By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Jeff Hardy opening segment and match: While it took them a year to do it, TNA finally is starting to execute long term storytelling and this segment helped. Jeff Hardy isn’t always that great on the mic but he was solid here. The opening segment with Jeff showing concern for his brother’s agreement was enhanced with Tyrus coming out and having an agenda that would come to fruition in the main event. Not only did TNA tell a good story over the course of several weeks, but they did pieced it together throughout this show. This was good television writing, as it kept the viewer wanting to see what would happen at the end.
Beer Money Inc. vs. Jessie Godderz and Eli Drake: I am not a huge fan of the BroMans Lite team of Drake and Godderz, but this was a good enhancement win for Beer Money. They still seem like a nostalgia act, but that nostalgia hasn’t run thin yet. The crowd is eating the Beer Money act up, so it makes them look like a big deal to new viewers. It was also good to see them back in the ring rather than performing comedy skits.
Kurt Angle and Lashley segment: Lashley seemed really scripted here, and that’s a huge positive in this segment. It seems like TNA has let Lashley wing it out there on promos and that has caused him to crash and burn. In this promo, Lashley survived and actually did a decent job. Angle was good on his end as the farewell tour guy. The cherry on top was Lashley shifting to an intense demeanor while shooting the death glare at Angle after Angle’s theme played. This was a nice contrast to Drew Galloway’s happy-go-lucky fanboy approach and a nice twist to add to the Angle farewell tour.
Matt Hardy vs. Ethan Carter III: This was a sweet…sweet, double turn. First of all the match was great. You don’t have to have blood to tell a nice story. EC3 gained a lot of sympathy due to his world crumbling around him, and Hardy rose to the occasion as the evil foe. Reby Hardy with the dipper bag hammer was good to get that disgust heat to help build her as Hardy’s evil queen. On top of it all, Hardy’s promo at the end might have been the best promo he’s ever done. It would have been a hard task to turn the fans against a Hardy, but Matt did it better than I thought possible. Why didn’t Jeff come out to confront Matt? Reby, Matt, and Tyrus plotted to him to the hospital, which is another good example of quality storytelling without obvious foreshadowing.
Overall Show: TNA’s flaw last season was not producing serial programming that told stories week-to-week. TNA has improved on that front and they are telling consistent stories on a week to week basis. To contrast this episode to last year when Matt Hardy faced EC3 for the world title, TNA gave it barely any promotional time and made the Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett saga the main focus. This time, the TNA Title and main event received solid focus and actually are compelling viewers to watch the show to the end to see what happens. Another reward in this episode was paying off what was built earlier, something that will keep you watching as they establish that they will pay off storylines. Let’s just pray they don’t botch this awesome roll are been on because it will be a huge disappointment if they take a step back.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Awesome Kong vs. Gail Kim: TNA will always tell you that they have the greatest women’s division in pro wrestling because Kong and Kim revolutionized women’s wrestling. While that may be true on the onset, what does TNA do to continue that ‘greatest’ title? They give you more and more Kong vs. Kim matches (I think we got two last year). The flaw with this latest Kong vs. Kim match was it looked like they were trying to rebuild Kong and Dollhouse after they had their losses last year. Now you have Gail Kim essentially beating all of Dollhouse again, just this time with Kong included. I know, the Beautiful People remnants still exist, but they haven’t had time to establish anything themselves either. At the same time, why have Kong lose so early in her current heel run?
Lashley’s Possible Valet: I know Lashley was at his best promo-wise when Kristal Marshall was his valet, but I’m just not confident with this one. If Lashley is going to be a monster heel down the road, do we need him with a valet to help him cheat? I’m not sold on the person playing the part, Gabi from Tough Enough. She was one of the contestants with no experience. I also hope they don’t put her in the ring, but this is the same company that will put Rebel out there due to a Knockout shortage.
Mike Bennett: The jury is still out on “The Miracle” but so far he just comes off as confusing rather than someone I should like or hate. This kinda reminds me of his “The Prodigy” character from Ring of Honor that I never really understood. There is hope in this as he’s been really solid on the mic. I wonder if him saying that he was going to build some sort of “Kingdom” means that he might try to place himself alongside Matt Hardy at the top of the company with a stable. Hardy gave ROH promos from his “throne” at the end of last year so that might be a thing. I know it sounds like I’m reaching with the Kingdom and Hardy’s Throne, but there might be something there. ROH had a Kingdom, right?