That was a nice show-Loved how they instantly rebounded from Lockdown and started a new direction near-seamlessly. Magnus striking out on his own immediately, backed by Abyss. Spud, turned into a wrestler quickly against the new character Willow. Establishing the new X-Division champion Senada and new talent Tigre Uno right off the bat. EY immediately getting back into the mix against Abyss. Lashley promptly being put on a collision course with EC3. The fallout from Lockdown and the previous main storyline was handled very nicely, I give props to TNA for that.
-The pacing of the show was surprisingly good. It's been a while since we've gotten a full plate of what TNA has to offer. Every division was represented and given good time tonight, hell, the Knockouts division got two segments, with different sets of characters! The midcard, X-Division, main event, tag team, and upper midcard all got their fair time on the show, and that's not something I've become used to seeing from TNA as of late. Still need to tighten up their production (yeah right), but they booked a nice blend of talent.
-Love what they did with Bully, successfully turned him face while keeping the integrity of the character. Bully gets beat down by Dixie's gang, he stalks them and beats them up before going out and saying what he has to say. Same Bully, but different ways of using his character. Good job. Roode came off really well here also. I'm looking forward to this feud, perhaps it'll lead to a Roode/Storm vs Bully/Gunner match?
-Although it was nice that they had two Knockout segments, I feel like both missed their mark. Clever way to give Brittany a win over Gail in her debut (since she's the only heel the KO division has left, it was a lock that she'd face Kim), but not so good on giving Brittany a shot at showing what she brings to the table. It ended up being a forgettable debut, to the point where a simple vignette would've been better for her than having that match. The Kim/Tapa thing afterwards was nice, hopefully working with Kim will help Tapa progress in the ring (she has potential, but jeez can she look bad sometimes). The Velvet/Angelina segment, again, felt like something that should've been a backstage segment, rather than an in-ring promo exchange. I know it probably happened to set up a Love heel turn, but it seemed awkward and a waste of time. A long back-and-forth between two people that ends with "I need more time," then nothing? Yeah, not the best idea. I would've loved to see Madison get involved somehow, to be honest. Maybe there's still time for that.
-Given all the talent that was left off this show, I'm surprised it was this good...and a little worried. Hopefully we'll get to see some of the guys we didn't see tonight.
Excellent episode this week. Lots of rebooting going on as we switch from episodes that felt like they were taped last December into fresh material.
I'm vaguely aware of Muta's status as a legend, so it was pretty sweet to see him join the TNA roster. I hope they can continue to have him make the occasional appearance.
Muta's conversation in Japanese with his protege, the new X-Division Champion, felt like it went on for a long time. That was an interesting artistic choice. It felt serious and different. I liked it.
This Senada guy pinned Aries at Lockdown, so I have to assume that makes him a threat to even main-eventers. Look forward to his rematch with Aries.
Kenny King's King of the Night gimmick looks very suave. I hope he can remain that cool while at Universal Studios. (Or perhaps he has stayed away from TNA arenas so as to maintain his current level of suavity!)
Oh, and them signing Rey Mysterio is exciting. (Or a guy who looks just like Rey Mysterio which is sufficient for me to ignore the possibility that the guy isn't Rey.)
We got a LOT of Knockouts segments tonight. We've got Orlando Jordan's ex returning and making eyes at Rayne and her title, Gail Kim petulently turning on Lei'D Tapa, and the return of Angelina Love.
Love seems to have much more of a Canadian accent then she had in her last run. I don't blame Velvet for turning down Angelina's suggestion to form a reborn BP. Unless Angelina figures out where Brooke hid the Knockouts Tag Team Title Belts, there's not much left for the Beautiful People to prove.
I did appreciate Angelina hugging it out with Velvet, and how she acknowledged their feud, so that they could move past it. By this point, I have to assume though that Velvet and Angelina really are both dumb enough to not realize that their feud was caused by Winter drugging Angelina. I guess it fits their blonde gimmick, but... I mean really. If they don't realize that Winter was behind it, then that means Winter is free to strike again on some other unsuspecting person who Winter thinks she was married to in a past life. All that being said, yeah, I didn't honestly expect TNA to bring up the morass of the Winter saga, so I was pleased that they at least implictly addressed the Angelina/Velvet aspects of it.
Bully Ray Reboot:
I'm not a fan of this reboot. Bully Ray was the Big Bad in charge of the army that terrorized TNA for over a year. He was more than a heel, he was a super villain. Ray's character needed more time to transition back into being a normal character. During Roode's crew's beatdown of Ray, I was just thinking how it was nice for Ray to get a taste of what Aces and Eights did to people each week.
I'm glad that Spud and ECIII are still friends. It wasn't very nice of ECIII to not rescue Spud from Willow though!
I will continue to harp on Abyss not defending the title until TNA retires it or begins using it again.
Joe needed more time to recuperate after being murderized by Janice. Or perhaps Abyss is still afraid of using it at its full power after he got a taste of it that time. I wish they would treat it like Randy Orton's puntkick was a few years ago, and only using it when they plan on writing the victim off for a bit.
The Boss is Back:
At last an MMA star who I care about! I wonder when we'll see his wife again.
Shaw continues to be outrageously fun. It is like he's the new Claire Lynch.
At one point in time, the Beautiful People was TNA's best thing and probably the best thing in all of women's wrestling. Trying to make them face each other again would be stupid. Unfortunately, TNA does not have enough sympathetic female faces to make BP effective.
Bully turning face sorta kinda not really makes sense. Magnus being champ is at least new and fresh and he can go in the ring. I just don't know if there is a lot of box office there. To be fair, I don't know how much box office is left in this company.
The Wee Baby Sheamus.Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Did that angle where Love was being hypnotised/drugged by Winter ever come to anything, or is it another TNA angle that just stopped with no explanation?
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If I remember correctly, Love admitted to faking all the magic stuff just to get away from Velvet. Then, Winter and her became just a regular team til Love got injured or released for a little bit, I think.
The Wee Baby Sheamus.Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
I thought this was a pretty bad show with very little wrestling except for The Abyss-Joe match where the result of the match was never announced or mentioned. The camera work on Eric Young's run in was horrid. Tiger Uno and Sanada looked great, but the match got all of three minutes. They could have had a good match with the Bromans building to a hot tag, but no. Bobby Lashley has bored me to tears from day one. The Shaw-Anderson match went in a flash and the whole mannequin is just silly. Willow is interesting I guess. I think turning Bully is a mistake. I'd be much more interested in Roode turning face as it'd give us a refreshed Roode and a interesting feud with Magnus. Bully is just better as a heel. Hope the Beutiful people reunite, but as heels. The were best as heel. Brittany was done no favors in her debut match with the Kim and Tapia break up post match.
Does this make Brock Lesnar the third American to hold the IWGP Heavyweight title along with Norton and Vader? Was there anyone else? Either way, I think it puts him in the history books as one of the select few to do so.