TNA Wrestling’s Impact Wrestling opened with Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, better known as Bad Influence. Wearing kilts and sporting war paint like Braveheart, they put over the Scottish as the true warriors of the United Kingdom.
Kazarian put over Daniels before the Fallen Angel vowed to eventually win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. That brought out Magnus, who called them “Muppets.” Magnus soon disposed of them, and he challenged Devon of the Aces & Eights since it was Open Fight Night.
This was a fun way to open the show. Daniels and Kazarian got over huge as heels in his segment, and they were great on the mic as well. Bad Influence is one of the most entertaining teams in professional wrestling today. Not only can they deliver great promos, but they can get it done in the ring as well.
Magnus was solid here too. Being in his home country really lit a fire in him. It’s great to see him back, and I’m glad that TNA isn’t ignoring the fact that he was gone for two months due to the Aces & Eights.
Magnus vs. Devon
Magnus would pick up the victory here by disqualification after D.O.C. and Mike Knox entered the ring. Magnus was able to get rid of them, though, so he was standing tall in England at the end.
I felt that this was a good match with a lot of solid action. These two guys have similar styles, so they meshed quite well together here.
I don’t think Devon has ever been better. He’s been a tag team wrestler for so long that it’s hard to believe he could make it as a singles competitor. Many teams that break up rarely do make it as a singles star. Devon has settled into the Aces & Eights role very well, and he can put on a solid match when given the chance.
Magnus may have been gone for two months, but he hadn’t lost a step. The British wrestler was on the rise in TNA before the injury angle was put into place, and he’s going to pick up right where he left off. He was on the verge of taking the TNA Television Championship away from then-champion Samoa Joe, so hopefully, he’ll keep his eye on the title with Devon as champion.
Sticking with the Aces & Eights storyline, Sting was backstage with Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan. Bully said that he couldn’t get ahold of Hulk and Sting stated that “He’ll be here.” Brooke, well, she didn’t know what was going on. He’s your father, shouldn’t you at least have an idea of what’s going through his mind?
I really hope that Hulk reinstates Bully later on. I don’t want to see him and Sting talk about what they’re going to do, I want to see them actually take some action!
Joseph Park vs. Robbie E
Before Joseph Park could reveal the wrestler he had chosen to wrestle, Robbie E interrupted him to call him and the UK “hamsters.” That didn’t make his British partner, Rob Terry, too happy. Nothing came off the comment, but Park’s first official TNA opponent on Impact Wrestling soon became Robbie E.
The team of Robbie E and Rob Terry isn’t going to last much longer. With Terry showing Robbie up in the “Bro Off” last month and the jab Robbie took at the citizens of the United Kingdom, something is going to blow soon.
As for the match, Park would pick up the win after hitting a splash from the middle rope. This was a decent match at best, but I have to give major props to Joseph Park or Abyss.
The man has adopted a completely different move set. With the exception of the occasional chokeslam and Black Hole Slam, Abyss has thrown out his entire repertoire of maneuvers and replaced it with that of a rookie. The Park character is something TNA has really worked on, so they deserve some props as well. Most of the credit goes to Abyss, though.
It was good to see Robbie E actually get a match in England. I didn’t think he’d be present on any of the shows, so it was a nice surprise. Robbie is a solid in-ring competitor; It’s just that his character is kind of ridiculous and now outdated with Jersey Shore off the air.
The Hunt for Gold
Austin Aries and Bobby Roode then appeared in the ring. They were the most valuable players in TNA and were going to usher in a new era. They planned on taking all of the gold in TNA, with their journey beginning with the “easy ones,” the Tag Team Championship.
That brought out champions Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez, who challenged them to a match. If Aries or Roode won, they’d get their title shot. Aries and Roode were great on the mic like they usually are, but the big thing here is their new quest.
All of the gold in TNA Wrestling? This could make for a great storyline! I’ve seen whole stables in the NWA, WCW, WWE, TNA and many other companies hold all of the gold, but just two guys? I can’t remember ever seeing one team hold everything in a wrestling company, though one guy has done it in TNA before the Television Championship was introduced.
If TNA does this right, this could be the best storyline of 2013. Aries would also mention the Knockouts Championship, so will they be adding a woman to their ranks? This could be the perfect opportunity to turn Mickie James' heel!
Austin Aries vs. Chavo Guerrero: If Aries Wins, He and Roode Get a Title Shot
After a distraction from Bobby Roode, Austin Aries hit the "Brainbuster" for the victory. Aries and Guerrero had a good, back-and-forth matchup here. With solid action throughout, Aries and Guerrero delivered for the fans.
Aries continues to show why he is the “Greatest Man That Ever Lived.” The man is one of the absolute best TNA has to offer and he is about to become of the best tag team wrestlers they have to offer.
Aries and Roode work so well with one another, both inside and outside the ring. Win or lose their first title match, A Double and the It Factor are going to shine. As long as TNA gets back in gear with their tag team division, Aries and Roode will shoot the division back up to the top when they do eventually win the belts.
At the age of 42, Guerrero has still got it in the ring. He can still put on a solid match and deliver like he did in WWE, when he wasn’t chasing Hornswoggle around. This feud over the titles should be a good one, and it’ll be the catalyst for the bigger picture of Aries and Roode winning it all!
Speaking of winning it all, TNA then went backstage with someone who once held it all by himself—Kurt Angle. He was with Samoa Joe, Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco, talking about the cage match later on. Joe said he would make sure things were one-on-one, and soon told Bischoff and Brisco to just go away since he had everything covered.
The Samoan Submission Machine really doesn’t trust Bischoff and Brisco, does he? Why should he, though? Just because Kurt Angle vouches for someone doesn’t mean they can be trusted. The Aces & Eights all wear masks, so it really could be anyone.
The Fate of Bully Ray
Bully Ray would then make his way out with Brooke Hogan. He said that neither of them, nor the fans, could change Hulk Hogan’s mind, but that Sting could. That brought out Sting, who said that it would take the fans to get Hulk out there. Didn’t Bully just say the fans couldn’t do it?
Anyway, the fans chanted “Hogan, Hogan” until Hulk made his way out. After Hulk dragged it out, he officially reinstated Bully Ray and made a Tables match for next week featuring Sting and Bully taking on Devon and D.O.C.
Now that this part of the storyline is finished, we can finally get to some action! It’s been too long since Impact Wrestling’s general manager, Hulk Hogan, actually took some action against the Aces & Eights.
The whole “Bully’s making out with my daughter” thing really took away from his duties as general manager. Now that he likes Bully, his concentration is back on the biker gang. Perhaps the Aces & Eights storyline is finally nearing its end.
Dixie Carter Makes a Huge Announcement
TNA President Dixie Carter then made a huge announcement. She stated that starting in March, TNA would be taking Impact Wrestling on the road and that it would be permanent! It’s about time!
Out of all the “huge” announcements Carter has made over the years, this one truly is huge! One of TNA’s biggest criticisms is the Impact Zone and how it makes them look amateur being in such a small place. I do agree with it. That’s one of Ring of Honor’s main issues as well since they run in a smaller building than TNA does.
While TNA won’t be able to fill the huge arenas that WWE can do, they can fill bigger places than the Impact Zone. The bigger and fresh crowds will come across great on television. Look at this episode for example.
That place in England is huge compared to the Impact Zone, and the crowd was on fire all night. Imagine that every week. This is a smart decision and one of the best TNA has made in a while.
Velvet Sky and James Storm vs. Tara and Jessie Godderz
The faces picked up the win here after Velvet hit the "In Yo Face" on Tara. This was a fun match with some decent action. The match wasn’t anything too special, but it did its job in storyline development.
Last week on the show, Velvet was screwed in her title match against Tara when Jessie interfered. The former reality show star has been constantly interfering since his debut and he is the reason Tara is still champion.
Velvet has some backup now, though, and it’s some great help. I don’t think she could have picked anyone better than James Storm, especially since Storm hasn’t been on television in a few weeks. If he does stick around for the remainder of the Velvet/Tara feud, it gives him something to do until he reenters the world title picture.
With Velvet pinning Tara here, she has gained a victory over the champion. That has got to mean something, so perhaps Velvet will be getting a rematch while in England, or possibly at Lockdown. Since Storm is potentially by her side, a Knockouts Championship match will finally be a fair fight for once.
Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson: Steel Cage Match
Before the match, Anderson declared that Angle would be leaving the cage in a different state than when he entered. Moments later, Samoa Joe is seen on the ground surrounded by Angle, Bischoff and Brisco. Angle took Brisco with him and told Bischoff to get the doctor.
This was some good setup for the upcoming match, especially the part when Samoa Joe was shown taken out. Something is definitely about to go down.
In the ring, Kurt Angle made Mr. Anderson tap out to the "ankle lock" to secure victory. This was a good match here between two wrestlers who are very familiar with each other inside of a cage. The match featured solid back-and-forth action, some nice use of the steel cage and an intense "Angle Slam" from the top rope.
This contest wasn’t as good as their Steel Cage match at Lockdown 2010, but it was still a great main event for television!
Post-match, a member of the Aces & Eights climbed into the cage. That brought in Brisco, who locked the door behind him. The member soon unmasked himself and Garett Bischoff stood before Angle. Brisco then attacked Angle and took off his shirt to reveal an Aces & Eights vest as well.
The reveal of Bischoff and Brisco were not surprising, but I loved the way TNA did it. I think Bischoff unmasking himself in front of Angle has a lot more impact than Angle unmasking him. Brisco attacking Angle also works out better than simply being unmasked by someone.
It’s not often that someone looks you in the eye before stabbing you in the back and when it’s two guys you’ve been mentoring that do the stabbing, the impact is much more powerful.
Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco as Aces & Eights members I saw coming, but how they revealed themselves was very well done.
Overall, I thought that TNA Wrestling delivered a very good episode of Impact Wrestling this week. There were a number of good and solid matches, a few good in-ring segments, excellent storyline advancement and, of course, the huge announcement from Dixie Carter.
The crowd also added a lot to this episode as well. They seemed into everything, from hating Bad Influence to loving Hulk Hogan. They also reacted great to Bischoff and Brisco attacking Angle.
I bet they wouldn’t have gotten that kind of reaction in the Impact Zone, so their hatred of them added to the moment. I love when TNA is in England!
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