Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Austin Aries hands over the X Division Championship and is confronted by Bobby Roode, some clumsy X Division tournament qualifiers, Jeff Hardy defeats James Storm
By Will Pruett
- Bully Ray's opening promo made me laugh. His announcement of his new Twitter account was a fun way to garner some heat and allow him to be interrupted by Joseph Park.
- I don't know exactly what it is, but the Impact Zone crowd absolutely loves Joseph Park. The angle may be getting a little bit old, but it is good to see them going with something the crowd loves. Since going live, the Impact Zone crowd has been miles better.
- The idea that Abyss cannot get close to Bully Ray is a great one. It creates some intrigue around the Park vs. Ray matchup next week. I'm curious to see what deus ex machina TNA comes up with to get out of this one.
- I really enjoy segments that feature Hulk Hogan and Austin Aries. These two have genuine chemistry on screen. I would probably be willing to spend an hour just watching them interact.
- Every time I have to watch a highlight of the first reveal of Crackhead Claire, an angel tears off their wings in shame.
- Why hasn't Dixie Carter talked to Crackhead Claire since last week? They were sitting right next to each other. That seems like a pretty easy solution to this problem. Is Dixie the worst communicator in wrestling/soap opera history?
- After Crimson first lost to James Storm last month, I mentioned that I would like to see him as TV Champion to rebuild his character. Sadly, Devon is apparently more important than a younger talent. I'm not saying Crimson is a perfect choice, but he is a guy that the TV Championship could rebuild.
- Devon's Spinebuster is not all that enjoyable.
- Is the Madison Rayne and Earl Hebner relationship going to end the same way that Dawn Marie and Al Wilson's relationship did?
- Chris Sabin did a really nice job building up sympathy for his eventual angle with Bobby Roode. I'd hate to see him leave wrestling after this injury, but at the same time, I could actually understand if he did.
- Bobby Roode was great at being a huge jerk to Sabin. Seeing these two together made me recall their history as tag team rivals. That little does of history also made this angle all the more effective.
- It was a basic wrestling angle between Sabin and Roode. Austin Aries running in for the save completed it. The angle felt real, was effective, and wasn't overproduced.
- I don't know if TNA has ever featured a clumsier match than Flip Casanova vs. Dakota Darsow. Flip put on a brutal performance. Sure, his offense looked effective, but that's because he basically killed Darsow.
- The danger in putting on these X Division qualifiers is that the wrestlers can come off as very minor-league and indie-rific. Darsow and Casanova were a great example of that. The match featured a lot of flips (no pun intended), but very little interesting storytelling. It was a stereotype of an athletic, but bad indie match.
- Taeler Hendrix has already received more screen time than the original Gut Check winner. Who was he again and why?
- Madison Rayne and Gail Kim vs. Tara and Miss Tessmacher just seemed to be there this week. The match didn't tell a great story or serve a great purpose. Tessmacher and Kim will hopefully be able to replicate the success of their match at Sacrifice.
- I really enjoyed the video packages of James Storm and Jeff Hardy that we're shown to set up the main event. They made the match feel important and special. That feeling also carried over to the Bound for Glory Series in general. It wasn't a major focus of this show, but it did feel important when mentioned.
- A.J. Styles' promo about Christopher Daniels illustrated a whole lot of what is wrong with this angle. They have been fighting each other for a full year. They've run out of new matches to have against each other. A Last Man Standing Match (which I find particularly boring, anyways) is not an exciting prospect for them.
- One saving grace for this show: there was no new footage of Crackhead Claire created. I'm chill with her disappearing now, if that's the plan.
- How did that Aces and Eights guy get into the Impact Zone? Was a security guard handed a lot of cash, or just a deck of cards with five missing? The teaser was good, but it should have come a few weeks sooner.
- I'm surprised to see Kenny King competing in TNA, but after hearing Ring of Honor's side of the story, I don't really blame him for doing so. King is a great talent that can be a star in the X Division. On this show he was seen by more people than he has been for his entire career. That's worth more than a token ROH tag title reign.
- Lars Only looked very minor league. He is Johnny Yuma, one half of the RockNES Monsters on the indie scene. He usually looks much better, but this match with King was another clumsy effort.
- Kenny King's post-match promo was one of the better moments of this show. He should be a tent pole in the new X Division (which I hope lasts longer than the last new X Division).
- The segment between Aries and King made me believe their is a future for King in TNA. I like that.
- James Storm and Jeff Hardy really seemed like it was going towards a draw in the first five minutes. They were constantly stalling in an unexpected way. I'm not used to Storm and Hardy not getting straight to their match.
- I was surprised to see Hardy actually beat Storm. If I had to pick a wrestler or two to defeat Storm in this series, Hardy would be one of them. Storm should be able to bounce back from this pretty well.
- Where's Magnus?
- The segment between Hulk Hogan, Bobby Roode, and Austin Aries to close the show was great. It was another simple wrestling angle that was effective and fun to watch. This match between Roode and Aries should be a crowning moment for Aries, even if he does not win the TNA Championship.
- I'd love to see Aries and Roode's rivalry continue up through Hardcore Justice next month.
This was a good episode of Impact. Nothing stood out as brilliant, but almost everything pointed towards Destination X, which was good. Aries and Roode is right where it needs to be going into their first pay-per-view encounter. The Bound for Glory Series is going far better than it went a year ago. The X Division Championship tournament is a fun hook for the pay-per-view.
Impact continues to put on logical and compelling television. If you ignore the Crackhead Claire angle, it is almost perfect. I think it is time to call it the most compelling wrestling show on television today.
Did you enjoy TNA live? Am I way off? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and chat me up on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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