July 5, 2013
Impact:The evening after
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
On the heels of a big round of releases by TNA Wednesday, Impact aired with the surviving members of the TNA roster showcased. The Bound For Glory series continued, the X Division Title was up for grabs and the Main Event Mafia grew once again.
The evening kicked off with Austin Aries coming to the ring, asking Hulk Hogan to come down to make the X Division Title cash-in official so he could face Bully Ray for the Heavyweight Championship at Destination X. Hogan indeed came down, but instead of giving Aries the shot he announced that he would have to defend the title against Chris Sabin and the re-named Suicide, now known as Manik. I guess Kenny King is officially out of the equation.
Match 1 - Kazarian vs AJ Styles (BFG match)
The subtext of the recent angle involving these two could have been played up more, but that likely would have been more a distraction. Quick match that Styles won by submission.
Winner: AJ Styles
Backstage, Mickie asks for a ladder to be setup in the ring, which indeed was waiting for her after the break (and yes, I'm going to ignore the backstage segment with Hernandez and Chavo). Mickie used the ladder to talk about the upcoming #1 contender match between Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell and show off her heel gimmick even stronger than in the Velvet Sky build. I'm digging what Mickie's doing a lot, if only there weren't less than half a dozen women to do it against...
After this, we get some Gut Check footage, with The Big O (Zack Ryder's buddy by the way) getting the heave ho. Ryan Howe advances to the live judging. I really have to question why TNA is keeping GC going if they just cut a bunch of the past winners and haven't used anyone effectively. This may be the last one we see...
Match 2 - Jay Bradley vs. Hernandez (BFG match)
Let me say this one more time. I'm tired of Hernandez. The wrestler and the gimmick just don't work for me. If anyone wants to debate me on this, please, by all means, click the email link at the top of the article.
Chavo interfered to help Hernandez get the win. I guess if you're not cheating... you know the rest.
Backstage, Aces and 8's were shown. Interesting note - Jay Briscoe brought up Brooke Hogan's real-life engagement. RIP kayfabe.
Match 3 - James Storm/Gunner vs. Robbie E/Jessie
Speaking of tired acts, Robbie E is in the curdling stage of being past his expiry date. I still don't get the big deal about Jessie. Tara's being wasted. Gunner and Storm look really strong together and I like that TNA is holding off giving them a nickname for the sake of a nickname. The champs win this non-title bout.
The Mafia heads out to the ring next after a short Jeff Hardy interview. Looks like it's reveal time...
Sure enough, the fourth member is revealed - Magnus. Not a bad pick in my mind, and it certainly gives him the rub he needs to take his career in TNA to the next level.
Match 4 - Jeff Hardy vs. Joseph Park (BFG match)
Now here's an interesting one. Hardy - yes the gimmick has been going on a bit long and he needs another dimension to his character, but he gets over enough that I can look passed it. Park, meanwhile, is showing just enough of Abyss to keep me intrigued as to when the morph fully happens. What happened to the TV Title by the way?
Sure enough, we get an Abyss tease as Park, after being cut, hits a Black Hole Slam on the ref for a DQ. This weird Hulk-like angle is working.
Winner: Jeff Hardy (DQ)
Next up, Ryan Howe faces the GC judges. Result? No. I'm not surprised at all. The rocker gimmick just doesn't work on the big stage; just ask Taz. Then again, I said that years ago about rapper gimmicks and then John Cena came around... Alas, we'll never know if Ryan Howe was the next John Cena, or the next PN News.
Another A&8 segment spotlighted the tension between Ken Anderson and DOC.
Match 5 - Austin Aries vs. Manik vs. Chris Sabin (X Division Title match)
A&8s were ringside for the match and got involved early, taking out Manik before the Mafia came down. That left us with a very entertaining Aries vs. Sabin match, and I'm sure an ROH fan will correct me but this is the first time, I believe, the two have mixed it up. They did extremely well together and I'd like to see the two mix it up again after the inevitable cash in by your winner, Chris Sabin.
Winner: Chris Sabin
And indeed, Sabin did cash in before the night closed.
So the work tonight was pretty bad aside from the main event, but we got a pretty strong build for the BFG series and next week's ladder match. I'm still enjoying Impact, so we'll see what next week brings. Until then, cheers.