Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hitlist: The best pro wrestling segment on television this week was not Triple H and Brock Lesnar, Gut Check judging thoughts, Bobby Roode vs. Mr. Anderson, Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam
By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Bully Ray and Austin Aries: This was the best pro wrestling segment of the week thus far. Ray was great while bullying Jeremy Borash and then Aries, and I loved the way Aries didn't back down. I don't mind them acknowledging the size difference simply because it's a case of the smaller guy standing up to the big bully. I loved the way they established Aries as a standup guy, yet still put heat on Ray by having him kick Aries below the belt at the end of the segment. The only problem is that I don't want to see either guy lose this feud. Ray reminded viewers of how great he can be when his character is portrayed as a badass. I get a kick out of the tongue in cheek comedy work he does too, but the badass Ray is money. Meanwhile, Aries is one of the few guys on the TNA roster who feels young, fresh, and cool.
Bobby Roode vs. Mr. Anderson: It was a good night for Roode, who delivered quality mic work and was actually able to win a match in a manner that didn't seem fluky. He outsmarted the babyfaces for a change. I still feel as though he needs an addition to his act. Whether it's a fresh face valet or an agent type, he needs something to make it feel bigger. He's doing a good job right now, but this act could be great with the right addition.
Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam: A good television match. I feel like I've seen these two too many times to be blown away, but it was an entertaining match that succeeded in putting more heat on Bobby Roode. Am I the only one who thinks Hardy has gone too far with the makeup? I'd rather see him save that look for big moments, but maybe that's just me.
Velvet Sky and Brooke Tessmacher vs. Gail Kim and Madison Rayne: A decent tag match that told the ongoing story of Tessmacher having the number of the Knockouts Champion. I hope Tessmacher is more than the challenger of the month. She has the look and charisma, and she has improved in the ring.
A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, and Magnus vs. Kurt Angle, Christopher Daniels, and Kazarian: A good six-man tag match that needed more time to develop. Still, they managed to tell the story of Angle not getting along with his teammates and Kazarian tagging himself into the match and essentially costing his team the match. I have no idea where they are going with the tension between Angle and the heels. I assume Kurt is turning babyface, but are they really setting him up to feud with a tag team? Speaking of which, I like the idea of Daniels and Kazarian teaming up to face the tag champions.
Overall show: The second hour of the show was strong. The Gut Check concept has potential yet needs work. Nevertheless, there were three entertaining matches and the strong Bully Ray and Austin Aries angle in that second hour, which was good enough to carry the show to a an overall Hit.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Rob Van Dam promo: What the hell was that? Rob's egomaniacal promos worked back in the ECW days, but there's a whole new generation of fans who didn't see those promos and he was downright unlikable here. He's no longer the coolest guy in the company and he needs to adapt. Why am I supposed to root for egomaniacal Rob Van Dam to beat egomaniacal Bobby Roode?
Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair verbal exchange: Will Pruett nailed it earlier today when he labeled this as two guys cutting crazy old man promos. Most weeks, Hogan comes across like he's trying too hard to be cool. He's like a jacked up Phil from "Modern Family." I love that show and the character, but obviously that's not what Hogan is going for. I also didn't grasp how an angry Flair called out Hogan, yet then agreed to Hogan's request that he serve as a Gut Check judge. Wouldn't Flair tell him to f--- off and then just demand that match that he hinted at as a tradeoff? More than anything, I just don't want to see the show that is supposedly focussing on younger talent open with two old guys carrying out their lopsided feud.
Gut Check: The reality show feel worked for me last night. Sure, the music and the lighting is cliche and feels dated, but the concept feels different in the pro wrestling setting and I think these judgement segments will keep viewers watching. The problem is that the first guy in should not have been cast to win the contract. And if TNA felt otherwise, they should have made Alex Silva look much stronger during his match with Robbie E last week. Sure, Robbie is a former television champion, but the belt is worthless (though I'm hopeful the weekly title defenses will change that) and he's portrayed as a dorky guy who only wins when he cheats. The Gut Check challengers don't have to win their matches, but it should take more than a loss in 2:16 and a rambling promo to win over the judges. Flair seems perfect for the Simon Cowell-type villain judge role, but at the very least the guy who spent the whole show heeling on the fans should not have given in. Please tell me they don't intend to counter this by having another wrestler destroy someone, yet not get the nod from the judges because he's not respectful enough.
Devon vs. Robbie T: I like the idea of weekly TNA TV Title defenses, but I'm ready to move on from it being used to prop up the Devon vs. Robbie E feud. Quite frankly, I just don't need a weekly fix of that story. Devon is getting some love from the Orlando fans, but he's just not the guy to spotlight on a weekly basis.
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