By John Moore
TNA Impact Hits
The Hardy Family: While it’s not encouraging seeing Impact start off with a 10-20 minute promo like Raw, they haven’t had a bad segment yet with Matt’s family at the helm. They are keeping the main event relevant throughout the show. Reby is getting a real chance to shine in her puppet master role from heeling it up toward the fans to trying to manipulate by pandering to Dixie Carter backstage. Also, we got the return of the best heel baby in the business.
Trevor Lee vs. Tigre Uno: Not the greatest match, but it’s baby steps when it comes to rebuilding the X Division. Some viewers may not like the focus on Gregory Shane Helms and the cheap victory, but at least they are telling a story. We’ve seen TNA quickly abort X Division stories in the past so hopefully this story sticks. Trevor Lee brings a more well-rounded wrestling style to the X Division as opposed to the meaningless flips that have defined the division for the past few years. With the division having only one person that means anything, maybe they should open up the division to the rest of the roster? Of course, that would also mean getting rid of the Booker T King of the Mountain belt that means nothing (which Bobby Roode once said means “pro wrestling”).
Beer Money vs. Decay: Further along in the repair work of the mid-card, the tag team division is coming along smoothly. Beer Money are still pulling off their tag team moves like they’ve never missed a step. The ultimate gain from this is Decay continuing to build themselves up as a force in the tag team division. The DQ losses don’t hurt this macabre team yet since their goal is more so to inflict pain and suffering, which is actually pretty damn cool and American Horror Story esque. Abyss is still just kinda there though and is still doing his Abyss things. I could almost swear that Abyss has cut that exact Monster’s Ball promo many, many times in the past.
Eli Drake and Grado: As dumb as the Feast or Fired gimmick is, I can’t believe I’m liking TNA paying attention to detail and building a storyline out of a throwaway Eli Drake segment from a few weeks ago. It was weird to see Drake not open the case in favor of the cheesy boardroom set, but apparently he did look inside the case and jack Grado’s to avoid being fired. The naive and sympathetic Grado is much better than the Showtime Eric Young lite character. We are also getting more development from the lovable loser who was built on British Bootcamp.
Kurt Angle vs. Drew Galloway: A nice match and it was cool that they gave the submission win to Galloway to help build him up a bit. This was also one of those Kurt Angle kicking-out-of-finishers fests that plagued TNA about two years ago, but since we haven’t seen those in a while it felt like the near falls meant something, particularly when Angle kicked out of the Claymores kicks.
EC3 returns: Good work from most of the people involved. Matt Hardy got to heel it up even more than he did during the opening segment. Dixie was a bit odd here, but she’s usually odd (I’m not quite sure what conflicted emotion she is trying to sell in firing EC3). What ultimately made this cool was having Rockstar Spud out there with a microphone. The guy can sell any segment even bad ones. EC3 played his role too and didn’t even have to do much, as sometimes less is more. The ending made me start to buy into this new badass Ethan Carter III.
TNA Impact Misses
Lashley vs. Bram: Not a bad match by any means, but a pointless and random one. This match stood out as not really progressing anything unless it was done to set up a Bram and EY breakup, which I’m all for. Bram comes off like Eric Young’s version of Tyrus, and the guy could mean so much more. While I’m not sold on Raquel yet, there was no progression on that storyline, which is a shame. Why does Lashley wear a sweatband during his matches?
James Storm: Bobby Roode actually gained from the personality transplant, but Storm comes off like a guy who is just happy to be there and a shell of what made him a great pro wrestler. He really reminds me of modern day Shawn Michaels in that when he’s inspired, he’s great. When he’s not, he’s just coasting. James Storm is playing that zany Shawn Michaels character that tells poop jokes, but in his case you just replace poop with beer.
Madison Rayne vs. Jade: The Knockouts division is even further behind than the X Division as far as the repair work is concerned. The departure of Awesome Kong certainly is a huge blow to the already depleted roster. TNA did nothing to build up anyone else. Aside from Gail Kim, Madison Rayne and Jade could mean something in the division. Instead, Kim continues to destroy the Dollhouse singlehandedly. Without Kong, they are logically weaker right? TNA would be wise to break up Dollhouse since it’s damaged beyond repair with Taryn and Kong both leaving. Also, they should sign a few more independent female wrestlers. Jade’s tag partner Blue Pants (a/k/a Leva Bates) is a free agent, right?