Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List: Chris Sabin wins the TNA Title, Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries, X Division qualifiers, Rampage Jackson, Mickie James likes golden sponge cakes with creaming filling
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Chris Sabin vs. Bully Ray: A minor Hit is the best I can give this. It was a feel good story told at a time when the company needed a feel good moment considering all of the budget cuts that have taken place. I enjoyed the match and the story that was told with Ray targeting Sabin's knee. However, I did not care for the finish. If you're going to put the guy over, put him over strong. I don't care how fitting it seems for Bully Ray to lose due to a hammer shot to the head. This was Sabin's night and there's something totally underwhelming about a babyface using a hammer shot to the head to win his first World Championship.
As much as I like the story of Sabin coming back from two knee surgeries to win the championship, I don't feel like a star was made with this win. Despite my objection to the finish, TNA creative gave him a chance to shine. Now he needs to deliver. Sabin has never stood out as a strong talker and he's not among the top ten most charismatic guys on the roster. He needs to step up his game. He's always been a good worker, but now he needs to deliver the best mic work of his life and make a real connection with the fans if he's going to emerge as more than just a good worker who had a brief run with the title. I suspect Sabin is a short term champion unless the idea is to free up Ray for an eventual Bound For Glory pay-per-view match with Hulk Hogan since the winner of the BFG Series gets the shot at the TNA Title. Even if that's the case, he has a chance to take a big step forward and I am rooting for him, but he has a lot to prove in the weeks ahead.
Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries: An excellent Bound For Glory Series match to start the show. I really liked the way Aries was utilized during this show. He did a really good job in the backstage segment with Chris Sabin, and we need to hear more from Aries in non-comedy exchanges with Roode. Meanwhile, I like the story they are telling with Roode's growing frustration over his lousy start in the BFG Series and I am curious to see what it is that gets him back on track.
Broadcast team: Once again, Jeremy Borash brought energy and enthusiasm to the broadcast team. The failed experiment that was the three-man team with Todd Keneley seemed to motivate Mike Tenay, who seems much more focussed than he has in the past.
Sonjay Dutt vs. Homicide vs. Petey Williams: It was good to see Homicide back and I would love to see the company bring him back full-time to team with Hernandez. Granted, the duo was never the same without Konnan as their mouthpiece, but LAX still has a cool factor that Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero lacked. The Gringo Killer on Williams was frightening and one can only hope there are no long term issues. Sonjay looked good and I damn near fell over when one of the announcers said Dutt has never won the X Division Title. I just assumed every X Division wrestler who worked more than seven weeks in the company had received a run with the strap.
Greg Marasciulo vs. Rubix vs. Rockstar Spud: I like Trent Barreta and he has the look and in-ring ability to be something in TNA. However, the "just throw him out there" introduction complete with his real name was a letdown. You only get one chance to make a first impression. He made one in the ring, but the lack of thought that went into the presentation was obvious. I like Rockstar Spud, but he was too over the top at times. I know it's fun for Jigsaw fans to see him work as Rubix, but this is another case of poor presentation in that there's no real story told with his character. The match quality gets a Hit, but I can't get over how lackluster the presentation of X Division newcomers is.
Mickie James: Mickie continued her streak of entertaining heel promos and you have to appreciate anyone who recognizes that the invention of the first Twinkie was a glorious day in history.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Rampage Jackson: The MMA star's first appearance on Impact was so good, and I was open to the idea of him being the final member of the Main Event Mafia. Sadly, he looks out of place wearing the clothing he does when the other members are wearing suits. Worse yet, he seems unsure of himself as he constantly looks at the other members to see what they are doing. TNA would be better off taking the Brock Lesnar approach with Rampage in that they should limit his dates and only use him when they have something big in mind for him. He looked like a crossover star in his first couple of appearances and I already fear that he's going to feel like just another guy if he makes frequent appearances with the Main Event Mafia.
Manic vs. Kenny King vs. Chavo Guerrero: Good rapid fire action, but two of the three characters are such a mess right now that I had a hard time caring about the outcome. I'm still not sure what the appeal of Manik (that's Kinam spelled backwards!!!) is now that they showed him unmasked for no real reason and Hulk Hogan changed his name out of the blue. Is there a reason T.J. Perkins can't just work as T.J. Perkins? Meanwhile, Kenny King's post title reign slide continues. It seemed like he was just starting to find his character when they pulled the plug on his title reign and stopped giving him meaningful television time. The good news is that Chavo Guerrero seems like he's slowly turning heel. He's never shown much charisma as a babyface, but he plays a solid heel and could be a quality X Division act, especially if they pull the plug on the all three-way match concept and let the personalities shine more in traditional singles feuds.
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