What’s the Worst That Could Happen?: Impact Wrestling, 10/31

This week’s Halloween edition of Impact Wrestling will try to answer the terrifying question of how you can have a professional wrestling league without a champion. Universal Studios’ monsters Abyss and Lei’D Tapa will appear alongside the spookiest witch of them all, Dixie Carter. Below is a rundown of all advertised segments: 

IMPACT Preview: Tonight's Halloween Broadcast | Angle vs. Roode | Will Abyss Return?

TNA Says:

Thursday’s HALLOWEEN IMPACT will feature a HUGE “Bound For Glory” rematch as Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle once again battles his nemesis and EGO Hall of Famer, Bobby Roode! After their epic war at “Bound For Glory” and confrontation on IMPACT, can Angle finally get payback against Roode?

Best Case Scenario: These two have a strong TV match while still managing to make the audience who paid for Bound For Glory feel like they saw something more special than what’s presented on Impact for free. Angle wins clean, setting up a big rubber match between the two.

Worst Case Scenario: Botched interference by EGO leads to a less-than-clean win for Kurt Angle who breaks his freakin’ neck on a poorly-executed schoolboy pin.

Dave Says: It feels like only two weeks ago I paid for a show where this was the only good match. Oh, yeah — that’s because two weeks ago I did pay for a show where this was the only good match. It’s a positive that TNA understands that Roode vs. Angle is one of the best things they can present  (especially with A.J. Styles temporarily off TV), but it’s a decided negative that they aren’t building a better angle (no pun intended) around this. Their rivalry is about honor and ability and who’s the better man — all the things wrestling is supposed to be about — but some of the execution has made the whole thing feel cheap and sloppily thrown together.

***

Video: TNA President Dixie Carter announces the fate of AJ Styles and the World Heavyweight Championship

TNA Says:

What’s next in the ongoing situation involving World Heavyweight Champion “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles and TNA President Dixie Carter? Styles shocked the wrestling world this past week and left IMPACT with the World Heavyweight Championship without signing a new contract! How will Dixie Carter respond this Thursday on Impact?

Best Case Scenario: Styles appears “via satellite,” holding up the belt and telling Dixie that he’ll let her see it in person again when the time is right. She flips out, saying she’s going to strip him, but he only laughs in her face, saying that everybody knows who the TNA World Heavyweight Champion is, and she can’t take it away from him.

Worst Case Scenario: Fans don’t receive any word at all from Styles, with only Mike Tenay doing his classic/hackneyed “What’s going on with ________? We haven’t even heard from _________” routine. Dixie gloats about chasing A.J. Styles out of the territory and goes on to appoint her nephew Ethan Carter III new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.

Dave Says: Goodness, is this really TNA’s top angle? It’s understandable that A.J. Styles would feel betrayed by Dixie Carter, but how is leaving the territory with the World Title the act of a hero? A strong, rebellious babyface stays and fights the rot from inside (see: Steve Austin, C.M. Punk); he doesn’t run away, flipping everybody off on the way out (uhhh… see: #ShawnMichaelsWeek).

***

TNA Says:

On the special Halloween IMPACT, ODB gets her rematch for the Knockouts Championship as she battles new titleholder Gail Kim! However, can ODB find a way to counter Gail’s newest associate, the juggernaut Lei’d Tapa?

Best Case Scenario: (I’m usually against rapid title changes, but…) ODB wins the Knockouts Title back, shocking Gail Kim with a roll-up and ensuring that there is at least one babyface champion in the absence of A.J. Styles.

Worst Case Scenario: ODB has Gail Kim in jeopardy when Lei’D Tapa enters the ring right in front of the referee and interferes, causing a disqualification. Kim and Tapa go on an extended beatdown of ODB, which no other babyface Knockouts come to the ring to break up because, well, there are no other babyface Knockouts.

Dave Says: It’s mind-boggling how far the Knockouts division has fallen since Slammiversary. Only four months ago, TNA had Mickie James putting in one of the best performances of anybody in wrestling, Gail Kim as a credible top heel, and Taryn Terrell looking like the next top babyface. Contract negotiations and a pregnancy later, we have Lei’D Tapa playing Diesel to Gail Kim’s watered-down Shawn Michaels.

***

TNA Says:

The Tag Team Titles will be on the line as the new champions The Bromans defend their gold against the former champions, James Storm and Gunner.

Best Case Scenario: The Bromans (What happened to the capital M? The way it’s written now, it looks like it should be pronounced rhyming with “Romans.”) assert themselves as strong heel champions, pinning Gunner following their Hart Attack clothesline. While there are aggravating heel shenanigans throughout the match, the finish itself is clean.

Worst Case Scenario: Mr. Olympia returns and helps The Bromans by interfering. He knocks down James Storm with a sloppy clothesline, tearing his own tricep off the bone and breaking Storm’s neck in the process.

Dave Says: GunStorm are so ice cold and dull as an act that it feels like The Bromans need to move past them as quickly as possible. The problem, however, is that the “tag team division” beyond these two teams consists of Chavo & Hernandez (ice cold and directionless), Eric Young & Joseph Park (seemingly back-burnered with the return of Abyss), and Bad Influence (much better heels than the heel champions themselves). The division desperately needs a shakeup, whether it’s an infusion of new talent or an improbably hard face turn from Bad Influence.

***

IMPACT Preview: Thursday Halloween Broadcast | Angle vs. Roode | Will Abyss Return?

TNA Says:

Also on Thursday’s IMPACT, will “The Monster” Abyss make his return on HALLOWEEN NIGHT and unleash terror on Christopher Daniels, Kazarian and anyone else who might be in his path of destruction? Will TNA’s Masked Monster make his return on Halloween to get revenge? Don’t miss it!

Best Case Scenario: Abyss bounces around Kaz and Daniels, who fly all over the place selling for him. Abyss is reestablished as a wrestler to be reckoned with, not just an ultra-gimmicked guy who appears once every three months, bursts through the ring and takes a bump on thumbtacks.

Worst Case Scenario: Just as it looks like Abyss is going to get his revenge on Bad Influence, they chase him into an abandoned windmill wielding lit torches. Bad Influence cackle and dance as they set the mill ablaze, buring Abyss alive and turning him into (Juice Make Sugar Wrestler of The Week©) Kane.

Dave Says: So, I know that Mary Shelley intended the monster to be the babyface in Frankenstein, but this is just ridiculous. It’s beyond kitschy for a wrestling show, even one airing on October 31, to be built around whether or not a friendly monster is going to kill some evil villagers. Holiday special episodes are as stale and worn-out trope-filled as Abyss’ career.

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