Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List: Rampage Jackson and Kurt Angle showdown, Samoa Joe gaining momentum, Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy in a ladder/hammer match, Hulk Hogan and Brooke Hogan close the show
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Rampage Jackson and Kurt Angle: An excellent debut for Jackson. He came off like the star that he is to the live crowd. They kept his mic work brief and then brought out an intense Kurt Angle to set up what could be a money match. Angle is the predictable first opponent for Jackson, but predictable isn't always a bad thing. If Jackson is around long enough, I would also like to see Jackson work against Bully Ray, Samoa Joe, and Matt Morgan, whose character would logically be upset about an outsider getting so much notoriety on TNA television.
Samoa Joe vs. Robbie E: Joe had a really good week. His offense was over in a big way during the six-man tag at Slammiversary, and he looked good again in this short squash match. Joe is gaining momentum and one can only hope it leads somewhere.
Mickie James: The new Knockouts Champion has shined ever since she started showing heel tendencies. She seems inspired again and she is the ideal candidate to be the Knockouts Champion. She has star power from her WWE run and is good enough in the ring to be the anchor of the division. The company needs to settle in on a Knockout for a lengthy title reign and my vote goes to Mickie. I like the way she worked with the unheralded Taeler Hendrix (who looked a little flabbier than she did in her last appearance) by making it seem like she was giving a shot to someone who Velvet Sky avoided. Taryn Terrell is coming off the big Last Knockouts Standing match and has a bright future with the company, but I would keep the two of them apart for at least six months to avoid another Miss Tessmacher situation. Tessmacher seemed just as over, but she won the Knockouts Title prematurely and it just wasn't the same once she did. Terrell isn't going anywhere and there's no reason to rush into her peak moment of winning the Knockouts strap.
Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, and Kenny King vs. James Storm, Gunner, and Chris Sabin: A good match and it was encouraging to hear the live crowd rally behind Gunner. The only negative is that King lost to Sabin again. They could have played up that Sabin never actually pinned King to win the title, but they took the shine away from that possibility.
Abyss and the TNA TV Title: I have no idea what he meant when he said he's going to take the title to the abyss. My hope is that it means the awful title belt is going away forever. TNA needs a good secondary title (no, the X Division Title doesn't count), but this title is flawed. It started as Booker T's toy title belt and eventually became a TV Title that fans just don't take seriously. Sell it on eBay, scrap it, or add it to the TNA Closet of Fame. Introduce a new secondary title and make it a true stepping stone to the TNA Title, not as a prop to breathe life into undercard storylines that people don't care about.
Hernandez vs. Chavo Guerrero: You had to laugh at Chavo refusing to shake the hand of Hernandez backstage, yet then shaking hands to start this match. I'm giving it a minor Hit because the right guy went over and the BFG Series felt important because two tag partners worked against one another in a qualifying match.
Overall show: The big Hit count doesn't mean it was a home run show, but it was a good night for TNA.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Hulk Hogan and Brooke Hogan ending: TNA's website actually labeled this as a "must-watch ending." I'm fine with the Hogans having their roles in TNA, but Hulk should not be cast as the most important person in the company. Why not go off the air while Kurt Angle and Rampage Jackson were engaged in a staredown instead? The TNA Champion may wrestle Sting and Jeff Hardy, but we are reminded constantly that his real feud is with the general manager. And I pray this isn't leading to a match. I get it from a box office standpoint because I'm sure there would be interest in Hogan returning to the ring one more time, but I don't want to see it. A six-man tag match where Hogan can punch, kick, and pose through a match? Fine. An actual singles match? Absolutely not. WWE is in the midst of a youth movement with some great young acts, whereas TNA is showcasing a soon-to-be 60 year-old legend and his daughter.
Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy: The ring work was Hit-worthy, but I hate the stipulation. I get the idea that Aces & 8's took out Hardy with a hammer and then Ray used the hammer to beat Sting on Sunday, so Hardy had a chance to give Bully a taste of his own medicine. The problem I have with it is that the use of the hammer felt endorsed by TNA. A wrestler being hit in the head with a hammer should be portrayed as barbaric and downright horrific rather than commonplace. I also hated the non-finish to the match. Ray took the hammer down first, which would win any other ladder match, but apparently TNA's storyline management is so sadistic that the only way to win this match was for one wrestler to bludgeon his opponent with a hammer. TNA creative really need to stop and think about how ridiculous their use of the hammer shots has become. Yes, I know Triple H uses a sledgehammer in WWE and I find that equally absurd.
Aces & 8's: Bully Ray is over, but the rest of the group continues to feel bush league. Getting D-Lo Brown out of the mix is a start. I've never understood why DOC and Knux have not been positioned as a tag team. If they don't want to do that, then why hasn't DOC been positioned as a real player in the gang rather than just another silent member? I realize it's a vehicle for Bully Ray, but the throwaway feel of most of his sidekicks is dragging him down. On the bright side, Mr. Anderson is coming off a lousy performance with A.J. Styles on last week's Impact, but his character has had a resurgence over the last couple weeks.
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