29 June 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Jun 26, 2014

Chris Regal
TNA has been gaining quite a bit of momentum since Slammiversary so this week's episode had high expectations from me and I'm happy to say that, for the most part, the company met them.  Firstly, the biggest news coming out of this week's show was the removal of MVP as the man in charge by the Board of Directors and replaced him with Kurt Angle.  This is a brilliant decision by TNA as it now allows them to feature Angle and his star power on television weekly as opposed to him sitting at home waiting for his contract to expire.  It also gives MVP the opportunity to take a step back as a character and focus on his personal feuds and those of his allies.

In the segment that gets this week's biggest spectacle award, Dixie Carter's night quickly went from elation at the possibility of re-gaining her power to sheer fear from almost going through a table at the hands of Bully Ray.  This was the closest she's been so it appears that the moment is coming.  Meanwhile, another Team Dixie member, Ethan Carter III, was left behind by his crew to fend for himself when Tommy Dreamer attacked him backstage.  This was a fun brawl that saw both men exchange shots until they were separated by backstage personnel.  I like Dreamer's addition as it's added another element to the Team Dixie vs Bully Ray feud, and quite frankly, another veteran to put over EC3.  Incidentally, TNA continue to find ways to continue EC3's push in such a way that we really haven't seen from the company in some time.  Since his debut last October, EC3 has been featured non-stop and has quickly become one of TNA's brightest young stars.

In other developments, we were treated to a brutal Monster's Ball match this week featuring Willow, Abyss, Magnus, and Bram.  It's interesting because during the Hogan/Bischoff regime, this gimmick had lost much of its brutality so it's nice to see the cringeworthy moments return.  This match, in particular, featured a chair thrown at Willow's head, causing him to fall off the top rope on to a barbed wire board and Magnus being chokeslammed through a bunch of thumbtacks - both were 'holy shit' moments.  James Storm defeated Mr. Anderson clean with a nasty Last Call superkick and followed up his victory with an interesting encounter backstage with X Division champion Sanada.  It's always intriguing when two characters who had never crossed paths before come face-to-face.  Although it might seem like it, this isn't random at all as it appears that Storm has a sinister plan involving Sanada.  And does that plan involve the Great Muta?  It should be very interesting to see where the writers take this.  And lastly, it appears that Gunner has pulled some strings and has gotten Samuel Shaw released from the mental institution under his care.  This angle will go in one of two directions: Shaw is using Gunner to get him out of the mental hospital and will turn on him once he's out or the writers are planning to redeem Shaw's character.  I'm fine with either option.

Favorite Moment - This week, I give the honor to Willow's brutal spot, falling from the top rope on to the barbed wire board.  This guy continues to put his body through hell so he deserves the recognition.

Least Favorite Moment - I don't know if there were any moments that I disliked. I'll pass this week.

MVP of the Night - There wasn't a clear MVP this week but I will give the honor to Bully Ray, who generated one of the biggest reactions from the he got closer to putting Dixie Carter through a table. 

Grade - It was another very good show that continued the momentum that began at Slammiversary.  It was also pretty newsworthy with the new Executive in charge of Impact being named.  Overall, this show earned a B from me.  Good stuff.

I mentioned in my last POV post that TNA is giving us quality episodes of IMPACT despite simultaneously filming in NYC and having a hectic overlapping taping schedule.  The Bethlehem crowd deserves a lot of praise for being vocal and energized, and I recently read that the attendance for both nights of tapings was over 1,000 fans.  That is a success and we should expect smaller yet vocal crowds like this on the road going forward.  The show started off with The Knockouts match and it was more enjoyable then usual mainly due to Taryn being back and competing for the first time in nearly a year.  Not sure if Taryn is ready for a title run again right now but maybe after her 3rd match with Gail perhaps?  The Money Power Respect promo with EY and Roode was well done.  This episode had a lot of talking but it was necessary to set-up future shows and to progress storylines.  There will be much more wrestling-centric shows shortly so it didn't bother me at all to be honest.  I'm happy that MVP lost his power because after his knee injury happened, it pretty much eliminated him from much involvement in much physical stuff.  A great change to Angle and it should provide a refreshing element to the show.  Roode is an absolute superstar and showed it again with his mic skills here.

It was a short backstage segment, but the Menagerie/Crazzy Steve, DJ Z, Manik/TJ stuff was pure gold!  So much to like there and the character development (and hopefully focus on the X-Division) was nice to see.  The actual match was decent, but again, the Sanada "You want title match?" Oprah Winfrey-esque promo was hilarious and made the entire segment.  The Dixie/Spud (and eventually EC3) VS Bully promo was awesome and the tease of Dixie going through a table again had the crowd FIRED UP!  Storm VS Anderson was confusingly short and sweet, but The Cowboy needs more victories so it made sense in that respect.  Samuel Shaw was informed by Gunner that he was being released from the psych ward much to my delight!  The Storm confrontation of Sanada gave us a look at what the Wrestle-1/TNA stuff at BFG might be like and I was eating it up.  The EC3/Tommy Dreamer brawl throughout the venue was vicious and classic hardcore fighting.  Ethan has shown some real improvement on his wrestling and brawling skills.  I am 100% sold on him being a World Champ in the future after his match at Slammiversary with Bully. 

The Monsters Ball match was my favorite part of the show as these 4 men put themselves through some major pain and punishment.  The dynamic of Bram being in his first match of this extreme-style was awesome to see as he really delivered and received some stiff shots.  Magnus getting the thumb-tack choke slam was a sight to see as he was arching his back in anguish.  I assume Janice doesn't really send her nails into Abyss' gut (and others) when she is used but it looks pretty damned convincing to me.  It takes some quality choreographing to pull that off and they did just that.  Angle gives EY a rematch for next week with Lashley and reinstates Roode to end the show. 

Favorite Moment  - The Monsters Ball match was my type of entertainment.  Really well done.

Least Favorite Moment -  The Storm/Anderson  match seemed too short but really nothing on the show was bad.

MVP of the Night - Bobby Roode stood out the most and showed us why he is World Champ material.

Grade - This was not as good as last week but still a nice episode.  I give it a B+.

Nice change of pace to kick off the show with a Knockouts tag. Some decent action here with Gail & Taryn getting the win. This really made me think that Angelina NEEDS to drop the KO title to either Gail or Taryn in the coming weeks, seeing Taryn back has caught my interest, and I'm craving for her and Gail to have their 3rd match for the title. TBP isn't working as the main act of the division, so get the belt of Angelina and let her and Velvet go into a secondary feud in the division, maybe some involvement with Madison & Brittany. The Team MVP was the basic post title win celebration, it did its job and got the audience praying someone come out and ruin it. Roode's promo was great, and it really established him as a top face now he's back. This was the best time for MVP to lose his control over Wrestling Operations, We've had a heel authority figure for so long now, it was time for a change, plus with Lashley as Champion, that can now be MVP's power play.

The backstage X Division segment was a good inclusion, it reminded us exactly why the Menagerie exist & why Crazzy Steve wants the X Division title, it make a good point why DJZ should have a title shot, and there was also some comedy bits from Manik aimed at both DJZ and Crazzy Steve. I did chuckle at Sanada's promo, It was like Sanada was saying "hey, guys, you do realise promos can be as simple as this, right?". Decent X Division title match, hopefully we get more guys challenging Sanada the next few weeks going into Destination X. Good segment involving Team Dixie & Bully Ray, these tease of Dixie finally going through a table really got the crowd excited, and it hit home that TNA NEED to give us the pay-off they've been building for months. James Storm finally got a big win since his heel turn, It was a short match with Anderson but it gave Storm that needed win to give him a little steam going forward. Interesting interaction between Storm & Sanada, it was unexpected and an interesting twist to have a Heavyweight and X Division guy interact like that, I'll be keeping my eye on this and see what comes of it.

So Samuel Shaw is back on the loose? I was wondering when Shaw would be released, and now I wonder what comes next, will we get some video's of Gunner helping Shaw re-integrate with the outside world? or will Samuel return to Impact Wrestling, in which case what will Christy Hemme's reaction be? Nice little brawl with EC3 & Tommy Dreamer, it was pretty set on that Dreamer would be sticking around until the NYC tapings, so it was a smart move to have him show up after being embarrassed by the Carter's and take it to EC3. Enjoyable Monster's Ball to main event the show. All 4 guys put their bodies on the line here and took some sick shots/spots. I didn't really think Magnus would get down and dirty but he certainly did, and kudos to him for taking the thumb-tack choke slam. Bram looked impressive in the Hardcore environment, and the finish with him hitting Abyss in the gut with Janice was sick. Angle was a good choice to take over as the authority figure while he heals up, and I expect him and MVP will face off at some point, maybe BFG. Angle re-instates Roode and makes EY vs Lashley for next week, which should be a solid main event.

Favorite Moment - Monster's Ball was a very good hardcore bout. All 4 men gave it there all and it delivered.

Least Favorite Moment - I didn't like how Anderson vs Storm went so quick, their match at Slammiversary got cut short due to the Menagerie stilt-walker botch, so I was hoping they would give them more time in the re-match.

MVP of the Night - Bobby Roode stood out on his return with a great promo, and I honestly believe he should be the one to dethrone Lashley.

Grade - Another really good show from TNA, it was never going to top last week, but It was still a good outing from TNA. I think this week's show earned a B+.

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