Note from John: Marc "Fozzie" B. moved into his new place and doesn't have internet working yet, so Allen Stevens of TJRSports.com is filling in this week.
Due to Fozzie still having issues with his Internet, I’m back for another week. I want to thank everyone for the feedback from last week. I’m always very appreciative of feedback whether it’s positive or negative. This will be my last week doing Impact reviews since Fozzie should be back next week.
I’ve managed to not see spoilers for this week’s show since this is taped. Usually, I see spoilers but I made sure to avoid them for this show. We get another week from the Chicago crowd, although there will probably be some editing. The show starts with Hulk Hogan coming to the ring. This is going to be lovely.
Hulk Hogan Segment
Chicago crowd is going wild for Hogan, which sounds legit rather than clear editing. He talks about this is becoming a war and that Aces & Eights are starting to become a force. Then he thanks the four leading “warriors” of TNA. Samoa Joe, Magnus, Kurt Angle, and Jeff Hardy come out to good reactions except Magnus.
I’m hoping the Magnus face turn works out well because he’s one of the few young talents on the roster that is talented. He hasn’t vanished to irrelevancy like Gunner or Crimson (remember that winning streak?). Hogan continues to babble on, as someone screams out “Hardy sucks”. That was pretty funny.
Hogan asks Hardy if he can compete tonight, which Hardy replies yes. This sets up a fatal four way between the four men. Angle looks bored out of his mind while Hogan is talking. This should be a good main event, but why have the four allies fight each other? It’s a nice idea, but I’m not sure if you want four of the top “warriors” fighting against each other.
Tag Team Title Match: Team Mexico vs. Two Man Power Trip
Bobby Roode has the greatest generic theme music of all time. His theme may be my entrance song when I get married. Aries chants are still pretty evident, which I’m shocked by since the TNA production crew would like to cover their heels getting positive reactions.
Hernandez hits a double suplex in a nice spot after some standard double-teaming by the champs. Eventually, Eddie’s nephew got countered and the champs were all over him again. Aries wanted a cover, but old man Hebner got caught under the rope. Good thing we're not in Canada, otherwise the crowd would have gone insane.
I’m a huge MMA fan but the Bellator advertisements are pretty redundant. Is it really that necessary? Eddie’s Nephew fights off Roode and hits a nice tornado DDT to get the hot tag to Hernandez. The “Get Off Me” shoulder block looks more believable than Big E Langston’s finisher, which is pretty sad.
Hernandez uses the elevated ramp to his advantage and hits a flying clothesline over the top rope hitting the champs. That was a sweet move there by the big man. It looked like we were going to see a Doomsday Device, but instead Aries hits a hurricanrana on Hernandez over the top rope.
Aries goes for the Brainbuster, but too much dancing leads to Eddie’s nephew hitting the three amigos suplex. Bad Influence comes out and Daniels shoves Eddie’s nephew off the turnbuckle for Aries to steal a victory.
Match Rating: **1/2 This was a pretty good TV match with a few nice spots. It was another cheap win, but it does keep the storyline going some more in the tag team division.
After the match, Bad Influence beats down the champs in anger. It’s nice to see them actually looking good for once after jobbing out all these weeks. Speaking of generic music, Bad Influence’s entrance theme would be a track on my wedding playlist. What a catchy tune.
We get a recap of the X-Division title match from Lockdown, which was a really fun match. Kenny King gets a backstage interview and isn’t happy about the concept of a triple threat. I’m not either. What is the point of making every match a triple threat match? I know the best TNA match of all time is a triple threat match between Joe, Styles, and Daniels but this new concept sounds like something that will last 3 months.
King makes a cheap plug about Five-Hour energy for some reason. Are they the new sponsors for TNA? King does a good promotion job though compared to Matt Morgan and Direct Auto Insurance. Before the championship match, here is the new concept to the X-Division.
All X-Division championship matches will now be held under triple threat rules. The champion will have two challengers at the same time and has a 33% chance of retaining the title and runs the risk of losing the title without being pinned. The high-stakes title match has consequences for the challengers as well. The wrestler pinned in the X-Division championship match is eliminated from a future title match while the wrestler who isn’t involved in the decision gets to compete in the next X-Division title match. So where will the next contender come from?
New contenders will be also decided via a Triple Threat match. Fresh faces, former champions or recently eliminated contenders all will battle with one winner advancing into the next X-Division title match.
It’s pretty innovate but how long is this going to actually exist? Remember when the TV title was supposed to be defended every week? Now Devon wears that title as a necklace and hasn’t defended it in months. If this new X-Division concept is still happening six months from now, I’ll give Dixie Carter and the entire company credit.
X-Division Title Match: Kenny King vs Zema Ion vs Sonjay Dutt
Sonjay Dutt is still around? They sure like to give title shots to people that haven’t been on TV in four months. I’m starting to like Ion a lot more, but this is what irritates me about the X-Division. He takes a hard Pele kick to the side of the head from King, yet he hits a tornado DDT about 10 seconds later after going to the ropes. Why can’t these guys sell? Dutt hits an awesome moonsault-stomp, but immediately takes a springboard neckbreaker from King. The match is over just like that with King pinning Dutt.
Match Rating: * The match was rushed and it didn’t do much for King. So now Dutt is going to have his earn way back to a title shot, while Ion will be involved in the next one. Are there going to be any storylines with this title? I doubt it with this odd concept.
Brooke Hogan has arrived and looks as orange as ever. She is mad and doesn’t want to talk about Bully Ray. I’d wouldn’t want to either, especially using terrible hurtful words such as “You invented f**s”. Bully has made a great transformation as a performer in the past year, but saying things like that is ridiculous. Someone remind him that it’s not 1996.
Usually the TNA video production studio gets a lot of negativity, but they did a masterful job with these Bully Ray promos. It shows how he truly screwed TNA and became the leader of Ace & Eights. Once again it’s another step in making this stable look somewhat credible.
We get another video package based on the Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim storyline. This storyline isn’t doing anything for me, but Kim should carry her through a watchable match.
Taryn Terrell Segment
Terrell makes her sympathy plea about being on “probation”. Kim interrupts her right away and is looking extremely good. She is putting herself over about being the top woman in the company and how she rules over everyone. She has a point; I think she’s the best female wrestler in the world right now.
Brooke Hogan comes out as the crowd has to be booing her out the building. Thankfully, the production clearly edited her entrance out. Chicago is too good to let this waste of space in their hometown without their feelings being heard.
Terrell is now a Knockout, which means she can fight anyone. She spears Kim and chases her out of the ring. This leads to Bully Ray confronting Brooke Hogan with him repeating, “Till death do us part”. Brooke just keeps saying she hates him in the most non-energetic way. She can’t even sell hating someone.
We get another video package of Bully Ray’s master plan. It was another well-made video and it showed why each member was revealed. It’s nice to see TNA using their memory and reminding us about Anderson getting jumped last October. Overall these videos have been productive and are starting to make me believe that Aces & Eights could start to become believable minus a few of their members.
Kurt Angle is backstage and makes his claims to win the world title once again. He calls it the biggest match he’s had in 18 months. Didn’t he have a title match last November against Hardy? I remember it being a very good main event. Anyway, I’m just nitpicking but Angle looks ready to go.
Matt Morgan vs Joesph Park
This was mostly a comedy match. The X-Division wrestlers may want to learn how to sell from Joseph Park. He’s making his character so believable right now with his selling and how he’s really making us believe that he’s a rookie. Morgan won with a Carbon Footprint as expected. His objective is to take out Hogan’s “trash” even though Park is one of the few consistently good performers on Impact.
Match Rating: Dud
We go backstage to see Jeff Hardy talk about being a creature and stepping up tonight. The common theme seems to be defeating Bully Ray to win the World Title back for TNA.
AJ Styles segment
Mike Tenay is in the ring and is ready to interview “The Phenomenal Hobo” A.J Styles. He asks a few questions before being interrupted by Taz. Taz is offering him a spot to Ace & Eights, while making references to A.J’s drinking and riding mopeds. James Storm interrupts the segment, while Styles still hasn’t moved.
Storm doesn’t understand who Styles is and wants answers. A.J doesn’t say and walks away. A “Hug It Out” chant was started up, which was pretty hilarious. This was a good segment to continue to make his character more mysterious.
Styles may need new entrance music considering his new metamorphosis of a character. If he’s playing a dark character, you can’t have the “Get Ready To Fly” energetic song. This may be the first time I’m interested in A.J Styles since 2010 so this new character can only be positive for him.
We get the last of the video packages for Bully Ray’s hoax. They go through the buildup of Lockdown and the ending of the PPV. It was a bit redundant saying how this is the biggest con in professional wrestling history. Nobody believes that, but not everything can be perfect in TNA.
Number 1 Contender’s Match: Samoa Joe vs Magnus vs Jeff Hardy vs Kurt Angle
It’s nice to see Samoa Joe get a good crowd reaction. Joe is my favorite wrestler on the roster, but I’ve accepted that his stock is damaged. The booking can be blamed a lot, along with Joe being too heavy. I’m just happy that crowds still cheer for him because he’s still putting on good performances in the ring.
The JoeNus Brothers (the name is catchy) partner up and face the opposite guys. Joe gets the upper hand on everyone, as the crowd is pretty hot for Joe early on. The other three are brawling outside, which leads to Joe hitting a suicide dive on all three of them. That was an awesome spot, as we go to commercial break.
We come back with the JoeNus Brothers hitting some nice double team moves. The tag division is pretty stacked right now, but I wouldn’t mind the JoeNus Brothers feuding with Aries and Roode. That would lead to some really good matches compared to those awful tag matches in 2012 with Crimson and Matt Morgan.
Magnus takes out Joe with a clothesline and then hits a flying knee on Angle. Hardy goes for a cross body, but Magnus reverses it into a suplex. He’s really improved in the past year or so. It may sound redundant, but people should start recognizing his talent more.
A massive duel between Angle and Joe chants break out. What is this 2008 when TNA was actually really good to watch? Magnus hits a huge Mag Daddy Driver on Joe to silence the crowd. Out of nowhere, Jeff Hardy hits three Twist Of Fates. I can already picture the Chicago crowd thinking Super Hardy has arrived.
Hardy goes for the Swanton Bomb, but Magnus knocks him off the apron. Angle gets his offense in and locks in the ankle lock in on Joe. Joe gets out of it, which leads to Magnus and Angle colliding. Hardy hits the Swanton Bomb on Joe for the sneaky victory.
Match Rating: *** A very enjoyable fatal four way that made Magnus look legit and Joe still looks like a top guy. Hardy winning was expected, but it was a nice way to do it. The crowd was hot for most of the match as well. Hardy and Joe shake hands to finish off the night.
This was an improvement from last week. I'm not sure anyone can argue you with that. We got two quality matches and some great video packages. The fact that we didn’t have to see D’Lo Brown, Garry Beardoff, and Mike Knox beat people up was an instant thumbs up.
In all seriousness, storylines developed and there weren't many instances I was scratching my head. The show seemed to have more wrestling than usual, which is always a positive. They have a great roster. Please Dixie Carter, use it.
I know I said it last week, but I’m pretty positive that Fozzie will be back next week. He is pretty much moved into his new place and just needs his Internet fixed. Once again I hope you enjoyed this and hope TNA continues to makes progress.
I’m not going to be writing for TJRWrestling.com but I’ll be heavily involved in TJRSports.com. You can check me out there on a regular basis. My twitter is at @Allen_Strk and if you want to chat anywhere else, my e-mail is AStrk19@gmail.com. This was a pleasure to do; hopefully I’ll be back someday.