TNA Impact returned live to Spike TV this past Thursday night, November 29th. The 2 hour show opened up with a recap of the last few weeks of television. TNA Impact can be seen in the Boston area on Spike TV channel 55. This week, their focus is on the continuous Aces and Eights storyline and the Brooke Hogan and Austin Aries love affair angle.
Hit – Hulk Hogan Promo
The night starts off with General Manager Hulk Hogan walking the short TNA ramp and entering the ring. Hulk Hogan, wearing a red and yellow t-shirt, starts his promo by revealing he is both a pro wrestler and a father. This seems like a rehash of the 2005 Hulk Hogan – Randy Orton angle from WWE. Hogan calls out Bully Ray and wants to know what is going on between Ray and Brooke Hogan. Ray comes off strong on his end, and even the Hulkster himself sounds more energized than usual. Both Brooke Hogan and Austin Aries also get involved with the promo, with Aries being particularly funny and entertaining. The promo ends with Hogan running toward the locker room to confront Aries. The promo was short and everybody played their part correctly. The affair storyline is played out, but at least they’re keeping it short.
Hit – Gail Kim vs. Mickie James
Kim and James are no strangers to each other, as both girls worked as WWE Divas before coming to TNA. Mickie James looks a lot thinner than she has in the past. Gail Kim starts off strong with some hard shots, including some crisp European Uppercuts. Mickie James comes back with a nice flapjack and athletic nip up and follows it up with a hurricanrana and a couple clotheslines. She finally hits a tornado ddt to get the pin on Gail Kim. Grading on a curve, and in comparison to most female wrestling, this bout was entertaining and watchable.
Miss – Bobby Roode
Bobby Roode comes down to the ring to cut a promo about how he is going to defeat Jeff Hardy at the next pay per view. As Bobby Roode runs down Jeff Hardy, Christian York interrupts Roode. York slaps Roode across the face and the crowd goes mild. York calls Roode out, and the show cuts to commercial. Bobby Roode cannot be taken as a serious contender for the TNA Heavyweight Championship when a wrestler who is only 2 or 3 weeks into his TNA contract can slap him across the face and make him run away. This segment was a complete miss.
Hit – Bobby Roode vs. Christian York
York starts off hot as the pair exchange shoulder tackles. Roode bails, but is able to lure York outside the ring. This ends up being detrimental to Roode, as York is able to reverse an Irish whip and Roode goes sailing into the steel steps. Roode is able to turn the tide and starts hitting some basic offensive moves such as a clothesline and a suplex. York makes a comeback and is able to hit a double stomp to Roode’s back from the top turnbuckle. Roode is then able to blindsided York and lock on the crossface for the submission win. York looked to strong against the number one contender but it was a decent encounter and York did look really good. This was a very good television match.
Miss – Kazarian and Daniels vs. James Storm and AJ Styles
Kazarian cut a short promo before the match. These promos, regardless of how short they are, just remind me of an independent wrestling show. There is no sense to them and its a waste of time. Eventually the promos just run into one another and contain no substance. Styles and Storm cut a backstage promo earlier in the show that was reminiscent of early WCW. When WCW was first starting out, it was looked at as a very southern oriented wrestling company, due in large part because of the southern drawl of their wrestlers. AJ Styles and Storm have very thick southern accents and give TNA a very southern presentation. Daniels and Kazarian worked well together, even hitting a Gagnam Style maneuver. Styles and Storm continue to play up dissension between the two. Styles hits his signature spots, but is cut is off by Kazarian. Styles hits the floor after a missed plancha spot. Despite some miscommunication, Styles and Storm get the win in a sub par and repetitive match. The longer Styles works with Daniels and Kazarian, the more it feels like TNA Impact is on a constant repeat.
Miss – Douglas Williams vs. Matt Morgan
Joey Ryan introduces his tag team partner Matt Morgan, who comes out wearing the robe he stole from Hulk Hogan’s beach shop. There are so many storylines that have come to a halt when it comes to Morgan. First, just a few months ago both Morgan and Ryan were separate individuals and doing their own interesting storyline. Now, Ryan is a mouthpiece for Morgan, and Morgan’s “invader” storyline has come to stop. Now TNA is running with an angle regarding Morgan and Hogan’s robe. But Hogan is sidetracked with Bully Ray and Aces and Eights. So where does this bring Morgan’s angle? It just seems like they are stretching Hogan into every story, and it’s not doing anything for Morgan. The match between Williams and Morgan was a basic squash job and not very interesting.
Miss – Gut Check with Wes Brisco
The Gut Check series continues, this time featuring Wes Brisco. Kurt Angle lobbied all the judges during the show for Brisco to get a contract. D-Lo Brown is taking the place of Al Snow as judge tonight, which seems to be part of a broader storyline. The Gut Check segments always run too long and kill any momentum the show has. Luckily this week, there was no momentum to interrupt.
Miss – Rob Van Dam vs. Austin Aries
Tonight’s main event on TNA Impact is the first ever meeting between Rob Van Dam and Austin Aries. The two looked a little clumsy in the beginning, which has been typical for RVD throughout his career. When Impact returns from commercial break, Van Dam is working with Austin Aries on the outside of the ring. Aries is able to capitalize on a mistake by RVD and hit a neckbreaker on the guardrail. It sounds better than it looked. It was very under whelming. Aries misses a five star frogsplash, and RVD mounts a comeback and hitting all his signature spots. RVD goes to the top rope, but Aries is able to push Rob to the outside and RVD eats the guardrail. Aries then grabs the microphone and starts running down RVD and Brooke Hogan. This causes Bully Ray to run into the ring and cause a disqualification. The match wasn’t awful, but the ending killed it.
Overall, this episode of TNA Impact was below average. There were many misses, and even the few hits weren’t incredible. The episode ended with Bully Ray having a stare down with Hulk Hogan. Hogan looked tired and he had sagging old man eyes. This is no way of building a youthful band of followers. Watching TNA is always fun because the show is inconsistent. Tonight’s episode was not the worst, but it was far from the best.