It’s that time of year when TNA Wrestling looks like a major player on the global wrestling scene. The UK tour. For the first time Impact was filmed from Manchester, England, in front of thousands of fans, as opposed to hundreds. And boy did it add to the viewing experience! There was actually an atmosphere and they actually got real pops, which is something missing from the TNA formula. It’s not always that the wrestlers suck most weeks, they simply don’t have a proper audience to work with in the Impact Zone, which is full (well not really) of either tourists or regulars.
While production value was lower than that of WWE (the music seemed to drown out the auidence, and the cameras were a little clunky), in a way it felt like wrestling from the 90s. A bit gritty, genuine reactions, without the overproduction. There was something very raw (no pun intended) that WWE don’t manage to capture anymore.
It was also the perfect time for Dixie Carter to announce that Impact will begin to move out of Orlando when they get back stateside. Unfortunately unlike the UK, TNA cannot draw big numbers on the road. So while it will get them out of that Orlando bubble and give talent the chance to get over properly, it’s going to make for a weak looking TV show.
The two big themes this week were Bully Ray being reinstated and Wes Brisco & Garrett Bischoff turning on Kurt Angle.
Bully Ray Reinstated
While Ray never really left our screens, the hype for the last couple of weeks has been whether the Hulkster will do the right thing and put him back on the roster. Bully, flanked by an awestruck Brooke Hogan (she’s never been in front of that many fans before) pleaded with the GM to give him his job back, now that he’s married to Brooke and they have a common enemy in Aces & Eights.
This segment was essentially used to give the audience some time to fawn over Sting and Hogan. Bully said he can’t get Hulk to lived the suspension, neither can Brooke nor the audience, but he knew that the Stinger could! Out came the Icon to a generous ovation and he proceeded to get the audience to chant for Hogan (as if he needed to).
Out hobbled Hogan to deliver his answer. Not only will he lift Bully’s suspension, but next week Bully and Sting will team to face two members of Aces & Eights in a tables match!
Wes Brisco & Garrett Bischoff turn on Kurt Angle
It’s been building for weeks and most people could see it a mile off, due to the fact that Wes Brisco was clearly visible beneath the Aces and Eights mask, but nonetheless tonight was the big turn of Brisco and Bischoff.
Angle was facing Mr. Anderson in the cage, who has now embraced the Aces and Eights, because unlike other members of the TNA roster they actually like and respect him (daddy issues?). Before the match could begin Samoa Joe (who seemed to have his suspicions) told the rookies not to get involved, but he was soon taken out backstage, leaving Angle prone.
The better wrestler prevailed in the match, with Anderson tapping to the Ankle Lock, but when an Aces and Eights member volted the cage wall, Kurt’s celebration was short lift. Foolishly he instructed Wes to lock the door again, but the man under the mask was Garrett Bischoff and Brisco joined him in taking out the former Olympian.
For the sake of logic I’d have preferred if Angle and Joe got wind of the plan (if we can see beneath the mask I’m sure they could), and then taught them a lesson preemptively, but that being said this way the young stars get more heat, which is generally the point of it all. In other words get a better mask!
The undercard saw some solid action that the fans ate up.
- Kicking off the show were Bad Influence, getting some localized heel heat by dressing in Scottish kilts. They delivered a good old fashioned heel promo to immediately rile up the audience. Magnus made his return for the Englishman pop, calling them “disrespectful muppets” that “needed a good slap”.
Magnus sent them packing and then turned his attention to Aces and Eights, who put him on the shelf. He called out Devon for a match and the pair brawled until other members of the MC caused a DQ.
- Joseph Park, making his official Impact Wrestling in-ring debut was prematurely cut short by Robbie E and Rob Terry. Robbie E insulted everyone in the UK by calling them hamsters but had to back-peddle when he realized Rob Terry is Welsh; the seed is well and truly planted for their break up. The Jersey douche bullied Park in to a match, but with a Warrior like shaking of the ropes, followed up by a Belly to Belly and big Second Rope Splash, it was Joesph Park who walked away with the victory.
- “In a company where people just steal money (cough Hogan), why do the two most valuable wrestlers get robbed?” This was the question posed by Austin Aries and Bobby Roode this week. Aries said he and Bobby are starting to get on the same page, and one by one they’re going to collect all the gold in the company! According to Aries the easiest place to start is the Tag belts, and in Roode’s view Hernandez and Chavo are like the audience, nothing but a bunch of wankers!
The match was set, if Aries beats Chavo they get the title shot. And that’s just what happened. Roode distracted the Hispanic legend and Aries wins with Brainbuster.
- Other than Hogan and Sting the second best pop of the night was for Velvet Sky! She said she had to get something off her chest (please the shirt!) and called out Tara and Jesse. It’s a tag match and Velvet’s partner drinks “but not lame protein shakes”. Out came The Cowboy and the duo roughed up the Hollywood wannabes, before Sky got the win with an In Your Face!
Category: TV and PPV, Wrestling News | Tags: Eric Bischoff