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TNA Impact preview (June 19, 2014): Barriers of language and good taste

TNA looks to follow-up a hot Slammiversary show with tonight's (almost) live broadcast. Taryn Terrell returns! MVP responds to his setbacks! Fighting champ Eric Young defends his belt! Now can they get X-Division champ Sanada a compelling feud, and stop threatening women?

Previously on Impact Wrestling

Well, mostly Slammiversary, but, I like cutting and pasting headers.

The X-Division made up for a lack of backstory with a whole lot of spots, making the most of the ten minutes the six men were given to open the pay-per-view (PPV).  Sanada retained his title, Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards looked like the studs that your high-profile indy signing, tag team champs should and Crazzy Steve was super over with the Arlington, Texas crowd.

Montel Vontavious Porter's knee injury forced a quick change to the World title match at Slammiversary, and that change was two qualifying matches for entrance into a steel cage threeway dance with Eric Young.  MVP's alliance each got a chance, and Bobby Lashley made the most of his, ending Samoa Joe's championship dreams with a spear when Joe was looking out for referee Earl Hebner.

In a bit of a surprise for the alliance and the fans, Austin Aries was able to best Kenny King in the second qualifier, setting up an interesting two-on-one advantage for the good guys, and two-to-one ratio of smaller guy and hosses, as well.

Willow brought his new buddy Abyss back from the black hole where he keeps the Television Title, but it wasn't enough to overcome the malevolent force of Magnus and Bram.  The Monster and Bram cancelled each other out - Mr. Turnbuckle vs. Janice - and Magnus took advantage by countering a Whisper in the Wind from Jeff Hardy (I'm done with the whole "alter ego" business.  If you're gonna wrestle just like Jeff Hardy, I'm calling you Jeff Hardy) to get a win.  Abyss did save his maniacal new pal from a post-match beatdown, though.

Team 3D joined Sting and Kurt Angle in the TNA Hall of Fame, and then Bully Ray joined them on the list of TNA Hall of Famers that Ethan Carter III has beaten.  Of course, it was mostly because Ray was as focused on putting Aunt D through a table as he was on getting her nephew to not answer the refs ten count in this last man standing match, but, hey, a win is a win.

Ref Brian Stifler has a crush on Velvet Sky, so Angelina Love is still Knockouts champion.  The bigger injustice here is that we're getting yet another heel official gimmick in the women's division, and that it took away from the decent match that Love and Gail Kim were having.

Talking crap about the Dallas Cowboys was a recurring theme for the heels at Slammiversary, but it didn't cost anyone a match until The Cowboy himself decided to dis and spit beer on America's Team.  The practice squad members who showed up didn't like that, and went after James Storm.  That lead to a Mic Check from Green Bay native Mr. Anderson, and another PPV for loss for Storm.

Finally, TNA gave us one of the best cage matches in a long while, if for no other reason that it took a pinfall or submission to win, and the cage actually prevented the outside interference it's supposed to prevent (I'm looking at you, John Cena vs. The Wyatt Family at Extreme Rules).  Lashley disappeared when a missed Spear sent him to the floor, just long enough for EY to counter Brain Buster into a Piledriver and keep his crown.

It turns out he was just crazy enough to win.


LIVE(ish, bell time is 7PM, so at least it's happening on the same night it's being broadcast) from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, it's all about Slammiversary fallout!

MVP's reign may be in trouble, with the man himself on the shelf, his troops defeated, and the belt still around the waste of Eric Young.  While we wait for MVP's reaction to the events of last Sunday, Young has asked him to book a title match for the FIGHTING CHAMP.  Who will EY face in Bethlehem?

Dixie Carter is still coming for MVP's power, having asked the board to censure the Head of Wrestling Operations.  Of course, Carter still has new Hall of Famer Bully Ray trying to put through a table - and now Ray's old ECW pal Tommy Dreamer is coming to have words with the TNA President.  EC3 and Spud will have to be on their game to keep Dixie safe, let alone make any moves against Porter.

Taryn Terrell is back for the first time in ages - how will her return shake up the Knockouts scene?  Will Crazzy Steve and Rebel continue to be the breakout stars of The Menagerie?  Will The Wolves get challengers for their tag belts?

Find out tonight at 9PM Eastern on SpikeTV!

Expect to pop for:

Sanada. Winning Sunday's spotfest (and I say that as a compliment) was the latest accomplishment in a nice three and a half month run with the X Division title for the 26 year old Japanese star.  Since beating Austin Aries for the belt in his native country, he has successfully defended it against an impressive list of North American workers in A-Double, Christopher Daniels, TJ Perkins, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards.  He deserves a lot of credit for delivering quality matches in the once-proud division.

TNA has done what they can for him character-wise given that he doesn't speak English.  Despite the well done videos that demonstrate his work ethic and fighting spirit while communicating the pressure he is under to impress his mentor The Great Muta and everyone in his homeland, it still doesn't feel like the audience has a reason to connect with him.  And that limits the impact (no pun intended) of his performance.

While his series of honorable challenges with Tigre Uno was nice, it was lacking a key element of pro wrestling - conflict.  Someone should be set up as a heel who is out to beat Sanada and send him back to Japan in shame.  Let that person (or someone speaking for that person) handle the talking.  It might even be worth invoking the name of former TNA employee Sting, with whom Muta feuded in the NWA in the 80s, or a Von Erich, as a tie-in to his brief stay in WCCW.

However they decide to do it, having a real villain to fight would be just the thing to push a guy that both TNA and Wrestle1 have invested in to the next level for Impact's largely English-speaking audience.

The heat is on:

Tommy Dreamer, Bully Ray and Dixie Carter. I'm on record with my distaste for this angle from pretty much day one.  The Texas crowd popped loud for it at Slammiversary, but that doesn't make it right.  TNA should do its part to bring pro wrestling into the 21st century and make it feel like something of which male and female fans can feel an equal part.

A good way to do that would be to drop the misogyny from Ray's character now that he's a face, and get Dixie the heck out of the whole angle.

Audiences and critics were pleasantly surprised by last weekend's PPV.  Can TNA continue to exceed expectations with a big show tonight?

Tune in and find out with your fellow Cagesiders in the live blog!

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