This is something I haven’t done in a long time and that’s reviewing TNA Wrestling. Part of the reason I don’t review wrestling as much is because it doesn’t have an off-season nor does it have any season like a TV show does. I’m reviewing last night’s Impact because it’s the first under the new network called Destination America, which is under the Discovery umbrella. Late last year, TNA signed a new deal with Discovery after 9 years with Spike. During that time, many people were worried about TNA’s future, myself included, but there are other people such as the dirtsheets that write them off to the point of writing about their premature demise. When TNA signed this new deal, they were able to do something that WCW and ECW didn’t and that’s survive in another network. Many fans, including myself, were happy about this. Their future was secured.
Since that time, TNA has experienced the promotional, advertising hype that they never got with Spike. Under this new deal with Discovery, they get additional programming. It’s sad to see how Discovery has promoted TNA a lot better and faster than Spike ever did in their 9 years together. Up until last night, we’ve been anticipating TNA’s return to television after watching subpar stuff from WWE Raw and Lucha Underground was trying to be different with their cinematic-like backstage segments. Dixie Carter and several TNA wrestlers were doing interviews to gear up for the relaunch. Finally the day came last night with the new Impact under Destination America.
Last night’s relaunch starts off something very different and that’s cinematic-like montages of the wrestlers doing stuff in the hotels, getting into the buses with Bobby Roode, James Storm, and MVP giving their factions a pep talk, and arriving at the Manhattan Center where the entire roster brawled from the cold weathered outside into the arenas. That’s how you start off with a bang and you have to showcase your entire roster like that to give the first impression to the new network and new viewers. What’s cool about this is that the Knockouts are included and that shows how important they are to the roster.
There we go into Kurt Angle’s arrival to the ring, where he declares that all champions must defend their titles. Then you have a confrontation between he and MVP that turns into a streetfight where Kurt won with the Angle Slam. They were fighting in their civilian clothes thus giving a throwback to the Bunkhouse Stampede of the 1980’s. The weak part about this was that the “major announcement” was that he’s no longer General Manager, but rather an active part-time wrestler again. This is something many people saw coming and I can’t believe TNA went through all this hype like it was a big deal.
We have a new announcer named Josh Matthews as he replaced Mike Tenay and he’s giving the product a fresh, youthful feel to it. He doesn’t sway focus from the matches and he made Taz look better. Taz can be a great announcer depending on who he was with. Congrats to Taz for his podcast being #1 on the iTunes charts. Mike Tenay plugs the upcoming second show called Unlocked and interviews James Storm. I don’t know if James Storm is the right guy in the role he’s playing as it’s reminiscent of Kevin Sullivan, not WWE’s Bray Wyatt as many smart-ass marks like to point out.
The tag team title match between James Storm, Abyss, and the Wolves was a good one, but it was to showcase what the Wolves can do. In a twist, we have Matt and Jeff Hardy coming out trying to even the odds because Storm has his entire Revolution faction out there. Something puzzles me is that the Indian pro wrestler Shera was just initiated into the Revolution. Why isn’t he out there with them? Storm and Abyss retained because of the mishap between the Hardys and Wolves, which leads into their tag team match tonight.
The segment with EC3, Tyrus, Rockstar Spud, and Jeremy Borash was gold and this is why EC3 is the future of TNA, a future main eventer, and a future World Champion. He vowed to cut the rest of Rockstar Spud’s hair, but instead he cut Jeremy Borash’s after Borash hit him, but the camera messed up that moment big time. I don’t care what others say about Tyrus as he is becoming the monster he should have been in WWE. Too bad because his stock just went up. Borash like Dixie Carter is a trooper. An example of expect the unexpected.
They did a promo on the X-Division and out of nowhere we have Austin Aries Vs. Low Ki, which was a good match but it was a random cold match because there was no storyline between Aries and Ki prior to it. We didn’t see their interactions backstage, nothing. TNA was so focused on the main event that they didn’t hype their undercard. This was the exact problem WCW had in the 90’s.
What’s annoying about last night’s Impact is that they bleeped out several profanities throughout most of it.
Then comes the Knockouts battle royale. FK9 was wondering why we have this instead of the title match between Taryn Terrell and Havok. The reason here is that they need to showcase the entire Knockouts before their new network and new audience instead of just one or two. Once they did that, then they can go into a regular KO title match. In the midst of this was the Bro Mans introducing the returning Robbie E, who got a grand entrance and TNA made us believe he’s the big deal. I wasn’t buying it and neither was FK9. He was a jobber before went to the reality TV show, Amazing Race, with Brooke Tessmacher and then all of a sudden he’s getting a push?! Am I missing something here? What did he do to warrant a push? During the battle royale, Robbie E was attacked by the returning Brooke, who should have been the one to be hyped as she missed most of 2014. The battle royale itself was good where Taryn retained and Havok retained her heel heat and then the lights go out.
Here’s the biggest marking moment. The lights come back on and we see the return of Awesome Kong. She confronts Havok as they go face-to-face until Havok eventually backs down. The fans popped for this than anything else. Then she chokeslams a referee. Many of my fellow TNA fans were shocked, surprised, and glad. I’ve said in several sites that hell has frozen over between Awesome Kong and TNA considering the way she left in 2010 due to the incident with Bubba The Love Sponge. Already I see possibilities between Awesome Kong and Havok. With 2 KO monsters, no Knockouts are safe. They could go up against each other and tag team. With the returns of both Kong and Brooke, the KO division is starting its revitalization. After a disastrous tenure in WWE, her stock just went back up. Welcome back, Kong!
Finally comes the main event with the third part between TNA World Champion Bobby Roode and Bobby Lashley. This match could have been great if it wasn’t for the over-the-top interference from MVP, Kenny King, and two masked men that were revealed to be both Samoa Joe and Low Ki. MVP, Joe, Ki, and Homicide are real life friends and were interviewed by Sam Roberts last year. After Low Ki lost the X-Division title, he got pushed up into the main event scene. Then here comes Eric Young who is out with a chair trying to even the odds for Roode, only to do the unthinkable – he turns on Roode and nails him with a chair. It allowed Lashley to spear Roode and win the title once again. What’s interesting here is that both Roode and Lashley are not happy with the outcome – Roode wants answers from EY and Lashley is questioning what’s going on with MVP and the rest of the group.
Great way to start off the show and a great way to end it. I love the set signifying this change as well as the color of the ring and the ropes. TNA has done away from looking like WWE Smackdown and embrace its own unique identity. People were complaining about the lights being dark. So what? New Japan and several other promotions do this to, so what’s their point? The presentation was good despite several mishaps that go with a live show. Now we can see why TNA prefers taping than live. If I were I wouldn’t rest on my laurels because the coming weeks are going to matter the most and will tell about TNA’s direction. Overall, great job TNA. It’s good to have you back on TV!!