+/- #’s: Impact Wrestling, 11/7

In hockey, basketball, and other sports I’m sure I’m forgetting, individual players are held accountable for their team’s performance during their time in the game through the plus/minus statistic. This week, as ever, this Impact review will attempt to score each segment as a hit (+1; a superior match or well-executed story-building segment), a miss (-1; offensive to the eyes or ears), or a push (+0; wholly acceptable, but nothing memorable) in order to find an overall rating to the show.

Segment 1: Main Event Mafia Promo/Angle-Roode Confrontation

Positives: This segment got right to the point: The Main Event Mafia are amicably separating to pursue their singles careers.

I really liked the format of this segment with The Mafia coming to the ring as a group, cutting individual promos, and leaving when they were done. It felt different and helped emphasize how each of these men is on a different path.

There is really solid heat for the Roode-Angle feud because Kurt Angle is a strong, well-established babyface and Robert Roode is a strong, well-established heel. The pull-apart brawl they did was really well-executed and made it seem like Roode and Angle want to tear each other’s heads off. If TNA can get past this stupid injury angle and emphasize the “who’s the better man” aspect of this feud, it could become a storyline that could help repair the company’s badly-damaged image.

Negatives: Sting’s whole speech about “entitlement” backstage was a little strange. It wasn’t clear at all who he was talking about, and nothing that’s been presented on TV recently seemed congruent with what he was talking about. It seemed “insider” for the sake of being insider. I felt like I had missed some big dirt sheet rumor.

Segment Score: +1


Video: Watch Pacman Jones hit the ring for payback on Thursday's IMPACT WRESTLING

Segment 2: Bad Influence Get Beat Up By Pacman Jones & DeQuin Evans

Positives: This could have been a lot worse. Thankfully, TNA picked two pros in Bad Influence to make it work.

Negatives: Imagine you ran a wrestling company that was all about showing what manly men wrestlers are. Then, imagine you invited two non-wrestlers to come handily emasculate two of your most regular-featured wrestlers. Huh. Yeah, imagine that.

This felt like a good moment for the live crowd in Cincinnati, but I don’t think too many people on the national level are raring to pop for Pacman Jones.

Segment Score: +0


Segment 3: Velvet Sky vs. Brooke Tessmacher vs. ODB — Number One Contender’s Match

Positives: The parts of this match that actually involved wrestling between the three people in the match were solid. Velvet Sky knows how to play the part of Velvet Sky, even if she’s not a very good wrestler, and Tessmacher has improved a lot in the last year.

I basically called the finish with my “Worst Case Scenario.” I guess that’s a positive.

Gail Kim’s open challenge is a good thing because it means that the Knockouts division will get a much-needed infusion of new talent

Negatives: Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of butts, but seriously, does a match that begins with an ass-wiggling contest seem like a serious competition between top-tier athletes? It makes me really angry how wrestling companies act like “good-looking woman” and “tough competitor” are mutually exclusive terms.

For someone who’s supposed to be a super-strong monster, Lei’D Tapa sure struggles a lot when she picks people up.

Segment Score: -1


Segment 4: Aces & Eights Club Vote

Positives: Knux and Bischoff both did solid promo work throughout this show. They actually did a convincing job of lulling Anderson (and the crowd) into a false sense of security with their resignations.

As dead as Aces & Eights has been for months, TNA is actually doing a good job making this match between Anderson and Bully Ray seem like it means something.

Negatives: That swerve was so swervy it made me wonder if TNA had rehired Vince Russo.

Segment Score: +0


Segment 5: Ethan Carter III vs. Dewey Barnes

Positives: They kept it short, and the robber didn’t get a ridiculous stretch of sustained offense this time.

Negatives: It’s one thing to be a jobber, it’s another thing to look completely incapable of winning a single match ever. It doesn’t raise ECIII’s profile at all for him to keep wrestling the same two stiffs.

Segment Score: -1


Segment 6: Bad Influence vs. Eric Young & Joseph Park

Positives: Even though Eric Young is years removed from doing anything significant, he still has a great connection with the crowd. Fans were popping like crazy for his offense throughout this match and booed the heels like crazy for beating him up.

This match had the right finish, with the two actual wrestlers defeating the comedy act.

Negatives: I’m usually a big fan of the comedy stylings of Bad Influence, but the opening minutes of this segment were hard to listen to. Kaz and Daniels succeeded in drawing boos, but it didn’t feel like the right kind of heat.

Daniels picking up the timekeeper’s hammer brought back too many unpleasant memories of Aces & Eights. I never want to see a wrestler pick up a hammer ever again.

Segment Score: +0


Segment 7: Angle/Aries Match Announcement

Positives: In his short promo, Austin Aries said all the right things about Kurt Angle looking past him. That, coupled with his attempts to help Angle protect himself, put him over really strong headed into their match next week.

TNA is doing a spectacular job building heat for an eventual match between Bobby Roode and Angle. Even if this makes the final of the World Heavyweight Title tournament a little obvious, it’s well worth it to build a compelling, important-seeming match.

Negatives: “The Wheel of Dixie” is really the worst name for anything ever.

Segment Score: +1


IMPACT Coverage: Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Sabin, Pacman Jones, the State of The Main Event Mafia

Segment 7: Chris Sabin vs. Jeff Hardy: Full Metal Mayhem

Positives: While it wasn’t pay per view quality by any means, this was an extremely physical match for free TV. Neither man can be accused of holding back.

There were a couple of really nice spots in this match. Sabin’s dragon screw neck whip onto the ladder looked good, and Hardy blocking Sabin with his knees while going through the table was something I’d never seen before. The finish was also crisp and clean, with Sabin taking the Twist of Fate in the middle of the ring and Hardy nailing a very cool-looking (and fairly dangerous looking) leapfrog/slingshot/whatever you want to call it Swanton Bomb.

Negatives: A little part of me dies every time two wrestlers capable of having a real match resort to swinging garbage at each other for fifteen minutes.

Segment Score: +0 (Some good moments, but I don’t have any love left for garbage matches.)



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