TNA Impact returned to Spike TV last night (Aug. 22, 2013) from Norfolk, Virginia, featuring the continuation of the Hardcore Justice show that started last week, or at least that's what it was marketed as. Really it was all about two big angles, the return of Brooke, but not the one you think, and the return of a hero you never knew you wanted.
Let's just get right to reactions:
- I knew it was coming. I knew not just because that's where the story was headed, and it was always what was going to happen, but because the spoilers were readily available for an entire week ahead of time. So I knew it was coming. I knew AJ Styles would reveal himself to be on the good guy's side because, well, despite his period of introspection and apparent want to be all about the money and in it for himself, that's just not who he is or ever was. And it got me. I knew what was coming, and I still couldn't help but mark out a bit when his old music played, and he went ape shit before jumping in the ring to kick off a huge brawl between the Main Event Mafia and the Aces and 8's. The crowd bothering to get into it -- a true task that late in the taping -- helped make it a veritable pro wrestling moment. That alone was worth watching, though it didn't save the show from its usual mediocrity.
- After having given Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz a few chances to do anything in TNA, it's already painfully obvious that neither of them belong anywhere near a wrestling ring. Ortiz can't move a muscle without it looking terribly forced and awkward. He also can't talk. Rampage doesn't know what it means to cut a promo and when he's in the ring, his offense looks god awful. I guess when you hurt people for real, it's just too hard to make it look the same when you're holding back. No interest in ever seeing these two on my television again, in any capacity.
- Bully Ray, at this point, is doing everything he can to put some shine on the shit he's shoveling us week after week. He has to know that's the case, too, but he keeps trucking along, cutting great promos and generally looking like he simply doesn't belong there. Sure, he's no great wrestler, but neither was Hulk Hogan when he was selling out arenas the world over. Ray is just so obviously a cut above the rest, it drags down the entire show. You can't let Bully speak then give Tito the microphone. Of course he'll die out there.
- The Brooke Hogan actually being Brooke Tessmacher angle was figured out just as soon as it was mentioned on the Hardcore Justice show last week before spoilers to the next taping got out. It was just an obvious angle that wasn't going to connect, and it didn't. That being said, Tessmacher is about a million times better than Hogan at everything related to pro wrestling. That includes being easier on the eyes, because, let's face it, that's actually a consideration here. The bigger point is she doesn't tower over everyone in the ring, including Bully, and will actually properly play her role as arm candy to the heavyweight champion.
- Swerve-a-rooni, Taz? Really?
- There were "YES" chants during this show. The best part about this isn't that the chants happened, though that's definitely awesome. It's that TNA didn't bother to edit them out of the YouTube videos they posted of this show. They just left them in like it wasn't a big deal that the fan base who bothers to pay money to see Impact cares more about a wrestler who works for the competition. If you can make yourself look less pathetic, you probably should. Just a thought going forward.
- Remember when James Storm vs. Bobby Roode was a really big deal? Those were good times, right? Now we're getting them in meaningless tag matches that have more to do with pushing yet another stable on the audience that has had to deal with the Aces and 8's for over a year and the Main Event Mafia for over a month now. I actually like stables and the idea of Christopher Daniels, Bobby Roode, Kazarian, and Austin Aries in one group is great, but it just doesn't fit right here and right now with everything else that's going on. It would be perfect if Aces and 8's were finally done away with. Can that just happen already?
- More of Gail Kim wrestling on my TV, please.
- Less of Joseph Park doing anything on my TV. Holy shit, how much longer are we going to be made to wait for this storyline to pay off? It is not the kind of story that needs to be told at this slow a pace. This isn't Sting vs. the nWo in 1997. We know he's Abyss and you're not building to any particular match. Get a fucking move on already.
- Manik vs. Sonjay Dutt was good but the X Division always make me think of how gimmicky TNA is as a promotion. Gimmicks are supposed to enhance a product, not actually be the product. How much better would TNA be if they didn't have a gimmick for virtually everything they do? For that matter, there are way too many pre-tapes during your typical episode of Impact.
Like the title says, this was a phenomenally average show. So, really, it was your typical effort from TNA.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comment section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. What did you think of it.