Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List: Dixie Carter and A.J. Styles close the show, A.J. Styles vs. Bully Ray includes yet another ref bump, Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode, Bro Mans celebration, Ethan Carter III vs. Dewey Barnes
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Opening segment: The 20-minute talking segment certainly went longer than it needed to, but I went in expecting a talk-heavy show since it was the first after Bound For Glory. I'm still not a fan of Dixie Carter playing an on-air heel authority figure, but I got a kick out of the "Welcome Back A.J. Styles" sign and silliness. Bully Ray was good as always, and I was pleasantly surprised by the mic work of A.J. Styles, who delivered his lines with more poise and conviction than usual. The Mr. Anderson return was well received by the lively crowd and his attack on Bully sets up TNA with a top babyface and gives Bully Ray his post A.J. Styles opponent.
Gail Kim and Brooke Tessmacher vs. ODB and Velvet Sky: The entire Knockouts Division was on display since Lei'D Tapa was at ringside. Anyway, it was a good showcase to establish that Tapa is now aligned with Kim, and the right Knockout took the pinfall if only because the focus on Velvet is more about her relationship with Chris Sabin than her in-ring work these days.
Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode: Nothing particularly new for those who watched the pay-per-view, but they recapped the situation well and moved on quickly from Angle's Hall of Fame mess. The live crowd was hot for Angle and the quick pull apart kept the intensity high coming out of the pay-per-view.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Dixie Carter and A.J. Styles: As much as I liked Styles earlier in the show, this was a train wreck. A.J. took his title and committed grand theft auto by stealing the car that Dixie was trying to give him. Whatever. I've let the obvious C.M. Punk storyline comparisons slide, but now that you have a champion without a contract and a desperate heel owner it's impossible ignore. Both companies borrow ideas from the other so spare me any "but WWE took this from TNA" whining. TNA's top angle is a weak knockoff of something that WWE already did better and on a bigger stage.
A.J. Styles vs. Bully Ray: They failed to create the big match feel throughout the show.If you're going to give away the rematch to the main event of the company's biggest pay-per-view of the year on free television, then you have to make it feel like a major happening. The match was entertaining until TNA dug into the same old bag of tricks with yet another goddamn ref bump. TNA creative needs to take an oath that they won't deliver any ref bumps or cheap main event finishes for a whole year. What's the worst that could happen? Granted, they would have to actually work for their paychecks rather than recycling the same old shitty overbooked finishes, but I have no doubt that the product would be so much better off.
Sting and Magnus: A weak followup to their weak Bound For Glory match. Enough said.
Ethan Carter III vs. Dewey Barnes: TNA got too cute for their own good. I get a big kick out of comedic enhancement workers like Barnes as much as the next guy. The problem in this case is that he overshadowed the guy they are trying to get over. I'm intrigued by the EC3 character, yet I found myself watching the hapless Barnes throughout the match. Once it concluded, I was waiting to hear something fresh from Carter, but instead his mic work was brief, repetitive, and totally forgettable.
Bro-Mans celebration: The whole bro bit from Robbie is just tired. I think he has talent, but the idea of a Jersey Shore inspired character still going makes the company look out of touch. They generate heat (and "you can't wrestle" chants), but I really question whether it's genuine heat or go away heat. Meanwhile, they crammed all of the other tag teams onto the show, and then gave us the one millionth installment of Joseph Park seeing his own and morphing into Abyss, yet no one in TNA seems any closer to unravelling this great "mystery."
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