Sunday, January 25, 2015

This Week on IMPACT Wrestling

By Wake Chambers
January 23, 2015

This week, TNA continues its journey on its new home, Destination America. Following two strong premiere episodes, TNA is settling into its permanent timeslot on Friday night. How did it fare this week in this writer’s humble opinion?

Feast or Fired

TNA decided to go full throttle right off the bat this week with the annual Feast or Fired match. I really enjoy the concept, so I was hyped up for it. It was a fun match as always; however, I felt it was too short. I really wanted a couple of segments dedicated to such a feature match. On top of that, it was a fairly flat for a specialty match in my mind. There were some good highlights. It was funny how Spud climbed Shaw to get his case. The slingshot flip DJZ is always a treat. We got a tower of doom. And Aries was being Aries in the match. That was a well and good, but I felt the match needed to feature some of the exceptional talents in the ring more, like the Wolves and Bram and always more Aries. Despite those complaints, it was still a decent match for what it was.

And on a side note, I like the set up for a feud between Bram and Magnus, and what seems like an obvious face turn for Magnus; this is exactly what I want to see. Magnus is an underutilized talent that got ruined last year; he can be that compelling character again.

Lashley and Kenny King/BDC

This was a pretty solid segment actually. Of course, Lashley is not a strong talker, but I felt King was exceptional. He needs be on the stick a lot more in my opinion. This episode had Lashley talking too much; he needs to stick to the intimidating short sentences to be good. That is a major part of his mystique as a silent destroyer. I recommend TNA find a different method of how they portray Lashley as a face. In fact, I would have suggested they reversed how they filmed this segment by having the BDC starting out in the ring and taunting Lashley to come out. You have him come out to retrieve his title but simply get overwhelmed and MVP can draw him out to the streets from there. Still, a good piece.

Havok versus Gail Kim

It was a good match, but it just was not to the standard they have already have established with each other. Either way, it did a good job of emphasizing the intensity of Havok and the resiliency of Kim. The one thing I really liked during the match was how the production used the replay. You have a break in the action, why not do a slow motion replay? I would like to see that a lot more on Impact. I also like the first physical interaction between Kong and Havok. I am dismayed a bit because I remember hearing Havok asked for time off to help out family, so she might take a break from TNA for awhile. She is an awesome talent and it would be sad for her to have to leave TNA, even for a short time. Anyway, my one criticism is I am yearning for more of a story from these two’s feud, if we get much of one that is. (I do not know the spoilers and do not want to.).

 Khoya v Tigre Uno and Subsequent Storm Promo

It was an okay in-ring debut for Khoya/Sheera. It is another dominating giant I guess, but I really hope the guy can go in the ring. I have not seen anything from him prior to this. I enjoyed the slap-heard-round-the-world; he really got him there. It was a good promo as always from Storm too, but I would much rather see less Master Miagi from him and a lot more abusive drill sergeant (Think Full Metal Jacket and the master R. Lee Ermie). Honestly, since he has gone more cult leader style, I have not been on board with the Revolution personally. Pretty “eh” for this part from my point-of-view.

EY & Low Ki versus Kurt Angle & Bobby Roode

With the participants of this match, it was bound to be good, no question, and it was a good match. It was one of the better parts of the show in my mind. Still, it was not an outstanding match based on what you would expect from these guys. However, that does not bother me so much since I know they are going to be building up to Lockdown here, which should feature a couple amazing matches.

JB versus ECIII

I found it funny how JB came out in the hoody like an MMA fighter. But thereafter, the segment was very flat and predictable on how it went down. I get they are giving ECIII something to do until he is healed from his shoulder injury he suffered on the indies, but in reality, it is the same thing over and over each between Spud and EC3. It is boring to me despite what most others seem to think. I really do like ECIII, even if he is not my favorite, but I think his stuff with Spud is bringing him down a few pegs if TNA plans on putting a title on him anytime soon. That is my two cents on that subject, even if it is not a popular opinion. However, what made a lackluster segment palatable was the debut of Mark Andrews; I am very excited to see him in the X-Division. I absolutely love the Shoot Star Press, and he delivers it with great skill.

James Storm versus Matt Hardy

It was a decent match. It got more heat on the Revolution. Very predictable and that is about it.

Feast or Fired Reveal 

I am a fan of TNA’s application of reality style shooting, but I am not a fan of when they take a page out of crappy reality TV shows. I also did not like it when TNA did their version of Hogan Knows Best. I could have done without the cheesy dramatic music too. Overall, though, I like who they went with for the cases, even Spud. Maybe I would have preferred one of The Wolves or DJZ for that case, but I am okay with Spud too. Robbie E was gold in this segment too; I could not stop laughing. I am surprised Aries could keep his composure, honestly. TNA did a good job here, even though it would have been better with a different style of production.

Lashley versus MVP Street Fight

Another better part to the show, I like they did an actual street fight in the street. I will admit I was a bit disappointed they kept it pretty short and did not take it further away from the building, but it was a good set up segment to kind of get the team with Angle, Roode, and Lashley going. But how awesome would it have been if they worked it out with a store to take a front window out or something like that (Probably an unnecessary cost)? Anyway, I like where they are going with the main story. I would caution TNA to change it up from here, so the story does not get too redundant. They need to keep freshening it up by keeping the parts moving and planning it out well so we do not get into the issue the Aces and Eights story had, where it gets way too repetitive. Again, another two cents there.

General Notes

This needs to be mentioned, and maybe I am alone on this one. During the first hour of show, I was getting really annoyed by the incredibly shaky camera around the ring. There were constant zoom adjustments; it also seemed like they did not know where to point the camera. I do not know whether it had to do with their likely of close cuts or not, perhaps. Additionally, other cameramen were getting in the way of shots many times. It was so bad it was affecting my enjoyment of the show. TNA obviously was not able to cover up the numerous issues happening during filming in post production. The second hour was much better however. I have never seen such bad issues with filming ever in TNA, and it stuck out like a sore thumb to me. I hope it is never this bad again because this is coming from a guy with no experience in film production. Yikes.

The other thing that bothered me was TNA really pulled back on their new style of production this week. It was very disappointing because they have made such a big of cameras being everywhere. They had been doing a wide array of split screens, which I have been a fan of as well. It was noticeably absent. Maybe it is quite ambitious for TNA to pull off and they do not have enough production employees to do it for every show. I do not know why they skimped on it this week. I like that style they have introduced us to, and I want them to go all in with it. For whatever reason, it was less frequent. I beg TNA to pull all the stops for it; it is a good way of doing things that differentiates them from any other wrestling company.

Episode Grade: C-; The show was very lackluster; I would say it was the worst I have seen since before last year’s Slammiversary. That said, it was not horrible, just average. I downgraded it some for the camera issues and not putting full effort into the new filming style as well. I was disappointed on that front. However, there were not many standout moments, other than Andrews debut and couple others. What the show did well is some intriguing set up, but I am not grading for future potential; I am grading this show in and of itself. It was not a great show in my opinion.

Favorite Moment: Mark Andrews debut. He came in with a bang and made an otherwise boring segment palatable. 

Least Favorite Moment: JB versus ECIII. I told you why before, just not my cup of tea.

Looking Forward To: If I had to grade this show on what it made me look forward to, it would be at least a B. We have Aries back to being significant. Magnus is getting a second chance. Havok and Kong are getting me gleeful. Mark Andrews is a stud. The Bead Down Clan is hitting on all cylinders. Roode and Angle teaming up? Hell yeah! The only things I am not looking forward to is probably anything with Spud and ECIII and the Revolution; that is really it.