21 September 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Sep 17, 2014

Chris Regal
Going into this week's No Surrender, I felt that the show would be ultimately judged by the two top matches - Lashley vs Bobby Roode and The Wolves vs The Hardys vs Team 3D - and I'm happy to say that both matches are Match of the Year candidates.  The world title match was a grueling battle that saw Lashley retain his championship, partly due to Roode's apparent knee injury.  It was an outstanding match, highlighted by an insane spot when Lashley was Roode Bomb'd over the top rope to the outside, landing literally on his back.  It was a holy shit moment.  Speaking of holy shit moments, the tag title match had several of them.  It was a wonderfully chaotic affair that saw all three teams taking ridiculous bumps over and over.  This was technically not a wrestling match but a race to the top of the ladder to grab the tag team belts.  In the end, the Wolves were able to keep their belts and prolong this fantastic series.  I believe the next match will be a Full Metal Mayhem, based on Eddie Edwards' tweet.

In other developments, Samoa Joe retained the X Division in his match against Homicide.  The match was fine but I was expecting a more physical affair, similar to the one we saw between Joe and Low Ki.  The post-match events, however, were quite interesting as James Storm led his crew - the Great Sanada and a newly packaged Manik - in a brutal attack on Homicide, who was choked with a bullrope, kicked in the face, and hit with a frogsplash off the top rope.  Joe was also hit in the back of the head with a cowbell.  I'm absolutely loving the development of Storm's revolution and every week, we're treated to a reveal or an attack.  I can't wait to see what happens next and that's a sign of an angle that's working.  Havok defeated every other Knockouts not named Gail Kim in a battle royal to earn a shot at the Knockouts title.  Unfortunately, the match was poor and underwhelming.  What really stood out to me was how weak Havok's offense looked.  Where were the stiff shots?  I would've liked to have seen her dominate the battle royal but instead I felt like the Knockouts, one at a time, just surrendered to her so she could pick them and toss them out of the ring.  A very disappointing performance by Havok.

And lastly, it looks like MVP and Kenny King have picked a fight with Chris Melendez.  Going into this match, I was dreading the result because I knew there was no way the writers would book Melendez to lose.  In the end, I thought TNA did a good job giving Melendez a win without making King look too bad.  Even though King dominated the match, Melendez was able to pin King for a quick three-count.  This is wrestling so on any given night, anyone could get a pin for the win.  We see it all the time so I don't think Kenny King lost anything by this loss.  In addition, King made sure that his loss was quickly forgotten by attacking Melendez and threatening to pull off his prosthetic leg.  Overall, I thought this is the way to go with Melendez, booking-wise.  The writers did a great job this week.
Favorite Moment - This week, the honor goes to the pep talk Mr. Anderson gave Chris Melendez after his match.  The way Melendez stood up, refusing to be a victim, it gave me goosebumps.

Least Favorite Moment - I will have to go with the Knockouts battle royal.  It was a boring, uneventful ten minutes that led off the show.  Not an ideal situation if you're TNA.

MVP of the Night - I have to give it to Lashley.  The guy has absolutely been a dominant champion and this week took one of the most insane bumps you'll ever see in pro wrestling.

Grade - Some decent stuff this week overall but the two title matches truly elevated this show.  Two match of the year candidates on a free PPV is no small feat.  For that reason, this week's No Surrender gets an A- from me.  Great show.

No Surrender was a fantastic show for the most part.  Havok kicked off the show by basically destroying the entire KnockOuts roster to become the #1 Contender.  This Battle Royal was kind of sloppy at times but it served its purpose.  The backstage interaction between Gunner and Samuel was intriguing as Shaw deflected the notion that Brittany was into him.  He instead declared that he was focused on someone else, which most fans think is Gunner, but I'm not convinced that's the case.  I thought the Melendez Vs Kenny King stuff was done pretty well.  The King of the Night got heat on himself in a very effective manner.  The only thing I personally didn't like is that Sarge got to go over Kenny clean with the pinfall.  I feel like it could have been just as effective if it would have been a DQ beat down from MVP and King.  I just don't think someone as green as Chris needs to have 2 consecutive clean pins over wrestlers like Zema and King right away.  Why not save one of the clean pins for another week?  I know some of you will go on a rant explaining why it happened.  I already understand WHY it happened, I just don't agree with it. 

The Samoa Joe VS Homicide X-Division Title match was just OK.  It got kind of sloppy, and exposed Homicide's weaknesses in working with a bigger opponent.  I don't think Homicide needs to be in any more title matches after seeing this bout.  The ends to the means was Homicide tapping out, thus ending the worst X-Division match in a few months.  It was quickly forgotten about however because James Storm and Sanada came down and beat both of their asses Revolution-style.  A returning Manik with a new, improved look showed his loyalty to Storm as his group continues to get stronger. 

The Tag Title Series Ladder Match is one of those kind of matches that you'll never ever forget.  It was absolutely crazy and nail-biting.  Such stiff spots with the ladders as they beat the crap out of each other.  The Wolves, Hardy Boyz and Team 3D all deserve major credit for sacrificing their bodies in such an insane manner.  Words cannot describe how awesome it was, and so many fans on social media agreed that it was simply spectacular.  The best part is that we get a fourth match, which the Wolves deemed as Full Metal Mayhem, and I cannot wait to see it!

Bram VS Gunner was decent.  It was an appetizer of what they could really do in a PPV match with more time in the future.  Both men are talented and hard-hitting.  I couldn't help it as I was Bramming and finding myself wanting Bram to go over Gunner, which he did due to Samuel's interference.  Then we got our 2nd Match of the Year candidate of the night in Lashley VS Roode.  A simply brilliant World Title match that had surprising spots and great wrestling involved.  I think this was Lashley's best match since his return, which comes as no surprise because Roode usually brings out the best in his competitors.  The Roode-Bomb to the floor on Lashley was sick!  I was concerned that he had injured the big man because the thud it made was loud and the crowd collectively gasped when he fell.  This fight got the time that it deserved and eventually the final spear did Roode in.  The show ends with a preview for the finale episode in this run of NYC shows next week. 

Favorite Moment - The Ladder Match was slightly better than the World Title match but both were awesome.

Least Favorite Moment - The pinfall from Melendez on King rubbed me the wrong way.

MVP of the Night - I will give it to The Wolves as the Ladder Match win made them look like they cemented their place in tag team history.

Grade - I disliked a couple things but the 2 fantastic matches made up for a lot.  I give the show an A- overall.

We started off No Surrender with Havok dominating every other Knockout in the #1 Contenders Battle Royal, wasn't the most fluent of matches but the end result was Havok standing tall over everyone, which was achieved. Was interesting to hear Samuel Shaw claim he was “fixated” on someone else when Gunner told him about Brittany's interest, what was most concerning is the first person I thought it might be is Gunner, regardless I'm just glad that the last few weeks this story has developed and re-gained my interest. Kenny King was like a heat seeking missile on Impact, he really got the crowd hating him with some of his comments towards Chris Melendez, and him mocking Melendez throughout the match kept that going. Wasn't surprised with the outcome, after King dominated I was pretty sure we'd get an upset victory, post match beatdown/promo leads to Anderson making the save, and I guess these two teams will feud for the foreseeable future.

The Joe/Homicide match was decent, I think a lot of people we're taken aback by them working a more hard hitting match as opposed to an X Division match, and while it might of not been as fast paced as what we've seen recently, it wasn't bad by any means. Things picked up post match with the beatdown by The Revolution, and the re-introduction of Manik, the new look is impressive, and it seems now they have broadened their targets after attacking Joe & Homicide. God lord almighty that Ladder match was nuts, none of them will probably read this, but huge props and respect to the Wolves, The Hardys and Team 3D, who all put their bodies at serious risk to deliver the best match they could, and by god they did. The Wolves get the win and we're treated to one final match, Full Metal Mayhem, I'm excited and afraid to see how their going to top match 3 without killing themselves, but I've got a feeling they will somehow pull it off.

I was with Mike Tenay when he said Bram vs Gunner was a match he'd been anticipating for months, as soon as Bram arrived you could see the similarities to Gunner, and the match-up between them was inevitable. Good, physical match that was a little limited due to time and the focus on the Gunner/Shaw dynamic. Shaw costs Gunner the match and their friendship looks to be on the ropes. After an amazing match already, we we're treated to yet another MOTY candidate with Roode vs Lashley for the World Title. Every title defence so far Lashley has performed, and this was probably his best defence yet, which is no surprise consider Roode's ability. Several occasions were it looked like Roode was going to re-gain the title, especially after the Roode Bomb to the floor, however Lashley dug down and found a way to win in his toughest test to date, and after they announced it online, I can't wait to see the rematch when it airs from Bethlehem, PA.   

Favorite Moment - I loved the Ladder match, so fantastic and dramatic action. Roode vs Lashley was a very close second.

Least Favorite Moment - I'd say King vs Melendez, as soon as the match stated with King dominating I thought it was predictable that Melendez would win to add to his underdog story.

MVP of the Night - This is very tough, but I'll give the nod to the Wolves. Lashley was a close second, but I give it to the Wolves for getting a huge win and also giving us one more match in this series.

Grade - This was good show with two PPV quality main events, there we're some drop off points during the night but the two matches that this show was built around delivered big time, so I'll give this week's showing an A-.

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