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22 March 2015

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Mar 20, 2015


Judging by the reactions of so many wrestling fans, I'd say that last week's episode of Impact was one of the best in the last several years. I'd even go one step further and call it one of the best in TNA history. It was that good. If you still haven't watched it or are on the fence due to whatever reasons, I highly recommend giving it a watch. For this reason, I went into this week's Impact with high expectations, hoping that TNA will at least come close to matching last week's quality. And I'm happy to report that they did.

This week's Impact revolved around the TNA world title match between Lashley and Kurt Angle, and deservedly so. Lashley and Angle are two of the most decorated athletes to ever step into a wresting ring, and they're wrestling each other for the first time ever, not only in TNA but anywhere. Throughout the night, TNA did an amazing job making this match feel like a special event with  backstage footage of both men arriving to the arena, their pre-match preparations in the locker room, as well as other wrestlers making predictions. But the thing that made the biggest impact on me was the coverage of each wrestler making their entrance from the locker room to the ring. It was the sort of thing that truly cemented this week's main event as a big event and as a result, set the tone for the wrestling classic that we were about to experience.

Lashley vs Angle was a wonderful wrestling match. It was all about the two men in the ring and their desire to win the company's top prize by outwrestling the other. In the end, Kurt Angle was the victor and became the new TNA world heavyweight champion. I don't think fans realize how surprising a development this is simply because we didn't even know if Kurt Angle would re-sign with TNA four months ago. Even after the news broke that he'd re-signed, it never dawned on me that he'd be a contender for the world title, let alone win it.  So this is truly surprising. Although I thought that Lashley was a tremendous champion, I feel that it's a smart decision to put the belt on Kurt Angle at this point in time because the wrestler who eventually takes it off him will get a much bigger rub, especially if the event is a Slammiversary or Bound for Glory.

In other developments, Taryn Terrell defeated Gail Kim and Awesome Kong is a fantastic Knockouts match. I must say, the Knockouts have performed very well since the move to Destination America but this week's match set the bar even higher. The storytelling in particular was fabulous. The narrative that Taryn Terrell can't possibly pin Awesome Kong, even with a Taryn Cutter, is setting up a big moment in which either Terrell will find a way to finally overcome Kong or lose her title. The writers have really done an extraordinary job with this feud. Likewise, the personal feud between Magnus and Bram continues to deliver and bring the brutality.  This week, it was Magnus' turn to get the upper hand by absolutely pulverizing Bram with a beatdown that ended with one of the nastiest powerbombs you'll ever see.  Mickie James joined in on the fun with her own kick to the balls and several punches. As fun as this was, I can't wait to see how Bram responds.

By the way, Rockstar Spud is your new TNA X Division champion. I've been wondering how TNA would book Spud cashing in the X Division title shot and I thought this week was a perfect time. Coming off a brutal loss to Ethan Carter III and his head shaven, Spud was presented with an opportunity, thanks to Austin Aries, to pin Low Ki and win the X Division title. It was a wonderful moment for those in the crowd as well as those of us at home. Obviously, some are not too happy to see him with the belt but I think it might be a blessing in disguise because I imagine that TNA will now feature the X Division every week, or at least most weeks, now that the belt is around Spud's waist. TNA loves Rockstar Spud so I'll go out on a limb and say that not only will the title be defended more often, but it will also be apart of a storyline. That's the power of Spud.

James Storm and the Revolution defeated Matt Hardy in a No DQ match to set up next week's clash between Storm and Jeff Hardy inside a steel cage. I thought the match was decent but it felt like filler as opposed to the next chapter in the Revolution feud with the Hardys and the Wolves. I also didn't particularly liked the post-match attack because I find it hard to believe that a cowbell can cause so much harm. It's not a particularly believable weapon. The Wolves defeated the teams of Jessie Godderz & DJ Z and Manik & the Great Sanada in a really fun Ultimate X match. I have to say, although every wrestler did very well, Godderz was the one who stood out to me in this match. And lastly, Samoa Joe made his final appearance on Impact in a match against Austin Aries. I've already dealt with and processed his departure so I wasn't too sad about it but it certainly felt like the end of an era.  Another TNA original has left the company but I think it's important to realize that a new era began with the move to Destination America so as sentimental as I'd like to be about Joe leaving, I understand that it means a new beginning for new younger talents.  With that said, I wish Joe nothing but the best and I hope to see him return to TNA when he's inducted in the Hall of Fame.

Favorite Moment - There were so many but I will have to go with Magnus powerbombing Bram onto the ramp. It was brutality at its best.

Least Favorite Moment - I hate to say it but Matt Hardy selling the cowbell shot to the head like he was knocked out was a little too much for me. I simply didn't buy it.

MVP of the Night - Kurt Angle. A huge night for the Olympic Gold Medalist and the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.

Grade - This was another fantastic episode of Impact and it really got me excited for the coming weeks because most of the storylines/feuds are resonating with me right now. Overall, I will give this week's show a well-deserved A.

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