TNA Impact Wrestling airs live tonight from Corpus Christi, Texas, featuring a heavy slate of action.
Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez challenge Bobby Roode and Austin Aries for the Tag Team Championships in a 2-out-of-3 falls match, and if Chavo and Hernandez lose they can never tag team in TNA again. Taryn Terrell will make her in-ring debut against Gail Kim, AJ Styles will pledge his allegiance to either Aces & Eights or TNA, and Jeff Hardy challenges Bully Ray for the TNA Heavyweight Championship in a Full Metal Mayhem match.
The live episodes of Impact from outside the Impact Zone have been great so far. The crowds are much more into the action and it’s created a whole new atmosphere for TNA. Tonight’s episode, at least on paper, looks to be a good one.
Dixie Carter announced on TNA’s YouTube page Thursday that Impact Wrestling will be leaving the Impact Zone and go on the road beginning with the live Impact on March 14th, which will emanate from the Sears Centre Arena in Chicago.
While there definitely will be a financial risk involved with traveling around the country – and a risk of burning out some of the talent that enjoy the light travel that TNA offers – it will undoubtedly create a fresh television experience and expose a new audience to the Impact Wrestling product.
On its best day the Impact Zone couldn’t replicate the energy of the old ECW Arena and on most days it seemed like a crowd full of people who were either bored with seeing the same thing every week or got tickets for free while they were wandering through Universal Studios.
- Brandon Stroud of With Leather and, more specifically, the Best and Worst of Raw column has today’s must click link of the day: A slew of vintage WWF Royal Rumble promos.
- Speaking of With Leather, Danielle Matheson has the Best and Worst of last night’s TNA Impact Wrestling program.
- The Wrestling Blog has some instant feedback on last night’s TNA Impact Wrestling, including thoughts on the reveal of Mike Knox as one of the masked men in Aces & Eights.
- Kayfabe Kickout explains why Shawn Michaels should be in an upper management role with the WWE.
- Don’t forget to check out the full content listing for WWE’s upcoming release, The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2 at WWEDVDNews.
- In case you haven’t checked it out in a while, the Where’s Randy Savage? Tumblr blog still has some great stuff going.
I’m a few days late so I’ll keep this brief. I meant to get the post up on Friday, but the long holiday weekend changed things.
I think the overall direction of TNA is improving from week to week. Thursday’s episode of TNA Impact was another example of that. The show as a whole was entertaining and there was some solid wrestling action. Compared to last week’s episode of Raw, Impact was leaps and bounds better.
- I’m interested to see where this whole thing is going with Eric Bischoff. He continually interjected himself during segments involving Sting and Abyss, and I’m curious if he’ll turn heel once again and be part of “They” that Abyss keeps referring to. At first I was certain that “They” were the group of former ECW wrestlers, but now I’m not so sure.
- D’Angelo Dinero’s promo was very good and Kurt Angle’s interaction with him made it even better. It was also announced that these two will wrestle at Victory Road next Sunday, which is a great contest. I wish they had announced this earlier to hype it more, but that’s a minor nitpick.
I really like what TNA is doing with Kurt Angle. By having him wrestle his way through the rankings, it gives it some meaning and also gives us some great matches.
- The ending of the show, with Mr. Anderson “accidentally” hitting Jeff Hardy with the chair was a nice touch, since we really haven’t been sure if Anderson’s face turn is for real. The whole thing has been done so well that if Anderson turns heel again it won’t feel like TNA is rushing the angle like they usually do.
TNA continued to develop storylines and hype the upcoming Slammiversary pay-per-view with Thursday’s episode of Impact. Overall the show was entertaining, even if it did lack a lot of action. TNA is planted the seeds for a Kurt Angle-Ric Flair feud, furthered the AJ Styles-Kazarian program, and gave us a tag team match at the PPV of Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson v. Beer Money.
- The opening segment was a little weird but it eventually set up the main event. I didn’t understand why Eric Bischoff had the authority to come out and make a match of Sting and Matt Morgan v. Samoa Joe and Rob Van Dam but, when asked by Van Dam to change it to a fourway match, he said he had to confer with Hulk Hogan. Obviously it was just a way for Hogan to come out, say the word “stroke” so many times that I got uncomfortable, and then make the match.
I didn’t really see the point of ordering a tag match, then changing it, from a storyline standpoint, but I guess it was to show that the champion has pull? Either way, it set up a potentially good main event so it did the job.
- I like what TNA is doing with the Kazarian-AJ Styles situation right now. Having Styles basically be sent to timeout by Flair made AJ look weak, though. Having said that, it will help to further the whole thing by making it seem like Flair is siding with Kazarian. I have a feeling this will all result in the eventual face turn for Styles.
More thoughts on TNA Impact after the jump:
Thursday’s episode of TNA Impact had so many awful parts that I don’t even know where to begin. The show had a few bright spots, but they were overshadowed by more of what we’ve come to expect from TNA: Illogical booking, inconsistent storylines and wasted matches.
I liked the idea of the opening segment in which Eric Bischoff came out to run down the Top 10 rankings and introduce the number one contender. It dragged on way too long, but it made the whole thing feel important. I didn’t like how we really were never told what the importance of being anything other than number one is. Also, the fan voting was totally disregarded.
Sting being the number one contender made no sense at all. If Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and Dixie Carter are the ones will the final say on the “Championship Committee,” wouldn’t they not vote for Sting since they are the three people he’s most strongly targeted since turning heel? The whole thing makes no sense. To further the silliness, having Hogan and Carter watching the monitor in excitement to see who was announced was ridiculous, since they were the people that created the list.
Truly mind-boggling. More thoughts after the jump:
TNA Impact returned to Thursdays with an episode that can’t be considered bad, but it felt like it was missing something. The company seemed to be putting more effort into hyping the upcoming Sacrifice pay-per-view than they have with past events, which was nice.
- The opening segment was a little awkward but it did its job of setting up the main event. Though AJ Styles is basically “Mini Flair,” his mic work has been much better than ever before since he’s taken on this persona. By the end of it, we had a threeway match set up between Rob Van Dam, AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy.
- Without a doubt the low point of the night was “The Band” capturing the Tag Team Championships. After Matt Morgan had been beaten down by Samoa Joe, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash came out with Eric Young and revealed a “feast or fired” briefcase that had a tag title shot inside. So now it will apparently be Ink Inc challenging The Band at Sacrifice.
I don’t get the point of this whole idea. If the goal is to get the belts off Morgan so he can get a heel singles push, then why not have him lose to Ink Inc, so they’ll get something out of it too?
The final Monday night iMPACT! wasn’t much different from the rest. It featured loads of talking, hotshot booking, and too much airtime for Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. The show is usually heavy on in-ring action and, while it had a big brawl to start the show, there were five matches with the longest of them going five minutes.
- TNA started the show by announcing that iMPACT! will be moving back to Thursdays full time, beginning May 13. I said it was laughable for TNA to play this off like it was based on the fans’ feedback and not the ratings, but on second thought I can’t fault them for putting a positive spin on the situation. When you think about it, it is what the fans want, since very few of them were watching it on Mondays.
- Jay Lethal did a spot-on Ric Flair impression, mannerisms and all, that had me cracking up. Lethal was wearing Flair’s Hall of Fame ring that he lost to Abyss last week and Flair came to the ring to confront Lethal. We got some good mic work from the two and then all hell broke loose as we eventually got Beer Money, Desmond Wolfe, AJ Styles, Abyss, RVD and Team 3D joining in. After the break the brawling was still going on when Hogan showed up and, of course, cleared the ring by himself. He then announced three matches for the night; RVD defending the World Title against Desmond Wolfe, Abyss v. AJ Styles in a Monster’s Ball match, and Team 3D v. The Motor City Machine Guns v. Beer Money in a triple threat tag match.
Obviously it was ridiculous to have Hogan clear the ring of the heels by himself when he can barely walk but this whole segment set the table for the night and gave the impression that TNA brass is listening to the fans and giving them the action that want. That would be proven wrong later in the night, though. My one nitpick is that this opening seg lasted 31 minutes. It didn’t feel too dragged out, though, it just took up a little too much time that the matches should have received.
As had been rumored around the internet all afternoon, TNA confirmed during the opening of tonight’s iMPACT! broadcast that the show will be moving back to Thursdays full time beginning May 13.
The move is a smart one by TNA, especially since the Thursday replays had been drawing higher ratings recently than the original Monday airing. While trying to go head-to-head with WWE will probably be looked at as a failed move by TNA, it was worth a shot to test the waters. Odds are this move was Spike’s idea more than it was TNA’s.
What is quite laughable about the whole thing, though, is Mike Tenay saying that they had been listening to feedback and are moving the show back to Thursdays because that’s what the fans wanted.
Thursday’s TNA iMPACT! replay drew a 0.69 rating, higher than the 0.5 that the original airing did on Monday.
Knowing that they can watch the entire episode of iMPACT! on Thursdays uninterrupted, many fans seem to be focusing on the live Raw on Monday and then catching the replay of the taped iMPACT! We’ll see what happens this week when TNA airs iMPACT! live and if the ratings are higher. Fans being able to read the spoilers online certainly don’t help the taped shows either.
What is also interesting is that there wasn’t anything particularly great about this week’s iMPACT! The main event featured Ric Flair once again gushing blood and making a fool of himself in a match with Abyss, with Flair and Hogan’s WWE Hall of Fame rings on the line. Not exactly riveting stuff.
Next week’s show should have a higher rating because, aside from being live, it will once again be unopposed for the first hour.