Friday, July 13, 2012

7/12/12 Impact

Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park (Anything Goes): **3/4

Samoa Joe vs. Rob Van Dam: **

Zema Ion vs. Dakota Darsow: *1/4

Miss Tessmacher vs. Gail Kim (Knockouts Title): *1/2

Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson: ***1/2

Impact has been a million times better in the last few months. It excites me more that Roode had such a long reign and then Aries -- who management knew had a huge backing from the fans -- was the one to topple Roode. I thought it would be Storm coming back to get Bobby, but Aries was the far better choice because it reaffirmed the prestige of the X-Division.

News broke earlier this week that DirecTV no longer carries Spike TV and thus, no Impact Wrestling. Sucks for those people, but at least people put the entire show online...just like a lot of other programs.

We start off quickly with the Anything Goes match between Bully Ray and Joseph Park. Bully holds that hold harmless agreement, I'm assuming. Park out in workout sweats and a towel for all that sweating. Bully tweets during his match. How fun. Doesn't take long for the weapons to come into play. Park playing too much to the crowd, so Bully takes advantage each time. Basic moves from Park, nice flexibility on the big boot from Bully. A black bag! Tacks or glass? Tacks! Nice message to Abyss. Park with a nice low blow with the cheese grater and a kendo stick to Bully's head for two. Park spinebusters Bully on the tacks! TWO?!?! Wow. Chain shot to Park's face ends it and Bully wins. Nice job all around.

Park busted open. Park sees his own blood and goes a little delusional. Bully walks right into a BLACK HOLE SLAM?! Cool. The slow transformation back to Abyss, I'd guess. Park backpedals onto the tacks and doesn't even realize it. The storyline's been a hit with the fans, and it shows. Laughed a bit at the "that was you!" chants. Bully's really been the main reason why the angle's worked so well.

BFG Series match with the new leader, Samoa Joe, and RVD. Joe with a number of nice submission attempts, RVD steals one with an inside cradle. Thought that was pretty well done. It keeps the standings leader from running away from everyone else. RVD now tied for 5th with 14 points.

Claire Lynch is supposed to be pregnant in the storyline. Yet she's smoking. So she's a nicotine addict as well? Way to promote something like that. Bad acting as well.

Daniels and Kaz come out. Great LMS match between AJ and Daniels at Destination X, which I thought was the second-best on an outstanding PPV. Of course it's just the beginning. Daniels calls Claire Lynch out. AJ comes out, and it sounds like his old "Get Ready to Fly" music. Claire admits that AJ's the father, and we have "JERRY!" chants. Daniels' deed is done. The chants were the best part of the entire segment.

Dakota Darsow faces Zema Ion. Dakota basically says he and Jesse are friends, and he's sick of Zema's post-match words about Jesse Sorensen at Destination X. Not bad here, fairly basic match. Zema wins it with the Gory Bomb. Post-match it's a sick-looking armbreaker to Darsow. Zema's pretty f'in dangerous.

Aries promo saying he's gonna lead the next big boom period in TNA and how his win was huge for the industry. Roode interrupts, in a stunned trance. "Loser!" chants at Roode. Takes Roode a good 3-4 minutes to say it was a fluke. Aries doesn't care, he's the new world champ. Translation: rematch coming soon.

I laughed at Madison's reasoning for picking Hebner. Earl in top shape? OK, he's not in poor shape, but there are a bunch of people probably in better shape than Hebner.

Brooke Hogan out for commentary during the Knockouts Title match. She shouldn't do commentary, sorry. Gail works on Tessmacher's left arm throughout the match. Nice top-rope elbow from Tessmacher -- using the bad arm -- to win it.

More Claire Lynch stuff. Now she's basically transformed into a more vindictive, possessive side. She'll be providing "proof" in the future (well, other than this "baby bump"). Wondering if it'll end up being that Claire was in on this with Daniels and Kaz the whole time.

Open Fight Night next week. Magnus has words for James Storm.

Angle and Anderson in a great BFG Series match. Can't really expect anything less in a Kurt Angle match. Counter-heavy match with a bunch of CLOSE near falls. Several times, I thought it'd be over. Mic Check countered into an Angle Slam for three. Angle's mouth bleeding but he doesn't care. Kurt's back into solo third with 27 points, 10 behind Joe. Storm still in second with 36 points.

The whole Open Fight Night slated for next week has worked again. Hogan tells Roode to call Aries out on that show. If Roode does, he's likely cheating to win. Virtually guaranteed.

Sting's back to close the show. He calls Hulk out to the ring, but apparently the masked attackers from last week got him. Dead Man's Hand scattered next to a fallen Hulk and a concerned Brooke Hogan. Sting then gets jumped on the ramp to end the show. Nice cliffhanger.

TNA's been doing several things right. First, they craft main storylines to push new stars. See Austin Aries and Bobby Roode as examples. Second, even the "undercard" storylines are pushed nicely because they are progressed slowly. No need to release a ton of info each week, just a teaser to keep the fans aware and to keep stringing them along until the next bombshell drops. Third, the nice cliffhangers (see Sting and Hogan attackers). But most importantly, the X-Division -- the one piece all these years that made TNA stand out from other promotions -- is back at the forefront with new prestige laid upon it. TNA doesn't need to bring the six-sided ring back, but the main thing is everything seems to be clicking finally for them. Now it's just a matter of consistently pumping out these shows, land a nice TV deal, and gain more viewers.

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