By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Contract for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match at Lockdown Was Signed
MVP has been doing really well in his role as the Investor these last few weeks, while Magnus and Samoa Joe were very good here as well. They had an enjoyable exchange and built their matchup nicely, though it would have been nice if they mentioned their storied past. That aside, Joe beating up on Magnus here left viewers wanting to see him completely annhilate him at Lockdown. Wasn't this segment so much better without Dixie Carter involved?
The Bro-Mans def. Bad Influence and TNA World Tag Team Champions The Wolves in a Triple Threat Tag Team Match to Qualify for Team Roode (Non-title)
I assume the entrances of the wrestlers were cut since The Bro-Mans are no longer tag team champions after the straps changed hands at a recent house show, but that was only a small gripe. The match itself was actually entertaining since it was mostly Bad Influence and The Wolves doing all of the work, having a much better match than they did last week. That being said, it was pretty obvious from the get-go that The Bro-Mans would win, but at least the match was fun to watch. The Bro-Mans being added to Team Roode was logical given their ties to Dixie Carter, so no complaints there.
Ethan Carter III def. Doug Williams
I usually despise open challenges from EC3, but I didn't mind this one in particular since it saw the one night only return of Williams. The crowd gave him a great reaction during the match, so it was a shame that it was a complete squash and didn't go longer than only a few minutes. The post-match attack on the hometown hero Williams put good heat on EC3 as well.
Gunner Confronted James Storm
I couldn't have cared less about this feud when it was first teased many months back, but I will admit that they managed to get me somewhat invested in it with Storm's heel turn last week. I still think Storm has massive potential as a babyface, but he could really flourish as a heel as well. This was a solid segment with good mic work from both men. The subsequent brawl was nice, but the whole thing seemed rushed for some reason. TNA needs to learn to let a match or segment digest before quickly cutting to the next thing.
Samoa Joe def. Bad Bones
I wouldn't have been bothered by this match so much had a squash not happened earlier in the evening (or two segments before this to be exact). Sure, it showcased Joe's dominance and excellent intensity that he's been showing in recent weeks, but wasn't that already solidified at the start of the show with the brawl between Joe and Magnus? The feud between the two rivals was furthered here ever so slightly, but it didn't serve a purpose outside of that.
Ethan Carter III Interrupted Kurt Angle's TNA Hall of Fame Induction
One has to assume that this was done now as opposed to at Bound For Glory in October due to TNA worrying that Angle might not sign past August. That being said, the induction was well done and definitely deserved by Angle. He cut a very nice speech and EC3's ultimate interruption was expected. This built toward their now confirmed match at Lockdown and made EC3 look like an equal to Angle in the process, despite the fact he was the one who ran off after Angle attacked him.
Lei'D Tapa and Alpha Female def. Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky
The Knockouts division has been basically nonexistent in recent months, so this match felt meaningless even though I enjoyed the brief Beautiful People reunion. The match was fine for what it was, but it was hardly anything special. Alpha Female looked decent in the small amount of time she was in the ring for and it was a good thing her team picked up the win otherwise the giants would have looked weak. Any heat they garnered was squandered once ODB cleared the ring, but it will interesting to see if she feuds with Tapa or aligns with Sky to take on Alpha Female.
Samuel Shaw Attacked Mr. Anderson
I'm still not a fan of Shaw or his extremely strange gimmick (yes, I realize that's the point, but how much lasting power does it have?), but he performed exceptionally well here. Anderson was his usual hysterical self and I was surprised to see Shaw actually get the upper hand over him. Sure, this feud is a nice step up for Shaw, but it feels like a downgrade for Anderson after feuding with Bully Ray. If nothing else, at least the live crowd was receptive to this segment.
Bobby Roode def. MVP with Austin Aries as the Special Guest Referee
Although it was a first time ever match, it didn't feel like there was anything special about it. Both competitors tried hard and put forth a good effort, but it wasn't anything memorable by any means. The Aries heel turn could be seen coming from a mile away, but I liked the move. Aries seems to turn every so often, so it loses impact every time, but at least it puts Aries back in a prominent position on the show after being overlooked for far too long.
Last week's show was so terrible that the latest episode felt like a much better improvement in comparison. While it was by no means perfect, it featured several solid segments and matchups, specifically the opener, Angle's Hall of Fame induction and the main event. There was also hype for the upcoming Lockdown pay-per-view, which was important. With the pay-per-view being Sunday (and it being one of three live pay-per-views that TNA does a year), here's hoping TNA makes next week's go-home show a good one in convincing viewers that it will be a must-see event.