Monday, 24 February 2014

TNA Impact from Manchester: UK Air Date 23rd February 2014

How did TNA's second Mancunian Impact go? Let's look.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Rasslor.

The promos in this episode ran too long, perhaps because TNA were covering for a lack of match material, but Magnus and Gunner's performances were good enough to make them enjoyable.

Speaking of Magnus, his conflict with EC3 continues to escalate, and I can't wait for EC3 to turn face or snap completely. Either way, it'll be good.

#1 Contender Samoa Joe had nothing in the way of plot, but his resounding defeat of the BroMans and Zema Ion presented him as unstoppable. He has incredible momentum going into Lockdown.

The conflict between MVP and Dixie was handled better this week, and focussed mainly around Lethal Lockdown, where Team MVP, possibly led by Austin Aries, will take on Team Dixie, led by Bobby Roode. A good build towards the PPV.

The teased Bobby Roode face turn didn't happen this week, but Dixie's promise that he'll get 10% ownership of TNA if he leads her team to victory is fascinating. Lots of potential here.

Team MVP representatives the Wolves (who have lost their American for some reason) defeated potential Team Dixie members Bad Influence in a match that I'm in two minds about. The wrestling was awesome and it's good to see the Wolves get momentum, but I never like seeing Bad Influence lose.

I'm also in two minds about Samuel Shaw and Christy Hemme. On one hand, Shaw's acting is magnificently creepy, but on the other, shouldn't somebody have tried to stop him from brutally assaulting somebody and abducting Christy Hemme? Like, I don't know, the winner of the International Gut Check? Just a thought. I'm interested, but conflicted.

Less interesting was the Street Fight between Gail Kim and Madison Rayne because their feud has been off the boil and it came out of nowhere. It was good to see a Street Fight between two women, and surprisingly to see Gail bleed, but the Knockouts have been so out of the frame that it was difficult to start caring. My low point of the evening, unfortunately.

And now, a word on Willow: he scares me. Moving on.

The main event and its build-up were excellent. Gunner got to show a tremendous amount of personality and humanity, and he and Magnus wrestled excellently. Even the interference was handled well, with Gunner's back-up thinning the numbers before things got crowded and silly.

And then the ending.

TNA used to have a chronic flip-flop problem. You could never tell from week to week whether a character would be heel or face.

But now, it's a slow boil: change comes gradually, and that creates uncertainty and surprise.

And James Storm's heel turn was definitely surprising. After over a month of teasing it, Storm finally double-crossed Gunner and cost him the title. Perfectly foreshadowed, perfectly timed, and my highlight of the evening. Amazing.

In short, this show was a little heavy on the promos, yet still a solid and consistent episode of Impact.

See you Friday.

– Stark

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