Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - TNA takes the show on the road to Chicago, Bully Ray and Aces and Eights dominate, A.J. Styles returns to TNA, and more!
By Will Pruett
Check out my All Access audio review of Thursday's TNA Impact Wrestling, which is available right now on the main page.
- How major league does TNA look right now? Te arena looked packed and the set looked great. I can't get over how much better this makes the product feel. Hopefully TNA continues drawing crowds that allow for the wide shots they used on this show.
- Opening the show with Aces and Eights beating down Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez worked for me. I enjoyed seeing the heel group get the upper hand on multiple babyfaces. I was slightly puzzled as to the reason no one came in to help Chavo and Hernandez, but I liked the sequence anyways.
- Devon's promos all seem like a generic heel yelling at random people. He doesn't have a defined character, other than being evil and having a beard.
- Bully Ray's opening promo was pitch perfect. Bully needed to come out of the gate strong to make this turn and the Aces and Eights work. I'm happy to see him bailing out this faction that was in desperate need of it.
- Many fans must have been wondering why the Aces and Eights are not all being fired. I enjoyed seeing the faction dare Hogan to do just that. This was a theme of the show that could have been built better by the commentators, but still worked.
- The Knockouts seem to have a nice story going, and the match on this show was a good continuation of it. Taryn Terrell may not be a great referee, but she is getting over based on her program with Gail Kim.
- The Knockouts tag team match was a nice display of the the of athleticism women can offer in wrestling. Most of this match was really good. I'd love to see more emphasis put on women TNA built instead of Mickie James and Tara. I know that will take time though.
- I want TNA to start a podcast where they just have Bully Ray leave voicemails for people.
- Rob Terry dancing is still a little odd. I don't believe it's the best role for him, but if live crowds respond to it, than I understand TNA's motivation.
- As great as this crowd looked, there were some sound issues on the show. It was hard to hear the commentators and even the crowd at times. They need to mic the arena better.
- I guess the Aces and Eights dartboard didn't fit into any of TNA's road cases when they left the Impact Zone.
- Hulk Hogan and Sting's segment was interesting. Why is it that whenever an invading faction comes in, everyone doubts Sting? Hasn't he proven himself to be generally a good person at this point?
- Hulk lashing out at Sting makes sense, but I wish Sting would have fought harder to defend himself. I also wish the segment with Hogan could have bothered Sting later in the night. He walked to the ring like nothing had actually happened.
- Austin Aries and Bobby Roode taunted Sting backstage in a pretty funny segment. I enjoyed seeing Aries talk himself into a match with Sting.
- Bad Influence transforming themselves into the "Legion of Boom" for a night was pretty great. I'm sure the fans enjoyed the tribute and I know it was a nice reference of wrestling history.
- James Storm vs. Christopher Daniels was not the most interesting match. I would have rather seen these two get a little more time. I would also like to see James Storm in a little more of a story. He has been floating out there as a slightly generic body in the "war" against Aces and Eights.
- Kurt Angle being beat up by Aces and Eights backstage for what felt like the tenth time was a little too much. Angle seems to have the worst luck when it comes to walking down hallways.
- Much like the fan in the crowd, I also believe in Joseph Park.
- Matt Morgan seems completely logical in his dislike of Park. That may be what I enjoyed the most about this segment. The false start on the Morgan and Park Carbon Footprint wasn't great, but they recovered well.
- Brooke Hogan's performance backstage after Bully Ray turned on her was actually pretty good. I could see Brooke playing a compelling character in the next month or two. I don't know what she does after that, but I'm not dreading seeing her.
- Sting vs. Austin Aries turned out to be a very entertaining and dynamic match. The crowd being into both men certainly helped, but it was mostly just quality wrestling. Sting seemed more motivated to work in front of the huge crowd than he's been at the Impact Zone.
- An Aces and Eights ambush to close the show was expected. I'm satisfied by the good match was saw right before it.
- The big problem I had with the end of this show was the way it built around Hulk Hogan and the promotion itself as the lead babyfaces. It wasn't an active wrestler we were all waiting for. It wasn't a new faction rising up. It was just Hogan and "TNA" as an entity. It's hard to cheer for TNA over a wrestler and I feel like fans are being asked to do so.
- The closing brawl was a little clunky as well. I seemed disorganized and it lasted a little too long. Those issues aside, I'm happy to see Aces and Eights get a show closing moment where they stand tall.
This was a great first outing for TNA. While the stories didn't all work perfectly, the crowd allowed for them to seem major league. These stories matter far more because TNA seems to matter more in these shows. Going on the road is probably the best move TNA could make. I hope it continues to be this great.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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