Last night, the first TNA show under the Impact Wrestling name was main evented not by a match, but by an in-ring confrontation between Sting and Mr. Anderson. Sure, Anderson dressed as the early 90s version of the Stinger, and wrestlers mimicking other wrestlers is always an easy sell. But if the company wants to start emphasizing wrestling, or even if they just want to claim that to be the case, it’s probably not a great idea to end the first event of the new era with anything other than a wrestling match. At any rate, Anderson attacked the World Champion, leveling him with a Scorpion Death Drop.
The segment prior to Anderson’s attack on Sting didn’t feature any wrestling either. Instead, Ric Flair returned to the Impact Zone to call out Robert Roode. Flair stumbled through a sub-par promo, but Roode brought his A-game. After Flair slapped the Wall Street Investor, things got physical between the two and Roode locked him in the same armbar that put him on the shelf a few weeks ago. Immortal hit the ring and their numbers were too much for Roode, as they eventually overpowered him, forcing him to the mat. The villainous group then smashed Roode’s arm between two chairs, and it looked pretty convincingly painful. Well sold segment. Roode’s really starting to hit his stride on the microphone, and I think it’s time he steps up as a singles competitor. I’d like to think Flair’s in-ring career is over, but I know better, so I hope that when he does inevitably lace his boots again, he does the right thing and jobs to Robert Roode. The rest of Impact, and the lack of conviction behind their “Wrestling Matters” tagline, beyond the jump.
- Impact opened with Eric Bischoff and Immortal being interrupted by several X Division stars, led by Brian Kendrick. Kendrick spoke on behalf of the TNA locker room in telling Bischoff to shut up, and as a result of the confrontation, matches were made for the evening that would pit X Division stars against Bischoff’s hand-picked opponents. Kazarian would meet Abyss for the X Division Title, Amazing Red would face Samoa Joe, and Generation Me would tangle with Matt Hardy and Eric Bischoff himself. It was all downhill from there…
- If forced to declare a main event, I guess it would be Velvet Sky taking on Winter & Angelina Love in a handicap match since it was the last actual match on the show. Velvet was victorious after she rolled up Angelina, but she was attacked by a returning ODB after the match. Velvet’s made it clear that she plans on targeting the Knockouts Title, but it seems ODB has other plans for her. It’s obvious the Velvet is on her way up the card, so ODB will probably just serve as a stepping stone to further establish Sky’s quest for the gold. I hope we get some actual closure on Angelina’s brainwashing and it doesn’t just fizzle out and disappear.
- In other knockouts action, the team of Tara, Mickie James, & Miss Tessmacher defeated Madison Rayne, Sarita, & Rosita. The match served to portray Tara as a dominant force and establish that Madison Rayne wants nothing to do with facing her. We’re heading into a Madison Rayne vs Tara program, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the two of them compete in a triple threat match at Slammiversary against Mickie James with the Knockouts Title on the line.
- Abyss defeated Kazarian to win the X Division Title. The match was pretty good, but Abyss has no business holding that belt. If I had any faith that TNA had a plan behind this that would lead to something worthwhile down the line, I’d forgive it, but I’m confident that they do not. Pretty garbage title change.
- The bad luck for the X Division stars continued when Samoa Joe squashed Amazing Red. After the match, Joe continued to beat Red down until Crimson came out to make the save. I’m looking forward to the end of Crimson’s streak, and I’d be fine with it if it were to be Joe who ends it. I didn’t really appreciate seeing Red beaten so effortlessly, but I’m sure next week he’ll return to being one of “Mexico’s top luchadors.” And despite it coming at Red’s expense, it’s always good to see Joe wreck somebody.
- Eric Young thinks he’s the TV Champ. Gunner isn’t happy about it. Blah blah blah. I’m not that into either of these guys, and unless Miss Tessmacher is going to be involved in all of their segments, label me uninterested.
- Speaking of uninterested, I am so tired of the Angle and Jarrett feud. It reminds me of Cole vs King in respect to how much airtime it gets, how long it’s limped on, and how poor the writing is. A long in-ring interview with the two determined that they’ll meet in a #1 contenders match at the pay-per-view, and Angle will put his Olympic medal on the line. Logically, I’d think that this MUST be the end of the feud. I mean, it’s a #1 contenders match, so one of these guys should move on to feud with the World Champion afterwards. This is TNA, though, and logic is not to be assumed.
- Tommy Dreamer went full-fledged heel by dismantling AJ Styles. Dreamer said that although his actions were forced before, this attack was conducted because it’s what he wanted to do. Christopher Daniels ran out to rescue his best friend, but his presence was countered by an attack from Bully Ray. Dreamer hit a vicious spike piledriver to cap the attack, and I’m kind of digging him as a heel. He’s not on the level as Bully Ray, and I doubt he’ll ever be, but at least it’s something new for him.
- In the final X Division match made by Eric Bischoff, tragedy struck. The reuniting Generation Me were made to job to Matt Hardy & Eric Bischoff. Bischoff pinned Max Buck for the win, and that’s all you need to know. This was infuriating. The last and only time anybody wanted to see Eric Bischoff wrestle was at the height of the Monday Night Wars, against Vince McMahon. It’s not a stretch to say that no one in the world wants to hear him talk, let alone watch him wrestle. This was pathetic, and if it’s any indication of what “Impact Wrestling” is going to be like, count me out.
Although it was nice to be without Hulk Hogan on this week’s Impact, the show was ultimately a failure. For a company rebranding itself around the importance of wrestling, there were certainly a lot of non-wrestling segments. On the bright side, Robert Roode continues to improve, the knockouts are still tearing up their matches, and the Sting / Anderson angle has some momentum. Ultimately, though, these points were not enough to outweigh the burial of the X Division or the travesty that was Eric Bischoff stepping into the ring. This was not the way begin a new era in TNA wrestling.