Sunday, February 15, 2015

This Week on IMPACT Wrestling

By Talon
February 13, 2015

-On a weekly basis, I keep going back and forth on the focused in-ring lighting. There are weeks when I am not bothered by it and feel that it gives the product a unique visual. Other weeks however, it hinders my enjoyment of the product as the atmosphere feels too much like an independent promotion. This week was the latter.

Depending on where TNA is taping, the focused lighting can be a good or bad thing. If they have a horrible crowd, the lighting will hide it. However, if they have a good crowd (like they did in Glasgow) you won't see it. I am hoping that over the next few months, TNA will be able to work on it to make the arena a little brighter. Its distinct but is it distinct in a bad way?

-This week opened with Kurt Angle calling out Lashley to the ring. TNA is building towards a Lashley vs Kurt Angle match. Its one of their biggest matches that they have yet to do. Preferably, this match would take place at Slammiversary but by the way they are teasing it, you can't expect that to happen. I am not a fan of "kissy" promos where the guys involved kiss up to the crowd or each other. This was a kissy promo. Lashley should be the silent, deadly guy but he isn't being utilized in that role now. His lack of mic skills kill his ambiance as a badass champion.

The Beatdown Clan's interruption actually improved things. MVP is one of the strongest mic workers in TNA. He knows how to work the crowd and how to generate "quotes" that will be used in video packages in the future. This sets up a tag team match later in the night.

-Austin Aries vs Bobby Roode was a very entertaining match. These two have had better matches on PPV but this one didn't disappoint. I like how they touched on each other's history in the UK. They are rivals that have gone round and round. This time, Bobby Roode was the better man when he was able to nicely roll Aries into the Crossface for the submission victory. Aries' explanation of living to fight another day makes sense especially since he has the Feast or Fired Briefcase.

The post-match attack on Roode by Eric Young continues their rivalry. While I wish EY sold the match last week more, I understand him coming back to continue this thing. The next step is an even more vicious gimmick match between the two. The attack writes Roode out of the Gauntlet Battle Royal next week. It continues to delay his path to the championship.

-Al Snow is looking older now. He is a guy who I felt could have been a main eventer had he been given the opportunity. It is too late now for that kind of push but I felt he had the look and mic skills to get the job done. This was on display here in his promo with Grado. Unless you have been watching British Boot Camp (which can be seen on this very site) you wouldn't know who Grado was or why this match was happening. This was the logical buildup promo. 

I do want to say that if Grado doesn't get his "Like a Prayer" them next week, then a lot of his appeal is gone. The best part about Grado is his entrance and the theme is required for that entrance. 

-Bram's match with Crazzy Steve was solid. I wish the announcers would have gone into more about why this match was happening. It could be happening because Magnus joked that he could have picked Crazzy Steve as his partner for FOF. Bram's insanity wouldn't allow him from understanding the sarcasm. Magnus vs Bram is a feud that I am looking forward to. Magnus does have to sell his injury though in the meantime.

-The 2-on-3 Handicap Match was probably my highlight of this show. I enjoy this feud and am looking forward to the day that EC3 and Rockstar Spud battle it out in a Hair vs Hair Match. Involving JB, Mandrews, Tyrus and now Mr. Anderson is a fun way to extend this feud. Spud is such an awesome underdog and EC3 is such a dick character. JB's crossbody off the top was an OMG moment for me. EC3's victory was logical as Spud doesn't need wins with the character he portrays.

I enjoyed the fallout with Mr. Anderson coming in for the save. It feels like forever since we last saw Anderson. I don't know if he qualifies as a TNA legend but it is a fun return. 

-Awesome Kong vs Madison Rayne was a squash match to continue building up Kong. While Rayne got squashed, her pre-match promo time helped TNA feature her character. The music tease prior to the Kong interruption was a cool preview about what was about to happen to Rayne. It looks like Kong is gunning for the Knockouts Title after running through Havok and Rayne. 

-I enjoyed the interaction between Matt Hardy and James Storm. Storm is an evil villain who is similar to Charlie Manson. Matt Hardy should be pissed about what Storm did to his brother. The eventual attack leading to the save by the Wolves builds to another Revolution vs Wolves Match down the line. Hopefully, the numbers will be more even.

On a side note, I don't like the lack of progression for Manik, Sanada, Abyss and Khoya. TNA never explained why most of these guys were with the Revolution. This is currently one of TNA's weakest aspects to the product. They need to spend more time adding context to their storylines and characters. They have Unlocked and IMPACT to do that. Tell us why these guys are in the Revolution. Tell us why James Storm wants them. Tell us why the BDC have come together or where Havok has gone. Depth to storylines and characters will separate TNA even more from the WWE.

-The tag team main event was a solid outing. I really enjoyed the finish of Angle's instincts costing his team the match as it distracted Lashley and allowed him to be rolled up by MVP. This is only Lashley's second loss since returning to TNA (I believe). It also teases more issues between Angle and Lashley.

According to the Top 5, Angle will be one of the last entrants along with MVP, Samoa Joe and Low Ki. TNA is teasing whether or not Angle can overcome the odds. The promo kinda kills the chance of any other wrestler except Angle or BDC winning the match.

Final Thoughts: Aside from the return of Mr. Anderson, this was a pretty forgettable episode of IMPACT. It was the fallout episode of a special (which usually are my least favorite episodes as nothing really happens). Its setting a few stories into place for the upcoming weeks but generally, nothing of note happened.