By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bobby Lashley and Eric Young Confronted TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle
While it was a pretty standard segment on the whole, everything that occurred could be seen coming from a mile away. Still, everyone played their parts well and it was a logical way of building toward the Triple Threat title match in the main event. The teasing of tension between Lashley and Angle was well done, but why rush their third encounter so soon? Young's claim to be in the match made sense, but the match would have benefited from being hyped up a week out.
Awesome Kong def. Gail Kim in a No. 1 Contender's Match for the Knockouts Championship
By Knockouts standards, this was a good match, but it was disappointing in that it was nowhere as great as it could have been. Kong and Kim revolutionized the Knockouts division back in 2007 and always had amazing matches, so this wasn't on par with their past bouts. Plus, it felt premature to give away their first one-on-one meeting in many years without much build. It's possible they were holding back so they can deliver the match they're capable of when it means more down the line, but this match shouldn't have happened to begin with.
Khoya def. Manik and Abyss in a Triple Threat Match to Earn the Right to Team with James Storm Next Week
Could it be any more obvious that Khoya is going to be the first one to break away from The Revolution? TNA obviously has big plans for him, but I don't know if his level of progression is where it should be if they're going to turn him so soon, though he was the logical winner here. It was weird for the three members to face each other only for the commentators to constantly remind us that The Revolution wasn't imploding. Given that they were all heels, the crowd was left with no one to cheer for. By the way, when did Sanada get ousted from The Revolution? I must have missed that.
Mike Tenay Interviewed Kaval
I thought I was watching an episode of Unlocked when I first saw this as they usually only air excerpts on Impact Wrestling and never the entire thing. Nevertheless, it was a really good sit-down interview. Kaval has never struck me as the best talker, but in this environment, he flourished and it gave him a back story that many other members of the roster don't have. I know some people probably rolled their eyes when his time in WWE was brought up, but I didn't have an issue with it since he didn't trash his former employer; instead, he looked at it as an opportunity that he made the most out of. If only the next segment did air immediately after...
The Rising def. The Beat Down Clan by Disqualification
I may be in the minority on this one, but I'm not at all a fan of the anti-WWE narrative Drew Galloway and the rest of The Rising seem to be telling. It's not because I'm a "mark" for WWE but rather because we see it with almost every ex-WWE talent that comes through TNA. Ethan Carter III is a prime example of someone who WWE missed the boat on, but he didn't come to TNA and trash WWE. Instead, he completely reinvented himself and proved to WWE that he had potential. Also, you can't honestly tell me that it doesn't seem like they're trying to rip off The Shield with this group. From the get-go, I'm already annoyed by them and I hope they ditch the "Voice of te Voiceless" shtick quickly as it's been done to death. The match was never really given a chance to get started before it abruptly ended. On a lighter note, it's nice to see Homicide join The Beat Down Clan as he's a perfect fit in the stable.
Davey Richards def. DJ Z
When Eddie Edwards was sidelined with an injury recently, I was curious as to how Richards would fare on his own if he was going to be used at all. Thankfully, he appears he'll be branching off into the X-Division until Edwards returns which is good news. I'm a fan of Richards' work and I think he can do a lot of cool things in singles competition in the time that Edwards is out, showing people he is more than just a tag team competitor. This was a fun outing for him and I'd like to see him enter the X-Division Championship picture at some point.
Several Tandems Joined the World Tag Team Championship Hunt
The only tag teams that made sense in any of this were The Hardys and Austin Aries and Bobby Roode, and even the latter team I'm skeptical of since it seems neither guy has anything going on at the moment. Why wouldn't Ethan Carter III just team with Tyrus? What's the relationship between Mr. Anderson and Rockstar Spud? This was all one giant mess, but it made it all the more obvious that The Hardys are likely to be walking away as the new World Tag Team Champions once the tournament is finished.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle def. Lashley and Eric Young in a Triple Threat Match
While it was a very well wrestled match, it didn't capture the same big fight feel that the first two matches between Angle and Lashley did. As I mentioned earlier, this match would have benefited from being advertised a week out. Still, from an in-ring standpoint, the action was entertaining and everyone shined at one point or another. It was yet another solid championship main event that I just wish had more meaning. Angle winning clean by pinning Lashley with the moonsault off the top rope (does he ever win with that move aside from when it's off the top of a steel cage?) was a pleasant surprise and I hope that concludes their feud for now. However, I get the feeling the rivalry isn't over yet considering Young attacked Lashley afterward and Angle was nowhere to be seen. Obviously, I'm sensing a heel turn for Angle might be in the works.
Personally, I enjoyed the Bell-to-Bell format from last week more, but I realize it can't be done like that every week (otherwise, it wouldn't be as special). That said, this was a decent show with a few highlights including the solid main event and the Kaval interview, but everything else was either adequate or fell flat. Kong vs. Kim was definite disappointment, the tag team segment was a total mess, and The Revolution stuff left me scratching my head. The Rising stuff also got on my nerves, but I'll reserve judgement until I see more of them. I'm not sure what creative direction most of the storylines are headed in, but hopefully they can get back to having hot shows like they did overseas (though I'm not holding my breath).