While it seems they were unable to land Alberto El Patron, TNA did manage one big name for their live Destination America debut last night. Keith broke the news about the return of a name that many find as synonymous with Impact Wrestling as Samoa Joe or Bobby Roode - Awesome Kong.
The woman known during her brief WWE run as Kharma showed up to brawl with Havok following a Knockouts' battle royal, which Taryn Terrell won to retain her title. The previous Knockouts champ had attacked Terrell after her victory, and Kong appeared to a big pop, even chokeslamming a referee who tried to separate the dueling female hosses.
Kurt Angle's big announcement was that he has retired as Executive Director and returned to the active roster. He won a street fight against MVP.
Austin Aries defeated Low Ki to again become X-Division champ, while The Revolution (James Storm & Abyss) beat Thw Wolves (Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards) to keep their tag belts - with an inadvertant assist from The Hardys, who were trying to keep things fair and square by cancelling out Storm's followers Sanada & Manik.
Self-proclaimed American Hardcore Icon Ethan Carter III and his bodyguard Tyrus (aka Brodus Clay) called out Spud, and ended up assaulting and cutting the hair of Jeremy Borash because...heels. Robbie E turned on Brooke for their loss on The Amazing Race, and Kenny King and MVP teased dissension leading into the main event.
A match that ended with Bobby Lashley once again the TNA World Heavyweight champ, due to interference by MVP, King and two masked men, who turned out to be Samoa Joe and Low Ki.
And then a save by Eric Young ended up being a swerve, as EY turned on his former Team Canada teammate as well.
The set looked good, if small. Reports on attendance were in the 450-500 people range.
About to go live #DestinationIMPACT pic.twitter.com/dwh5zBFikQ— Ryan Glick (@rglick1) January 7, 2015
This was a perfectly fine wrestling show, not much better or worse from what we get from Raw or Smackdown each week. There were notable production issues that are said to be related to the live broadcast and that will almost certainly be corrected by pre-taping at a venue and then producing the episodes at TNA headquarters in Nashville (they'll tape the next month's worth of shows today and tomorrow in New York City).
But nothing felt particularly different about the show. The 'reality' TV elements we saw, like a wrestler pep talk from Roode to the locker room and an opening brawl which spilled over from the street into the arena, were clunky at worst and inconsequential at best.
And if they really wanted to convince people that this was an "all new, all different" product, an over-booked main event with out-of-nowhere heel turns probably wasn't the way to get haters to stop with the LOL.
Next week brings a pre-produced episode featuring The Wolves vs. The Hardys. Spoilers will start streaming in for that show and the next three tonight. We'll see how things progress with the new Impact soon enough.
Anyone else catch the show? Thoughts?