SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The Opening Match: On Raw this week, 16 minutes into the show Seth Rollins said that fans didn’t come to watch people talk, they wanted to see people fight. That’s when the actual action started. On Impact, it took about a minute for fans to see some wrestling. Better yet, L.A.X. vs. Laredo Kid & Garza Jr. was entertaining to watch throughout. That’s a good way to stand out from the competition.
Kong’s Win: Give Impact credit for the way they’ve been featuring Kongo Kong since his debut. He still looks incredibly dominant and has yet to be taken off his feet. When he finally meets his equal it will actually mean something. Braxton Sutter was virtually squashed, but he still saved some face by standing right back up and issuing a rematch. If only he had kept his mouth shut…
X-Division Video: One of the best videos Impact/TNA has ever done. In the CWC, the competitors talked about how guys like Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio Jr. influenced them as kids. It was cool to hear Impact’s X Division stars put over some of their favorites in the promotion and tie it into why they broke into the business. It made it seem like the title and the division’s history was actually important, which is something the company has largely failed at portraying over the years.
Ultimate X: It was incredibly satisfying to watch Ultimate X in the main event. So many times in the past, TNA has been guilty of throwing the gimmick match out there without any build. They’ve also aired countless X Division Title matches without any advance notice. Times have thankfully changed. The match went nearly 20 minutes and was filled with hard-hitting athleticism and drama. The visual with Low Ki, Andrew Everett, and Trevor Lee racing for the gold was memorable and ended the show on a hot note.
Overall Show: The Hits and Misses are about even here, but by my calculations, this is three weeks in a row that Impact has delivered an entertaining episode. Hopefully, they can keep this streak going headed into India and beyond. With Raw and Smackdown feeling flat, perhaps they can even pick up some viewers who aren’t thrilled with Roman Reigns and Randy Orton dominating their respective shows. Still, I can’t help but daydream of how putting someone who is actually really good at their job, like Mauro Ranallo, in the role of play-by-play would immediately make this show so much enjoyable and consistent every single week. The company needs to save their pennies and make that man an offer in August!
Of Course…The Announcing: Josh Mathews was better the past couple weeks, but he took a turn for the worst once again. The man just can’t say something once! “Why are you here? What are you doing here? Why are you here? Why are you here?” SHUT UP! That is not good heat. That’s insanely obnoxious. His segment with Jeremy Borash went on way too long and made me wonder how they can possibly keep this going another six weeks. I’ll admit I cracked a smile when Joseph Park showed up again, but the segment was so awful I was ready for him to go away too.
Braxton’s Insult: I recall Shawn Michaels once saying to Nicole Bass “step back mister” on Raw. It was an incredibly a**holish thing of him to say, especially as a babyface. It also hurt her feelings and made her cry in real life. On Impact, Sutter said Sienna is the “dude cousin” of KM. Yeah, nearly 20 years later, that’s still not a cool thing to do.
Shera Chases Kong: I get why Mahabali Shera is being pushed aggressively. With the India tapings coming up, they’re going to want him on TV in a prominent role. I just wish he wasn’t the one to chase off Kongo Kong. They did the old spot of the heel manager holding back their client with Laurel Van Ness and Kong in the role. But why? Shera has been shown to be easily beatable on TV, and Kong was virtually at full strength after his match. He could have destroyed Shera as well! Shera should be set up with a lesser heel to work a brief program with, instead of a guy they’re trying to make the next big monster.
Storm vs. EC III: EC III is doing some really good work right now. James Storm is also doing a nice job of breaking out of the funk he’s been in the past couple years. However, their match just didn’t feel as personal and intense as it should have. Blame part of that on the announcing, as this is where Mathews couldn’t have cared less about anything that was taking place in front of him. But also, this didn’t feel like a logical follow-up to last week’s belt beating. That was brutal and personal. Storm should have been out for blood the moment the bell rang, but instead, they wrestled a standard wrestling match.
Bruce is attacked: In wrestling, if a non-wrestler tears down an actual (heel) wrestler to their face on multiple occasions, they probably deserve what’s coming to them. Unfortunately, EC III beating up Bruce Prichard now takes the focus off of EC III and Storm and moves it to Carter/Prichard. Also, why is Magnus rewarded with a No. 1 contender’s opportunity when he just interfered in a match?
ODB vs. Sienna: ODB’s recent return has been underwhelming. She beat Rebel in a comedy match, she lost to Rosemary in a three-minute title match, and now, she lost to Sienna in three minutes. Even if the plan was for her to only work one set of tapings, it’s still a disappointment, because they didn’t build her up to mean something. Since the announcers didn’t make it seem like those quick wins were a big deal, it didn’t do anything for Sienna and Rosemary.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: IMPACT HITS & MISSES: Pizza, Pants, Belts, and Decay – EC3’s Attack on Storm (ouch!), Magnus vs. El Patron, Borash, Tag Tourney