[TV Review] IMPACT Wrestling – 12/13/2012

Impact Wrestling Review

This week on IMPACT Wrestling, The Aces and 8’s reveal who outbid Bobby Roode for their services, Kenny King goes dirty in a non-title match against Rob Van Dam, and AJ Styles loses his smile.

Click “read more” for quick match results and a review of the show. For a more detailed recap of everything that went down, check out my coverage over at Pro Wrestling Ponderings.

Quick Match Results:

  1. Velvet Sky pinned Madison Rayne (3:09).
  2. Wes Brisco/Garett Bischoff (w/ Kurt Angle) defeated Robbie E/Robbie T (3:27).
  3. Jeff Hardy/James Storm defeated The Aces and 8’s (D.O.C./SkullFace) (14:32).
  4. Kenny King pinned [TNA X-Division Champion] Rob Van Dam in a non-title match (5:44).
  5. Bully Ray pinned Jessie Godderz (w/ Tara) (6:00).

*****

[What Worked]

Rob Van Dam Vs. Kenny King: A fun match that told a believable story that led into King cheating to defeat his X-Division rival. By the end of the match it made sense why he would do that, given how he had continually come up short in previous pinfall attempts. Looks like RVD/King are headed towards a feud and that excites me for two reasons: 1) Kenny King finally has a purpose and 2) there’s an actual X-Division feud in the making. Feels like it’s been ages since there has been one.

Joseph Park Goes to OVW: My personal favorite segment of the night had Joseph Park arriving at the OVW training facility and put through the paces (in a suit!) by head trainer Danny Davis. It was a fun segment with Park excelling as usual. I’m excited to see the progression of Park as a wrestler and I’m looking forward to weekly updates on his training; it’s like getting a mini Rocky training montage every week.

Opening Segment: TNA already did the “Who paid off the Aces and 8’s?” whodunit last week but I enjoyed the way it came about on this episode as well. Bobby Roode‘s anger/confusion-laced promo was excellent and Devon‘s mic work was also fun for a lot of reasons (“outbidded” is now a word, I’m calling Webster’s as we speak). This whole segment, which included Jeff Hardy/James Storm and a beatdown, was short and simple, and gave the show a good hook…that was unfortunately squandered seemingly at random (that’s coming up).

Bully Ray Vs. Jessie Godderz: A hard-hitting 6 minute match that saw Ray lay in some brutal chops Godderz’s chest that left giant handprints. Godderz hung in there with Ray and had some good moves of his own, proving that he is a much more sound investment in the “musclehead” department than Rob Terry has been thus-far.

Austin Aries Explains His Actions: The concluding segment of the show had Austin Aries explaining why he was the one who paid off The Aces and 8’s, and he was damn good at explaining his reasoning. Granted it sounded like the rantings of someone trying to make sense of something that made no sense, but he did a damn good job at connecting the dots and laying down his motivation. The subsequent Jeff Hardy interruption/verbal jabs/brawl was fun and the hints at the possibility of a Hardy/Aries III match happening on next week’s show was a hell of a hook. Good way to end the show.

[What Was Okay]

The Hulk Hogan/Bully Ray Shouting Match: Things boiled to the top tonight and Ray/Hogan finally unleashed on each other verbally. Ray was damn near brilliant through this whole thing, laying in some truth bombs and making the frustration/anger/hurt he feels at Hogan not trusting him feel completely natural and not at all forced. Unfortunately, although he was much better, Hogan didn’t hold up his end of the argument and his dismissal of the whole thing, simply stating “weak”, deflated all the drama and good that came before it. Sometimes a simple word can ruin things.

Overall Show: The first hour of IMPACT Wrestling felt dreadfully dull, but things picked up in the second hour enough to save this show. Things got more interesting and the matches got better in the second half, which was a huge sigh of relief because I was questioning why I even watched TNA for the first 60 minutes. There was enough here to get me invested and interested in next week’s show.

Wes Brisco/Garett Bischoff Vs. The Robbies: The Robbies are a jobber tag team and that’s unfortunate because at least charisma-wise they are far more interesting than the duo they made look like a million bucks tonight. That being said the match was decent, if a bit short, and it’s obvious that Bischoff has improved in the ring over the past months. I’m still not sold on the Vanilla Twins but again it’s a means to an end and that end is The Aces and 8’s so I can wait it out.

Jeff Hardy/James Storm Vs. The Aces and 8’s: A decent but ultimately dull tag team match that had Hardy in the ring for most of it taking the punishment from DOC and his random Aces and 8’s partner. It dragged on for too long and the ending, which featured Storm/Hardy easily beating up the other Aces members before winning the match clean, was mind-boggling. The Aces and 8’s are no longer a threat; they are simply a goon squad and apparently a pretty ineffective goon squad. So much for what was such an interesting concept initially.

[What Didn’t Work]

Devon Reveals Who Paid The Aces and 8’s Off: After saying that The Aces and 8’s didn’t reveal their business, Devon and company went out after the Storm/Hardy tag team match and, erm, revealed their business. If that wasn’t dumb enough, Devon’s big reveal was given to the wrong people. Roode had come out earlier asking for an answer and instead of giving it to him they gave it to two guys who didn’t really seem all that interested in finding out what had happened. Hardy and Storm’s facial reactions even said “…why are you telling me this?”. What a bad payoff to a promising hook.

AJ Styles Wants To Do His Own Thing: The saga of AJ Styles seems simple on paper: have him continually lose for awhile, lose his confidence, and then come back with a vengeance and get his own redemption arc. But things got a little weird on this show when he came out and cut a “I’m sick of being TNA’s puppet, I’m in it for me now” promo. The main issue? It was a hollow argument; he said he had been used as a “corporate janitor” cleaning up TNA’s messes but I can’t think of one instance where he’s actually had to do that. In fact he hasn’t even really been a focal point for most of the year. Essentially this promo felt like Styles making up a bunch of bogus bullsh*t to rebel against just to give him some heat. But it was just that…bullsh*t.

Velvet Sky Vs. Madison Rayne: Sky made her in-ring return tonight and the Impact Zone (and Taz) were happy to see her let the pigeons loose once again. The match itself though was, well, bland to put it mildly. It didn’t exactly instill confidence that Sky was going to make a real positive impact on the Knockouts division in 2013 and spoke more to Tara’s likely job of having to carry her in every match they have. This match did what it needed I guess, to reestablish her, but it was ultimately forgettable. Also who knew that Madison Rayne was still employed with TNA? She’s been gone forever.

*****

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