14 November 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Nov 12, 2014

This week's Impact was a very interesting show in the sense that it had a few newsworthy moments. Let's begin with the opening segment that ended with the Revolution capturing the tag team championships. The segment began with Davey Richards rejecting James Storm's offer to pledge to the Revolution, a decision that quite frankly was expected, but TNA have so cleverly planted the seeds for if and when the Wolves are to split up.  Although Richards might never have considered Storm's offer, he may have realized that his partner Eddie Edwards doesn't completely trust him. It'll be interesting to see if the writers will point to this moment when the two Wolves begin to drift apart in the future.  The shocking part, however, came when Storm, who appeared to be leaving the ring, returned with the Feast of Fired briefcase with the tag team title shot.  For those who don't recall, Gunner, who initially won the briefcase, gave it to Storm as a sign of their friendship, due to Gunner already possessing the briefcase with the world title shot.  I have to applaud TNA for the storyline continuity because they could have easily discarded the stipulation since it hadn't been mentioned since February.  But to their credit, they picked a good spot to use it.  In another surprising moment, Abyss was revealed as the newest member of the Revolution and Storm's tag team partner as the two defeated a beaten down Wolves team to become the new TNA tag team champions.  I like the addition of Abyss as I feel it will give him a focus and hopefully a new look since I'm not a fan of the current one.

Samoa Joe was expected to make an announcement this week, presumably about his injury.  Unfortunately, it appears that Joe suffered an injury during his match against the Hardys last week and he will not be able to defend his X Division title for at least 30 days.  Joe never specified how long he'll be out but it's safe to assume that it will be longer than the 30 day threshold a reigning champion has to defend his or her title.  I was saddened by this development because I was looking forward to watching Joe defend the X Division title a bit longer.  We had already watched great matches against Low Ki and Austin Aries so it felt like he was just getting started.  Some will question this decision by TNA but the reality is that Joe's contract expires in December so there was absolutely no way TNA would go into their hiatus with the belt on a potential free agent.  The injury, I imagine, is kayfabe due to the fact that Joe defended the title in Japan at Bound for Glory just a couple of weeks after the Bethlehem tapings. Personally, I feel that it was the right decision, especially for him to vacate the title, as it will give him an opportunity to challenge for the belt if and when he re-signs.

The main story this week was that of Lashley's quest to seemingly take out Bobby Roode's closest allies and friends.  After his match against Tyrus, Eric Young was brutally attacked by Lashley and it was clear that he was trying to send a message to the current world champion, who was not at the show.  Luckily, Austin Aries was, and managed to run Lashley off with a chair.  I absolutely loved this sequence because it highlights one of TNA's biggest strengths, their focus on the relationships of the characters.  The writers have been nurturing a friendship between Roode and Eric Young and Austin Aries for months and it paid off in this amazing segment.  To me, when one can easily connect an act on the show to a specific detail, you know the writers are doing a very good job.  In any case, the best was yet to come as Aries, knowing his fate if he did not act first, challenged Lashley to a match.

Unfortunately, for Aries, this was not the night to get into a fight with Lashley, who seemed especially violent this week.  During their match, we witnessed as Lashley absolutely destroyed Aries in a way that we've never seen before.  This was no small feat, folks.  Aries is one of the top wrestlers in the company, a perennial world title contender and Lashley tossed him around like a rag doll and in the end, left him beaten down and out.  It was as vicious an assault without a weapon as I've ever seen.  I love what TNA have done with Lashley.

Speaking of violence, Gunner and Samuel Shaw faced off in a No DQ match that was as stiff an affair as you'll see in mainstream wrestling.  The two men brutalized one another with chair shots and it was fitting due to the hatred that has developed between them.  Shaw used and betrayed Gunner and the reality of it all was evidenced by the latter's genuine emotion when he confronted Brittany after powerbombing Shaw on the steel steps.  The storytelling was fantastic and each character played their role perfectly.  It felt like an ending but I suspect that Gunner will have to endure much more abuse from the creepy bastards, and honestly, I couldn't be happier.  I feel like this feud still has legs.

In the other developments, Tyrus lost clean to Eric Young and it appears early on that TNA has no intention of booking him like a monster heel.  He's been pinned two matches in a row and it might be the nail in his coffin, especially knowing how demanding Ethan Carter III can be.  Taryn Terrell defeated Madison Rayne and moves on to challenge Havok for the Knockouts title in a three-way with Gail Kim next week, thanks to Kurt Angle.  I can't see TNA taking the title off Havok this soon but again, keep in mind that Havok's rumored to be working without a contract.  If this is the case, we might see another title change next week.  And lastly, in one of the most entertaining segments of the show, Kenny King challenged Chris Melendez to a match next week.  This is the Kenny King that makes me believe that he's still someone who can be a huge star in this business.  He's as charismatic as anyone in pro wrestling right now and he's got the wrestling I have to think that TNA plan to push him next year.  This has been a very good, and productive, year in King's evolution as a performer so hopefully, he'll take the next step in 2015.

Favorite Moment - This week, the honor goes to the entire Gunner vs Samuel Shaw/Brittany segment. It was truly enjoyable.

Least Favorite Moment - The BroMans vs The Menagerie meeting for the umpteenth time and quite frankly, it's all pointless to me.

MVP of the Night - This one's easy.  This show was all about Lashley and his quest to get Bobby Roode's attention.  It was also perhaps a statement for his supposed ally MVP.  The destroyer Lashley truly lived up to his moniker this week.

Grade - This week's Impact was a tale of two hours...the first being decent at best with the second bringing the goodness.  Some newsworthy moments plus a dominating performance by Lashley earned this episode a B+ from me.

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