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TNA Impact preview (May 22, 2014): Tried and true

MVP brought back-up, Willow's not the only one who's craz(z)y and Bully Ray's doing babyface home invasions. All that and more on the road to Slammiversary, tonight featuring more Dixie Carter!

Previously on Impact Wrestling

TNA World champ Eric Young is still steaming about the betrayal of MVP, who came into the company as the mystery investor to save it from Dixie Carter, and who has now proven to be just as power-mad and self-motivated as she ever was.  Montell Vontavious Porter reveals his villainous scheme to EY - that he orchestrated putting the belt on Young so there would be a "patsy" he could easily beat come Slammiversary in order to have all of the power in TNA to himself.

The champ, who is of the FIGHTING variety, didn't want to wait for the next pay-per-view (PPV).  He promised the fans he would fight for the belt every week, and last Thursday, he wanted to fight Porter.  MVP says he'll fight Young if he can get through his security.  The two proceed to brawl for about four and a half hours (which is quite impressive on a two hour show), leading to Super Eric having a bum arm and the head of wrestling operations accepting the match.

Meanwhile (dum-dum-dum...and dumb, dumb, dumb), Dixie and Spud are headed to her house, from last week, to see what kind of trouble that rapscallion Bully Ray has gotten up to.  Finding tables all over her yard, Carter sends in her Chief of Staff first.  Spud discovers that Ray has been cooking up some dinner, enjoying fine wine and indulging his passion for using tables as canvases for his graffiti art.  Then he gets choked out.

Meanwhile, Willow indulged his passion for being the one in two-on-one handicap matches, and defeated Magnus and Bram when the former refused to use the crow bar supplied by the latter.  Gail Kim wants to bring some dignity and respect back to the Knockouts division by becoming champion again.  And Crazzy Steve of The Menagerie is crazy.  No, really.  He loses matches because he'd rather splash balloons and play with his horn.  Although, I confess, Rebel kind of makes me want to play with my horn, too.

The issues between James Storm and Mr. Anderson continued, as The Cowboy didn't appear to be sorry (he's not) for spitting beer in The Asshole's face and superkicking him for a win.  Previous Anderson rival Samuel Shaw is still dealing with his issues at the mental health facility, but old school babyface Gunner is there to be a friend.

Despite some really keen video packages building up Sanada as a noble champ representing the hopes of his nation and his mentor The Great Muta, no one in the audience seems to care much about the five minute matches where he defends the X-Division title over Tigre Uno and someone else.

Back at Dixie-Land (her house, not the match type), Ray gave Carter an ultimatum.  Admit that she feared him or be put through a table.  Just when it looked like she'd give him what he wanted, her nephew appeared fresh off of cutting a strong promo about having taken out Kurt Angle again, and attacked Bully to show that the Carters fear no man.

Back in the main event, Eric Young fought through his arm injury and MVP.  But when he was poised to put the backstabber away with an elbow drop, Kenny King attacked and triggered a disqualification.  Brian Hebner wouldn't restart so the match, so King and Porter put the boots to everyone.  When Bobby Lashley ran in, it wasn't to make the save as we thought, it was to reveal that he had joined, EY has a faction with whom to feud.


Pre-taped, so spoilers are out there (some of them can be gleaned from this Slammiversary card), but previews don't traffic in such things.

It's all about responding to MVP's new group...what will the champ have to say, especially with that damn numbers game against him for the big show coming up on June 15th?  And Dixie Carter is on her way back to address the man who took the reins of her company...will Bully Ray be following her?  And how will he feel about having helped Porter rise to the top now that he's seen his true colors?

Knockouts champ Angelina Love has issued and open challenge to the rest of the division for a title shot.  Will Gail Kim take the bait after Love cheap-shotted her with the belt last week?

And Jeff Hardy's alter-ego still has the odds staked against him...tonight, his match against Magnus is one-on-one, but since it's falls count anywhere, Bram should have ample opportunities to get involved and try to bring the fire back out of his childhood friend.

It's a show so good, it needs two teasers!

Expect to pop for:

Lashley & King. I've heard the jokes.  "The Sovereignty".  "The Nation of No Ovation".  "Creative Intelligence".

And they're deserved.  TNA is steering into the skid by answering claims that EY's title reign is a rip off of Daniel Bryan by having him feud with heel group that's running the company.  They just fast-forwarded past establishing the other members of the group.

But heel stables have always kind of been TNA's thing.  Young's own Team Canada and World Elite, the original Main Event Mafia, Immortal, even the much maligned Aces and Eights... the promotion loves to set its babyfaces against a bunch of big bads.  The upside of not having established the players is that they are very fresh faces.  They'll need to explain what's in it for Kenny and Bobby, but another thing TNA is good at is retroactively explaining continuity.  MVP should be able to do all of that in one promo tonight.

Giving a couple of industry veterans a high profile something to do is a good thing.  And prior to this, neither was doing much of anything.  But now they not only provide some menace to MVP's feud with Young, but they can themselves challenge for tag team gold against another couple of guys brought into the company by the head of Wrestling Operations.  It would make perfect sense for The Wolves to bristle in response to Porter's heel turn - boom, lack of tag teams addressed (at least for now).

TNA probably is aping WWE, but so what?  WWE didn't invent the "outnumbered underdog" story.  So let's see how it plays out with a different set of talented performers.  Most of whom now have a direction on Impact for the first time in a long time.

The heat is on:

The Menagerie. Welp, that honeymoon didn't last long.

Much like WWE's challenge with Adam Rose, though, last week's aimless, overlong segment with Knux and the gang can be fixed pretty easily.  We spent all those weeks and segments following him as he returned to his roots and got the crew back together to save the family show.  One week of ringside antics was enough - now explain to us how they're going to raise money to help Knuxy's pa, and set up a villain to try and stop them.

We like it when you try different things, but this stuff ain't rocket science.  Especially not when your gimmick is as a circus sideshow.

Can TNA get everything back to basics and deliver a good show tonight?

Tune in tonight to find out, and hang out with your favorite Cagesiders before and after the show!

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