I thinks it's incredibly fitting we start this week's Ringside off talking about the segment that produced the image you see in our swanky new banner above. We began the show with EC3 holding a celebration after attaining the #1 position on the Impact Top 5 rankings. There was a barbershop quartet, women with giant "#1" signs, red, white & blue balloons falling from the ceiling and even a tease of Tyrus dancing to mark such a momentous occasion. Carter basked in his own glory before calling out World Champion Kurt Angle, who rained on Carter's parade by revealing that Option C was available to Rockstar Spud and that he can cash in the X Division title to get a shot at Angle's World Title next week at Destination X. A visibly annoyed Carter leaves minus a harmoniser who received an Angle slam to end what was a pretty fun opening segment.
The first match of the night saw Lashley facing off with the man who put him on the shelf, Eric Young. Physical bout between the two former World Champions that ended when EY was distracted by Chris Melendez on the stage allowing Lashley to reverse Young's pile-driver attempt and hit the spear for the win. With Young having beef with both Melendez & Lashley, two former servicemen, there could be the possibility that this rivalry could get very personal with Young possibly making their military background a target of his onslaught. While some might say bringing this into the feud could be crossing a line, we're talking about a guy who ripped off Melendez' prosthetic leg and chocked Kurt Angle with it, so I don't think there is a line this deranged Eric Young won't cross. The Knockouts were in action with Brooke taking on Jade of the Dollhouse. I really think TNA made a great signing with Jade, as she's pretty polished in the ring and can be the face of the division in years to come. Solid match that saw a miscommunication at the end between Jade & Marti that allowed Brooke to get the roll-up and the win. You had to have known as soon as Earl Hebner counted 3 that someone would feel the Dollhouses wrath, and unfortunately for Rebel that person would be her, getting jumped backstage by Jade & Marti and having her head kicked into an equipment box.
In a 6 man tag we got the BDC facing off against their bitter rivals the Rising. I have to be honest, this feud feels like its stopped progressing to me, we seem to be stuck on the point where we know both sides hate each other and keep competing against each other in matches, but nothing is happening to up the anti to make us really want to see the Rising kick the crap out of the BDC. Good match with an awesome looking belly to belly by Galloway from the tree of woe followed by the doomsday device to get the win, but something needs to develop in this feud ASAP or TNA are going to run the risk of losing the audiences interest. Next up was Spuds decision, where he had to choose whether to hold onto the X Division title or cash it in to get a World Title opportunity at next weeks Destination X. After both Kurt Angle & EC3 told Spud not to cash in in very different manners, Spud decided to defy his former best friend and cash in his title to face Kurt Angle next week. this led to EC3 hitting Spud before Angle ran him off and challenged him to a tag match with him & Spud taking on EC3 & Tyrus in the main event.
I hate to say it but I'm really not happy with the current state of the X Division. Its been barely featured all year, the title has changed hands multiple times, with only one instance really meaning anything, Spud has just relinquished the belt one week after winning it back and all of a sudden next week is supposed to be the X Division's annual showcase. I personally think Option C should be retired, with everyone cashing in it takes away any intrigue about the decision and has devalued the title rather than make it more prestigious. I hope next week is a turning point and we get the X Division back on track, however after the amount of short lived re-boots the divisions had I'm not too optimistic. We finally saw James Storm's true colours this week, after tricking Mickie into going to Nashville for "big meetings" with music producers Storm showed up and tried to get Mickie to join his Revolution. After being rejected Storm pretended to take it well and walked Mickie outside before taking her phone and pushing her down onto some train tracks before calling Magnus on her phone. Storm was awesome throughout this, the change in demeanour back and forth between good friend to the devil himself was great, and this feud between him & Magnus just heated up even more. I get a feeling now there's no doubt who Storm really is he will focus on rebuilding his Revolution to take down Magnus and anyone else. I might be wrong but I doubt I'm wrong when I say this Magnus/Storm storyline is going to be the one to watch in the coming weeks.
Match 3 of the best of 5 for the World Tag Team titles was up and before the match Austin Aries pleaded with his tag partner Bobby Roode to do what they do best, which is "win at all costs" as a loss in this match would end the series with the Wolves claiming the titles in a 3-0 win. Another awesome tag match between these two that saw Roode embrace his partners suggestion and get the win after hitting Eddie Edwards with a low blow followed by a chair while the ref was distracted by Aries. The series now stands 2-1 to the Wolves, but with Aries & Roode embracing their old ways that earned them the "Dirty Heels" name, they have the momentum and possibly the upper hand on the Wolves to come back and win the series. Madison Rayne came out and complained about the current state of the Knockouts division, her lack of opportunity and the fact an unemployed Velvet Sky getting more TV time than her. Velvet comes out of the crowd and gives Madison a stunner after being slapped, which draws out Angelina Love and her security team to arrest her. Love takes advantage of a detained Velvet and slaps her, causing TNA security to come out and handcuff Angelina for assaulting a fan. I'm still on the fence about Velvets return but I'm willing to let this story develop more before giving my final verdict.
I must say I really enjoyed the commentary team of Josh Mathews & The Pope. It was great to hear the Pope was back and I really think this could be a great role for him, I'd still like to see TNA give Shane Helms a shot in the booth but if not, I think they have found Taz' replacement in D'Angelo Dinero. The main event saw the team of Rockstar Spud & Kurt Angle defeat EC3 & Tyrus. The match mostly saw EC3 & his heavy isolate Spud and beat him down until Spud got the hot tag to Angle, who cleaned house and eventually Angle slammed Tyrus, allowing Spud to get the win. Post match Austin Aries came out and announced he would cash in his World Title shot briefcase next week against the winner of Spud & Angle. Personally I think that's a great move, while Spud is over I think the audience don't buy into him winning the World Title, so to add that extra layer with Aries also cashing in was wise and should get people pumped for next week considering the potential of Angle vs Aries for the World Title.
Favorite Moment - I really enjoyed Match 3 in the best of 5 series. Another terrific match and a great twist at the end with the Dirty Heel's cheating to win and getting themselves back in the game.
Least Favorite Moment - I thought The Beautiful People segment was pretty weak, we've already had this whole "Velvet jumping the guardrail and getting arrested" thing and this segment just felt like it was totally unnecessary.
MVP of the Night - I think Austin Aries deserves the honour this week. He was scattered all across this show, advising Spud to keep the X Division title to make it mean something (agree 100%), getting his partner to re-focus and get back to doing what they both do best, leading to them starting a comeback in the Best of 5 series and then dropping the bombshell he would face the winner of next weeks World Title match that same night.
Grade - The show this week was pretty good, however we need to see some real storyline progression in the BDC/Rising feud and sort out the mess that is currently the X Division. Other than those two things and TBP segment I thought the show was a good outing and deserving of a B grade.