By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bobby Roode Interrupted TNA World Heavyweight Champion Eric Young
Young has been doing a very good job of establishing himself as a credible champion since winning the world title last month and I'm glad he stayed serious in his promo. He and Roode had a good verbal exchange that made me want to see a rematch between the two despite the fact they just faced off a week ago. I like the fact that Young is establishing himself as a credible champion, but what's the rush in blowing through all the potential challengers to the title? Nevertheless, it was a solid segment to kick off the show.
The Beautiful People def. Madison Rayne and Brittany in an Evening Gown Match
Any straight man loved this match (and the cameramen must not be straight if they didn't even bother to follow a stripped Velvet Sky up the ramp). I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it as a male (who wouldn't be jealous of that referee?!), but seriously, how was this wrestling? It makes the division look like a laughing stock and it's hard to take it seriously. Yes, there are stories in the Knockouts division, but matches like this de-legitimize the title and the talented women's wrestlers.
Ethan Carter III def. Kurt Angle
This feud has been building for nearly three months, so I was surprised that the match was cut short. Obviously, I fully expect a rematch to take place at some point, so perhaps it was simply a case of the two holding back. It was well wrestled while it lasted, but it was smart to keep the bout brief in order to tell the story that Angle is still suffering from an injury and that he came back too soon. I really liked the fact that EC3 picked up the clean win (well, technically) without any interference. It boosted his credibility, protected Angle and kept the feud alive. Good booking all around.
Bobby Roode Interrupted MVP
MVP has been flip-flopping on from being a face to a heel on a weekly basis. In this segment he came off as a face, but he wasn't perceived by the fans that way based off their silence. I enjoyed Roode's intensity here and the crowd was hot for their brief brawl. It built anticipation for a future match between the two, but I have no idea where this is supposed to be leading to. Then again, that might be a good thing.
TNA World Tag Team Champions The Wolves def. The Bro-Mans in a Ladder Match
The weeks of crappy finishes to their tag matches finally paid off. Say what you will about their gimmick, but The Bro-Mans are a very good tandem in the ring. Their style meshed nicely with that of The Wolves, thus making for a very fun Ladder match. It was highlight reel of crazy spots, but the crowd was at least invested in the action. I hope to see The Wolves engage in a feud with Magnus and Bram over the belts soon, as that feud certainly has potential.
Knux def. Kazarian
I initially got excited when I heard Bad Influence's entrance music and thought Daniels had returned, but sadly, it wasn't meant to be. This was nothing more than a standard squash match for Knux and a showcase for The Menagerie. The act is... odd, to say the least, but I don't really know what to think of it as this point. It was an interesting way to reintroduce Knux and we'll see where it goes from here. As for Kazarian, I had hope that if they were going to Daniels that they would push Kazarian as a singles star. Apparently not.
Willow def. Magnus by Disqualification
The match was decent enough, but it was never meant to be anything special. The focus was fully on Magnus and his new (or old?) associate, Bram. I really like the idea of a pairing between the two and I could see them chasing the tag titles at some point. It beats the hell out of Magnus being booking like a paper champion. Willow was lost in the shuffle here, but is he supposed to have any direction right now? I guess I could see him feuding with EC3 again if Angle is still out with an injury, but time will tell.
MVP Announced Eric Young's Championship Challenger for Slammiversary
Honestly, if you didn't see this coming, you're a complete fool. The writing has been on the wall for weeks and it was played up in obvious fashion throughout the show, especially when MVP said Young would be facing someone that he had never squared off against before. I don't mind the idea of a match between the two because it should be good. Rather, I'm disappointed in the fact that we have yet another heel authority figure in TNA. Why?! What was the point in Dixie Carter losing at Lockdown (who still appears on TV regardless) if MVP was ultimately going to turn heel? He hasn't even been with the company for four months! The more things change in TNA, the more they stay the same.
There were a lot of things advertised for this show and most of it delivered. EC3 vs. Angle was good albeit brief, the Ladder tag team match was entertaining and while I hated the MVP heel turn, at least it made the show newsworthy. This was certainly one of the better episodes of Impact Wrestling as a whole in recent memory and it was smart of them to hype us several matches for next week's show as well. The seeds have been planted for several matches at Slammiversary, so I look forward to seeing those feuds develop in coming weeks.
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