TNA IMPACT Wrestling Review - January 7th, 2015
The opening video package was pretty cool. It was WWE level production although it wasn't a carbon copy of something they would do, it was different, which is a good thing in the world of wrestling today.
The show began with a massive brawl that can only be best described as a clusterfuck. It was wild and all however the shotty camera angles and bad lighting took away from it for me. I've seen this type of thing from TNA before so I wasn't really impressed. Maybe it took some new fans by surprise and got them pumped, but it didn't do much for me as I was just anxiously waiting on Kurt Angle's music to hit.
Thankfully his music did hit and he came out to cut a great promo. Angle is a really underrated mic worker, he's always been one of the most intense guys around. He makes some announcements until he's interrupted by MVP, another underrated mic worker. This leads to a match between the two that Angle says will be a Street Fight. Hot start to the show, the crowd is on fire.
1) Kurt Angle vs. MVP - Street Fight
Some things never change. That's the best phrase to describe this match, sadly. One thing I've critiqued about TNA harshly in the past year is their loose use of stipulations like "No DQ", "Hardcore", "I Quit Match", and "Street Fight". That continued here as we saw the first ever street fight that was 90% mat wrestling. On it's own, this would have been a fine start to the show. MVP is a good worker and we all know what Angle can do. Both of those things were put on showcase here however the bogus stipulation and two men exchanging submissions in street clothes ruined it for me. They went to a commercial break, they could have atleast had them get in their ring gear and say let's settle this in the ring like wrestlers do. Had that been the way this match was billed, I may have went three stars or higher because the wrestling was solid here. But there were just too many little things that kept me from getting into this one. I hoped TNA would quit doing things like this with their revamp, but it looks like they either never learn or could care less about stipulations like this being a draw and meaning something. I'm sure a ton of new fans now think a Street Fight means two men grappling on the mat in street clothes. Nice way to hook viewers to that stipulation. Meh.
Match rating - **1/4
Mike Tenay announced his new show that will be on Saturday's which led to an interview with James Storm. It was decent stuff which was taped in the balcony earlier in the day. Storm cut a nice promo hyping The Revolution.
2) The Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. James Storm & Abyss (c) - TNA World Tag Team Title Match
I didn't like the idea of an established team dropping the belts to an unestablished team, but TNA was in a tight spot so I'll let it slide since this is a fresh start. As you would expect here, The Wolves were the highlight. They hit an array of impressive double team manuevers and got the crowd chanting "This is awesome!" Give these guys some good new competiton, Dixie. Random pairings like Storm & Abyss won't cut it for the rest of the year. The action here was solid throughout and kept me entertained. The ending teased several potential match ups. One of which I'd like to see, that being Sanada & Manik vs. The Wolves or Hardy's. That'd be something fresh. None the less, enjoyable match and segment despite the screwy finish. Storm & Abyss retain.
Match rating - **1/2
EC3 calls out Spud
It's 2015. A "new" start for TNA on a new network and their biggest potential superstar is STILL in an angle with Rockstar Spud. Man, they must have really ran out of ideas for him. Spud is a loveable character however I feel like TNA is just sleeping on a pot of gold with EC3 right now. It is honestly starting to rub me the wrong way. EC3 always makes the best out of every situation though and this segment was entertaining for that very reason. The way he connects with the crowd is awesome to watch and him shaving Jeremy Borash's head was pretty shocking. I just hope EC3 is in a more meaningful and memorable storyline by the time Slammiversary rolls around.
3) Low Ki vs. Austin Aries - X Division Title Match
Early on in the show, I tweeted that I hoped this match would happen and thankfully, it did. It began around 10:15 so they didn't get a ton of time however they had just enough to create a solid match. It was an all around good enocunter which isn't a shocker although the outcome did shock many including myself as Austin Aries won his 6th X Divsion Championship. Good for him. I feel like his career is going around in circles though. Ever since 2012 it's been the same thing over and over with the X Division belt and cashing it in. Hopefully they switch things up this go round and let him create a new STAR in the X Division like a returning Brian Cage or somebody.
Match rating - **3/4
4) Battle Royal for the Knockout's Championship
This was your basic battle royal which means there's not much to talk about. Taryn wins by eliminating Havok which earned her a beating after the match. That led to the epic moment of the evening as the lights went out and Awesome Kong returned! Havok and Kong went nose to nose in the center of the ring which was an amazing visual. I think it's safe to say that their confrontation was the best thing about tonight's show. Can't wait for their feud! Kong vs Havok is $$$$$$$!
5) Bobby Roode vs. Bobby Lashley - TNA World Title Match
The first match these two had was a MOTY candidate and the second one was very good as well so I was hoping for an even better final chapter. For the most part, this was a solid ending to their feud. Lashley's improvement shined through here yet again. He continues to find his character more and more every match. It's been awesome to watch him grow in the past year. I don't think he gets enough credit. The intensity of this match was pretty high, Lashley bled from the mouth which was a nice visual as he agged Roode on during a stand off. Things were going quite well until we got one of TNA's vintage overbookings at the end of the match. I'll discuss that in the next paragraph. Bobby Lashley wins the World Title for the second time here in a solid match aside from the interference at the end.
Match rating - ***
I saw alot of people with mixed reactions towards the apparent stable that formed at the end of tonight's World Title Match. I myself have a mixed opinion on it as well. When Ki and Joe were revealed as the men under the masks, I won't lie, I was pretty hyped. They are both strong style tough mf'ers and they fit well with MVP who always flaunts about puroresu on Twitter. They have that cockiness about them that allows them to mesh fairly well with Kenny King too. I liked the idea of this group as it gives Joe & Ki a new role and something to sink their teeth into. Joe has been without direction for so long that he's lost all steam. I'm hoping this heel turn brings him back to life.
However, a monkey wrench got thrown into my hype when Eric Young turned on Bobby Roode as well. It made sense storyline wise, but I really hope he's not paired with MVP's group. If you noticed, he didn't leave with them. Atleast that I remember. Joe, Ki, MVP, & King were together whilst EY was on the floor staring in the ring. If this means we're gonna get an EY/Roode feud separate from the MVP/Joe/Ki/King stable then I'm cool with it. Then again, if they are somehow going to try to create a stable by pairing Eric Young with those four, I'm not interested in that AT ALL.
I'm gonna wait until next week's show before I fully decide whether I'm behind or against this angle because as I said before, a stable consisting of MVP, Joe, Ki, King, & Lashley would work well in my opinion. The only problem may lie in finding opponents for them. There aren't many babyfaces without storylines on the roster right now. Maybe this means some new talent will come in. Who knows. Only time will tell.
Tonight's show ending very questionably. As you can tell from the previous paragraphs, I'm 50/50 on the closing angle that began however I'm going to give things time to play out before I jump on the "THIS IS SHIT, FUCK THIS GARBAGE" bandwagon. I give TNA the benefit of the doubt most of the time and it's came back to bite me in the ass several times recently yet I'm doing it again because I have faith in the talent involved. Although I won't be surprised if I'm let down. As I said before though, time will tell.
Tweet me your thoughts on the show on Twitter @ThePWTruth! Thanks for reading!