My Two Centsss - Impact: Pros & Cons
By Super Chrisss
Mar 15, 2013 - 11:41:05 AM
PRO: Aces & 8s...back on track?
When it looked like TNA was kicking off their post-LockDown episode of Impact in Chicago with a tag team title match, I cringed. Not because I have anything against a show starting with a wrestling match or the current champions Bobby Roode and Austin Aries, but because it meant I had to watch two of the least-over men on the TNA roster - Chavo and Hernandez - wrestle. With the exception of their match at LockDown, LAX 3.0 never manages to get a respectable pop, despite being pushed hard as a tag team since 2012, and last night was no different.
Fortunately, it was a red herring - Aces & 8s decimated the Latinos before the champions even made their entrance, which set up Bully Ray to make his first public appearance as the new world champion. I noticed Aces & 8s finally got lyrics added to their entrance theme, but I wish Bully still came out to his bad-ass music. Ah, well.
I liked the promo because Bully explained his dastardly actions perfectly and it got him major heat from the Chicago crowd (who was on fire all night long, to the surprise of absolutely no one). Furthermore, the group finally looked like a stable to be taken seriously, with Bully the world champion, Devon the TV Champion, and Wes Brisco fresh off a win over Kurt Angle at LockDown. By the end of the night, the group would look even stronger, but I'll get to that. This was simply a great way to get the crowd all riled up.
PRO: A Damn Good Knockouts Match
Quick question: when was the last time RAW or SmackDown kicked off their in-ring action with the divas? A better question: when was the last time the divas got to wrestle a match on RAW? While WWE is relying on the Bella Twins to somehow restore credibility in the women's division, TNA's Knockouts couldn't have looked better last night.
Mickie James. Tara. Gail Kim. Velvet Sky. Three of those four women are some of the greatest females to grace a wrestling in the past decade. The fourth one isn't quite there yet, but she has an amazing ass, so at least she has that going for her. Anyways, this was a fun tag team match that the crowd was really into, partly because Tara was the hometown heroine. Sky did make me laugh when she accidentally pulled Gail to the wrong corner to make a tag. But hey, no one's perfect, right?
Another cool thing about this match - it actually got so much time, they had to cut to commercial halfway through. How often do you see that? The finish came when Kim put her hands on Knockouts referee Taryn (who was on probation after defending herself against Gail's attacks at LockDown, if that makes any sense) 'assisted' Team Velvet to get the win.
The finish was the only part of the match I disagree with, as putting a babyface over the hometown hero usually isn't the best idea in the world. Also, the story seems to be focused on Gail vs. Taryn, when the emphasis should be on the Knockouts title. Regardless, good match to get things going, and props to all the ladies involved.
CON: Enough is enough...Bro!
For those of you who watched LockDown, would it be fair to say Robbie E vs. Rob Terry was the worst match of the night, and had no business being on a Pay-Per-View? If so, you'll have to explain to me why TNA decided to book a rematch just four days later, with the exact same result? Robbie got absolutely no offense in against the big man, and the crowd was dead for the first time during the 'match' and Terry's celebration dance afterwards. When you can't give Chicago fans a reason to react, you know you're doing something terribly wrong. It's time for these guys to go their separate ways - Robbie to the X-Division, and Terry anywhere but the world title scene.
PRO: Daniels vs. Storm + The Return of "Crajy"
After approximately two dozen backstage segments, including Hogan dumping Sting, Aces & 8s using one of thousands unsold copies of TNA Magazine to choose their next victim, and Sting challenges Austin Aries to a match later on, we FINALLY hit the ring to see the return of Aj Styles. I don't understand why TNA filmed all those backstage segments. Did they forget they're in Chicago, not Orlando, where the crowd reacts to stuff and actually want to be there? Anyway.
Styles pulls a Fandango and decides not to show up, which allows Bad Influence to come out dressed as The Road Warriors, Hawk and Animal. Their in-ring promo made me worry about them doing another Daniels vs. Styles match, but Daniels delivered the line (or HAM - Hi, Al) of the night by yelling, "WHATTTTTT A TUUUUUSHHHHHHHH" before smacking his ass (pause). This randomly brought out James Storm, who proceeded to book himself in a match with Daniels, because I guess Hogan was too busy feeling betrayed to play the part of General Manager.
Daniels vs. Storm was a decent match, but didn't get anywhere as much time as I would have liked. I was fine with Storm winning, but the man really has to stop coming up with a different finisher every week. He now has The Last Call, Eye of the Storm, The Backbreaker, and I'm probably forgetting at least two more. Storm's win pissed off Kaz, and Bad Influence beat down Storm after the match, which prompted Aj to make the save, before turning on Storm??? Oh, wait, it's true - Storm was the one who pinned Aj at Turning Point to keep Aj out of the world title hunt until Bound For Glory. Very clever, TNA. I wouldn't mind seeing a Styles/Storm feud, that's for sure.
CON: Joseph Park going on and on and on...
I like Joseph Park, even more so than his role as Abyss. I like Matt Morgan, and I'm still bummed out he didn't resign with WWE last year. But their segment last night was terrible and a complete waste of time. Park spent way too much time playing to the audience, and it felt like it took them forever just to set up a match between the two next week. Couldn't they have booked a rematch between Park and Morgan's former ally Joey Ryan, with Morgan running down and hitting the Carbon Footprint after the match? It would have been a lot less painful, if you ask me. I'm also confused as to what the company wants to do with Morgan. Last week he flattened the former world champion, Jeff Hardy. This week he's feuding with Joseph Park. Inconsistent booking much?
PRO: Sting vs. Aries, but just barely
LOPR member GLOW summed up my thoughts on this main-event perfectly on Twitter last night: "Sting shouldn't be wrestling on regular TV in matches that don't really matter or wasting Aries talent". While some people might take offense to that statement, it's quite accurate when you think about it. Sting is not only way past his prime, but he's adopted the Rey Mysterio style of wrestling with a t-shirt on to cover his belly. If Sting is going to wrestle a match, it should be hyped well in advance, and shouldn't happen every other week. As for Aries, to say he had to tone down his style last night to protect Sting is definitely an understatement.
That being said, I thought Sting and Aries put together a fun little match. The first half was slow as was to be expected, but the last few minutes were quite entertaining, with a series of near-falls and Aries kicking out of a Scorpion Death Drop. I even remember hearing a "This is Awesome" chant break out, and the crowd was 50/50 for both men. It may not have been a technically great match, but Chicago gave it a big-time feel and made it seem better than it probably was.
To the surprise of very few people, Aces & 8s interfered at the end, where they beat up The Icon. But they were far from done, as they called out Hogan. The Hulkster responded by sending 85% of the roster's faces to combat the sinister group, but in the end, Bully Ray's lackies proved too much for Team TNA to overcome, and Aces & 8s concluded the show standing tall, with bodies laying everywhere. Very effective way to put over the group. It took them a loooong time, but Aces & 8s is finally looking like a stable to be taken seriously, all thanks to Bully Ray. Who would have thought?
YouTube it: Bull Ray's show-opening promo; Sky & James vs. Tara & Gail; Storms vs. Daniels; the second-half of Sting vs. Aries.
Avoid it: Robbie E vs. Rob Terry; Parks' promo; the 300 backstage segments (except maybe the one between Sting and 'Angry' Hogan).
Grade: B Didn't quite live up to expectations, but it was still a good show, overall. The only negatives were the Robbie and Parks' matches/segments, as well as about half of the roster being absent until the closing brawl. Had last night's show taken place anywhere besides Chicago, I probably would have ranked it a grade lower, but those Chi-Town people sure love wrestling. Watch it if you can.
What did you think of last night's show? Hit or miss? Are you still interested in the Aces & 8s storyline now that Bully Ray has been revealed as the President, or is it time to go down a different path?
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