[TV Review] IMPACT Wrestling – 1/10/2013

Impact Wrestling Review

On this week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling, Brooke Hogan confronts her father about the way he’s been treating Bully Ray, Gut Check gets a very welcome makeover, and Austin Aries and Bobby Roode continue their goal to one-up each other.

Click “read more” for quick results and my review of the show. For a more detailed recap on every little thing, check out my live coverage over at 411Mania.

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Quick Match Results:

  1. Kenny King pinned Zema Ion to advance to the finals of the X-Division #1 Contenders tournament in 3:05; King goes on to face Christian York in the finals at Genesis and the winner of that match gets to face Rob Van Dam for the X-Division Title later that night.
  2. Robbie T & Miss Tessmacher (w/ Robbie E) defeated Jessie Godderz & *TNA Knockouts Champion* Tara in 1:46.
  3. [“Gut Check Challenge”] Jay Bradley pinned Brian Cage in 3:21; both men will face the TNA Gut Check judges next week.
  4. Jeff Hardy & James Storm defeated Austin Aries & Bobby Roode by DQ when Aries hit Hardy with the TNA World Title in 13:33.
  5. Sting pinned Mike Knox in 3:27.

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*What Worked*

The New and Improved Gut Check: I’ve already made it well-known but I am in love with the new Gut Check format. Instead of having a prospect job out to someone already on the roster, TNA has switched gears and is having two prospects wrestle one another in a match. Only one gets the contract, decided during deliberations the following week. This is what Gut Check should have been right from the outset and I have nothing but positive things to say about the new direction. It also helped that the first match under the new format was leagues above anything else they’ve done Gut Check-wise in forever. Jay Bradley and Brian Cage both got their “life story vignettes” and then proceeded to do their damndest to impress the audience in 3 and a half minutes. Impress they did and although there is still deliberation to be had, the fact that the announce team name-checked Bradley’s finishing move (a lariat he calls the “Boomstick”) and he looked far stronger makes the outcome somewhat predictable. That’s fine though because either man would be a welcome addition to the TNA roster.

The Austin Aries/Bobby Roode Bicker War: Before their tag team match, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode had a backstage segment where they argued over what they were going to wear in the ring with Aries doing his best to match whatever Roode was going to do (Roode wanted to wear his robe, so Aries would wear his cape; Roode decided on his new shirt instead so Aries would wear his new shirt). It was a fun little segment that led into a really good match and if anything was a good example of the consistency of Aries’ character. Aries constantly fights feelings of inferiority and goes out of his way to prove that he’s just as good as everyone else, and it showed through both here and in the match itself. Fun stuff.

Jeff Hardy & James Storm Vs. Austin Aries & Bobby Roode: The longest match on the show and the best, although that’s never a correlation you should take seriously all the time. A special appearance by Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian to distract Storm was a nice touch, helping to build that match as well as the triple threat main event.Daniels and Roode continued their game of “anything you can do, I can do better” and it resulted in an awesome spot where Roode did a kneedrop then Aries followed up with a kneedrop from the bottom rope as if to say “see, I’m just as good if not better“. It’s the little things and like I said earlier it’s a logical reaction from Aries given his character over the past few months.

Mr. Anderson: I haven’t been the kindest to Mr. Anderson since starting this site back in July; truth be told he has had little purpose in TNA and has felt more like dead weight than anything else. But tonight was different. He came firing on all cylinders in the opening segment, giving a logical reason as to why he didn’t help Kurt Angle, Sting, and Samoa Joe last week (Anderson had been attacked before Bound For Glory and they never came to his aid during that). Then later, when supposedly scheduled to face Angle, he employed some nice and cocky old-school stall tactics (marching around the ring, stretching, fixing his hair) to make way for Mike Knox to show up and beat Angle down with a hammer, ending the match before it began. In short Anderson showed a fire tonight that I haven’t seen in him in a long time. It’s amazing what happens when you give someone something worthwhile to do.

Joseph Park: Professional Rassler: It’s official: Joseph Park is now a wrestler and it only took a few weeks of training down in OVW to do it! I bet most wrestlers wish it was that easy in real-life. Now that he’s “trained” this adds a whole new level to the Park character and allows him to believably engage in wrestling matches instead of the whole “cowering and turning into Abyss” schtick he did last summer (although I’m sure the latter is something that will continue to happen whenever he bleeds). He’s now slated to face Devon at Genesis this Sunday and now that he is free to try some things, it could end up being a half-decent match. I’m just excited for more Joseph Park on the show.

*What Was Okay*

Robbie T & Miss Tessmacher Go “Dirty Dancing”: I missed the “Bro-Off” that birthed the change in Robbie T so I’m still playing catch-up to his new more fun-loving character. And my initial thoughts are simple: it’s goofy but it’s just on the side of goofy where it’s entertaining rather than embarrassing. He and Miss Tessmacher dancing after the match was fun, and Robbie E‘s reactions were great too. Could be an interesting feud brewing there. But I’m still putting it under “okay” because I’m not entirely sold on the idea and the match they had with Tara and Jessie Godderz was pitiful and an afterthought.

Bully Ray Proposes to Brooke Hogan: I can’t f*cking believe I enjoyed this segment as much as I did. It had all the elements of being a disaster but in the end it was just so entertaining, and the Impact Zone was so enthusiastic about it that I ended up being okay with it by the end. I’ll give most of the props to Bully Ray who is working overtime to make this stupid storyline work. He did a fine job here tonight. The segment had a myriad of issues (Hulk Hogan making ridiculous cartoon faces, The Aces and 8’s being pointless), but overall…goddammit I enjoyed it. And we’re getting a wrestling wedding next week which should go off without any sort of hitch because wrestling weddings never go wrong!

Kenny King Vs. Zema Ion: Given King’s dealings with Rob Van Dam it was set in stone that he would defeat Zema Ion en route to Genesis but I was hoping for at least a good match before that happened. Unfortunately it ended up more “okay” than good thanks to the little time it was given. Zema Ion is now lost in the shuffle and very undeservedly so.

*What Didn’t Work*

Sting Vs. Mike Knox: This match took the place of Kurt Angle/Mr. Anderson after Knox took Angle out with the hammer. It was a little weird that Sting would get into the ring before Genesis, and it was even worse when he spent the entire 4 minutes beating the hell out of Knox and defeating him with relative ease. Knox barely got any offense in and he, along with The Aces and 8’s, looked weak because of it. It just seemed so…pointless to do. And an extra “pfft” goes to Sting wrestling in a t-shirt. I hate it every time he’s done it in the past and I’ll continue to hate it every time he does it in the future.

The Aces and 8’s Kidnap Brooke Hogan…for Five Seconds: After the match Devon and the crew held Brooke Hogan hostage just long enough for Bully Ray to come storming out to chase them away. While part of me is hoping this sets up the ultimate reveal that Ray has joined The Aces and 8’s out of frustration, the other part of me can’t help but think about how essentially stupid this was. It acted as a transition from one storyline to another and it was awkward. Devon’s “shut up, bitch!” line was sort-of funny though. I’ll give him that.

Kurt Angle’s Mic Skillz: “The Olympic Gold Medalist” had a rough go on the mic this week, coming off like an angry teenager in his promos with his awkward cursing and attempts at bravado. I was happy when Knox clocked him with the hammer since it shut him the f*ck up.

Chavo and Hernandez Attack Ryan and Morgan: The feud I could care less about rages on. TNA thankfully kept it short and sweet, having the Tag Champs attack Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan while they were mid-promo. But then again, the supposed good guys attacked the bad guys while they were merely just doing an interview so what does that say exactly?

Brooke Hogan Has No Facial Reactions: Brooke Hogan is not a good actress and it showed every time she was on the mic or every time she needed to emote with facial reactions. She didn’t ruin anything per say but she didn’t enhance anything either and her lack of anything going on took me out of the moment in spots.

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Overall Show Thoughts:

  • After the wretched pile of sh*t last week’s episode was, there was nowhere to go but up this week. This edition ultimately failed due to not making me want to go anywhere near Genesis but at the same time kept me entertained enough to not question my loyalty to professional wrestling. There were some standout segments and moments to counterbalance the relative lack of interesting wrestling, and most importantly what could have been the worst thing ever (Bully Ray’s proposal to Brooke) ended up working despite itself. Yes it had its numerous faults but I’m okay enough with it to give it a pass.

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  1. I think it is becoming more and more clear that the One Man Gang is behind Aces & Eights

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