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 2-13-2015 DESTINATION AMERICA
So we open with a recap of last week’s Lethal Lockdown. We get to relive all the excitement of Lashley turning down Angle then SHOCKINGLY coming out and joining his team in the main event. It’s a nice little package which is so nicely punctuated my Lashley and his lovely checkered hat. He really loves that hat.
We’re now at The SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow Scotland. Will tonight live up to the battle of Falkirk? Will there be a betrayal on the level of Robert The Bruce? Only time will tell! I’ll say one thing any wrestling show would be made infinitely better if the GM/president was Edward the Longshanks.
And just as I run out of Braveheart references the “Beat Down Clan” step out of their mini-van, showing the kind of solidarity that every family needs. Speaking of solidarity the matching track suits make them look like a fantastic team or fantastically lame depending on how much of an asshole you are. I like them. MVP rallies the troops while hanger-on/weirdo Eric Young paces in the back. Seriously, ridiculous name aside, this is a pretty badass heel stable and I can totally get behind any show that these four dominate. The crowd seems pretty hot to start, especially the brigade of lucha children that have snuck their way from the orphanage to the front row.
Kurt Angle is here! Shitty music and all. He starts your standard Kurt promo, he lives on competition, he’s driven by individual success, the usual jive. As soon as I start to think, “wow it’s great to be out of the Manhattan Center” Kurt says the craziest fucking thing I’ve ever hear. “The best wrestler should control the world title.” Crazy right? No wonder the WWE didn’t want him back. He probably let that slip in his interview, and quite frankly I’m surprised Vince hasn’t had him killed. Anyways, he wants LASHLEY! And he gets Lashley who’s wearing a vest that’s nearly as puffy as his puffy body. Think Michelin man but wearing a vest made of tires. Lashley wants that dirty piece of trash MVP but EVERYONE wants Angle vs. Lashley. (as per Kurt Angle) Before they can come to any sort of consensus, here’s the BDC (awesome name) using the South Africa World Cup 2010 font in their entrance video. MVP wants the world to know Lashley was never sanctioned in Lethal Lockdown and therefore he never pinned him. Kurt Angle’s mouth twitches in a way that would suggest an impending physical ailment and Lashley wants two of the BDC (ugh) in a tag match with him and Angle tonight. I like this for a couple of reasons. One: it immediately puts focus on the fact that everyone wants the title. Two: Lashley kind of forces Angle to be his partner which is great because in storyline terms Angle “owes him one” for Lockdown. I like when things matter show to show. Pretty solid promo from all involved.
We’re getting an update about Jeff Hardy later in the show. (THANK GOD!) His makeup makes him look like a sad tiger. Which in turn makes me sad. Tigers deserve happiness.
Bobby Roode is backstage promoing (I know it’s not a word) at Austin Aries. They reminisce about their past and Roode yells at him as though he’s in an arena with 40,000 people (hahahahaha!) even though they’re being filmed on a “Hidden” Camera.
We now cut to EC3 and Tyrus who want a handicap match against Rockstar Spud, Mandrews (speaking of awful names) and Jeremy Borash. Carter wants to shave Spud’s head. He wants to scalp him.(Jesus Christ!) EC3 rattles off a bunch of nicknames for Tyrus with an ease that many “sports entertainers” would die for.
Match # 1 – Bobby Roode Vs Austin Aries
As we’re about to start Josh Matthews attempts to explain a very complicated gauntlet match they’re going to have next week which takes way to many words and way too many attempts to get through. If it’s that hard to explain you probably shouldn’t be doing it. But we’ll see. Maybe it will be good. Roode makes his way to the ring and all I can think is this guy is trying too hard. “The It Factor” is also a pretty strange nickname. The match between the two is pretty solid. Lots of fun mat work to start, with both guys telling the story that they’re trying to put away the other as quickly as possible. They trade signature moves and strikes that any NJPW guy would laugh at, but in the end the narrative f the match comes down to Austin Aries kills himself flying into the barricade, gets hurt, and Roode capitalizes. Roode cinches in the crossface and when Aries can’t roll out, he taps. Great simple wrestling storytelling. I’m not a star rating kind of guy but this was pretty solid and fun.
Post match Bobby Roode has the mic and says “Now that is pro wrestling!” That’s exactly the kind of shit that makes Roode seem second rate to me. You had a solid match, be confident enough to just let that be. Josh Matthews tells us that we just saw a five star match… Slow down boys. I think both Roode and Matthews need to watch some Young Bucks matches to give them a little perspective. Bobby puts over Aries and screams every third word about wanting the title, while the execution is a little lacking at least he has an objective. He wants that belt. Eric Young interrupts him and piledrives him to keep their blood feud going. With that we head to break…. and we’re back with Roode being helped out, which would normally bother me, but is immediately redeemed by Young piledriving him on the floor. I wish I cared more about either guy as this is a pretty great little feud. Roode is dead, dead, dead.
In a nice little touch we go to the studio where Josh and Taz talk about how everyone is going after the title but Eric Young. I like that personal feuds are being woven into the bigger title picture.
Al Snow is in the ring now looking like an old cat and is getting the shit booed out of him. He talks about his years in the business and how he trains people as well as he wrestles. (I hope not) He has an issue with Grado, who he calls out and demands that Grado leave the company before Al hurts him. Scottish Louie Spicolli makes his way to the ring, fanny pack and all. Grado gets in Al’s face, which leads to the Snow man harassing Grado’s MAM who’s at ringside. She “slaps” him and we’ve got a brawl. This was a great way to set up a midcard feud, and Grado showed some fire on the mic. I’m actually looking forward to this next week.
We’re still waiting to hear about Jeff Hardy. My heart can’t take this.
Match #2 – Bram Vs Crazy Steve
So from what I can tell Crazy Steve is a mixture of Papa Shango and a homeless nightmare. Bram has very wet hair and Taz is so excited he’s standing in the studio. This is basically a squash with Bram calling out Magnus on the mic as he sends Steve back to the streets. Bram finishes with an implant DDT and pins Steve with a knee on his face (YEAH!) I’ve now heard “Find me Magnus” enough for two lifetimes.
Rockstar Spud, Mandrews (great name) and Jeremy Borash are backstage and Borash is terrified. Spud pumps them up by saying they need to be lions and tigers. God I hope Jeff Hardy is ok…
Now we’re with Gunner and Angle. Gunner is worried about Angle teaming with Lashley. Angle is not. I’d call this a pointless segment, but they’ve been pretty good about tying these in so far.
Match #3 – EC3/Tyrus Vs Rockstar Spud/Mandrews/ Jeremy Borash
EC3 makes his way to the ring looking like a huge star. His music is great and he even threatens to cut a child’s hair at ringside. This is a quick little handicap match that really plays up what a fantastic prick heel Carter has become. Tyrus throws Spud and Mandrews around and we’re even treated to Jeremy Freakin Borash jumping off the top rope to the floor. They’ve done a great job of keeping Spud and Carter apart for the last few weeks and this just moves it along nicely. I like having actual feuds in the mid card. Carter pins Spud after a forward ddt. They need to edit EC3’s music so it starts at “Trouble” off a victory.
Post match Carter goes to shave Spud’s hair and in a nice little touch the razor is battery operated so no one can cut the cord this time. Right as they’re about to do it the lights go out and Curtis Axel… I mean Mr. Anderson shows up. I’m ashamed I liked him once. He beats EC3 and Tyrus up very slowly.
We’re now backstage with Gunner as he’s talking about how close he was to being champion, and how he’s not afraid of the BDC. (come up with something else) Next week during the gauntlet he’s going to win…Kenny King saunters in, compares themselves to the Candyman and beats the hell out of Gunner with Low-Ki. I think King may be the most natural promo guy they have. He sings TAPS as they leave Gunner lying. Just great stuff.
Madison Rayne is here. She flirts with Earl Hebner and cuts a decent promo about being the best. Making sure to mention how important the knockout’s title is to her. Some strange/familiar music keeps interrupting her. She decides to call out the roster.
Match #4 – Madison Rayne Vs Awesome Kong.
You know how this goes. Rayne is in the hospital now. A old man wearing a blue shirt in the front row is unimpressed.
Matt Hardy is updating us next!!!!!!!! PHEW!!!!!! MEOW!!!!!!
Backstage Austin Aries is in his douche hat and sitting in Angle’s chair. They talk about what it means to be a champion. I’m sensing a theme here.
Rogue, cold blooded Matt Hardy hobbles down to the ring to update us. Seriously what’s wrong with his legs? I feel like he’s not walking within the next five years. That doesn’t stop him from bouncing up and down and telling us that James Storm has broken Jeff Hardy. This obviously brings out Storm(dressed as Michael Hayes) who tries to build his feud up by invoking Edge, Christian, the Dudley’s and the god damned Undertaker. In Storm’s story heroes never win, so he gives Matt an ultimatum: join the Revolution or join Jeff in the hospital. Fuchsia Matt Hardy gets beat down until the Wolves save him, and I am immediately disappointed they’re not wrestling on the show. I’d be all in on this feud if James Storm wasn’t such a blatant Bray Wyatt rip-off.
Austin Aries is backstage berating an interviewer when Kenny King shows up again “Hey it’s the greatest man in the world!” I love Kenny King. The BDC (You down with BDC? Yeah you know me!) beat down Aries and MVP tells him to “Take this whack hat too!” as they eject him from the building. I knew that hat was lame!
Match #5 – Kurt Angle/Lashley Vs MVP/Samoa Joe
This is your standard main event tag team match with all the players being a little better in ring than what we usually get on Mondays and Thursdays. MVP is a really underrated performer as he does a ton of little things that make everything seem more legitimate. Kurt Angle may be a step behind, but he’s still excellent and Lashley’s power stuff is fun to watch. A really strong main event which was a lot of fun to watch. The ending was a bit strange as Lashley got confused by an Angle ankle lock on Joe and got rolled up by MVP, but it didn’t really take away from what they were trying to accomplish.
The BDC stands tall as we’re out of here. Next week: Complicated 20 man gauntlet, which they’ve made me interested to see.
Best Match: Bobby Roode Vs. Austin Aries
Worst Match: Bram Vs. Papa Shango
Best Promo/Skit: EC3, any time he spoke.
Worst Promo/Skit: Bobby Roode Screams.
MVP: Ethan Carter 3. His match was decent and his character work is superb.
What Worked Really Well
– There is a definite focus and importance placed on their titles.
– Every wrestler has a clear objective on the show. They all either want the title or someone’s blood.
– No really bad matches. Everything is very watchable.
– Not only does everyone have an objective but they bother to write for the lower card guys.
– The show feels fresh and moves at a brisk pace.
What Sort Of Works
– Taz and Josh Matthews are good, not great. At least they don’t make you want to watch something else or bury the talent.
– Some of the camera angles are quite different than what your average fan is used to. I’m not sure if it helps or hurts the matches yet.
What Didn’t Work
– Bobby Roode, Eric Young and James Storm need to stop looking like they are trying to be stars and just be the talented guys they are. They’re all good in the ring, but they completely turn me off with their overacting.
– Impact needs to be DIFFERENT than WWE. That’s what they’re good at. When I see James Strom attempting to be Bray Wyatt it’s annoying. When there’s constant talk of “cashing in” it’s worse. They need to drop the inferiority and just tear the house down like they can.
So Why Should I Watch This Instead Of Raw?
Impact wasn’t perfect this week. I’ve seen better matches and promos all around in the preceding weeks, but it’s nowhere near as laborious to sit through. The matches are all solid and the writing is much more geared towards the fan of old that wants simple yet brutal angles. It reminds me a little of the Attitude era Raws in that everyone has a story which somehow connects to everyone else. Check out Impact this week if you can. It’s a fun show that certainly deserves your support.
Thanks for reading! See ya next week!