Sorry for the lateness, but I just saw the show last night. This show was a mixed bag, indeed.
The highlight of the show was Dixie, in all her heelish MILFy glory. The Dixie Train is in gettin' full, darlin'. Her delivery on the mic is getting better, but she needs to pause every once in a while to soak up the heat she's getting. The opening segment is one such example. I liked the promo, and the interaction with Sting was good, too. She had some funny quips in there, such as equating carte blanche to a "blank check in trailer talk."
Aries vs. Hardy is the first match? Wow. Giving this away so close to BFG seems like a waste, but then again, having these guys in an X-division match at BFG is already a waste. Nonetheless, it was Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling. Joe inserting himself into the Ultimate X match afterwards just screams of not having anything for Joe to do otherwise. This thing has turned into the old MITB match at Wrestlemania sort of deal, where guys who are too big to be left off the card and guys who would otherwise be left off the card entirely are tossed into one big match for a payday. It's still not making me care any more about the match; guys like Joe, Aries and Hardy could be doing something far more productive at BFG. But I digress. Still great to see Aries go over Hardy clean.
The EY/Park stuff still gets a chuckle out of me, as do the Bro-Mans. It's relatively harmless midcard comedy. Not thrilled about Tapa showing up again, but what can you do.
The segment of the night was obviously the EGO HOF induction of Roode. It had me on the floor; funny stuff. I wasn't even bothered by the re-emergence of Angle at the end, setting up the glaringly obvious Roode/Angle match at BFG. All of this was going in that direction anyway, this just got the formalities out of the way.
At least I wasn't deprived of seeing Velvet and Brooke this week, but Sabin deprived me of my pigeons! Damn you, Sabin! Although I get that's where they're going with his character. Once again, Sabin put Velvet in a precarious situation, and that caused her to lose. I noticed that Gail Kim just walked right into another title match at BFG without doing anything; nice of them to mention that in passing. Must be nice to be gifted title shots like that--kayfabe-wise, of course.
They keep teasing Sting and Magnus falling out. If this leads to Magnus turning heel again, I don't know what to think of it. It seems to be heading in that direction, though.
Dixie's backstage interaction with AJ? GOLD. Teach those redneck children how to read, AJ. Take the money! LOL.
Ethan has a full name now: Ethan Carter III, or EC3. It makes him sound like an entitled trust fund kid/ Regardless, the name isn't bad. I think the guy formerly known as Derrick Bateman can make this character work.
Main event wasn't anything special. What I remember the most about it was the commentary of Bully Ray and Taz, combined with the post-match beatdown.
The two highlights for me was Dixie in general and the Roode HOF induction segment. The backstage segments were solid, but everything else was just OK. So, it's no surprise what kind of grade I'm going to give Impact this week. I'll give this week's Impact a C+. The build for BFG seems pretty lackluster overall, but there are a couple of bright spots here and there.
Wow. I've been watching WWE since Wrestlemania X, and Kurt/Benoit was the best WWE match I've ever seen. I'm sure no one else is going to agree with me, but I thought the Royal Rumble PPV was excellent.