By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode: The Kurt Angle farewell tour has been a nice side story in the TNA storyline continuum. This match fell back into the formula Kurt Angle kickout fests of two years ago, but they haven’t taken away from the matches during the farewell tour. Roode being able to pull off the big finishers on a main eventer keeps him as a utility main eventer while he is protected due to losing to the retiring (in TNA) guy. They also utilized this in a strange but effective way to transition to Beer Money vs. The Wolves. Another note, we got two weeks in a row of Impact opening with a match which is good to switch things up from the usual 10-15 minute Matt Hardy family segment.
James Storm: The reason I single out James Storm in this segment is because we got more of the good and inspired Storm here. Storm is really like Shawn Michaels in both a positive and negative way. Since he returned to TNA we got the negative in that he was extremely zany and seemed like a guy just happy to be there. Storm was really believable here, and most ultimately in this segment he seemed more original rather than going for cheap pops and retreads. As we saw last year in his feud against Magnus, when he’s motivated enough to sink his teeth into a segment, he can sure as hell pull out a home run segment.
Rockstar Spud: As expected, Spud utilized his superior microphone skills to justify his heel turn and why he would “sell out” to Big Money Matt. The black shirt and pants also look good on him and even fit the symbolism of his turn. I still have my reservations about turning Spud evil but not as many reservations as I do with EC3 right now as a babyface. It all comes down to last year when Spud was left bloodied in the ring after his Luchas de Apuestas. It’s also true to the Spud character that he would seek refuge under the dominant group as he did before as the Chief of Staff character. One good detail in Spud’s promo was where he dedicated himself to Matt Hardy, Reby Sky, and while turning to Tyrus, Maxel Hardy. It’s little details like that, especially following the many beatdowns that he’s received from Tyrus, that make Spud such a great talker. It makes sense that he would blow off Tyrus.
Maria and Gail Kim: This segment was a step in the right direction for the Knockouts division for two reasons. Maria is one of the few Knockouts in the division who hasn’t been destroyed by Gail Kim, and it looks like TNA is finally putting in a little effort to try to build up a contender for the title in Jade. The downside in this segment was the terrible sound mixing during Maria’s promo that made it hard to pick out what she was saying.
“The Miracle” Mike Bennett vs. Drew Galloway: Drew Galloway can have a good match with a variety of opponents. Galloway even fought a smart match with Grado! Mike Bennett showed he wasn’t no slouch as well and the two wrestlers fought a good opening matchup to what would seemingly be a persisting feud. Bennett also got to establish that he’s a heel with the cheating and that he was aggressive in his onslaught against Drew.
Ethan Carter III vs. Spud “Fight”: I’m a bit torn on this one due to the logic of Spud not running away when he could have, but at least TNA had a goal in mind which was to establish Carter as the “Ass Kicking Machine”. TNA has done a good job so far at essentially flipping the position of Matt Hardy and EC3 almost with pinpoint accuracy, even having Hardy hold Carter’s former minions. Where I’m not 100 percent sold on is the shelf-life of this ass kicking character. He almost comes off as a cheesy action hero (complemented by the comical way he dispatched Tyrus and Hardy). He showed traces of this while he was in NXT as Derrick Bateman, which has me questioning whether this is a solid character placement. You can also argue that Rockstar Spud and Drew Galloway would have been better suited at this juncture for the company babyface position, and that EC3’s time would be better suited maybe six months from now once they had their run. As for Spud in this fight, he was dominated but as usual with the guy he can just shrug off the loss because he’s so good on the microphone.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Abyss vs. Jimmy Havoc: This was on the lower end of the typical Abyss hardcore matches. It always strange to see the guy stand up and “rawarrrr” which allows his opponents to get the jump on him. TNA did do a good job building Jimmy Havoc over the past few weeks, but this was not a great in-ring introduction for him here. He wasn’t bad by no means, he just had to face Abyss in a match that didn’t progress anything. Was Havoc supposed to be the hometown hero? Was he supposed to be mysterious? Maybe? But he’s not intriguing-mysterious like Decay. Also, Abyss is still just Abyss, with the dumb nail plank and all!