By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Dixie Carter Introduced Her New Stable
Hearing Dixie's entrance theme kick off a show I had high hopes for wasn't exactly the best way to kick off the night, but at least the segment served a purpose. It explained why Rycklon (Big Zeke) and Snitsky are in TNA and why they're aligned with the Carters, even if no one in attendance cared. Nothing against Rycklon or Snitsky, but they're not big enough stars to make an impact (no pun intended). At least Ethan Carter III cut a good promo on Bully Ray and company. I could have done without the constant ECW mentions, but here's hoping it's only being down when they're in New York where there's a big market for it.
TNA World Tag Team Champions The Wolves def. The Hardys
Wow! I had forgotten what tag team wrestling was all about until seeing this match. Seriously, this was off-the-charts awesome. This was seen as a dream match in the eyes of fans and it definitely delivered on all cylinders. The action was extremely entertaining and the live crowd was receptive to all the suspenseful near-falls. The Hardys put The Wolves over in a big way and it was cool to see the two teams shake hands after the bout. My only complaint would be that it should have gotten more time, but that's a minor gripe as they more than made the most of the 10 minutes they were given.
Low-Ki def. DJ Z and Manik in a Triple Threat Ultimate X Qualifying Match
DJ Z, as talented as he is, has the most obnoxious gimmick (and not in a good way) and had no business in the Ultimate X match (despite winning it two years ago). Manik has been irrelevant for ages, which left Low-Ki who was over like crazy. This was a very fun match as expected with a lot of innovative spots thrown in. The video package did a nice job of reintroducing Low-Ki to the fans who may have forgotten about him and I'm glad he advanced. He'd also be the perfect fit for X-Division Champion if he sticks around for the foreseeable future.
Sanada def. Crazy Steve and Brian Cage in a Triple Threat Ultimate X Qualifying Match
Whereas the previous match had all the talent in it, this match was left with the scraps. Crazy Steve is a good worker from what I've seen, but his gimmick is too goofy to be taken seriously. Brian Cage, while impressive for a guy his size, is too clunky in the ring. Sanada tried to pull this match together the best he could, but none of these guys had the right chemistry together, resulting in a sloppy matchup. Sanada emerging victorious was predicable given his current storyline with James Storm and the attention it received beforehand.
Ethan Carter III Interrupted Bully Ray, Devon and Tommy Dreamer
It felt like there had been too much talking and not enough wrestling by this point in the show, but similar to this week's Raw, at least this segment was solid. The promos from Ray, Devon and especially Dreamer came across as genuinely passionate and the fans ate it all up. It was smart for EC3 to do the talking for his squad despite having already cut a promo earlier in the evening. This segment was successful in making the fans want to see the two sides go to war and hyping their match for next week.
Samoa Joe def. Homicide and Tigre Uno in a Triple Threat Ultimate X Qualifying Match
Joe being announced as a participant was a pleasant surprise since it's rare he competes in the X-Division these days. It was cool to see Homicide back for one night only as well. Tigre Uno had a nice showing here, but he's a guy who came in with a lot of buzz back in March but TNA has done next to nothing with him since. The match was better than the second X-Division match of the night, but not the first. Even still, everyone involved performed well and I'm excited to see Joe contend for the title next week.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Lashley def. Austin Aries
I really enjoyed the David vs. Goliath feel the match had and how Aries was portrayed as the underdog throughout. The match was very well wrestled and both competitors put forth a strong effort. Aries put up a strong enough fight that he'll lose nothing in defeat. Besides, it was still too early to take the strap off Lashley and I love how he's been built up as a credible champion with all the clean wins in the last month. This way, it will mean that much more when he eventually does drop the title.
Some of the X-Division matches under-delivered, but as a whole, this was another very good show from TNA. The bookend matches were excellent and definitely worth going out of your way to see. Everything else in between did an effective job of building toward next week and made the two hours fly by. These last three episodes of Impact Wrestling in New York have been nothing short of awesome and I look forward to what's in store for upcoming editions.