10 Thoughts on TNA iMPACT! 03.17.2011 – Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson, AJ Styles, Sting, Hulk Hogan

Reviewing the 3/17/11 episode of TNA…

1. Finally TNA has replaced that odd awful Hardy mask belt. And the new belt looks good on Sting. Unfortunately TNA had to have Sting explain away the Jeff Hardy situation. But I like how they did it using the Sting/Hogan feud. It looks like that if Jeff Hardy ever was to return, he’d be in the face role after he was buried as he was getting sympathy from Sting while Immortal explaining that Jeff let them down. He let a lot of people down actually, not just Immortal.

2. While it has been great to see the original Knockouts in TNA again, it also has been bittersweet since they were squashed by Madison Rayne. The latest, Alissa Flash, wasn’t even given any time to put up a fight. At least ODB and Roxxi got to show what they can offer. Hopefully at Lockdown all the Knockouts come back to counteract Tara’s expected interference. Speaking of expected, I don’t think Mickie is going to be shaved bald, which was the only way Madison would agree to a rematch if Mickie put her hair on the line. Say “Goodbye title”, Madison. Nice way to set up this Lockdown “final” showdown all things considered, I guess, since inevitably they were going to meet again.

3.  The Pope probably had his best segment since becoming a heel with his fictional healing ceremony. The kidnapping of Okada/kato was a bit of a stretch though. Although he should have done that a while ago, it was a reaching to believe that after Pope revealed to Samoa Joe he had a fake knife, that he could have gotten him to the basement and chained him up before Joe could catch up to him. At least Joe did find them after Pope had tortured Okada, but it might have made more sense for Pope to show the knife was fake in that torture segment instead of earlier. Speaking of the healing ceremony, was it wrong that I thought the fat girl was a skinny girl in a sumo suit Pope was going to heal by helping her shed weight?

4. If it’s possible to love a segment, I absolutely loved the Kurt Angle meltdown on this week’s iMPACT. This is what I was expecting from this feud all along. Kurt was great here in his ferocity and his intensity. I think Kurt is sick of this feud as much as his hardcore fans are here by his passion and promo. He covered all his bases and was totally believable. Awesome segment.

5. It shows the abuse of power by Immortal, but I would rather have seen Matt Hardy competing or even Ric Flair competing for the TV title over a fresh tag team like Gunner and Murphy or and a super green Rob Terry. However, if it is to create a breakout singles star in Gunner, TNA may succeed if Gunner aka Phil Shatter can take the ball and run with it. Out of the three, good choice. And at least the title is off the absent Abyss.

6. It’s a shame Homicide couldn’t rejoin Hernandez and his Mexican posse. Sarita and Rosita seem to make a nice pair teaming with Hernandez. Not sure if I would have had a new partner with Hernandez this soon into his singles heel run, especially if Homicide was not available. The new guy was not revealed by name, but research has revealed he is former OVW Champion, “Low Rider” Matt Barella. Barrella will be known as Esteban when officially introduced.

7. TNA pushes and elevates some of their better acts and promising acts this week, but where is Crimson, I wonder? TNA is also doing a great job making Mr. Anderson unpredictable and out of control. It makes for a very entertaining Mr. Anderson as he comes out week after week demanding his rematch. He does have a good point, too. Which should still help fans stay sympathetic towards him.

8. Lines of the Night:

To Hulk Hogan in response to Hulk telling him he was out of the mix because he couldn’t beat RVD

a. Mr. Anderson-“Oh, and for your information RVD couldn’t beat me either. So it’s your call…Terrence.”

b. To Mickie James in response to what she wants in order to give Mickie James one more title shot at Lockdown

Madison Rayne-“I want to scalp you Pocahontas.”

c. In response to Pope and his stooges he was “healing”:

Taz-“It’s like the oddities.”

d. Taz-“Sometimes Angle can be a little unstable…”

e. Kurt Angle challenges to Jeff Jarrett in the same breath…

Angle-“Look at me you sonuvabitch…Because it’s time for me to get medieval on someone’s ass…I am sick of this shit<bleeped> .”

9. Match of the Night:

4-Way #1 Contenders Match for the TNA World Heavyweight Title

AJ Styles vs. RVD vs. Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson

This is the clear cut winner out of the choices. Big time match with the stakes raised to the highest without it being an actual title match. Most main event players were in the mix in this match and Bully Ray was being elevated by being added to the match. With Ray losing to Dreamer at Victory Road, we are to believe his ass kissing of Immortal has earned him this right, I guess. The ending kept things a mystery and in flux. Although unless Anderson technically had the win with his arm draped on RVD, I’m not sure what Earl Hebner was going to announce as Bully Ray punched Earl and kicked J.B. before either of them could say anything.

10. Final Show Thoughts:

Bully Ray’s stock was raised a bit more with his laying out of AJ Styles with the Bully Bomb through a table after the Main Event. Showing the many sad and concerned fans in the iMpact zone was a nice touch. The annoying Reaction camera man bothering Fortune as the show went off the air was not. TNA did an effective job elevating Bully Ray on this edition. TNA also did the same thing with Gunner with him winning the World Television title. Now it is up to both men to raise their game even more. Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett’s and Madison Rayne and Mickie James’ feuds each took turns towards a final resolution at Lockdown. Hopefully they both end with the proper results. The show was strong in most areas and TNA did the best they could with the Jeff Hardy elephant in the room problem.

Show MVPs:

Kurt Angle and Bully Ray

That is all.

M.C. Brown

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