By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Drew Galloway vs. Mike Bennett: The pre-match attack with Moose working over Galloway was well done in that it put Galloway in peril early while further establishing Moose’s badass persona. It wasn’t enough to make me believe they were going to put Bennett over, though, as the Galloway vs. EC3 tournament final has been foreshadowed to the point that it was just never in doubt. Even when Moose ran out again and took out Galloway following a ref bump, I still didn’t think for a second that Bennett was going to win…until he did. And yet they still added to the Galloway vs. EC3 feud by having EC3 mistakenly hit Galloway with a kendo stick, so I’m not sure where this is going. The ref bump and the chaos at the end felt like staples of the worst of TNA, but I like the way that they established some issues between Moose and both top babyfaces.
Broken Matt, Jeff Hardy, and EC3 opening segment: A good start to the show with the captivating Broken Matt character and his “obsolete” brother. EC3 took the cute route by making faces back at Broken Matt and it clicked. It also helped that EC3 got very serious by firmly claiming that he would defeat Matt. It was a bit odd to see EC3 and Jeff in the ring together considering that Jeff was in a similar position of servitude to EC3 at this time last year. I like the balance they have found with the Broken Matt character. Broken Matt dominates some shows, yet they also pull back a bit on shows like this one so that he’s not overexposed.
Broken Matt vs. EC3: It was “one of those nights” in the Impact Zone. The live crowd seemed interested in what they were watching, but they just weren’t making much noise and thus there was a poor atmosphere for this match. It happened at other points in the show too, but it was especially disappointing here given that these are two of the stronger characters in the company and there’s a good rivalry between them. The match gets a Hit because it was entertaining and the stakes felt fairly high due to it being a Bound For Glory Playoff semifinal match. I went with “fairly high” because TNA just hasn’t done a good job of making the BFG Playoffs feel important.
Moose debut: ROH fans are used to seeing Moose’s signature moves, but this was a nice showcase for fans who have not been exposed to him. The broadcast did a really good job of putting over his big moves and I like that they had multiple replays (though they could be better about eliminating the camera angles that make the moves look the least impressive). The post match with Lashley coming out afterward for a staredown with Moose was a nice tease for their showdown match.
Rosemary video: My first impulse was to dislike the video series because it took me out of the moment to see Rosemary reenacting scenes from her childhood. However, I was able to rationalize in my own head that her character is twisted enough that she might actually do such a thing. Bram is still coming off poorly. He was once the wildcard badass that his best friend Magnus couldn’t control, yet now he’s become a giant sack of lovestruck wuss complete with the pink shirt. Fortunately, TNA’s latest “Ode to Lucha Underground” series of videos are more about Rosemary and provided an entertaining backstory for her bizarre character. Pulling back on the freakish makeup also gave the character some sex appeal and makes her pairing with Bram feel more plausible.
James Storm and Eli Drake: A minor Hit. There’s chemistry between Storm and Drake and this has turned out to be a solid mid-card program. This talkshow segment felt similar to their last exchange so I’m not sure how long this program can stay fresh, but I’m enjoying it at this point.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
DJ Z challenges Lashley: A weak promo from Z, who came off unbelievable and indyriffic. He kept raising his voice with the goal of getting the flat crowd behind him and got a small number of fans to cheer for him, but it just wasn’t enough to make him come off well. Is it wrong that I wanted Lashley to destroy the pro wrestling DJ? The match included the impressive visual with Lashley picking up the ladder while Z stood on it. I just wasn’t a fan of seeing Lashley give up so much offense to a guy who was treated like a scrub until someone in creative decided to spotlight him at this batch of television tapings. TNA is trying hard to get Z over, but they skipped the part where they give us something about his character to latch onto. Who is DJ Z and why should viewers care about him?
Decay vs. BroMans in a Monster’s Ball: Was the idea was to toughen up BroMans by having them work a hardcore match? It didn’t work. These two could tear the house down with a match of the year candidate, but they would still lose the fans with their undercard comedy personas. They even added a little dance like Beer Money and they looked like complete goofs by having it backfire on them. Decay looked good by winning quickly and I liked the post-match shot of Crazy Steve taking a mouthful of tacks and then licking the tacks after spitting them out following their win.
Gail Kim vs. Madison Rayne: When Madison attacked Kim last week, it seemed like a launch point for a new persona. Instead, they had Kim defeat her like she was any other opponent. Kim moves on to presumably beat the rest of the division in order to get her title shot at Bound For Glory, and Rayne is in the same place she was before her moment last week.