Previously on Impact Wrestling
It was Final Resolution, and we would finally have a World champ that appeared on Impact instead of in Japan or Mexico. The night built to the showdown between Magnus and Jeff Hardy in Dixieland for the title. and early on we were teased with the prospect that one or both men could have a backroom deal with Dixie Carter that would assure them the belt.
One thing that we were assured was free of Dixie-ference were the Feast or Fired briefcases that Chavo Guerrero, Gunner, Zema Ion and Ethan Carter III had won the week prior. There was some intrigue as to whether Gunner would stick with his partner James Storm if his case contained a tag title shot, but it ended up containing a match against the new World champion, so that relationship drama is set to continue.
Zema Ion ended up with a chance to regain the X-Division title from new champ Austin Aries, while Chavo is free to pursue his future endeavors. Sting crashed the case opening session to express his disgust of EC3 and the whole Carter regime again, but couldn't convince Ethan to give him his case in exchange for a one-on-one match. The newcomer ended up with the tag match, while Sting left while swearing to take down the Carters. If his missions to end the NWO, Immortal or Aces and Eights were any indication, Dixie and company should be safe for at least a couple of years.
Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode went two-out-of-three falls to blow off their feud, and the contest was predictably good stuff - if a little quick, considering how much time had gone into the program and what the men involved are capable of. Roode took the first and third falls via underhanded means to win the war.
Eric Young continued to convince Joseph Park that he and his "brother" Abyss might be closer than he thinks, as Janice the nail-encrusted 2x4 made a return appearance. Two babyface women (Madison Rayne and ODB) defeated the heel champ and her lackey (Gail Kim and Lai'D Tapa) in a tag match that proved that there are four women on the roster who can wrestle.
Finally, it was time to set up the cage and ladder for the main event. After a tease of EC3 interfering on Hardy's behalf, Dixie's chief of stuff Spud helped his countryman win the title when he dumped the Charismatic Enigma from the ladder in a frightening spot. Despite being an overbooked affair, Magnus and Jeff put on an entertaining match, and there are quite a few places that the storyline can go from here.
Coming at you from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida!
It's all about the new champ...except for the parts that are about the folks who helped him become the new champ, and those that will be celebrating his coronation as much or more than he will be. Will Jeff Hardy want revenge against Spud and EC3? And what is Dixie's big announcement?
EY's quest to unleash the monster within Joseph Park has come to this...the Monster's Ball concept is back. Park and Bad Influence will be sequestered without light, food or water for 24 hours prior to this two-on-one handicap contest. Will Park, or his "brother" Abyss, show up for the Ball?
And, in Knockouts action, the two heavyweights of the division go head to head when Gail Kim's muscle, Lai'D Tapa, squares off with ODB.
Expect to pop for:
Ethan Carter III. I might be reading too much into a few facial expressions, but I think I saw more character development from EC3 on the stage at the end of last week's show than I've seen since his debut.
They haven't given him an opportunity to do much beyond those original insane promos where he was demanding tigers for his promo videos. Weeks of defeating Dewey Barnes and Norv Fernum did more to get the two jobbers over than it did for him, and bullying the Hebners is just going to leave fans scratching their heads.
Time will tell on the former Derek Bateman...does a program with Sting do anything for anyone in this day and age, whether The Icon puts Carter over or not? Will they build off of the varied scenarios we saw him presented in last week, or will he be fighting Jeremy Borash the next time we see him?
But his briefcase points to a pending tag run, probably alongside an equally interesting and promising youngster in Spud. And his role as the mis-direction who seemed to be aiding Hardy in the title tournament final, and looking less-than-enthused during the closing shots on stage with Aunt Dixie and the new champ, could lead to a spot as a Machiavellian prince in the Carter clan. Not only would it be TNA showcasing new talent, but also presenting them in an interesting way.
That could be truly exciting.
The heat is on:
Magnus. I'm excited to see a new titleholder, and the first British champ in a century is deserving of a shot at carrying the show (and is a good example of the kind of "fresh blood" direction that myself and most of the internet wrestling community (IWC) have been begging Impact to go in for quite some time now).
But I have not been blown away with what I've seen of him throughout this tournament story. And going back to the dissolution of the last incarnation of the Main Event Mafia, he's had quite a bit of television time to show me something.
There's a real risk that he could get lost in a typically complicated TNA main event scene. The promotion doesn't have six hours of weekly airtime to work with like the company it's chasing, and if the new World champ proves to be less interesting than the coalition supporting him or the challengers chasing him, even a lengthy reign could be quickly forgotten by the fans.
Does an exciting new era of Impact Wrestling start tonight? Or do new faces on screen and changes back stage just lead to more of the same from TNA?
Find out tonight at 9PM Eastern on Spike. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and join your fellow Cagesiders in our open thread for the show!