Impact’s been on shaky ground with me for the last couple of weeks. What started with such potential to be different has quickly evaporated into WWE lite. There’s definitely some talent on the roster but when they’re booked in pointless skits where they push each other in front of trains it’s kind of hard to want to keep watching. The Destination America switch really brought me back to the product and I remember vividly the opening segment with everyone making their way to the arena. It looked cool, it looked fresh and for a while it was real interesting matched next to the tedium of being shit on as fans by WWE creative. I feel like I say this each week but I WANT Impact to be great. I do. I’d also probably be much more forgiving on the current shows had the ones earlier in the year not been so excellent.
IMPACT WRESTLING 6-10-2015 DESTINATION AMERICA
Tonight is Destination X and we’re immediately inundated with how important the X-Division is, and has been to the history of Impact Wrestling. I certainly hope they put their money where their mouth is and give us some great X-Division action tonight. We already know that X-Division superstar Kurt Angle is defending the TNA title tonight against Rockstar Spud and then against Austin Aries. Both of whom have cash-ins for title shots. Spud had previously vacated the X-Division title, which he originally won after cashing in a briefcase, to obtain said shot and somewhere in the distance there’s a Magnus tag team title shot cash in happening at some point. I guess they really like the concept of cashing in. They also REALLY love the concept of abeyance.
Christy is all set to announce our first title match when she’s interrupted by Impact MVP 2015 EC3. In a nice touch Carter makes his way to the ring without doing any of his trademark stuff, really stressing that he means business tonight. It’s a small thing but think about it next time you see Randy Orton pissed at someone yet stop to pose on the ramp, the four corners in the ring, and on top of any cage/statue in his path.
Ethan kindly asks Christy to leave before telling us how upset he is at being number one rated in the company yet devoid of a title shot. I guess he doesn’t understand that you need a briefcase to get a title shot in TNA. He’s so upset he’s going to stage a sit-down strike until he gets what he wants. He then demands that “Toots” at ringside hand him a chair. I demand to know why we were lied to about Toots Mondt’s death.
Destination X is cancelled tonight! He then dares someone to come out and stop him. As though it were written in a script Kurt Angle joins us and he too, to my pleasant surprise, doesn’t saunter to the ring either. Kurt jabs “Ethan…SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH!!!” Kurt then challenges Carter to try and end his career stating, “If you do I’ll snap your ankle in two.” I’m unsure how he’d have access to EC3 if his career were over but I bet it sounded waaaaaay cooler in his head. Also I don’t believe for one second he’d snap his ankle. After all these years and all these ankle locks there has yet to be one, ONE broken ankle. What a deadly hold… Anyways, Carter backs out as Rockstar Spud makes his way to the ring.
Spud is ranked number three in the company. NUMBER THREE!!! Why throw away a title if you’re two spots away from being the number one contender? I guess it’s because Josh says there’s NO WAY Spud can win. He believes it so vehemently he screams it about eight hundred times during the match.
Match #1 – Kurt Angle © Vs. Rockstar Spud – TNA Heavyweight Title
We get the big match intros and Spud is introduced at 148 pounds. Can’t imagine there’s a word of a lie there. Angle starts with some mat work that Spud just can’t wiggle himself out of. Not only does it sell the fact that Angle is still a great wrestler, but it also implies that Spud is quite outmatched. This is one of the problems with the match. I can’t see any sane away in which Spud walks out of this one with the belt. Like when Spud gets put in a headlock I believe he should tap out because unless Kurt feels especially charitable there’s no way out for the tiny red coat.
Spud actually manages some offense and gets Kurt out of the ring before falling prey to a belly to belly on the floor. It’s not like this match is bad or anything, but I’m having trouble believing it based on what they’re doing. It’s mostly punching and kicking between the Olympic calibre athlete and the tiniest wrestler this side of Mini Mantaur. Those girls in the front row can cheer for Spud all they want but a guy that size needs to have more impactful (Bam! Pun!) offence than weak punches and kicks.
Case and point: you can’t watch Kyle O’Reilly, or Shinsuke Nakamura or even fucking Sheamus forearm someone then go back and watch Spud’s running forearm sequence. I feel like they wouldn’t tear through paper. A tiny guy can have high impact (Boom!) moves (see Tajiri: kicks) but they have to look like they could knock you out. However Josh is now burying Spud so thoroughly that I’m starting to believe they may actually pull the trigger here. Wrestling fans will pull a very different trigger later.
They reverse all their finishers before Spud hits an underdog for a VERY close two count, which I embarrassingly bought into. Angle is still the king of those. (He won that crown in 2000) Spud then stupidly poses over Angle and gets trapped in the ankle lock. Grapevine right away which tells us Spud isn’t getting out, which in turn tells us that Angle is a fool for not hooking said grapevine right away in every match. Spud holds on way too long but eventually taps. Shouldn’t his ankle be broken after being in that hold that long?
The match was fine, but really nothing special. I guess if the point was to make me buy that one near fall then mission accomplished, but for all the build it was a pretty big disappointment. I’ll get to Angle later but his booking in these things is just way, way off. Not that I’d condone putting the belt on Spud, but if the whole thing was leading to Spud tapping out why take him out of the X-Division, a division so depleted it makes ECW in 2001 look like an all-star team.
Angle raises Spud’s hand in a show of sportsmanship but Aries is here to remind us he’s challenging later tonight. I don’t know why they’d open with the match with all the build and close with the one that Aries has no hope in Hell in winning, but hey I don’t get paid the big bucks so what do I know?
Taryn Terrell is in a robe renews my faith in Impact Wrestling. The Doll House never disappoints. Unless you have a weak Nora. She demands that Kong fight her in a lingerie pillow fight and proceeds to hold up a shockingly small one piece for Kong to jam herself into stating, “ If you don’t wear this, you don’t get a shot at this,” pointing at her knockout’s title and making me feel all funny inside. She leaves and I really need to re-evaluate my life considering how much of a Terrell letch these things must make me sound like.
The rundown they give of all the guys fighting for the X-Division title which makes it look like it’s going to be awesome. I hope they’re going to play to the strengths of the division instead of making them spend minutes on end hanging on to ropes in a second rate Royal Rumble. I don’t know anything about the format of the matches or if we’re getting a new champion tonight, but they’ll tell us right? Right???
Match # 2- Low Ki Vs. Manik Vs. Homeless Steve
Is the BDC still a thing? They were so dominant and important to start the year and now feel like the biggest afterthought this side of Lord Tensai. Do you like a bunch of spots for no rhyme or reason? Do you like a guy named Bald Spot Steve slowing down the match? For all the talk of the X-Division being the most important thing in company history of the company (Thanks Christopher Daniels) we get three minutes of nothing, ending with Low-Ki winning handily. Where was the intensity we were promised? Where was the innovation? The only thing this triple threat made me interested in was a match in which Crazy Steve sat on the sidelines and Low Ki and Manik wrestled a proper match. Awful.
Grado is here! Let’s see how he does out of England. He’s convinced he needs to make weight to be in the X-Division thingy. Come on what else do you want me to call it? He jokes around and does some physical “comedy” before nearly killing himself falling over some road crates. I like Grado but I’m unsure why wrestling companies feel the need to force guys who aren’t actors to do comedy. Comedy is hard man, and bad comedy is hard to sit through. Santino Marella was one in a million and TNA needs to understand the difference between having charisma, which Grado does, and being able to perform comedy. Which Grado cannot.
Yes! A re-cap of the awesome and believable James Storm/Mickie James murder angle from last week. This is wrestling! Josh updates us on Mickie’s condition with all the emotion of concern of a man reading the god damn dictionary. She was nearly killed Josh, you can show us an ounce of human concern you fucking robot. It’s already ludicrous that it happened, could we at least TRY and react to it in a plausible way? Man, Josh was so good to start the year but he’s become awful as time has gone on here.
Match #3 – DJ Z Vs. Tigre Uno Vs. Mandrews
These are qualifier matches now. Good to know. No intros because apparently these guys are the cornerstone of the promotion and what makes Impact Wrestling unique. No intros NECESSARY!!! They start with a cute triple headlock spot, but then decide to slow the match down to the crawl we all were expecting out of the “no limits” division. Mandrews hits a nice standing moonsault for a two count. A two count that really seems like a chore for old man Hebner. Hebner: the name my autocorrect on my phone insists on changing to Jenner. Either my phone is at the vanguard of our cultural zeitgeist or Impact Wrestling is about to get more cutting edge.
Mandrews is a terrible name. Sure it’s an abbreviated Mark Andrews but I can’t help hearing MAN Andrews. You can’t have that look with the word Man in your name without inviting a million inadvertent overtones. At least they give these guys an extra minute or so more than the first match, but this still ends quickly when DJ Z is shoved to the floor and Tigre Uno hits a corkscrew splash on Man Andrews for the win. There’s just nothing memorable or interesting about these matches. They don’t tell a story or have any semblance of sense. Stuff happens, then it ends. I guess I’d be ok with it if said stuff was interesting, or phenomenal like we’ve been promised. I guess it’s more important to tell us how good the X-Division is rather than show us.
Here’s Jessie Godderz to pummel the life out of DJ Z. I was just thinking that it was great that no one had any beef with the DJ after the BroMans breakup. He seems like a nice enough guy, you’d think he could at least stay friends with both of them and be the silent sounding board as they rage on the other behind their backs. Jessie evicts the shit out of Zema and really shows him who the head of the household is. Jessie could easily just be the guy who was on Big Brother but contrary to my verbiage I’ve actually grown to like his work in the limited exposure I’ve had to it. Those forearms rakes across the face are nice and stiff and his pickup power bomb looked pretty swank. I’m not saying put the belt on him or anything, but maybe he could be the next wrestler to commit a capital crime on television.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t rage at Josh again as condemns Jessie saying, “ If you have a problem with someone SEND A TWEET, and don’t beat him down like that.” Have they just not told Josh what the product is he’s supposed to be calling? SEND A TWEET??? We’re not inundated enough with Twitter from wrestling companies? Why? Why????? What is it with wrestling companies in Twitter? Do they all own fucking shares??? To now suggest that wrestlers settle their differences by tweeting each other is a leap that I’m just not in any position to tolerate. What the actual fuck???
Grado’s in a garbage bag trying to make weight. He compliments Tigre Uno on his match and when he realises Uno doesn’t understand him he switches to an American accent. (which he does quite well) Grado eventually gives up and walks away and get this… get this…. Uno turns to the camera and says, “What a jackass.” IN ENGLISH!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! He knew how to speak it all along. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Brilliant. Brilliant writing rivalling “to get to the other side,” as maybe the greatest punch line of all time.
Taryn now comes down to the ring in her robe for her lingerie pillow fight. Pope asks for silence so that he can enjoy this. What am I supposed to do here? It’s pretty well documented that I’m in love with Taryn Terrell so how can I possible watch this thing without abandoning my family. Taryn’s decent as a heel but is sliding a little too much into a phony voice during her promos. Kong eventually comes out and beats up Jade and Marty. Then we get a weird edit and Brooke is making her way to the ring. Is that the end of the Awesome Kong feud? Brooke basically calls Taryn a hypocrite for not defending the title tonight and not showing g us lingerie. I hear ya Brooke, I hear ya. Brooke then stiffs the shit out of Taryn and strips her down. She then declares she’s going to take the knockout’s title from Taryn. Seriously what happened to Kong, the editing seems to suggest a Philadelphia experiment type of exit for her.
Poor, poor Grado is still trying to make weight for the X-Division. He strips down naked before the officials tell him there’s no weight limit. “So I’m not too fat for the X-Division?” Asks an enthusiastic Grado. “Technically no.” Replies the official. Technically? That one word that was probably a throw away was probably funnier than anything else they tried to accomplish tonight.
Match #4 – Grado Vs. Kenny King Vs, Cruz
Another nothing match where no one looks good and the X-Division actually looks weaker than all the other wrestling on the card. Kenny King is still inexplicably wearing a Comedia Del’Arte mask and no one knows who either Grado or Cruz are. Grado eventually wins to silence. Man I really like watching Grado on the Indies but TNA has to do more to help him out here. He KILLS it with the Madonna entrance but just looks lost. I have no idea if Cruz is any good and King and his tremendous talent is just wasted here. So Low Ki, Tigre Uno and Grado have qualified for… something. I’m not sure what but the X-Division title is involved.
Bram has now assaulted a cameraman and hates everyone. I hate everyone on this show so I get it homie. He hates history and he hates the past. I hope he doesn’t hate Charlotte who he’s inexplicably married to. Think about it, this guy is Ric Flair’s son-in law. Do you think he hates the Ric Flair family Christmas? Does he scream and scowl when Ric sits down to read “ T’was the Night Before Christmas?”
Bram is in the ring now calling out ANY former TNA superstar to come and fight him. We get Crimson to no reaction. I mean less than Grado here. I’m sure he would have garnered a bigger pop had he entered as a Crimson Guard. That would only lead to more disappointment as we collectively pine for a Serpentor who will never grace the Impact Zone.
It doesn’t help either that Josh says “It’s Crimson,” in a tone that would indicate he’s watching two cats having sex rather than the product. There’s no chemistry here which is a shame because I legit think Bram is awesome. Bram eventually wins with his long winded DDT. Moving right along…
Maybe it’s because I was so bored during the last match but I just noticed that NO ONE in the crowd is wearing any TNA merch. Like none. Are they just not selling any or do they not give a fuck any more either?
Kurt Angle in the back puts over the X-Division. He says, “ I HAVE two matches tonight,” but then says , “Spud took me to the limit.” A small point here but either this was a pre-tape or Kurt doesn’t understand basic English tenses.
Match #5 – Kurt Angle © Vs. Austin Aries – TNA Heavyweight Title
My patience may be wearing thin here but Josh suddenly declaring that he thought that Rockstar Spud would be here right now is fucking enraging. You spent the whole match telling us that he had no chance and now you’re saying you’re surprised he didn’t win. Are you losing your fucking mind trapped in that studio Josh??? Also why would Aries cash in like this. They’ve established that it can be cashed in at any time, why give Angle an hour to rest after fighting the smallest guy in the company? Is Austin Aries the dumbest man who ever lived?
I do like that in a nice call-back Angle does the same wrestling sequence on Aries that he tried on Spud, only this time Aries is able to wrestle out. There’s just so much punching and kicking here. Also what sense does it make booking wise for Aries to win here? The whole company has seemingly been build for EC3 to be the next challenger. At least storyline wise it made sense for Spud to win here as they have a massive amount of history. Aries is in the equivalent of a tag team tournament. I really, really don’t get the decision to even have this match at all. Why not build the whole night around Spud’s challenge and give the X-Division some actual time instead of squishing two title matches onto one show?
I hate falling asleep during Kurt Angle matches. Josh can question all he wants about Aries’ ability to be in match of the year candidates but this certainly isn’t one. Aries and Angle continue to put on a passable match which can only be viewed as a disappointment considering the talent involved. They slowly roll around until Aries taps to the ankle lock. Yawn.
Carter comes in for the beat down and poses with the belt to finally put this show out of it’s misery. It just feels like the longest two hours of television. You can say the best wrestlers in the world compete for TNA, but you’d better put them in positions to shine if you want your show to be any good.
Best Match: Kurt Angle vs. Austin Aries
Worst Match: Pick any of the X-Division Matches.
Best Promo/Skit: Bram hates the world.
Worst Promo/Skit: All the others?
MVP: Toots Mondt, Serpentor.
What Worked Really Well
– I can get behind a Taryn versus Brooke feud. Both can bring the goods in the ring.
– Bram is great on the mic and I’d like to see him do more than fight some hulked up Christian.
– Low Ki, Manik, Tigre Uno and Kenny King are fantastic performers.
What Sort Of Works
– Both title matches were fine technically, but had little to no stakes or emotion to them.
What Didn’t Work
– Get Josh off the mic, he’s killing the show. The man can’t even remember what he said an hour before. I can’t believe I’m going to say this: He’s worse than Michael Cole.
– You can give all the lip service you want to the X-Division and talk about how important they are to the show but the proof is in the pudding my friends. On a night dedicated to them they got what… fifteen minutes of a two hour show to prove how important they are. Add to that the fact that the promos for the three “qualifiers” are way more interesting than the actual matches and you have a night that minimalizes the division more than it promotes it.
– Kurt Angle needs to wrestle to the skill set he has now rather than the skill set he used to have. There’s such a great story here about a veteran guy who’s always been the best at wrestling having to go back to his roots to win matches and be the champion. I can buy wily Kurt Angle out wrestling guys, I have much more trouble watching old Kurt Angle stumbling though his trademark spots. He just can’t hit them with the same intensity any more so why bother? Angle shouldn’t be in slug fests or missing moonsaults, he should be completely mat based. Not only would it look better but it’d be pretty unique and give Impact some of the legitimacy they’re constantly striving for.
So Why Should I Watch This Instead Of Raw?
Honestly I wouldn’t. I’m having a hard time getting through these shows. At the start of the year the wrestling was great and the production was fresh. Now it’s the same string of boring, meaningless matches we get every Monday. It’s such a shame they were doing so well. I now understand the people who didn’t want to give the product a chance again. It sucks to see it be so good only to fall to this mediocrity.
Thanks for reading, see ya next week!