TNA Impact returned to SpikeTV last night (April 11) LIVE from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, with a pay-per-view (PPV) quality show. Click here to get full results and the running live blog. But now, let's get to the reactions!
♠ The Full Metal Mayhem Match between Bully Ray and Jeff Hardy for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship delivered in spades -- oof, sorry -- and was exactly what one expected. Bully retained in a slow, deliberate spot fest that saw two of the best monkeys in the business do what they do. It was obvious how comfortable both Bully Ray and Jeff Hardy are in this environment. I don't know how many people can stick to the script when ladders and tables are falling out of place. They called an audible, made the transition to reset, and continued on with the match. Brilliant work by both men, and it was extremely entertaining to watch.
That being said, we're back in a wait and see attitude with what happens next. Hardy was stretchered out of the arena, and it's unsure how much was kayfabe and how much was legitimate injury. It looks like he is being transitioned out of the championship picture not as a loser, but as a warrior. Which is smart. He is TNA's biggest draw, and it would be idiotic to make him look weak. But now we'll have to see how TNA moves onto the next challenger. I'm willing to give the promotion the benefit of the doubt with how well its handled Aces & 8s in recent weeks. However, the memory of the gang simply stalling for months still weighs heavily on my mind. I don't want to see the show backslide after such great progress.
♣ The AJ Styles saga got a little more interesting. We know Aces & 8s want him to join the dark side. We also know Hulk Hogan wants him to come back to TNA, but is going to be a dick about it. We also, also know James Storm wants to kick Styles ass. What we did not know, though, is Bad Influence wants him to be a part of their exclusive club. That is a brilliant twist that I really wish was flushed out more last night.
Pro wrestling is a story between good guys and bad guys. But what happens when those lines are blurred and there are multiple sides? Christopher Daniels and Kazarian are the perfect foils to the nostalgia of Hulk and the chaos Aces & 8s bring in. They are the old guard, the true faces of TNA. It would be perfect for Styles to join them.
I'm excited to see where this goes. I just hope the ball can get rolling quicker than usual.
♥ Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez won the Tag Team Championship from Dirty Heels, two falls to one, and kept themselves from being forcibly broken up. The match was good, but was not as good as recent battles. For one, it would be a joke to call this a real two-out-of-three falls match. Chavo was pinned in about two minutes. Then almost immediately after Chavo rolled up Austin Aries. It became a regular one fall tag team match, but not one that really screamed "PPV quality" as the hype lead me to believe.
The problem is I've seen better matches between these two groups in just the past month or so. Why Hernandez was given such limited time is beyond me. He was knocked out of the match early, and only came in to finish the job. Chavo is perfectly average, but he ends up looking foolish when surrounded by three great workers.
Did it annoy anyone else they weren't in the right corners? The tag ropes were on the near right and far left corners, then following the commercial break they magically moved to opposite corners. Strange.
♦ Two points on the Knockouts. First, Taryn Tarrell picked up the win against Gail Kim. Which is fine in and of itself. But she didn't get in a lick of offense and won via roll up. That is not how you introduce a rookie. At all. I've been giving a lot of love for how TNA has been using the Knockouts, but this was weak.
Second, I like ODB as the ref for the match. It's good the promotion is moving around its talent to keep them on television. ODB is awesome to watch, and if there's not enough screen time to let her wrestle, this is the next best option.
♠ I may be called a mark for this, but I love Brooke Hogan. Her playing off of Joey Ryan was just fun to watch. She is finally starting to pick up the rhythm of pro wrestling. And anyone who is willing to flip off Bully Ray is cool in my book. I hated her when she came into the promotion. Now I find myself enjoying her presence.
♣ Joey Ryan is awesome in everything he does, either being sleazy to the Knockouts or getting his ass kicked by Rob Terry. More of him and that chest hair on my screen, please.
♥ You know whom else I enjoy? Everything they do? Joseph Park. In fact, if we can get a Joseph & Joey thing going, I would be in heaven.
Last night was an entertaining show, but I don't think it lived up to it's own hype.
The main event delivered, but there simply wasn't enough story advancement for my liking. It's a shame, because TNA had started to get a really good groove. But as long as I'm having fun watching, I won't complain too much.
What say you, Cagesiders? Did you enjoy Impact's big show, or was it too weak for your liking. Let me know how right -- or how wrong -- I am in the comments.