By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bully Ray Put Rockstar Spud Through a Table
I really like the idea of Ray wanting to put each member of the MVP/Dixie Carter heel faction through a table as it gives fans something they can continue to tune in to see happen each week. The talking here wasn't nearly as bad as it was last week, but it was strange to see Ethan Carter III and Spud aligned with MVP and company. The subsequent brawl that broke out set up the six-man tag team match for after the break, so that was a nice-tie. Obviously, I'd rather have the show kick off with a match as opposed to a promo, but this was tolerable, especially since it saw Spud go through a table.
MVP, Kenny King and Bobby Lashley def. Austin Aries and TNA World Tag Team Champions The Wolves
The action itself was very good, but unorganized. There were several points from everoyne was in the ring at the same time, making it convoluted and confusing. Usually that sort of thing is reserved for the end of the match, but not at the beginning. That said, it was an enjoyable match and the right team went over considering MVP is contending for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Slammiversary.
Bram def. Tigre Uno
This was a simple squash match made to showcase Bram's abilities. It was kept short and sweet and Bram's Impaler DDT finisher looks brutal. The only issue I had with it was that Tigre Uno was the one who was utilized as the enhancement talent. Did they really bring him over to TNA just to have a series of forgettable matches with Sanada and to job to everyone else? I really hope they have much more in mind for him that just this, as I personally believe he has a lot of untapped potential and can be a big star for TNA if booked correctly.
Gunner and Mr. Anderson def. The Bro-Mans
Was a reason for Gunner and Anderson teaming up ever established? I realize they've both had encounters with Sam Shaw, but the commonalities end there. I figured James Storm would make an appearance either during or after the match, but apparently not. Is The Menagerie a babyface act? I say that because they've attacked Kazarian and The Bro-Mans in recent weeks, and they're both heel. I still have yet to form an opinion on The Menagerie. They're a unique act, sure, but at the same time they come across as stupid and have yet to serve a purpose.
Dixie Carter Called Out MVP
As previously noted, it made no sense for EC3 to align with MVP and company in the opening segment and that was reinforced here when he sided with Dixie Carter. It baffles me that TNA continues to waste time with in-ring segments between Dixie and MVP. They obviously have history and I'm glad they're not putting their past issues aside to team up, but nothing good can come of promo segments featuring only heels. Bully Ray and Eric Young added a little life to the segment, but aside from announcing the main event for the night, I fail to see what was really accomplished here.
The Beautiful People def. Brittany and Gail Kim
The match had its moments and while it wasn't one of the better Knockout matches in recent memory, it was a decent enough effort from everyone involved. I have been intrigued by the Brittany--Madison Rayne angle from its start, but it felt like it jumped from first to fourth gear here. I figured they would slowly build toward Brittany being revealed to be crazy, but they went from teasing it to Brittany having a breakdown in the middle of the ring with Rayne after the match. We'll see where that goes in coming weeks. Rayne announcing that she'll cash in her rematch clause for the Knockouts Championship against Angelina Love was a nice hook for next week's show.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Eric Young vs. Bully Ray with Ethan Carter III as Special Guest Referee Ended in a No Contest (Non-title)
Did this match remind anyone else of Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show from late last year? This whole Young saga has felt fairly reminiscent of WWE's Authority storyline from the start, but the issue was that storyline was aggravating with all the attacks they had every week and the same has happened with TNA. The interference from King, MVP and Lashley at ringside was predictable and got old quickly based off the live crowd's flat reaction to it all. Samoa Joe making his return made for a cool moment and it was long overdue, but that was the sole highlight of this entire segment since the match between Young and Ray wasn't much of a match at all.
I would have been surprised if TNA managed to outdo last week's train wreck of a show by presenting an even worse show this week (it was an impossible task), but thankfully that wasn't the case. I wouldn't go so far as to say that this was a good show, but it was effective in building toward Slammiversary and hyping several matches for next week's episode. The heel authority figures continue to be the death of this program. I couldn't care less about any of it because TNA hasn't allowed fans to get invested in anyone involved, but one can only hope things improve following the pay-per-view.