TNA Impact returned to SpikeTV last night (April 4) with a taped show coming out of the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro, AR. It was an entertaining show, although it is easy to tell everyone is focusing on next week.
Click here to get full results and the running live blog. But now, let's get to the reactions!
♠ There may not have been too much build up for next week's (April 11) Full Metal Mayhem Match between Bully Ray and Jeff Hardy, but I don't think much was needed. We saw the hype videos during the show, Bully said a few words about it, and the show ended with Bully and Hardy going blow for blow. There's really not much more needed between these two. Did anyone really want Hardy to spit a promo? Last week (March 28) did more than enough to set the stage for the revenge match. With no pressure of having to "sell" fans the show, there isn't a need to shove it down fans throats. It was odd to see, but it worked for what TNA is doing.
♣ What was front and center, though, is Bully trying to convince Brooke Hogan they will be together forever. These two were an amazing couple in love a little while ago, and they picked up right where they left off. Brooke is by no means a great actress, but she has proven capable enough to carry her own. And then there's Bully. Man, how great is Bully Ray? Just a nasty, arrogant, slightly misogynistic heel. Offering Brooke front row tickets, telling her she's the wind beneath his wings, while at the same time ordering her around as if he owns her. I really do hope Bully and Brooke come back together. As of right now, though, I'm thoroughly enjoying this.
♥ The main event featured Team TNA -- Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Magnus, Eric Young, & Joseph Park -- take on Aces & 8s -- Devon, D.O.C., Knux, Garrett Bischoff, & Wes Briscoe -- in a 10-man tag team match. Much like the show itself, the match was all over the place but generally entertaining. The faces all got their screen time and played up their talents. Garrett and Wes were limited to punching bags, while D.O.C. and Knux -- and yes, that is his name now -- played the monster heels. The match predictably devolved into an all out brawl, and ended when Devon popped Park with a low blow. Dirty win is dirty, but at least the gang is actually winning now. It certainly wasn't a match anyone needs to see, but it was enjoyable and booked well.
♦ Both Hulk Hogan and Aces & 8s are battling to bring AJ Styles into their corners. Mr. Anderson intercepted AJ Styles as he walked into the arena and handed him a sweet vest. Which, if anyone knows where to find one, please let me know. Then later Hulk would talk about how TNA was a family and they needed to stand strong against the invasion. Styles managed to actually squeak out a sentence before James Storm came in to put in his two sense. The silence thing was kind of cool, but it's probably for the best Styles gets away from it. Too many people will dismiss it as a straight rip off of Sting, which is unfair. The inspiration is obviously there. But this is a new character and new promotion. I'm confident Styles will find his own tweaks to the character.
♠ I actually really enjoyed the camera angle where we could see Styles on Storm's sunglasses. I'm sure there's a certain metaphor about how we look in our friend's eyes and looking at our own reflection. But I mostly just thought it was a cool accident.
♣ Taryn Terrell & Velvet Sky took on Gail Kim & Tara. However, Joey Ryan stole the show after convincing Brooke to let him be the new Knockouts Ref. Which meant Ryan spent the entire time groping and staring at the lovely ladies in the ring. Kim finally used Ryan's pervertedness to her advantage, flirting with him so he would give her the quick count on Terrell. The whole thing was incredibly stupid, but in a fun way. Terrell giving Ryan a low blow post match was just perfect. Again, stupid, but I could not help but laugh the entire time.
♥ Speaking on Terrell, she actually has some talent in the ring. But she is so damn green it's a little tough to watch. A little slow to her spots, awkward moveset, and seems unsure of herself at times. But she's athletic enough to be solid if she gets the right training. I'm looking forward to see how much she can improve.
♦ Sonjay Dutt, Mason Andrews, and Petey Williams put on a great X Division Triple Threat Match that saw Williams get the pinfall via Canadian Destroyer. I'm unsure how this "every match must be a Triple Threat" thing will continue, but I'm not going to complain.
♠ Two new stipulations have been added for next week's Tag Team Championship Match between Dirty Heels and Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez. First, it is now a two out of three falls match. Second, if Chavo & Hernandez lose, they will never be allowed to tag again. I really hope Austin Aries & Bobby Roode retain, but I'm not sure if TNA is going to break up the only face team left on the roster.
♣ Gut Check contestants Adam Pearce and Magno faced off, with Pearce getting the roll up pinfall while hanging onto the ropes. I'm not sure why someone who cheat to win when the judges who will decide your future employment are going to be watching the tape. Hopefully someone explains this one to me next week.
This was an enjoyable episode of Impact, but it did seem very scattered.
With next week being a pay-per-view (PPV) quality card, this did come off as more of a filler episode. Even still, I can't point to a single segment and say it was a waste. There wasn't a moment I wasn't tuned in.
Pro wrestling should be fun. It's a shame that isn't always the case.
What say you, Cagesiders? Are you enjoying the new Impact Wrestling, or are you just tuned off because of TNA's history. Let me know how right -- or how wrong -- I am in the comments.