With Hardy and Bully Ray facing each other for the world title at the first Corpus Christi show on April 11, the 2 shows emanating from Jonesboro are being used to build it up. So, in other words, nothing huge was going to happen here.
The opening segment was surprisingly decent, considering Hardy had a big chunk of time on the mic in it. Anderson seemed to run out of things to say at the end of his promo and was just waiting for the brawl to start; I did like the selling merch line, though. I have no idea why Anderson hasn't been used like this before. He should be higher up the ladder in the club than he is. If he's laying low because he's secretly a mole for TNA or something, I can understand, but the guy should be right behind Bully as far as mic time and main event level spots goes.
I have no idea why TNA keeps giving Chavo a microphone, but there he was on the mic again. The tag match that followed was alright, but it also means that Hernandez and Chavo get yet another crack at the tag belts.
Great to have Petey back hope he sticks around. the crowd was very respective to him.
The Knockouts promo segment was alright. Gail Kim was a little better on the mic than usual, but there was no feeling behind her words at all. It goes without saying that Taryn Terrell is once again insatiable--she looked GOOD tonight. I can get used to seeing that on my TV. Once Tara and Velvet came out, the situation was just dying for some Teddy Long "tag team match playa" action, so I'm assuming that match is taking place on the second taping. I can go for some blondes vs. brunettes action. I dig Velvet's furry boots.
They introduced the Gutcheck participants, and I noticed Adam Pearce was out there. I'm not a huge indy follower by any means, but I did recognize his name as being a former booker of ROH and NWA world champ for an awfully long time. That's about as deep as my knowledge of him goes, though. I had no idea who the other dude was; didn't care, really.
The Sting/Hogan promo segment was my promo of the night. Good intensity here; lots of "feeling" in the promos from both guys. I liked the tease of getting physical at the end, too. It wasn't awesome, but it was very solid. I liked it.Good to see Morgan get involved as Stings devil on the shoulder.
I liked Storm's promo directed toward AJ Styles, too. What I didn't like was the ambush by the Aces & Eights second stringers. Now the Teddy Long special comes--6 man tag, playas. This was another alright, but not great match. A standard 6 man, if you will. I had no problem with Aces & Eights using shenanigans and a roll-up out of nowhere to steal this one. The second string of Aces & Eights got a win for a change.
The Hardy/Anderson match was Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling. I liked Hardy countering the Anderson cheating with the hammer by using the hammer himself; sure, he got DQ'ed, but it's not like the DQ really matters. Then the table, ladder and chairs come out. Since Hardy gets to pick the stip for his title match with Bully Ray, it's pretty obvious what he's going with--the TNA version of TLC, Full Metal Mayhem. I can run with that.
There were fewer matches on the show (which is a plus for me), so it allowed some of the B- and C-level stories to get time on the mic. I appreciated the additional promo segments. There wasn't a lot of backstage stuff, but what was there was pretty good (the Hardy/Hulk chat, Morgan's appearance, the girls brawling next to the stack of pizza boxes). For a filler show, it was a pretty decent filler show. Better than usual, I'd have to say. I'll give this episode of Impact a borderline B/B-. I usually have harsh things to say about OFN episodes, but this one wasn't that bad.
I can't say enough about how much better TNA looks going out on the road and performing in front off big lively crowds. When they were at the Impactzone they felt like a Indy promotion that lucked into a TV deal and now they look ,major league. While their production isn't up to the WWE's standards it's improved a lot the last year or so. I can't imagine anyone being a worse promo guy than Chavo. The number one contenders match was good, but had the wrong result. I'm suck of seeing Daniels and Kaz jobbing so much. I suspect Chavo and Hernandez only won cause the show will be in Texas in a few weeks. Good gracious is Taryn Terrell insanely hot. I think she looks better in h referee outfit, but her ring gear looks great too. The six man tag match w way better than expected considering the so called talent on the heel side. No interest in another Hogan-Sting feud. Styles as the new Sting already feels old. Anderson is the shit in the ring and on the mic, but his match with Hardy was fine. Nice job setting up the world title match in two weeks. Adam Pearce for gut heck is a nice choice and unlike Christian York he's ready for prime time, but I don't see them doing anything with him as the other gut check guy have been forgotten. Great to see Petey back, but I doubt he'll stick around past a few weeks. All in all, not a bad show, but not as good as last weeks show.
Despite all appearances, I'm not actively avoiding this show, but I've been kept busy by late office hours. And I did manage to catch up with this week's show.
Really, it might be the same crappy show when you unwrap all the bells and whistles, but there are two major items that are making Impact interesting again:
1. Bully Ray and his complete reinvigoration of the Aces angle. 2. The hot road crowds.
Taking this show out of the Impact Zone may be the best decision this company has made, because it's making the shows seem better than they have any right to be. Last Thursday was another hot crowd. It's not a trend that I'm expecting to continue next Thursday, since it'll be a taped affair.
Sigh...look, we already took the Hogan/Sting nostalgia feud ride a few years ago and it wasn't any fun back then. Sure, they had a better match than anyone expected, but let's not push our luck here. Fortunately (by comparison), it looks like the idea is going to be to segue into a Sting/Morgan feud...which should be only marginally better.
How DARE this company tease me last week with the awesome, awesome, AWESOME prospect of a Bad Influence/Greatest Factor feud, only to switch right back to the heatless Mexican contingent?
Ray may be making the Aces into a better overall angle, but he sure isn't making those matches any easier to sit through. The six-man was awful, with Kurt continuing to look like a moron. And Jeff could only do so much against Anderson, who has my early vote for Most Deteriorated for next year's "RSPW" awards.
Middling show, but looking forward to the triumphant return of Petey Williams next week.
The Guerrero/Malenko sendoff in ECW was a good one. Benoit got a huge ovation following his match with Angle at the Royal Rumble two nights before, I think its the first time a WWE crowd gave him any sign of repsect.