Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Dead Man's Hand strikes and strikes again, Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode, Open Fight Night and the Bound for Glory Series combine, and more

Posted in: Pruett Editorials, MUST-READ LISTING
Jul 20, 2012 - 12:30 PM

By Will Pruett

- I continue to enjoy the "Previously on Impact" opening for the show. It's a little thing, but it offers a sense of consistency as every episode opens. We aren't seeing a random video package.

- This show was all about Aces and Eights. With the strong focus on them, it made sense for the show to open with Tenay and Taz recapping the attacks on Hogan and Sting from last week. From the very start, Aces and Eights were the focus. Everything else was happening with Aces and Eights as a backdrop.

- James Storm calling out Kurt Angle was fun. We didn't get to see the match, but Storm would definitely be the guy to call out one of the toughest in the Series.

- Why didn't James Storm run to the back to check on Angle? After the attack from Aces and Eights, it would have made sense.

- Last month, we saw a crowded show with eight matches on Open Fight Night. This week, TNA managed to cut it down to six matches with a series of attacks. This was a necessary evil. It wasn't perfect, but it needed to happen. The in-ring work got a chance to shine because of this.

- The first 30 minutes of this show featured a whole lot of Mike Tenay and Taz on screen. Why can't Jeremy Borash at least join this team?

- I was trying to forget the Samoa Joe vs. D'Angelo Dinero feud. Why did TNA have to bring it back up?

- I would love to see some sort of true reintroduction of Dinero. Who is he? What is he doing in TNA? He needs some time to being his character to fans that just started watching in the last few months.

- I enjoyed the way the commentators set up Bobby Roode as the wrestler behind Aces and Eights throughout the show. We all knew it wouldn't be him, but it made the commentators look like they were actually critically thinking.

- Jeff Hardy's face-paint officially frightens me.

- Robbie E. actually winning a match actually surprises me. He seemed destined to be the guy with zero points at the end of the series. He could still lose a match by disqualification and end up at negative five, but at this moment, he isn't in last.

- Sam Shaw was the most annoying Gut Check competitor yet. He seemed like an indie-rifiic guy getting a chance. Even his walk to the ring was obnoxious. His promo was terrible. Was he wearing sweat-shorts? Basically, I didn't like him.

- Aces and Eights deserve high fives for beating up Sam Shaw.

- ODB and Eric Young are still in love. I hope they don't remember that they are champions. I can do without the Knockouts Tag Titles.

- Where is Devon? Why not just take the belt off of him and put it on someone compelling?

- Mr. Anderson and A.J. Styles had an okay match with a great finish. I loved the innovative counter to the Styles Clash. We've never seen that in a Styles match.

- Anderson vs. Styles wasn't perfect, but it was passable. The match flowed decently, even with a commercial break. It provided a nice hook going into the second hour.

- Why is Claire Lynch still a thing on Impact? I'm all about not dropping stories, but this one is awful. This week was no exception to the bad-itude.

- The pictures that Claire showed everyone had Styles' eyes closed. I'm going to assume that he was taken advantage of. It'll be an awkward story, but it won't be anywhere near as odd as having Styles actually sleeping with Claire. The whole story has the potential to ruin the Styles character.

- Why is Claire taking pictures of her drunken, cracky hookups?

- Sean Wheelock wasn't a bad commentator, but he wasn't good either. I would have been fine if he wasn't on this show.

- Rob Van Dam's promo calling out Christopher Daniels was not a bad Van Dam promo. He seems lost as a character in the series at this point, though. Perhaps one of the problems with twelve wrestlers in the series is that one cannot focus on all of them on every show.

- Christopher Daniels will get a clean win one of these days. I know it!

- Austin Aries' backstage promo was exactly what it needed to be. Aries is a plucky babyface that is shining in his current role.

- Brooke Hogan called Mike Tenay and Taz just to talk about nothing, not her father's condition. She was just bored.

- I want legal advice from Joseph Park. What the number of his law firm?

- Bully Ray and Magnus had my favorite Bound for Glory Series of the night. It wasn't long, but it was fun while it lasted. Magnus has a chance to be the breakout star of this series. Even in a loss on this show, I appreciated his effort.

- It was nice to see Bully Ray get a win on Impact. He beat Park last week, but he needed a little more than that. There has to be a temptation to allow Bully Ray to lose a lot, but TNA needs to resist that.

- Chavo Guerrero's video package was enjoyable. He can be a great star in the X Division with TNA. They need someone to help the younger stars get over and guide them in the ring. Chavo can be that guy.

- Bobby Roode and Austin Aries started out with an intense brawl and ended up having an okay match. Something still seems off as their matches begin, but they still build to a frenzy every time. The end of this match was reaching climax, just as it needed to.

- Aces and Eights once again interfering was a necessary evil. Roode vs. Storm didn't need a proper finish. This built intrigue for Hardcore Justice, while also adding to the theme of the night, getting Aces and Eights over.

- One of those Aces and Eights guys has to be Luke Gallows, right?

- The tease of Roode's alignment with the Aces and Eights played into the main event extremely well. The commentators needed someone to question. Roode needed some heat. I liked the tease and I liked the final bet down even more.

- Going off the air with Aces and Eights dominating was intriguing. TNA put all of their eggs in that basket this week. It worked for this viewer, and I hope it did for others.

This was another solid edition of Impact Wrestling. It didn't stun or amaze me, but it was solid. The pace slowed down here compared to one month ago. The attacks from Aces and Eights thematically dominated the show. I only wonder what happened to the TV Title and the Championship final four we had grown accustomed to on Open Fight Night.

The mystery of Aces and Eights is the new focus of TNA. It should be a fun one to watch unfold. Now it is up to TNA to deliver a payoff to the mystery that doesn't feel like Claire Lynch.

Did you enjoy TNA live? Am I way off? Feel free to email me at or to follow me and chat me up on twitter at

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