The show opened with a video package documenting last week’s big angle that saw Dixie Carter put through a table by Bully Ray. This led directly into a mid-ring promo with Bully. Bully talked about how it wasn’t just him, but all the fans who put Dixie through a table. I can’t say I’m surprised by a guy named Bully beating a woman, and then implicating everyone else in the act, but given what has gone on in the combat sports world this week, this angle and that sort of talk couldn’t be airing at a worse time. I get the argument that this was taped ages ago, but when you consider the fact the rest of this segment was filled with obvious, awkward, editing, it really feels like Bully’s opening speech should have been framed around him taking the blame/”credit” for his own behavior. Speaking of the rest of the segment, it was pretty awful. Bully called D-Von out, who then cut a brief promo which led to the Hardy’s coming out for no real reason at all. Matt and Bully ended up recounting the history of the Hardy’s/Team 3D history, putting over all the major matches and shows they had in the WWE. This was horribly put together, with egregious jumpy editing, bad acting from Bully and Matt, and Jeff looking and sounding stupid. I will say that they were careful not to mention the WWE, but the whole segment came across like four Uncle Rico’s trying to throw their footballs over a mountain range. They ended this with each team hugging each other, to set up the match. No trash talking, no “issues,” no sir. This match is built around the misty eyed memories these guys have for a nearly fifteen year old feud. So in other words the Dixie table spot may have blown off the ECW tribute act, but now Impact is being built around third from the top (at best) WWE Attitude Era tribute acts.
They showed a video package that highlighted Samoa Joe’s X-Division title victory from last week, followed by a brief backstage promo Joe cut talking about his plan to spark the X-Division.
Right before the commercial Rockstar Spud, Ethan Carter III and Rhino are shown walking into the building.
Another video clip of Bully powerbombing Dixie through the table is shown.
Backstage Austin Aries, Bobby Roode and Eric Young briefly talk about their plans to take out Lashley, MVP and Kenny King. This was completely pointless.
Tigre Uno v. Manik v. Crazy Steve v. Low Ki v. DJ Z v. Homicide: Christ, how hard is it to book a mindless spotfest? TNA keeps putting these matches together where all they really need to do is have a bunch of athletic guys run through their big spots really fast and the match will meet expectations. And they keep fucking them up. This wasn’t terrible or anything but it was stupid. It was an elimination match and each pairing only got a few minutes together, each of which ended with a guy getting beat in a definitive, but out of the blue and absurdly quick fashion. To the extent there was build at all it was to set up the Homicide and Low Ki showdown, but that got no time either. I’m glad we will get a Ki v. Joe title match as a result of this, but I continue to be amazed at how terrible TNA is at delivering on very simple things that every 87th rate American indie is capable of doing with a fraction of the budget and talent.
Backstage Spud and Ethan Carter III confront two stage hands chuckling about Dixie going through a table last week.
Back from break ECIII, Spud and Rhino come to the ring. Spud has a black eye and cuts a fired up promo and then ECIII follows up by demanding Bully Ray be fired for what he did to Dixie last week. This brings out Kurt Angle who says his job is to ensure the best wrestling show possible. Angle says they can wrestle or leave. ECIII refuses to wrestle, so Angle calls out the cops to eject them. Another segment, another Attitude Era throwback so they are at least staying consistent with these themed shows. Spud fires up on the cops and gets taken done, as does Rhino. For some reason they don’t touch ECIII who cuts a promo on one of the cops, telling him he knows Donald Trump (another WWE talent/act/top draw put over on this show), Bernie Madoff and Carmello Anthony. He literally throws money at the cop who takes him down. All three of them are hauled out. Not sure heels being removed from the building by police because they threatened to engage in non-violent direct action to protest the continued employment of a woman beating, blame shifting, self-identified, Bully is something that works in 2014. The crowd didn’t seem to know what to make of this segment and I can’t blame them.
Backstage Sam Shaw and Gunner are talking. Gunner is telling Sam about his relationship problems with Ken Anderson which Sam feels guilty about.
They briefly show ECIII, Spud and Rhino being removed from the building.
Back from the break ECIII, Spud and Rhino are still being held in the back of the building by the cops. I am all for angles depicting the police as inefficient wastes of tax dollars, but that wasn’t the intent here, and I don’t know why you needed three different segments to get these guys out of the back door.
Gunner v. Ken Anderson: This was stupid. Match was brief, and the crowd shit all over it. Sam Shaw randomly showed up and jumped on Anderson leading to the match getting thrown out. Shaw should be working Jesse Neal on USA Pro shows, Gunner should be working Eric Young or someone he can have a half decent match with and Anderson should be working at a Bi-Lo somewhere.
Backstage The Beautiful People tease dissension over the Knockouts title four-way match later in the show.
Back from break more circling jerking over the tabled Dixie Carter from last week, including post-show highlights of Bully singing “Ding Dong the witch is dead.” Tenay is interviewing Carter next week. So apparently all of this and the Dixie character isn’t being blown off. Incredible.
Velvet Sky v. Angelina Love v. Taryn Terrell v. Gail Kim: I spent most of this match trying to navigate the Papa Joh’ns website. I was fairly amazed at how difficult it was to order an extra large cheese pizza, and still am. Perhaps this is a subject that can be taken up by Joe and Rich for a future podcast on this website. Terrell hit a dive here that the live crowd marked out for. This was fairly short and uninteresting.
Backstage MVP, Lashley and Kenny King cut a promo, with MVP using the old Malcolm X “Chickens coming home to roost” line in regards to Dixie being taken out. Not surprisingly, this brief segment was the best promo work on the show.
Lashley/MVP/Kenny King v. Eric Young/Bobby Roode/Austin Aries: On paper, this looks like a pretty good match, then you remember this is TNA, you crumple up the paper and you just pray it’s watchable. I guess this lived up to that standard, but really this felt like a waste. The best part of this was EY’s piledriver, but even that wasn’t sold the way I wanted it to be by MVP. Speaking of MVP there is no way he should be wrestling as a heel with that bum leg. Very little in this even stood out, and while nothing was offensively bad about it, with a little effort this could have been a solid little match. The heels won by being heels. The quality of this review is plummeting with the quality of this show.
They show another Jessica Havok vignette.
Backstage The American Wolves cut a promo talking about the Team 3D/Hardys match. They challenge Team 3D to a match. Both of these guys are terrible promos for different reasons, but the more important point is that it makes no sense for them to be challenging Team 3D before their match with The Hardys even takes place.
Abyss comes to the ring and calls out Bram. Bram comes out with Janice and this gets awful fast with Bram talking about how he likes tittyfucking Abyss and Abyss screaming about getting Extreme in the most overacted fashion imaginable. Abyss challenges Bram to a ladder match for Janice, where he vows to shred his anus. Magnus grabs the mic and says that Janice has screwed Abyss twice, which is the only time he’s ever been screwed by a girl. This leads to a brief, horribly executed fight, where Abyss gets control of Janice briefly only to have her taken away from him again. He then cuts a promo calling the match he’s just made “Stairway to Janice” and saying he will show Bram how big of a bitch his girl can be. TNA’s depiction of females on this show has been deplorable, between the shitty Knockouts match, the show long celebration of a menopausal woman being beaten by a Bully, and Bram and Abyss feuding over a symbolic female, who has just lays there, an inanimate, agency-less object, getting nailed repeatedly, called a bitch, and then hung up like a piece of meat to be “won” by two testosterone fueled misogynists.
Back from break they show a video of James Storm in a housing development trying to fire up, train and brainwash Sanada. This is another pseudo-sexual angle as you’ve got shirtless Sanada bound to a post, with Storm demanding the camera man leave, and then a violent scream as the camera goes black. It seems odd to me to do a Fifty Shades of Grey angle involving these two, but I will grant that if Russo was still involved when this vignette was written and shot, the New York City, video store clerk writing an angle built around his favorite off the wall Japanese bondage porno he found at Kim’s is at least explainable. Ridiculous yes, but I can at least see how it happened.
Team 3D v. The Hardys: It’s incredible to me that every week TNA does a pretty good job setting up, and building to the main event segment — and then goes to commercial just a minute or two into the match. Do they not realize how stupid that is? Do they not realize how that can kill the flow of a match before the viewer can even get invested in? I know the promotion is booked and run by idiots, but it’s not that hard to understand these sort of things is it? This was a slow building match, with Team 3D working as a subtle heels for a bit, largely in order to build heat on Jeff Hardy. The Jeff in peril segment was fine, but I thought Team 3D working as heels in this setting didn’t really get the desired response, and never was going to. When Matt tagged in the match picked up, and the final few minutes were built around escalating big spots, all of which were well delivered and well timed. The Whisper in the Wind/Devastation Device combo was pretty crazy, and the camera angle on the Air Hardy spot onto Team 3D was excellent. Team 3D ended up winning with the 3D which was predictable, but still the right finish all things considered. It was easily the best match on the show, but the bar was really low, and while I like it well enough, it was not as good as I would have hoped for coming in.
The only real positive here is that the last segment was the best segment. Beyond that this was a dreadful, soul crushing, show. Bad angles involving phony cops, Ken Anderson continuing to exist as a carbon based life form, an Abyss/Bram segment that is among the worst things I’ve seen on any of these Impact shows, a terrible opening promo segment, a poorly booked X-Division match, a six-man tag that was worked well below the level of the talent involved, more bad Knockouts trash, et., et., et. This was a complete landfill of a show, with the last few minutes of the Hardy’s and Team 3D match standing out as the semi-functional flat screen t.v. some college kid tossed to the curb before leaving town. They are moving to Wednesdays next week which is a tougher night for me, and tonight’s show is making me feel like it’s not worth the effort to continue these reports. Hurting the feelings of TNA fanboys isn’t enough.