IMPACT Day After Thoughts (Our Four and No More) with XanMan
Jun 28, 2013 - 8:07:56 PM
Welcome to The Day After Thoughts: Our Four and No More. Joining me will be CF Hall of Famer, XanMan. The idea is that I go live with Mizfan every Thursday night, just after IMPACT, and say mostly what I have to say. But it’s often gut reaction, initial to having just seen the show. Here, a day later, are some additional thoughts. Xan and I are both allotted two picks from the last IMPACT—guys you should watch because of particular matches or segments or promos.
We can only pick four.
Disagree with our choices?
Wish we had added Joe or Mickie or that dude that played the guitar like JT Southern?
It’s our four and no more.
XanMan: I’ve been a fan of Austin Aries since his work in Ring of Honor in 2004 and nothing he’s doing in Impact Wrestling is changing that. It’s difficult to know sometimes what that organization wants to call itself. Are they still TNA or are they really Impact Wrestling now? I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is one of the best things going there is the greatest man who ever lived, A-double, Austin Aries. Last Saturday on WWEkend Update, I spoke passionately about how Daniel Bryan is the best wrestler in the world right now when you take everything into account. I feel just as strongly about Austin Aries being the best wrestler in TNA, at least in-ring. They haven’t given him a chance to show it lately, since he’s been wrapped up in the four-way tag feud that ended up being an excuse to put another tag strap on James Storm and get five of the other six guys involved in that storyline into the BFG series, but he’s also lights out on the mic and, as he proved this week, fully capable of getting himself face or heel heat at a moment’s notice. It’s probably all worked out for the best, but while it was going on, I just kind of shook my head that the guy you call Robin was wasted in that spot. It was still high profile, of course, but Austin Aries shouldn’t be submitting to Gunner twice in four days. Now he’s back where belongs—holding a strap and making himself the top contender for World Champion Bully Ray. Even if he was under a mask nearly the entire time he was on-screen, the whole show revolved around the greatest man who ever lived, and that’s exactly as it should be.
Mystic: Well, I call them IMPACT Wrestling every chance I get, especially in real life. I can't go around saying 'TNA,' especially to people I don't know. For instance, I once got lost on my way to a 'TNA' house show. I stopped at a gas station where two women were working. The last thing I wanted to do was say I'm looking for the TNA show. I said, 'the wrestling show' and one of the women said, 'Oh, is that the TNT show?' And she looked at me questioning as if she knew she wasn't exactly getting it right. I looked right back at her and said, 'YES! TNT!' and then she directed me to the show. Hulk Hogan actually wanted to change the name for that purpose--promoting and marketing. I think IMPACT Wrestling is TNA's way of meeting him half way. As for Austin Aries, Robin stepped up and wore his big-boy cape on IMPACT. I will not slight the man an inch for his work. Not only did we get the Suicide match but the reveal [of Aries dressed as Suicide] was one for the ages. Here is something I like best in the best wrestlers: they rise to meet the opportunity. It matters not if Bobby Roode and Austin Aries have been in the tag division. They let us know weekly that they were 'A Team of World Champions' and the moment (nay, the second) Austin Aries had a chance to prove that again he rose 10x his 'tag team' self. Here is what I love so much about TNA: you can turn the story over a million times and a million ways. For instance, I spent the majority of IMPACTheRevolution last night talking about the power Aries now had. Talking about how guys like Hulk Hogan and maybe even Sting may cater to Aries in hopes of ousting Bully Ray. Then, today, I woke up to a text from my cohost Mizfan saying, "Holy God. I only now realized what a shit storm is about to rain down on Aries. Be careful what you wish for, Boy Wonder." Just like that: my whole perspective flipped! We talked last night, as I said, about the power Aries holds. But as it was quoted to Spiderman: With great power comes Bully whooping your ass. While I imagined Aries lording his opportunity over all the guys who may reach out to him, a few altercations with Aces in the next 3 weeks may well have him looking for help. Will Bobby Roode help him? I doubt it. Will he have to make some sort of deal with the MEM or others? I don't know. What I do know is the next few weeks of IMPACT Wrestling should be must-see TV.
Mystic: I sort of have a ritual--a rip-up-my-notes-as-I-finish-my-IMPACTheRevolution-show ritual, in order to say, "Another show completed." I now wish I didn't do that. Those notes were, above all else, scribbled quotes of almost everything that came out of the mouth of Bully Ray. Dude was funny. Beyond being the top guy and top heel and most must-watch in TNA when he's on screen, dude is funny. Bully is, oddly enough, the closest thing to Steve Austin I have seen, in a way. Don't lose it, IWC. Let me explain. It's the authoritarian in him, I think. Plus the unabashedly being himself. When heel Steve Austin, post-Ringmaster, and early face turn, would come on the TV, I would become legit uncomfortable. Uncomfortable for whoever he would target, mock, attack, and uncomfortable for myself. Maybe it was having a dad who only related to us as an authoritarian, but these guys render a kind of judgment and authority that gives me that same feel. Now, how do you magnify that? Have Bully Ray--Bully Ray--go around the back targeting 190-pound X-Division wrestlers. I know a lot of the IWC prefers matches. I am foremost a story guy, loving the continuity, the backstage breakdowns, the unfolding of story throughout an entire show, and Bully gave me that at high quality. It is partly (mostly) due to Bully, but TNA deserves credit. Having one world champion and longer reigns (goodbye Russo!), it is now a different feel any time the world champion is on screen. It was like that when Bobby Roode was champ; it's like that with Bully Ray. Looking forward, though, the jokes may be falling flat for Bully Ray. Despite his best efforts to threaten Sabin and stop Suicide, he must now turn his attention to July 18 and his match with Austin Aries.
XanMan: Yeah, the internal rumblings within Aces & Eights and the way Bully is seemingly losing a little bit of control is making me a little nervous about where they’re going with the A & E angle. Only a little nervous, though. I’ve been very impressed with how well TNA is planning everything out and how absolutely everybody on the roster has something to do. I believe they even have a long term plan for Matt Morgan, though that’s a discussion for another day. Bully Ray is—quite clearly—the lynchpin of Impact Wrestling television right now. While he’s been knocked on his heels a bit by the regenesis of the Main Event Mafia, everything that happens on that show—outside the tag team ranks, to this point—happens as a result of his actions. He’s definitely the best heel in wrestling right now—hell, are there any main event heels in WWE right now?—and one of the top in-ring performers also. The time he isn’t on my screen during Impact just doesn’t matter as much. I know it sounds ridiculous that I’m saying this about Bully Ray, who WWE diehards know only as the guy who had orgasms putting opponents through tables--but the guy’s career rejuvenation is complete. If I may make an analogy to a guy you don’t care for, it’s almost like he’s the Bret Hart of his generation, though luckily for himself, DVon is no Anvil. Bully Ray defending the title against Aries—who he has tapped out to, previously—is going to be an absolute blast; especially if I’m wrong about A-Double being the next member of the Main Event Mafia. By the way, don't you ever confuse Bully Ray with Shark Boy again.
XanMan: The other person I’m going to pick for this week’s edition is Magnus. I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a little time out to talk about the guy who leads the Bound For Glory series. For those who don’t know, the BFG series started last week on Impact and runs for about the next 3 months. It is a twelve-man, round-robin tournament to decide who will face the TNA World Champion at…wait for it…Bound For Glory on October 20. ( For a list of the BFGS rules ) Right now, courtesy of a submission victory over Kazarian and a pinfall victory over “Batman,” ***cough***Robin***cough*** Magnus leads the BFG series by five points over Samoa Joe, who became the third (fourth?) member of the Main Event Mafia last night. I’ve never been a big fan of Magnus, and I think that move he does where he catches his running or flying opponent in a body-slam grip and then turns it into a suplex is really kind of dumb—because while it looks sort of cool the first time you see it, it’s a repetitive spot that’s a lot of work for what in the end is just a vertical suplex—but, at this moment he’s in the driver’s seat for the most talked about thing TNA does. The BFG series is important because it heats up Impact Wrestling’s summer, creates outstanding stories and competition, and decides who will wrestle for the World Title at TNA’s biggest show of the year. Right now, it’s Magnus’ to lose, so I salute him.
Mystic: Thank you, Xan, for choosing Magnus. Not only does it allow me to focus on Bobby Roode as one of my picks, but it still allows me to talk a bit about a current IWC favorite in Magnus. People tweet me, e-mail me, (hell, TNA fans at Hogwarts send owls), all asking me to talk more about Magnus! When I say I'm not as high on Magnus as some of them, they seem to hear me saying, I hate Magnus. That is not what I've said. What I have said, exactly, is he has the look but I would like to see more fire from him. Well, if I haven't gotten full-fire, lately I have seen more swag. Magnus is on a winning streak and has worked the last two weeks as if the IWC themselves were booking him. Even before his match with Roode--standing in the ring--he played to the crowd. I liked that. I want to see him more alive, more alert, more outside the box, rather than going through the motions. Fans constantly bitch to me about Magnus and Joe not being used enough. For now, for right now, they have to find something else to bitch about. Not only are both men rolling (Joe became the 3rd member of MEM and is winning his BFGS matches, too) but Magnus got a win over the man I call Batman, the IT Factor Bobby Roode. Major upset. Set up well by the announcers, who reminded us that Roode was damn near a legend in TNA, as the longest reigning champ and the first BFGS winner. The spotlight is on Magnus now. It's up to him to show me now. Shine brighter than the light on you, Magnus, and then I will believe.
Mystic: After two weeks of the 2013 BFGS, the longest reigning champion in TNA history, the 2011 BFGS winner, the man who I sometimes call "Best in the World" and Batman (to troll Punk and Aries fans at the same time!) has...0 points! This...is a challenging time to be so very pro-Roode. As I said on the show last night, Batman has lost his cape! But, as I also said, I'm not worried or concerned. I came up with the Batman name, in all seriousness, after watching Bobby Roode go from longest reigning world champion to seemingly 3rd preferred by TNA management (with Aries 2nd and Hardy 1st). I invented the name as a defense mechanism. Even though Roode was then in the world title picture, I was FURIOUS as to how little seemed to go into giving him preference. Now it's the other way around. He's lost twice, but I love how TNA is treating him. With much respect, reminding us of all he has been to the company. That is why I feel (though I could be completely wrong) that this losing streak may lead to some sort of break in Roode's character. He has to respond, whether that is to break bad (or break worse) or to eventually become a sympathetic character again. Either way, despite the 0 point start, maybe because of it, I feel that great things are coming for Bobby Roode and that his character may be forged in some way by the fires of this god-awful BFGS start. Beyond that (but more immediately) how will he respond to not only his losing streak but seeing his [former?] tag partner jump to the front of the line with a shot at Bully Ray? Nothing but intriguing reasons to keep watching, by my estimation.
XanMan: Bobby Roode has been one of the most compelling characters on TNA television for almost two years now and for over half of that, he was *the* most compelling. No fan of Bobby Roode should be worried for him at all. He’s going to be fine and he’s going to be the World Champion again. There’s absolutely no question about it. I say this even though TNA almost didn’t actually renew his contract earlier this year. That was an administrative oversight, not a declaration that he isn’t a big part of the future of the company. Is it a slap in the face that they put Jeff Hardy ahead of him for awhile? Of course, but it’s really something he and his fans need to get over. As I said in one of my first columns, “I once believed Jeff Hardy would be the next Shawn Michaels. I also once believed in the tooth fairy.” He’s not going to make it to the level of HBK, but he definitely is one of the biggest names TNA has and it made sense for them to try and capitalize on his name value, since he’s definitely the biggest name they have that can still go at a high level, unless you want to talk about Kurt Angle, who I have serious beef with lately. Did Roode and Aries deserve to get pushed aside for Jeff Hardy? No. But, right now they’re both pushed aside for Bully Ray and I don’t think either of us are going to argue too vehemently about that, considering how strong the Aces & Eights angle has become. Roode will be back at the top of the promotion again—probably early to mid 2014—and it’s okay for them to take that road. He’s still a young man, he’s still promimently placed, and there are still plenty of interesting things to do with him, though I would personally hate it if he went babyface anytime soon.
That wraps up the Day After Thoughts. Agree? Disagree? Have something to add concerning Aries, Bully, Roode, Magnus or anyone else? You know where to do it.
If you want to catch LoP’s First Responders, Mizfan and I went live after IMPACT last night. We had more callers than any show since LoPRadio’s Payback coverage! I apologize for the calls we could not get to. It was popping off all night--thanks to (I'm guessing) the Austin Aries bounce.
So thank you to those callers and thank you to Austin Aries!
Here is your chance to listen to the 6/27/13 edition of IMPACTheRevolution:
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