Before I begin, I have to say I was underwhelmed by Bound For Glory. They needed to hit a home run, to belt it out of the park. Instead they bunted and the only reason they got to first was the opposition fumbled. Or, to use a sporting analogy from my own country – they needed to smash a six, and instead all they got was a leg bye.
Internet opinion is divided between those who thought it was a great show (seriously) and those who were disappointed. Very few thought it was terrible. In truth, it wasn’t terrible. But it was underwhelming and dull and the booking left a lot to be desired. Word is that there were a lot of injuries, that Angle refused to see any doctor but his own, and that the ending of the Ultimate X match was botched. Fine. Doesn’t mean the show wasn’t a let-down.
So this Impact needs to be a blow-away show to try and get back the goodwill they may well have squandered with what was supposed to be one of their biggest events of the year. Will it do that?
Let’s watch Impact!
1. The opening segment actually made Bound For Glory look like an awesome show. But… no mention of EC3? Or the new tag team champs? Well… interesting.
2. We open with Dixie Carter and a ring decorated in commemoration of AJ Styles. She smarms so well over AJ Styles – pity her delivery is at porn actress level. And he actually comes out to a really good pop. She takes credit for firing him up. Interesting tactic. She offers everything, including a nice looking car. She offers to move forward with him. He refuses. Man, has his delivery improved on the mic this year! Oh, and he’s a truck guy, he doesn’t want his own locker-room he wants to stay with the boys in the back, he’s proud to be a redneck, blah blah blah. So he’s now channelling Steve Austin. Dixie even offers to cancel tonight’s rematch.
3. At the 11 minute mark of the show Bully Ray comes out to a commercial break. Wow, this is a lot of talking. Back and Bully Ray is abusing Dixie. AJ says the rematch is still on. And this is dragging so muuuuuch. There’s more talking. Oh God, stop it now! “If God was a bully, he’d be me.” Not the greatest of taunts. 5 minutes later and Bully Ray sucker punches AJ. He then proceeds to destroy the set. Of course.
4. Lights go out before a table powerbomb by Bully Ray and out comes… oh God… Mr F’n Anderson to make the save. They brawl while AJ gets out of Dodge. After some attacks and 20 punches Anderson is gassed! We go to commercial so he can get his breath back.
5. Back and now Anderson has a mic?! Impact Talking is the show to watch! He cuts a generic Anderson promo. And starts to get gassed again.
6. Out comes Dixie with security to get rid of Anderson. Yep, she’s a face in my book now. He takes out 2 security guards, then lets the other two handcuff him and take him away. That was… underwhelming. But he’s so out of breath he’d probably have trouble fighting off that guy in the Hulk Hogan outfit in the front row.
7. Hey, I just noticed they don’t have ramp-way all the way to the ring. Shame. Now they look like a Bush League Raw.
8. Taz and Mike Tenay talk. Because that’s what we need – more talking. So we recap with a lot of stills and some video of the Knockouts match from BFG.
9. Over half an hour in and we have our first match. Wrestling! Oh, it’s a Knockouts tag team match. Wrestling? Gail Kim (with Lei’D Tapa) and Brooke v Velvet Sky and ODB. No Sabin, so Sky gets to do her entire entrance. Hang on, she’s a face? And her boyfriend is a heel? He used her to win the X-Division title and she looked a bit grumpy about it, but… WTF are they going for here? Who is booking this crap?
10. Kim throws Brooke to ODB to start the match and we are already going for signature moves. Never a good thing. Taz and Tenay talk about Bellator and… I can’t blame them.
11. When did Kim forget how to throw decent kicks? An unmotivated Kim is not a good sight.
12. This whole match looks like it’s a 45 being played at 33 1/3.
13. Tapa kicks Sky in the face for Kim to get the pin after a gruelling (for the audience) 4 minutes. Okay, I understand that 3 of the wrestlers could be sore after BFG, hence the reason for a tag match, and hence the reason Sky was the only one to look like she remembered how to move. But, man, that was brutal, Raw-level brutal.
14. Bromance decide that tonight they’ll celebrate their win. Sorry, it’s a cele-BRO-tion. They can’t wrestle but I guess backne is such a good look.
15. Match 2! Ethan Carter III v local jobber (Dewey Barnes). Dewey Barnes looks like Mike Von Erich. Post brain injury.
16. Well, EC3’s skill level is… Okay. I’m going to say this. He is shit. If Barnes hadn’t bumped like a ping pong ball for him and his crappy offence he would have looked like a reject from an Australian indy fed. For God’s sake, Barnes had better looking punches than EC3. And then Barnes sold the headlock driver superbly, making it look like a killer move. Yep, that’s right, the local indy jobber carried the company’s new hope. There’s 3 and a half minutes of my life I ain’t ever getting back.
17. EC3 is gassed? Seriously? 3 1/2 minutes of that rubbish and he’s out of breath? He can barely talk afterwards.
18. Recap of Sting v Magnus at FMF. Made it look like a hell of a match. (Oh. For the record: It wasn’t.)
19. Earlier today Sting and Magnus clear the air. Thank God. Magnus needs to be a face. “This is your world. I’m just living in it.” Magnus delivers the line of the night. And that’s it for your Magnus and Sting sightings tonight.
20. Recap of Kurt Angle rejecting the TNA Hall of Fame induction and then getting beat by Roode through a series of still photos. If they’d had a match in moving pictures it could have been a different story.
21. Kurt Angle comes to the ring to… talk! Great! We need a break from all that wrestling. He waffles and makes excuses. Roode comes out because we need two people talking here!
(I am ready to punch the TV. Seriously ready. We’re over an hour in and it already feels like I’m watching that episode of Nitro where the NWO took over and they spent half the time pulling down the WCW set, but this time it’s in slow motion. COME ON, TNA!!)
22. Roode talks. Angle talks. He challenges Roode to a match right now! But Roode can’t because Angle isn’t cleared to wrestle. Angle counters that he’s not cleared to wrestle, but fighting doesn’t count. Three punches later and they’re separated by security. THREE PUNCHES!?!? FFS!!!
23. Bully Ray is abusing Knux and Bischoff Jr backstage about Ken Anderson. Ray sends them to the jail to make sure Anderson doesn’t make bail. So I guess Anderson’s making an appearance during the main event.
24. Dixie is backstage talking to some-one on a phone and her PA shuts the door. And… yeah.
25. Tag team champs Bromance out to celeBROte. Look, the ring is filled with more crap, including a DJ and champagne. Crapcrapcrapcrap… So, Robbie E is now a former X-Division champ and a current tag champ, and a guy like Elliot Sexton can’t even get a look in?? FUUUUUUCK!
26. Thank fuck, Gunner and James Storm interrupt. They are really determined to get ‘Modern Day Viking’ (MDV?! Really, Tenay?) over as a knickname. They kick “DJ Anus” out of the ring. Storm drinks their champagne, Gunner eats their protein bars and Storm abuses their dress sense. Because more talking rules!
27. As Storm announces a rematch for next week, Bad Influence comes out. “What I see here is Two Bros, One Brain, a Crying Cowboy and a Pretend Viking.” Kazarian scores the newest line of the night. They also want to be world tag team champions of the world for a third time and show Bromance what “3″ is. Daniels now abuses their choice of beverage, because appletinis are for celebrating a gentleman’s victory. At least this round of talking is entertaining. Hey now they’re punching each other!
28. “Oh no!” says Taz. I’m with him as Eric Young and Joseph Parks joins in the fun. But Daniels smashes a bottle on Parks’ head, there’s blood and you know what that means? Jesse is chokeslammed to hell and back and Joseph chases Bad Influence. Vaguely entertaining, but only in the way that a tonsillectomy is entertaining after watching a vivisection on yourself.
29. Where Action Never Ends hyped. Who cares? I’m struggling with two hours of this shit, let alone a hundred hours more.
30. Match 3! World Title Rematch. Bully Ray v AJ Styles (with taped ribs). Not a bad match, but after BFG, this seemed to be wrestling by the numbers. Lacked intensity and was just there. Again, I know they were most likely injured or feeling it from BFG, and I can understand that. So why in the blue hell put it on their flagship show less than a week later, knowing the guys were going to banged up because of the way they wrestle? Stupidstupidstupid… and who is booking this CRAP? Bully Ray gets rid of Borash to introduce himself so AJ jumpstarts the match.
31. 12 minutes of half-speed action results in Anderson running in to hit a neck snap on the top rope so AJ can win with a crucifix roll-up pin.
32. Anderson and Bully Ray brawl because the champ means nothing and should be shoved to the background by other storylines, including one involving a WWE castoff who wrestles like a reject from NXT.
33. Carter tells us not to leave because she has a contract for AJ Styles. Wow! More talking! All right!
34. Dixie verbally fellates AJ and offers him a contract. He wipes his arse with it. Subtlety, thy name is TNA. AJ Styles then channels CM Punk and says he is leaving, taking the title to the people. But he decides to take the car after all. What?
35. AJ drives off. It’s over.
Okay, let’s look at this. There were three matches. 3. Minus commercials the show was about an hour and a half long. The wrestling took up 20 minutes shown if I’m exceedingly generous. 22.2%. Less than a quarter of their only show of the week, the week after Bound For Glory, was made up of wrestling. Yes, there were some “fights”, but that’s not what we watch for. Hell, Raw even has a better percentage than that. As a comparison, Raw had over an hour of wrestling in a 3 hour show this week. One third, 33.3% of actual wrestling. For those mathematically inclined – the show most people vilify had 50% more wrestling than Impact. Remember when they used to claim “wrestling matters”?
And… no Samoa Joe, no Jeff Hardy, no new X-Division champ Chris Sabin. If their people were too banged up to wrestle properly, grab the girls from the One Night Only Knockouts special to do some good matches, get Kenny King to fight Sonjay Dutt (that’s always a good pairing) and actually have something decent to watch. But what do we get? Shit.
So, let me make this clear. I have been trying very hard to see the positive side of TNA. I have been trying very hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. But now it seems that the light is just an oncoming freight train with spikes attached to the front of it, and it’s carrying a nuclear bomb and being driven by Richard Hammond.
This show SUCKED. It was awful. One talking segment vaguely interested me, and that thanks to James Storm and Bad Influence. The wrestling was sub-par. The whole night dragged. This is NOT how you follow up the “biggest show of the year”. And the crowd were too fucking stupid to do the post-Wrestlemania crowd thing and just be smart-arses all over the place and take the place over. They were so suckered in by kayfabe that it was embarrassing to watch. My son, my 8 year old son, who is a huge wrestling fan, even went to watch Horrible Histories with his sister.
Okay, TNA might not be on its last legs. They might be doing cost-cutting to keep on going. But if this is what they are going to offer people, they might as well offer themselves to Vince for $1.50 so he can have an awesome video library and then everyone involved can decide what they want to do with themselves.
Now, if you want me, I’ll be doing something far more constructive, like making a model of the Statue of Liberty out of my pet lizard’s saliva.