Previously on Impact Wrestling
Dixie Carter revealed a new Chief of Staff, but unfortunately it wasn't Sean Morley (he has experience and a grudge against a certain former Executive Producer of Impact). No, it's British Bootcamp winner Rockstar Spud. Carter's version of The Authority is starting to round itself out, with "nephew" Ethan Carter III also sharing some screen time with Aunt Dixie last week.
Former X-Division champion Zema Ion also appeared in a new role, as official DJ for tag champs The Bro-Mans. Man, we give the Connecticut-based company crap for forgetting about their secondary titles, but Robbie E and Jessie Godderz haven't defended their belts since Bound for Glory, except for the previous champ's rematch. And I had to look up who currently holds the X-Division belt even though I watch the show every week.
That man is Chris Sabin, and he was part of Bobby Roode's incredible line-up for the Thanksgiving elimination tag match along with the rest of the Extraordinary Gentleman's Organization, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. That team defeated Kurt Angle's squad of Gunner, James Storm and Magnus four to bupkis, as Angle got himself disqualified when he put hurting The It Factor over winning the contest.
The recently-out-of-rehab Gold Medalist's moment of the night came on pre-tape, however, when at Mr. Anderson's funeral for Aces and Eights, Samoa Joe handed out some liquid refreshment to his fellow "mourners" and deliberately skipped Angle. Other than that, the segment's primary purpose was to remind us that Bully Ray is still around, still an awesome heel and still gunning for The Asshole.
With the World championship tournament taking a week off for the holiday, TNA did their thing with the turkey suit challenge and meal. This was a harmless bit of fun featuring performer's like Roode being great, and providing further evidence that the biggest stars of the EC3 debut might be the comedy tag team of Norv Fernum and Dewey Barnes.
I know they're definitely back in Orlando, but I have completely lost track of what was taped when. There are spoilers here, here and here, for the impatient. I don't read them, so marvel or mock me accordingly.
The tournament resumes, and the Wheel of Dixie has decided that one semi-final (Roode vs. Jeff Hardy) will be a tables match while the other (Magnus vs. Angle) will be Last Main Event Mafia-member Standing!
The Bad Influence of Daniels and Kazarian promise to expose Joseph Park once and for all. They claim to have made some discoveries on a recent road trip. I want to know if it was more fun than the adventure Park had with his buddy Eric Young on the road to Bound for Glory...
The tag champs will defend their belts against - the only team they've ever defended them against! Again! Can Gunner and Storm move past their personal issues to reclaim gold?
And, not one to bask in the glory of having already defeated Shark Boy and Curry Man, EC3 promises to defeat another legend tonight!
Expect to pop for:
Zema Ion. First of all, while I can't claim to be his #1 fan or anything, it's nice to see the guy getting to return to a job he loves after a health scare.
Second, giving musclehead club boys Robbie E and Mr. Pec-tacular a person DJ is a stroke of brilliance. Ion fits right in with the pair, in terms of overall gimmick and how they play their characters. I've always been a fan of the "manager" who can work. And if, as I assume, this is way to utilize Zema while he finishes his recovery from surgeries, TNA deserves some credit for that - at least a few props to go with the outrage we all doled on them for their treatment of Jesse Sorensen.
Last but not least, hopefully this kickstarts the tag division. With the main event scene slowly gelling around AJ Styles vs. whoever ends up being Dixie's champ, and the heavyweight tournament actually creating other feuds like Angle vs. Roode (something that the BFG series always looked like it would do but never did), making the tag champs a heel faction distinct from the Carters is a good way to put some focus on the division.
And the talent and teams are already there. In addition to The Bro-Mans, you've got The Bad Influence, The Cowboy & The Viking, Abyss/Park & EY, and Fernum & Barnes. It might not exactly be the heights of Beer Money vs. The Motor City Machine Guns, but it has a lot of potential.
The heat is on:
Gail Kim. While the tag ranks show potential, the once proud Knockouts division is a head scratcher. Is the champ's "Invitational" leading anywhere? The women who have shown up so far have brought out the best in Gail or vice versa.
Who is supposed to benefit from pitting the green Lai'D Tapa against the shouldn't-ever-wrestle Velvet Sky? Maybe the goal is to make whatever Kim does look good in comparison.
Especially with a return to a bulk taping strategy, it wouldn't be difficult or expensive to fly in a handful of talented indie women, put them in storylines and start to rebuild another facet of TNA programming that it could use to differentiate itself from WWE. Basically, hold a mini-Shimmer or Shine taping every other month, and you've got a division.
The company seems invested in its champ, but if nothing is going on around her, no one else is going to be.
Would a return to great tag and women's wrestling make you more bull-ish on TNA's future?
Let us know if that or anything else would, and if you're feeling good about the title picture or the
Corporation Carter's story. And if you're watching tonight, hang with the gang in the live blog/open thread!