By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Magnus Called Out EGO
I'm never usually a fan of promos opening up the show, but this was a rare exception. It was cool to see Mangus featured prominently for once, especially following his strong showing against AJ Styles in the finals of the Bound For Glory Series last week. He kept his short and sweet before brawling with EGO, which felt rushed a bit. However, the save from Sting and Samoa Joe set up the six-man tag team match for later in the show nicely.
Jeff Hardy def. X-Division Champion Manik (Non-title)
The crowd didn't appear to be into the action at all, which was understandable. TNA hasn't given the fans an incentive to care about Manik in the slightest, despite the fact he is the current X-Division Champion. He lost another meaningless non-title match that also didn't do anything to help Hardy. Chris Sabin's heel turn could be seen coming from a mile away, and I'm not high on the idea of turning him heel when he is still semi-popular. Not even that, but after feuding with Bully Ray for the World Heavyweight Championship a few short months ago, why demote him to a rivalry with Manik?
ODB def. Mickie James to Win the Knockouts Championship
The match itself was well wrestled, but certainly nothing special. I initially thought James would retain here via dirty tactics in order to set up a rematch at Bound For Glory, but that apparently wasn't the case. The finish was well done, but the crowd reaction was delayed because they seemingly didn't buy into the title change at first. The feud hasn't been built up enough for the title change to matter. From what I've heard, James is done with TNA as of this week, so this was their way of writing her off television? What weak logic. I'm fine with ODB as the champ, but James helped revitalize the Knockouts division during her heel run and her absence leaves a major gap that needs to be filled as soon as possible.
Eric Young def. Robbie E
The match was over in a matter of seconds, so there really isn't much to analyze here. Having this garbage follow the Knockouts title match was strange and felt very out of place. Above all else, it was incredibly random and served zero purpose.
Joseph Park def. Robbie E
What I said in the prior paragraph can basically be applied to this match as well. Why waste our time with such a pointless, pointless segment? Who was this supposed to benefit? At this point, I'm starting to think Vince Russo is back in TNA. Never say never in wrestling, folks.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray Addressed the Aces and Eights
Is it just me or this the same segment we see every week? They have been teasing the demise of the Aces and Eights for months now, and I can't stress how happy I am to finally see this train wreck of a storyline finally come to an end. They have taken out almost all of the group's key players except for Ray, so what's left is the filler. Look for them to cost Ray the title Bound For Glory. If they don't, well, I might just cry.
World Tag Team Champion Gunner def. Hernandez
Chavo Guerrero's "medical" excuse for not being able to fight on this show was effective in garnering heat, but why not further it by having him help Hernandez cheat to beat Gunner? Aren't these guys supposed to be the No. 1 contenders to the tag titles? I have no desire to see Chavo and Hernandez contend for the straps, much less see them at all. This match between Gunner and Hernanez was mediocre, but ultimately forgettable.
EGO def. The Main Event Mafia
On a show filled with pointless filler and terrible attempts at comedy, this was the biggest highlight of it all. The two factions worked a very entertaining match that picked up the pace down the stretch. It received a substantial amount of time and Magnus was the star coming out it even in defeat. EGO needed the win here, but I'm interested to see if the feud between them and The Main Event Mafia will continue beyond this point.
AJ Styles Called Out Dixie Carter
Well, this entire segment was a mess. Styles has never been known for his mic skills, and his last few promos have been pure proof of that. While this promo here was a slight improvement, it still felt too insider and CM Punk-esque from the summer of 2011. I like the fact that they are playing off the fact that Styles isn't currently under contract with TNA, but Carter's "heel turn" was the most random thing I've seen in a long time. Sure, it was "shocking" so to speak, but not in a good way. Most of her promo felt forced and doesn't fit her character at all. Styles came off as a heel earlier on, so it is hard to tell who the true heel in all of this is. Above all else, why would this make me want to see Styles vs. Bully Ray at Bound For Glory? They need to start focusing on that feud and not Styles vs. Carter, since that is not who Styles is facing at the event (or so we hope). The turning off of the lights at the end was a cool visual and helped her garner heat, but everything else was a train wreck.
After last week's gem of a show, this latest edition of Impact Wrestling was definitely a disappointment. As previously stated, the only true highlight coming out of it was the six-man tag team match, and everything else was mostly garbage. Of course, there were a handful of noteworthy moments on this show (the two heel turns and the title change), but they all fell flat by the end of the night. It's a shame, too, since Bound For Glory is right around the corner and TNA should be focused on getting fans hyped for that event. Here's hoping they can get back on the right track next week and make sense of the garbage that was produced this week.