Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List: Bully Ray puts Dixie Carter through a table, Samoa Joe wins the X Division Championship, Hardcore War, Aybss vs. Bram in a Monster's Ball
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Samoa Joe vs. Sanada vs. Low Ki: I remain confused by Storm's Redneck Miyagi act with Sanada, but it has grabbed my attention more than the smiling, happy Sanada character did. I am not a fan of Samoa Joe winning the X Division Title again. It just feels like he should have moved on permanently and be cemented in the heavyweight main event mix. That said, Joe can have great matches with the X Division crew and perhaps his latest reign can bring some prestige back to the belt. It's cool to see Low Ki again, but whenever I see him now I just assume he nearly forgot about his match and had to race straight to the ring from a scuba diving session.
Lashley: I am beyond surprised to see how well Lashley is coming across as champion. He looks the part in a suit, he has delivered in the ring, and he is wisely being protected by having MVP and Kenny King do the talking for their trio. Unfortunately, MVP has lost something by going from authority figure to injured wrestler/mouthpiece. He is playing a vital role for Lashley, but here's hoping MVP can regain whatever he's lost once he's really ready to go in the ring again.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Bully Ray puts Dixie Carter through a table: My first reaction was simply that I was not a fan of the angle due to the basic idea of man on female violence being positioned as a positive. I sat back and thought about it afterward and I did not recall having the same reaction to Mae Young going through a table in WWE. I certainly didn't have this reaction when Jack Bauer pushed a female terrorist to her death on "24" a couple months ago. Thus, I don't know if it was the basic man on woman violence as much as it was the fact that this was celebrated by all of the babyface characters that made this feel trashy. Furthermore, the idea of an untrained middled aged performer taking that bump was crazy. On the flip side, I am not bothered in the least by TNA advertising the table spot a week out. If you're going to do it, own it and get everything you can out of it. I would hate to see them give away match results in the same fashion, but this was the big moment they have been building to and their best chance to pop a rating. Even a guarantee from Bully Ray would not have meant as much because they have teased it happening so many times in the past. Did some viewers learn that Impact wasn't airing live? Yes. Will those same viewers who only figured it out because of the teaser now know going forward when Impact is live or taped? Probably not. I don't want to see TNA take this approach on a regular basis, but I actually applaud it in this case.
Abyss vs. Bram: There's no denying that the live crowd was into this hardcore match or that both men worked hard. I just can't pretend to be entertained by all the silly looking spots with Janice or a cheese grater that result in no blood and therefore look campy as hell. I suppose it doesn't help that it feels like I've seen Abyss work similar matches hundreds of times over the years. TNA has a potential player in Bram. I get that his character has a mean streak, but the worst thing they could do is brand him a hardcore wrestler.
Gunner, Sam Shaw, and Mr. Anderson vs. BroMans and DJ Z: The story of Gunner trying to save Shaw while Anderson still holds a grudge just isn't very compelling. Gunner was starting to show breakout potential before this started and now he just looks like a goof who is more concerned with helping the cartoonish crazy character rather than focussing on his own career. And don't even get me started on the undercard for life BroMans and Z act. They are three talented guys who would mean more if they updated the gimmick and were given more of an edge.
Bully Ray, Devon, Tommy Dreamer, and Al Snow vs. EC3, Ryckon, Snitsky, and Rhino: Can you tell that I wasn't a fan of the first hour of the show? The live crowd ate up the stroll down ECW memory lane match, whereas I rolled my eyes at the idea of seeing two hardcore matches in the first hour of a show held in 2014. I did enjoy seeing Al Snow, who was in better shape than I remember him being throughout a good portion of his career. I was comically bad that Snow was a surprise, yet the fans in the ringside area all had mannequin heads. I know the ECW flashbacks have been fun for some fans. To each his own. I just hope that now that the babyface team won this match and Dixie was put through a table the company can place the emphasis on their own talent.
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