10 May 2015

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - May 8, 2015

This week Impact was very special in the sense that for the first time since January 7, TNA's debut on Destination America, Impact was Live and there were promises of lots of surprises in store. A World Title match between Kurt Angle and Eric Young was on tap, with a former World Champion returning to be the special ref, as well as Mr Anderson vs EC3 with fans picking the stipulation and for the first time ever rivals Gail Kim & Awesome Kong team up to face The Dollhouse. With everything on tap there was potential for this show to be a special night, the question was would it live up to the hype?

We opened the show with a crazed-looking Eric Young in the ring pacing back and forth. Young wanted to know the identity of the special ref, and it wasn't long until Bully Ray walked out onto the stage and announced he would be the ref for tonight's Title match. I'm going to be honest here, I wasn't a fan of this at all. I was a fan of Bully Ray, but after using his last TNA appearance to push for a job with NJPW, the shots he took afterwards including his "I'm home" remark after his WWE return, and spending the day after his return on Twitter answering as many WWE return questions like he used his TNA return to get his name back out there and maybe get a job with them, I'm a fan no more. The fact is Bully's involvement did absolutely nothing, after all the build to this big surprise we got no payoff whatsoever, Ray had no effect on the match at all, no storyline reason to be there, and after hearing it was a one off deal, bringing him back seemed pointless. I'll back TNA to the hill but in this instance, I think they unfortunately got it wrong.

The opening bout on the show saw EC3 continue is unbeaten streak after defeating Mr Anderson in what the fans decided to be a Falls Count Anywhere match. Fun opening match that saw an impressive feat of strength from EC3, catching Anderson and then delivering a back body drop to the floor, shortly followed by a Green Bay Plunge by Anderson to EC3 on a pile of chairs. The match was even until Tyrus got involved, picking apart Anderson and practically win his boss the match. Anderson wanted Falls Count Anywhere, however his desire for a limited rules match opened the door for Tyrus and ensure his employer continued to go undefeated. I must say, MVP cut one hell of a promo on this show, not only was it passionate, it was what Billy Corgan mentioned a few days ago about being more with the times. I thought in this instance with MVP making comparisons between the actions of a "thug" and the actions of a politician was the first bit of influence Billy had on the show. We learned Homicide was "taken out" which frankly sucks, as I was hoping he'd be healthy for these tapings and it would possibly lead to a fourth member of The Rising. Galloway & Co. come out to deny involvement in Homicide's attack, and we end up with Drew & MVP going one on one in an impromptu match. Solid match with a cool looking reversal into the Future Shock to get Galloway the win, which was followed by a surprise attack from Eric Young on the Rising, allowing the BDC to stand tall once again.

It's incredibly weird how James Storm can change his entire personality on the fly. For months we've seen him embody the role of the devil himself, and in the last few weeks he's totally done a 180 when it comes to interacting with Mickie James. The guitar he gave her to the selfie was so odd to see, I'm sure if someone has missed the last few episodes they would probably be wondering what in God's name is going on. I popped huge when Storm puled out the old Brutus Magnus helmet, and Magnus was not impressed at all. The final straw was with the gift for their son, which caused Magnus to knock out Storm with a wicked guitar shot. Mickie & Magnus seem to be starting to stand on different sides when it comes to James Storm, and after seeing the smile he had on his face after the guitar shot, I think it's all a part of this evil mastermind's plan. The confrontation with Gail & Taryn at Robert Irvine's show was a nice surprise, it's only been a few weeks but the actions of Taryn have made this personal for Gail, and has further developed Taryn's new character. The Handicap tag match was competitive, with the Dollhouse protecting Taryn as much as possible, Kong & Kim had issues very early on but put them to the side and worked well as a team. Taryn wasn't in the ring long but made it count by getting the roll-up on Gail for the win, however it was Kim & Kong who stood tall post match when they destroyed Marti Bell who was left on her own in the ring with the two former KO champions. It's safe to say this battle is nowhere near from being over.

Jeff Hardy being injured so early in the Hardys tag reign sucks, it's a damn shame and I wish Jeff a speedy recovery. It's also going to be interesting for Matt, exactly what will he do now? We don't know how long Jeff will be out and as Matt teased, he doesn't know what's next and is going home to evaluate his options. They say every cloud has a silver lining, and in this case the silver lining is a Best of 5 Series between the Dirty Heels & the returning Wolves. Eddie Edwards couldn't have come back at a better time to make the best out of a bad situation, and the Best of 5 should deliver some amazing matches that I cannot wait to see. Angelina Love got in the ring to talk about herself and was quickly interrupted by the returning Velvet Sky. When I first saw Velvet I wasn't best pleased, however after seeing the new look and the change in character, I'm willing to give her a chance. One thing that hindered Velvet was her character never really evolved, so I'm hoping that this new direction will make bringing her back worth it. Very good main event as expected from Kurt Angle & Eric Young. After taking out the Rising and giving the BDC reason to help him out it was obvious there was going to be interference. Young low-blowed Bully Ray to allow the BDC to attack Angle, Chris Melendez made the save which was odd considering we haven't see him for months, followed by the Rising coming down to clean house. Surprisingly Bully didn't get revenge on EY and allowed the match to play out with Kurt Angle forcing Young to tap out to retain the title.

Favorite Moment - I really liked the segment with James Storm giving Mickie & Magnus gifts. He was so likeable during the segment, even when taking a shot at Magnus' old gimmick, and the evil grin he gave after getting hit with the guitar was so sinister looking. Special mention to MVP for a great promo.

Least Favorite Moment - The reveal of Bully Ray as the special ref, I don't need to say anything more on this.

MVP of the Night - I give the nod this week to Kurt Angle. With so many distractions around his title defence, Bully as ref, the BDC & the Rising and Eric Young having a win over him, he got past it all to retain the title.

Grade - It's safe to say this show didn't live up to the hype. While there was good action and some solid promos, the hype for some major returns didn't deliver. Going into this show TNA raised people's expectations, and unfortunately didn't match them. If they had I think I'd be looking at this Impact in much more favourable light. All things considered I think a B grade is a fair assessment of this show, although I'm sure there will be a wide range of opinions surrounding this week's Impact.

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