By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Austin Aries Interrupted TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle and Eric Young
This was more of the same from what we heard last week from these two with Angle basically asking if we were going to see the babyface Young or the heel Young in the title match. The tease was well done, but I don't understand the timing of it. It was a nice wrinkle to the main event, sure, but Young didn't turn all that long ago, so for them to even slightly hint at him turning again so soon is worrisome. Other than that, Aries played his role well per usual and did an effective job of adding interest to the title match.
Brooke def. Gail Kim, Angelina Love and Madison Rayne in a No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way for the Knockouts Championship
I feared the match would end up being up a train wreck with so many women involved, but even Brooke, the least experienced of the four, was carried to a good match by three other very talented ladies. Everyone took turns getting their spots in and the match flowed fairly nicely. The spot with all four ladies locking in submissions on each other was innovative, bu there weren't any other moments that stood out as being special. Brooke was the last person I expected to win, bu that isn't necessarily a bad thing. She's a fresh face in the title picture, but she needs to build credibility before she goes after the gold because she's been utilized as an enhancement talent for so long.
Mica def. Kenny King
I was never really a fan of Mica's work in WWE as Camacho, but he certainly showed more signs of potential here. He didn't instantly win me over, but he had a much better outing against King than he did against anyone else he faced in WWE. Beating King was a good win for him, but it should have been played up like a bigger deal with King being a former X-Division champion (though it's hard to put all the blame on Taz because he's flying solo on commentary for now). That said, the post-match attack on The Rising put good heat on the Beat Down Clan. The Rising strongly resembles The Shield in too many ways (similar theme, anti-authority attitude, three man group, etc.), so I hope they establish they own identity soon and/or find new material to work with instead of the same old stuff.
Laura Dennis def. Jade by Disqualification
As cool as it is to see Mia Yim in TNA, I'm hesitant about this "Dollhouse" gimmick she and Martie Bell have. The live crowd wasn't too receptive toward it and the whole match/segment came off as awkward. Maybe that was supposed to be the point, but they don't make me want to boo them (despite their attack on Christy Hemme); they just make me feel uncomfortable. Again, Yim's an incredible athlete and I'd hate to see her skills go to waste because of a stupid gimmick.
James Storm Interrupted Mickie James' Retirement Speech
If James' in-ring retirement is legitimate (and I assume it is), it's sad to see as I was hoping she'd get one more run in WWE before she hung up her boots for good, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards. Her competing one more time in TNA is better than not at all, I guess. Storm came off like a complete babyface here, but it's not difficult to tell that he's simply manipulating James, and at least Magnus recognizes that. Now the question is why he's trying to lure her out of retirement.
Davey Richards def. Manik
I've always been a fan of Ricards' work and it's great to see him getting a chance to shine as a singles competitor while Eddie Edwards is on the sidelines. He's a nice addition to the depleted X-Division as the division could use all the help it can get. This was a nice match, but nothing too much out of the ordinary. It was designed to set-up the post-match attack from The Revolution and the subsequent save from The Hardyz, so it appears The Revolution and The Hardyz still have some unfinished business.
Mr. Anderson Interrupted Ethan Carter III's Plea to Become TNA World Heavyweight Champion
This goes without saying, but EC3 is the best thing going in TNA today. TNA has their fair share of faults, but they've done an exception job of building up EC3 as a top-tier talent over the last year and a half. His various wins over TNA Hall of Famers alone are impressive and it's high time he got involved in the world title picture. I don't mind him feuding with Anderson for the time being if it's simply serving as a placeholder before he joins the title hunt sooner rather than later.
Knockouts Champion Taryn Terrell def. Awesome Kong in a No Disqualification Match
It was strange that the No Disqualification stipulation was added last minute, but that would come to make sense by the end. Regardless, this was a good match from the women and they definitely utilized the extreme environment well. Terrell has come a long way in the ring these last few years, but she still has more work to do when it comes to her mic skills. I'm hoping this heel turns helps her with that. She's a natural babyface, but an alliance with the debuting Dollhouse is interesting and will definitely rejuvenate her character. Also, Awesome Kong was never an established babyface or heel from the moment she returned to TNA, but hopefully being put in chase mode will make her the top babyface in the division from here on out.
Eric Young Attacked TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle and Austin Aries
I was very glad the match between Aries and Angle didn't ultimately come to fruition as that can be a major match if promoted ahead of time and not just at the start of a show. Young's attacks on both men were ruthless and put an end to any speculation that he was going to be turning back so soon (or so I hope). He's been shining as this "crazy" character and this definitely made me more interested in seeing him eventually contend for the title as well as potentially feud with Austin Aries somewhere down the line.
For a show that was heavily hyped as "Knockouts Night," it didn't deliver. There were three women's matches, which was nice, but that doesn't make it a Knockouts Night. I was expecting the entire night to be centered around the ladies, but that wasn't the case at all. They didn't do much to put emphasis on the division, either, with the exception of the video package before the title match. The rest of the show filled itself out well and was decent, but there wasn't anything outside of Terrell's heel turn that made the highlight reel for me. Is Hardcore Justice really next week? If so, they didn't advertise it at all throughout the show until after it had already ended, and it feels far too soon to be holding it, anyway. It's a fine hook to bring in viewers, I guess, but what good is it if no one knows about it?