TNA Impact Wrestling returned last night (Dec. 20, 2012) with a taped show featuring Championship Thursday with three titles up for grabs throughout the evening.
This one was heavy on wrestling but had a few angles that were utterly ridiculous.
Click here to get full results and the running live blog. Now let's get right to reactions from the show.
- I don't want to needlessly harp on Aces and 8s and how they're not over and all the reasons why that could be. The reality is that it's almost impossible to figure out who in TNA actually is over because the Impact Wrestling Zone in Orlando is a black hole where heat goes to die. When Jeff Hardy can hardly manage to evoke a reaction, Devon and Doc have no chance.
- That said, I don't want my stable of strong heel invaders to be run off by a single referee and a tag team threat of Bully Ray and Hulk Hogan. These guys are a badass biker gang who are going to take over the entire company and they're running away from Bully, one man, and Hulk, an 80-year-old dinosaur with a brittle back who would break in half if he was hit with a strong breeze? Really? Maybe that's why they're not over, because tiny referees and geriatric former wrestlers run them off.
- I will say this for TNA: The production crew does a good job of catching Aces and 8s at just the right angles when they make their entrances. Watching the show will tell you they aren't such hot shit but damned if it doesn't look and feel like it when they march down to the ring. Kudos to the camera crew.
- Are we going to talk about how creepy and weird it was to see Brooke Hogan making out with Bully at the close of the show? And Hulk to come across them before driving off all up in a fuss? I just wonder what it must have been like to be a fly on the wall in the meeting where Brooke was told she would be locking lips with Ray. "You want me to do what? You want me to swap spit with fucking Bubba Ray Dudley?" How did she go through with it without thinking of the old "WAZZUP" schtick he used to do with Devon? Maybe she did and hated herself. That's probably what happened.
- All that said, I'm scared to death for Bully here because he's been doing the best work of his career for damn near two years now and he's getting wrapped up in the Hogan family web of death. I'm not really interesting in the story so much as I am how he comes out of it. Hopefully no worse for the wear, though that seems unlikely.
- Hulk Hogan has got to stop with this whole "TNA is blowing up like crazy, brother" shit he does in every other promo. No, Hulkster, the company wasn't some itsy bitsy teeny weeny little hole in the wall before you came along and no, it hasn't exploded in popularity this year. The ratings are basically the same as they've always been, as are buyrates on pay-per-view (PPV). I get trying to put your brand over but don't lie to us, at least not to the point that we hear it and want to go away.
- Austin Aries and Jeff Hardy are always going to work well together but last night's match wasn't one of their best. You can tell when Aries is phoning it in and when he's really working for it and he leaned hard towards the former last night. Bobby Roode's run-in made sense but a face turn at this point would be awful, if that is indeed where they're headed.
- By the way, props to Aries for shitting on those goofy segments where Hardy's inner thoughts are voiced over while the show switches to slo motion. Those are the worst. Also bad? Hardy's promo last night. He looked like he was talking to a TV while a camera snuck in and filmed him doing it. Rigid delivery combined with unoriginal material equals garbage.
- Christopher Daniels and Kazarian are generally the best part of Impact but they couldn't save that Santa Clause segment. That thing died in front of that Orlando crowd, which had killed everything else ahead of it already. This thing bombed so hard, when James Storm came out to interrupt the stupidity, he got NO reaction whatsoever. And this is a guy who was the hottest babyface in the company at one point. What's worse, he was awful last night. Picking a fight with Daniels and Kaz because they were making fun of Christmas before bitching at Santa for not getting the gifts you wanted when you were a kid and super kicking him because he didn't give you beer last year? That's literally what happened. By the time it was done, I wasn't sure who the heels were. Just a weird, and ultimately terrible segment.
- This Joseph Park/Abyss thing is apparently going to last forever and I guess everyone is okay with this?
- I really don't want to watch Kurt Angle wrestle for much longer. The guy is gone. It's time to let it go.
- Kenny King may have been the brightest spot of the show, setting up Rob Van Dam and then poking fun at him from the entrance ramp while acting innocent. He's talented enough in the ring that if they devoted the time to him and really got behind him, I could see him as a major player down the road.
- I can't say the same for Joey Ryan. I like his schtick but he feels minor league and severely out of place in a tag team with Matt Morgan, who once again looks a bit too much like he's going through the motions. He wasn't getting over before, and he's not getting over now. Size isn't everything in this business is the lesson.
- Enjoyed the Knockouts match, though Mickie looked a bit off and Tara struggled to make up for it. Still, it was good for what it was.
Most of this show was awful, enough so that after one hour of watching I was praying for Doomsday to arrive. Ultimately, it was a typical TNA show. Some good wrestling, some really bad angles, and a crowd that doesn't care about anything.
If that seems generous, it's because you almost have to grade on a curve with TNA. But that's how I felt about the show. How did you like it?