Kester's TNA Sacrifice Rundown: Bobby Roode gets a credible victory, Kurt Angle defends AJ Styles, Austin Aries and Bully Ray impress, and more
By Ryan Kester
Bobby Roode vs. RVD
Hallelujah. After months and months of cheap, ridiculous, and unsatisfactory finishes, Roode was finally given a credible victory. It has been a common complaint of mine that Roode's lengthy reign has yet to make him feel like a champion because he was never given the opportunity to go over clean. Now TNA has allowed him to go over Anderson on Impact and RVD on PPV in a decisive fashion. Whether some credible wins now will be able to salvage his reign will be up to each individual, but I am happy that TNA is at least giving him something.
RVD and Roode had one hell of a ladder match. There was a plethora of brutal spots, including a nasty leg entanglement for RVD that had me cringing. Not only was the finish one of the best to a TNA PPV in months, but the main event as a whole was one of the better efforts from TNA this year.
Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles
The work rate that one would expect from these two was present in this match, but I simply could not convince myself to invest in the action. Angle and Styles have faced each other so many times that there's nothing new they can really bring to the table, and the storytelling build for this showdown has been abysmal. I was left counting the seconds until interference from Kazarian and Christopher Daniels because those were the men that Styles had actually been feuding with.
I'm not sure how I feel, yet, about Angle's latest turn or the idea of an Angle & Styles tag team pairing. While I am sure they will produce some entertaining matches, the storyline between the former Fortune stable-mates feels a bit crowded when they try and add a fourth body to the act. They already did this with Mr. Anderson, so right now it feels like Angle was turned simply to take part in another holding pattern for a storyline that has already been dragged out for far too long.
Austin Aries vs. Bully Ray
I enjoyed the buildup to this match, but I was hesitant to get excited about the showdown between these two. Both men have dynamic personalities, but I foresaw a clash of styles heading into the PPV. This is one of those moments where I can be quite thrilled that I was wrong.
Aries and Ray had a match that not only featured some great spots but also told a great story in the ring. Ray did a great job of drawing the crowd into the match while Aries milked every ounce of sympathy he could get from the barricade spot. It was a well-planned affair that built up to a great finish.
My only real complaint here comes from the involvement of Joseph Park. TNA creative has used Bully Ray as a storyline crutch to the point where they needed to advance two of his storylines in one spot, and I feel it took away from what was an otherwise excellent match.
Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson
Much like the Angle and Styles match above, this was a match where I respected the work rate, but felt bored due to the lack of TNA providing me a plausible reason to care about what was going on in the ring.
The ending of this match was just odd. It didn't put heat on either man nor did it feel like anything of import was actually accomplished. Anderson and Hardy were already hindered by having a babyface vs. babyface contest, and a non-finish really doesn't entice me to want to see more.
Gail Kim vs. Brooke Tessmacher
Brooke Tessmacher impressed the heck out of me last night. She is obviously attempting to improve her in-ring work, and she seems to be making great strides in that effort. Tessmacher is still at the point where she needs a credible worker on the other side of the ring to be at her best, but she is certainly improving.
Normally I would have similarly pleasant things to say about Kim, but her performance last night felt uninspiring. When she is on her game she can really give the fans a memorable match, but her performance felt phoned in last night. Perhaps that was in an effort to save something for a potential follow-up, but it left something feeling off last night.
Samoa Joe and Magnus vs. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian
While I am a bit disappointed to see Joe & Magnus lose the straps so soon, TNA really hasn't been giving them much creative attention. Kazarian and Daniels seem to be headed for a showdown with Angle and Styles, so doubt we will be seeing Joe and Magnus returning for their straps anytime soon. It's a shame, as they had a strong chemistry as a team.
Devon vs. Robbie E and Robbie T
When I was initially excited about the TV Title being defended every week on Impact, the last thing I expected to see was Devon stuck in a constant loop with the former champ and his big buddy. It hasn't made for the greatest television, and it does even less to get me excite for seeing the TV Title on a PPV. TNA needs to get the strap off of Devon and being sought by more than just undercarders of they actually want the title to mean anything.
Crimson vs. Eric Young
Regular readers know my feelings about using male-on-female violence as a means to garner heat, so I will refrain from going off on that particular rant again. Crimson is doing a great job of taking the cocky heel persona and running with it. While this match served as more filler than anything pertinent, I like seeing Crimson roughing up one of the babyfaces the fans are really invested in. Crimson needs a fresh opponent to get his new persona over, but he is going to need someone a bit more serious than Young to accomplish that.
This was one of the better TNA shows of the year, if not the best outright. Everyone showed up ready to work and there were several well-wrestled matches on this card. TNA's problem comes from a storytelling standpoint, as a handful of matches failed to hold my interest simply because I was not provided with a reason to care. If TNA can find a way to better balance the Open Fight Night concept with solid storytelling and then provide a PPV of this quality consistently, they will be able to get out of the funk they have been in the past few months.
If you have any questions or comments or just wish to chat with a fellow wrestling fan about whatever, then feel free to email me at email@example.com or follow me on Twitter at @TheRyanKester.
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