Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List: Sting vs. Matt Morgan to become No. 1 contender, Chris Sabin returns to the ring after his second knee surgery, Kurt Angle vs. D-Lo Brown, X Division format, Knockouts tag match
By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Chris Sabin vs. Xema Ion vs. Sonjay Dutt: All eyes were on Sabin and I liked the video packages they used to tell the story of his injuries and his return. In fact, I liked them so much that I would not have had him return in the first match of the show. They could have made Sabin feel like a bigger deal had they continues to show more of his interview in short spurts throughout the show until he made his return late in the second hour. Overall, though, the reintroduction went well.
Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles: Angle was good here and had the benefit of playing to a home state crowd that loved him. I'm digging the Styles character right now. He was long overdue to be repackaged and they are getting plenty of milage out of this run. I still worry that he won't be able to make this work once it's time for him to start talking again, but it's solid for now. That said, I haven't been engaged in the mystery of which side Styles will choose since the moment that Aces & 8's told him that he would have to start at the bottom and work his way up through their ranks. I also never bought into the idea of Styles joining forces with Daniels and Kazarian, yet that's actually the charm of their delusional and humorous attempts to recruit him.
Kurt Angle vs. D-Lo Brown: Angle suplexed D-Lo into having a good match. I assume D-Lo putting his cut on the line means his return to the ring will be short lived. I never really understood why they brought him back in the first place aside from wanting to have someone play the office mole. Angle really benefitted from working in his home state. He felt fresher and came off like a bigger star than he has in quite some time.
Mickie James and Taryn Terrell vs. Gail Kim and Tara: A solid Knockouts tag match that featured the three best workers of the division and the charismatic Terrell. Taryn certainly has the look, but I hope they take their time with her climbing the ladder of the Knockouts division rather than rush her into the title picture.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Sting vs. Matt Morgan: Sting winning this match and earning the right to challenge for the TNA Title at Slammiversary is so wrong. I don't care if Sting consistently gets one of the loudest pops now that the show is on the road. There's something special about seeing Sting in person when he comes to your town, but there's nothing special about seeing him challenging for the TNA Title on a pay-per-view event in 2013. It sends the message that nothing has changed in TNA. It's also damaging to Sting, as most fans respect his longevity and truly want to like him when he's cast in the proper role.
It would be no different in WWE if Undertaker received countless title shots. The fans love Taker and he actually feels like he's bigger than the championship in some ways. Yet if he started working a regular schedule and challenged for the title too frequently, it would actually bring him down a notch and a good portion of the fan base would start to call for something new. TNA is wise to push Sting as an icon, but it doesn't seem like they grasp how to actually accomplish that.
I'm not suggesting that Morgan should have won this match since they are obviously telling a story with him right now. I like the idea of the story they tried to tell of Morgan passing out from the pain, though Sting sitting down while performing the Scorpion Leg Lock looked more clumsy than painful. However, I do feel that the company should have another babyface positioned well enough that to seem like a worthy contender to the TNA Title at Slammiversary even if it means that said babyface drops the match to keep Bully Ray's title reign going. There's a place for Sting and Hulk Hogan in the wrestling industry, but it's no longer challenging for the top title or dominating the storylines.
Rob Terry vs. Joey Ryan, Jesse, and Robbie E: Now who does Terry work with? Terry is the one undercard babyface the company seems to be investing in right now, but does anyone have confidence in his in-ring ability enough to believe that he will be able to do more than destroy undercard wrestlers?
New X-Division Format: Rather than attempt to ground these guys with the goal of getting them to tell better stories in the ring, TNA seems to have embraced the train wreck style. I am not a fan. I don't mind the occasional three-way match, but I just have no desire to watch a division filled with nothing but three-way matches. Chris Sabin was able to stand out because it was his return match, but in general no one really stands out in these matches, including the X Division champion. Here's hoping TNA scraps the new approach in favor of the more traditional approach and focusses more on character development than train wrecks.
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