Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List: Main Event Mafia vs. Aces & 8's, Devon forced out of TNA, the old A.J. Styles is back, Bully Ray has a new Brooke, Joseph Park and Eric Young, Gail Kim vs. ODB
By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
A.J. Styles, Magnus, Samoa Joe, Rampage Jackson, and Sting vs. Mr. Anderson, Devon, Knux, Garett Bischoff, and Wes Brisco: The return of "The Phenomenal" version of A.J. Styles was a cool moment even if it was botched bit by the production team. The live crowd was happy to see that version of the character return and I believe he will end up winning the BFG Series and challenging Bully Ray for the TNA Title at Bound For Glory once they come to terms on a new contract. Devon departing the company (again) doesn't change much since he was cast in the role of being just another one of Bully Ray's merry men. At this point, Anderson is the only sidekick who gets meaningful mic time, and everyone else in the faction feels expendable.
Bully Ray and Brooke Tessmacher: I had a hard time buying Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan as a couple initially because it seemed so far fetched. I think it's because the storyline eventually grew on me enough that I can accept the idea Tessmacher being with Ray. Tessmacher played her part extremely well and brought back good memories of Woman (a/k/a Nancy Benoit). The only thing wrong with this segment was listening to Mike Tenay's half-assed delivery of the "Bully Ray, you shocked us all" line and his uninspired call of the entire segment.
Manik vs. Sonjay Dutt: A Hit for match quality. These guys can always be counted on for a good match. Creative swung and missed with the Manik/TJ Perkins character development as far as I'm concerned, but I would like to see them at least try to give Sonjay a character. He's had some quirky gimmicks in the past, but he has a good look and could be the right character away from being more than just another X Division guy.
Joseph Park and Eric Young: There's something that just feels ridiculously right about Eric Young being the smartest person in the company. We've seen Park bleed and then turn into Abyss many times, but the fact that Detective EY is on the case sends the message that the storyline is about to move forward.
Main Event Mafia backstage: The segment that stood out was when Sting was fretting backstage over being shorthanded. I like that it was Magnus and then Samoa Joe who stood up and said it didn't matter if they fought the 10-man tag match a man down. Joe always seems fearless, but this was another small and effective step in the development of Magnus as a babyface that fans can get behind.
Gail Kim vs. ODB: The match went a couple minutes longer than it needed to, but I still enjoy ODB's act, and I'm always impressed with Kim's in-ring performances. It's refreshing to see the heel Kim go over clean rather than seeing the usual outside interference or hammer shots that seem to accompany the male heels win matches. Did Taz really make jokes that imply ODB's vagina being moldy and odorous? Stay classy, Taz.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Main Event Mafia vs. Aces & 8's hype: The show opened with an angle that led to an awkward impromptu match. As if that wasn't clunky enough, it occurred on a night when someone would be leaving the company. TNA should have done a better job of focussing on the high stakes of the match and making viewers feel as if anyone in that match could have been eliminated. The match itself was fine for what it was (though Sting should probably remove the dropkick from his offensive playbook at this point in his career), but they failed to create the right vibe until the closing minutes of the actual match.
Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson: I'm not going to bitch about the influx of MMA talent on TNA television. Rather, I must point out the absurdity of Tito striking Rampage with a hammer last week only to have Rampage show up and act perfectly healthy this week. The Miss is really for the company's ongoing obsession with using hammers as a weapon. I eventually became numb when Sting would hit his opponents with countless baseball bat shots, but I don't think I will ever be able to look past the "only in wrestling" silliness of a wrestler being struck with a hammer.
Bobby Roode and Kazarian vs. James Storm and Gunner: It must have looked a little low budget for anyone who turned on Spike TV during the match and saw everyone wrestling in jeans. The impromptu odd start of the match was just plain weird. There were four wrestlers brawling, Daniels rolling to ringside for no reason, and a referee coming out and calling for the bell. I do like the ongoing build for the new Roode, Daniels, and Kazarian faction. Here's hoping it leads to Roode focussing on the TNA Title and his stable mates finally getting the lengthy tag title reign they deserve. Oddly enough, the guy who jumps out at me as the ideal final stable mate for the heel trio is Gunner, who could play the enforcer role for the faction and someday break away and feud with Roode once the time is right.
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