Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hitlist: Bobby Roode vs. Sting in a lumberjack match, Brooke Hogan debuts, A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels, Dixie Carter angle, Gut Check, Austin Aries vs. Chris Sabin
By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels: A solid match with a nice, clean finish. The post-match angle left a lot to be desired. It required Dixie to act outraged. We saw her earlier in the night as happy as ever even though this storyline has been going on for weeks now. If she has something to hide (even if it's as harmless as a surprise party for Serg) then why does she allow Daniels and Kazarian to appear on television each week? Anyway, it was a good main event and Daniels continues to impress me with the way he's changed his persona at this point in his career.
Dixie Carter: She's grown into the role of company ambassador. She is much more poised while addressing the live crowd than she has been in the past. I'm not big on the idea of including her in angles and asking her to act, but she did a good job during her mid-show segment and via her Hall of Fame announcement. Granted, she mistakenly listed the wrong date for the pay-per-view, but it's not like Undertaker didn't do the same thing while trying to hype WrestleMania 28.
TNA Hall of Fame: The ten-year mark feels like a fair point to launch a Hall of Fame. I assume they are limiting this to TNA talent at least for now since it appears they are only inducting one person this year. It didn't live up to the "big announcement" tease that Dixie Carter gave it in her media conference call. At the same time, if she was going to tease it then she had to use that type of language. After all, you don't want to tease your Hall of Fame by acting like it's not huge news.
James Storm: I don't think anyone is buying into the possibility that Storm won't be coming back at some point. Worse yet, I don't think they made him enough that viewers are anxiously awaiting his answer. As much as I roll my eyes at Sting challenging Bobby Roode for the TNA Title at Slammiversary pay-per-view, I am actually happy that it won't be Storm. TNA needs to build interest in Storm for the next several months while firmly establishing Roode as a credible heel champion to set them up on a collision course at Bound For Glory. Therefore, if the Storm videos ultimately lead to him coming back and being forced start over, climb the ladder, and earn that shot at BFG then I think they are heading in the right direction.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Overall show: I went into this show really hoping for something special from TNA. There was a sense of optimism over the company going live with some fans that I haven't seen in a long time. I wanted TNA to deliver an event and instead we got an ordinary edition of Impact. It wasn't a lousy show, but it wasn't as good as several of the shows we've seen from the company recently. I was hopeful that TNA would treat this as a major event and put their best foot forward. Instead, it felt more chaotic than usual and I don't think it was the type of show that will hook any viewers who gave up on Impact at some point and decided to give it another look due to the live aspect or the positive buzz the company has generated lately. One of the biggest issues I had with was that the final moments seemed to be the only thing designed to offer viewers some incentive to watch again next week. There were no teases for a main event, a title match, or anything in particular.
Bobby Roode vs. Sting: Make up your goddamn minds. One week it looks like TNA is doing the right thing and attempting to firmly establish Roode as a credible heel champion. The next week he loses to the old guy who was having a bad hair night on what was arguably the company's biggest show since Bound For Glory. I understand that this was designed to set up their rematch at the pay-per-view, and one can only pray that Roode will retain the title. The troubling aspect of having Roode lose this match is that in addition to undoing some of the work they've done in building him up as a credible champion lately, it also sends the message to returning viewers that nothing has changed in the sense that guys from a different era still beat today's stars. They didn't kill Roode by any means, but I wholeheartedly believe that this should be the last match he loses and he should win every match clean until Bound For Glory.
Brooke Hogan debut: TNA wants to convince us that they are throwing away the format and what we are seeing is unscripted. So why in the world would both announcers gush over the signing of Brooke Hogan and act like she's a worldwide megastar? Couldn't at least one of the announcers have at least spoken for the big part of the audience that wants to know what qualifies her to be the head of the Knockouts division? I'm not even blaming Mike Tenay and Taz because lord knows it would be politically taboo to dare to do this, but Hulk Hogan and Dixie Carter are well aware that this decision isn't popular with all viewers. Why not have her character prove herself and win over a skeptical Taz when/if the timing feels right rather than shoving her down our throats and having everyone act like this is the greatest thing to ever happen to the Knockouts?
Austin Aries vs. Chris Sabin: One of the goals of this broadcast should have been to showcase guys like Aries, Bully Ray, and certainly Roode. Aries got a throwaway win that could have meant something if Sabin had been presented in a better light. The guy is a former X Division Champion and a former TNA Tag Champion. Why not spend a little time to establish this match as a real challenge for Aries and give them enough time to shine? Rather, this felt like a glorified squash match and the only real positive is that they at least got Aries on the show. I didn't hate this segment and it was certainly watchable while it lasted, it just should have been more than it was. Did they really set up a feud by having Aries inadvertently spray Samoa Joe with a water bottle?
Gut Check: This was a mess. During the backstage segment that panel of judges spoke about Joey Ryan having a gimmick. Taz was apparently offended when he worked that gimmick during his in-ring segment. I still think the concept has potential, but TNA has to stop with all of the insider nonsense, especially when this felt so scripted. Al "Paula Abdul" Snow voted in favor of Ryan getting the contract to keep things interesting and then it was obvious that new judge Taz was going to cut the tough guy promo. They are going through a lot of trouble to make viewers think these segments are a shoot, yet this felt as formulaic as anything on the show. They have to know that the vast majority of viewers don't give a damn about what's real and what's fake. They just want to be entertained. TV viewers enjoy the drama of a good elimination and that's why I believe this could be successful if they'd focus on producing an entertaining segment rather than trying to convince viewers that what they're seeing is legitimate.
Devon vs. Jeff Hardy: All that online fan vote hype for a crappy DQ finish that involved Robbie E and Robbie T entering the ring? I'm fine with TNA not putting the TV Title on Hardy because they obviously see it as an undercard title belt. The problem is that their undercard apparently only consists of Devon, Robbie E, Robbie T, and Garett Bischoff. Are there actually TNA fans who truly wants to see Devon in the ring with either Robbie ever again?
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