Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Jeff Hardy in a Ladder Hammer match, Brooke saves Bully from a hammered Hulk, Rampage Jackson and Kurt Angle face to face, the Bound for Glory Series takes shape, and more!
By Will Pruett
There are quite a few things I would like to spend some time discussing in TNA. The Hogan family drama was ratcheted up as this show came to a close. The Knockouts Division is continuing to have the most compelling stories in the promotion. The X Division is returning to prominence. Rampage Jackson rolled into the promotion, and some other things happened. All of this sounds fun, but I would rather talk about Ladder Hammer!
You see, on Impact Wrestling we had a match between Bully Ray and Jeff Hardy with a hammer hanging where one needed a ladder to retrieve it. This mix of hardware brought to mind many questions and inconsistencies. For one, how does one win a Ladder Hammer match? If the goal is to grab the hammer, does the match end by pinfall? If the match is supposed to end with a pin, are pins legal before the hammer is grabbed?
What purpose does grabbing the hammer serve? The ladder itself is a heavier and more intimidating weapon. There are chairs and guardrails at ringside set to inflict damage. Surely, the hammer is not the only object meant for destruction in the arsenal of Impact Wrestling.
Why is the hammer in a sanctioned match? The entire idea of using a hammer as a weapon is to illustrate the viciousness of The Aces and Eights. The hammer shows how unconventionally dangerous they can be. With the hammer suddenly legalized for use on top stars, it becomes commonplace. The hammer is special because it is an atrocity when someone is hit with it. When hitting your opponent with a hammer becomes legal, the hammer is just another kendo stick, trash can, or stop sign.
None of this actually mattered because Bully Ray was able to wander to the back prior to Jeff Hardy being able to hammer him. Hulk Hogan then attempted to hammer Bully, but Hogan's daughter and Bully's wife managed to put a stop to it. Technically, the Ladder Hammer match is still raging on.
- The announce team change starting with this show was much needed. Todd Keneley always seemed to be playing at being a wrestling announcer and never captured the essence of one. I didn't enjoy his commentary or the chemistry between Taz, Mike Tenay, and Keneley. Taz and Tenay sounded good on this show. Hopefully their motivation doesn't fade away, as it has many times in the past.
- I enjoy Bully Ray on the mic, but I now want to see another wrestler step up to him promo-wise. His foil is constantly Hulk Hogan, which makes Bully's promos and threat seem less effective. I want to see someone go toe-to-toe with Bully on he mic.
- Ladder Hammer.
- Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero splitting into singles acts works for me. Hopefully TNA continues to find a way to hide Hernandez's weaknesses as he enters the Bound for Glory Series. I'm just glad Chavo is not in it.
- Every Devon heel promo is the same. He tells the silent crowd to "shut the hell up," then begins to speak. The formula doesn't work for me. Really, the entire Devon heel character doesn't work for me. I know he has a beard, but he just isn't clicking.
- Joseph Park was really on his game during this show. Park's surprise takedown of Devon was a fun moment. The crowd is into the Park character, despite the odd spilt-personality device. I know I am interested in what comes next.
- Robbie E. was great at being he pesky heel bragging about an accomplishment that wasn't an accomplishment.
- Samoa Joe was even better at being a bad ass taking out the pesky heel.
- I have said it for the last month, but I'll say it again, the most well-developed division with the best characters in TNA right now is the Knockouts Division. Mickie James and Velvet Sky showed this in their backstage exchange.
- The Kurt Angle and Rampage Jackson exchange was pretty well done. It mirrored Angle's entrance into TNA and first feud with Samoa Joe in a fun way, but it didn't ratchet up the intensity to the same level. Rampage was good here and Angle was great. Here's hoping this wasn't just a tease and TNA believes Rampage will be ready to go with Angle at Bound for Glory.
- I am not a huge fan of bringing in Rampage Jackson, but I am interested in it.
- Ken Anderson is a better choice for the Aces and Eights V.P. than D'Lo Brown.
- James Storm as a Tag Team Champion again doesn't do much for me, but I understand why TNA put him there. I am also not the biggest fan of Gunner. This said, Storm and Gunner were both really good in the six man tag match. Chris Sabin did well here also. I was happy to see two X Division wrestlers outside of the weird three-way format.
- Bobby Roode and Austin Aries need to go back to being singles competitors as soon as possible. The top of the card in TNA needs them. Aries and Roode are really entertaining. Hopefully they both end up in the Bound for Glory Series.
- Brooke Hogan congratulating Taryn Terrell on her Slammiversary match worked for me. In the coming weeks, TNA needs to capitalize on the momentum Terrell gained in that amazing effort. Seriously people, it was the best thing in wrestling this past week.
- Mickie James vs. Taeler Hendrix was a showcase for Mickie's character and it worked. Mickie is really shining in this role. Hendrix played off of her perfectly.
- Abyss as a horror movie villain on a wrestling show doesn't always work for me.
- Sting is complaining about not receiving help at Slammiversary. I'm glad to see this isn't an overlooked detail, but a part of the story. It still makes every babyface in TNA look bad.
- Bully Ray and Jeff Hardy didn't actually need the ladder or the hammer to have a good match. I would have rather seen them in a straight up match, which could have been promoted the exact same and probably would have been just as exciting for viewers. Ladder Matches shouldn't happen everyday. Ladder Hammer Matches shouldn't happen.
- The end of the show with Hulk and Brooke was actually pretty good. TNA is still on their kick of drawing out storylines as long as possible and this Brooke story has been going on for a while. It's still working, which is a compliment.
- Brooke Hogan's performance was good once again here. I hate enjoying the Hogan family drama (and I really hate Hogan being the top babyface in TNA), but this story is working.
This was a nice followup to an underwhelming Slammiversary show. TNA is getting set up for the Bound for Glory Series, which I always enjoy. They are on a long road without a pay-per-view until October. Hopefully this show is a sign of things to come.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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