By Graham "GSM" Matthews
X-Division Champion Samoa Joe Interrupted MVP
MVP continues to do a superb job of building up TNA World Heavyweight Champion Lashley with his mic skills alone. He's the perfect hype man, but I wish they'd use him to his full potential as a singles star as well. Joe interrupting was a pleasant surprise, as was the enjoyable exchange between him and MVP. It set up the Joe-MVP match nicely, giving viewers something to look forward to for the remainder of the night.
Knockouts Champion Gail Kim def. Taryn Terrell
The in-ring chemistry that Kim and Terrell possess is awesome, so it should come as no surprise that this was another great outing from them. It didn't quite live up to their match classics, but they put forth a strong effort. Remember, there's only so much they can do in six minutes. I was hoping to see Terrell pull out the victory and win the title, but there are obviously plans to have Kim feud with the Havoc over the belt. Speaking of whom, her debut went over well and she looked impressive with her complete decimation of Kim and Terrell.
Rhyno Attacked Ethan Carter III
It's amazing just how much EC3 has improved in the last year alone since his TNA debut. His mic skills have progressed considerably and the way he can turn the crowd's chants against them is great. Rhyno's attack on EC3 could be seen coming from a mile away, but it effectively furthered their feud. The fans really don't have much of a reason to cheer him at the moment so the lack of reaction he received wasn't surprising.
Bram and Magnus def. Gunner and Sam Shaw
The ongoing storyline between Gunner and Shaw has been god awful and being there in attendance for this show, I can tell you that virtually no one cared about this match. Gunner was doing well for himself earlier this year, but this angle with Shaw has seen him get lost in the shuffle. On the bright side, Bram and Magnus are a talented tandem and I'd like to see them enter the title picture once the tag team series is done with.
Eric Young def. Bobby Roode in a No. 1 Contender's Match
While we (the crowd) didn't have an incentive to cheer more for either guy since they're both babyfaces, they still had the audience solidly behind them. They worked a well-wrestled match with some nice nearfalls, but the ending result wasn't much of a mystery. One had to assume Young's time in the title picture is over for right now and Roode is a fresh face, but nevertheless, I'm glad to see Roode going back after the belt.
Homicide Won a No. 1 Contender's Six Pack Challenge Match for the X-Division Championship
This was the latest multi-man X-Division match to not live up to expectations. I remember seeing this match and being disappointed by it given who was involved, but it's been the norm on Impact for weeks now. Someone has to relay the message to TNA that just because you have a talented X-Division, you can't have them all face each other in the same match every week because it loses meaning.
Tajiri Saved Austin Aries from James Storm and Sanada
The Storm and Sanada storylines is still compelling to me and I'm interested to see where it goes. Aries acknowleding the history between himself and Sanada was a nice touch and I'm glad Aries has found direction with this rivalry. He and Sanada could get some great matches out of it, along with Storm. Tajiri is a good fit for this feud and the interactions between him and these three should be fun.
Rhyno def. Rockstar Spud
A glorified squash match of sorts. Spud was born for this role, so it's not like he lost anything in the process. He's the fall guy for EC3, so he played that part to perfection here. He's incredibly entertaining but at the same time you want to see him get his ass handed to him. Rhyno and EC3 furthered their feud earlier on in the night, so in essence this match was meaningless.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Lashley def. X-Division Champion Samoa Joe (Non-title)
Lashley and Joe provide an interesting clash of styles and they had a solid match here. It was nothing too extraordinary and could've gone longer to be more memorable, but it was once again an impressive outing from Lashley with Joe carrying him to a good bout. I wish champion vs. champion matches meant more this day and age, but at least it was held in the main event slot. Lashley's build-up as a dominant champion thus far has been tremendous and it'll be a big deal whenever someone wins that title from him.
I had a lot of fun at this taping last month, but it comes across much different on TV than it is live. There were a lot pacing problems that took away from my enjoyment of the show and not all the matches were given enough time to shine. That aside, there was some solid content on this episode, even if the direction of the company is finding its way. The quality of the program has increased dramatically as of late, but there's of course room for improvement.