Below are Dave’s thoughts on the good, the bad, the ugly, and the Shark Boy from Impact Wrestling’s final appearance in the 8PM timeslot. Dave doesn’t have a DVR, so these thoughts appear in chronological order and are based on one viewing of the show. Follow Dave on Twitter @DaveTheMark for wrestling analysis, wrestling jokes, and the occasional tweet about the Boston Bruins.
Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle! That opening segment was awful. Sting and both Hogans sounded like junior college actors reciting their carefully memorized lines. The most organic sounding thing was Sting’s improvised “I’m so excited that I can’t talk,” which he only said because he kept flubbing his line. Bully Ray failed to redeem the segment, as his disingenuous promo felt “fake-stupid,” not “despicable heel-stupid.” The sad part is that it seemed like this was TNA’s attempt at packing the first quarter hour with “star power.”
Kenny King did a nice job on commentary. He called the X Division match well, discussed the personalities of the division, and made himself look like a smart champion with extensive knowledge of the in-ring styles of his competition. The match just felt like a rapid-fire sequence of spots, though. Only a few weeks after seeming special in the X Division, Petey Williams was made to look like just another guy under 6-foot in this match.
Magnus’ babyface promo was solid (I especially enjoyed the line “I’ve known him since we first met [pregnant pause] at Harley Race’s wrestling camp.”), and there’s just no reason at all that he isn’t getting a bigger push. Even more pressing, though, there’s just no reason he isn’t going over Wes Brisco. Mercifully he was spared a beatdown thanks to the reappearance of Samoa Joe, but I hope this doesn’t mean their tag team is reforming. I love watching both of them, but a tag team situation only serves as a holding pattern for both of them. Maybe this means they sneak onto the Slammiversary card against Garrett and Wes.
Here’s everything I have to say about Ken Anderson vs. Kurt Angle:
The structure of the James Storm partner segment was cool, but it would have been more “impactful”/put Gunner over harder if the other suitors had been more than lower midcard comedy acts. Gunner’s new Bruiser Brody beard is a colossal improvement, by the way. His previous look felt so dated.
I thought it was interesting that Sting essentially said that he knows Joseph Park to be Abyss. I don’t mind Sting being the person to call him on it, considering Sting is supposed to be a wise (read: old) veteran (read: old). It left me wondering if I’d be picking up what they were putting down if I was a 12-year-old mark. Possibly?
Velvet Sky selling an injury is like Mark Henry selling … that he’s not injured. Still, though, I was overjoyed to see Mickie James choose winning over being nice. Hopefully this will be the start of a hot heel run for her as champion. I’m surprised they didn’t build toward the title change at the pay per view, however. I’m interested to see if Velvet gets her rematch next week and loses, wrestles Mickie at Slammiversary, or is “too injured” to wrestle until after the big show, in which case a baby face materializes out of nowhere to challenge James for the title.
Bully Ray was a little flat this week. This is the first edition of Impact in what seems like a year where I didn’t think his promos stood out. Last week I praised TNA for holding him out of pointless segments in the first hour, but this week was decidedly a different story. This whole “I still love Brooke” thing already reeks of stink bomb, and when they hinted just momentarily that he was serious, I almost threw up in my mouth.
The A.J. Styles/Aces & Eights tease was well-executed, leaving just enough time on the end of the show for fans to believe that the show was going to end with A.J. heeling out.
This felt like the right move all the way. On the other hand, I wonder how Kurt Angle feels about getting knee-capped? I guess this builds a personal issue between the two of them to spice up their pay per view match. Given the events of tonight, though, I would much rather see a match between A.J. and Doc. This would give Doc a nice spotlight at Slammiversary and give Styles an opponent to really sell for before a strong comeback and a decisive win.
All in all, I found tonight’s show to be hit and miss. The Aces & Eights angles seem to be progressing towards Slammiversary, but the performances of both Bully Ray and Hulk Hogan were both fairly uninspired. Hogan felt too in the comfort zone in front of his “home crowd,” and the result was a lot of “Yeah, I know I’m awesome” attitude from the Hulkster. In spite of the sag from those two top performers, however, I thought there were things to be happy about: A.J. Styles, Mickie James, and the spotlight shone on Magnus and Gunner.
Next week is TNA’s final plug for Slammiversary and their first night back at the old 9PM Eastern timeslot. This could get interesting, sports fans…