Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries becomes a Ladder Match, Bully Ray vs. Devon, Luke Gallows unmasked as part of Aces and Eights, Open Fight Night produces a lack of surprises
By Will Pruett
- One odd aspect of this show was Todd Keneley's sudden transition to being a play by play man instead of a color commentator. The audience isn't familiar enough with his voice to listen to him on play by play for an entire show. I feel like it hurt my enjoyment of the first hour.
- The opening segment with Jospeh Park was interesting. It provided a really nice hook for the rest of the show (Sting promising someone would be unmasked) and was entertaining in and of itself. Park is always entertaining and always fun to watch when talking.
- Magnus calling out Samoa Joe made a ton of sense. This feud, however, has only seemed like half of a feud. TNA keeps walking away, then going back to it, instead of allowing it to build in intensity continuously. The use of Magnus here was great. He's definitely a diamond in the rough in TNA.
- Samoa Joe vs. Magnus was a decent match until the disqualification finish. It made me want to see more of them at Turning Point, which I believe was the goal. If, for the next few weeks, TNA focuses in on this feud, it can be something special by the pay-per-view.
- No one in TNA has hair like Wes Brisco. How is no one in TNA noticing this? The fluffy-haired Aces and Eights guy can't be anyone else, can he?
- Was that the first time Samoa Joe has used his "Joe's gonna' kill you" catchphrase? His backstage promo was a nice, intense piece of work. It was quite enjoyable.
- Tonight's Jeff Hardy's audible thoughts segment seemed to be there just to prove that this concept was going to stay. I'm sad to see that. It really does pull a viewer out of the reality TV feel of TNA. I love that they tried something new, but I don't feel it works with the tone of the show.
- I like Christopher Daniels and Kazarian a whole lot. This is why I'm super bummed about them being turned into stereotypical racists. This angle with Chavo and Hernandez isn't working for me and I fear the only way it ends is with LAX version 7 getting the victory.
- Zema Ion vs. Christian York was a good match with a better story. York, from the moment he entered to the moment he lost, looked like a real professional wrestler, not an indie reject. While his timing with Ion wasn't perfect, the match worked for me. It was the best Gut Check match we've seen thus far.
- Christian York would be a great featured player in the X Division. After the match he had, TNA would be silly not to sign him. Of course, this is TNA, so they probably won't sign him.
- What is it actually worth to Bully Ray to know that Garett Bischoff has his back?
- I like ODB's comedy act, but her match with Jesse was too much for me. I strongly dislike the over-abundance of comedy in the Knockout's Division. Tara isn't entertaining me and ODB isn't a great challenger for her either.
- The mid-show commentary handoff is now the most awkward thing on wrestling television today. Kudos to TNA for that.
- Robbie E.'s challenge to Jeff Hardy was a nice way to get both men on the show. I'm not super into Robbie most of the time, but being squashed by Hardy is an okay role for him.
- Austin Aries hasn't quite clicked for me since his involvement with the Aces and Eights a few months back. Aries' character often seems like a major C.M. Punk duplicate. I'm not saying their rematch won't be excellent, but the characters aren't driving me to see it.
- Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries becoming a Ladder Match was an interesting announcement. I wonder where Hardy gets the authority to make this a Ladder Match from. That said, it's an attraction. The match will most likely be very good, although they could probably hold off another month before breaking out the ladders.
- Matt Morgan stole a cape. Yep.
- I'm not usually that big on TNA guys taking pot-shots at WWE, but A.J. Styles' quick mention of the A.J. Lee/John Cena story was just fine with me.
- Styles and Bobby Roode has a nice segment together that I wish had built into an actual match only between those two. The third man (James Storm) feels tacked on. I also don't really like the reprise of the Roode and Storm feud in a triple threat either. This is another triple threat that TNA is throwing together to avoid telling a story in the upper-mid-card. It's a lot like Hardy vs. Van Dam vs. Anderson last year.
- The added stipulation that the loser of the triple threat will not get a TNA Championship shot until Bound for Glory is odd. It almost telegraphs that person as the intended winner of the Bound for Glory Series next year. It also limits TNA'a creative possibilities with that person. I'm interested to see how that person's story is told in the next year.
- Matt Morgan couldn't look less intimidating in that cape. I don't care who he stole it from.
- Joey Ryan seems too cartoony for TNA.
- Rob Van Dam still has not explained why he is allowed in the X Division despite being a chubby dude (comparatively).
- Bully Ray's short promo calling out Devon was decent. The entire segment was just another large brawl. We see a few of these on a weekly basis in TNA right now and I am getting tired of them. The chaos isn't entertaining, it's grating.
- The reveal of Luke Gallows was well done, but I didn't like the commentary on the moment. Mike Tenay's "We all know who that is" call was awful. TNA should have a name picked out for Gallows and they should have used it here. Other than that, I enjoyed the reveal.
The closing moments of this show featured chaos, but the chaos is starting to seem extremely scripted. When TNA shows constantly go off the air with a massive brawl, what are we supposed to believe? How do these fights end? Why does the show end when the fight doesn't? I know the real answer to these questions, but how does TNA explain them?
The top story in TNA is the Aces and Eights drama. The top babyface in that story is too crippled to wrestle. The secondary story is Aries vs. Hardy, which isn't clicking the way TNA needs it to. There are issues in the logic department on this show that are making the entire product in enjoyable.
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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