Impact Recap for 11/7
The tournament to crown the next TNA Champion is underway. Jeff Hardy defeated Chris Sabin in a good Full Metal Mayhem match to advance to the second round. It was the only match from the tournament to take place (there will also be only 1 next week) which allowed for the match, and by extension the tournament as a whole, to be positioned as super important. The show was filled with look ins on the wrestlers preparing in the back and quick segments showing some highlights of their careers. In the end it was Jeff Hardy, following a swanton over a standing ladder, who pinned Sabin to move on. It’s impossible for Hardy to have a bad match with a ladder in it. They did the usual creative sick ladder bumps…the best of which was Sabin draping Hardy’s legs over the top rope and doing Daniel’s Last Rights move onto a ladder leaning on the ropes. For the first time in as long as I can remember…they didn’t take a commercial break in the middle of the main event.
Production for the show as a whole seemed better than usual all night long. Part of it is that they had a hot crowd in Cincinnati (2 Impact stops in a row…just in time for them to stop taping on the road…) but everything about the broadcast felt like a step up. I don’t know if there was someone new in the director’s chair or what…but there was a lot more energy in the visual production…enough to be notable.
Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode fought with each other all show long. They did several pull apart brawls, at least one too many. They both vowed to beat the other in the tournament finals. There was a lot of vowing going on on this show. Magnus vowed to go through both Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle in the tournament if he had to to win his first TNA title. Samoa Joe vowed to get the title that had eluded him for years now. It was nice to see such a focus on the tournament competitors talking about wanting to win. Austin Aries told Angle that if he wasn’t 100% focused in their first round match, Aries would beat him. James Storm never said anything to anyone so I assume his chances of getting past Bobby Roode in round 1 are quite low.
The 3 Main Event Mafia guys are all on the same side of the tournament bracket so they used the opening segment of the show to both dissolve the Mafia and to start building towards the inevitable clashes between them. Sting officially ended the Mafia affiliation saying they had accomplished their goals (Bully Ray is no longer champion, Aces and 8’s is no longer relevant) and it was time to move on to individual pursuits. For Angle, Joe and Magnus that is obviously the TNA title. For Sting it appears to be a program with Ethan Carter III. He stated his next goal was to deal with young guys who feel entitled and that things should be handed to them. That sure sounds like Ethan Carter.
Speaking of EC3…he squashed Dewey Barnes again. It’s the exact same thing every week to this point. He plays the role really well at least. The jobbers they keep putting against him are getting really good babyface reactions…so some part of this is working even if it’s not clear that it’s the right part yet. At the very least crowds have been willing to play along. They’re also starting to push (already) that Carter is on an undefeated streak. This match made him 5-0 including a house show win. This aspect is pretty funny.
Pacman Jones made his triumphant return to TNA after 6 years. He and Bengal teammate DeQuin Evans jumped the guardrail and gave Bad Influence bodyslams to big pops from the hometown crowd. Hilariously Pacman did more physical work here than he was allowed to do the entire time he was ONE HALF OF THE TNA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS in 2007.
Bad Influence would get some heat back by defeating Joseph Park and Eric Young in a forgettable match later in the show.
ODB, Brooke and Velvet Sky went to a no contest after Lei’D Tapa and Gail Kim interfered. I’ll tell you something that is getting over…Lei’D Tapa. Her “walk in, destroy bitches, walk out” routine is drawing great heat, and ODB gets massive pops for standing up to her…briefly. This was a better match than you would have thought going in…especially with Velvet in there. After the match Gail Kim issued an open challenge for any woman outside of the company to see if they could beat her. This has potential for a few reasons. Firstly…Gail is excellent so it should lead to fine matches. Secondly…the division is in desperate need of new talent. Lastly…more bitches for Tapa to destroy.
The Bully Ray/Ken Anderson program took a step forward. Dixie authorized a match between the two on the 11/21 Impact from Orlando (the first show back in their new Impact Zone). They teased breaking up the Aces and 8’s on this show but it ended up being a swerve to attack Anderson. The crowd was really into the other Aces and 8’s guys standing up to Bully (especially Taz).
Finally, in AJ Styles news, they found a way to acknowledge his title defense in AAA on TV while still making some sense. It aired as a quasi-commercial, paid for by “friends of AJ”. Dixie lost her shit over it and screamed into her phone that someone had to take care of it. The idea is he’s buying ad time she has no control over to rub him defending the title in her face.
Impact Preview for 11/14
This show was already taped. Here is the spoiler free lineup:
Kurt Angle vs. Austin Aries in a submission match in the first round of the TNA title tournament.
Gail Kim vs. One of the Blossom twins
Mr. Anderson vs. Knux
Christopher Daniels vs. Joseph Park
Ethan Carter III vs. Dewey Barnes AND Norv Fernam! Progress!
They’ll also be setting up the Turning Point Impact on the 21st. Booked for that show is Bully Ray/Ken Anderson, Samoa Joe/Magnus with some stipulation in the tournament and James Storm vs. Bobby Roode in a bull rope match in the tournament.
Speaking of tournaments…
One Night Only: Tournament of Champions recap
Good news, bad news, good news on these One Night Only PPVs. The good news is…after this there are only 2 more left in the can (tag team tournament and World Cup). The bad news is…they’re doing them next year as well. The good news is the first 3 will be filmed in real arenas instead of the black hole of fun that is the Impact Zone. 2 will be taped on the UK tour and another one (Hardcore Justice) will be taped in Lowell, MA on what was going to be a house show but they converted it into a taping.
The concept of this month’s show is a tournament between former TNA champions. It worked out that AJ Styles is the TNA Champion (or…no one is) and he didn’t work this show anyway (he hadn’t returned to the ring from his walk out yet). Bully Ray was champion at the time this was taped and he’s in here. Chris Sabin hadn’t won the title yet so he’s not. The names they had available for the tournament were: Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Kurt Angle, Austin Aries, James Storm, Ken Anderson, Sting, Bully Ray and Samoa Joe. That’s one more than you need for a tournament so Ken Anderson and James Storm had to wrestle to see who would get the last slot. Storm beat Anderson in a short forgettable match. Of course Anderson was still doing his Aces and 8’s bit here…so as usual turn your brain off.
Here’s how I’ll sum up this tournament: Nothing was bad, the crowd is awful as always and none of the matches get long enough to be anything special. The show was littered with videos of all the participants winning their TNA titles…which sounds like a great idea but there was so damn much of it that it ended up being like half the stupid show. I get that they had the guys in the finals working 3 times (and taping another show that day BTW) but if you can’t have them go do more than 10 minutes every time…don’t do a tournament. If you’re going to get Bobby Roode working for 30 minutes…have one excellent match, not 3 OK ones.
In the first round matches: Samoa Joe pinned Jeff Hardy clean with a roll up, Austin Aries pinned Kurt Angle while holding his tights, James Storm beat Bully Ray by DQ when Devon of all people interfered, and Bobby Roode made Sting tap out to the crossface. Roode won relatively cleanly by Bobby Roode standards (he raked Sting’s eyes as Sting was trying to apply the Scorpion Death Lock to set up the crossface). Best match of the round was Aries/Angle.
In the second round: Samoa Joe made Austin Aries pass out in the choke and Bobby Roode made James Storm tap to the crossface. Aries/Joe was the better of the two.
In the finals: Bobby Roode pinned Samoa Joe by rolling back while in the choke.
As always…no need to watch this show.
The new building they’ll be filming future Impacts in is 30% smaller than the Impact Zone was. Theoretically this means they can actually make even less noise. Joy.
Janice Carter sent a memo to everyone in TNA denying the company is for sale. No one believes her.
There weren’t 5 good videos from “Where Action Never Ends” this week to post a top 5. There wasn’t even one good enough to post on its own. This is week TWO.