This Week’s (C.P.T.-Riffic) Review:
“Storm Front” ~Or~ “March Badness”
Greetings, “True-Believers.” I hope everyone had a great weekend! First off, let me apologize for the lateness of the recap. Between new work hours and trying to understand Willow, I guess I got bit by the C.P.T. bug. I’m writing this week’s recap while ripping up my NCAA Tourney bracket (Thanks Duke!!!). The only thing that can lift my spirits after missing out on a chance at Warren Buffett’s millions is some good old-fashioned TNA Wrasslin’. This week TNA gave us a show with a title match, gullible babyfaces, one of the best segments this year and Willow (yeah…I know). So without any further ado… Let’s get to the show!
Impact begins with a backstage brawl between Abyss and Eric Young. EY got some good shots in early, but eventually he was overpowered by the monster. The two men fought from the back and all the way into the arena while Ey’s wifey (ODB), tried to get help. They finally made their way into the ring where EY began to blast Abyss with a chain wrapped around his fist. Abyss fought back as the announcers stated that these two men would be ringside for the match between Magnus and Samoa Joe later in the night. Abyss threw a bunch of weapons into the ring, including a chair, that he flapjacked EY onto. Then the “Artist Formerly Known As Joe Park” began to choke EY with a rope as the crowd chanted for Samoa Joe. The segment ends with Abyss leaving a near-unconscious Eric Young laying in the ring being tended to by ODB. This brawl went WAY too long and was not a good way to kick off this week’s show.
We get a replay of the brawl (just in case you missed anything), and then we cut back to the arena where Ethan Carter III makes his way to the ring for his match with the returning Bobby Lashley. Lashley’s generic “Boss” music plays the returning hero out. Say what you will about his in-ring ability, the dude still looks like a million bucks. And that brings us to our first official match of the night: Ethan Carter III Vs. Bobby Lashley. Lashley grabs the early advantage with some high-impact power spots, forcing ECIII to bail out of the ring. Lashley chased Carter around the ring and caught a chop for his troubles. The two men got tangled up with referee Brian Hebner and the distraction allowed ECIII to connect with a low blow. Carter began to walk up the ramp when Willow attacked him from behind. The ref called for the bell and Willow went to work. Willow repeatedly threw Carter into the ring steps and then Pillmanized ECIII’s ankle with a chair. Willow then pulled out a ladder and went to deliver a splash from the top, but ECIII managed to escape. Winner: ECIII by DQ in 5:31.
Thoughts: Another week, another Willow beat-down on one of the men that cost Jeff Hardy the title. I have no idea where they’re going with this character, and I’m almost to the point where I don’t care. TNA fans want to see Jeff Hardy… Not this new character.
We go from that to a video from earlier in the day. Bully Ray is in Nashville for a meeting with TNA President Dixie Carter. Ray says that Dixie is making him wait, but that’s fine because he’s a patient man. Then we cut back to Orlando where we find an irate Samoa Joe barging into MVP’s office. Joe says he’s frustrated because of what MVP let happen at Lockdown and because EY was supposed to be Joe’s insurance policy during the title match. MVP tries to calm the #1 contender down, but much like Sweet Brown, Joe ain’t got time fo’ dat! Joe storms out of the office and MVP sells a look of concern as we had to break.
Back from break, we see an angry ECIII limping around backstage. Carter bursts into Magnus’ locker room and asks the champ why he didn’t have his back when Willow attacked him. ECIII calls Magnus an ass and Magnus just laughs at him. Magnus says their business relationship is over. He says he doesn’t care about ECIII or “Auntie D” because all he needs is Abyss. The two former associates have a brief staredown as ECIII walks away in a huff.
We head out to the ring where we find Gunner preparing to address the Impact Zone. Gunner says he’s proud that he beat one of the toughest men in TNA at Lockdown. He’s also proud that he served his country. He thanks the fans and then thanks his dad (who is sitting in the front row). Gunner says that despite his loss to Magnus a few weeks ago, he still plans to become World Heavyweight Champion someday. Then he walks over to his dad and gives him a hug saying, “I love you Pop” (shades of HHH & Vince). Just then, the unrecognizable notes of James Storm’s new heel theme music starts to play. The Cowboy comes out with a mic in one hand and a cold bottle of Stormweiser in the other.
Storm says he hates to break up the family reunion, but he thinks it’s rude that Gunner brought his daddy here without introducing him. Storm says he made Gunner a star before ragging on Gunner’s dad about crying in that video package before Lockdown. Storm says that Gunner’s grandfather is looking down from Heaven and glad that he’s dead because that way, he didn’t have to live to see his son and grandson become huge disappointments. Gunner finally snaps and clocks The Cowboy. Gunner went to continue his attack, but caught a Last Call Superkick from Storm. Storm then handcuffed Gunner to the ring and snatched Gunner’s dad through the barricade to the ringside area. He got in Gunner’s dad’s face and insulted him before throwing him to the ground and walking away. Gunner’s dad got up and tried to free his son from the handcuffs and Storm ran back down the aisle and cracked the beer bottle over Gunner’s dad’s head (which the old man sold like a champ!). Gunner began cursing at Storm as Storm walked back up the ramp looking at his handiwork. This was a really good segment that actually makes you want to get invested in this feud. Then we cut backstage to find Gail Kim talking about being the standard-bearer for the Knockouts division. She hypes up her match against Lei’D Tapa and promises to end her career tonight as we head to break..
Back from break we got our second match of the night: Gail Kim Vs. Lei’D Tapa. Early on, the Tongan amazon dominated the former Knockouts champion with a variety of strikes and power moves. The story of the match was that Tapa was able to dominate Gail, but she could never manage to finish her off. Eventually, Kim catches Tapa with the Eat Defeat from out of nowhere for the pin and the win. Gail taunted Tapa on her way out of the ring. Winner: Gail Kim in 4:11.
Thoughts: So… That’s it for Tapa? If it was, I can’t think of a more anti-climactic way to write off a character that had loads of potential.
We get a promo for Velvet Sky & Angelina Love’s in-ring confrontation later on tonight. And THEN, we get one of the weirdest segments in recent memory (and that’s saying something on this show). MVP is backstage looking for Willow. MVP tells Hardy that he can have a match against ECIII if he wants it. Willow started shouting (at times in falsetto) about politics, hidden agendas, greed and lots of other bad stuff. Willow says none of these issues involve him and he will strike when it’s his time. Then Willow walks off, and MVP (much like the viewers) has a puzzled look on his face. You know, I am a die-hard fan of this promotion, but even I have my limits. And I think this character/angle is my limit.
Fortunately we get a commercial break to cleanse our collective palate and then we come back to the ring for our weekly installment of “The Beautiful People Show.” Angelina Love calls Velvet Sky to the ring and the obligatory pigeons are released. Velvet gets on the mic and says that Angelina taught her to believe in herself when no one else did. But she also felt subservient to Angelina at times. Love gave her a non apology-apology and then said that one is the loneliest number in this business (“Numbah Onnnnnne!”), so they need to have each other’s backs. Angelina tried to get the crowd behind her request, but Velvet remained unsure. Vel-Vel says that after all she went through with Chris Sabin, it’s hard for her to trust people. She trusts Angelina and wants to bring The BP’s back! Love & Sky hug and then Angelina calls out the Knockouts Champion, Madison Rayne.
Madison comes out looking apprehensive. Angelina says it’s going to be just like old times, “With Angelina Love!!! Velvet Sky!! And Madison Rayne.” Madison says that this is why she didn’t miss being in the Beautiful People because they always made her feel like a junior member. She says as much as she appreciates the offer, she is not interested in a reunion. She then apologizes to Velvet and leaves the ring while Angelina looked insulted and Velvet looked confused. A solid segment that should lead to a match down the road.
Next we get D.J. Zema Ion introducing the TNA Tag-Team champions for their three-team title defense. That takes us to our next matchup: The Bro-Mans Vs. The Wolves Vs. Sanada & Tigre Uno (Three-Way Dance for the TNA Tag-Team titles). The Wolves started out with the early advantage showcasing a lot of crisp double-team moves. Tigre Uno and Sanada then took control of the match and were on the verge of winning the titles. Then D.J. Zema grabbed Sanada’s X-Division title belt and took a selfie with it, which distracted Sanada. This allowed the Bro-Mans to hit the Bro-Down on Tigre Uno for the win. Winners: The Bro-Mans in 9:45.
Thoughts: A solid TV match that was probably about three minutes away from being really good. I continue to be a fan of Sanada & Uno. The Bro-Mans are a nice mid-card team while The Wolves are stars waiting to happen.
Next we head backstage to see Angelina Love walking into Madison Rayne’s locker room. Angelina says that what Madison said was true and if she rejoins the BP’s, it will be an equal partnership. Madison says she’ll think about it and they hug. Suddenly, Angelina grabbed Madison by the hair and rammed her head into a locker. Angelina told Madison to never disrespect her again and then walked off.
We cut to MVP telling Samoa Joe that he’s going to fix things tonight by taking EY’s place and chaining himself to Abyss. Then we go to a video package featuring the returning Knux. Then in some sort of meta Aces & Eights reference, we go from the Knux promo to Taz setting up the Bully Ray footage from his meeting with Dixie earlier in the day. We go to the video and find out that Bully is not as patient as he claimed earlier. He bursts into Dixie’s office and when she doesn’t turn around in her chair, he starts going off on her. He says that everyone that loves wrestling despises Dixie. Ray said he did what he did at Lockdown because he doesn’t respect her. He gets annoyed that Dixie won’t face him, so he spins the chair around. To his surprise, it’s empty. Then out of nowhere, Bobby Roode attacked Bully from behind. Roode says that Dixie didn’t invite him to Nashville, he did. I like both of these performers, but Bully came off looking extremely gullible in this segment.
And now it’s time for our Impact main event: TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus Vs. Samoa Joe for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Before the bell sounds, Abyss and MVP are chained to each other ringside. Magnus targets Joe’s mid-section early on as Joe continues to sell his injuries from their match at Lockdown. Everytime Joe began to mount a comeback, Magnus responded with a shot to Joe’s ribs. Magnus continued to have the advantage as we got to a mid-match commercial break. When we return, Joe begins to fire up. He hits Magnus with a series of high-impact moves before sinking in a rear-naked choke. Magnus fought to get back to a vertical base and then ran Joe into referee Brian Hebner, who was out cold. This prompted Abyss to reach under the ring and grab a bag of thumbtacks. MVP was having no part of that and went to stop the monster. After laying Abyss out, MVP unchained himself from Abyss and went to go check on the ref. This was the opening Abyss needed. He got back up and clocked MVP with a chair. Samoa Joe sees this and goes for his flying tope through the ropes. But instead of connecting with Abyss, his skull connects with the chair as the monster cuts off Joe’s offense. Magnus covers Joe for the win as Taz and Tenay play up that MVP had the best intentions. Winner: Magnus in 12:00 to retain the World Title.
Thoughts: Another week, another screwjob title defense for Magnus. It was a fun match, but I didn’t like the story surrounding it. Magnus should be booked stronger, MVP should be booked smarter and the angles should be given time to simmer.
Final Thoughts: This edition of Impact was slightly better than last week, but also pretty average. We got zero Sam Shaw, which was kinda nice. We got a double-shot of Willow, so they kind of cancel each other out. I really liked the Storm and Gunner segment. That’s a program I feel they should really let simmer, but instead we’re getting that next week (Come on, man!).
Well, that’s it for the recap this week. As always, any feedback and/or constructive criticism is certainly welcome. I’ll see you all back here (hopefully on time) next week as we talk about the return of Samuel Shaw and more shenanigans with Willow (yeah… I know).