[TV Review] IMPACT Wrestling – 1/3/2013

Impact Wrestling Review

TNA presented its first episode of IMPACT Wrestling for 2013 and stacked the deck, with the return of Sting as well as a promising steel cage main event. Unfortunately it all fell apart and resulted in a ghastly two hours of television, of which I have much to say and very little on the positive side.

Click “read more” for quick results from the show as well as my breakdown/review.

Quick Match Results:

  1. James Storm pinned Frankie Kazarian (w/ Christopher Daniels) in 4:05.
  2. Christian York pinned Kid Kash in 3:44 to advance to the finals of the #1 Contender X-Division tournament.
  3. Hernandez (w/ Chavo Guerrero Jr.) defeated Joey Ryan (w/ Matt Morgan) by DQ when Morgan interfered in 0:57.
  4. Miss Tessmacher Mickie James defeated *TNA Knockouts Champion* Tara (w/ Jessie Godderz) & Gail Kim when James pinned Kim in 13:10.
  5. Kurt Angle Samoa Joe defeated *TNA Television Champion* Devon Masked Aces and 8’s Prospect in a Steel Cage Match when Angle pinned the Prospect in 11:46. The Prospect was revealed to be Mike Knox after the match.

*****

**[What Worked]**

[[Christopher Daniels Impersonates James Storm]]: The best segment of the night was a quick throwaway to set up the first match of the show, with Frankie Kazarian pretending to interview Daniels impersonating Storm. As you can expect with these two it was hilarious and the highlight of a bad show. Funny stuff all around and it was a good set-up for the match.

[[Austin Aries and Bobby Roode]]: Their whole “bickering rivals” schtick is eerily reminiscent of WWE’s Team Hell No (admittedly in a vague way but it’s there), but it’s still entertaining and I enjoy the two trying to one-up one another. Their desire to be TNA World Champion again and end the reign of Jeff Hardy not only keeps them as heels, which is what they’re suited best for, but it also allows them to still play off of their summer rivalry and their long-standing issues with each other without having to turn either one.

**[What Was Okay]**

[[Tessmacher/James Vs. Tara/Kim]]: It was refreshing to see the longest TV match given to the Knockouts division, which has been pretty much ignored since Tara became the new champion back in October. I liked that. The match itself was decent, but there were enough sloppy spots and botches to ruin the flow of the match, including a weird moment on the outside where Kim sold getting her hair pulled before the person who was supposed to do so even showed up to start that spot. Still 13 minutes for a womens wrestling? I can dig it, especially since 3 out of the 4 (not sold on Tessmacher, though she is trying) are veterans and know what they’re doing.

[[James Storm Vs. Frankie Kazarian]]: While not a standout match, Storm/Kazarian was the best match on the show and it barely cleared four minutes. Again there was some sloppiness here and there but the opening piece alone, where Daniels feigned facing Storm before Kazarian jumped him from behind, is worth putting it in the okay category.

[[Christian York Vs. Kid Kash]]: Make no mistake about it: this was definitely York’s worst performance since returning to TNA via GutCheck. He was severely off his game tonight, resulting in a spot that he stopped halfway through on leading to the most awkward moment this week. He’s got talent but new viewers tuning in this week didn’t see it. However many props need to be given to Kid Kash, who looked to be trying his damndest to make everything work no matter at what the cost. He’s the most motivated I’ve seen him in a long time and I love it. He made this almost-disaster okay.

[[Meanwhile in OVW…]]: We caught up once again with Joseph Park in OVW, where he’s now ready for his first match post-training. These vignettes haven’t been as amazing as I’ve been hoping/forcing them to be, but I’m still enjoying the story progression and I like that it’s simple enough to be told in four minutes. I’m also excited to see Park actually get into the ring and see how he changes his style now that he’s not Abyss anymore (for now).

[[Jeff Hardy Wins 2012 Wrestler of the Year]]: Knowing the TNA fanbase, this wasn’t much of a surprise and although I wanted Aries to win it for obvious reasons I’m not too upset that Hardy ended up being voted in. Aries/Roode arguing and ruining the ceremony was fun, and I liked that they officially announced the triple threat main event for Genesis no matter how random it came off. But Hardy’s promo was really awkward; he did a lot of YELLING! which made him sound ANGRY AT EVERYONE! as opposed to being HAPPY THAT THE FANS LOVE HIM! Weird dichotomy there.

**[What Didn’t Work]**

[[D.O.C. Wants Sting]]: Before the big main event, The Director of Chaos came out and essentially spent five minutes trying to goad Sting to make his hyped return to face him. Naturally that didn’t happen so what we got was a lot of D.O.C. yelling and singing at Sting to come out and play (all needed were Coke bottles on his fingers) and it was a pointless waste of time. Even worse they cut mid-promo and when they came back they moved onto something else so it was like that didn’t happen. Filler times infinity.

[[Sting’s Return]]: For weeks the hype machine has been trumpeting the return of Sting and his intentions to take down The Aces and 8’s. And return he did…in possibly the most lame duck anticlimactic way possible. Instead of pyro or rafter descending or even just blacking out the lights, he came strolling out bat in hand, t-shirt over his wrestling gear, and attacked after the main event. That’s it. It was just like any other time Sting has come out to the ring, only this time much worse due to the fact that it was hyped so much beforehand. I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing him come back, but at least give him something to work with.

[[Hulk Hogan Suspends Bully Ray]]: Hulk Hogan doesn’t like Bully Ray seeing his daughter Brooke. I get that. Fathers can be overprotective. But his decision to suspend Ray without pay just seemed so…over the top and this whole promo was filled with b.s. insider talk and stuff no one outside of dirtsheet readers (HEY GUYS!) would give a damn about. This whole storyline has been kept afloat by Ray but even he couldn’t save this thing. I do wonder where they go from here though.

[[Angle/Joe Vs. Devon/Knox]]: Before the match, D.O.C. attacked Angle and locked the cage door leaving Joe to deal with the two members of the Aces and 8’s by himself. So what does the ref do? He rings the goddamn bell. I mean in a situation like that wouldn’t you just, I don’t know, either call off the match or get someone to cut the chain off? The match itself was bland as hell too, with Joe having to fend both members off and uninspired action until Angle made his way into the cage and cleaned house, Superman-ing the sh*t out of the Aces and 8’s en route to victory. The post-match return of Sting (already discussed) was lackluster, Mr. Anderson showing up (discussed next) was pointless, and the reveal of Mike Knox was…underwhelming to the point where Mike Tenay had to namedrop the WWE to make sure people knew who he was (and I’m still not entirely sure who he is; I stopped watching for awhile). And yeah The Aces and 8’s can’t be all “big” reveals like the nWo but since this whole storyline isn’t compelling that hurts things even worse not to at least have a Trump card or something exciting to draw attention to it. Sh*t even Brisco/Bischoff being unmasked as members would’ve packed more of a punch. This match and the aftermath were just blah and badly capped off a show I was already in hate with.

[[Mr. Anderson]]: He sort-of kind-of joined The Aces and 8’s but didn’t do anything but stand there once they interfered at the end of the cage match. I assume his story goes somewhere soon but right now…he’s just there. And since I’m not much of a Mr. Anderson fan to begin with, him being there without anything interesting makes it worse.

[[Hernandez Vs. Joey Ryan]]: Matt Morgan claimed injury to duck out of the match, then attacked Hernandez anyway to cause the DQ. All build for their Genesis tag team title match which was fine, but the injury schtick was a stupid element that proved ultimately pointless. It didn’t need that; let the feud be enough. Although I will admit to smiling when Morgan flattened Chavo with the Carbon Footprint; nice to see that happen.

[[Overall Show]]: The first episode of 2013 did little to nothing for me and did not give me a hope of a good year for TNA. The matches were blah, the segments were blah, everything was blah. I was in a fiery rage when the show ended but even though I’m calmer now, I still think this was a horrible two hours and it did almost nothing to entice me to keep watching. I’ll give TNA until the end of January. If nothing gets going, I’m gonna take a month off.

*****

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