By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bobby Roode Interrupted Kurt Angle and Magnus
Angle cut a good promo talking about why winning back the world title is so important to him on his road to redemption. Magnus was solid on the mic as well, but wasn't as successful in evoking a reaction out of the live crowd. They recapped their history in the Main Event Mafia together as well as Magnus' injury from last week, so this was effective in building toward their Last Man Standing match later in the night. roode and Jeff Hardy played their roles well, with their promos serving as a nice tie-in to their subsequent Tables match.
Jeff Hardy def. Bobby Roode in a Tables Match to Advance to the Finals of the TNA Title Tournament
Hardy and Roode have always worked well together and this was no exception. They have had better matches in the past and I honestly thought the tables stipulation hindered them more than it helped them, but they made the most of it. There were a handful of suspenseful spots and the draw finish made for an intriguing hook going into the commercial break. The finish felt anticlimactic, but I was shocked to see Hardy go over given how he has hardly been on television in recent months. I am usually against the idea of interference in matches, but it would have made sense for Angle to cost Roode the victory here given their recent rivalry.
Ethan Carter III def. Earl Hebner
Although I grown tiresome of Carter facing enhancement talent and Hebner is certainly no wrestler, I thought this was Carter's best performance to date. No, the "match" wasn't what was great. Rather, it was EC3's intensity on the mic and the immense amount of heat he received from the live crowd. This was the fire we needed to see from the EC3 character in order for him to evolve and it worked to perfection. Having Earl's son Brian serve as the referee for the match was a nice touch as well.
Bad Influence Exposed Joseph Park
This asinine angle is still going on? Seriously? I apologize for sounding like a broken record, but this has been dragged on for far too long. I thought we would see the blow-off of the storyline at Turning Point a few weeks ago, but no such luck. This segment was something of a step in the right direction, can TNA please reveal Joseph Park as Abyss and get it over with already?
World Tag Team Champions The Bro-Mans def. James Storm and Gunner by Disqualification (Non-title)
Just when I thought The Bro-Mans couldn't get any more annoying, they did with the addition of Zema Ion to their act. Does he really serve much of a purpose? Throw him back in the X-Division and put his talent to good use. After having a pleasantly surprising match at Bound For Glory for the tag titles, these two teams failed to have an exciting match here. It was over within a matter of minutes with its only purpose being to once again tease tension between Gunner and Storm. I can't say I am exciting to see them feud, but it is better than keeping them together at this point.
Knockouts Champion Gail Kim def. Laura Dennis in an Open Challenge Match (Non-title)
I know it is a part of Kim's heel persona, but is it really necessary for her to bury her competition by saying she dominated them all and calling them all jokes? This was more of the same from Kim, who dominated most of the match and picked up the win in the end. Lei'd Tapa looks to be headed for a feud with ODB, so that might give us a break from the already boring open challenge gimmick for a few weeks.
Magnus def. Kurt Angle in a Last Man Standing Match to Advance to the Finals of the TNA Title Tournament
As much as I hate to say it (since I am a massive Magnus fan), Magnus just isn't over right now, which is why the fans were heavily behind Angle in this match. They weren't invested in the action, and it is hard to blame them given how predictable the ending outcome was. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though, as I am ecstatic to see Magnus in the finals of the TNA title tournament and hope to see him win the strap at Final Resolution. The feud between Angle and Roode was also nicely furthered via Roode's interference, but with there being no rules in the match to begin with, what was the point of the ref bump?
Despite the importance of the opening and closing matches, neither of them clicked with this viewer. Don't get me wrong, both matches were very well wrestled, but the gimmicky aspects of each bout simply weren't needed. No stories were told, thus I didn't feel engaged as a viewer. The rest of the show, while nothing bad, was pure filler and nothing more for the most part. Thankfully, TNA hyped a number of matches for next week's show, so at least they executed that effectively on this edition of Impact Wrestling.