This year the former Turning Point PPV is a Clash of the Championsesque episode of Impact Wrestling. (11/21/2013)
It begins with "Impact 365" footage of Bobby Roode battering James Storm at some bar. I must look with disfavor upon the bar's denizens, for none of them thought to intervene against either Roode or the presumably creepy cameraman who was following Roode around. The most civic-mindedness we got from the bar was someone yelling for the cops to be called.
This segment was good, in that it was a reminder of how atomized and individualistic society has become. Despite a cup of coffee with the single's heavyweight title, Storm is best known for being in tag teams. Should Storm prevail against Roode, the symbolism will be that of resurgent community-mindedness.
The Wheel of Dixie gives us Roode/Storm in a Bullrope match and Joe/Magnus in Falls Count Anywhere. Also, Anderson puts his TNA Contract on the line against Bully Ray. If Anderson wins, Aces and Eights must disband - for realz this time. And, as they'll mention later, Joseph Park has challenged Abyss to a non-title match.
Dixie explains to Joe that she is more of a star than him, so her ring-time gets to start the show rather than his match. Also, Dixie wants Joe to know that no unification match can happen between Joe and AJ, and that if Joe steps out of line then he will have to join AJ wrestling for pesos in third world countries. ¡Viva José de Samoa!
The slightly new "Dixieland" theme song is fantastic.
Dixie has lawyers all around the world ready to stop AJ's infringement of Dixie's intellectual property. Presumably, the same lawyers who failed to stop Hogan/Bischoff from taking control of TNA for a year thanks to the contract Dixie "signed". I have the utmost faith in her team.
James Storm comes out to whine about the Wheel of Dixie not giving him the match they want. Dixie points out the point of sticking to stipulations. Storm then threatens legal action against Roode unless he gets what he wants. After sweet talking Dixie, Storm then gets his match stipulation put in place.
15 minutes into the show and Dixie's lawyers are 0-2.
Match 1: Wheel of Dixie World Title Tournament: Magnus versus Samoa Joe, Falls Count Anywhere Magnus wins via pinfall as his rise continues
Bad Influence keep trolling Park as if he's their new AJ Styles.
Match 2: Joseph Park versus "The Monster" Abyss Presumably Joseph Park wins via forfeit when Abyss fails to show up.
Kaz pours fake blood on Park. He doesn't snap into his fighting mode, so Park walks off distraught.
Another no-show by the TV Champion! Strip him of the title ASAP.
Week 2 of Gail Kim's open challenge:
Match 3: Gail Kim's Open Challenge to Women from Outside of TNA: Candice Larea versus Gail Kim w/ Lei'd Tapa Candice is some blonde from Southern California. Winner: Gail Kim via pinfall
(One of the commercials is of AJ wrestling in Japan.)
Storm and Gunner have a male bonding moment.
Recap of the saga of Beer Money. Roode's quote about Storm never being a world champion as long as Roode is around sure seems to be apt so far. Roode always fended Storm off when Roode was world champ, cost Storm the 2012 BFG series, and goaded Storm into giving up his title shot last year. #Competence.
Match 4: Wheel of Dixie Tournament: James Storm versus Bobby Roode, Florida Death Match In a nice touch, Storm canes Roode right when Roode reaches the entryway. At the end of the match, Roode is about to drop Storm onto a barbed-wire board when, Winner: Bobby Roode via Gunner running out and throwing in the towel on Storm's behalf.
Because Roode is a mature individual, he doesn't drop Storm onto the barbed-wire board regardlessly. Instead Roode walks off relatively amicably.
While Roode did beat Storm, Gunner showing care for his partner enabled Storm to survive the match without a drastic injury. Thus, even in losing, the spirit of community-mindedness prevails. Wonderful!
Impact 365 brings us Sam Shaw - now known as Samuel Shaw showing Christy Hemme his book of drawing back at his apartment. They end the segment early because Samuel Shaw's life is really boring. The creepy camera guy keeps filming as Samuel Shaw asks Christy Hemme out. She says yes and gives him her number. Then she leaves, and we see Samuel struggling to maintain a "cool" pose, while at the same time being filled with doubts about his manliness. Can he win the heart of Christy? We'll see! (Assuming the creepy camera guy keeps filming them when they have their date.)
EC3 tells his archnemeses, Dewey Barnes and Norv Ferman, that he will have a new opponent tonight, and that they suck. Their feelings are hurt.
Bully Ray gives a promo, reminding us how he saved Anderson's career from the trashheap last year.
I love EC3's intro.
Match 5: Ethan Carter the Third versus Shark Boy Winner: EC3 via pinfall
During the last match they mention that Genesis is no longer a PPV, and will instead air on Spike TV. That's just as well. Genesis felt out of place compared to the Big Three PPVs of TNA (Lockdown, Slamiversary, and Bound for Glory). If they want to have a fourth major one, Destination X or Hardcore Justice would be more plausible candidates.
Next week for Thanksgiving will be a traditional survivor series 8-man elimination tag match. Team Angle versus Team Roode.
Match 6: Club v. Career: Bully Ray w/Brooke versus Mr. Anderson, no DQ w/ Angle, Pat Kenny, Bad Influence, Samoa Joe and Magnus watching from the stage
Anderson attacks Ray in the middle of JB's in-ring intros, grabs a mic and introduces himself, attacks Ray some more, and introduces himself again. Stylish!
Mid-match Anderson piledrives Knux, and takes his "cut" off. The match culminates when Taz gives Brooke his hammer, which she tosses towards Ray, but Anderson catches it instead, clocks Ray, and pins him to end our favorite band of motorcycle riding rascals. Anderson takes the cut off ray, and the rest of the TNA roster on the stage makes Taz take his off as well. Winner: Anderson via pinfall to force Aces and Eights to disband.
I give it 3 months before the next TNA Super Faction is in place. Then another 2 months before the angle has completely fallen apart. What an absolute waste of 18 months the A&8's angle has been. I can't think of another angle that's taken up so much focus and TV time and yet produced so little quality content in return.
If only this meant the end of Taz on commentary too.
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I totally did not get the same vibe as you about the Sam Shaw segment. I hope you are right though, because all I saw during that segment was a setup for a scary, 2013 version of Sleeping with the Enemy, what with the OCDesque straightening of the pens and paper.
I liked pretty much everything except the Joseph Park / Abyss mess. I know it is setting up something in the future, but that was just bad tv.
The OCD thing is a possibility. I saw that take on it mentioned at the prowrestling.net recap of the show. I didn't notice that vibe from it at all though.
I also wanted to note that this was the third week of Impact that I've loved. They are back on a hot streak. They seem to have a new directing style for their camera work, which makes the show feel more active.
Last week, some notable minor things that I liked included Angle still wearing a MEM shirt despite MEM disbanding. It makes sense for Angle to not throw out all of his old shirts since as of now all of MEM is still friends (or at least nominally-so in the case of Magnus/Sting).
Daniels mentioned wanting the TV title as part of his justification for goading Abyss into returning. My eyes always light up when they care about the TV title.
Anderson being watched by Roode and Angle made their worlds feel more interconnected.
The show two weeks ago (11/7/2013) was just fantastic. It was the kind of show that reminded me of why I am a TNA fan. Things I liked included Brooke getting A&8s music, the show long Angle/Roode brawls, AJ's adventures in AAA advertisement, and Dixie getting pissed off about Spike TV being willing to show the ads.
Also, the Aces and Eights disbanding ruse was great. Taz made comments at the show three weeks ago about how he was becoming ashamed to be in A&8s, and how the club now sucked. That made him being included in the final club vote against Bully Ray - not being forgotten despite being an announcer - seem more natural.
The defining segment of the 11/7 show was the Main Event Mafia (including Angle) deciding to disband amicably. Segments like this are why I love TNA. The group reformed in June in order to ensure Bully Ray lost the world title and to defeat Aces and Eights. First, Ray is no longer champion. Second, A&8s at that point was just one main eventer, two jobbers, a woman, and an announcer - it was no more of a threat than Immortal was post-Hogan. Mission Accomplished for the MEM.
The Mafia could have remained together to do other things, but it was clear to us as viewers that without a defining mission to hold them together they would inevitably have self-destructed, faded away, or both. It being clear to them as wrestlers as well was some refreshing genre savvy. By separating of their own accord, they preserve the reputation of the group at its peak, rather than letting it be milked for all that its worth. They went out while they were on top.
Annual caveat that I haven't voted in the awards in a long time. Most outstanding is "best worker"/best haver of matches. Thesz/Flair wrestler of the year is basically an amorphous MVP award that combines working on top with great matches.