Note from John: Fozzie couldn't write this week because he's moving. Filling in is Allen Stevens of TJRSports.com.
My name is Allen Stevens. I write for TJR Sports and I've written once on TJR Wrestling. I’m Fozzie’s replacement for the week and still somehow a weekly watcher of TNA. Fozzie and I wrote about 2013 predictions in a standup comedy way. This time I’ll be reviewing Impact, which happens to be a special episode.
It’s the first show on the road in 2013 and what better place than Chicago? I live in New York, but I have to admit that Chicago is slightly better than New York when it comes to best wrestling crowds. The great Chicago crowd should help TNA, along with it being refreshing since the Impact Zone doesn’t react to anything not involving Hulk Hogan, Sting, or Jeff Hardy.
The show starts off with a recap of Lockdown, which was a bad show other than the last ten minutes. The show looked optimistic, but it ended up being clustered and had many poor matches. Thankfully, the main event had a great swerve and Bully Ray should finally be entertaining again.
They previewed Impact for tonight with Brooke Hogan being booked to air her grievances. I'd rather hear Paul Wall air his grievances on doing a horrible music video with her. Also, AJ Styles is supposed to return with his hobo look. What a great set of segments coming up. I can tell about eight people are actually excited.
Anyway, the show starts with Eddie’s nephew and Hernandez. I’m going to keep the format of the review as the same as Fozzie does it. Also, I may use his jokes at times because some of it is pure gold. Anyway, they come out to a decent pop, but they get beaten down by the Aces & Eights.
Aces & Eights Segment
The beat down is on and D’Lo Brown looked already winded. I’ve always liked him, but I’m still laughing at how he’s in that faction. Also, congrats to Aces & Eights for getting actual heel heat for the first time in nine months. The power of Chicago is clearly showing.
Devon cuts a decent promo and introduces the new world champion Bully Ray. That’s right; the same guy that used to be an out of shape loudmouth from a few years ago. If you lose weight and get a good character, then you have a chance in TNA to do anything.
Aces & Eights theme music has lyrics now and they make as much as sense, as R-Truth’s theme music. I’ve missed heel Bully Ray so much, he is so much better than being Hulk Hogan’s “son”. He explains the master plan from Sunday because wrestling fans don’t know logic. Also, he trashes Hulk Hogan for their lame heart to heart speech.
Chicago crowd starts a Hogan chant, which makes me disgusted in them for a bit. They boo Cena, but cheer a useless disgraced legend like Hogan? Ray puts over how unity is important and that Aces & Eights will forever be one unit. It was a good segment and it made them actually look somewhat credible.
Sting is upset backstage and does his usual shtick. A seventh grade basketball coach sounds more intimidating than Sting while yelling. He needs to retire already. Also, they showed a replay of Taryn Tarrell exploding on Gail Kim. They had to do something with the WWE reject eventually right?
Tara & Gail Kim vs Mickie James & Velvet Sky
I can’t remember the last time that an actual female wrestler got a crowd reaction. Tara got a nice hometown pop, but it was even better seeing Mickie James getting some love. She hasn’t been on TV in ages for some odd reason. That’s the nicest way I can put it because not using someone like James is pretty sad.
Sky dragged Kim to the wrong turnbuckle at one point, while going for a tag. Why is she the champion again? That’s right she puts the A in TNA, how silly of me. James and Tara have great chemistry reminding us of their great 2010-11 matches. Tara using the tarantula was a pretty sweet maneuver.
It was a standard tag match, but it left me baffled on how Sky is the champion when the other three females are clearly superior in the ring. James does her best Dean Ambrose impression by selling the Widow’s Peak like she got knocked out. Sky hits an awkward In Yo Face on Tara to finish the match.
Match Rating: **
The hometown girl loses? Beth Phoenix can feel your pain. (Note from John: Tara is actually from California. Just lives in Chicago now.) The match was pretty enjoyable for what it was; the women’s division is still pretty exciting and it’s one of the few things that TNA can be proud of.
We go backstage as the Aces & Eights are drinking beers as usual. Bully Ray calls Brooke and acts like an obnoxious loudmouth. This segment didn’t do much, but I noticed that Gary Sideburns now has a beard. What a true heel. Papa Bischoff must be applauding himself like the arrogant fool that he is.
Robbie E vs Robbie T
I’m a Robbie E fan because he is making a stale gimmick still entertaining. He gets a lot of harsh criticism because TNA still keeps him in this brutal gimmick. What a shame that he has to put over a sloppy big man like this. The only thing notable of this match was the “Feed Me More” chants for Robbie T. I’ll always love you Chicago for the great chants. Robbie T hits an awkward slam, then pins him even more awkwardly.
Match Rating: DUD
We got backstage and Hogan is there with Sting. Sting let Hogan down because he trusted Bully Ray, now they aren’t on good terms anymore. What else is new? Another Sting breakdown is what happens. Nobody can be enjoying this.
We get a video package of AJ Styles and his metamorphosis into a depressed man. It was pretty well done with how personal it’s become. He’s always been a great wrestler, but I’ve never been emotionally invested in him. I do like his new hobo look though; it’s a nice touch.
The two-man power trip has finally made it to the show. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode are pretty much the main reason to tune into TNA every week, especially with them now as a tag team. They mock Sting for his actions of believing in Bully Ray as an ally. It turns out Sting will face Aries for the first time ever, after Roode backed away. That should be an intriguing main event.
We were supposed to have the AJ Styles return. Instead we get Bad Influence spoiling the party and wearing their Legion Of Doom face paint. That was pretty awesome, as a part of Throwback Thursday. They cut a funny promo and entertain as usual.
I’m still surprised how Kazarian has gone from a bland X-Division wrestler to semi entertaining with his promos. Anyway, James Storm has had enough of Daniels talking about his ass and calls him a douche. That leads to a match between Storm and Daniels for no reason. Storm has taken the Randy Orton role of just fighting anyone.
Christopher Daniels vs James Storm
This was just another standard match, as Todd Keneley continues to decline as a good commentator. He was good at first, but now he’s starting to go the Matt Striker route and make dumb analogies too often.
Storm does the code-breaker and backstabber in the same match. I’ve always liked Storm, but why is he doing so many identical moves? It doesn’t make much sense, but anyway he wins with the backstabber.
Match Rating: *
Kazarian attacks Storm after the match, which leads to the return of A.J Styles. For some reason, he’s walking and not running. He lays out Kazarian and just stands in the ring looking like a psychopath rather than a hobo. Anyway, he clotheslines Storm and turns heel as expected. Let’s hope this heel run is better than him trying to be Ric Flair back in 2010.
Aces & Eights beats up Kurt Angle backstage for some reason. Wes Brisco really needs to trim his hair. He has some potential, but his look isn’t good. Also, I found out Mike Knox’s name is Knux. It’s good to see Dave Lasagna (Lagana) making these great names.
Park, Park, & Park Segment
The human highlight reel himself is finally on the microphone. It’s amazing how refreshing Joseph Park’s character is rather than being Abyss, who nobody takes seriously anymore. Instead, we get a fresh comedy character that is pulling off the gimmick perfectly.
I love how he mentions Park & Park & Park, and then apologizes to his co-workers about getting them poor seats. This is a pretty funny segment and Matt Morgan interrupts for some reason. You have to give credit to Morgan for looking like a true scary 7 footer for the first time in 10 years. The beard actually makes him look threatening.
Morgan does his usual shtick about bashing Hogan while eight people are chanting Morgan is awesome. Since when did Chicago lower their standards to cheering for underachieving giants? Park’s facial expressions are priceless, as Morgan is trying to intimidate him. Morgan hits the Carbon Greenprint (credit to my buddy Fab for that name) on Park to end the segment. Apparently, Morgan wants a match with Park next week. Sounds lovely.
We get another backstage segment in the boiler room with Aces & Eights. It was just more fodder of Bully Ray wanting to be fired. I do enjoy that he’s still calling Hogan dad.
Austin Aries vs Sting
This shouldn’t surprise anybody that Aries got a huge pop. Chicago knows its good wrestlers and the Ring Of Honor community has to be around. Why is Sting wrestling in a shirt? He can’t be that out of shape right?
A "fire Hebner" chant breaks out, which has to be the chant of the night. Please, TNA go to Canada sometime soon. Roode gets kicked out of ringside for being involved with the match. Can he be kicked out of the company too so he can be on WWE television already? Roode and Samoa Joe are on my wish list of people that should go to WWE, but it probably won’t ever happen.
The best thing about Aries is that he always seems to enjoy everything he’s in. He doesn’t go through the motions and seems to be thankful for his spot. It clearly shows in his matches because he’s constantly mixing up his repertoire.
This was a pretty fun match overall, including Sting actually working pretty hard. Eventually, Aces & Eights interrupted it and ruined it as expected. How can anyone be surprised by that? You knew it was coming.
Match Rating: ** ½
I’m not sure why D’Lo Brown is one of the main leading attackers for the stable. He’s massively overweight and it’s not a pretty sight. Bully Ray goes on another rant about being fired, which leads to Hogan coming out. I really thought that Chicago would boo him out of the building, but of course not BROTHER!
Hogan isn’t firing the Aces & Eights and says the locker room is ready to fight. He mentions that men and women would be ready to battle. I’d love to see Gail Kim beat some work rate into Garry Beardoff. This was a really cool set up with how the locker room came out. Each guy ran one behind the other with Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, Magnus, and Kurt Angle being the most notable guys.
The brawl starts and the crowd is pretty hot for this. If this were in Orlando, 30 people would be clapping for this. Anyway, Aces & Eights actually look strong for once and beat the locker room up. Why couldn’t they win in the Lethal Lockdown match? Also where was Eric Young in this brawl, didn’t he get the winning pinfall in that match? This company will never learn about true logic, as the show goes off with Aces & Eights standing tall.
The show wasn’t anything special, but it had some interesting developments. I’m not sure why Eric Young wasn’t on the show, since he was the guy who had the winning pinfall in a major match at Lockdown. Maybe TNA doesn’t look at the Lethal Lockdown match as big anymore, what do I know? (Note from John: He's on Twitter @ShowtimeEY talking about filming stuff for his fishing show in Hawaii.)
The Chicago crowd was fantastic, although I’m still sad they didn’t boo Hogan. Oh well. I enjoyed the snarky chants. The show had too much Aces & Eights, but they are the focal point right now. Hopefully, this develops into something bigger and we don’t see Sting versus Bully Ray at Slammiversary.
I’m pretty sure Fozzie will be back next week, so this was fun to do for a week. Hopefully I gave you good analysis of the show and was entertaining enough to keep you intrigued. I’m not going to be writing on TJR Wrestling, but I’m heavily involved with TJRSports.com so check me out there.
My twitter is @Allen_Strk and my e-mail is AStrk19@gmail.com if you want to chat with me there. This was fun to do for a week. Hopefully I’ll be back some day.