“Return Of The Ronin” ~Or~ “Song Of The Scots”
Greetings, “True-Believers”! I hope everyone’s had a great week. I’m sitting here typing this recap while watching the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Now I’m not a big winter sports fan, but I did love the movie “Cool Runnings,” and I do have a thing for female bobsledders but that’s neither here nor there (shout-out to Jean Racine & LoLo Jones). I say all this because televised sports post-Super Bowl tend to become slim pickings. Sure there’s the NBA & college hoops, but that’s about it until pitchers & catchers report to camp. Which is why I’m glad that every Thursday, Spike TV gives us the greatness (average-ness? not bad-ness?) that is “Impact Wrestling.”
This week continues its UK tour with show #2 from Glasgow, Scotland. The program kicks off with footage from earlier in the day. MVP & the Wolves a shown entering the arena. They then immediately cut to the back where Eric Young & Abyss are brawling. Mike Tenay & Jeremy Borash welcome us to Impact and set up our first match Eric Young Vs. Abyss in a Monster’s Ball match. EY and Abyss fight out to the ring where the monster sets up a table and goes for the chokeslam, but it’s blocked by the bearded one. Abyss then tossed a whole heap of weapons into the ring. Young then tried to unmask Abyss, but the big man blocked it and sent Young crashing into the ring. The two continued to brawl before Abyss grabbed the advantage and brought out his patented bag of thumbtacks. Abyss dumped the tacks on the mat, then tried to super-plex EY onto the tacks. EY blocked the suplex and delivered a sunset flip powerbomb sending Abyss onto the tacks. Young went for the pinfall, but Abyss kicked out. Then in the dumbest spot of the week (even dumber than Cody Rhode’s top of the cage moonsault from Raw), EY grabbed a handful of tacks. He put the tacks IN HIS MOUTH and proceeded to spit them out, Great Muta-style at Abyss! Words can not reiterate how silly and potentially dangerous that move was. After that brilliant piece of strategy, Young went to the top rope but Abyss recovered and punched him off the top rope through a table and onto the floor. Abyss went under the ring and brought out Janice, which got a light chant from the Glasgow crowd. He went to hit Young with Janice, but EY pulled off the monster’s mask, revealing a toothless Joseph Park! Abyss/Park, hit EY with the Black Hole Slam for the win. Winner: Abyss at 9:40. After the match Abyss/Park picked up a shard of glass in the ring and stared at his reflection. As the announcers wondered what was next for Joseph Park. Thoughts: As much as I dislike the last six months of this angle, at least we’re moving closer to the end and whatever character Abyss and/or Joseph Park will end up being going forward. Outside of one really dumb spot, the match was solid if you’re a fan of these hardcore-style matches.
We then go backstage to Dixie Carter’s office where Bobby Roode barges in demanding a title shot. Dixie said that because of the new investor, she can’t make that happen. But she does set up a #1 Contenders Match between Roode & Samoa Joe as the main event of the show.
Speaking of the new investor, up next is MVP’s first in-ring segment as a member of TNA. Sherri Shepherd’s former boo comes out to his new theme song “Return Of The Ronin,” and takes in the view (I see what I did there?). Once in the ring, MVP says a lot of people have been wondering where he’s been. MVP said he’s been living life and calling his own shots. Along the way, he learned that there are consequences & repercussions to every action. MVP said that Dixie Carter has been holding TNA back and it’s time for a change. Suddenly, Rockstar Spud marches down to the ring to interrupt MVP. Spud says that in the interest of fairness, MVP should introduce himself to Dixie Carter who will greet him with out-stretched arms. MVP replied that at the end of his out-stretched arms are well-educated fists. He then made a non-title match between Kurt Angle & Magnus for later in the show.
We cut backstage to find Bully Ray brooding in a dark corner of the Hydro Arena. Bully quotes some dope Coolio lyrics before informing us that he’s going to wheel his casket out to the ring and put the first person he sees into it. We then go to another corner of the arena and find Chris Sabin setting up a surprise for his ex-girlfriend, Velvet Sky.
Back from break, Curry Man comes dancing to the ring only to be interrupted by Bully Ray. Ray told Curry Man that he’s simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He then removed his sunglasses and hoodie before screaming for Mr. Anderson. Bully then hit Curry Man with a spike piledriver and placed him inside the coffin. He said he was going to end Anderson’s career next week.
Up next, Austin Aries comes out to address the crowd. He reminds us that he was the man who created “Option C,” and he plans to once again use the X-Division Title as a launching pad to become TNA World Champion. Out come The Bro-Mans to interrupt “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived.” Aries begins to address the Tag-Team Champs, but then he’s attacked from behind by Zema Ion. Ion corks Aries with his Feast Or Fired briefcase and cashes in his title shot. Austin Aries Vs. D.J. Zema Ion for the X-Division Championship. Ion had the advantage early on going for numerous pinfalls. Aries soon regained his bearings and fought back. The champion finally finished off the impromptu match with his running dropkick/brainbuster finishing combo. Winner: Austin Aries at 2:15 to retain the X-Division Title. Thoughts: Nobody expects D.J. Zema to win the title, so I don’t mind the squash match. It keeps Aries strong and sets up his road back to the World Title.
Back from break, we catch up with Christy Hemme and Samuel Shaw. Apparently Hemme saw the video from last week and questions Shaw about his actions. Shaw says he’s merely a “collector” who got carried away. Christy says that she thinks it’s best that they keep things professional. Shaw agrees and stares blankly at Hemme as she walks away. Then we go from break-ups to make-ups as we head to Dixie Carter’s office where she has a modest spread set up for MVP. MVP arrives in the office and the two talk. Dixie tries to sweet-talk the new investor, but MVP isn’t having any of it. He suggests that they take their discussion out to the ring in front of the fans. Dixie agrees as MVP leaves her office.
We then head out to the ring for our next match. TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus Vs. Kurt Angle (Non-Title Match). Angle dominated the match early on and had the champ reeling. He went for the ankle-lock to end the bout, but Shane Stant… er… Ethan Carter III ran out and attacked Kurt’s knee. Carter continued the punishment after the bell, forcing the EMT’s to come out and stretch Kurt out of the ring. Winner: Kurt Angle by DQ at 2:30. Thoughts: Not much in the way of wrestling, but I kinda like where they’re going with ECIII. He’s got a great deal of potential, and a prolonged feud with Angle could really aid in his development.
Backstage, Samoa Joe fumed as he choked on his fallen brother. He shouted threats at Dixie & Magnus while the medics continued to work on Angle. We then go from hate to love as we head back to Chris Sabin’s makeshift set. He brings in Velvet Sky and begins to apologize to her. He then brings out a ring box as Velvet freaks out. She opens the box and is shocked to see that it’s empty. Sabin says that he wants Velvet out of his life. He laughs in her face, challenges her to a match next week and walks off. Velvet cries (sort of) as the scene ends. This was a great bit of acting from Sabin and I’m actually looking forward to seeing what comes next.
And now it’s time for your TNA Impact main event! Samoa Joe Vs. Bobby Roode (#1 Contender’s Match). The match started out slowly with each man trying to gain the upper hand. Roode kicked Joe off of the apron onto the floor and had the advantage for a few minutes. As the crowd started to get behind Joe, Roode turns to taunt them. This gave Joe a chance to regroup and after a quick exchange, Joe hit the Muscle Buster and slapped on the Kokina Clutch for the submission victory. Winner: Samoa Joe at 7:00 to remain the #1 Contender. Thoughts: A Short but solid TV main event. I’ve really enjoyed the way TNA has presented Samoa Joe over the past month or so. I’m sure a lot of the renewed focus on the big man is due to the lack of top babyfaces at the moment, but Joe has looked stronger over the past few weeks than he has in years.
Our final segment of Impact finds us back in the ring with Dixie Carter & MVP face-to-face. Again Carter tried to butter-up MVP, but the new investor was not impressed. Saying he did not come here to “be a butler at a Paula Deen party.” (oh snap!) He said her reign of terror is over and change is coming. The show went off the air with Dixie throwing a hissy fit on the ramp while MVP waved “goodbye” to her in the ring.
Final Thoughts: Like most weeks of Impact, the second set of tapings felt somewhat flat compared to the first week. The crowd was good but they just weren’t nearly as hot as last week, and that affected the show negatively. In all fairness to the crowd, they weren’t given a lot to cheer for. Outside of a great promo from MVP to open the show and a pretty good closing match, there wasn’t much to love about this show. That being said, I am intrigued by the continuing rise of ECIII, and the renewed push that Samoa Joe (and to a lesser extent Aries) seem to be getting. I look forward to seeing where they go next week in England. And on that note, it’s time for me to make my exit. As always, any feedback/constructive criticism is certainly welcome. I’ll see you back here next week as Impact moves to Manchester, England (Across the Atlantic Sea)!