SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Michael Bennett vs. Moose
The Grand Championship matches still don’t seem to be catching on, but Michael Bennett and Moose delivered one of the best yet on Thursday night. It won’t make any “Best Matches of 2017” DVDs, but it may make it onto the “Best of The Grand Championship Matches” DVD set, if TNA ever releases one, which they very much should not.
Still, the two put on a fast-paced bout that is what the Grand Championship contests should reflect. If you only have nine minutes to win, there should be a sense of urgency, but most wrestlers who compete for the title seem to wrestle exactly how they would in a regular match. Moose also showed off some impressive athleticism during the bout, and Bennett looked strong in defeat. Solid all around.
The Main Event
I’m still not sold (and likely never will be) on Eddie Edwards as the Heavyweight Champion, but what’s done is done. He opened up the show with one of his better promos to date, and did a good job in the main event as well. EC III and Bobby Lashley held their own too, and the three delivered an entertaining near 20 minute bout. The important thing here is the next chapter. Edwards, EC III and Lashley feel stale together. They need to go their separate ways for a bit and find new opponents. It seems logical that a Davey Richards heel turn may be on the horizon. Hopefully that’s the case, as something needs to go down, otherwise there doesn’t seem to be many obvious contenders for Edwards in the near future.
A Nice Step Back
So often, wrestling delivers a babyface getting screwed over, but they don’t keep us waiting long enough for the heel to get their comeuppance. Just watch Raw, and see Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens getting beat up on a weekly basis. The fun should be in the anticipation. TNA has done an admirable job of holding back on Allie getting her revenge on Maria. While Allie did defeat Laurel Van Ness a few weeks back, she was unable to conquer Sienna on Impact this week. Since there was some outside nonsense, it leaves an out for the babyface, and leaves fans waiting for her to pick up some big, cathartic victories in future weeks.
I thought when Hornswoggle was released by WWE most fans were fine with that decision? Is that not true? The shorter wrestler has already given us a lifetime of bad comedy (blame WWE creative on that one), which means that he’s going to have to do something great to make us forget all that. Having him come in, and beat the once promising Rockstar Spud in 30 seconds was not the way to go. It felt like a retread of Vince McMahon’s notoriously awful sense of humor. That’s the exact thing that TNA should be avoiding at all costs. So what’s next for Swoggle? Being pushed as an actual competitor, or just doing more bad comedy? Mark my words, we will see him dancing with Mahabali Shera on TV within six weeks.
I am continually baffled why Trevor Lee keeps jobbing like nobody’s business on Impact week after week. There are roughly five teams in the entire company! That means that none of them should be jobbed out in three minutes, because there isn’t enough depth to do so. Add onto all that, and it was impossible to know who to cheer for. Decay has been cast as heels ever since they formed; same with Lee and Everett. And then, the villainous DCC attacked Decay from behind. So what does that mean? Well, before they get to the next chapter, can creative at least not mix Storm’s beer drinking gimmick with his DCC one? They feel like two completely different acts. Overall, it was just a pretty big mess of a segment.
Previously On Impact…
I had been curious how they were going to approach bringing up Total Nonstop Deletion on the show. They ended up playing a fairly lengthy recap that showed Hurricane flying, a volcano exploding and all that other good/bad silliness. But the worlds are just so far apart that it’s hard to get invested into TNA’s “normal” narrative. Why should I be care about Eddie defending his title? Because as we saw, a bunch of wrestlers saved a town from a volcano about to explode! Isn’t that the bigger story? And how come nobody cares that Crazzy Steve murdered a guy on TV? Not one single person has any thoughts on that?
If you’re going to do stuff like Total Nonstop Deletion, then you have to go all in. Otherwise, you’re asking the audience to process what they’ve seen in different ways. Impact has felt like two different shows over the past few months, and it creates a disjointed narrative that opens up way too many questions. TNA needs to pick a direction of what they want their product to be: a serious wrestling promotion, or a two hour comedy/variety show.
The Overall Show
Word had got out earlier in the day of Jeff Jarrett and Dutch Mantell coming back to TNA, and that was some pretty big news. While watching, I kept waiting for at least one of them to show up. Sadly, it doesn’t sound like Jarrett may even be able to appear on TV. Bummer. Even though he was the face of a bad product for a long time, he still feels more like the heart of TNA than anyone else. With Samoa Joe, A.J. Styles, Bobby Roode and so many others leaving over the past few years, it would have been nice to see a familiar face return to give the impression that things really are stabilizing a bit.
Besides those two, the “new” era felt exactly like the old one. Impact had the same tone, with the same wrestlers and the same announcers. The show itself was pretty decent, but it wasn’t a night filled with surprises like when Hogan and Bischoff first came to Impact. Everything that happened will likely be forgotten by next week.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS HITS & MISSES: TNA IMPACT HITS & MISSES 12/15: Total Nonstop Deletion – what worked and didn’t including Tag Team Apocalypto, Morton, Itchweeed