[TV Review] IMPACT Wrestling – 1/24/2013
This week on IMPACT Wrestling Bully Ray pleaded for his reinstatement, Kurt Angle called out Mr. Anderson, Kenny King and Zema Ion tried to one-up each other, and in the main event Jeff Hardy defended the TNA World Heavyweight Title against Christopher Daniels.
Click “read more” for quick match results as well as a breakdown review of the episode. For a more detailed recap, check out my coverage over at 411Mania.
Quick Match Results:
- Tara (c) [w/ Jessie Godderz] pinned Velvet Sky to retain the TNA Knockouts Title (9:39).
- Zema Ion & Kenny King defeated *TNA X-Division Champion* Rob Van Dam & Christian York when Ion pinned York (5:05).
- Bobby Roode pinned Hernandez [w/ Chavo Guerrero Jr.] (5:41).
- Jeff Hardy (c) pinned Christopher Daniels [w/ Frankie Kazarian] to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Title (14:12).
Taz The Promo Man: Taz came out to open the show and cut a promo with a fire that he’s been lacking as a commentator for quite some time. It wasn’t the greatest, but he makes a much better mouthpiece than the Bane-sounding guy or Devon. He laid out the Aces and 8’s goals clearly and outside of an ill-delivered joke about Brooke Hogan was all business. Unfortunately he would ruin it later, but we’ll get to that.
Main Event Hype: TNA took a page out of Main Event‘s book this week by hyping the main event via video package for each man followed by a promo. And you know what? It worked completely. Christopher Daniels’ video was especially great, as it not only built him up as a serious threat but also gave a rundown of his history in the company for those who are new to the product and only know him as the partner of Frankie Kazarian. Daniels and Jeff Hardy also cut good promos on one another, Daniels once again being the MVP, and by the end this hype gave the main event a true “big match” feel. The simplest stuff can sometimes be the best.
Bully Ray Pleads to be Reinstated: If you read these reviews with any regularity, which I doubt you do but bear with me here, you probably don’t need to read me go on about the excellence that is Bully Ray once again. Well too bad because Ray shined like hell once again this week. His promo was delivered with believable aggression, anger, and determination as he threatened to take down the Aces and 8’s for ruining his wedding to Brooke Hogan last week (who was by his side this week). Just really good stuff and he helped chug his story along. He also brought a similar believable passion to his plea to Hulk Hogan, who wasn’t in attendance, to reinstate him next week so he could get his revenge. The segment got a little muddled once Sting showed up and made it hokey but before that happened Ray was on fire.
Jeff Hardy Vs. Christopher Daniels: You see this as the main event and you doubt for any reason that it won’t deliver? Shame on you. Granted it wasn’t as amazing as it could have been but the two delivered a very damn good TV main event that even had me believing Daniels could end up pulling it off and becoming new champion. Very good back and forth action, and it made Daniels look strong while also continuing to build Hardy as champion. He may not be great on the stick but Hardy’s constant defense of the title makes him look good as a fighting champion and that’s a good route to take with him.
Hernandez Vs. Bobby Roode: Never ever would I expect to put a Hernandez match in the “What Worked” section but here we are. Most of the praise, however, should go to Roode for dragging a good match out of Hernandez for the first time in a long-time. The outside stuff with Austin Aries was great as well and although the feud is technically with Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero Jr. for the tag titles, make no mistake: Roode and Aries are the more interesting team and have the more interesting dynamic. It’ll be criminal if they don’t become champions.
Mr. Anderson: Once again Mr. Anderson delivered, first in his promo/brawl with Kurt Angle and then in the segment after where his delivery of “SHUT UP HOOKERS!” to the ladies at the Aces and 8’s clubhouse made me laugh so hard that I almost missed the rest of what everyone was saying. Anderson is really grabbing the bull by the horns here and yanking as hard as he could and although I’m still not all that enamored with his in-ring work maybe his newfound motivation on the stick will translate to the squared circle once he finally goes toe to toe with Angle next week for “Open Fight Night”.
Overall Show: Not everyone is going to agree with this, but I really enjoyed this week’s edition of IMPACT Wrestling. It had its issues like every episode does, but I think TNA has found a good mix of meaningful matches given decent in-ring time and storyline/backstage stuff. It was probably a little too heavy on the latter, especially for some fans, but I thought it made for a brisk and interesting 2 hours since everything mattered in one form or another. I hope they stick with this for a long time.
Joseph Park: Park announced this week that he would make his TV debut as a professional wrestler on next week’s show for “Open Fight Night”. It should have been a lame promo considering all of the lawyer lingo he threw in but it works so well with the character that it just made him more endearing. The former Abyss has turned himself into the most sympathetic character on wrestling television as well as one of TNA’s most valuable acts. I can’t wait to see him in actual action next week (I didn’t get Genesis).
*WHAT WAS OKAY*
Zema Ion One-Ups Kenny King: The tag team match this week was fun for what it was, but the real story told was between the dueling egos of King and Ion. They had an entertaining backstage segment with one another and Ion stealing the pinfall for his team to irk King was a nice touch to the end of the match. However as fun as it was, Bobby Roode and Austin Aries are already treading that ground so it felt like TNA decided to try the same thing with two different people. I’m sure King and Ion won’t be teaming again so it won’t ultimately be a big deal but there was a part of me that felt they ripped themselves off. Also it was weird that neither man seemed very focused on Rob Van Dam, the champion of the division they’re in.
Samoa Joe Hates Brisco and Bischoff: Samoa Joe‘s brief interaction with Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff was intense and Joe made it clear that he doesn’t like or trust either one of them. It was a quick moment but one that plants seeds for something down the line. But since it didn’t amount to much this week I’m putting it in the “okay” category.
Tara Vs. Velvet Sky: Sky had a much better in-ring performance than last week, but that’s entirely due to Tara being able to carry her to something more watchable. Sky’s offense still looked incredibly fake and her big spots looked incredibly rehearsed like she was waiting for it to be called out so she could start it. It was distracting. Sky’s wrestling skill aside, this was a decent enough Knockouts match to be watchable and I applaud TNA for giving them nearly 10 minutes to go at it instead of making it some quick 3 minute nothing defense (which they could have done, easily). Jessie Godderz holding Sky’s leg down so Tara could get the victory was a nice old-school cheat move even if I find that a completely implausible way to help anybody.
*WHAT DIDN’T WORK*
Taz The Heel Commentator: Having Taz become the mouthpiece for the Aces and 8’s? Good idea. Having him then return to commentary and heel it up? Not so great. The fact that he’s aligned with the rogue faction makes it weird that he would even go out and do his job in the first place, and since he’s part of the group trying to destroy TNA obviously Mike Tenay and Todd Keneley want to grill him about that instead of calling the matches. It’s a weird dynamic that fell flat on its face this week. Maybe it’ll get better as the weeks go on. Also screw Taz’s “iron-clad” contract excuse; no one would give a commentator an iron-clad contract no matter who they were.
Bellator? BELLATOR!: For those into MMA it was a big week for Bellator as King Mo (future TNA personality should he ever actually learn how to wrestle) made his fight debut. SpikeTV was all jazzed about this, putting on a countdown clock before it aired and hyping it non-stop…including on IMPACT Wrestling itself. It’s one thing to have the commentators plug the Bellator show once or twice; it’s another to force them to act like shills for the entire broadcast on top of trying to sell TNA’s storylines to the viewing audience. It was borderline obscene and made Bellator seem like the more important show to watch instead of this fake wrestling nonsense. Also I don’t like MMA so I’m super biased.
Aces and 8’s Attack Jeff Hardy: Jeff Hardy, the TNA World Champion, is not going to England for the extended tour/TV tapings. That’s four weeks of shows he’s going to be missing. Jury’s out on why he didn’t go, but TNA tried to give fans a reason by having an Aces and 8’s member crack him in the knee with a foreign object while Taz distracted him. To be honest it was a lame way for Hardy to go out; the guy is a daredevil and all it takes is a Nancy Karrigan shot to the leg to down him? Pathetic and the believeability was non-existent. If you’re going to take Hardy off the show for a bit, at least go a little crazier than that. Hell they had to beat Sting to death with a hammer to keep him down. A lackluster and anti-climactic way to end an otherwise good edition of IMPACT Wrestling.