Sunday, March 22, 2015

This Week on IMPACT Wrestling

By Talon
March 20, 2015

I want to open tonight's column by touching on just how different TNA is as a company from their time on Destination America from their Spike days, specifically the audience. Many elements of the product are the same but from a programming standpoint and from a visual standpoint, there are many differences. One major difference is the expectations and realizations we now have about the company. TNA's fanbase was cut in half through the network change and the timeslot change.

Many people who were TNA fans last year don't get Destination America. For some, its not available and for others, the payout the upgrade isn't worth it. On top of that, IMPACT is now on Fridays which is a big day people go out and do other things. I am a long-time TNA fan but I have other things happening on Friday's that prevent me from watching the show live. Thank god for DVR.

TNA had a consistent 1 million fans every week on Spike, on Destination America, they have about half of that. They are in a completely different position than they were before. Many former TNA fans are missing some great action and storytelling.

-Ultimate X was an exciting way to open IMPACT this week. I think UX is the best gimmick that TNA has ever created. I am fine that it is used beyond the X Division. One day, I am hoping that the World Heavyweight Title will be fought over in this type of match.

Robbie E sat this one out because of his loss to Brooke last week. I am hoping this is a way to freshen up the trio. Have Robbie split from the other two and take a more serious approach. Let Jessie and DJ Z team up (with Angelina in their corner).

There was a handful of cool spots in this one including the chicken fights between the members of the BroMans and the Revolution. Also, Jessie's high dropkick knocking his opponent from the cables was pretty sweet. Few have a better dropkick in the business than Jessie. The Wolves ended up grabbing the titles in a pretty fun tag team defense.

On a side note, I liked the original claw mark body paint that the Wolves used but this paint looks really dirty and chaotic. I can't even tell what's going on.

-Austin Aries continues to be one of the highlights of the IMPACT product. He was very good on the mic against Samoa Joe and an annoying Low Ki (may be him playing a heel). I like the tease of the case vs title match but Ki sicked Joe on Aries. Joe's last two matches ended in a loss to Austin Aries. Aries came out on top, laying out the two members of the BDC.

Rockstar Spud capitalized on the moment, passing Aries on the ramp (in a cool moment), hit the Underdog and traded his X Title case for the X Championship. Rockstar Spud has some momentum following his match last week against EC3. I completely support the idea of putting him in the spotlight of the X Division. Here's hoping we get a lengthy reign with a number of different title defenses.

The X Division Title has taken a back seat since TNA got on Destination America. While there have been a few matches here and there, mostly it has felt secondary to everything else. Maybe, with Spud as champion that will change.

-The brawl between Magnus and Bram was solid. Magnus was pissed after Bram put his hands on his wife last week and humiliated him. Magnus beat Bram all around ringside leading to a vicious Powerbomb on the entrance stage. I don't like the assault being so one-sided though since Bram should always feel dangerous. I did like the short involvement from Mickie though. These two should be settling it in a No DQ match of some kind within the next few weeks.

-I really enjoyed the story that was told in the 3-Way Knockouts Match. Gail and Taryn had to work together to fend off Awesome Kong. There was a lot of great action with Kong keeping on coming at them. Eventually, Taryn hit her Taryn Cutter but that couldn't put Kong away. Taryn sold this in great fashion. Terrell ended up pinning Gail at the end. I love Taryn's reaction after the match that eventually she will have to face Kong one-on-one. Taryn used her most powerful move tonight and not even that was enough to put Kong down.

-There were a number of things that bothered me about the James Storm and Matt Hardy No DQ Match. The first thing is why Hardy would accept a match when he knew that The Revolution would be ringside. A smart person would find backup beforehand. It makes him look stupid for falling into the trap.

My second big issue came with the double chair superplex spot. This should be a moment that ends matches. TNA has turned it into another big spot. The problem with that is that it ups the ante on everything else TNA does. I didn't like how it was treated as just a regular move of the match.

Storm got the win following a cowbell shot and two Last Call Superkicks. After the match, he hit Matt Hardy in the head again with the cowbell. We are to believe that this will make Hardy inactive for a few weeks. Okay, we'll go with that. The action in the match was honestly pretty good though aside from those few issues.

-I got wondered in past columns why TNA doesn't do more in pulling back the curtain. They did a great job with that tonight prior to the World Heavyweight Championship Match. Along with a lot of buildup during the show, and great video packages, we got the MMA entrance from each participant, walking from the backstage area. It felt different and it added to the atmosphere of the match. I also like the prologue theme music from Lashley and Angle as well. TNA did this a lot in 2005/2006 so it was cool to see them bring it back.

One small gripe with the entrances is Angle and Lashley wearing their street attire to ringside. Having them look so casual takes away from their larger-than-life aura. Its something WWE does incredibly well. Its fine for backstage but when they are wearing it to the ring...not so much.

The actual match was very good. Many of Kurt's main event matches have followed a formula, which this followed but we still got some very good action. WiFrye spoke extensively about this match earlier today so read his column here to get more insight on it. It was a definite match of the year contender.

With Kurt Angle as champion, I see Lashley, Aries and EC3 waiting in the wings. Lashley vs Angle was a match big enough to main event Slammiversary in June but we got it for free tonight.

BTW, I know we will never get Lashley vs Brock Lesnar but I was itching for that match tonight. It is only possible with my Versus series (cheap plug).

Final Thoughts: I said it before, TNA could have built a strong PPV out of the matches we received the past few weeks. Lashley vs Angle, Roode vs EY, 3-Way Knockouts Title Match, Spud vs EC3, Wolves vs The Revolution and more. It really is cool that we get so many top-notch matches for free on Destination America.