A Good Alternative: Impact Wrestling 2-27-2015


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


We are still on the British Isles as this week we’re coming at you from lovely Manchester England. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure to visit Manchester, picture a gloomier, shittier angrier London. Will the rage boil over into the Impact Zone???

Hey WE’RE from Manchester!

We start with a re-cap of last week’s Royal Rumble, and while it wasn’t really any good it was at least the only Rumble this year that the crowd didn’t completely turn on. MVP is our number one contender and he’s fighting Lashley TONIGHT (imagine that in a Booker T voice)

Formal Kurt Angle joins us and he’s in no mood to wait. He calls out Lashley and the champ responds. For an impromptu challenge the production guys sure were quick with his music, but hey, at least you can’t say this show doesn’t move. Of course Lashley is wearing that god-damned checkered hat that has become the bane of my existence. Seriously I hate that hat more than the guy downstairs who blasts Nickelback at ten am. It’s never good pal.

Douches at 10 AM. Every day…

Angle goes off on Lashley about standing there and doing nothing while he lost the Rumble last week. I’m not sure what Kurt Angle wanted here. It was a Rumble and all they did was trip you. Once. You can’t overcome that? I saw you fight the uphill battle against abstinence and you can’t handle Kenny King’s arm. Kurt blames Lashley for losing the Rumble and says that everyone wants to see Angle vs. Lashley. The fans agree, but Lashley shrugs him off and says “it’s not his fight.” Angle pounces back with “I won’t help you tonight, ” and Lashley looks like he couldn’t care less about anything in the known universe. I’m not exactly sure what they’re doing with Kurt here but he’s coming off like an idiot. Taz, the heel announcer, calls him a sore loser and I’m inclined to agree.

Here comes the BDC to interrupt. Their music is sounds like a third or fourth rate NWO rip off starting with a wavy voice saying “beat down clan.” They’re copying WCW now? If they tear up the mats at ringside and turn Eric Young into Sauron I’m outta here.

Who’s side is he on?????

Joe speaks for MVP and talks about how Lashley owes him.MVP says the title’s coming home “by any means available,” which leads me to believe they may be sued by the WWE, The Black Panthers or the Nation of Domination. Either way they’re screwed if they’re looking across the courtroom at Clarence Mason. He is the boss.

He always tells the whole truth and never tells a lie.

MVP finishes up with a pretty impassioned promo about how he’s going to win, while Josh and Taz break down how Lashley’s a lone wolf. The lone wolf moniker is dead to me as every time I hear it I picture Zack Galifinakis in that damn wolf t-shirt.

EC3 makes his way down to ringside and shaves a bald fan’s head. While the head is shiny it pales compared to Carter’s swank pink tights/robot arm combination. Just as I start to enjoy the show that familiar feedback sound hits and I cringe t the thought of Mr. Anderson. His mic takes forever to come down, and just one, just once could there be some justice in the world and could some sort of giant bird/eagle fly in and just take him away. Take him anywhere. Bring him to the god damned peak of the mountain where you have your nest and leave him there to die the slow, starvation death he deserves.

giant bird

Rockstar Spud interrupts Kennedy’s shtick and it’s good. Anderson immediately ruins it by making sure he gets his bits in. I hate Ken Anderson.

Match #1 EC3 & Tyrus Vs. Mr. Anderson & Rockstar Spud

We start the match with a reveal of Tyrus’ recently shaved head. It gets zero reaction. Taz however calls it a big pop. This match is a pretty standard TV tag match. There’s a bit of an interesting dynamic whenever Spud is in there with Tyrus. They make a ten-punch in the corner spot interesting as Tyrus attempts to carry him across the ring with Spud fighting all the way. Anderson for all of my vitriol is completely functional in the ring. That is until he hits a low blow on Tyrus and his hand seems to get stuck somewhere between his balls and the cusp of his ass. It’s uncomfortably long. Like Ric Flair didn’t squeeze people’s balls as long. Spud pins Tyrus after the Iron Man ball shot and I’m left wishing that I would have seen more of EC3 in the match.

 We get a video package of MVP helping Lashley win the title from Eric Young last May. It’s little things like this which are giving the main event extra importance tonight.. You can’t say they haven’t been building to this for a while.

We’re back from break and we get a replay of what just happened in the tag match. I JUST saw it guys. Don’t start doing this shit too.

EC3 is backstage and in a rage. He’s like an animal in a cage. I could see him dating Paige. I have a friend who burns sage. Ok I’ll stop. He vows to shave Rockstar Spud’s head TONIGHT (add right here before and think of Booker T)

Right there…

Taryn Terell heads to the ring and my heart is melting. She grabs the mic and calls out AWESOME KONG, which she completely over pronounces. Gail Kim comes out instead, wearing a lovely blue dress. I’ll say this, if Terrell isn’t a great promo at least they keep her talking time short and sweet and play to her strengths. Gail builds up Kong better than Michael Cole ever could in three sentences. When Gail says stuff like Kong took years off her career, it’s exactly the kind of stuff Jesse and Gorilla would say back in the day to get a monster over. Gail wants Taryn to be careful, Taryn says she NEEDS to fight Kong. She then lifts her title in the air as though she’s accomplished something. Just as I’m about to write the segment off , lights out, Kong appears and Taryn throws herself at her. After a few attacks Kong just grabs her and kills her dead with the implant buster. It’s strange it works as my girl Taryn is allllllllllll natural. Kong leaves her laying and I’m a little impressed about how simple and effective that segment was in building a face versus killer monster feud. Is Taryn Terrell a better face than John Cena?


The hidden camera catches the BDC strategizing for the match tonight. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer to have my wrestling with as little talking as possible, but these little segments are great. There’s nothing worse than a hidden camera catching two wrestlers talking backstage and they still seem to be cutting promos at each other. Here the BDC is so natural it seems like they’re having a legit conversation about beating up that god damned hat. They see the camera come in the room and they shoo him away like a cat covered in peanut butter.

We’re back with more videos to build to the main event. BDC forms, Lashley rejects them just good simple stuff. However, there vignette kind of shined a light on the fact that Lashley went from accepting MVP’s help to outright rejecting it over the course of six months for no apparent reason.

Austin Aries is interrupted backstage. Why do so many people in TNA have hats that make them look like assholes?

Speaking of assholes here comes Zema Ion to annoy me.

This is wrestling! Clap clap clap clap clap!

Match #2 Robbie E & Angelina Love Vs. Chris Melendez & Brooke

How many fucking selfie sticks need to be involved in professional wrestling? Also the Bro-Mans music makes me fear for the future of our civilization. During both entrances the camera stays entirely on the women, which I suppose is a good thing considering who the guys are in the match. And before you get on me about not caring about the American hero with one leg understand that I was huge fan of Lieutenant Dan.

The announcers can’t figure out the difference between an inter-gender match or a mixed tag which I feel is like arguing the difference between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and The Ottawa Roughriders. The women are the best workers in the math with is both encouraging and upsetting at the same time. Robbie E cheats to get Brooke pinned and then overacts in a way that would make the coked up genie from Aladdin look subtle.

Too soon?

The group selfie over Brooke’s beaten body is pretty swell though. Hey, where the fuck was Melendez during all of this? He’s no Lieutenant Dan.

We get a shot of Spud’s dressing room. EC3 Enters. “Hello Spud.” And we’re out with only the sound of the buzzer. Awesome.

And we’re back and it’s ruined by Anderson saving the day. He punches EC3 in the face and yells “BAM!”. Just when I thought I couldn’t hate him anymore.

Recap time! Angle calling out Lashley! You know guys if you just did memorable segments you probably wouldn’t feel the need to remind us what happened an hour ago. If I can follow the Wire I can follow Impact Wrestling.

Gunner’s now talking sense to Angle. He wants the old Angle. He says that if MVP wins the title everything will go to shit. Where are they going with this? What the hell is going on? He slaps Angle and leaves.

Austin Aries in the ring. He talks about “cashing in” which is slowly turning me off the product. It’s not that great an idea to begin with. He does however make a big deal about the main event later tonight which is refreshing. Here comes Samoa Joe to interrupt. Two promos for Joe tonight, I guess they’re getting all they can in before he goes and spends the next five years in NXT. Joe says Aries has no chance of cashing in (AHHHHH!) because he has access to trained assassins at the snap of his fingers. Ok…

He’s Hardcore! He’s Hardcore! He’s Hardcore!

This leads to a match.

Match # 3 Samoa Joe Vs. Austin Aries

Look the match is good, but it feels like such a cheap version of matches they’ve had in the past. Joe’s punches and forearms look weak as hell and you can tell he’s completely done with TNA. They go back and forth as Taz talks about martial arts moves like a bear hug, which I can only attribute to him actively losing his mind in sheer disappointment of what this match could have been. Aries wins with a 450 splash and gets beat down by the beat down clan immediately after. Where the hell is Kurt Angle? Didn’t Aries help him in the cage a couple of weeks ago? Kurt Angle is suddenly a terrible face. Imagine the face of the company not helping his friends. The whole crowd would turn on him…

Lashley backstag….TAKE OFF THAT FUCKING HAT!!!!

Eric Young seeks out MVP. Oh my god what’s wrong with his voice? Crack? Is it crack cocaine that has ravaged this poor man’s voice. Does he swallow fucking scorpions? Does he go to a Scorpion’s concert every night and scream to “No One Like You”? What’s wrong with his voice? MVP manipulates him into attacking Lashley and I’m starting to believe that Young has some sort of developmental problem as he mouths “anything” and shakes his head as though he’s having a seizure.

Match # 4 Noam Dar Vs. Rampage Brown

Two British guys start a match and Bram interrupts. He beats them both down and calls out Magnus. I’m warming up to Bram. He just wants to fight and I’m legit looking forward to him and Magnus going at it. Grado interrupts and dances down to a bastardized version of “Like A Prayer.” If you haven’t checked out a Grado entrance on YouTube stop and do it now. Totally worth it and could be a huge deal if they went out and paid for the rights. Bram kills Grado after all that which is as good a way as one British wrestler can get heat in a British city as I can think of. He wants Magnus.

Match #5 Lashley Vs. MVP

No Hat!!!!!!!!! This match has been the focal point of the company since the jump to Destination American at the start of the year. They’ve done a great job of building it and I’m legit excited to finally see it. The MVP character is great. Smooth and believable. Lashley is also convincing as a pretty unbeatable champ. See? That’s all you need. Strong champion fighting the odds and overcoming, in a way that’s neither outlandish nor patronizing. That’s exactly what happens here as Lashley eventually finishes MVP with a spear to retain the title. The match was solid enough and was carried a little with the great work they did building to it. It suffers a little from a “my turn, your turn” feel that imbues tons of matches in the big leagues these days. I prefer when momentum changes in a match when someone makes a mistake, or hits a huge game changing mood. Here it just feels Lashley does his stuff then for no reason MVP takes over, repeat. All the same it’s good and totally acceptable as your TV main event.

Best Match: Lashley Vs MVP
Worst Match:  Mixed/Intergender Fiasco
Best Promo/Skit:  Bram Calls Out Magnus
Worst Promo/Skit: Any time Eric Young speaks.

What Worked Really Well

– The Main event was solid and well built.

– Lashley is a credible and believable champion.

– All the backstage segments and promos are quick and move the show along nicely.

– The story they’re setting up between Taryn Terrell and Kong is interesting.

– The camera work is so much better than anything in WWE. NXT Included. Sure they’re doing some interesting shot s and a few tricks here and there on Impact, but they’re also not afraid to let the camera stay on one shot for a while. On WWE tv tere’s a cut every 3-5 seconds, put a plethora of tricks and zooms and the product is almost unwatchable. Here they let stuff breathe and it helps the overall feel of the show.

– The ring sounds great.

What Sort Of Works

– Josh Matthews and Taz are coming along nicely. Josh is developing into someone with an opinion of what’s right and wrong in the mold of Vince or Gorilla. The more they go old school with the commentary the better they’ll be.

– While the matches are good, I’m starting to feel like all the guys they’re building around have their best days behind them. Angle, MVP, Lashley, Joe, Anderson, Young. They all feel like slower, less athletic versions of themselves. I can see this hurt match quality later on.

– I want PPV quality matches. Not good TV matches.

What Didn’t Work

– The Angle storyline is horrible. It makes him look weak and petty.

– Mr Anderson should be shot on sight.


So Why Should I Watch This Instead Of Raw?

It’s a quick watch that actually takes time to build its main events. They also bother to give everyone on the show a story so even if you don’t like MVP or Lashley, you can get behind Spud or EC3 or one of the many guys they clearly care about.  The British shows have a cool atmosphere and it really is refreshing to not see the exact same people fighting the exact same match every week.

Thanks for reading! See ya next week!