Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hitlist: Bully Ray beats Austin Aries, Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles vs. Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez, Gut Check match, Aces & 8s hit Joseph Park with a hammer
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Hits
A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle vs. Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez: A very good opening tag match. This was Chavo's best outing since he arrived in TNA. I'll never be a fan of what I feel is over use of the Eddie spots, but the split-legged dropkick on both opponents and the sequence that followed was great. You had to see the three-way tag match coming for Bound For Glory, yet I still enjoyed the setup and this tag match left me looking forward to the three-way tag.
Aces & 8s strike Joseph Park with a hammer: This was over the top violence. Had this happened in the company that positions itself as PG programming and kid friendly, I wouldn't have this in the Hit column. Aces & 8s are playing biker gang characters. Sons of Anarchy is one of the most popular shows on cable, and people expect violence from the gangs. So while I inevitably suspect the hammer guy will get a cornball name like Skull Crusher or Hammerhead and Park will now revert to Abyss or another personality, the violence was jarring in a good way. The flaw, of course, was that they just moved on to other things and didn't have the announcers or anyone other than Hogan sell it. By the way, here's hoping that if Park has a third personality it turns out to be an eight year-old girl named Chloe.
Evan Markopoulos vs. Doug Williams: An enjoyable Gut Check match with the 18 year-old rookie facing the grizzled veteran. Markopolous works the crowd well for a guy his age and Williams did a good job of dominating the match yet giving the kid some hope spots. My guess is that the judges praise Markopolous while telling him to get his college education and come see them again in four years. Perhaps that's just wishful thinking. Evan isn't ready for prime time in the ring and needs to develop physically (unless they go with an underdog gimmick), but I like the way he managed to get the crowd to rally behind him.
Tara and Miss Tessmacher: Tara did a good job of bullying the likable Christy Hemme character, and Tessmacher running out to save only to have Tara run off was a simple yet effective way to build to their Bound For Glory match. Is Tara's boyfriend Joey Ryan or is that just too obvious?
TNA Impact Misses
Overall show: A minor Miss. I expected a hot show with Bound For Glory rapidly approaching, but this wasn't it. Rather, it just felt flat and fairly uneventful. I also expected some acknowledgement of Matt Morgan showing up at the house shows over the weekend. If the idea was to stir up house show interest by having Morgan return at a house shows then the smart thing to do would be to let the television audience know about it with the hope that they would buy tickets to upcoming shows. Impact has settled into that "not so bad, not so good" territory again. They really need to heat this up immediately with their biggest show of the year just a few weeks away.
Austin Aries and Jeff Hardy: It appears they are either turning Aries or simply giving Hardy fans plenty of incentive to dislike him. I'm not onboard with this match yet. I have no doubt that it will be entertaining, but it doesn't have that big show main event feel to it yet. They still have three weeks to pull that off and I hope I'm moving this into the Hit section before then. It took a step in the right direction lat night, but it's not there yet. Meanwhile, it was good to see Bully Ray get a win after losing so much lately, but it wasn't positioned as a major happening. Worse yet, it left Aries looking weaker heading into the pay-per-view.
James Storm and Bobby Roode brawl: The intensity was there and the brawl was fine. I just can't help but wonder what might have been whenever we see these two on camera together. There's no denying that both men have lost something since Roode lost the title belt and Storm was no longer positioned as the babyface on the rise. I still don't feel the positives of going with Austin Aries as TNA Champion outweigh the negatives of not going with this match as the Bound For Glory main event, and that's coming from someone who enjoys the hell out of watching Aries perform.
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