[TV Review] IMPACT Wrestling – 10/25/2012

This week on IMPACT Wrestling, Bully Ray confronted his brother and former partner, Joey Ryan set his sights on some TNA gold, and Jeff Hardy made his first defense of the TNA World Heavyweight Title.

Click “read more” for quick match results and a review of the show.

Match Results:

  1. Rob Van Dam (c) pinned Zema Ion to retain the TNA X-Division Title
  2. Samoa Joe (c) defeated Robbie T by submission to retain the TNA Television Title
  3. Austin Aries defeated Mr. Anderson by knockout
  4. Tara (c) pinned Miss Tessmacher to retain the TNA Knockouts Title
  5. Jeff Hardy (c) pinned Kurt Angle to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Title

Important Notes:

  • Joseph Park is now campaigning to get a match with one of the members of the Aces and 8’s.
  • Austin Aries challenged Jeff Hardy to a rematch for the World Title at Turning Point, making it the first official match of next month’s PPV.
  • The Aces and 8’s made Kurt Angle their next target and attacked him to end the show.

*What Worked*

Bully Ray Confronts Devon: This segment blew me out of the water and was by far the most compelling part of IMPACT Wrestling. A very heated and emotional exchange and like it was pointed out by indy star Sugar Dunkerton on Twitter, Ray did a phenomenal job turning what made him a heel two years ago into why he should be considered a face (or a sort-of face I guess) now. As for Devon, he finally gave a real reason as to why he joined the Aces and 8’s and why he turned his back on the fans and not only did it make perfect sense it also helped give some added layers to his new persona. Like everyone else I was lukewarm on Devon doing something with this faction but between this week and last week, he has turned out to be compelling as the face of The Aces and 8’s (at least until the other members finally get revealed). This is adding much needed fuel to the whole Aces and 8’s storyline and it was very much needed.

Mr. Anderson Vs. Austin Aries: I didn’t hold out much hope for this match when it was randomly signed (after they got into a squabble backstage), but surprisingly they put on a really solid contest. Anderson, to his credit, seemed to be really motivated this week and did a good job keeping up with Aries. The finishing sequence, where Aries belted Anderson with brass knuckles and then pretending to be pinned by him for a 2-count before locking on the Last Chancery for a knockout win, was pretty damn unique and a very interesting way to end the match. Implausible (why would both men be carrying brass knuckles randomly? Coincidental much?) but still very interesting.

The Daniels/Kazarian Petition: The former “World Tag Team Champions of the World” entertained as usual in their segment, trying to get a petition signed in order to get a rightful two on two rematch for their belts against new champions Chavo Guerrero Jr./Hernandez. Daniels and Kazarian were brilliant on the mic as always, and Daniels was especially spot on by mocking Chavo’s obnoxious use of the “Guerrero” name for cheap pops and by christening the tag team “Dos Stereotypicos” (I probably shouldn’t find it that funny, but I did so sue me). I’m not sold on Dos Ste…Chavo/Hernandez as champs yet but a full on feud between them and Daniels/Kazarian could go a long way in making them seem like a much more viable tag team.

The Two Announce Teams/Todd Keneley: For the first hour of IMPACT Wrestling, TNA switched gears and had Jeremy Borash and indy announcer Todd Keneley call the first hour of action and the usual duo of Mike Tenay/Taz call the second hour. After a few minutes to get used to the change, I found myself really enjoying Borash/Keneley on commentary. They concentrated on the matches at hand while also just giving us a break from Tenay/Taz who have been commentating everything ever for the past few years. Keneley in particular was tremendous and really helped each match he called just by paying attention to it and calling every move like a sports commentator would. I hope they stick with this new format and I hope Keneley gets a fat (well as fat as TNA can give) contract out of it.

Christian York = Next Gut Check Contestant: When Christian York was revealed to be the next Gut Check contestant, I was taken aback with shock which later gave way to happiness. Why? Because York is damn good in the ring and his story (looking for a final chance to shine before his career is over for good) is pretty compelling. Gut Check is a ridiculous thing altogether but at least with York going through it we know we won’t see something horrendous Kris Lewie-style.

Jeff Hardy Vs. Kurt Angle: Was it a psychology-free spotfest? Yup. Was it pretty much the sort of match we’re all accustomed to Angle having nowadays? Yup. But I can’t deny that I still had a lot of fun watching this match despite its many warts (neither finisher puts the other down but Hardy wins with an anti-climactic roll-up). Didn’t do much to make Hardy look strong as champion due to said finish but at least he got a good showcase first defense to help cement him.

Overall Show: A much much much better episode than last week by about fifty thousand miles. The show was more focused, the matches all mattered, and even the storyline stuff was entertaining. They gave The Aces and 8’s storyline some added life with the Bully Ray/Devon confrontation and even the more minor events (Joey Ryan/Matt Morgan attacking Rob Van Dam) mattered in the grand scheme of things. It felt like stuff was actually building this week and after getting disheartened from last week’s sh*tshow I got a TNA second wind.

*What Was Okay*

The Aces and 8’s Dartboard: The Aces and 8’s met to pick their new target, and it was decided via dartboard. Initially I thought this was pretty stupid but now that I’m a few hours removed from the show I find myself being okay with this: it shows that the group is all about anarchy and doesn’t care who they hurt as long as they’re on the TNA roster. The segment was still pretty cheesy though.

Tara/Jessie Godderz: The Tara/Tessmacher match was pretty bad but Tara/Godderz as a couple is starting to grow on me. Although their constant Hollywood name dropping promos are negatively obnoxious, they do have some chemistry together and I’m slowly but surely warming up to them. And the announcement that ODB was calling out Godderz for next week’s “Open Fight Night” actually had me going “…that might be fun” rather than “WILL SOMEONE JUST KILL ME ALREADY?!? GAWD!” which was a welcome surprise.

Joey Ryan/Matt Morgan: Ryan and Morgan attacked RVD after his successful title defense and furthered two storylines: a new one where Ryan is gunning for the X-Division Title and another where Morgan is out for blood to prove to TNA that they shouldn’t have held them back. It worked well enough but to be fair I liked Ryan more than I did Morgan; Morgan had two chances to talk and essentially said the same thing both times which is all well and good but didn’t accomplish much in the end. Interesting duo here though and it’s still unclear as to why they partnered up (at least out loud; one can assume they joined together because management tried to screw them both).

*What Didn’t Work*

Jeff Hardy’s Inner Monologue: This has to go down as the funniest TNA segment in recent memory and not for any good reason. Having Hardy pass by each potential Championship Thursday contender while his inner thoughts gave us a look into his thoughts on each man (saying he liked James Storm but he “drank too much” was a nice added unintentional comedy bonus) was an interesting route to take but ultimately one that felt so insanely cheesy that fans either rejected it wholesale or, like me, couldn’t stop laughing at it. I appreciate TNA trying some new things out but I could live without the whole inner monologue thing happening again.

Championship Thursday Deliberation: This week’s “tell Hulk Hogan how pretty he is so you get a title shot” series of segments were mind-numbing. First off, Mr. Anderson gets eliminated first because he doesn’t want to grovel. Hogan’s reasoning? He “lacks the fire”. The second elimination, Bully Ray, is done because Ray is more focused on Devon than the title. And that’s all well and good, but doesn’t that mean that he actually lacked the fire and not Mr. Anderson? Weird. Those two things irked me and the segments themselves were just annoying to sit through (although I did like Hogan teasing that he had something “big” in store for James Storm to make up for him not getting the title shot).

Seriously…What Are The Rules Surrounding The Aces and 8’s?: I’m getting confused as to what the rules are for The Aces and 8’s; they won their match at Bound For Glory and now have “full access” to the Impact Zone. They can come and go as they please and do what they want (apparently). But at the same time Hulk Hogan is forcing them to wrestle in matches or answer Open Fight Night challenges and it’s confounding; since they don’t work for TNA and are allowed to be there because they won a match per TNA’s rules what reason do they have to fight? Everything just seems so hazy in this and there are so many holes that I can’t help but poke my finger through. I’m overthinking this, I know it, but stuff with this many plotholes can be very distracting.

And that’s my (sort-of) review of this week’s IMPACT Wrestling. For a far more detailed account of the show (which features more segments and matches than mentioned here), check out my live coverage of the event over at Pro Wrestling Ponderings. Thanks for joining me this week.

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