IMPACT HITS & MISSES 2/2: Lashley, Aron Rex’s fall, Eli Drake, Trevor Lee, Don West’s latest deal, Brooke vs. Sienna, Open Fight Night,

By Andrew Soucek, PWTorch Specialist


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

Hey everyone, just a reminder that every week right after Impact ends Mike McMahon and I are co-hosting a TNA Impact Post-Show. Last night was our third episode, and we had some great callers and a lot of fun conversations. So if you’re wanting to hear more about Impact and discuss the past, present and future of the promotion, join us on Blog Talk Radio immediately after Impact goes off the air.

HITS

Lashley Wins Clean: Ideally, Bobby Lashley and Jeff Hardy would have been built up for weeks, if not months. This is one of the biggest matches that TNA can give us right now, and yet it opened up Impact. However, there’s no telling how long the Hardys are going to be around, so maybe it was best to play it safe and deliver the match while they still had The Charismatic Enigma under contract. What impressed me the most was Lashley going over clean. WWE is terrified of having top faces lose fairly, which can take some of the luster off their biggest matches because you know some sort of nonsense is nearly a lock to happen. Hardy loses nothing here, as fans won’t think any less of him and Lashley gets his fourth title run off to a strong start.

Lee Wins Gold: Trevor Lee has been criminally underused in TNA, as not long ago he was essentially a jobber in the X Division. Now he’s captured the title once again, which will hopefully give him a bit of credibility going forward. Even more encouraging was that they actually let him talk before his match, and they didn’t play him up as an idiot. Lee as redneck comedy fodder means nothing. Having him as a serious competitor who can tear apart other X Division wrestlers could be great.

DCC Becomes Relevant: I may be in the minority, but I saw a bit of potential when the DCC first debuted. It seems that a change in creative has left them directionless, but they were given a fairly big moment after the main event of Impact last night, so maybe there are big things in store for them. Storm doesn’t quite fit the vibe of the group with his cowboy drinking ways, but perhaps he can get booted from the stable, or will at least tone down some of his babyface antics. With the right approach they may be able salvage this act in the near future. If nothing else, their attack gives a bit of a hook for next week’s episode as to how EC III, Eli Drake and Tyrus will respond.

MISSES

Open Fight Night: No matter who is in charge of TNA, one thing has always remained: They sure love their complicated gimmicks. What was odd about Open Fight Night is that no heel really took advantage of their situation. Why didn’t they make their hated rivals fight with their arms tied behind their backs and blindfolded or make them have to win with a 100 count? They could have chosen any match they wanted, and yet they all played it relatively safe. Booking the Fight Night concept a week after Genesis was also a bit strange, as we saw thumbtacks and that board filled with barbed wire two weeks in a row. How did no one realize that while putting the show together?

Brooke vs. Sienna: Brooke was fine in her return last week, but her second outing was pretty bad. She attempted some sort of upside down chinlock, but didn’t appear to have anything “locked” in. Rather than give up on the move quickly to go for something else, she held the hold for what felt like a minute. TNA probably should have had her fight a few more jobbers to get her timing down again before having her face off against some of their regulars.

Don West’s Latest Deal: Act now and you can own 700 promo photos of Hulk Hogan for only 35 cents! Or something like that. Looking at all the photos that Don had to sell was once again pretty embarrassing. If only TNA were more self aware to realize it. They aired images of Samoa Joe, A.J. Styles, Velvet Sky, etc. None of them are in the company anymore! They should not actively be reminding fans that a lot of their favorites are gone and in a much better place.

Aron Rex: I mentioned this on the Livecast after Impact, but these segments just make me feel sad. Rockstar Spud seemed poised to breakout in TNA a couple years ago as EC3’s lackey, and Rex had a lot of momentum behind him when he first signed with the company. That feels like ages ago. Every week this act goes on, the more damage it’s going to do to their careers. Rex was highly in demand post-WWE on the independent scene, but I can’t imagine many promoters bidding to bring in this version of the character to their promotion.

Drake Loses: I was pretty happy to see Eli Drake in the main event. He’s a rising star in the company, and should be positioned as such. Having him close out the show felt like a bit of a statement on the part of TNA. However, he was unable to defeat a badly injured EC III. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. If Drake won, then they could do a rematch where they would both be on a level playing field. That way EC III could get his win back at a later date, and Drake would get a bit of heat for the tainted win in the meantime. But now a rematch is pointless. It felt like a step forward, but it may end up being a couple steps back for Drake.


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: IMPACT HITS & MISSES 1/26: Lashley, TNA Title, X Division, Rosemary, Davey’s face, Don West, Madison Rayne, Allie

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