Sunday, 21 August 2011

Thoughts on IMPACT Wrestling: August 18th 2011

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I thought I would give my two cents regarding the events on this weeks episode of IMPACT Wrestling. Going into the show we were promised a main event calibre match-up between A.J. Styles and Rob Van Dam, a response from Crimson regarding his attack at the hands of Kurt Angle last week, an X-Division Gauntlet, a Tag-Team Title bout between Beer Money and Mexican America and a surprise return. All in all the show was one I couldn't wait to see which was exactly why I caught the Spike TV airing rather than wait for the UK broadcast on Challenge this Tuesday. So a word of warning for my readers in the UK and Ireland, this will be full of spoilers so if you haven't seen the show yet, I'd recommend giving this article a miss until Tuesday night after Impact.

When you heard that Ric Flair and Sting will be squaring off, many of you were likely checking your calenders just to make sure it was still 2011 and you hadn't somehow travelled back to the nineties. Personally, I think Flair's return was a welcome sight and he was simply hilarious on tonight's show. As a former WCW fan and a huge fan of both Sting and Flair, I'm more than looking forward to the prospect of a rematch between the two. Ric Flair vs. Sting defined WCW for me and the chance to see them go at it one last time is exciting. However that's where it ends, it's nothing more than a nostalgia moment, the real focus is and rightly will be on the Bound For Glory series, where something BIG is about to go down, I can just sense it.

Speaking of the Bound For Glory series, we had two contrasting matches this week. The first of which saw Scott Steiner defeat Devon in under a minute. Not exactly a way to make the series feel important, but the post-match attack from Samoa Joe was what really matters. Joe has gone off the handle and looks like a complete monster at the moment, THIS is the Samoa Joe the fans want to see, so kudos to TNA creative on this one, I'm very intrigued to see where this goes. Joe has injured Devon, removing him from the tournament. Could Joe's plan be to injure everyone in the series so that only he is left come Bound For Glory? Interesting concept...

On the flipside of Steiner vs. Devon, the other BFG series match was a real treat. It's crazy to think that little over a year ago, A.J. Styles vs. Rob Van Dam was a main event feud that headlined a huge epiosde of iMPACT! and the Sacrifice PPV, but has now been reduced to a Semi-Main attraction on free televison. Both these men are reliable guys, with established following and can WORK in the ring like few others, why they aren't the main focus of the power struggle storyline is beyond me.Given RVD's title loss thanks to Immortal hospitalising him and Styles pretty much being the franchise player for TNA, it would make sense for either to be the Hero at Bound For Glory.

Personally I'd have Sting try and ultimately fail to save the company. I'd have Sting then take the ear of either RVD or Styles, admit that time has maybe past him by and have Sting attempt to build one of them to be the guy to save the day. But on the other side of the coin, I'd have Hogan chipping in at Styles or RVD to join Immortal, it would be Hogan's "End justifies the means" attitude vs. the "With great power comes great responsiblity" mantra of Sting - a morality tale at it's best! Of course Styles/RVD would eventually side with Sting and save the day, perhaps in a winner takes all battle with Angle at Bound For Glory.

Anyway, getting back to the current storyline. RVD is disqualified again thanks to interference from Jerry Lynn, losing him a further 7 points and realistically taking him out of the running in the BFG Series. I'm not quite sure what to make of this. Lynn seems to be either deliberately screwing over RVD or is just a huge idiot but if I get to see a rematch between these two talented individuals then I'm all for it.

The match of the night had to be the X-Division Gauntlet. I'm very happy to see the division finally getting the focus back on it and this match was the sort that could be a huge attraction to the company. This is the sort of match a fan shows their "casual wrestling viewer" friend in attempt to hopefully draw them into watching the product.

The match had unpredictability, excitement and suspense. Jesse Sorensen really stood out and it looks like the company has big plans for him. I liked the resiliance he showed when Aries attempted to waltz in and pick off the pieces that were left in the end. Aries was again stellar, it's been a long road back to TNA for this guy and it appears he's finally being given an opportunity to showcase his great skills on a international stage. The next step is for Aries to take the title from Kendrick, a move that I envision happening over the next month or so.

Interesting to see Traci Brooks attempting to woo Bischoff into re-instating her as Knockouts Law. I like that Brooks is being returned to an onscreen role and that TNA are acknowledging their history, Brooks should be billed as the "Original Knockout" much like Trish Stratus has been billed as the "Original Diva". Given that Traci has been acknowledged on screen as Kazarian's other half, I suspect this is going to be part of a master plan from Fortune.

ODB vs. Mickie James was a solid match. ODB really adds a whole new dynamic to every match she's in. She's so much bigger and physically imposing than the other Knockouts that no matter who she's in there with it feels like an almost David vs. Goliath match-up, making the victory that much bigger for those that can pull it off. I'm really enjoying ODB and Jackie's attempts at being good to get a contract but suspect this will blow up spectacularly in the coming weeks.

I've been a huge advocate for Crimsons push of late and was even more impressed this week following an intense exchange with Kurt Angle in the ring. Crimson spoke well and by standing up to the company's most lethal man in Kurt Angle he looked even more of a bad ass tonight. I for one am looking forward to their match-up next week, though I would much rather have seen this on Pay-Per View as given the right build and with the added dynamic of the undefeated streak, this is a match I think people would pay to see.

Many were disappointed with Beer Money dropping the titles to Mexican America tonight, I was not one of those people. Beer Money are at their peak with regards to popularity and Bobby Roode has all the tools to make it in this business as a Main Event player, if TNA don't try it now they may never get another chance. Beer Money don't have to split and Roode can always go back to tagging should the push not work out. Strike whilst the iron is hot.

I'm also excited as Mexican America were the Team to get the belts. This team draws legitimate heat from both American's and Hispanics alike - not to mention Europeans if you think back to their breif feud with the British Invasion. A few months back I suggested on twitter that Jarrett should return from Mexico with some Mexican wrestlers and together with Mexican America should attempt to take over TNA, I was greeted with mostly positive responses from fellow tweeters. So to say I was excited about Jarrett's alliance with Mexican America this week would be an understatement. I said it before and I'll say it again, Jeff Jarrett is thee most entertaining man on the roster right now. His attempts at portraying himself as a Mexican Wrestling Legend are hilarious and given the fact that NONE of the Mexican America members are actually Mexican, we could be on the verge of seeing a classic feud with the Guerrero's should TNA's rumoured interest in Chavo Guerrero turn into a contract offer. Either way, this storyline has got legs and I for one am excited to see where it leads.

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