Saturday, October 04, 2014

This Week on IMPACT Wrestling

By Wake Chambers
October 1, 2014
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania


AUSTIN ARIES VS SAMOA JOE: PROMO AND MATCH
This was an excellent talking segment into an excellent match. What I liked about the exchange between the two is it felt like it had a purpose; it led to a meaningful outcome, which in this case was a match. It was not too long or short on the talking either. Even better was the storytelling the match told. It went for the classic David versus Goliath commonality that many small versus big wrestler matches tell. Aries had to use his technical acumen to get the upper hand, first with the targeting of the knee, then the simple onslaught of catching Joe off guard. Joe was otherwise dominant at first with Aries putting the test to Joe as the match went on, and he ended up having a bigger challenge to him as the match went on.

What I have really liked about the presentation of the X-Division since Slammiversary is the increased intensity. It is not necessarily the fast paced division it has been in the past but has emphasized the stiff nature of the division more so. Not only was this match stiff but the lead in promo and psychology elements to the match were intense. It distinctly showed itself early on in the match when Joe got beat red screaming as the persistent Aries was like a pesky mosquito that would not go away that transformed into a serious threat more as the match continued on. Even though last week’s show felt like an afterthought, the results had consequences leading right to this week’s show. This was a great way to lead off the show though unexpected as a leadoff segment.

EC3 PROMO AND MATCH WITH ERIC YOUNG
Overall, these segments were passable at best. This was a segment and match I felt was best used as a backstage segment than happening in the ring, at least at first. The promos were good for what was presented, but it felt too artificial in its setting. The match was decent, but again, I did not like how it got to be a match. It accomplished some advancement in the story of the abusive relationship EC3 has with Spud. I would like it to advance a bit quicker, though I like the general story going on.

HAVOK INJURES GAIL KIM
The rivalry has been built up well, and this segment really helped to make the match later feel more special. I like Havok did not even have the patience for her music to begin playing, let alone Gail’s to finish. It was definitely a better showing for Havok after that horrid Knockout Battle Royal. The injury angle was put to good use as well. Another note, the use of the slow-mo instant replay added a lot to this segment; it sold the injury even better than it would have by itself.

THE WOLVES CHOSEN STIPULATION
This was a very good set-up to the final match for the tag team series to decide the new champions. What it conveyed best was the meaning behind the match. It is not just about titles but legacy, whether establishing it or adding to it. It simply got me pumped for the match, which is all it needed to do. I could tell the teams are prideful, and it means a ton to them. I must admit the staging of the ladder, table, and chair felt a bit hokey, but that is only a minor complaint.

MANIK VS SHARK BOY
James Storm’s group is at it again. I have been a fan of the group since its outset, but this squash match felt pretty deflating as a segment, particularly from the previous segment. It felt like it needed to by more of a dominant performance. Plus, they seem to have neutered his move set a bit. Knowing TJ’s abilities, I guess I was hoping for something a little flashier under Storm’s tutelage; I thought his confidence was being brought out (I have been yearning for a Shooting Star Press finisher from a wrestler for awhile now, circa Billy Kidman. I wish things would have turned out better for Jesse Sorenson.) The frog splash comes off a bit bland to me, honestly. Overall, the segment fell flat; when I see Perkins in matches, he is a guy I want to see them let work to his actual potential. Plus, his new hood seems to be functionally hindering in the ring. The match itself was good and Shark Boy was kind of funny with his demeanor, if that is any consolation.

ANDERSON VS MVP
This was another decent match with no mph behind it. Though I like how they began Chris Melendez’s introduction to TNA, I am not invested the bully-style angle they are going for here, so I automatically had little interest in the potential matchup. The match felt like a throwaway as well as a segment. I think things could have developed a lot better for Mr. Melendez to this point with an underdog story over a bullying story; he might have been served with a loss to King a couple weeks ago in a hard fought battle. His trajectory seems to have been halted by getting in a really weird feud so soon in his TNA tenure; there was really no explanation why he got called out by MVP and King awhile back. So I guess I found it difficult to get invested in this storyline from the outset, which probably has prevented me from enjoying it as much as I might have with a better explanation.

ROODE CHALLENGES LASHLEY
This was not Roode’s promo in his career, but that being said, it was still a very good promo. It was quite impassioned but a bit out of place for his character. It kind of sounded like he was begging and making excuses with his leg tweak during his match against Lashley. I wish he would have taken a slightly different angle to it, something more like: “I know I can beat; I dare you to put that title up against me again.” The interruption by MVP was good. I like it drawn out a bit more. It caused me to want to see Lashley lose to Roode more than I already did.

HAVOK VS GAIL KIM
You have to give TNA credit for treating its women’s division with dignity. These women get to do what a lot of the men get to do, including the occasional main event. The match told an excellent story utilizing the classic determined fighter injury angle. This match did not need to be a spectacular match due to the great story lead in. I loved the dominant performance from Havok, and it has me the most interested in the women’s division I have been since 2013 and the Terrell/Kim feud, although their rubber match was great as well. Honestly, I hope it leads to a long title reign for Havok so long as her performances stay of a high quality as they have been, while TNA continues to develop its Knockouts division and fill it out. My only complaint, which is minor, is Havok can afford to go for even more intensity in her move delivery and go for less screaming; I really do not understand why TNA feels the need to make their female monster heels scream like banshees. Otherwise, a great way to finish the show.

Episode Grade: B-; For me, it was a tale of two types of reactions. I was either getting pumped by some really good storytelling or quality wrestling. Or I was feeling a bit deflated by some lackluster segments. The good news is I felt the good outweighed the meh. It was a good episode overall, but I feel some things could be done in a more interesting way from my perspective.

Favorite Moment: Aries and Joes were spectacular. They simply got me hooked with excellent delivery and psychology.

Least Favorite Moment: I just have lost most investment with the Melendez events, so I really didn’t have any interest in MVP versus Anderson.

Looking Forward To: I don’t know how you can’t be looking forward to the final match of the tag team title series; the ladder match was spectacular and this is going to be better?

Also, I look forward to Havok’s dominance in the Knockouts division. TNA really scored big on picking her up, no pun intended.