Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Another hot London crowd, Hulk Hogan looks to be impressed, Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aires, and more
By Will Pruett
- It wasn't a recap of only the wedding, but the wedding's presence in the opening still bugged me. I'm probably being picky.
- Wow. TNA looked pretty good in Manchester for the last two weeks, but they looked amazing in London. The entire arena was full and TNA's production team did a great job showing it off. This was the perfect way to showcase TNA's talent roster. I can't get over how good this arena looked.
- Hulk Hogan's entrance left me with two conflicting thoughts. The first was amazement at the great reception he received. The second was a little bit of a cynical criticism of Hogan for making sure he was the first guy out there in front of a rabid crowd. Hogan did his classic Hogan tricks to extend the ovation, but it doesn't change the crowd's eagerness to offer the ovation. This was a cool moment, even with a little cynicism.
- The opening promo was basic, but the crowd allowed me to forgive a lack of major development. The basic rundown of the card was effective and the concept of "Impress Hulk Hogan" night worked.
- Sting's short promo accepting the challenge for Lethal Lockdown also worked for me. It didn't highlight Lethal Lockdown perfectly, but it let us know it would be happening. Sting and Hogan did well for themselves in this opening.
- Magnus continues to look great in front of his home country crowd. I really hope the push for him isn't solely for the month of the U.K. tour. Magnus is a killer talent ready to start his ascension now.
- Magnus vs. Christopher Daniels used a few old school tricks, which wouldn't have worked in the Impact Zone. TNA going on the road is going to open up a whole new bag of tricks. TNA hasn't been able to use them in years and it'll be nice to see wrestling that isn't over thought.
- I'd still like to see Daniels kept strong. I maintain the assertion that he could have been in the main event of Lockdown, even though it seems TNA refuses to go in that direction.
- Bully Ray actually came off as a little pathetic talking to Brooke about his desire to be champion. He was just of sad to allow me to buy into it. It does seem this promo may be a way to begin his turn though. He isn't wearing his wedding ring and he may be manipulating his wife. I'm intrigued by the story at this point.
- Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe have both slowed down multiple steps since their classic encounters from 2006-2008. This isn't surprising, since it was five years ago. The true bummer is how much Joe has changed since then. I would love for him to be in better shape. Joe can still go, but he isn't the wrestler he used to be.
- The no-contest between Joe and Angle worked for me, but once again we saw the Aces and Eights ran off instead of them getting heat. When does this group get the upper hand?
- I liked the way TNA chose to use the British Bootcamp losers and I actually really enjoy the Blossom Twins' act. TNA could have something really fun with them in the future.
- Why did Party Marty try to kill himself on a barricade? I truly hope he is okay.
- The segment with Gail Kim challenging Tara and Brooke Hogan introducing the other competitors in the Knockouts Championship four way worked for me. Brooke was fine on the mic and Gail actually cut a good promo. I love the idea of hyping a Knockouts Championship match for next week.
- I don't dislike the Roode and Aries act because they aren't good at it. On this show, they made me laugh quite a bit. My main issue with what they are doing is the removal of two top heels from the top of the card. If they go on with their mission to capture every title and get super serious, I'll probably love it.
- Rob Van Dam and James Storm put forth a pretty good effort. I liked the match and it was clear they were working to impress the large crowd. It's rare to see RVD break out the coast to coast these days and even rarer to see him miss it.
- I've recently discussed a lack of Superkicks in my life. James Storm, thank you for filling that void.
- TNA has some serious marketing issues if they don't release "Joseph Park for World Champion: 2013" shirts. This segment was pretty funny.
- Brooke Hogan going to bat for Bully Ray gives me sight of the endgame for this story. I'm excited to see the next couple chapters play out.
- Bobby Roode and Austin Aries was pretty funny. Their attempts at laying down and finger pokes (possibly containing doom) made me laugh.
- Roode and Aries also went on to have a fun, evenly matched match. Again, they are good at what they do.
- The double countout with Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez distracting Roode and Aries charmed me as well. While I'm not excited for the eventual rematch I'm going to see, TNA did a nice job making this work.
- With all of the pressure on Hulk Hogan and the non-announcement on this show, I have to wonder if Bully Ray ends up in the Lockdown match. His speech last week about not being a good guy also has me curious. We may be seeing a fun story playing out.
- Hulk Hogan's non-announcement strangely worked for me. I have to question why all of the Aces and Eights can be ran off so easily by a guy with a chain, but that's easy to explain (the whole Bully Ray turning thing).
- Sting must store his cricket bat in the U.K.
This show worked pretty well for me. I was amazed at how good the crowd looked and at how well produced the show was. We had a fair amount of good wrestling and the matches all had purpose. TNA didn't pull out all the stops here, but they produced a quality two hours of television.
This was the best of the U.K. shows thus far. I can't wait to watch next week.
Did you enjoy TNA this week? 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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