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TNA Impact preview (June 12, 2014): If you look closely

The factions are staking out their positions for a three way battle at 'Slammiversary'. Will Bully Ray get to EC3 before Dixie Carter gets to the alliance? Will MVP's knee allow him to face Eric Young, or will one of his troops get the call? Who let these clowns in here?

Previously on Impact Wrestling

Joe is back, looking to do Joe things.  You know, like "kill you".  The head of wrestling operations and his men have been looking for the Samoan Submission Machine, so he made it easy on them by waiting for them in the ring.

That lead to a predicatable back and forth - MVP lied to Samoa Joe, Kenny King called Joe a liar.  Austin Aries interrupted, saying that King, Bobby Lashley and their boss only fight when they've got the odds in their favor.  It might not have been A-Double's smartest move, since it gave MVP a reason to book he a match between Aries and Joe - with the big man fighting to be reinstated to the roster, and Austin fighting to not get fired.

The authority figures weren't done playing with their subjects.  They made tag champs The Wolves face off against one another, and when Eddie Edwards roll up win over his still wounded partner Davey Richards didn't entertain them, King tried to get physical himself, but ended up being sent packing,

Bram seems to have finally succeeded in bringing the dark side out of his old pal Magnus, as the Brit finally took up the pry bar and beat Willow senseless with it.  Mr. Anderson spent a lot of time pretending to be a drunk law enforcement official last week, and James Storm took it personally (is he running for alcoholic sheriff somewhere?), so he superkicked him to set up a match for Slammiversary.  Gunner has been doing some art therapy with Samuel Shaw, and is apparently making some progress.

Knux's new circus gimmicked stable, The Menagerie, remains pretty much directionless, but it has given us Rebel, a horn off between Crazzy Steve and DJZ and Robbie E's fear of clowns.  So I'm still calling it a win.  Madison Rayne made it very clear that Brittany shouldn't interfere in her match with Knockouts champ Angelina Love, so the possibly gay or bi fangirl didn't - and Love retained.

Brian Hebner was key to last week's show (which doesn't explain why his dad was so tired), with MVP lobbying him to make sure Aries vs. Joe had a winner in the high stakes match, and then Bully Ray knocking him cold to ensure that there wasn't one.

Somehow, that was to be settled by a four-on-four first blood match, that Team Good Guys won when Bully Ray's chain nicked Ethan Carter III.  Team MVP was livid, and turned on EC3 backstage.  The beatdown was just getting warmed up when Aunt D broke it up, and declared that the Carters were now gunning for MVP's squad.

Faction war!


Taped a while back, along with a bunch of other stuff!  They'll still be trying to get you excited to buy Sunday's Slammiversary pay-per-view (PPV), though!

The Director of Wrestling Operations has plans for World champ Eric Young.  The two are supposed to square off for EY's belt this Sunday, but word is out that MVP's knee is tweaked.  Can they audible to a knee challenger?  What's the prognosis on Super Eric's title reign with ratings headed down?  'Reality Era' drama abounds!

Dixie Carter has promised to bring hell to MVP and his troops, but Bully Ray still has a target on her back.  Her nephew claims he has something HUGE on the hardcore legend - we'll see where the shifting battle lines stand in this three-way war after tonight.

Gail Kim, Madison Rayne and Brittany will determine who will challenge for the Knockouts title this weekend when they face off in a triple threat!  Robbie E will try to overcome his fear of Crazzy Steve when he goes one-on-one with Knux.  And will Jeff Hardy's alter ego be recovered in time to fight Bram, Magnus or both at Slammiversary?

Expect to pop for:

Robbie E. I'm back at a point where I'm having a hard time getting excited about Impact again.  It's an occasionally competent pro wrestling shows with moments of real quality, but I'm just not fired up for the latest round of stable battling for company control, especially when I don't feel like they given me a reason to root for or against any of the teams.

Mostly, I just need Bobby Roode back.

Until then, every once in a while, something just makes me smile.  And often times these days, that something is The Bro-Mans leaders complete dedication to character and impeccable comedic timing.  What I first thought of a Zack Ryder knockoff and Jersey Shore cash-in has become one of the best comedy heels in the business.  Seeing him means I'll keep watching for at least the next segment, and I'll even seek out his Impact360 stuff on YouTube.

Thanks, Bro.

The heat is on:

Austin Aries. I don't know if it's "the dog house" or what, but The Greatest Man That Every Lived has morphed into a poor man's version of the Randy Orton babyface character that haunted WWE in 2012.

He's enough of a name that there's value in just announcing his name and inserting him into matches, and he's enough of a pro that he can hold up his end of an interview or match even when he's clearly not that into it.  But TNA Creative doesn't seem to have any plans for him, so he's become "guy that MVP's alliance beats up to make them look strong".

It's a shame, because a firing on all cylinders A-Double is an asset Impact could use right now.    But Aries, like Davey Richards, has been passed on by WWE and scorched the earth that leads back to Ring of Honor (ROH), so they may not feel they have to offer him much, creatively or financially, to keep him in house.

Guys like Aries and Joe should be the centerpieces of a vibrant mid-card when they're not in the main title picture.  Having them as add-ons to the latest stable story isn't a great use of their skills, in my opinion.

Barring weekend injury rewrites, tonight should give us a look at the landscape heading into Slammiversary - you gonne be there to survey it?

If so, hang with Geno and the gang in the live blog!

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