This Week’s Review:
“London Shaw-ling” ~Or~ “Austin-Tatious Behavior”
Greetings, “True-Believers”! I hope everyone’s had a great weekend! I’m writing this week’s recap while watching a marathon of “Ridiculousness” (Am I the only one that thinks something’s going on between Rob & Chanel?). This week TNA begins the final leg of its UK tour with show #1 from the famed Wembley Arena in London, England. This is the penultimate edition of Impact before Lockdown and there’s still some unanswered questions heading into the PPV. Will those questions be answered in this episode? There’s only one way to find out… onto the show!
Impact opens up out back in the loading dock with an irate Gunner looking to confront James Storm about The Cowboy’s actions last week. We head inside where Mike Tenay & Taz inform us that Dixie Carter isn’t here tonight, but she’s handed her match-making power over to Magnus & The rest of the Royal Family this evening. Taz wonders where she is, which is a really good question (especially coming from Taz). While the audience is left to ponder Taz’s question, MVP comes out to a big ovation from the London crowd. MVP starts thing off by addressing James Storm’s betrayal of Gunner last week. He said that Gunner will get another title shot when MVP takes control of wrestling operations after Lockdown. Then MVP shifted his focus to the world title match, bringing out Samoa Joe and Magnus (who both got loud reactions).
Magnus got on the mic and ran down his hometown for not living up to their once-sterling reputation, while Joe stood and glared at the champion. MVP says that the title match will be fought under “Joe’s Rules,” which means that the match can only be won by a tap out or a knock out. He then presented the Lockdown contract for both men to sign. Joe signed the contract right away, while Magnus seemed apprehensive (maybe he was worried Joe would stab his hand with the pen!). Magnus said Joe was an unrefined, dangerous animal that would get put down at Lockdown. Magnus finally signed the contract and then the two men stood nose to nose. Magnus asked Joe if he had anything else to say, which prompted the #1 contender to respond with a headbutt. Joe then pounced on Magnus and the two had to be separated by the agents as the segment came to a close.
Up next we get a video package showcasing The Wolves winning the TNA Tag-Team Titles at a house show in West Virginia. Following the match, the Bro-Mans burst into Bobby Roode’s locker room asking for a spot on Team Roode at Lockdown. Roode says that the winner of the three-way tag match would get the spot. And that takes us to our first match of the night: TNA Tag-Team Champions The Wolves Vs. The Bro-Mans (w/D.J. Zema) Vs. Bad Influence (tag-team three-way dance). This was a fast-paced match from the outset. The story of the match was Bad Influence isolating Davey Richards and not allowing the Bro-Mans to tag in. Eventually Eddie Edwards got the hot tag and he cleaned house. Edwards tagged Richards back in and Davey hit his top-rope splash, but Robbie E. tagged himself in and stole the pin, winning the Bro-Mans a spot on Team Roode at Lockdown. Winners: The Bro-Mans in 5:30. Thoughts: A nice quick match that re-established the Bro-Mans after their title loss. Personally, I think the spot on Team Roode should have gone to Kaz and Daniels, but I don’t think Bad Influence is a top priority for TNA right now.
Back from the break we had an informal reunion of former TNA Tag Champs as Bobby Roode caught up to Austin Aries backstage. Roode said he knows that MVP offered Aries a spot on his team in the Lethal Lockdown match, but he should go with the team captain he knows best since 10% control of TNA is on the line.
We head to the ring where Ethan Carter III is on the mic. He tells the crowd that he is the new face of American wrestling. Then he introduces his opponent , the returning (at least for one week) Doug Williams. Williams gets a huge “Doug” chant and that takes us into our next match: Ethan Carter III Vs. Doug Williams. Carter spent the opening moments of the match taunting Williams, but the former member of World Elite caught ECIII with a stiff right hand. Williams grounded Carter with some solid mat wrestling, before Dixie’s favorite nephew hit the veteran with a cheap-shot. This gave Carter the opening to hit the One-Percenter and pin Williams, Winner: ECIII in 1:21. Thoughts: I like that they’re keeping ECIII strong, but this was really a waste of Doug Williams. There was a way to protect Carter, but still allow Williams some shine.
We cut to the back where James Storm arrives at the building before the break (why do wrestlers always get to show up for work late?). Back from break, Storm was now in the ring. The Cowboy said he doesn’t hide from anyone, and he called Gunner out. Gunner made a beeline to the ring and got right in Storm’s face. Storm said he screwed Gunner because Gunner insulted him by giving him his “scraps” (his Tag-Title briefcase). Storm said he’s pissed off because Gunner never thanked him. Gunner said a “thank you” in the military is having your brother’s back. He said because of his service, Storm had the freedom to drink a cold beer. Storm said nobody cares about his service and nobody owes him anything. Gunner then punched Storm and the two men brawled as we went to break. Back from break, Gunner is shown backstage yelling that this isn’t over and he will find James Storm.
Back in the ring, Magnus says he has found someone to fight Samoa Joe tonight. He brings out the European Gut-Check winner, Bad Bones. Joe barrels down the ramp and into the ring for our next match: Samoa Joe Vs. Bad Bones. Joe basically tore through the German strongman and finished him off with the Muscle-Buster and the Kokina Clutch. Winner: Samoa Joe in 1:15. Thoughts: Another good squash match to keep Joe looking strong heading into the PPV.
We head backstage to find Austin Aries in his locker room. MVP walks in and tries to recruit Aries for his team. Aries notes that Bobby Roode approached him earlier and he’s on the fence. Aries wants MVP to prove himself. MVP says that he’s been given chances, so tonight they should take a chance on each other. They agree that Aries will be the special referee for the Captains Match between MVP & Roode tonight.
Back from break, Jeremy Borash was in the ring to induct Kurt Angle into the TNA Hall Of Fame (finally!). They aired a video package featuring highlights of Kurt’s amateur & TNA career, including comments from Taz and a non-Willowy Jeff Hardy. After the video, JB brought out the man of the hour. Angle comes out (wearing jeans) to a big ovation from the crowd. JB presents Kurt with his Hall Of Fame Rolex watch and hands him the mic. Angle thanked God, his new wife, his kids, the boys in the back and the fans. Suddenly, ECIII’s music played and out came the “new face of American wrestling.” ECIII said he was so moved by Angle’s tribute video that he made one of his own. Carter instructed the production truck to play his video, which highlights Ethan’s attack on Angle the previous week (complete with Pop-Up Video style thought bubbles). After the video, Carter says that he has confirmed medical reports that state Angle has both a torn ACL & MCL and Kurt needs to retire. Angle then said those reports were false. He has no MCL or ACL tear. He then asked ECIII if he really wants to be in the ring with a healthy Kurt Angle right now. To which Carter kind of hilariously said “Not really” (Have I mentioned how much I dig this character?). Angle said he respects ECIII for trying to make a name for himself, but why in the world would he try to make that name off of Kurt Angle? Ethan shrugged and then Kurt popped him in the mouth, sending him out of the ring as we went to break.
Back from break we had to the ring for our next match: Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne & Velvet Sky Vs. Lei’D Tapa & Alpha Female (w/Gail Kim and Chris Sabin). The artists formerly known as the Beautiful People started off fast, but eventually began to succumb to the sheer size of the heels. Eventually Tapa hit her finisher on Madison for the win. After the match, the heels attack the babyfaces, but ODB runs in for the save. Winners: Lei’D Tapa & Alpha Female in 2:30. Thoughts: A nothing match that didn’t serve to hype up the Gail-Madison match at Lockdown OR push Alpha Female.
Backstage the interviewer asks Samuel Shaw if he regrets his actions from last week. Shaw said no one understands his love for Christy Hemme, but he will make everyone understand after the break. And that takes us to our weekly dose of Sam Shaw goodness(?). Back from commercial, we find Shaw in the ring. He says he is great, which means he is misunderstood. He invites Christy into the ring. She declines at first, but eventually enters the ring (why woman, why?!?). Samuel says that he’s enjoyed their time together and he knows Christy enjoyed it as well. Shaw says he wants to protect Christy from all the men in TNA that only want one thing from her. This brings out the man who Shaw attacked last week, Ken Anderson.
Anderson hops on the mic and calls Shaw a “creepy bastard” (isn’t that gimmick infringement on Christian Cage?). He says Shaw’s relationship with Hemme is not real, but he’s here to deliver a real ass whoopin’!” Shaw said he would never violate Christy… even though she would like that sort of thing. This led to a slap from Hemme, which allowed Anderson to pummel Shaw for a few moments. But Samuel got the upper hand and choked Anderson out, setting up a match at Lockdown. Ugh… what can cleanse our collective palate after that segment? TNA’s answer? A double-shot of weird with another Willow promo… Double-Ugh!
We come back from break to find James Storm walking backstage. Hmmm… if we can find Storm, that should mean Gunner can too. Sure enough, the “Intense Viking” shows up and the two men brawl. Gunner was getting the upper hand when Storm ran behind the parking gate. The Cowboy growled that he was going to cut Gunner down at Lockdown. Feel the intensity! Do it… Do it (Shout-Out to Starsky)!
And now it’s time for your main event of the night: MVP Vs. Bobby Roode (w/Austin Aries as the special referee). Aries comes out in a ref’s shirt and his regular black trunks (Not a good look, A-Double). The match started slowly as both men were cautious. Aries remained impartial, calling for rope-breaks from both competitors. MVP began to gain momentum after stringing together a series of high-impact moves. MVP hit the Baller’s Elbow and a Fisherman’s Suplex for a two-count. MVP went for the Playmaker, but Roode blocked it and countered with the Double-R Spinebuster for a two-count of his own. The two men traded offense back and forth, with MVP gaining the upper hand. MVP signals for the Drive-By Yakuza Kick, but Aries intercepted him with a Roaring Elbow from out of nowhere! A stunned Roode looked at Aries for a second before hitting MVP with the Roode Bomb and picking up the win. Winner: Bobby Roode in 9:45. After the match, Aries raised Roode’s hand and then sarcastically checked on the fallen MVP. The show went off the air with the announcers wondering what MVP was going to do to round out his team so close to Lockdown. Thoughts: In a vacuum this was a good match with a nice swerve at the end. Unfortunately wrestling does not exist in a vacuum. This is the second straight main event swerve on Impact (a show that’s seen waaaaay too many screwjob finishes over the past three months). Not only was it redundant, but you pinned MVP only four months into his TNA run. I liked the chemistry between Roode & MVP, but I really disliked this finish.
Final Thoughts: For the most part this was a good show. The main event build for the clash of The Joe-Nus Brothers has been simple but solid. If they continue to bring it next week and on the PPV, Magnus and Joe could come off as bigger stars when this feud is over. Gunner vs. Storm is a nice little mid-card feud that gives the creative team a chance to see what they have in Gunner, and gives Storm something to do while waiting for the inevitable Beer Money reunion. And Angle-ECIII in the cage is starting to look like it could be a very solid match/story.
There were fewer negatives on the show this week but there were negatives that really bugged me. The Aries turn and the pinning of MVP were good moments, but they could have been saved for the actual Lethal Lockdown match. I STILL loathe the Samuel Shaw story and I actually think it’s a disservice to Mr. Anderson. I’d much rather have seen them stretch the Bully Ray program out for a couple more weeks instead of building a program between Anderson & Shaw. And as far as Willow goes…Will-NO (Amirite guys?!?).
But overall I would say I enjoyed the episode and I’m looking forward to the go home show next week. Well, that’s going to do it for your TNA recap this week. As always, any feedback/constructive criticism is certainly welcome. I’ll see you all back here next week as we talk about TNA’s final show before Lockdown!