[TV Review] IMPACT Wrestling – 11/29/2012

This week on IMPACT Wrestling, it’s “Championship Thursday” and a shot at Rob Van Dam‘s X-Division Title is on the line, AJ Styles loses his wrestling mojo, Bully Ray and Hulk Hogan butt heads, and TNA all but forgets it has a PPV coming up in 10 days.

Click “read more” for quick match results and a review of the episode. For a full recap, check out my coverage over at Pro Wrestling Ponderings.

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Quick Match Results:

  1. Mickie James pinned Gail Kim (4:59).
  2. Bobby Roode defeated Christian York by submission (5:18).
  3. AJ Styles/James Storm defeated Christopher Daniels/Frankie Kazarian when Storm pinned Daniels (7:07).
  4. Matt Morgan (w/ Joey Ryan) pinned Doug Williams (2:14).
  5. Rob Van Dam (c) defeated Austin Aries by DQ when Bully Ray interfered to retain the TNA X-Division Title (12:20).

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*What Worked*

Christian York Vs. Bobby Roode: Even at under 6 minutes, this was the match of the night. Roode sold like a million bucks for York and although York lost, he came out looking like a future star. For Roode it gave him a solid win on his way to Final Resolution and helped showcase his heel-ish tendencies.

Hulk Hogan Confronts Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan: I’m probably going to be in the minority on this one, but I enjoyed this show opener. It’s a dumb storyline on paper but everyone involved, especially Ray, is making it work and compared to that other “scandalous” storyline currently going on in mainstream wrestling, this is almost Oscar-caliber in the writing. Austin Aries interrupting via ImpactTron and getting a good dig at Brooke to rile up the Hulkster was fun as well.

AJ Styles Has No Mojo: Styles is just beginning what is going to be a year long story about how he has lost his ability to perform at the insane level he usually does, and tonight’s tag team match was a good way to showcase that. His constant missing of basic moves and lack of tag team chemistry with his partner weren’t subtle but they helped drive in just how messed up Styles is right now. The match wasn’t that good, but this was a good character-building moment for Styles. I just wonder how they continue it.

Mickie James Vs. Gail Kim: A solid match to open the wrestling portion of the show, and even better, a solid Knockouts match. Say what you will about mainstream women’s wrestling, but when TNA gives a damn, they tend to produce far more quality matches than their much bigger Northern counterpart. Plus considering that James and Kim have faced each other so many damn times, there was little chance of a bad match occurring.

*What Was Okay*

Rob Van Dam Vs. Austin Aries: Given RVD’s degenerating ability, I probably shouldn’t have expected too much out of this match but I was still hoping for something at least above average. And while this wasn’t wretched, it was disappointingly dull and to be honest didn’t end up mattering since the focus was on Aries/Hogan/Ray anyway. The X-Division finally got the chance to get some spotlight and it was just a stepping stone to get to the actual storyline. That sucks.

Wes Brisco Wins the Gut Check: Once Al Snow was announced as “MIA” and D’Lo Brown took his place for the final judgment, where they’re going in the storyline with Brisco clicked with me. And provided it goes where I think it does it’s actually good writing on TNA’s part. However, Brisco hasn’t exactly set the wrestling world on fire with his match last week and his ridiculous overly excited persona he’s had whenever hanging out with Kurt Angle or Garett Bischoff. His little promo to convince D’Lo to pick him was also lackluster and pandering (which shouldn’t be shocking) and the whole post-announcement celebration with them just came off so goddamn fake. This was all sorts of meh, but hopefully it leads to interesting things in the future.

Overall Show: Not a horrible episode by any means, but not a great episode either. Although I was entertained overall, this shouldn’t be considered anything other than a “meh” edition. Little to no PPV build plus some dumb storyline things and meh segments sunk what was a pretty decent show wrestling-wise. I hope they have a plan for next week because I doubt this sold any PPV buys. At all.

*What Didn’t Work*

Very Little Final Resolution Build: With 10 days to go until the final PPV of 2012, this episode of IMPACT Wrestling did next to nothing to build it up. There was just one quick Jeff Hardy appearance to save York from a post-match attack by Roode and considering Hardy/Roode is the main event and Hardy is the goddamn World Champion, it seems a little ridiculous for them to not try to hype that more. Besides that…no matches really got the hype treatment. The announcers went over the lineups and stuff, and mentions were made here and there, but no concrete build. Instead they just plugged next Thursday’s show, which just shows me that they should just stick to being a TV show and that’s it.

Championship Thursday Deliberation: I should have been happy that the X-Division Title was the one at the center of Championship Thursday; given how much I bitch at the lack of attention paid to it, it should’ve been a chance for me to sit back and yell “FINALLY!”. But that’s just not what happened. This whole Championship Thursday deliberation was overshadowed by the Hogan/Aries/Ray/Brooke storyline, with Hogan quickly eliminating the three who actually deserved the match (Kenny King, Zema Ion, Kid Kash) and giving it to Aries even though he’s supposed to hate Aries. Granted he did it to teach him a lesson and let RVD kick his teeth in, again building up Hogan’s lack of trust in Bully Ray, but again this wasn’t about that storyline. Oh well. Maybe we’ll get a two minute squash or something next week. Sigh. As a side note, Kenny King made a huge mistake leaving ROH and that’s a statement no one makes about anyone anymore so you know that’s a big deal.

The Aces and 8’s Holds Back…in exchange for a TV Title Shot?!?: The Aces and 8’s have been causing havoc over the past three weeks, beating people with hammers and “ending careers” and such. Apparently all TNA needed to do was offer Devon a TV Title shot to prevent them from doing any damage whatsoever. While I respect them playing up Devon never actually losing the TV Title, this made no sense for two reasons: 1) The Aces and 8’s are supposed to want to destroy TNA and not win titles and 2) The Aces and 8’s AREN’T EMPLOYED BY TNA STORYLINE-WISE. I have no idea where they’re going with this, but judging by the fact a third-tier title can keep them from beating someone up with a hammer, I can’t imagine it’s anywhere but down.

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