Before I begin, let me just say that it felt so good to have Impact back. After a week off due to the holiday weekend and quite a bit of behind the scenes drama, it was such a good feeling just to sit back and enjoy an episode of Impact on Friday night. I was excited going into this week's episode and I'm happy to say that for the most part, the show delivered.
The show opened with a very interesting exchange between Eric Young, who had just arrived to the Impact Zone, and Kurt Angle, who had been waiting for him outside. It was a nice way to open the show and set the tone for their I Quit match later on. However, the writers added another nice touch when the two were literally shown sitting in isolation, each one locked inside a room in order to keep them apart until the time came for their match. Very well done. Their match was very interesting in the sense that neither Kurt Angle or Eric Young used any weapons, which I believe is quite common for an I Quit match. This is something I've noticed that TNA has done lately. They've removed the weapons element from matches with stipulations that aren't blatantly hardcore, such as Falls Count Anywhere, Last Man Standing, and I Quit. Instead, they've opted for a psychological and physical approach in which two men (or women) battle and beat one another down until there's a victor and a loser. Some might find this approach a bit underwhelming but I think TNA are smart to limit the use of weapons in some cases and this week's I Quit match was one of them. Nicely done.
Kurt Angle recently said in an interview that Billy Corgan is producing the Dollhouse segments and if true, I think he's doing a fantastic job. This week, the trio seemed to have toned down the hysterics usually associated with mean valley girl stereotypes and instead were presented as sultry evil dolls with just a touch of crazy. The match between Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim was very good but it was awfully short. I wish the ladies would've been given a little more time inside the ring but I suspect the writers were much more interested in the post-match events, which were well done. The visual of the Dollhouse beating on Gail Kim inside the steel cage while Awesome Kong desperately trying to save her was well executed. The sounds of Kong trying to break the chain with a chair were a nice touch. A good segment overall but the match felt like an afterthought.
The best storyline going into this week's show has been the James Storm/Mickie James/Magnus drama so I was looking forward to their segment. And I have to say, I loved it. I've said all along that the writers have done an exceptional job developing this story week-by-week and the performances by the talent has been top notch. In fact, Storm and Magnus, in particular, have been so good, I can't quite decide which one I'd like to cheer for and which I'd like to boo. And the live crowd in the Impact Zone seem to have the same problem based on their cheers and applause for Storm this week. This is compelling drama and this week's twist showed that Mickie James isn't so quick to shun Storm on behalf of her family. It showed that Mickie might not be as ready to be a stay-at-home mom as Magnus thought. Excellent stuff.
In other developments, Ethan Carter III finally proved that he can win on his own. It's something I've been very critical of in recent weeks and I'm glad to see EC3 hit his finisher and pin his opponent clean. Of course, this week's win wasn't technically clean due to Mr. Anderson having to deal with Tyrus early on in the match but it gave that impression. I always say that perception is reality in pro wrestling and this week, the perception was that EC3 beat Anderson on his own. The X Division match, unfortunately for me, fell flat. There was absolutely no flow nor did any move feel important. It felt like an exhibition that was simply poorly executed. The concept of the gauntlet was a headscratcher simply because it took away the X Division wrestlers' biggest strength: their high-flying moves to the outside. It simply wasn't very good. I'm conflicted about the result for these reasons...I don't know that I'm excited about a Kurt Angle vs Rockstar Spud main event at Destination X and quite frankly, it's not a great match-up. With that said, it'll take the X Division title off Spud and on to someone who can lead the division in the coming weeks and months. One thing I'm not conflicted about is the Beautiful People segment. I simply had no interest in their exchange nor do I care about their feud. In my opinion, TNA is beating a dead horse with the Beautiful People and their segments are tedious to sit through. It's a shame because I felt that Angelina Love had shown some progression after Velvet Sky left.
The highlight of the show for me was the tag titles series match between the Wolves and the Dirty Heels. Their match this week was simply fantastic, and the best part is it's only Match #2. We will get at least one more and potentially, three more. For the latter to happen though, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode will have to rally just to tie the series. It's interesting but it felt to me that Roode was booked as the weak link this week. It's as if he was constantly out of position and it appeared to irritate Aries. This could indicate that a heel turn by Roode is coming and it'll be interesting to see whether or not Aries encourages it or not. Aries is a tweener and has shown the willingness to act in his best interest whether that's as a heel or face so I imagine he'd be fine with it if it meant winning the TNA tag team championships. A great match overall.
Favorite Moment - I thought the exchange between Mickie James and James Storm was outstanding. I don't know if they have a real life history or a long friendship at all but their chemistry is undeniable. It makes for a very enjoyable experience.
Least Favorite Moment - The Beautiful People. I never switch the channel when I'm watching Impact but this week, I was very tempted during their segment. It's simply crap.
MVP of the Night - This is a tough one because I don't feel that anyone truly stood out but I will give the honor this week to Ethan Carter III for winning his match and ultimately guaranteeing himself a world title shot, presumably at Slammiversary.
Grade - I thought Impact this week was a good show but there were a couple of things that didn't sit well with me. Overall, I like the direction of the show but there are still things that the company can improve on. The Knockouts need longer matches, the X Division needs consistency and structure, and the Beautiful People need to get off my television. Overall, this week's show get a B- from me.