18 January 2015

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Jan 16, 2015


Going into this week's episode of Impact, I thought this show would ultimately be judged by how well TNA would execute the next chapter of the stories that dominated the discussion last week: Eric Young betraying Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe and Low Ki aligning with MVP, Kenny King and presumably Lashley, and the return of Awesome Kong.

I'll begin with the story that I believe will have the biggest impact on the TNA landscape in the coming months, and that's the emergence of the BDC. I spoke a little about my desire to see Samoa Joe and Low Ki join MVP in my latest Randomania so going in I had high expectations. I think for the most part, the BDC met those expectations and even exceeded them at times.  I appreciated the fact that MVP inserted many truths into his opening promo, particularly those that related to his friendship and past with Joe and Low Ki. However, I was left a bit unclear why Samoa Joe and Low Ki would agree to turn heel simply to align with an old friend.  I think it's important to keep in mind that Samoa Joe wasn't a fan of MVP's last year so I don't feel that the writers handled his heel turn well or in a way that made sense. This is a good example of a storyline that's reality-based but fails to explain some of the kayfabe events of the past. Perhaps this is a case where TNA simply opted to reset and go from there. It's a minor nitpick so I'll move on.

The area in which I felt the BDC did well was the events following their opening promo as we began to witness the group of thugs, as Kurt Angle referred to them, turn Impact upside down. Samoa Joe defeated Angle in a decent match on his own, which I appreciated. Although it wasn't a clean victory, the visual of Joe forcing Angle to tap out was the one that will remain in the viewer's minds. This wasn't the case, however, later in the show when the BDC appeared much more rabid in their attempt to help Low Ki recapture the X Division championship, following a brutally physical match with Austin Aries. I like the juxtaposition of the two simply because it shows that the BDC's actions are calculated.

As calculated as the BDC's decisions were this week, the closing segment wasn't as clear to me. Was it MVP's intention to assault Lashley all along or did he change his mind when the world champion spurned him and his family? I'm not so sure but this appears to be the first time the BDC's plan did not go as expected and the result was one of the most brutal assaults you'll see in mainstream wrestling.  Lashley was absolutely taken apart by MVP and his thugs before they stole his title belt to close the show.  The closing segment this week gave us a glimpse of how violent the BDC can be if they don't get their way and it leaves me feeling optimistic that TNA will not fall into the traps of the past with this faction. Overall, this was a very good week for the BDC.

Eric Young, I thought, also had a fairly successful start to his new persona. I thought his explanation for why he betrayed Bobby Roode wasn't well executed. I realize that he wasn't afforded the time by the writers to fully explain but I think he could've been a bit more specific.  The truth is Roode did not give Eric Young a title shot after he won the TNA world championship as promised. Instead, MVP was the first person to be granted a shot. This is a tidbit Young should have mentioned in his promo.  Furthermore, EY was targeted by Lashley due to his support for Roode and was ultimately injured. While all of this was happening, his friend never came out to help him. It was Austin Aries who came to Eric Young's rescue. Again, this is something EY should have mentioned. Incidentally, I think it's important to note that Eric Young was not present when the BDC interfered in Aries' match but did, however, participate in the assaults of Kurt Angle and Lashley. I'm curious to know if this was intentional by the writers.  Putting all that aside, I think Eric Young's heel character is off to a great start. He certainly looks the part with his hideous haircut but it was his overall demeanor during his match against Bobby Roode that clinched it for me.  EY was spot on with the nuances of his new persona. I was absolutely shocked to see him defeat Roode clean and in such convincing fashion. It was a very smart decision by the writers simply because Roode's eventual victory over EY will mean more. This was a very good week for Eric Young.

In other developments, the Hardys defeated the Wolves in an amazing match that earned them the right to challenge the Revolution for the tag titles. I mentioned on Friday night that this year is off to a great start for the Tag Team Division with the Revolution, the Hardys, and the Wolves. The writers have done an exceptional job keeping all three teams in each other's orbits, and it will benefit the division in the long run, particularly if a new team emerges.  Awesome Kong, once again, appeared from the darkness to attack the Beautiful People and DJ Z.  I thought the moment the Beautiful People and Awesome Kong came face-to-face was poignant due to the women's history in TNA. For those of us who followed the Knockouts from the beginning, it was a wonderful moment.  But Awesome Kong's nemesis is still Havok, who came out to the ring to confront her.  The writers have obviously opted for the slow build here and it's working. And lastly, Ethan Carter III took over production momentarily to challenge Jeremy Borash to a match next week in what was a brilliant segment. This is the sort of thing I'd like to see TNA continue to do and if this is how they plan to pull back the curtain, then I'm all for it. It was a clever idea by TNA and it came across perfectly on television.

Favorite Moment - I have to give the honor this week to EC3 and Tyrus taking over production. It was simply brilliant and EC3's "Ground control to major bald" cemented this segment as a true classic. Well done.

Least Favorite Moment - I don't believe there was anything that I hated this week although the Beautiful People defeating Taryn Terrell and Brooke was a poor decision. I do, however, understand why they did it.  I simply wasn't a fan of the decision.

MVP of the Night - This honor goes to the BDC this week.  Every single member of TNA's newest heel faction brought it this week and left me wanting more. An honorable mention to Eric Young, who's not officially a member of the BDC but has wisely aligned with them.

Grade - A great show this week that showcased a lot of what TNA plan to bring to the table as far as production and I liked it quite a bit, although I'm not sure about production cutting into a match to show us what's going on backstage.  Perhaps they can limit those to newsworthy moments as opposed to simply showing us an empty locker room. However, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the show.  This week's Impact gets a well deserved A- from me. Nicely done, TNA.

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