SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Cage vs. Lashley: Last week I questioned why they didn’t have Brian Cage go over on Bobby Lashley in more convincing fashion. They cleared that misstep up this week by not only having Cage win for the second time but also by having him pick up the pinfall with his Drill Claw finisher. Nice and decisive. Kudos to Lashley for doing the job on the way out of the promotion and for making his opponent look like the next big thing. Unfortunately, once again there was one giant miss to the match…
Mathews’ Promo: I give Josh Mathews a miss here virtually every week. It’s virtually a guarantee. This list wouldn’t feel right without it. But if the man makes me laugh then he deserves a hit. His declaration of love of the Grand Championship and how it meant more to him than his wife was absurdly ridiculous and actually funny. Now someone please retire that belt!
Richard Justice: I can’t help it. This guy is my Impact guilty pleasure. He’s like James Ellsworth before he wore out his welcome. Justice is also a better actor than WWE’s recent jobber of choice and did a great job of making KM seem like a giant bully. Not sure if he has much staying power but it has been fun seeing him the past few weeks.
Impact vs. Ishimori: An entertaining match that made both guys look good coming out of it. Taiji Ishimori has openly expressed interest in going to WWE so it’s hard to say how long he plans to stick around, that makes the call of Johnny Impact going over cleanly an easy one to make.
The Road to Redemption: A minor hit. Parts of this video were superb and truly made Alberto El Patron vs. Austin Aries feel like a major Impact match. However, once again El Patron came off more as more of a face than a heel. It almost seems like the company has changed it’s mind on what they want to do with him. Another knock against the segment was the lousy audio. Whoever shot it must have forgot to bring some decent equipment along for the trip.
The Crowd: I note this now and then on the Hits and Misses, but wow, this crowd was atrocious. While everyone deserved better reactions to their matches, the response to Lashley and Cage was downright dreadful. Hopefully if the company keeps putting on entertaining shows then they can draw some more hardcore fans to the Impact Zone. Until then, the disinterest from the audience will continue to hold the show back.
Su Yung vs. Allie: It was way, way too soon to show that Allie basically could have beat Su Yung had Braxton Sutter not interfered. Why damage some of Yung’s mystique like that? Again, this pairing of Sutter/Yung isn’t working. Again, Allie vs. Sutter is not interesting. They may be married in real life but on-air they don’t have much chemistry and fans weren’t invested in their pairing when they were together. It never went anywhere and was suddenly dropped. There was no reason to come back to it. Stick Sutter in a tag team and get him away from the Knockouts Division.
GWN Flashbacks: Why do I care that Jay Lethal beat Kurt Angle a decade ago? They make it seem like it was a huge deal but it meant nothing. It didn’t turn Lethal into a star because management gave up on the character and cast him as a forgettable mid-carder for the next couple years. The bigger issue is that the video took up way, way too much air time. Why not air 30 seconds worth of highlights from the match instead of showing the entire final five minutes? WWE doesn’t take five minutes out of Raw to show John Cena defeating Umaga from No Mercy 2007.
Dumb, Dumb Moose: There aren’t many signs in the Impact Zone but there were two in the front row that simply stated “Moose sucks.” They’re right. Not the guy playing Moose, he’s fine. The character sucks. This is because the character is booked to look like an idiot time and time again. It’s almost like a weird fetish of the creative team. He had everything he wanted. He stated the only reason he was in the Feast or Fired match was to win the shot at the Heavyweight Title. Then he put that on the line for a shot at the Tag Titles and lost. Now he has nothing. If Impact ever wants to make him one of their top babyfaces then they need to stop booking him to look so foolish on a routine basis.
Lucha Underground vs. Impact: All right, so this is the most excited I’ve been for a TNA/Impact event in….well, probably years. It should be a blast to watch. However, the build has been lacking as all they’ve been able to do to promote the show is air the same video package over and over again. Without any actual LU footage, it was impossible for casual Impact fans to know why any of those guys are special. They also didn’t do a good job of explaining why say, Sami Callihan was competing on the side of LU (he is Jeremiah Crane there). Hopefully if they run this event next year they’ll be able to have some wrestlers show up on Impact to build rivalries.