TNA Impact returned to Spike TV last night (July 18, 2013) from Louisville, Kentucky, featuring Chris Sabin cashing in his X-Division title and defeating Bully Ray to win the heavyweight championship just like Austin Aries did before him.
Click here to get full results and to check out the open thread. Now let's get right to reactions:
- Strictly from a business perspective, I'm quite surprised at the decision to put the heavyweight title on Chris Sabin. I've been vocal in the past about my reluctance at his ability to be a main event level draw and while he could most definitely prove me wrong, something tells me he won't be holding the strap within the next month or so. I can't imagine the powers that be are comfortable with going into the biggest pay-per-view of the year, Bound for Glory, with Sabin as champion. The only way I can see that scenario is if he's not top billing and that would only happen if Hulk Hogan came back to wrestle Ray. Can you imagine that card with the top two matches being Hogan vs. Ray and Sabin defending his title against the BFG Series winner, which looks like it's going to be Magnus?
- Strictly from a storyline perspective, this was really well done. The videos hyping Sabin as the ultimate underdog, the workhorse blue collar man who had a run of extremely bad luck threaten to derail his career goals only to succeed in the face of each and every obstacle placed in front of him, well, they were great. It was even better that he pinned Ray by using the same hammer Ray used to win the belt from Jeff Hardy. Maybe that's feud one for Sabin, if he's actually going to keep the strap. A mutual respect with Hardy leads to a friendly rivalry or something like that. Either way, it was done well enough and the match was respectable enough to be entertaining.
- I really like Rampage Jackson in his role in the Main Event Mafia, the heavy hitting muscle man who paces behind the other four members dressed in suits. Those four, Sting, Kurt Angle, Magnus, and Samoa Joe, are supposed to be badasses, and they look the part. But Rampage is supposed to be an entirely different animal altogether, and I think they accomplished bringing him across that way by not putting him in a suit that wouldn't match his character and letting him rock the chain with that mean scowl. It made for a nice visual, if nothing else.
- What didn't make for a nice visual was the brief time he spent in the ring brawling with the Aces and 8s. Put simply, he sucks. Really bad. He's awkward, it comes off like he's so scared to be stiff his offense looks embarrassing, and he's terribly uncoordinated. If he doesn't get the basics down soon, he's going to end up hurting someone if they ever put him in an actual position to.
- Is it just me or is Rockstar Spud wildly entertaining?
- Insane Bobby Roode is the best Bobby Roode. I could watch Roode vs. Austin Aries every week.
- Mickie James is still great, and I still love watching her on television each week, especially with the character she's currently portraying but please don't ever subject us to her singing again. Thanks!
- I'm not sure there's anything to say about the three X Division matches. Trent Baretta showed up, won a match, and is now getting a title shot. Doesn't that say it all?
For a show that was so heavily promoted and featured such a major angle, it wasn't nearly as good as it could/should have been. The Sabin win came off well on TV but this was a fairly average show.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off with all your thoughts in the comments section below.