Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Hulk Hogan stars in the drama featuring Brooke Hogan, Bully Ray, and Austin Aries, Christian York vs. Bobby Roode, Gut Check judging, and more!
By Will Pruett
- Wes Brisco was the first Gut Check competitor to win his match. He did so against the worst wrestler of this decade (so far), Garett Bischoff. When TNA started the Gut Check gimmick, it seemed like this would be a major moment. Instead, it was thrown out there on a hardly watched holiday episode. I thought TNA couldn't botch the Gut Check more, but last week, they proved me wrong.
- Hulk Hogan as an overprotective father is interesting, but it also compromises him as an authority figure (a role he has been fairly effective in lately). Hogan is actually acting the part well, but the story doesn't seem to be enough to pull him out of his authority figure role.
- This week in wrestling is proof that authority figures are over exposed in 2012. Between the Vickie Guerrero marathon on Raw and Hulk Hogan's prominence on this show, authority figures have been all over television. The next big thing in wrestling will be an abandonment of the authority figure as a character. It was interesting in 1998 (and a necessity given WWE's roster). In 2012, it's a dated concept.
- Bully Ray stands to gain the most from this romance angle with Brooke Hogan. Who knows if he actually will, but there is a lot for him to gain (including more affection from the fans).
- Brooke Hogan is in a role where she doesn't have to do much talking and has to do a lot of looking and listening. It works for her. I also think she may have some chemistry with Bully Ray that could be fun to watch.
- Austin Aries was fun backstage in his taunting of Hogan. I didn't love the rest of the X Division laughing beside him, but Aries himself was perfectly offensive in the best way.
- I was surprised to see that Kenny King still existed in TNA. It's a shame that there are so many great wrestlers on the TNA roster that are on part time status. I understand the need for star power, but I also see a need for athleticism and know these guys could bring it.
- Mickie James and Gail Kim had a quality match that I feel like I've seen 100 times between WWE and TNA. They're exceptional wrestlers, but together, it seems like there is nothing I haven't seen them do. This is a nitpick, since the match was good.
- James Storm and A.J. Styles had a good exchange backstage about their lost World Championship opportunities. It was short, but it focussed on the tension between them in a nice way.
- The Championship Thursday eliminations this week were not the usual compelling segments TNA has lead me to expect. They were part of the Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan story. I was disappointed to see this. I actually look forward to those segments.
- Involving Christian York on the Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode feud has actually been a great idea in the past two weeks. It has kept Hardy from having to hold his own on the mic against Roode. It has also allowed for some meaningful physicality without Hardy and Roode doing too much. Finally, Christian York is a guy that can stand against main event players, which is a great statement to make.
- Devon vs. anyone is not a match I want to see, unless it involves him getting the tables. I want to be positive, but I have no desire to see Devon in a match. This is an example of a guy who could have been replaced by a young talent that would add athleticism instead of taking it away.
- The Gut Check judges talking backstage is always a moment of embarrassment for me as a wrestling fan.
- Christopher Daniels and Kazarian (who have declared themselves "Bad Influence") are the best tag team act in wrestling today. There is no act as well-formed and as great in the ring. Even on the indie scene, where tag team wrestling is featured, no act holds a candle to Daniels and Kazarian.
- The dysfunction between A.J. Styles and James Storm was very interesting. They played it out well, but something didn't quite click for me. Perhaps Storm and Styles were off a beat in trying to be off a beat?
- I'm pretty sure that last sentence made no sense.
- TNA is running the Alamodome, which was the site of the 1997 Royal Rumble. I wonder if they will have to give away tickets to fill it like WWE did. I also strongly doubt they will be running the same stadium, but instead they'll be running a building attached to it.
- Matt Morgan is wearing a robe that used to belong to Hulk Hogan. That should be impressive, but the robe looks ridiculous. It turns Morgan into a cartoon character and not a real person.
- Joey Ryan's new video wall cracks me up.
- Doug Williams is another wrestler that could add a lot to Impact, both as a character and as a wrestler. Why is he the first choice to get squashed?
- I wouldn't be shocked to see Al Snow's disappearance and D'Lo Brown replacing him lead into the Aces and Eights story. I also wouldn't be shocked to see it lead to another distracting side story. TNA hasn't been great with focus in the past few months.
- Wes Brisco's promo really wasn't impressive, nor was it interesting. It was a forgone conclusion that he would be on the roster (in Aces and Eights, most likely), but they picked a boring way to get there.
- Bully Ray and Hulk Hogan had another nice exchange backstage. I'm not in love with this story, but the dynamic between those two could propel it into awesomeness.
- Up until the odd finish, I liked the Rob Van Dam vs. Austin Aries match. Aries worked hard to make RVD look good and Van Dam was willing to work hard as well. This match was a welcome surprise at the end of this episode.
- What if Austin Aries had stayed in the X Division and the level of competition in it had risen? What if RVD, A.J. Styles, and even Jeff Hardy had challenged him for that title as his reign lasted longer? I feel like TNA would have a stronger main roster with that simple tweak. Like I said around Bound for Glory, Hardy vs. Aries would have been a more compelling as a X Division Championship match than a World Championship match.
- Hogan and Bully may have overdone it at the end of the show, but I was fine with it. As a story, this is still more intriguing than I expected it to be.
Overall, this wasn't a bad episode of Impact Wrestling, but it had one major issue: the star of the show was Hulk Hogan. This may surprise some of you, but Hulk Hogan cannot wrestle. That focus should be on someone that is actually getting into the ring sometime soon. Most of the stories told were decent, but the show's focus was on the wrong story.
Did you enjoy TNA not quite live? Am I way off? Feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and chat me up on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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