13 July 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Jul 10, 2014

To say we were all concerned going into these tapings, thinking they would be thrown under the bus in favour of the NYC shows, the last 4 weeks have kicked ass and delivered each week. Angle once again used the opening segment to set up the rest of the show, they little clips shown while he announced each match were a nice touch, especially the ID shots they've started using. The Willow interaction was a smart way to put the character to the side and have Jeff Hardy return for the NYC shows. Enjoyable Tag Title match between the Wolves v Magnus & Bram, the post match beat-down leaves this open for the two teams to feud, and may very well start next week. The story continued between Bobby Roode & MVP, once again Roode tried to get his hands on MVP, but was stopped by Kenny King. EY makes the save followed by the beast Lashley coming out to clean up and save his buddies.

Sanada vs Austin Aries was a great match, several false finishes and some great spots lead to arguably the best X Division match in a long time. Aries potentially facing Lashley at Destination X excites me, as I think it could be a great main event, but the question is now, what will happen when the Great Muta arrives and his student has lost the X Division title, and with his recent interactions with Sanada, will James Storm play a role in this, I'm not sure what will come from this, but its a really interesting move by creative. The Bully/Rhino promo was really to the point, neither guy beat around the bush and told the other like it was, Dreamer making the save for Bully is a smart move heading into NYC, as Bully wants vengeance on Rhino, and Dreamer will want revenge on EC3, so more than likely we'll see this blow off in a tag match.

A decent 4 way Knockouts match with Gail retaining the title, but honestly I wasn't too interested, right now all I want to see is Gail vs Taryn 3 for the Title. Decent battle royal to end the show, several feuds were featured during the match, and no real surprise that Jeff Hardy won after returning as himself. Lashley & Hardy facing off to end the show was a nice visual to hype up TNA's first NYC show. 4 great weeks in Bethlehem, now onto New York, New York!  

Favorite Moment - Aries winning the X Division title was a cool moment, and the potential for him to cash in against Lashley has me anticipating his decision.

Least Favorite Moment - I wasn't too into the KO match because like I said, all I want right now is Taryn vs Gail 3.

MVP of the Night - I had to pick Aries, not only is he the new X Division champ, but to have the potential to cash in the title in a few weeks for a World Title shot is a great opportunity for #TGMTEL

Grade - Another kick ass show, really enjoyed Impact once again this week, so its another B+/A- from me.

Chris Regal
TNA has always been a hybrid of the WWE, WCW, ECW, and even ROH, and their product works best when they combine all those elements to create one cohesive show.  This week, we saw it firsthand.  Impact had a good mix of in-ring promos and wrestling, making for a very enjoyable show.  The wrestling, in particular, was very good this week highlighted by an amazing X Division title match between Austin Aries and Sanada.  This is the sort of match that we barely see anymore from the X Division so it was so refreshing to watch.  When was the last an X Division match included two false finishes?  Aries winning the X Division title is a smart move because he's the best choice, right now, to represent the X Division at Destination X's main event for the world championship.  Sanada, on the other hand, was booked to looked strong, even in defeat.  Hopefully, TNA are setting up a feud for him with James Storm or at the very least some sort of storyline.

The Wolves defeated Bram and Magnus in a very good tag titles match.  Although I can see a feud coming out of this match and its post-match shenanigans, I think its purpose was to give the two teams something to do before they moved on to their next feud.  But I imagine these two teams will meet again down the line.  Gail Kim retained in what was a pretty good Knockouts match that featured some impressive wrestling moves by the ladies.  I hope the fact that Kim pinned Angelina Love is an indication that the Beautiful People will be moved out of the title picture.

There was the 20-man battle royal to determine the #1 contender for the TNA world heavyweight championship.  I generally don't like battle royals but I thought this one was good.  I liked that wrestlers were eliminated specifically by someone they are feuding with currently or had been.  Although it might seem too scripted, I'm fine with battle royals having some level of organization.  Jeff Hardy winning was a good outcome as TNA needs a strong main event going into the NYC shows.  Lashley vs Jeff Hardy is that main event.  And for those who are so quick to predict that the live crowd will shit all over this match, I was in attendance and the fans absolutely loved it.  I'll leave it at that.

And lastly, the non-wrestling segments were also very strong this week with Bully Ray and Rhino having one of those shoot promos that make for such great television.  It was truly amazing.  The Bully Ray vs Team Dixie storyline continues to deliver every week and with the additions of Rhino and Tommy Dreamer, it's only gotten better.  Bobby Roode continues to feud against MVP, Kenny King, and Lashley with some help from Eric Young.  I'm loving this feud.  What's so great about it is the fact that everyone's role is so well-defined.  We know what each wrestler's motivation is.  The dynamic between MVP, Kenny King, and Lashley in particular is probably one of the best that I've seen in several years.

Favorite Moment - The honor goes to the Bully Ray/Rhino face-to-face this week.  We rarely see promos like this anymore so this was a treat.

Least Favorite Moment - I don't think there was a moment that I disliked but honestly, I could do without the weekly Menagerie team meeting segment.  The Menagerie still hasn't clicked for me and their members just do not fit in right now, whereas the rest of the roster seem somewhat cohesive.

MVP of the Night - It was Jeff Hardy.  We saw him finally make the transition from Willow back to Jeff Hardy and it was nicely done.  Oh yeah, he also earn a world title shot. 

Grade - Great show this week with a very good mix of talking and wrestling.  Overall, this show gets an A from me.  Awesome job this week.

Thankfully, TNA realized that filming Kurt Angle reading from a piece of paper in regards to the show card was a bad idea.  They integrated some nice videos showing the participants and that kind of production will most likely be involved in these taped road shows going forward.  Obviously, the Jeff Hardy/Willow interaction with Angle was a way to bring back Jeff Hardy for the time being.  Makes sense, and was self-spoiled by TNA that The Hardy Boys are reuniting so Willow needs to go on the back-burner.  Aries was on fire during this show and I'm glad to see his confidence back as he now is X-Division Champion again.  Hell of a match with him and Sanada.  Can't wait to see The Great Muta in NYC coming back to visit his protege.  The Wolves VS Bram/Magnus tag title match was awesome also.  These 2 matches were the most entertaining and much easier to enjoy since they weren't spoiled (like the Battle Royal).

I understand why TNA had to give away the Jeff Hardy VS Lashley main event match prior to the June 25th taping.  It makes sense and I don't begrudge them since it was a necessary evil given the amount of tapings involved here.  I still really enjoyed this episode of IMPACT and it was a nice way to end the 4-sided ring.  They finished the Bethlehem, PA tapings with a bang as the momentum is tangible going into NYC.  I literally get giddy when I think about how awesome the next 3 months of TNA TV is going to look for the fans.  The Roode/MVP stuff was enjoyable as EY and the rest of MPR (Lashley & King) got involved as well.  My personal favorite moment of the night was the Sanada/James backstage segment.  I was hanging on every word Storm said and it makes me very intrigued for how some of the BFG match-ups may formulate.  The Knockouts stuff missed the mark for me tonight honestly.

The Bully/Rhino promo (and EC3/Spud) was damn impressive.  It was so cutting and to the point as neither man was pulling punches verbally.  Rhino gores Bully and Dreamer comes out to make the save.  Smart to have an ECW vibe to the show, especially heading into NYC.  It's not like these guys don't have TNA history either, so critics have no leg to stand on if they tried to claim that it's last-minute booking.  Interesting that both Paul E. Heyman and the WWE were included in their verbal jabs.  I'm still enjoying The Menagerie, but I can see how it still rubs some people the wrong way.  I just see a lot of potential in Crazzy Steve and his character.  He and Rebel are the reasons I believe they have legs until well past BFG.  The Battle Royal was fine and there were some nice spots.  Bully throwing Spud looked dangerous as hell.  The final face-off between Hardy and Lashley was well-done and a nice visual to end the show.  NYC, here we come! 

Favorite Moment  - The James Storm/Sanada takes the prize for me.

Least Favorite Moment - The Knockouts stuff seemed sub-par.

MVP of the Night - Aries winning the X-Division Title and essentially Option C if he retains it was HUGE for him again.

Grade - Loved the show again.  I'll give it an A- with some higher-quality shows impending in NYC. 

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