I haven’t reviewed a TNA Impact Wrestling episode in a little bit (about 3 weeks). But this week Impact goes live, plus Dixie Carter has a big announcement. I am interested to see how the crowd is without the edited boos and cheers, and I am also intrigued by Dixie Carter’s announcement. Yes, her so-called “big” announcements usually flop more than Vlade Divac, so I am not going to get my hopes up.

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Lumberjack Match: Bobby Roode v Sting (C-): So many odd moments in this opening contest, I don’t know where to begin. How about that scary moment where Roode was trying to flip into the turnbuckles and go up and over onto the ring apron, but fell right on his head instead? He ran into that turnbuckle so unsure of himself, it reaked of botchness. I was just glad to see he wasn’t hurt. Both Sting and Roode had times where they on the outside with the lumberjacks and both no sold the punches. Why Sting didn’t I have no idea, but Roode didn’t because RVD’s punch was beyond weak sauce. When you’re going to punch somebody who has their back to you, you might want to bring a little bit more than that, RVD. The finish of the match also was odd to me because Roode tapped so quickly to Sting. He didn’t even put up a fight. As if this match wasn’t bad enough, these two will be main eventing Slammiversary. My problem definitely isn’t with Roode. He has been a consistent TNA World Champion when they really needed one. My problem is with Stinger. Look, I think Sting is awesome, he is a legend of the wrestling business, but come on! He is old and has hovered around the TNA World title picture for forever… Fooreveeer.

I don’t even want to get started on how awesome a match would be between Aries and Roode. Now THAT would be a main event.

Promo Time: Bully Ray brings the intensity to the mic for this promo like he always does. Ray’s talking is precise, and he quickly gets to challenging Joseph Park (who is in the crowd with popcorn and a soda). Living up to his nickname, Bully tells the guy in the truck he will bust his head if he doesn’t play the video from last week, and then tells the security guards the same when they try to block Park from entering the ring. TNA needs to make a Bully Ray shirt with “I’ll Bust Your Head!” on the back. When Park tells Ray he doesn’t want to fight, Ray provokes him by saying he did leave Abyss for dead. Park grabs Ray by the shirt, but Ray tells him he will sue if Park punches him. Ray is a heat magnet, and segments like this are why. The match between these two is made official when Ray says they will fight at Slammiversary.

X-Division Championship: Austin Aries (c) v Chris Sabin (B): With Shelley out of TNA officially, Chris Sabin now steps back into the X-Division. How long will Sabin remain with TNA? Well, that question will be answered at a later time down the road. For the time being, I sat back and enjoyed this matchup. Working with meaning, and like they both were out there to prove something. Even though both have nothing to prove, is why I really liked this match. Aries’ Tope Dive had some extra oomf behind it. He even stared into the camera after, which really sent a message of “don’t fuck with me”. Sabin also had his high spots.

Overall, a very entertaining X-Division Championship match.

Backstage Banter: Hogan and Taz talk about Taz becoming the new judge on Gut Check. Flair is out of TNA, and I couldn’t think of anybody better to replace him than the Human Suplex Machine.

After the commercial break, Prichard and Snow are discussing Joey Ryan with Taz. Kayfabe goes out the window in these segments, and it seems a little odd amidst a wrestling show. This really takes away any suspension of disbelief. I can’t tell if Joey Ryan is going to get the contract or not from these talks. Taz and Snow seem to like his character, but aren’t too sure about his passion. Let me tell you, from watching NWA Hollywood since day one, Joey Ryan brings IT during his matches and his promos. I didn’t understand them saying that when Ryan saw that his opponent was the X-Division Champion, Austin Aries, he didn’t act like he cared. Well, that is because of his character. He is the cocky bad guy who doesn’t have any respect for his opponents.

Dixie’s Big Announcement: Dixie’s music is so bad that it makes me embarrassed. I want her to get down to the ring and her music to shut off as fast as possible. The big announcement is that they will be inducting the first ever member into the TNA Hall of Fame at Slammiversary. What? A TNA Hall of Fame is such a joke. Yep, this is just another “Dixie Carter big announcement” that flops. After the announcement, Brooke Hogan slowly walks down the ramp making sure she doesn’t fall on her face, and is sporting more make up than RuPaul. Even more embarrassing than Dixie’s music is Brooke Hogan talking about being in charge of the Knockouts. Seriously, she didn’t have shit else to do, so Hogan said “you can come work for TNA”. The Knockouts used to be a huge part of TNA (and had the highest rated segments), but now with Brooke in charge and the division dwindling… Seems that the Knockouts have lost any momentum they ever had.

Backstage Banter: Daniels is telling Kaz that after his match with Styles tonight, he is going to show his next piece of evidence that proves Dixie is hooking up with AJ. Hopefully, this is the final piece of evidence.

TNA Television Championship: Devon (c) v Jeff Hardy (C+): I dig that TNA put up a poll question asking who should face Devon tonight. I also have really liked the TV title being defended every week. For the longest time the belt was pretty much non-existent. Devon isn’t the best wrestler in the world, but he has put on some solid bouts during this nice run, and really made the Television Championship a belt that seems as meaningful as it looks. This match tonight was another solid one, and I might be a prisoner of the moment, but I think this was the best of the few TV title matches we have had since the belt was set to be defended every week. There was no finish because Robbie E came down to interfere, but at least this allows for Hardy to continue to go after the belt.

Gut Check: Joey Ryan, who has earned a TNA contract doesn’t get the contract. Snow is the only one who gives him a vote. Smart man that Al Snow is. Ryan developed his character, and did it all on his own. He didn’t want or need some writer to tell him what his character should be. Wrestling needs more of that right now. And most importantly, he is a good wrestler. I was surprised to see Ryan get in Taz’s face, and even more surprised to see Taz keep his cool. I don’t like how they go about this Gut Check by throwing kayfabe out, and I dislike it even more when wrestlers like Silva get a contract over guys like Ryan.

Christopher Daniels v AJ Styles (B-): AJ is looking more and more like a football player every week. He has been wearing wide receiver gloves, and now has added a thin forearm band. You know, the kind that don’t stop sweat at all because of how thin they are. Hey guess what? Styles and Daniels put on an entertaining match for the 435th time. I particularly liked the sequence where Styles went for an inverted DDT, but Daniels countered it with a snapmare. Shortly after, the way the Pele was set up was also a fun part of the sequence.

Post-match, Kaz and Daniels put a whoopin’ on Angle because he is teaming with Styles now. After Styles and Angle are laid out, Daniels plays a phone call between Dixie and Styles. The phone call consists of them talking about how they don’t want Dixie’s husband to know AJ is coming into town. Dixie comes storming out to take Taz’s headset, and tells the production crew to turn it off immediately. Either Dixie is cheating on her husband or they were planning some elaborate surprise birthday party?

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The first live episode of Impact Wrestling is in the books. There were some pros and some cons. Half of the show I liked, but the other half was trash.

Lowlight of the Night: Brooke Hogan

Highlight of the Night: Aries v Sabin

Very American

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