01 March 2015

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Feb 27, 2015

This week's episode of Impact seemed to be all about the world title match between Lashley and MVP as well as its aftermath, especially for those who have a stake in the fight. In that sense, I think TNA did a very good job. From the opening moments to the final minutes, TNA's world title scene took center stage and proved to be one of the company's strengths right now.

Kurt Angle opened the show calling Lashley out in order to express his disappointment that he didn't take out the BDC last week, allowing Angle to take on MVP one-on-one inside the ring. It's an interesting development because Angle had touted his ability to take on the BDC on his own earlier in the show last week so it might appear on the surface that he's frustrated with himself, and simply taking it out on Lashley. But I think it goes beyond that. Kurt Angle truly wants a shot at the world title but I get the impression that he wants a shot at Lashley for the world title even more. The thought that Lashley isn't reciprocating, who's quite content defending his title against anyone, has seemingly left Angle frustrated.

The BDC followed by making their intentions quite clear: they will take the world title belt from Lashley by any means necessary. Although the champion appeared confident that he could at the very least retain his title, we've seen for weeks how dominant the BDC can be with their gang mentality. Lashley, himself, has even fallen prey to their attacks on several occasions, one of which led to the BDC stealing his title belt. To make matters worse for Lashley, it was announced that the world title match was all of a sudden no disqualification, although that bit of news didn't seem to phase him.

It did however phase Gunner, who's first inclination was to try to rally Kurt Angle backstage to make sure that the BDC did not use their numbers to their advantage. I'm not sure what's motivating Gunner these days other than his desire to beat up members of the BDC but I'd like to see the writers define his actions a bit more.  I believe he did mention a couple of weeks ago that his desire is to pursue the world championship again, which automatically qualifies him to be involved. In one of the more unexpected moments of the night, Gunner slapped Kurt Angle in the face like the latter had done to him several weeks ago. Would Angle, in the end, help Lashley in order to secure a title shot against him?

Austin Aries came out to the ring to cut a promo, praising TNA's world title scene and his desire to become the world champion.  Aries made several good points, one of which is the fact that he doesn't have to jockey for position like the other top competitors because he has the Feast or Fired briefcase. He went on to tease cashing in the briefcase after the Lashley vs MVP, which led to a good piece of story progression from the writers by booking Samoa Joe to come out as part of the BDC's plan to take Aries out. And that they did when, after a very good match between Aries and Joe, Kenny King and Low Ki stormed the ring and attacked Aries. In one of the best moments of the night, they set Aries up on a table for Ki to hit a foot stomp off the top rope but the table did not break.  This led to Samoa Joe hitting an impromptu senton on Aries, finally putting his limp body through the table and out for the night. In the back, the BDC celebrated this fact as they prepared for the big fight.

However, MVP had one more piece of business to take care of and that was brilliantly reminding Eric Young that it was Lashley who put him in the hospital last November. This is the sort of detailed and nuanced storytelling that TNA does so well and once again, we saw how effective it can be. The way the writers were setting up the main event all throughout the night, it was obvious to me that the world title match was going to be a spectacle. And a spectacle it was.

TNA is often criticized for overbooking their main events and having too many run-ins but I don't think they've been as bad since last Summer.  Yes, we'll get the occasional main event that's heavily booked with interferences but this week's situation was so well executed that it actually enhanced the match for me. TNA practically screamed it from the rooftops that there will be interference in the main event but they backed it up with solid storytelling.  In the end, it was a decent match but it was the run-ins that told the story.  Eric Young came down to the ring and almost piledrived Lashley to the mat, after hitting him with a chair, when Bobby Roode returned to chase him off. Every member of the BDC interfered with Low Ki being banned from ringside while Kenny King was exposed of by Lashley, and Samoa Joe was chased off by Gunner. Finally, with the only two standing being Lashley and MVP, here was Kurt Angle's big chance to decide his fate. Here was his chance to make it so he'd challenge Lashley for the world championship. But Angle never showed. It was Drew Galloway, who ran into the ring, targeted MVP with a knee to the face, and gave Lashley the opportunity to finish him to retain his title belt. It was quite an event that's made me very excited about next week's show simply because I hope we get an explanation from Angle for not coming out to help Lashley and Galloway's explanation for why he appears to have targeted the BDC.

In other developments, TNA are building up nicely to an eventual mega-clash between Taryn Terrell, Gail Kim, and Awesome Kong. Kong has absolutely annihilated Terrell the last two weeks, setting up a title match next week. It's a bit too soon for this match so I suspect that the writers will find a way to somehow prolong the inevitable, which is Kong winning the Knockouts title. Speaking of annihilating, Bram did exactly that to one half of the British Boot Camp 2 cast in his attempts to coax Magnus into fighting him. I've been very impressed by Bram's ability to carry this feud while Magnus has been out of action, although he did get a nice assist from Mickie James last week. I said it on Twitter. I said it in the comments section of TNAMecca.  And I'll say it here, Bram is a star. And lastly, Rockstar Spud was able to get a lock of EC3's hair this week with Mr. Anderson's help, hopefully leading to a hair vs hair match between the two. Honestly, I think it's time this feud came to a close because it's starting to overstay its welcome for me. Luckily, I recall Dixie Carter tweeting before the London tapings that EC3 would be wrestling Spud so the end should be near.

Favorite Moment - There were quite a few moments that deserve this honor but I will give it to the post-match events following the Austin Aries vs Samoa Joe match. It was fantastic storytelling that was accentuated by the botched table spot. A very nice moment.

Least Favorite Moment - I hate to say it because I enjoyed the Amazing Race but the Robbie E, Brooke nonsense needs to end. I can't for the life of me figure out why TNA felt it was necessary to book such rubbish filler on the annual UK tour. Although I find the BroMans' act quite funny, I'm not entertained by this particular angle.

MVP of the Night - For me, this belongs to Austin Aries. From the ovation he got from the crowd to his promo to his match to his ability to put the world title picture in perspective, it was simply an outstanding effort by Aries this week.

Grade - I enjoyed this week's show very much because TNA did a very good job setting up the main event as well as the stories that we will be treated to in the coming weeks. The storytelling and the character development continues to be a strength but I'd like to see the wrestling be improved a bit. Impact works best when both aspects are top notch. Overall, this week's Impact gets a solid B from me.

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