Greetings Earthlings, welcome to my inaugural review of TNA/Impact Wrestling. This is for the March 1st 2012 episode, which as fate would have it, is also the first actual post-Russo show.
Impact started off with the usual video package to recap the feud between Booby Roode and Sting. We then got a brand new intro package using a lot of shots from the road shows.
Kurt Angle walked out for the obligatory opening promo. He said he had a list of reasons why he hates Jeff Hardy, and had them written out on his own cue cards. He only listed about four reasons so he must have very large handwriting. Anyway the biggest reason was that his son has Jeff Hardy action figures and dresses like Jeff Hardy, rather than like him. Angle then called Hardy to the ring to challenge him at Victory Road. And since we cannot have an opening promo segment without a brawl, Hardy accepted and the two came to blows.
Backstage, Bobby Roode was talking to the Reality Cam about Sting. He said it was unprofessional for Sting to book himself in main events. Austin Aries walked up, and agreed with Roode, citing the tweet he made last week about not being able to get main events. The two walked off together to make evil plans.
Match #1: AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian
This was presented as a gauntlet style match, meaning AJ would have to beat both men separately. Before the match AJ said if he wins, Kazarian should have to reveal what it is that has him allied with Daniels.
Daniels started the match, and he and AJ had a good back and forth match. Crowd seemed genuinely into the match. The finish came when Kazarian interfered and hit his finisher on AJ right in front of the Ref. This got Daniels disqualified. But per the rules this meant it was now Kazarian’s turn. Kaz just simply covered AJ for the win.
Daniels then tried to argue with Kaz as they left.
In another part of the Impact Zone, Madison Rayne met with Gail, who told her she was facing ODB tonight.
Match #2: ODB vs. Madison Rayne
This was a pretty straightforward Knockouts match, with Eric Young doing his comedy antics on the outside. In the end, Gail “tried” to interfere but kept slipping trying to get on the apron. ODB hit her Cutter finisher for the win and celebrated with EY. Rayne and Kim then argued to the back.
Backstage, Bully Ray was, well, bullying one of the female crew. Bobby Roode and Austin Aries came in, and told him that Ray should be more concerned with Sting than James Storm. They said they have room for one more in their plans.
An “Earlier Tonight” segment aired with Angelina Love and Sarita interrupting a Velvet Sky interview. They beat up Velvet for a while until Mickie James made the save. Instant Tag Match Mix. Just add water.
Elsewhere, Ric Flair, Gunner, and Eric Bischoff were warning Garret Bischoff to not show up next week.
Hour Two opened with the newly made heel tandem of Bobby Roode, Bully Ray, and Austin Aries coming to the ring to air their grievances about Sting. Each man took their turn on the mic, with each saying they are now “done”.
They played it up like they were holding up the show, but the lights went out. Sting was standing in the ring when they cam on a second or two later. He must have teleportation abilities. Sting said if they were truly “done” then that means they would be fired and stripped of their respective titles. This was apparently enough to call the heels’ bluff, as they obviously didn’t think about that beforehand. Sting made a six man tag main event with Roode, Aries, and Ray facing Storm, Magnus, and Samoa Joe (who must be faces now).
A touching video played recapping Jesse Sorenson’s condition. He vowed that he would wrestle again.
Zema Ion cut a promo saying he didn’t feel remorse over what happened to Sorenson, because he is now the #1 contender to the X-Division title.
Match #3: Zema Ion vs. Shannon Moore
A good, high energy TV match. This had the expected X-Division dives and counters. In the end, Ion hit a Tilt-A-Whirl move for the clean win.
Winner: Zema Ion.
A video package aired promoting the fan friendly atmosphere at TNA events.
Match #4: Angelina Love & Sarita vs. Mickie James & Velvet Sky.
A standard, but good tag match with the formulaic setup for the hot tag from Mickie to Velvet. Velvet got the win on Angelinia with a facebuster. The main thing I didn’t like about this match had nothing to do with the match itself, but with Tenay and especially Taz glowing about how hot the Knockouts are. It just gets annoying when matches aren’t called in my opinion.
Winners: Velvet Sky & Mickie James
Backstage, James Storm and Magnus cut very determined promos about winning the main event match tonight.
Mike Tenay announced that TNA had been contacted by Abyss’s family wondering about his whereabouts. Why the family would contact TNA first and not the local authorities was not explained….
Match #5: Bobby Roode, Bully Ray, and Austin Aries vs. James Storm, Magnus, and Samoa Joe.
Very good TV main event. My only gripe is that it really wasn’t put over how the two top singles champions were in the ring with the tag champions. That’s the type of thing that should be presented as a huge deal, and it wasn’t here. A bit disappointing for my tastes. They did however make it a point to mention that Austin Aries was getting his main event wishes tonight.
Aries predictably showed that he could hang with the main eventers. Everybody worked hard and played their parts well. Evey time Storm tagged in, Bobby Roode would tag out and bail to the outside. In the end, there was the regular, but exciting sequence of everybody hitting their signature moves. Storm managed to hit a superkick on Roode for the win.
Winners: James Storm, Magnus, and Samoa Joe
I don’t really like that they gave Storm a clean pin on Roode, as I think the two should be kept apart until their singles match. But it was a great TV main event that felt like a big deal.
After the match, Bully Ray laid out the three faces with a chair, and stood over the fallen Storm taunting that he was the real #1 Contender.
Conclusion: This was what has become a pretty typical episode of Impact. There was a lot to like (The main event, Aries in a main event match, strong promos to hype the match), and there was definitely some stuff not to like (still too fast paced, seemingly all the heels arguing after their matches, backstage brawls). But there wasn’t anything mind numbingly stupid like there traditionally has been in Impact episodes. There was enough good in my opinion to give this show a thumbs up
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