Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Austin Aries and Bobby Roode contract signing, Bane is revealed as a member of Aces and Eights, James Storm vs. Bully Ray, A.J. Styles vs. Kurt Angle, final Hardcore Justice hype

Posted in: Pruett Editorials, MUST-READ LISTING
Aug 10, 2012 - 02:42 PM

By Will Pruett

- Claire Lynch, even when she isn't on the show that much, is still a major focus of the "previously on Impact" segments. I don't see her as a great hook to draw people into the show. It is like promising viewers that there will definitely be horrid acting in the next two hours.

- Bully Ray's opening accusation of James Storm made their match together seem important. I still don't love the entire idea that Storm is being doubted by the whole roster after doubting himself so often in the last few months.

- If TNA is not offering the world to Bully Ray in an attempt to resign him, they are making a huge mistake. He has been a standout star in TNA in a way no one ever expected him to be. He's been the best heel in the company for the last two years, without consistently winning or being built up.

- The Aces and Eights man cave looks like a pretty cool place to hang out.

- Now that Bane is the first revealed member of Aces and Eights, will The Joker, Mr. Freeze, Penguin, and the other Batman villains be joining him? Will this lead to Batman, who is a free agent after completing The Dark Knight Rises, being signed by TNA?

- When James Storm starts reciting the lyrics to his theme song in promos, my heart smiles.

- I think we've seen almost every Kurt Angle match of the Bound for Glory Series. I can only remember two D'Angelo Dinero matches. I'm not the kind of fan that likes watching Dinero wrestle, but why not make that difference a little less stark?

- When Magnus was announced as a participant in the Bound for Glory Series, I had high hopes for his involvement. More than anyone else, he had the potential to be enhanced by a good showing. I don't know if that is the plan, now that we have just a month left in the series and Magnus seems like just another guy jobbing to main eventers.

- When Taz and Mike Tenay mentioned that Rob Van Dam seemed "thick," I immediately remembered just how much weight Van Dam has gained in the last five years.

- I liked the way TNA built intrigue for the contract signing by actually stating before the signing that the terms were up for debate. Too often these segments are not about the contract itself, but about yelling at each other. This was a nice, logical touch that we rarely see in any wrestling promotion.

- If I never see Claire Lynch holding a creepy baby doll in an A.J. Styles hooded vest again, I will be happy. Somehow this angle just keeps getting worse.

- What exactly did Devon and Garett Bischoff do to earn a tag team championship match? I could understand if they went on a hot streak as a team, but they've only been around in backstage segments offering Hogan and Sting backup.

- Kazarian and Christopher Daniels are great guys to have Bischoff in the ring with to learn from. On house shows, this is a perfect match. Garett didn't embarrass himself in this match, which is a little more than we can say for most of his matches in TNA.

- Robbie E. and Jeff Hardy had a fun segment hyping their tables match (that also involves James Storm and Bully Ray) on Sunday. I'd love to see that match become an elimination match, so the finish feels more like something important that was built to.

- This is apparently the week of the commentary headset promo. First C.M. Punk did it on Raw and now Samoa Joe is doing it on Impact. What is it about Ring of Honor wrestlers from 2005 and headsets this week?

- There was something odd about the A.J. Styles vs. Kurt Angle match: their recent tag team championship reign was never discussed. For a company that has shown quite a bit of attention to detail in recent months, this was a big oversight.

- A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle will never have a bad match against each other. I don't think it is even possible. However, I also didn't enjoy watching this match. For the last month we have seen Kurt Angle have Bound for Glory Series matches on most TV shows. Every one of them relies on the finisher-kick out conceit. These matches have exposed Angle and caused him to become overexposed. This is yet another reason why I'd like to see Magnus and others have more TV matches.

- Was Claire Lynch even pregnant this week?

- Gail Kim and Miss Tessmacher put together an okay short match, with a great finishing sequence. We don't see that too often in Knockouts matches. This was a blueprint for how to work in a logical, surprising, and exciting finish.

- Jospeh Park seems directionless after showing flashes of being Abyss against Bully Ray. It seems that this angle is on pause, which is odd. I'm not about quick finishes, but TNA foreshadowed something and they need to follow up on it.

- TNA continues to do a nice job with Kenny King. I would have liked to see more from him and Zema Ion on this show, but that was not to be. The video package was great, but Ion still needs some time to establish who he is after being absent for a few months prior to his championship win.

- The verbal segment between Austin Aries and Bobby Roode was excellent. I love the small touches that Roode is working into his title-less character. He seems nervous and to be lacking the confidence he always had as World Champion. This is some good, subtle character work going on.

- Austin Aries' confidence in himself as champion is so fun to see. Aries has really been enhanced in the last month, even as his title reign has taken a backseat to the Aces and Eights. It's obvious that he sees himself as a main event star, which is a huge component of making it into the main event.

- In the last year, TNA has made main eventers out of Bobby Roode, James Storm, and Austin Aries. This is a remarkable feat. They've used the established main eventers around them, like Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles, Hulk Hogan, and Sting to do this in a (most of the time) compelling way.

- The "no rematch" stipulation on the World Championship match between Roode and Aries is definitely interesting. On the surface, it looks like a way to allow Aries to be screwed out of the championship (perhaps by Aces and Eights) and move onto something else (perhaps leading a babyface team against Aces and Eights). I like the idea and if Roode regains the title, he can go into his feud with Storm without losing any heat.

- I would probably be okay with Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez winning the tag titles. I'm not saying it's a great choice, but I could live with it.

- Why doesn't James Storm just say he isn't involved with Aces and Eights? When characters on a TV show decide against making the obvious choice, I get frustrated. Storylines should account for this and find a way to make the obvious choice impossible. This is something TNA has failed to do with both this story and the Claire Lynch saga.

- Once again, the main event of Impact Wrestling occurred while waiting for an attack from Aces and Eights. Last week the no show felt innovative and was a great story. This week felt like last week's main event segment without the talent coming out in the middle.

- James Storm and Bully Ray, who had a nice rivalry earlier this year, put on another good match. The finish was a surprise, with Bully Ray getting the clean win, but it did help to establish Bully Ray as a main event player.

- I liked the tease that Aces and Eights would be on the pay-per-view, but I didn't like the way it focussed on Storm again. I sound like a broken record, but I believe consistent doubt hurts Storm.

This was not my favorite episode of Impact Wrestling. It really wasn't a great one. It felt like TNA didn't have stories to tell heading into Hardcore Justice aside from Aries vs. Roode. That makes sense, considering the other big matches on the show are four-ways for points, not personal grudges. TNA tried with this show, but it ultimately gets a thumbs down from me.

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