12 April 2015

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Apr 10, 2015

This week's Impact opened with last week's controversial ending to the world title match between Kurt Angle and Lashley. Clearly, Lashley's shoulders were not down and as a result, Kurt Angle should not have been declared the winner. Unfortunately, as is often the case in sports, a referee's call can not be reversed so all that's left to do is simply accept it and move on. Lashley, however, confronted Angle and reasoned with him to give him another shot at the title due to last week's finish. Kurt Angle, never one to back down from a challenge, seemed willing to accept until Eric Young, the new #1 contender based on this week's TOP 5 rankings, insisted that Lashley step aside because he had his chance. This is another example of the writers thinking long term (Eric Young vs Lashley and/or Kurt Angle) while not quite ready to close the book on Angle vs Lashley. It's intricate storytelling as its best. In the end, the segment ended with the booking of a three-way world title match in the main event, but not before Lashley accidentally speared Angle after his intended target, Eric Young, moved out of the way. It's smart booking by TNA simply because it saves the much-anticipated rematch between Kurt Angle and Lashley for a later time, perhaps at a live show this Spring, while keeping EY relevant.

Although Eli Drake and Micah made their Impact debut two weeks ago as members of the Rising, they were officially introduced to the viewers this week. During an in-ring promo in which Drew Galloway reiterated his message of standing up for wrestling, the two newest members of the Impact Wrestling roster got the opportunity to cut a promo and I have to say, both of them made a very good impression. Micah seemed a little uneasy initially but he rallied to end his promo emphatically by threatening to punch the bullies that are the BDC in the mouth. Eli Drake, on the other hand, looked very comfortable, as if he was born with a mic attached to his hand. Many will point to his personality as his biggest strength and although I agree I think it's his improv skills. The ability to cut the sort of promo that he did this week and to do so unscripted is simply remarkable. The man has a gift and it's that gift that will help him stand out on a roster that has increasingly gotten better in the last year.

It looks to me like the writers are putting the finishing touches on the Revolution's demise or overhaul and this week, we discovered that at least one member (the Great Sanada) has been ousted by James Storm. It's also important to note that twice in the last three weeks, Khoya has managed to outlast Abyss and Manik. Three weeks ago, it required four bottle shots to the head to keep Khoya down whereas his two counterparts practically disappeared after much less punishment. And this week, Khoya defeated them in a match to signal the fact that he may be Storm's chosen one and the only current member whose spot in the Revolution is safe. I have a feeling the Revolution will look much different by Slammiversary with Storm perhaps recruiting new members to fill any open spots.

In other developments, Awesome Kong defeated Gail Kim in a physical match to become the #1 contender for Taryn Terrell's Knockouts title.  This wasn't a surprise but I appreciated the fact that TNA continues to make wrestlers earn their title shots. They could have simply given Kong a title match based on her current feud with Taryn but they chose not to. It's good to see that #1 contenders matches are not a lost art in TNA. Davey Richards defeated DJ Z in a fun X Division match that truly felt like step one in Davey's rise to the top of the X Division. If my theory is correct, then Richards' next opponent will be either Tigre Uno or Manik. It will be interesting to see what the writers have planned for him the closer we get to Eddie Edwards' return but for now, I will enjoy Davey Richards in singles X Division matches.

And lastly, TNA set up next week's tag title tournament by introducing some of the teams, such as the Hardys, Ethan Carter III and Bram, Mr. Anderson and Spud, and the Dirty Heels (we previously found out that James Storm and Khoya would also participate). I think the biggest surprise was the team of EC3 and Bram, who are two of the company's biggest young stars right now. For many, it's a dream team. Putting aside the obvious snubbing of Tyrus, EC3 choosing Bram was a wonderful and pleasant surprise that will add quite a bit of excitement to next week's event. The mark out moment, however, came when Aries announced that he'd be reuniting with Bobby Roode for an opportunity to win tag team gold. It's an interesting development that, at the very least, added some legit star power to the battle for the TNA tag team championships. My only gripe is that TNA somewhat telegraphed the favorites to win when they practically ignored the three other teams in the tournament. I will be a disappointed if the four finalists in the Ultimate X match are the four teams featured in this segment because it renders the qualifying matches useless. 

One more thing before I move on, TNA aired an interesting vignette featuring two new Knockouts - Jade and Marti Bell, who are the Dollhouse. It's an intriguing gimmick and one that I think will be delightfully naughty if done right. I'm definitely looking forward to their debut because the Knockouts Division is gaining two very good wrestlers.

Favorite Moment - It's the moment that every TNA fan seems to be talking about and that's the introduction of the Rising and particularly Eli Drake's promo. I think we will look back on this moment as a significant one in the growth of TNA in the Destination America era.

Least Favorite Moment - I can't say there were any moments that I disliked but I think I'll go with the lack of presenting the other three teams in next week's Tag Team Gold.

MVP of the Night - This is tough simply because it's easy to award this to Eli Drake or the Rising but I will give the honor to Eric Young, who in one night became a threat to Kurt Angle and Lashley, taking out the latter for a while by targeting his knee.

Grade - This week's episode of Impact was a lot of fun and one that I enjoyed very much. The entire experience, including Destination America's live tweeting, made for a wonderful night. It was also a show that seemed to feature every division in a significant way. With that in mind, Impact gets an A- from me, the minus simply because I thought the show contained more promos than I would've liked.

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