Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List: Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles, Rampage Jackson's second week, Sting is bringing back the Main Event Mafia, Aces & 8's battle royal, Bound For Glory Series qualifiers, Mickie James and Velvet Sky
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Hits
Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles: A good main event. It feels like we've seen the matchup a million times before (including at Slammiversary), but it does feel fresher now that Styles had the character makeover. Angle is starting to connect with me as a legend. It may seem odd for those of you who have viewed him that way for years. I always respected his talents, but he seemed young enough that he struck me as more of a TNA star than a legend. Adding him to the TNA Hall of Fame came at the right time and I think that label could make his appearances seem more important now that it feels like he's entering the twilight of his career (yet still delivering in the ring).
Mickie James and Velvet Sky: Mickie continues to shine in her role as the insincere babyface skewing heel. I guess we got the full heel turn last night when she kicked Velvet's bad knee, but hopefully she can continue to play her character in this manner because it's the most entertaining she has been during her TNA run.
Aces & 8's battle royal: Comical silliness. Maybe that's not what you want from a motorcycle gang stable, but I must admit that I got a kick out of this. The play off the Finger Poke of Doom was especially good, and the live crowd got into the idea of the DOC going against the grain and trying to win the match. I didn't care for how easily Mr. Anderson was able to eliminate him from the battle royal, but it did show that the fans have some interest in the underutilized DOC. I don't care whether DOC stays with or leaves Aces & 8's, I just want to see TNA do something with the guy.
TNA Impact Misses
Bound For Glory Series: I can only speak for myself, but I'm having a hard time getting excited by the annual point system series. The series took a turn for the better last year when creative took the time to make sure every wrestler had the same number of matches, but I can't shake the feeling that nothing really matters until they get to the home stretch. Here's hoping they lay this out in a way that changes my tune. As of now, I'd rather see TNA book a big annual tournament to determine which wrestler challenges for the TNA Title. Even the early round matches would feel meaningful in a single elimination tournament, and the brackets wouldn't be as hard to follow as the point system.
Rampage Jackson: Rampage felt like a star due to the way he was presented last week. The followup this week was really soft, and the conclusion with him saving Kurt Angle from an attack didn't do much for me. I hope they're not going to set this up like he's got Angle's back only to have him join Aces & 8's. Lord knows the faction could use a boost, but Jackson feels like a bigger deal on his own than he would in a watered down faction. TNA should have been more consistent with shots of Rampage throughout the show combined with big hype from the broadcast team. They have to work hard to ensure that Jackson comes across like a star, not just another member of the TNA roster.
Sting is bring back the Main Event Mafia: This is a conditional Miss since we don't know who will actually be in the group with him. I'm just going on my initial reaction, which is that Sting plans to bring in a group of over the hill wrestlers to join him in feuding with Aces & 8's. TNA needs a youth movement, not a bunch of ancient wrestlers feuding with Bully Ray's faction. Of course, we don't know who is actually going to be in the group, so I'll reserve judgment until it actually plays out.
Crimson vs. Joseph Park: Crimson did a decent job on the mic by venting about disappearing from television after his winning streak ended, but he was quickly rebranded a scrub when he was rolled up and pinned by Park. I have no idea where they are going with Crimson, but this was a lousy week one reintroduction.
Magnus vs. Kenny King vs. Matt Morgan vs. Rob Terry: Speaking of lousy reintroductions, this is the first time we saw Morgan since he passed out to a sloppy looking Scorpion Death Lock. He's been off television for nearly a month and the first time we see him he's just thrown into a random four-way match and loses. It seems like TNA knows how to build him up as a big monster, but then they get lost and make him just another guy. King's descent from X Division Champion to glorified enhancement wrestler is disappointing. Is there some bylaw in the TNA handbook that requires creative to bury everyone in the division other than the champion? I'm fine with Magnus qualifying for the BFG Series, but I can think of several ways to get there without making Morgan and King look bad.
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