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06 July 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Jul 3, 2014


BigDawg
I already expressed my appreciation for this Bethlehem crowd in my last POV post, so I will spare you the continued gratitude here.  I'm really enjoying Kurt Angle as the new Executive Director of TNA.  He reinstates Earl Hebner, gave us a match run-down (he needed notes but when you're 3 episodes deep in the same location I'm sure it's tough to remember it all), had an excellent worked-shoot promo with Samoa Joe and much more.  Angle accomplished a lot in a short amount of time on this show.  Earlier in the day, it was announced online that the TV Title was officially inactivated too.  If this is TNA finally tying up some loose ends, then so be it.  The 6 man tag team match with The Wolves VS Freak/Knux VS DJ Z/Jessie was enjoyable.  Finally giving Rob Terry a better mask to wear seems to be the ticket for it staying on, especially in his actual debut match as this character.  I am still willing to give Terry a chance but to be dead honest, Crazzy Steve and Rebel have already gotten over more in a few months than Terry has in years.  The Wolves retain and continue to shine as TNA's best current tag team by far.

Even the backstage segments with Roode, Angle and MPR were enjoyable to me on this show.  A nice Street Fight between Kenny King and Roode emanated from these confrontations, as some stiff shots were thrown around throughout the venue.  A Roode Bomb onto a chair in the ring ended this match as Roode needs to go on a long, dominant streak to ensure his Main Event status.  Aries cut a promo backstage but honestly, he kind of lost me on it.  I'm starting to feel more estranged to Austin than I have in a long time.  He seems like his heart isn't 100% in it right now, which is understandable if some of the rumors have been true I suppose.  The Brittany/Madison in-ring segment was fine but I'd like the end point to be Brittany being revealed as Samuel Shaw's sister (as others have mentioned in the comment section).  Bully reiterated his promise to put Ethan and Dixie each through a table.  The return of Rhino was well done and I was genuinely surprised as I thought it wouldn't happen until NYC.

I like the teaming up of EY and Roode (as well as all of Team Canada someday hopefully) and hopefully TNA will get up to those great Canadian fans sometime in the near future.  Fantastic segments involving Samuel Shaw, Gunner, Anderson and Christy Hemme.  I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I am a little enamored with the Samuel Shaw character, I can't lie.  The Stiffler "Stiffy" stuff with the Beautiful People was pretty campy and funny to me, which is a nice change from the normal BP antics.  I still wonder if James Mitchell is involved with The Menagerie after what Knux said to the others backstage.  The visual of Crazzy Steve and The Freak playing it up for the camera was hilarious.  Gail Kim winning the Knockouts Title was a much needed change and I hope we get that 3rd Taryn match sometime soon.  Lashley/EY was a good match also as Eric took some sick bumps here.  Lashley is an unstoppable beast right now and is proving to be a great monster heel.  He's proven a lot of people wrong, including myself as I doubted him before this run. 

Favorite Moment  - The Samuel Shaw stuff has me hooked, so I will go with those segments.

Least Favorite Moment - Nothing that stands out so I will skip this. 

MVP of the Night - I will go with Bobby Roode again as he continues to stand out the most.

Grade - Fantastic show, great crowd.  I give this show a solid A.


MisterTNA
I liked Kurt Angle opening the show to take care of business by re-instating Earl Hebner and announcing/hyping the matches for the show, for me, This is what authority figure segments should be. Joe being sceptical about Angle makes perfect sense, the last time one of his friends gained power, he endorsed them and then got double crossed, so his reaction to Angle's appointment acknowledges that. Great promo's from both Angle and Joe, hopefully this is the start of Joe going on a major run in TNA. Decent 3 way Tag match, with the Wolves looking good as they retain once again. Davey & Eddie continue to go through any tag team that is put in there way, all except Bram & Magnus, hopefully we will get a re-match between them in the coming weeks.

A good short street fight with Kenny King & Bobby Roode, the backstage pre-tapes set this up well, and I must say, Kenny didn't look out of place brawling with a top guy like Roode, Bobby gets the win to continue the momentum he has since he returned. The Brittany/Madison segment was basically there to turn Brittany full-fledged heel. I would be really happy if this story eventually lead to the reveal that Brittany is Samuel Shaw's sister, as that could be a very interesting twist to both stories. I was surprised to see Rhino return during the EC3 vs Bully Ray tables match, and even more so to see him Gore Bully and side with the Carter's. Rhino could be a solid edition to the roster, and while some will criticize the move and claim he's just a nostalgia act, the guy is still in top shape and is only 38 years old, just a year older than Bobby Roode & James Storm, think about that.

I looks like Anderson & Christy aren't buying that Shaw's a changed man. I like how Samuel grew a little beard to symbolise his "change", I wonder where this will head now, it looks like Anderson & Gunner will butt heads over this, but who plays what role here, Gunner is the good Samaritan trying to help someone, while Anderson is the victim reluctant to accept Samual has changed. YES! my wish came true, and Angelina Love is no longer Knockout's Champion, no disrespect to her but TBP were not working as the top of the Knockouts Division. Gail Kim is the new Champ, and hopefully that rubber match with Taryn Terrell for the KO Title is coming down the road. Solid World Title main event, this match was booked very well, Lashley looked like a monster once again, yet EY looked good in a losing effort. TNA are doing a really good job with Lashley, and his run so far has really surprised and impressed me.

Favorite Moment - Lashley looked like the unstoppable force yet again here, and I'm really enjoying how he's being used as Champion.

Least Favorite Moment - I have to say, the Brittany/Madison segment felt a little awkward at points, maybe thats exactly what they wanted from the segment, but something didn't click for me.

MVP of the Night - Lashley looks real good right now, so he deserves the nod here.

Grade - Another great show this week, no complaints from me, certainly a B+/A- show from where I'm sitting.


Chris Regal
This week's Impact was the first for Kurt Angle as Executive Director of Wrestling Operations and he wasted no time in putting his stamp on the product.  Judging by his first night in charge, I'm liking him as the man making the decisions simply because he's leveled the playing field for the babyfaces and done so in a way that's fair for everyone.  Interestingly enough, it looks like TNA will use Kurt Angle's reputation to tie up some of the loose ends that management want taken care of, such as the fate of the TV title and Brian Stiffler referring matches involving the Beautiful People.  It's a good way to make it seem that Angle has the authority given to him by the TNA Board of Directors to clean up the mess that the previous regimes made.

One of the happiest guys to see Angle in charge was Bobby Roode, which is quite ironic considering their hatred for one another a few months ago.  It's funny, I did sense that even though the two alpha males pulverized one another week after week, there was a mutual respect between them, so it was nice to see Angle mention it this week.  It looks like under Angle's watch, Roode will be the top babyface.  How fitting is that?  Austin Aries was another who was happy to see Angle as he will finally get his rematch against the X Division champion Sanada next week.  This is Aries' time of year and with Option C looming, I wouldn't bet against him becoming the X Division champion once again.

Other than the heels, one person who did not seem happy to see Kurt Angle was Samoa Joe.  I can't say I was surprised as Joe has seen this scenario play out time and time again, especially when the executive in charge can still wrestle.  Joe raised a good point...when will Kurt Angle insert himself into the world title picture?  Obviously, we know that it won't be for a while due to his injury but did anyone else notice how well Angle seemed to be moving around?  It looks to me like his recovery time will not be as long as we expected.

One of my favorite things about TNA right now is the booking for Lashley and particularly his ability to win matches clean.  This is something we rarely see in TNA where heel champions don't need outside interference to win their matches.  Lashley defeated Eric Young this week in a fine match that seemed rather stiff at times and continued his dominance over EY, which is something the writers added to the script.  I wonder if that will be something to watch about EY's character going forward or if it were simply a plot point due to his history with Lashley.  The Wolves also retained their tag team titles in a fun match and Gail Kim defeated Angelina Love to become the new Knockouts champion.  If Aries becomes the X Division champion next week, the current TNA champions will be Lashley, the Wolves, Austin Aries, and Gail Kim.  That's pretty impressive.

And lastly, Samuel Shaw returned to Impact after Gunner pulled some strings to get him discharged from the mental institution.  This is a storyline that I've looked forward to every week and this week, the writers brought the drama as they forced Samuel to face his demons as he came face-to-face with Mr. Anderson and yes, Christy Hemme.  It was a simply brilliant series of events that left me wanting more.  This should be very interesting.

Favorite Moment - Quite a few this week, but I will give the honor to the moment Samuel Shaw and Christy Hemme came face-to-face.  Samuel apologized to her and calmly walked away.  Good stuff.

Least Favorite Moment - I'd say the in-ring segment with Brittany and Madison Rayne dragged on a bit but I enjoyed the latter part with Brittany turning on Rayne.  To me, it could have been a segment saved for backstage.  I'm just not a fan of the Knockouts taking up two in-ring segments per show.

MVP of the Night - This was Bobby Roode's night.  If you are a fan of Roode's, this show was for you.  He was practically featured from beginning to end, in the back and inside the ring, etc.  Most importantly, it indicates to me that Roode is the company's top babyface right now and he's on a collision with Lashley at Bound for Glory.  Just a hunch.

Grade - Great show this week as TNA packed quite a punch with so much goodness in one episode.  That's something that I enjoy about Impact...it's the company's ability to fill a two-hour show with so much stuff for us to process, even days later.  No segment ever feels like filler.  As for this show, it gets a B+ from me. 

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