TNA Impact returned to Spike TV last night (Feb. 20, 2014) from Manchester, England, featuring Magnus defending his heavyweight title against Gunner in the main event, another Willow promo to creep you out, and more.
Click here for full results and the live blog.Let's get to reactions. These were written as the show moved along with real time reactions to everything that occurred hour-by-hour.
- The overseas crowds help these shows so much. Even if TNA is working the usual camera tricks and canned heat and all that, everything comes off better when they tour the U.K. They look like the actual number two promotion in the U.S.
- Watching Magnus in there with MVP, it's obvious what TNA sees in him. He's got the right look, he can talk good enough, and he's not a bad worker in the ring. But something's missing and I just can't put my finger on what it is. Still, he delivered a good line telling MVP he didn't care if he was in prison for nine years, it wouldn't compare to nine minutes in the ring with him. That's good for a build to a match between the two. Unfortunately, that's not the direction.
- Actually, they're doing a good job building towards both Magnus vs. MVP and Magnus vs. EC3. Here's to hoping they come through with those matches. Actually, even if they'll do, they would overbook the hell out of it and kill all its meaning within the first five minutes.
- Real easy booking putting Samoa Joe over the Bro Mans and Zema Ion in a 3-on-1 handicap. Keep the big babyface strong as you work towards his heavyweight title match at Lockdown but this makes you wonder if the plan is to put the belt on him. If it's not, maybe don't kill the mid-card guys completely by making them look like jobbers to the stars. We realize that's what they are anyway, but we don't need to be beat over the head with it, right?
- Joe's suicide dives are always a treat to watch. Big man through the ropes? Every time.
- I don't know how to feel about this Samuel Shaw cat. On the one hand, hey, it's something wildly different in a promotion that specializes in overbooked nonsense. On the other, I'm not sure there's a place for stuff like this, largely because I prefer my wrestling matches AND angles to be carried out in or around the ring. Less is more with the backstage stuff that goes beyond a simple interview. So the question is where does this gimmick go once it makes it out to the ring? Just don't know about it.
- Right after I say all this, Bobby Roode and James Storm have a great segment backstage with Roode showing some real depth as a performer and Storm doing well enough playing the concerned friend who doesn't know how to be a shoulder so much as a motivating fixer. The fact that they bothered to tell the story with continuity was refreshing, and made it that much better. Roode has a good story going right now.
- So Gail Kim vs. Madison Rayne is a Street Fight, one where anything goes, and it starts with Rayne bum rushing Kim while Lei'D Tapa just stands there and watches it happen. Got it. Of course that would change once they got into the match and of course it wouldn't really matter because none of it was very good anyway.
- Seriously with the Sam Shaw stuff.
- That video package on Gunner was about as good as it could get. I never bought into him before and I still don't, not really, but that video package accomplished everything it was supposed to. I had no reason to care before seeing that and now I kind of sort of, maybe without even realizing it, want to see him win the title. The bit with his dad getting choked up talking about how proud he is to see his son accomplishing his dreams? Really good stuff.
- When Bobby Roode's contract was up and WWE had a chance to sign him, I still don't understand why they didn't bite. The guy is as talented as it gets in the pro wrestling industry. He had me. I read the spoilers. I know he's not retiring. I know this is some elaborate dig at WWE for the CM Punk situation. But Roode has been so damn good, I haven't cared. He really sold me that he was leaving and wants to be done to go find his smile and all that good stuff. Then, Dixie, and everything went to hell.
- Can we just stop with the ownership of the company crap? Please?
- That didn't take long to figure out how to feel about the Sam Shaw stuff. Here he is knocking out Christy Hemme via an attack on Mr. Anderson, kidnapping her in front of everyone, including a camera crew conducting an interview nearby, and NO ONE DOES ANYTHING. I just can't with this shit. It's nonsense. Later, we get him laying her down on a table and finally noticing cameras that are always there anyway. Meanwhile, the commentators wonder what's going on but are apparently not concerned enough to do anything about it. Too much ridiculous bullshit to watch this and not want to change the channel.
- The Wolves vs. Bad Influence was a really good match that could have been great if they were given the proper amount of time to work. Instead, we get talking segment after talking segment after talking segment with a million little two minute backstage bits thrown in. The total wrestling time on this show had to be about 12 minutes. Give these guys more time and the quality of the show would improve by leaps and bounds.
- Willow is coming. Be afraid, I guess.
- After such a great job building up Gunner vs. Magnus, they pull the rug right out from under all of it by announcing just before it starts that the match would be contested under "Magnus rules", which essentially read "Magnus will win and it will come after a ton of interference and you'll hate it". Stipulations like that can work, but when's the last time TNA put together a singles match for a title and just worked it straight up without a smoz finish, a run-in, or an added stipulation? It never happens. It makes it hard to get into the product.
- So, of course, we get all the usual smoz stuff and the finish sees Storm turn on Gunner. It's not much of a turn because the two had issues previously, but they attempted to patch them up recently enough to make this a bigger deal than it actually was. Either way, Magnus retains in another match where he was beat and nothing feels settled with anything.
There was some stuff to love here, like Roode's work and the Bad Influence vs. Wolves match, but also stuff to hate, like Shaw and the main event.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?