By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Entertaining opening segment involving Bully Ray, Brooke Hogan, Hulk Hogan and Austin Aries. I'm not a huge fan of affair angles (see: John Cena/AJ) , but this one has some potential given the talents involved. Aries was hysterical in this segment and Ray can also hold his own on the mic. Brooke might not have to do much in her role, so that's assuring to see. Hogan played his role nicely as well as the overprotective father. This story-line could go downhill fast, but I enjoyed it this week.
Nice match with Mickie James defeating Gail Kim. We've seen these two wrestle each other countless times, so the action was nothing out of the ordinary, but it was still good. James and Kim and two of the best workers in the Knockouts division and probably deserved more time, but they made the most out of what they were given.
Good match with Bobby Roode defeating Christian York. York may not be the best on the mic, but he's a very solid worker and had an impressive outing against the former TNA World Champion. Although it was brief, it was still a good showing from both men that resulted in the right guy going over. York looked strong in defeat and inserting him into the Hardy/Roode feud has been brilliant booking thus far.
Solid tag team match with James Storm and AJ Styles defeating Daniels and Kazarian (now known as Bad Influence). The action was very fun and all four competitors shined by hitting their signature spots over the course of the contest. They teased tension between Styles and Storm nicely and the finish was very well done with Storm hitting the Last Call superkick out of nowhere for the victory.
Basic squash match with Matt Morgan defeating Douglas Williams. Williams is a quality talent and shouldn't be booked as an enhancement talent, but it was needed to make Morgan look strong. Morgan is a much more intriguing character as a heel and I hope he embarks on a singles run at some point so he can finally win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
Decent Gut Check segment with Wes Brisco earning a TNA contract. I'm not a huge supporter of Brisco, but he did a great job on the mic in his "kick-out" promo and it made sense to give him a contract given how he's been featured on TNA television countless times in recent months. Expect both he and D'Lo Brown to become full-fledged members of Aces and 8s at some point since Al Snow was randomly replaced here.
Great match with Rob Van Dam successfully defending the X-Division Championship against Austin Aries. I honestly can't remember the last time the X-Division title was defended in the main event of an Impact, so that boosted the belt's prestige incredibly. These two provided a very physical match with some exciting spots thrown in. The disqualification finish saves the rematch for a later date and it protects Aries, as Bully Ray's interference was logical and necessary to further the feud.
Overall, a pretty good show that furthered a handful of story-lines and featured a number of solid matches as well. The live environment felt fresh since it's been taped the last two weeks and it truly helped enhance this week's show. This was one of the most enjoyable editions of Impact in weeks and I find myself slowly getting more invested into each angle they have going at the moment.
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