Impact this week had more broken Matt, the debut of Aron Rex – formerly Damien Sandow – and title vs titles. It’s hard to call these episodes of Impact above average anymore, as the more of these kinds of episodes we have, the bar only rises up. While that produces a high calibre of show each week, it also prevents other shows from standing out. However, to this point, TNA has managed to retain my interest in their weekly shows. Bound for glory is already looking like it will be a fantastic show, there is however, quite a large amount of time to fill until the show. I imagine we will see Lashley defend each of his titles, at least once, before bound for glory.
The debut of the man who used to be “The saviour of the masses” was as I expected. Sandow – now Rex – has always been excellent on the microphone, especially so when he is fired up. We have seen similar storylines before. Formerly disgruntled WWE employee comes to TNA. Talks about how they were mistreated, vows to do it their way in TNA. This felt different though, it wasn’t just an act from Rex to draw more attention to his debut. He genuinely seemed to mean everything he said. Rex genuinely seems to believe, believe in TNA, believe in his new co-workers and believe in his own abilities. I’m very excited in seeing Rex continuing in TNA, Rex was always a guy I was a big fan of in his WWE days. Granted, this will be different from both the Sandow and Mizdow characters. However, Rex’s previous ability to do so well, with such vastly different characters, gives me confidence he will knock this out of the park as well. In terms of going forward, Rex did have a stare down with Lashley, I’m hoping that is more of a foreshadowing to further down the road. I’d fear a match with the two of them right now would be counterproductive. Lashley will be kept strong going into Bound for glory. Rex taking a loss to Lashley so early on in his TNA career seems odd also.
I’m incredibly happy that it seems broken Matt and Brother Nero, are heading into a feud with Decay. Most of TNA’s product is a pretty realistic, good dude vs bad dude. Look at Lashley Vs EC3, which looks like it will main event Bound for Glory. There is nothing that gimmicky about either man; neither looks like they’ve jumped out of the pages of a comic book. To me, that’s good. As is characters like the Hardy’s or Decay. I’m a fan of products like the cruiserweight classic, which is very realistic. I’m a fan of a far more comic-book esc type product like Lucha Underground. Both are excellent in their own worlds, sometimes mixing them however, can be a bit messy. Generally, thus far, TNA has done well in integrating characters like Decay and broken Matt into the world of the more realistic characters on Impact. However, I imagine that meshing these two crazy tag teams together could produce some really entertaining TV. TNA is attempting to be a bit of a catchall product right now. They are offering some very different types of characters and feuds, and putting them in the same show. They are hoping they can draw lots of different types of fans into one show, rather than drawing in just one type of fan, with one very strict type of product. This can work well as you draw a more diverse large base of fans in. It can also backfire; alienating all of your fans, as they decide watching the parts they don’t like, isn’t worth it to watch the parts they do like.
Finally, I’d like to talk about the Lashley Vs James Storm match, titles vs title. Firstly, this was a match with high stakes. All three of Impact’s male singles titles were on the line. The match didn’t disappoint, Storm and Lashley put on a great match – with Lashley coming out on top, holding all three titles. However, the match itself isn’t what impressed me the most – and it did impress me – I actually was most impressed by the build-up. All one week of built up, for a match in which all three males singles titles were on the line. On paper, that seems like an awful idea. However, one week was really all they needed; in fact, all they needed was the first hour and a half of the show. Throughout the show promo videos were aired, showing James Storm at home, talking about how much his first one on one shot at the world title, in five years, meant to him. Storm talked about how much his first title win meant and how he was doing it for his family. James Storm when given the right material to work with is quite honestly, one of the best babyfaces, not just in TNA, but in the wrestling world today. These videos presented a very humanised, relatable James Storm. I remember TNA doing this with Storm during his feud with Bobby Roode years ago. They were excellent then, they are excellent now. These videos prove TNA has two brilliant assets, James Storm and Jeremy Borash – whose fingerprints were all over these video packages. TNA and Lucha underground are two weekly wrestling shows that prove something. You don’t need 20 minute in ring promos every week to further storylines. Actually, video packages and on location scenes can be far less time consuming and are far better at progressing storylines. Being able to make them look and sound different, rather than the same layout in ring promos, can help retain more interest from the viewer also. I hope TNA continues to do this; these video packages have been excellent recently.
Next week on Impact we are promised a 4 way ladder match, in which a number one contender to the tag titles will be decided. This week showed through the reaction broken Matt received, that him and Jeff, sorry, I mean Brother Nero, have fantastic potential as a babyface team to rival Decay. Possibly the aim with the whole Hardy’s storyline was to eventually have them have a final match. A Bound for Glory showdown with Decay seems a far better route. It seems as though EC3 Vs Lashley will main event that show. We now can speculate what other matches will fill the gaps. With Moose, Mike Bennett, Drew Galloway, Eddie Edwards, Bram, Eli Drake, DJ Z and Aron Rex (among others) still to be given matches, we could be on our way to a fantastic show. With the addition of hopefully the Decay Vs Hardy’s match and seemingly Gail Kim vs Sienna, I’m certainly excited.
Tags: aron rex, Broken Matt, Damien Sandow, Decay, impact, James Storm, lashley, Lewis Michie, wrestling