By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bobby Roode and Ethan Carter III def. Bully Ray and Willow
Any wrestling show that starts off with a match instead of a long, drawn-out segment automatically gets a thumbs up from me. The Tables stipulation was unnecessary since both feuds just recently started, but it made for a fun match. Willow abandoning Ray to kidnap Rockstar Spud was silly, but it gave Ray an out for losing. I liked how Roode picked up the clean victory and continued to decimate Ray after the match, but the match definitely could have gone on longer. It put good heat on Roode and progressed their feud nicely.
Samuel Shaw def. Mr. Anderson in a Straight Jacket Match
This feud has been a roller coaster over the last month. It started out strange, got better as time progressed, but jumped the shark after Lockdown. The idea behind this match was just plain stupid and boring, and Shaw locking in his sleeper finisher didn't help matters. The commentators tried to put it over as deadly (and it is in MMA), but in pro wrestling, it puts audiences to sleep. This made up for Shaw's loss to Anderson in the Street Fight, but I hope this is the end of the rivalry so both guys can move on to bigger and better things.
X-Division Champion Sanda def. Tigre Uno in a Best of Three Series Match (Non-title)
It was nice to see Kenny King back on TNA TV after being gone for about six months. His confrontation with MVP was well done, even if being in the same ring with him showed off just how much of a knock-off his character is of his. The segment made Sanada and Uno look like afterthoughts, so I'm not sure why it couldn't have happened in another segment on the show. Nonetheless, the match between Sanada and Uno was fun while it lasted, but the live crowd didn't have an incentive to cheer for one wrestler over another. They cheered for the big spots, but that was about it. The crowd won't care about either of them until they show character development. Why put them against each other instead of putting them against other TNA talent?
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus Called Out Abyss
Magnus has always been great on the mic and this segment showed that. He's obviously trying to get Abyss on his good side going into the TNA title match, so him confessing his "love" for The Monster made sense from a storyline standpoint, even though it was odd. Their brawls with Samoa Joe and Eric Young helped hype the main event match, so it was at least effective in that respect.
The Beautiful People def. Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne and Brittany
It was good to hear from Brittany again after she randomly fell off the face of the earth following her debut three weeks ago. Her win over Gail Kim was hardly played up at all, which was a missed opportunity. Of everyone involved, Brittany was the logical one to take the loss, but it didn't do much to boost her momentum. The match was decent and it gave The Beautiful People their first win back as a team, so I look forward to seeing Love contend for the Knockouts Championship in the near future.
MVP Fought Kenny King in an Exhibition Match
Exhibitions make zero sense to me. There's no pinfalls or submissions, so how is that considered exciting in pro wrestling? That being said, MVP and King made the most of it and had a good match. The "no contest" was smart booking as it kept the feud alive and protected both guys. I like the idea of the two feuding and this was an impressive first night for the King character. I'm happy to see him featured in something meaningful for once instead of sitting on the sidelines.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus def. Eric Young, Samoa Joe and Abyss in a Four Corners Match
While the matchup was well-wrestled and pretty good by Fatal 4-Way standards, it didn't have enough heat behind it to make this viewer care. They tried, I'll give them that, but it was stupid to think that Magnus and Abyss would split just mere weeks after joining forces. I also never doubted that there wouldn't be a title change since no one in the match had a chance of winning. The fact the title is defended every two weeks on Impact doesn't make the matches feel any more special, either. If nothing else, there wasn't any interference and Magnus won clean (kind of), so there's that.
Nothing on this show made me excited about the future direction of this company. There are some weeks that do get me excited, but it's weeks like this that make me question why I'm even watching the product on a weekly basis. The stipulations for most of the matches on this show were silly, even though the matches themselves weren't half-bad. There was nothing that was terrible, but not overly awesome to the point where I look forward to what happens next week. And no, Dixie Carter returning does not make me want to tune in next week. If anything, it makes me want to find something else to do. Didn't we see the last of her at Lockdown?