Wednesday, 25 May 2011

IMPACT Wrestling Review: "Back from the Dead" - 24/05/2011


IMPACT Wrestling – “Back from the Dead”
Tuesday 24th May 2011 – 10pm on Challenge

Mr. Anderson continues the mindgames with his “surprise” for Sting
Ric Flair calls out Robert Roode
Gunner let’s Eric Young know he’s not in the mood for fun and games
Velvet Sky d. Winter & Angelina Love
Matt Hardy & Eric Bischoff d. Generation Me
Kurt Angle & Jeff Jarrett agree to bout at Slammiversary with #1 Contendership & Olympic Gold medal on the line.
Tommy Dreamer shows AJ Styles that his actions are of his own choice
Samoa Joe d. Amazing Red
Abyss d. Kazarian to Win the X-Division Title
Mickie James, Miss Tessmacher and Tara d. Madison Rayne, Sarita & Rosita
Eric Bischoff vows to destroy the X-Division

First off, deserved mention for TNA producers David Sahadi and Kevin Sullivan who did an amazing job with the new opening video and graphics for IMPACT Wrestling, great stuff. The new blue colour scheme is a lot easier on the eye and the re-designed set looked great.

However the more things change the more they stay the same as the IMPACT Wrestling era started exactly how the Impact era started for the past year: Immortal’s theme music and too many non-wrestlers walking to the ring and an eventual all out brawl between warring factions. Don’t get me wrong, i liked the segement and it set up the premise for the show well, it just felt repetitive.

Brian Kendrick on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air. It would seem Kendrick is stepping up as the voice of the X-Divison, a wise choice as Kendrick has great oratory skills and his character has that little edge that can make his promos unique, would have liked to see him get into the ring tonight, especially with Bischoff involved, but i suppose they’ll save that for another time.

I like the Bischoff “destruction of the X-Division” storyline as it plays on the fans common misconceptions about Eric. Bischoff and Hogan have been portrayed by the Internet as destroyers of the promotion, changing the look and feel of the product and by and large being an Anti-TNA prescence. People forget however that Eric was the pioneer of that brought the cruiserweight style to the mainstream in the United States, i very much doubt he harbors any contempt for the X-Division in reality but its a great storyline that hopefully leads the X-Division back to prominence in the promotion.

Madison Rayne, Rosita & Sarita vs. Tara, Mickie James & Miss Tessmacher: TNA love throwing the Knockouts together in these multi-tag match-ups don’t they? If it works ratings wise i guess theres a method to the madness. Decent bout with the focus being on the Tara/Madison feud, i loved seeing the replay of the Knockout punch from Tara a Sacrifice, it made such a thud. Decent finish to the match and Miss Tessmacher is really coming along and has impressed since her return.

Abyss wins the X-Division title: Abyss winning the title actually really caught me off guard. I was half-expecting an “Against All Odds” comeback victory for the X-Division who continue to be a thorn in the side of Bischoff, but i guess they went for the shock factor and attempted to make it seem that the X-Divison was dead and buried only for a huge comeback in the coming months. Great match btw, Kazarian and Abyss’ contrasting styles made for a great dynamic, very impressive.

Samoa Joe squashes Amazing Red: Physical mis-match written all over it and made Joe look like the dominant monster that he once was. However it was one step forward, one step backward for Joe, who looked good in the squash, but then looked conquerable with how easily Crimson handled him in the post-match.

Styles confronts Tommy Dreamer: I’m actually enjoying this storyline and am intrigued to see where it goes. Whilst initially being a “loveable Tommy Dreamer forced against his will to carry out Bully Rays demands” style story, it took a new twist this week with TNA hinting that maybe, just maybe we didn’t know the REAL Tommy Dreamer at all. Good story here, and nice touch having Immortal take out Fortune one-by-one as the night goes on, didn’t really pick up on it until this point when they got Christopher Daniels and AJ, it became apparent when they got Roode later in the show though.

Kurt Angle challenges Jeff Jarrett at Slammiversary : A feud that’s being going on for the past six months (and in my opinion one of the best feuds in TNA history) looks set to culminate at Slammiversary. And whilst it didn’t really need the extra stipulations, i for one would love to see Angle get another shot at the title – BUT that added stipulation of the Olympic Gold Medal being on the line makes me think this isn’t as cut and dry and ending as it would seem, the comedy possibilities of Jarrett with the Gold Medal would be too good to pass up in my opinion.

Nice to see that Karen Jarrett is not completely out of the picture, she’s probably the most entertaining female on the roster at the moment and hope that she’s around long term. Velvet sending her wheel chair careening down the ramp was hilarious.

Matt Hardy & Eric Bischoff vs. Generation Me: I enjoyed the matchup and liked the believability that Eric let Matt Hardy do all the hardwork whilst he jumped in to get the pin and the glory at the end but can’t help but wonder if there was actually a likable babyface in this match for viewers to root for? GenMe have traditionally been portrayed as heels and after just two episodes of sudden change it’s too soon to try and pull the “sympathy” card with the viewers.

Velvet Sky vs. Winter and Angelina Love: I’m not a big fan of this feud it must be said, it’s a bit too “out there” for me but i understand the key is appealing to a wide range of viewers so i’ll bear with it as long as i get my fix of Anderson and Sting. I liked the finish which made sense as Angelina, whose weakness as a person in a trance is she can’t focus on the task at hand, lost control of the match, allowing Velvet to score a quick pin and gain an upset victory. The mystery woman who suddenly jumped Velvet, was a returning ODB, a welcome return to the Knockouts division if ever there was one.

Eric Young and Gunner feud over the Television Title : I cannot believe this angle made it to TV. I wonder if it was always in the works or simply added due to the great response the comedy segment got following the battyle royal. I hope this results in a match between the two and somehow Eric Young pulls off an upset win.

Roode goes face-to-face with Flair: It would seem that Robert Roode is going to get the Mentor vs. Prodigy angle that seemed destined for AJ Styles not too long ago. I loved the intensity in their verbal dual and the respect shown between the two as performers. THIS, action involving two guys who are good at what they do striving for victory and the respect that comes with it , is what the focus of IMPACT Wrestling should be. Its a simple formula but nothing works better.

Flair goading Roode into attacking him was classic Naitch and the resulting arm injury dished out by Immortal adds a new twist to the storyline. TNA did a great job of taking care of the little details aswell, explaining that given Fortune was already taken out in various forms during the show, no one was available to make the save for Bobby Roode.

Anderson’s mindgames with Sting: The closing segment was the highlight of the show for me personally. I’m an Anderson mark, i’ll admit it. Seeing the old style Sting boots stepping out of the limo at the beginning of the show did cause me to raise an eyebrow but once i saw that “walk” i knew right away who it was and what was about to go down. Great surprise and boy did Anderson look incredibly like the old style surfer Sting or what? I’m guessing Sting actually lent Ken an old outfit for the segment as the gear looked incredibly like that which Sting once wore. I personally can’t wait to see these two square off at Slammiversary but want to see more verbal duels between the two in the lead up as both men can certainly talk.

Final Thoughts: All in all, TNA did one or two good things on the show, but the overall product was the exact same with little emphasis on wins and losses as the foundation for the product. In reality the on-screen product was little more than a cosmetic change. TNA is simply sticking with the same vision for the product spearheaded by Vince Russo, with the word “wrestling” tacked on to reinforce their commitment to how Russo wants to define “wrestling,” which is not necessarily how we, THE WRESTLING FANS, would define it.

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