It Factor reclaiming his spot to close out the show.       

Favorite Moment  - The return of Bobby Roode was such a welcomed sight for my eyes.  I am on his campaign for the next World Champion at BFG. 

Least Favorite Moment -  Nothing.  I was into every single segment of the show. 

MVP of the Night - Obviously Bobby Lashley was the main attraction of IMPACT as he becomes World Champion for the first time in his TNA career.

Grade - This episode of IMPACT in Bethlehem, PA was stellar. They knocked it out of the park due to a hot crowd and exciting stuff throughout.  This was a solid A show.

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