A Good Alternative: Impact 2-20-15

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I just started watching Impact regularly, and so far I’ve been presently surprised. Let’s see if they can keep it going.

IMPACT WRESTLING 2-20-2015  DESTINATION AMERICA

So tonight is all about this Gauntlet match, which is a fine idea to build a show around in theory. It’s great when a company branches out and tries a new form of match. I’m sure it will be as innovative as impressive.

The opening package puts over the idea of the Top 5, which again is great in theory. I’m unsure how they come up with their Top 5 but again I’m confident that it’s an extremely scientific process based on a plethora of statistics that I can’t even begin to comprehend.

tyson
Nope.

Kurt Angle is out with the Angleiest promo he’s ever angled. He wants to win the gauntlet and become number one contender. It’s real it’s damn real. Just as soon as I groan at the blatant rip-off of his old WWE catchphrase the audience chants along so he must be doing something right.

Backstage Angle runs into Lashley and his checkered hat. They chat a bit about needing to have a chat. Ok then. They both go their separate ways and I wish I was there to reassure them that someday love will find them.

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Break Those Chains That Bind You!!

We get more hype for the gauntlet as I’m really starting to wonder what Angle did to be ranked number one. This thing’s on the level right. Josh and Taz hype the “over the top rope” gauntlet. Strange, I’ve never heard of such a thing.

Match #1 Matt Hardy & The Wolves Vs James Storm, Abyss & Manik

Matt Hardy hobbles out doing his “jumping around like a fool” gimmick. Seriously WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIS LEGS???? Why is he, and everyone else for that matter, so mad at the revolution for injuring Jeff Harvey? It was in the context of a steel cage match. Don’t act like it’s 60 senators stabbing Caesar in the senate.

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It was a work.

The commentators are splitting their time between Matthews popping his internet fans and Taz explaining the strategy of a six man match. I’m completely unsure how to feel about them as the feeling of hate immediately followed by love can only be compared to how we all feel about our families. Anyways, the match is pretty dull until the Wolves get in, and boy do they give a solid lesson in tag team wrestling. They’re so good, I’m almost strong willed enough to look past Hardy jumping like an asshole again. Almost. Seriously The Wolves are legit and I’d like to see them work a decent tag program with any credible tag team. A twist of fate, a stomp and then another stomp (and I don’t mean Rock flicking his leg) kill Manik dead and this one is history. Post match sees The Wyatt family beat Hardy and the wolves down and then they beat Manik down for losing on their behalf. I’m unsure if The Revolution is a gang or a family or a cult but I will say they are the weirdest collection of people a stable has ever had. A cowboy, Mankind/Kane, a jacked up Koya and two guys in masks makes even less sense than an actual group called the Oddities. That being said, the mesh pretty well together, and I’d be much more behind them if they even pretended it was an original idea.

EC3 is in the ring, his song firmly stuck in my head for the next week and he isn’t in a good mood. Someone interrupted his scalping after all. I feel that someone needs to sit him down and explain to him what that term means. Either that or get him some help.

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Seriously. Chill out Ethan.

While his tantrum is a little much, his desire to have a “hair party” and his issuing of a “public warning” easily catapult him to the top of my TNA promo list. Speaking of “great” promos, here comes “Mr.” Anderson. As he waits, for what feels like an eternity, for his mic to come down, my heart is full of shame that I got a kick out of his act in 2006. Then I start to think “wow that was nine years ago,” then I’m like “what has happened to my life?” then I pull myself out of that wormhole only to immediately wish I was back in rather than hear Kennedy speak. I hate, hate, hate his promo style. The whole “I’m too cool and hip to let anything affect me” is beyond obnoxious. Play with your vocal tone all you want you’re still just a boring asshole. (and not the kind you tried to get over in 2011) Kennedy wants to shave Carter’s head and I truly hope they aren’t lauding this as a classic promo battle backstage. Anderson distracts just long enough for Rockstar Spud and Mandrews to sneak up from behind and attack. They get the upper hand and are about to shave Carter’s head until Tyrus starts throwing them around. There’s something extremely gratifying about seeing Tyrus toss the guy with the bow tie and his lover. Gratifying on a visceral level. The children get the upper hand, they duct, DUCT Taz DUCT, tape Tyrus to the ropes and shave his Mohawk. As hard as I’m being on this segment they really are doing well with building the mid-card feuds. If you replace Anderson with literally anyone else I think this is a great segment.

We get a clip of the BCC hanging (and banging?) backstage where they all discuss how they’d each take out that “bionic Neanderthal” Kurt Angle. I really enjoy these quick little segments backstage. They get across the same amount of information as the Raw twenty minute promos do, all the while keeping the pace of the show quick and varied.

Hey! That’s Mickie James outside the arena! She’s going to update us on Magnus! She’s banging Magnus!!! I thought she was a lesbian!!! So much good news!!!

Match # 2 Al Snow Vs Grado

Well the crowd certainly is into Grado and his “Like A Prayer” esque entrance. This is just a pretty good bully/old cat versus young up and comer. Grado certainly has a ton of charisma, he has to if he wants to get that strap pulling down spot work. Grado wins with the “Wee Boot” and pins him. It’s the softest big boot this side of Hulk Hogan circa 2006, but the intention is good here and it was fun t watch. Al Snow endorses him post-match but all the good feelings quickly fade away as the BDC come out and kill the both of them. Which is more humiliating? Getting your ass beat in front of your Mam or the fact that the guy beside said Mam is clearly having his way with her?

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Who’s staffin’ me MAM????

Drew Galloway comes out with a lead pipe to make the save. He’s intense and looks legit. I think he may end up being “The one who got away.” Great they did his debut in Scotland. Had the WWE had him on the roster in Scotland he probably would have been sodomized in the center of the ring. They’re the SUCCESSFUL company.

Heading to break we get a gang of douche bags posing for an “usy”. And no I have no idea if it’s the actual spelling as it’s the dumbest god damn word ever uttered by a human.

Match # 3 Taryn Terrell Vs Angelina Love.

So Angelina’s sleeping with both bro-mans right? That’s what their entrance would imply. Unfortunately I can’t hear what Zema Ion is yelling over my murderous/suicidal thoughts. That bit of business has to go. Taryn Terrell is perhaps one of the most likeable female wrestlers out there today and NO I’m not just saying that because I think she may burst out of her top at any given moment. Terrell moves great in the match and I was expecting Love to be much worse than she was. There was a pretty sweet Samoan drop to the floor which added a nice spot to a well paced fun match. Terrell wins with some sort of Cutter, and I’m not talking about that guy who drove the hydrofoil in GI Joe, even though I capitalized it. Throughout the match we kept getting shots of Josh and Taz who looked like they were hanging out in their living room calling the match. Not sure how I feel about that, but I guess as long as pants stay buckled I’m good. Kong beats up Taryn, Gail Kim backs off Kong as we’re shown who the REAL knockouts are. Awww. I really liked Taryn as champ.

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Champion of my “heart”

We get a shot of Low-Ki’s instagram where he’s posted pictures of an injury that Drew Galloway gave him earlier. See not THIS kind of social media interaction I can get behind. Using it to propel stories forward instead of on using it to be able to brag about how many people follow you. Also stop telling me what to hash tag Michael Cole. And stop talking with your hands! Stop staring into the camera like a sad beggar trying to wring 9.99 from my cold dead hands. Wait how did Cole get in here?

We get a bunch of quick promos as though they’re about to do a royal rumble. They wouldn’t be so blatant would they?

Here’s Tommy Dreamer. Fuck. Here’s Eric Young. Please don’t let him talk. This is a hardcore match about respect or something. Right away Young bites Dreamer’s eyelid to bust him open. This is a good little brawl and I think I’d really get into the Eric Young character if it wasn’t being played by Eric Young. They fight around the building all the way to the go (not rilla) position. Of all the things they fucking copy they leave out the tribute? Young does an awesome counter to a DDT by sweeping Tommy’s leg, but then immediately starts selling a back injury like he’s being covered with ants. I WANT TO LIKE YOU! Nice to see a piledriver though and Tommy is done. I was expecting to hate this but it ended up being fun. Maybe it’s me just being waaaaaaay too excited by Dreamer getting hurt.

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And my day is made.

Lashley and his hat are coming.

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Great man. Great Hat.

HARDCORE COUNTRY! And now I want to go back and watch the last season of Archer. Mickie gives us an update on Magnus and calls Bram a coward for attacking him in that awful (boo) but different (Yay) bar skit a few weeks ago. Mickie is believable on the mic and looks like she can still go. Weird she’s with men though now. The crowd shits all over her engagement which is always great. She says Bram left Magnus for dead, which is strange since there were multiple camera men there who could have helped. She calls him a real man’s man and now that song is stuck in my head. Do all the British shave with a knife and crush oranges with their BARE hands.

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Sunshine!

Before that can be answered Here’s Bram to get in her face. He totally wins me over by kicking off the “you stole my fiend away from me” storyline. Every male gets this one. We may not hit each other with cue balls but we understand. Bram claims Magnus is now stuck with a “dirty little kid and a needy redneck who ruined his life.” That’s the line of the night and I’m liking Bram more by the minute. James says Heart of hearts a bunch of times then slaps him. Jesus as he did was hit him with a cue ball. It’s not like he was basically your son and then joined a conspiracy to kill you at work.

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Swerve!

Here we go with the gauntlet. I can’t wait to hear the rules.

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Fuck.

Look I’ll spare you this one. It’s a 20 man Royal Rumble where nothing happens. Nothing. It comes down to the four BDC guys against Angle. Samoa Joe, Kenny King and Low Ki all run at Angle and he dodges them. STOP RUNNING AT HIM IDIDOTS! The MVP dumps Angle to be the number one contender. Aside from the blatant rip off this was actually fine. Tyrus looked good throwing a bunch of guys out, King was the “ironman”, Anderson got thrown out like a chump. Decent stuff.

Next week it’s MVP vs. Lashley for the title. They’ve got me intrigued as they’ve been building this since their debut on Destination America. Should be a solid match.

Best Match: Taryn Terrell vs Angelina Love
Worst Match:  The Gauntlet
Best Promo/Skit:  Bram disrespecting James
Worst Promo/Skit: Misteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
MVP:   EC3. He’s my favorite part of the show.

What Worked Really Well

– Every match had value, was pretty decent and pushed the story along.

– The Knockouts division is competitive and interesting.

– Great pacing.

– The Wolves are the real deal.

– The legends are used perfectly.

– MVP Vs. Lashley has been well built and should be great.

What Sort Of Works

– While the matches were all good, I would like to see some of these guys go in longer matches.

What Didn’t Work

– STOP COPYING WWE! A ROYAL RUMBLE NOW???

– Mr Anderson should be shot on sight.

– I think Matt Hardy may need to call it a career. He’s having trouble moving and his act is very stale.

So Why Should I Watch This Instead Of Raw?

Because it’s different guys who aren’t overexposed taking some risks and putting on decent matches. You’ll never get Bryan/Kane for eight weeks straight, it’s actually the advantage of the long taping, they wouldn’t dare make an audience sit through that. It’s a quick show that’s fun to sit through. It’s wrestling. Maybe not ROH or NXT or NJPW, but it’s certainly not sports entertainment. Open your mind and give it a shot. We need this alternative.

Thanks for reading! See ya next week!

caesar 3
I got jobbed.

 

Author: Aaron George

Aaron is a classically trained Shakespearean actor by day who fulfils his culture quotient by watching wrestling by night. He has two sons a great wife and once explored the sewers in his hometown.