By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Ethan Carter III and Rhino def. Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer
The pre-match promos from all four competitors were well done, though I can't say it's wise to kick off a set of tapings where TNA is said to be different with a talking segment. Granted, it didn't last long, but it would've been fine if they just went straight into the matchup instead. The match itself was fun while it lasted and could've easily gone a few more minutes. Dreamer and Rhino can still very much go in the ring and didn't take away from te bout at all. The crowd was hot for the action and the heels going over was the right move. An electric opening to the show.
X-Division Champion Austin Aries def. Manik, World Tag Team Champions The Wolves, Crazy Steve, Tigre Uno, Sanada and DJ Z in a Gauntlet Battle Royal
I'm not a fan of the Gauntlet Battle Royal matches TNA tends to do on occasion, but it was a fun match while it lasted given the talent involved. A lot of the eliminations felt rushed, but once it came down to Sanada and Aries, it was entertaining. Why not give Sanada his rightful one-on-one title rematch instead of going through a Gauntlet since none of the other competitors deserved a title shot anyway? Either way, I look forward to what Aries' decision will be in regards to "Option C" next week.
Bobby Roode and Eric Young def. MVP and Kenny King by Disqualification
Despite their history together, Roode and Young didn't click as a team as well as they probably should have. That aside, the match was good especially considering MVP is still partly injured. They did a nice job of working around that and preventing Roode from fully getting his hands on MVP. The disqualification finish protected the heels in defeat and them getting the upper hand gave them more heat. Roode and MVP should produce a quality contest when they eventually meet one-on-one.
Madison Rayne def. Brittany in a No Disqualification Match
I've been enjoying the ongoing story between Rayne and Brittany, but the No Disqualification match felt premature. Brittany turned heel only a few weeks ago and their first match against each other should have been a standard singles match. Speaking of such, it's no surprise that the crowd jeered the bout throughout considering this set of tapings happened before Brittany's heel turn aired on TV. However, they worked a nice match with some cool spots thrown in. Rayne shouldn't have gone over in their initial encounter if this isn't the end of the feud (and it shouldn't be).
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Lashley def. Jeff Hardy
Most of Lashley's matches so far during his TNA run have been hit or miss, but this was a great match by the standards I have set for it. He worked well with Hardy and the two developed excellent chemistry together. The fans were invested in the action and the nearfalls toward the end were well done. Hardy's Swanton Bomb spot on the steel steps on the outside might have been unnecessary, but major props to him for going through for it as it made for an awesome visual. The clean win adds a lot to Lashley's credibility as a competitor and as a champion.
Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer Interrupted Dixie Carter
Carter continues to garner strong heat, but it's probably not the kind of heat she should be getting. I was glad she wasn't all over the show this week and what keeps me optimistic about her role is that she'll (hopefully) be written out of storylines soon when Ray inevitably puts her through a table. The crowd popped big for Team 3D reuniting and for Ethan Carter III being put through the table. It was a very cool moment and its builds suspense for when it eventually happens to Dixie.
I've been extremely excited for these New York shows since they were first taped in late June and this first show lived up to expectations. There was a lot of enjoyable action and moments that did a superb job of building toward what's to come going forward. The crowd, as expected, was electric all night long and made for an excellent environment. If the rest of the episodes of Impact taped in New York are as good as this one, then fans are in for a real treat in coming weeks.