TNA Impact Wrestling returned last night (Jan. 3, 2013) with a taped show featuring the big return of Sting and the unmasking of yet another member of Aces and 8s.
Plenty of botches to go around.
Click here to get full results and the running live blog. Now let's get right to reactions from the show.
- How do you botch a major return you've been hyping for weeks and weeks with vignettes featuring one of your biggest stars? By hiring cameramen and producers who aren't entirely sure what the hell is going on and missing the big entrance of the returning wrestler, in this case Sting. We knew he was coming and we could even tell the exact moment he was going to do so but the small pop from the crowd barely gave away the fact that he had shown up and the only reason we finally came to see he was back was because he ran over a camera guy on his way into the cage to battle with Aces and 8s. Talk about anticlimactic.
- Because I'm getting the bad out of the way early, let's also discuss Aces and 8s and how much of a drag they are on everything TNA does. We knew eventually they would continue to unmask these guys one-by-one and we also knew the faces underneath said masks would be unbelievably underwhelming but holy shit, Mike Knox. You know it's bad when the announcers actually have to make mention of the competition by name so people know who the guy is and where he came from. The best part? It was probably a waste of time to do so because people still probably don't know him. Isn't that such a TNA thing to do? Mention WWE when it does them absolutely no good?
- Looking past the bullshit with Sting and Aces and 8s, the show was actually solid all around. The opening segment to announce the "Wrestler of the Year" could have been campy and lame but Austin Aries and Bobby Roode trying to out-heel each other continues to be incredibly entertaining. By the way, I think Roode is the better performer, Aries the better wrestler.
- I'm not sure why Jeff Hardy was given the book but I can dig a triple threat elimination match at Genesis.
- Christopher Daniels and Kazarian are the whole damn show. We're almost to that point where they're going to turn babyface simply because it's clear how much more entertaining they are than whomever they're feuding with at any particular time. Daniels impersonating James Storm while he stood there like a doofus was pitch perfect. Storm's inability to come back with anything remotely clever painted him in an awful light. Maybe it's just me but Daniels and Kaz should have their own show within the show.
- Plus, Kazarian and Storm managed to have a three and a half star match in just four minutes time. The Last Call off the second rope? Always a win. You know you've done something right when even the dolts at Universal are popping big for you.
- Matt Morgan has his sights set on Hulk Hogan, or at least that's what the announcers have told us. What seems to be closer to reality is that Morgan has his sights set on beating Hogan's record for the most orange skin in history. Dude looks like he's got cancer at this point.
- Speaking of Hogan, I'm going to be complimentary of his work last night. Believe it or not, I thought he was really good during his promo on Bully Ray. No, it didn't make sense within the storyline, but when Hogan gets on his game and starts delivering his lines like he really gives a shit, he's still got it. Even Bully Ray and Brooke were good playing the role of the shocked couple who were actually apologizing for not being completely honest. I'm not entirely sure Hogan is justified in suspending someone without pay for fucking his daughter but whatever, I'm trying to see the positives in this.
- I'm pretty sure every time we see Kurt Angle talking up Wes Briscoe and Garrett Bischoff, a baby gets punched in the head. I just think that's a thing that happens.
- It's really amazing that TNA struggles to get reactions with most of its roster but the Knockouts always seem to do rather well. That division, though Brooke Hogan has started poisoning it, is built well and all the ladies have been working their ass off. It shows, even in dumb tag team matches like last night. The announcers pushing that although it was a tag match each woman wanted to stand out to hopefully get the next shot in the division was the perfect touch.
The big problem with TNA seems to be that the wrestlers who are the most talented and doing the best work, like Daniels, Kaz, Roode, and Aries, are all taking a backseat to Hogan and Aces and 8s.
I was in a good mood for this one. How about you, Cagesiders? What did you think of TNA last night?