By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Eric Young and Abyss Brawled
I liked the organic opening to the show with the shot of Young and Abyss going at it backstage. Their brawl that led into the ring was pretty basic, but it still doesn't get me excited about their pending feud that we've already seen before. It was good that Abyss got the upper hand after being beaten down last week, but I'm still not sure how many people see him as a legitimate threat right now. It also served as an intriguing hook for the rest of the night as to whether Young would be chained to Abyss during the main event match.
Ethan Carter III def. Bobby Lashley by Disqualification
The match was decent enough, but they weren't able to get out of first gear before the disqualification. Lashley seemed gassed early on, so perhaps he needs a few more matches under his belt before he engages in any blockbuster bouts in the near future. The non-finish was logical in that it kept EC3's undefeated streak alive and protected Lashley. It's too early in his return for him to be getting pinned/submitted. Willow's recent attacks on Rockstar Spud and now EC3 indicate that Magnus will be his next victim, but time will tell.
James Storm Interrupted Gunner
Gunner has been hit or miss on the mic in recent weeks, but this was definitely one of his better promos. TNA has an obsession for involving the family members of wrestlers in feuds, but I didn't really mind Gunner's father being the victim of an attack here. What Storm said toward him and his attack on him were excellent ways of showing his ruthless side and garnered him a great deal of heat. I'm not surprised this feud is continuing past Lockdown, but this segment did a nice job of reigniting the rivalry.
Gail Kim def. Lei'D Tapa
Tapa is still quite green in the ring, but at least Kim carried her to a passable match. There were some chants for Tapa at one point in the bout, but the crowd had no incentive to cheer for either woman. It didn't help that Tapa didn't receive a televised entrance, either. As noted last week, Tapa's split from Kim came out of nowhere and giving away the match this quickly makes me think that there's reason behind TNA taking her off television almost immediately. I guess this means Samuel Shaw is the only Gut Check winner still employed by TNA. How sad.
Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne Refused The Beautiful People's Offer
The bickering between Angelina Love and Velvet Sky was the same thing we heard from them last week, so that was nothing new. However, I was happy to see them realign with one another and sounded like the live crowd was happy about that as well. As cool as it would have been to see a Beautiful People reunion with Rayne, I'm glad she declined. She's the Knockouts Champion at the moment and would have been cast as an afterthought in the group, so I'm glad she made mention of that. I look forward to seeing whether The Beautiful People go back heel and/or Love going after the Knockouts Championship.
World Tag Team Champions The Bro-Mans def. The Wolves and X-Division Champion Sanada & Tigre Uno
It was a well-worked match with plenty of fun spots, but not as hectic as I expected it to be given how was involved. It was still too early for The Bro-Mans to drop the straps after winning them back only a few short weeks ago, so the titles never felt like they were in jeopardy, but the action was entertaining enough that it made up for it. The Wolves should have been chasing the titles since the start instead of embarking on a one week reign for no apparent reason.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus def. Samoa Joe
Similar to at Lockdown, Magnus and Joe wrestled another solid match, which is unsurprising given their great chemistry together. However, like every other TNA title match that preceded this one, there had to be the obligatory ref bump, which came off terribly by the way. Abyss aiding Magnus to victory was no shocker and it was another fluky win for the paper champion. It hurts me to write that because Magnus is so tremendously talented and has potential to be a great champion, but he's been booked so badly since his heel turn that there's no saving him now. The title match never came off as the big deal that it should have since everyone essentially knew there would be interference as always.
While last week's show was more noteworthy, this episode was more enjoyable as a whole, but that isn't saying much. The first hour was good, but there was far too much talking and backstage segments in the second hour. Taking Dixie Carter off television completely is a step in the right direction, but I can't say I'm all that excited for anything going on right now. Not much has changed since MVP took the reins of wrestling operations and the bad booking is still as apparent as it was a few months ago. I'm mildly looking forward to Storm vs. Gunner and the reforming of The Beautiful People, but everything else right now doesn't peak my interest in the slightest.