SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Hey everyone. A couple of notes before we begin. First off, Mike McMahon and I hosted the second ever PWTorch Livecast TNA Impact Post-Show last night. Catch us every week right after Impact goes off the air. We recap the show, chat with callers, and dish out some random TNA trivia.
Also, if you really enjoy the Misses section here, I released an eBook this past week called “100 Reasons 2016 Was Wrestling’s Worst. Year. Ever. (And 10 Ways It Wasn’t So Bad).” It’s my second book, and I went through the year that was in WWE and TNA to rant, rave and rank the 100 most absurd and ridiculous things that happened in the major promotions. It’s a good time and only $2.99 on Amazon.
All right, now let’s do this.
Rosemary vs. Jade: TNA absolutely can’t compete with their counterparts in WWE in basically any area, so occasionally they need to do things a bit differently. Rosemary and Jade delivered a solid 10 minute match that you won’t see on Raw or SmackDown. Just compare Impact’s Monster’s Ball match to Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch in a cage match. Rosemary and Jade didn’t do anything overly dangerous (those thumbtacks probably didn’t feel so great though), and both of them looked strong coming out of the fight. It’s also refreshing to see heels getting clean wins. TNA has done a great job of that lately with Lashley, and now with Rosemary getting to look dominant in victory. Impact’s willingness to serve up clean outcomes makes their show feel more “fair” than WWE, which can make it more enjoyable to watch.
The Opening Match: TNA’s tag division is in shambles right now, even though the wrestlers involved are pretty talented. Hopefully this was the “blow off” for the Hardys vs. DCC or Decay, as any variation of those teams fighting won’t mean anything for some time. What made the opening to the show work was the company focusing on their most popular act with The Hardys, and then quickly moving right into a match. We didn’t have to sit through 20 minutes of drawn out TV to get there. A small plus was DCC being protected a bit in defeat, as Eddie Kingston took the mist to the face as his out. Nothing memorable, but a nice way to get Genesis up and running.
X-Division Returns: The smallest of hits here. It took four weeks, but there was finally an X Division match in the new era! THEY STILL EXIST! DJ Z and Trevor Lee are really talented wrestlers who could easily be main-eventing Impact against each other with the right build behind them. Unfortunately, the company just can’t figure out how to make their former trademark division work. Still, the fact that they appeared at all was a little comforting.
Lashley Wins The Gold: Someone in management thought it was worth putting the belt on Eddie Edwards before he seemed ready for the role. While it wasn’t an outright disaster, it never clicked in a meaningful way. His loss to Lashley may actually be the right move for his career. A personal feud with Davey Richards could make his character more interesting in the long haul. Lashley is also the bigger star, so a potential feud with him against the Hardys may be the most intriguing Heavyweight battle the company can offer up right now.
Overall Show: The best Impact of 2017! (Not sure how high of praise that is since there’s only been four of them, but it’s something!) Last week was one of the worst episodes in quite some time, but luckily they got things back on track a bit with this effort. This series of tapings have felt like placeholders until Jeff Jarrett and Dutch Mantell begin contributing, so nothing of note has really gone down in this new era…except for Caleb Konley debuting and losing in forgettable fashion. But that goes without saying. Hopefully we’ll see what kind of creative direction the longtime vets will provide during the next set of taping. Creative not helping out the talent has been the theme of TNA since 2002, and it’s time for that to end! This could be their chance. Now and then you have to have a little bit of optimism.
Madison’s Alternative Facts: Now I know Madison Rayne has been in TNA for a long time, but she must not be watching too much of the product when she’s not on-air. During the Rosemary vs. Jade match, she tried to put over Rosemary having the advantage, because she was trained by the “King of the Monster’s Ball” in Abyss. Oh yeah Madison? Is that so? Well history says otherwise! Amazingly, Abyss has been in 45 Monster’s Ball matches, and he’s a dismal 18-27 in them! Jeff Hardy is 9-2 in Monster’s Ball, so he should the king! Otherwise, Bram is an impressive 3-0. Her line is just one of those weird wrestling things where announcers make stuff up and we’re supposed to buy into it. Well I’m not buying!
Date Night: Nearly every week here I give a hit to Allie’s storyline. However, she wasn’t on the show, so the supporting players carried the load to move things along. Unfortunately they weren’t up for the challenge. Neither was the writer and the director of their segments. When wrestling leaves the arena, more often than not it’s a bad move. There are exceptions to the rule, but there’s usually a weird vibe that doesn’t translate well into the “real world.” Sutter and Van Ness seemed to be trying out for an upcoming Disney Channel pilot with their overacting in the restaurant. It was nothing fatal from the overall narrative, but it sure wasn’t fun to watch.
The Deals Continue: It was week two of Don West back at work, and the stuff he’s forced to shill made the promotion look really low grade. They focused on merchandise from Velvet Sky, Angelina Love and Rebel…all of who aren’t with the company anymore. Imagine a commercial during Raw featuring old photos you could buy of Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, and Melina. The amount of money TNA will make on those sales just doesn’t seem worth selling off a little more of their dignity.
Davey’s Face: Now I’m no psychologist, but If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Davey Richards just might be planning on turning on his Eddie Edwards. The two had a pretty good pre-match meeting on the show where Richards said they were going to defeat Lashley. Eddie told him he had to do it alone. Cool. Standard wrestling stuff. That was more than enough to plant a few more seeds for the impending turn. But then after Eddie walked out of frame, his partner had a cartoonish grimace on his mug that they focused on for a few seconds too long. They just had to hit us over the head with what they were doing! It’s one of those moments that makes you wonder what Eddie is going to think when he watches the show later. I imagine he’ll at least have to send a sternly worded text to Davey on what that was all about.
The Front Row: That’s right, I’m going after the entire front row of people at the tapings! After Rosemary won a hard fought, violent match, the first thing you could hear from the crowd was a dude yelling “Creepy chicks are hot!” All right. Thanks for that. Then we had two other people politely saying “Thanks Rosemary!” Thanks? For what? Spitting poisonous mist in Gail Kim’s face? Be better fans, front row!
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: IMPACT HITS & MISSES 1/19: Literally giving away the farm, Maria’s mystery, Robbie E. grows up, Facts of Life, Eddie’s Fashion