Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Thursday, February 16
Universal Studios
Orlando, FL

Moose and Brandi Rhodes def. Decay (Rosemary and Crazzy Steve w/ Abyss)

I feel somewhat bad critiquing Brandi Rhodes because she’s really not very good at all but of course she isn’t. She’s wrestled six real matches ever, assuming Cagematch is to be believed. Nobody is a good pro wrestler after six matches. And yet here she is under the bright spotlight of televised pro wrestling. On the plus side she is being presented as a rookie, explaining her shortcomings to the audience. This was also a considerably better display than her prior matches, particularly the Maria and Bennett vs. Cody and Brandi match from last year. Elements of her overall performance were really charming aswell, she seemed super excited just to be there and be teaming with Moose – the naive enthusiasm of a rookie. This was a perfectly enjoyable opener highlighted by Moose deadlifting Steve with one arm and hurling him over the top onto Abyss. Moose pinned Steve after a Go To Hell. Cody (Rhodes) returns to Impact next week. **1/2

Eddie Edwards called out Davey Richards for betraying him last week. Him and Davey brawled and they’ll face in a street fight in the main event. I’m still conflicted about the Wolves’ split. I can’t quite put my finger on it (I mentioned TNA’s lack of teams at the moment and their face/heel imbalance last week) but the timing of this split just doesn’t feel right. Also the underlying story being Angelina Love manipulating Richards to turn is a well TNA has gone back to a couple of times. Last year Matt Hardy turned on Jeff because of being manipulated to do so by Reby (before he became BROKEN) and Lashley turned heel attacking Kurt Angle last year at the prompt of Raquel (an angle that was then entirely dropped). So TNA creative clearly has a weird thing about women being horrible vixens who cause men to turn to the dark side. And yet the execution has been rock solid so far – getting more passionate performances out of Eddie and Davey. So I still don’t know where I stand on this.

Jessie Godderz def. Kingston

Jessie Godderz is a solid midcard hand, and has improved a great deal over the last year, but he can be clumsy at the best of times. The action here was pretty fun but the execution left a little to be desired. Kingston has been a total non-entity since debuting last year, which is a shame. He’s generally the fall guy for the DCC and he hasn’t been an opportunity to really shine yet. Losing clean here did little to help that. In spite of being messy at times the match was fun enough – Godderz won with a flying forearm. DCC tried to attack afterwards but Godderz bailed. **1/4

Tyrus hosted the Fact of Life with Eli Drake. Tyrus was not best pleased that Drake abandoned Tyrus in the battle vs. the DCC last week. Drake finally broke his self imposed vow of silence. Drake hasn’t been happy with the fights Tyrus has been picking on his behalf while he’s been mute. Drake put Tyrus in his place, reinforcing that he’s always only ever been a hired heavy. Tyrus didn’t take kindly to that and challenged Drake to a match next week. It’s always disappointing when somebody with promise is saddled with a programme with Tyrus.

The Tag Team Championships of Mexico
The Hardys def. Psicosis and Super Crazy

So the Hardy’s went to Mexico and offered to wrestle for Konnan (appearing on the Impact for the first time in a decade, having last been seen managing LAX), who was delighted to accept them because they offered to work for free. As a wonderful slimy promoter Konnan sent his staff out to sell some phony Hardys merch. Psicosis is a true TNA original, having wrestled on the first ever TNA show in a losing effort with James Storm vs. The Johnsons. While it was fun to see The Hardys in a different setting (and seeing Vanguard 1 being a terrible womaniser), it was disappointing not to get more of a real match here. The referee had to be blurred due to being a contracted Lucha Underground talent. Jeff won with a Swanton on Psicosis. *1/2

Brooke def. Sienna

I actually sort of forgot Brooke had returned until she came out for this match. Maybe it’s being tied to Maria while Maria’s main dispute is clearly with Allie but her return hasn’t had much oomph. The match again revolved around Maria before Brooke stole the win with a roll up. **

Bobby Lashley proclaimed victory over all of TNA before Josh Barnett made his TNA debut and interrupted him. Barnett expressed disappointment in Lashley, referring to the cowardly streak that I’ve always somewhat hated about Lashley’s characterisation but has undoubtedly been there (well I have less of a problem with Lashley tactically avoiding matches until they are on his terms, but Lashley’s propensity to try and cheat has always undermined the character for me and I guess Josh Barnett agrees). Barnett was almost like a disappointed dad here. Barnett grabbed an armbar really quickly which caused Lashley to reel away embarrassed and challenge Barnett to a fight to over compensate. Barnett managed to talk Lashley into putting his title on the line too.

While the crowd literally had no clue who Barnett was, I really liked his delivery here. It felt like he was having a conversation with Lashley in his own voice – not

delivering his lines

in the same way

that everybody else does

with a bunch of pauses that’s as frustrating to listen to as it probably was to read just there. A big problem with modern promos is that everybody’s delivery is the exact same. The same cadence, the same intonation, the same emphasis, the same vocabulary. What results is nobody having their own unique identifiable voice. The homogeneity of delivery undercuts the sense that these people are their own individual characters but rather all singing from the exact same hymn sheet with the exact same verbiage. So to see Barnett come out and just talk to Lashley in a relatively understated, but confident manner was really refreshing to see. Lashley was tremendous here too, as he always is. I’m not sure is the Impact Zone at the back end of a bulk set of television tapings the right venue to do a match like Lashley vs. Barnett but I’m interested to see how it goes.

Street Fight
Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards – No Contest

Of course with this being TNA Edwards and Richards are having a big stipulation match a week after breaking up – and while this was more angle than match, TNA would have been much better served delaying the physicality for a few weeks and allow the tension between the two build up. As Richards was about maim Edwards with a chair, Edwards’ wife Alisha came out to help before she got decked by an Angelina Love forearm. Love handcuffed Alisha to the ropes to watch as Richards hit Edwards with a Conchairto. Love then kicked Earl Hebner in the nuts for good measure. While I have some reservations about this split, this was an extremely effective angle.

Final Thoughts:

A similar show to last week but a tad better at least. Painfully lacking a good wrestling match though.