Final Resolution recap
With many high profile exits in 2013 (Hulk Hogan, RVD, Mickie James, Devon, possibly Sting sooner than later and, for the moment at least, AJ Styles) TNA chose to enter 2014 with the TNA title on their best homegrown young talent, Magnus. At 27 years old Magnus is one of the youngest champions in the company’s history. Only AJ Styles, 26 in 2003 when he won the NWA title, was younger when he became champion. Only Samoa Joe joins Magnus and Styles in the under 30 champions club. Magnus also has the distinction of being a purely “TNA” guy, a talent that did not make a name for himself in WWE or WCW or ECW or even RoH before joining TNA. He joins a short list on that front as well. AJ Styles appeared in WCW and RoH prior to TNA forming…but no one would argue that he isn’t a TNA guy. Abyss, James Storm, Bobby Roode and Chris Sabin round out that list. Three of those five (Storm, Sabin and Abyss) combine for only about three total months of holding the title. With Magnus you get the impression that he’s in for more of a Bobby Roode like reign. There aren’t going to be big name signings to derail his run (well…unless they work out a deal with AJ Styles that is) and the current creative direction stresses patience in storytelling.
Magnus defeated Jeff Hardy in the finals of the tournament to crown a new TNA champion. The match was called a “Dixieland” match. The rules were pure convoluted TNA. You started inside of a steel cage and to win the match you had to escape the cage, get to the entrance stage and climb a ladder to take down the title. They had a pretty good match, which Hardy always does in a stunt show match. At one point he did his whisper in the wind off the top of the steel cage, which was nuts. They both escaped the cage at about the same time. EC3 tried to prevent Magnus from escaping but Hardy took him out because he didn’t want to win that way and be Dixie’s puppet. When Hardy climbed the ladder and was about to win, Rockstar Spud knocked the ladder over and Hardy took a crazy bump onto the ramp. Magnus had no issue with accepting the role of Dixie’s champion and he quickly retrieved the title. Dixie and Spud were thrilled. EC3 far less so. I don’t know if they’ll ever get around to explaining EC3’s actions (even something as simple as “We were trying to give Hardy one last chance to accept our offer” would work) but he was smart to not immediately jump for joy when the man he attacked won the match. There was a little follow up in a post Impact video. EC3 pretty clearly has a sarcastic response to Magnus becoming Dixie’s hand picked champion…that is until Magnus says nice things about him and he pretty much decides they can be friends now. Magnus was very good in this promo:
The other big news on the show was that Bobby Roode defeated Kurt Angle once again. They had a 2/3 falls match and Roode held the ropes to get the pin on the final fall. This was good but surprisingly short given they only did 3 matches on the show. The best bit came afterwards when Angle sat down for a short interview and pretty much gives his best performance in forever:
Angle’s character right now is the perfect fit for him. One of the best wrestlers dealing with the creeping dread that injuries and age have caught up to him. When they started the “Angle doesn’t feel like he’s earned the Hall of Fame” story I thought it was pretty weak…but everything they’ve done with him since then has made for a dramatic, realistic storyline.
The only other match on the show was Madison Rayne and ODB defeating Gail Kim and Lei’D Tapa when Rayne pinned Gail. Obviously a set up to put Madison into a title program and not much else.
There were two show long storylines this week. The first was Jeff Hardy being accused of selling out to Dixie Carter (which he obviously didn’t…but it was nice to see them bring up that he had done it before with Immortal). The other wast the opening of the Feast or Fired briefcases. They used this to good effect in advancing a couple of stories. Gunner got the World title shot which pissed James Storm off to no end. They still haven’t tipped which one is going heel…but babyfaces generally don’t glare at their tag partners with as much hate in their eyes as Storm did here. Zema Ion got the X title shot. That left only the tag title shot and the fired case. They established that if EC3 got the fired case there wasn’t anything Dixie could do about it so there would be some drama. Someone has to explain how Daniels is in TNA after getting the case years ago. Anyway Sting came in and offered to take EC3’s case and the 50% chance he would be fired on the condition that EC3 fight him just one time. EC3 turned him down and kept his case. That’s two weeks where they’ve done a nice job of Carter avoiding physical confrontation with Sting. EC3 got the tag title shot and he and Dixie celebrated their good fortune while Sting consoled Chavo Guerrero, who had been fired.
The only other thing on the show was Eric Young trying to get Joseph Park to accept that he is Abyss. He’s still not biting…but he did accept Abyss’s old weapon “Janice” and a Monsters Ball match with Bad Influence next week.
Decent show this week as they continue to focus, albeit out of necessity, on new characters.
Impact Preview for 12/26
This, of course, was taped already. They’ve taped so much that aside from what they’ve formally announced there’s no way to know what is on this week’s show.
Joseph Park vs. Bad Influence in a Monsters Ball match
Lei’D Tapa vs. ODB
I’m pretty sure there will also be an advancement in the James Storm/Gunner story and the Sting/EC3 story as well.
AJ Styles is officially no longer a part of TNA. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, despite his contract being up, he continues to negotiate with TNA on a new deal. The wrestling observer site reported today that they have “gotten a lot closer” in the last few days. So…fingers crossed. If he does come back, and until there is a signed deal that’s always a big if, it could still be a while until we see him back on TV (except of course his already filmed return and exit). TNA goes to England after all of these taped shows are done and if he isn’t on that trip it will be at least March until he could pop up.
Next weekend is their big Northeast loop with house shows in Philadelphia and Long Island and One Night Only PPV tapings in Lowell and Poughkepsie. Speaking of loops…it appears that the company is going back to running a lot of house shows in 2014.