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24 October 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Oct 22, 2014


I think one of the things I enjoy about TNA right now is the fact that they have finally embraced that they are a wrestling promotion and advertise their shows as such.  In the past, although they never shied away from the level, I always felt that their previews were often based on a storyline or some sort of non-wrestling gimmick.  So when TNA spends an entire week promoting the tag team tournament with the focus on the championships, it sends a positive message to their fans and to pro wrestling fans everywhere. 

So with that in mind, I thought that this week's show would ultimately sink or swim with the tournament, and I think for the most part, it did well.  The first match between the Hardys and the BroMans, this week represented by Jessie Godderz and DJ Z, was a nice warm-up for what was yet to come.  Even though there wasn't a doubt in my mind that the Hardys would move on to the semi-finals, it was nice to see TNA give the match some time, allowing the BroMans an opportunity to at least prove that they're more than simply a jobber team.

The second match in the tournament brought us the surprise team of Samoa Joe and Low Ki.  Even though I mentioned in my Randomania this week that TNA can conceivably book eight non-makeshift tag teams, I suspected that they'd add at least one random team.  The beauty of matching Joe with Low Ki however is their history, some of which we witnessed recently in New York City including one of the best matches of the year.  Their opponents were Samuel Shaw and Gunner.  Sadly, I felt the match was more of a formality with the main purpose being Samuel's heel turn, although I'd say it was more of a revelation.  I don't believe Shaw was ever truly a face.  With all that said, I can't complain with the results since Samoa Joe and Low Ki advanced to next round and the post-match events between Shaw, Brittany, and Gunner were quite a bit of fun.  Samuel Shaw's attack on Gunner with a chair was one of the brutal that I've ever seen. Those chair shots had some rage behind them but rage quickly turned to lust as Samuel and Brittany made out while rolling on the mat, and then on Gunner's limp body.  It was actually pretty funny.

The third match involved two pairs who have been at each other's throats for the last month.  MVP and Kenny King vs Mr. Anderson and Chris Melendez. What I particularly liked about this segment was the fact that TNA isn't afraid to let the heels cross a line or two as it pertains to their mocking of Melendez.  In fact, I believe that now that he's a member of the Impact Wrestling roster and a character, he's fair game.  And I'm sure he's well aware of that.  Another thing that I liked is the fact that TNA aren't falling into the trap of booking Melendez like a hero.  Yes, in real life, he's a hero and a warrior, but inside that wrestling ring, he's inexperienced and at a disadvantage due to his leg.  TNA must never lose sight of those facts.  And this week, we saw a young man who's eager to make his mentor proud by battling in that ring.  Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as King pinned him for the victory.  It was a learning experience for Melendez and that's the way to book him right now so kudos to TNA.

And the final match was easily the biggest spectacle of the night, even beating out the Samuel Shaw/Brittany make out session, and that was Rockstar Spud's return to the ring as a wrestler.  TNA booked this match perfectly, creating an environment where fans truly wanted to see Spud overcome the odds.  Unfortunately, he came up short this time but it was only step number one in his journey as a wrestler.  Personally, I'd like to see Spud remain a manager because I don't see TNA consistently finding ways for him to overcome the odds.  It would not be realistic even if they did.  But I think he has one huge run in him as a wrestler so hopefully, he'll take advantage of it. As for EC3 and Tyrus, they each played their part very well this week but I have to wonder, what is the endgame for the duo?  If it's being in a feud with Spud and friends, I'm not sure I like that.  I suppose it depends who the "friends" will be.  For right now, it appears that it's Eric Young.  In any case, EC3 and Tyrus move on to the semi-finals and join the Hardys, Samoa Joe and Low Ki, and MVP and Kenny King.  Not bad at all.  I'd be happy with any of those teams challenging the Wolves.

In other developments, Kurt Angle mediated a contract signing between Lashley and Bobby Roode before next week's world title match, in which the Olympic Gold Medalist will act as special referee. The highlight of the segment, to me, was Roode's passionate promo about his love for pro wrestling.  He's one of few wrestlers who sounds genuine when he makes that plea and for this reason, he makes you want to root for him.  Overall, it was a solid contact signing, even though I'm not a fan of them.  Elsewhere, Bram proclaimed himself the New King of Hardcore and how can you argue with him, based on his performance since coming to TNA.  He's apparently targeted Devon to put him over and I think this is the perfect way to use Devon.  However, I felt that Devon got in a bit too much offense on Bram.  I realize that Bram was victorious but the message the writers sent was he needed Magnus' help simply because he did very little against Devon to deserve that win.  

James Storm has apparently picked his next recruit(s): Davey Richards or the Wolves.  Only time will tell and I'm sure this will be a topic we discuss quite often in the coming weeks so I'll leave it at that for now. And finally, Havok hijacked this week's Knockouts match to attack Rebel, which brought Gail Kim out for the save.  The two women brawled a bit before being separated. It was nice to see Gail back, proving the dirtsheets wrong.  They had reported that Gail's injury and time out was due to her contract expiring.  Well, she was back on Impact this week and it looked like her time away was storyline-dictated to me.

Favorite Moment - I have to admit, the plancha off the top rope by Rockstar Spud was an amazing moment and a very important one in Spud's "growth" as a wrestler.

Least Favorite Moment - I didn't hate anything this week but I'll go with Devon getting in a bit too much offense on Bram.

MVP of the Night - It's tough but I'll go with Rockstar Spud.  It was his coming out party tonight, even though he didn't get the win.  Not to mention that every segment he was in this week was pure gold.

Grade - I thought for the most part, TNA did a good job especially with the progression of so many stories but I felt that the lack of a main event or a quality match prevented the show from reaching greatness.  The wrestling was at best serviceable this week.  For that reason, this week's Impact gets a B- from me.

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