Friday, October 17, 2014

This Week on IMPACT Wrestling

By Adam Foster
October 15, 2014
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

To start off, I had some preconceptions coming into this week's iMPACT. The first one was that no matter how good the wrestling was, nothing would compare to the five star main event we saw last week. The other was that based on the crowds recently in Bethlehem, they would possibly ruin what I suppose was the "fallout" from Bound For Glory 2014.

Opening Statements
We got a solid promo from Lashley and Kurt Angle to kick off this week's broadcast. It wasn't the best we could have gotten, and we all know that Lashley isn't the strongest on the mic, but it made sense that he came out alone given the circumstances. It was nice to see them setting up the 4-way main event and hyping a World Title match in the process. It also set up a potential match for Kurt (if he does stick around), with the confrontation between him and Lashley. With TNA hyping that tease on Twitter, it's quite clear where they expect Kurt to go in his contract negotiations.

The Harlot Slayer
The opening bout was a Knockouts Title match between Havok and Madison Rayne. I thought it was another good showing for the new Knockouts champion, coming off a surprisingly good match against Velvet Sky at Bound For Glory. Havok is starting to use more psychology in her matches, choosing a body part and taking it apart. She has been a great pickup for TNA and is going to bring back some of the edge that the division lost over the last year or so. Also, the Harlot Slayer is the best name for a finisher in TNA at the moment.

Main Event Promos
Throughout the night we had a little face time to set up the legitimacy of each wrestler in the main event. They were short and to the point, which fits with the new wrestling focus that TNA has had since Slammiversary.

First Time Ever
Following a quick backstage segment, we got a match between Magnus and Matt Hardy. It was a good first encounter and has me hyped for a potential feud between the Hardys and the British Hooligans. A physical match that could have gone either way that I wish had gone to Magnus, but that's probably just a cultural bias. We got an amazing spot on the outside with Magnus lifting Hardy up for a powerbomb and ramming his back into the ring post before delivering the move on the apron. It's just sad to see how far Magnus has fallen now, after TNA put their weight behind him at the beginning of the year.

Six Person Tag
Rebel, Knux and Crazzy Steve faced Angelina Love, Jessie Godderz and DJ Z in a nice change of pace from the rest of the matches on the card. It was a fun match that helped Rebel gain more experience in the ring without making her the focal point of the match. Rebel is showing some promise and may be a future top contender. It was also nice seeing The Menagerie get the win following their recent string of losses.

The Funkasaurus In The Room
As promised, we got the reveal of EC3's new bodyguard, Tyrus (Brodus Clay). I'm not a fan of TNA bringing in someone like Clay when there are much better talents out there, but I'll admit that he has a dominating presence in the ring. I'm going to reserve my judgment on his wresting ability until he has a more competitive match, as the squash he had against Shark Boy was nothing, but the ring psychology with him constantly checking on what EC3 was saying could be telling. I liked the fact that Tyrus had the word "Redemption" down the back of his singlet; it gives me hope that maybe he was misused by WWE.

We also got Devon interrupting EC3's promo as he was talking about beating all of the TNA HOF'ers. It looked like they were setting up for a fight when Bram ran out and took out Devon with a trash can lid. I thought it was a cool moment because it came completely out of left field, and there is so little that can catch me off guard in wresting these days. It's a nice way to delay the potential Devon/EC3 match whilst allowing Bram to keep up his new moniker as "The King Of Hardcore". I imagine we're going to get a few badass matches between Bram and Devon that will highlight why there is no one who can go head to head with Bram and come out on top. TNA has done an amazing job with Bram this year, and he still has a lot of years left to give to the industry. If not next year, I can definitely see him being in the World Title picture come 2016.

The Wolves
We got a nice pre-tape from the Wolves before the main event, though it was a bit seizure inducing. It was a good promo that showed that the Wolves can talk the talk and walk the walk. Looking back to their ROH days they weren't the best on promos, but they were on the ball here. The whole thing solidified the Wolves as the best tag team in the business and set up an 8-team tournament for a shot at their belts. Another good way of keeping them out of the ring if Davey Richards is still rehabbing his leg, as well as hyping matches for the next several shows.

Main Event/ MOTY Candidate (Aries/Hardy/EY/Roode)
The main event was was given somewhere between 20-25 minutes, and I thought it was another Match of the Year candidate, if not quite as good as last week's main event. The double elimination spot at the midway point of the match was fun, though it was a bit corny and, at that stage of the match, rather predictable. I liked that Aries, Hardy and EY congratulated Roode after the match; however, it just highlighted the fact that the main event scene in TNA consists of one heel and four babyfaces. I thought TNA could have enhanced the moment by having Lashey appear on the ramp for a stare down with Roode, but the ending we got was satisfactory.

Closing Thoughts
The fans in Bethlehem were treated to another amazing show this week, though you would have thought they had been given nothing to see. They may have woken up once or twice during the show, but when a crowd in the USA is quieter than the Japanese crowd at Bound For Glory, you know that there is something wrong.