By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Samoa Joe Called Out MVP
It's nice to see Joe back in the fold after a two month absence and it was logical for him to target MVP given that that had heat with each other prior to Joe taking time off. Joe's involvement in this authority angle peaks my interests in it slightly, but not enough to salvage it. MVP and his cronies are still overexposed and featuring them in the opening segment every week doesn't kick off the night on a very high note. If nothing else, it established Joe vs. Austin Aries for later in the night and gave viewers something to look forward to.
Willow def. Bram by Disqualification
The match wasn't long enough to give viewers a true feel of how good Bram is in the ring, but in the small doses we've seen of him (including his time in NXT), he seems to be a solid worker. I'm glad to finally see Magnus "embrace the hate" and brutalize Willow. This is the kind of heel he should have been from Day 1, not a cowardly champion that devalued the title with every defense. I'm not sure if it will stick, but I like it so far, especially if it leads to a tag team between the two. As for Willow, he's been an afterthought in this entire storyline and I'd prefer to see Willow go back to being Jeff Hardy sooner rather than later.
TNA World Tag Team Champion Eddie Edwards def. TNA World Tag Team Champion Davey Ricards
You knew this wasn't going to be the great match these two are capable of because MVP forced them to face each other. You also knew going in that there would be interference from one of MVP's buddies and sure enough, there was. The match was fun while it lasted, but as previously mentioned, it wasn't the classic contest it had the potential to be and Kenny King was extremely obnoxious. Normally, that's a desirable trait for a heel, but King has been too much of a comedic character to take seriously, which is a shame because he has talent.
The Menagerie Attacked The Bro-Mans
TNA hasn't sold me on The Menagerie yet and this segment did them no favors. Having up against Kazarian and The Bro-Mans in the last month, I'm still confused as to whether the group is intended to be face or heel. Robbie E, along with the rest of The Bromans, are far too goofy and putting them with The Bromans is not the best combo. It does nothing for either act and I hope this is a one-off thing and not the start of a feud between the factions.
Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe in a Loser Gets Fired Match Went to a No Contest
Similar to Edwards vs. Richards, we all know that Joe and Aries are capable of having an amazing match, but all the predictable interference disallowed them from doing so. They were made most by the time they were given, but the "loser gets fired" stipulation never felt like it mattered. The post-match segment was well executed and it set up the main event for the evening.
Mr. Anderson Mocked James Storm
As a fan of Anderson, this entire segment was painful to watch. He was not funny in his impression of Storm at all. I'd like to think that it's the material being given to him, but even Anderson's delivery of his garbage lines weren't good. Storm has been excellent since his heel turn and it's a shame he's been dragged down with this. I initially had hopes for his feud given the great matches they could have together but it has been very disappointing thus far.
Knockouts Champion Angelina Love def. Madison Rayne
They had a halfway decent match at the Sacrifice pay-per-view in late April, but all the interference at ringside served as a distraction. The focus of this match wasn't on the title but rather Brittany's actions (or lack thereof) at ringside. The build for her "crazy" turn was rushed last week, but this week they took their time with it. The payoff could be very nice if they go slowly with it. Meanwhile, I assume Love defends the title against Gail Kim at Slammiversary.
Samoa Joe, TNA World Heavyweight Champion Eric Young, Bully Ray and Austin Aries def. MVP, Kenny King, Bobby Lashley and Ethan Carter III in an Eight-Man First Blood Tag Team Match
The action itself was very solid and it received more time than I expected it to, but the concept behind it was insanely stupid. A First Blood tag team match? Really? Where does TNA come up with this kind of garbage? The lack of pinfalls and submissions took away from the match a bit, but at least it was effective in furthering all the feuds involved. Why close out the show with an asinine segment involving MVP and Dixie Carter? Who are fans supposed to cheer for in this "feud"? TNA has been guilty of concluding their shows in the past with backstage segments instead of crowd-pleasing moments in the ring, and it's mind-boggling that they haven't learned their lesson yet.
There is so little to get excited about in TNA at the moment that it's a miserable and daunting task to sit through it for two hours each week. In all honesty, if I didn't have to review the show on a weekly basis, I probably would have tuned out already. The power struggle takes up most of the show and there are so many plot holes that it's difficult to enjoy any of it. The Knockouts division is improving, but that doesn't take away from the fact that TNA is in a horrendous state right now and I surely hope things take a turn for the better after Slammiversary.