22 February 2015

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Feb 20, 2015

I've always been an optimistic person when it comes to TNA and their product.  Although, with an IMPACT like we saw this week, I'm not sure how most fans are not feeling optimistic about TNA's future.  The show flew by and came across as very engaging.  The crowd was large and energetic.  We kicked things off with a fast paced and enjoyable 3 on 3 match as Storm, Abyss and Manik found themselves on the losing end of things against Matt Hardy and The Wolves.  Personally, I'm still not sure if Manik is being booked to eventually leave The Revolution.  He definitely got some tough love post-match as his carcass had to be dragged out of the arena due to a Black Hole Slam punishment for being pinned.  I just hope that the Great Sanada gets some ring time soon because he is definitely the most underutilized member of the group right now.  The Wolves and Hardy showed great chemistry together during this fight.

EC3 and Tyrus were fooled by the team of Mr. Anderson, Spud and Mandrews as we saw the big man get his head shaved and get misted in the same night.  Tyrus did look strong in the gauntlet match though, which was nice for a change.  TNA is booking EC3 very strategically right now as he is still recovering from his arm injury.  Once he is back to 100% I expect Ethan to gradually sneak back into the main event scene but this current storyline will suffice in the meantime as working with Anderson should continue to be a good program.  Will Tyrus and EC3 eventually feud?  Is that where things are heading next?  Only time will tell.  We also have that Spud VS EC3 match on the horizon. 

Grado has proven to be a very polarizing figure lately amongst fans (almost to Cena levels at times).  I have found myself being critical of him after seeing his British Boot Camp work, but in this match against Al Snow, the appeal of Grado worked.  Granted, he was in his element in Scotland and some would point to that fact as the only reason why he got such a reaction.  I beg to differ though, because the man does know how to work a crowd and can connect with fans regardless of his surroundings.  He may not be a wrestling technician but he does have that Santino-Marella-esque entertainment quality.  Would something like this have a long shelf life?  Hard to say, but I imagine if he was allowed to use Madonna's song that it would help to get him over in the U.S. if they plan to use him more.  I'd be shocked if Grado is signed to TNA long-term but why not at least capitalize on his fame in the U.K.?  It's good business to do so.

The subsequent debut of Drew Galloway was very exciting and well-done as he came through the crowd to fight off the BDC.  The legit head wound that he inflicted on Low-Ki added some realism into things as the X-Division Champ was bleeding profusely and was red-hot mad at Galloway.  This is another great signing by TNA and I am extremely interested to see where things go from here with Drew.  He was once called "The Chosen One" during his early days on WWE TV.  He has the potential to actually live up to that billing now.  The KnockOuts Title match itself was a quality bout between Taryn and Angelina, but the post-match interaction with Awesome Kong and Gail Kim stole the segment.  Add in Havok (and potentially Mickie James and others) to this mix in the near future and this division has gotten very strong again in a short amount of time. 

Super bloody, graphic fight between Eric Young and Tommy Dreamer, so much so that they were forced to show the Saturday morning UNLOCKED version in black and white (which speaks volumes since I've seen some very bloody matches this year already from TNA during that same time slot).  That was an old-school, ECW-style crimson mask that Dreamer had going on.  If he was really cut open from EY biting him on the eyebrow and forehead, that's fucking hardcore.  That is shades of Hannibal Lecter kind of stuff.  This psychotic character that EY has harnessed is very disturbing...and believable.  Using the pile-driver over and over again is fairly controversial in the pro-wrestling world after all the major injuries that it has caused through-out the years.  He is a loose cannon that is essentially terrorizing the TNA roster.  The carnage will continue for some time to come I'd imagine.  I loved the segment with a returning Mickie James and Bram.  The real-life elements involved in this feud are compelling and serve as a great vehicle to intensive things moving forward.  I imagine we'll see Magnus back very soon to seek out his revenge.  I hope Mickie can eventually have one more run as an active wrestler but I don't think that time is right now.  She may stick around until she is ready to wrestle again but nobody knows for sure.  Her presence in this Magnus/Bram feud will be must-see TV.

Sometimes gauntlet matches seem to be fairly cumbersome and been-there-done-that but this particular version was fun and well-booked.  Granted, some of the participants will never be World Champion and were predictably eliminated but the same thing happens every year in the Royal Rumble.  Some nice spots here as most of the participants were effectively used.  The news this week about Samoa Joe leaving TNA did cause me to look at his contributions through a different light as it makes the BDC faction seem a bit shaky.  They could always retool things and keep the BDC but with as much attention as they're getting right now it was a bit distracting knowing that a key member is leaving soon.  MVP winning and becoming #1 contender makes sense as the BDC had a distinct advantage heading into this thing.  I can't see MVP as TNA World Champion but I imagine he'll have a great fight with Lashley.  Overall, this was a really fun and news-worthy IMPACT.

Favorite Moment -  Personally, I enjoyed the Mickie James/Bram segment the most as this storyline continues to build perfectly.

Least Favorite Moment - The version of music that TNA was forced to use for Grado in place of the real Madonna song (which was played at the actual taping) was really odd and somewhat off-putting.

MVP of the Night - MVP becomes #1 contender by winning the gauntlet and lives up to his name.

Grade - This was an A quality show.  Enough said.

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