"Beatdowns, Belts and Beards"
By Jason Blade
This past week, Impact featured plenty of the above (seriously, there are a lot of bearded wrestlers in TNA) and with that, here's a bit of a different take on how I normally review Impact. This week, I'm breaking down the happenings into three sections: what I saw, what I liked and what I would like to see. So without further delay, this week on Impact...
- I liked the opening segment with MVP introducing the BeatDown Clan and explaining a little bit about their origins. I was also happy that they made it clear that Eric Young is not part of the BDC because whilst I was okay with EY turning heel, I just didn't see him fitting in with the other guys in the group. Inevitably this led to the always reliable Angle vs. Joe match, which was a fine way to kick off the show and give new viewers a small taste of what these two veterans can do together.
- Although our American friends got to see it on the new Unlocked show, we here in the UK got to see Mike Tenay's interview with Magnus as part of the Impact broadcast. Great piece in which I learned more about the Magnus character than I have in six years watching him. More of this please.
- How do you make tag team wrestling important? The answer: you put two awesome teams out there, let them go full tilt and have their future opponents watch from the crowd. It seems simple but it's a formula that works. If the wrestlers treat something like it matters, then the fans will too. The Hardys, The Wolves and The Revolution definitely treated their TV time like it mattered and by proxy, the audience did too.
- The EY/Roode match reminded me of an old ECW style match and I mean that as a compliment. It had good intensity, a nice brawl through a dark crowd and a decisive finish in the ring. If the point was to get over EY's new persona, then mission accomplished. I'm more interested in this character than I've ever been for any of Eric's other incarnations.
- Remember when TNA first started and having an X Division main event was a regular thing? It was nice to see that happen again this week, so kudos to Aries and Low Ki for rising to the occasion.
What I Liked
- "The King of the Night" Kenny King bringing with him, dare I say, a lady of the night fits right in with his character. I'm also digging Eric Young's new hairstyle; he looks like Conor McGregor which is cool if you're trying to look like a badass.
- Mentioning outside wrestlers and promotions, to me, is a genius move by TNA. Wrestling companies have a tendency to sometimes insult their fans' intelligence by pretending that they're the only game in town but by openly saying that there are other organisations and wrestlers out there, TNA is sending the message that they're not threatened by that fact, but they can use it where necessary to enhance their own product in terms of stats and stories.
- The graphics and the backstage segments made Impact look different from everything else in wrestling right now, which is exactly what they should be doing. I especially liked the occasional cuts to Josh Mathews and Taz as it gave viewers a chance to see some emotion at the announce booth.
- Taryn Terrell wearing the Knockouts Title around her waist. I know it's stupid but when a wrestler carries a belt instead of wearing it, it really bugs me. Unless you're too fat to wear it, then don't carry it over your shoulder. Thumbs up to Taryn for wearing the gold. Also, Brooke's ring gear... just saying.
What I Would Like to See
- Homicide. Anyone else think that Homicide would fit right in with the BDC?
- A back story to Kong/Havok. I wrote one for Knockout Shots this past week but really, I would like to see TNA give us a proper one (or at least steal mine) as the reason why these two are colliding. The fact that they're both large just isn't good enough.
- To not put a championship on someone just to change it a week later. I know it made storyline sense and it sent the message that anything can happen on Impact, but I just didn't like the idea of putting the belt on Aries just to take it off him again a week later. One thing I'm hoping for from the new TNA is making title changes a rarity and having them really mean something when they do happen.
- More personality from Lashley. Everyone, including Lashley, probably knows that his mic skills aren't his strong suit, but it would be nice for the champ to step it up a little, especially now that he's a babyface and will have to verbally spar with the charismatic MVP.
All in all, I enjoyed this week's show more than I did last week's show, and I think TNA could be onto a winner with this new presentation that they have. It allows for an excellent blend of in-ring action and behind the scenes storytelling which, to me, is exactly what I want from my wrestling shows.