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TNA Impact Wrestling 01/23/15 – Feast or Fired, MVP vs. Lashley in a Street Fight, Plus More!

Good morning everyone!  It’s time for the third episode of TNA Impact on Destination America, and they’re wasting little time in getting one of the worst gimmicks in pro-wrestling off the ground: Feast or Fired!  Plus, MVP takes on Lashley in a Street Fight.  Literally.

We are in NYC at the Manhattan Center and the crowd looks wild.  Let’s see if TNA can carry their momentum and improve on their production tricks, or if it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Josh Matthews introduces the show as the camera pans to the four briefcases hanging on poles above the turnbuckles.  He calls the Feast or Fired match “TNA’s version of the Hunger Games.”  Really?  The quote is accurate, but the concept of the match is terrible on so many levels, especially when there seems to be no clear cut way on getting a title shot.  If I worked in TNA, I would just wait a few weeks and someone would give me a shot.  Why would I put my career on the line?

Honestly, if I were in this match, I wouldn’t even try to win.

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TNA iMPACT Vice President of Talent Relations John Gaburick Announces Several More Talent Resignings

TNA’s Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Gaburick took to his Twitter account earlier today to announce several signings and re-signings.  He first announced that Jeff Hardy will be staying with the company.

This is a big deal.  The problem is that TNA really hasn’t gotten the most out of Hardy’s popularity to this point.  Here’s hoping that they find a way to maximize this resource.

He also announced the signings of Gail Kim, Manik, and Kenny King as well.  The tweets are seen below:

Kenny King is now a key part to the new “Beat Down Clan” faction headed by MVP.  Kim has been a cornerstone to TNA’s Knockouts Division through a couple of runs with the company along the way.

Also, Gaburick noted that we will see “a lot more” of Awesome Kong on Friday nights, along with a picture that indicates she has been signed to a deal as well.

These are all good signings for the company, with Hardy being the only one who is former WWE talent.  Hopefully, TNA will find the best ways to utilize their skills as they continue to re-boot the product now that they’re on Destination America.  Watch for our Impact post-show report by Drew sometime early tomorrow morning.

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TNA Impact 01/07/15 – Debut on Destination America, Lashley vs. Roode, and more!

Good evening everyone!  Or perhaps, I should say Good morning.  My name is Drew, and I work the night shift.  I will be bringing you coverage of TNA Impact for the foreseeable future, albeit very, very delayed.  Interested in bringing us live coverage?  Shoot me an email: dkoscelek@ring-rap.com

TNA’s debut on Destination America was earlier this evening.  Chances are, most of you have already watched it.  So, I’m going to attempt to bring you my thoughts and reactions to the show, in lieu of a play-by-play.  Like what you see?  Follow me on Twitter too (@PsionStorm), for 140 characters of snark.

I admit, I’ve been away from the TNA product for some time now.  They have a chance to win me back as a fan, but it’s going to take some work.  I peeked at some spoilers earlier, and quite frankly, it seemed like more of the same, but I’m going to try my best to keep an open mind here.  Let’s go!

The opening video package is money.  Numerous stars getting ready for the event.  We get a nice mix of talent here too.  Leaving their hotels, heading into the city via limo, etc.  Pep talks from some of the talent.

Josh Matthews cuts in.  Outside the Manhattan Center, Bobby Lashley and Bobby Roode go nose to nose and start brawling.  The fight makes its way into the arena, and the crowd chants TNA as the action spills in.  Taz and Matthews put over how excited they are to be there.  The brawl continues.  Basically everyone is fighting everyone.  As far as I can tell, these are all feuds that have carried over since Spike TV.

Kurt Angle walks out, and wants to know what security is doing.  He puts over NYC, and the show.  He announces that Low Ki will defend his title tonight.  Taryn Terrel will defend her title.  James Storm and Abyss will also defend their titles.  Every champ will defend tonight.  Angle puts over Lashley vs. Roode.  MVP interrupts him.

The fans start yelling “Shut the fuck up,” (which is poorly edited).  MVP says Angle should’ve been fired.  He calls Angle a shadow of what he used to be.  He says Angle has no balls.

Angle says he did in fact step down as director, after creating these matches.  He’s also now active as a wrestler on the show, and he’s going to wrestle MVP in a street fight, right now.

MVP vs. Kurt Angle in a Street Fight

We immediately go to break on this.

TNA certainly catered to the live crowd here with that brawl, but brawls like that don’t always translate well on TV.  I feel as if this was a missed opportunity to really, truly make a statement.  

We join this brawl in progress.  No commentary at first.  This street fight, honestly, seems like a regular match so far.  Scratch that – MVP works the knee on the ring post, then grabs a chair, which he promptly attacks Angle’s knee with.  They trade submission attempts.  Angle hits an Olympic Slam out of nowhere for the win.

Winner: Kurt Angle

Worth mentioning, on the first match of TNA Impact on a new network, they have two former WWE talents fighting in a street fight.  Pardon the pun, but they could’ve made different choices to make a bigger impact.

Angle stands on the ramp and soaks up the “You still got it” chants.  Sorry, Manhattan. The jury is still out on that one.

Backstage highlights of each champion getting ready to wrestle later tonight.

The match itself really was a disappointing way to start things off.  You only get one chance to make a good first impression.  While this wasn’t bad, it certainly wasn’t great.  

MVP chews out Kenny King backstage.  This is where TNA excels – the camera is hidden, and the men acts as if they have no idea they’re being filmed.  Works extremely well for those moments that “aren’t supposed to be public.”

Looks like there’s cameras everywhere.  EC3 and Titus (fka Brodus Clay) are backstage for a promo.  EC3 says he’s going to take Rockstar Spud apart.

Josh Matthews takes a moment to talk about taking the reigns from Mike Tenay, then kicks it to Tenay to put over his new TNA shows.  He kicks it to an interview Tenay did with James Storm earlier.  Storm puts over his group, The Revolution.  He says they’re not here for wrestling matches.  Storm gets up and close to him, and starts whistling.  It’s kind of reminiscent of Bray Wyatt.  Is that the intention?

Cue the TNA Tag Team Championship match.

The Revolution (James Storm & Abyss, w/ Sanada and Manik) vs. The Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)

It’s been a while since I’ve seen The Wolves wrestle.  Before the match can begin, Jeff and Matt Hardy walk to ringside.  I’m concerned this is about to become an overbooked mess.  Let’s take a break.

We’re back.  Richards and Edwards have claw marks on their chests, and I’m preoccupied trying to figure out whether they’re tattoos, or decals, or just paint.

Apparently there are no rules, because so far, it’s all tandem moves from The Wolves.  Looks great, but… you know… rules.

The action here is really good.  The Wolves have an energy that brings this product to a new level, but Storm and Abyss are solid too.  I’m all for tandem moves, but I prefer them to be within the confines of legal tags and such.

Somehow, the rest of The Revolution get involved, while Matt and Jeff Hardy break in to even things up.  The ref magically sees nothing.  In a moment of chaos, Storm hits a superkick to end it.

Winners: The Revolution to retain the TNA Tag Team Titles

Overbooked mess, just as predicted.  Good action while it lasted.  The Revolution looks like a bunch of misfits, by the way.  No theme to them whatsoever.

Nice video package highlighting Roode vs. Lashley I.  Puts over the importance of the title.  I like this.  Thumbs up.

More of MVP shouting at people – this time, Bobby Lashley.  Lashley has had enough, and he plants MVP on against the wall.  Well done segment.

In the ring, Jeremy Borash talks about being in TNA since day one, but before he can continue, Ethan Carter III comes ringside.  He says it’s the year of EC3.  He steals Tyson Kidd’s “Fact” routine, unless I’m mistaken and Tyson stole it from him (hey, it’s possible  I haven’t seen the product in a while).

EC3 plays games with the audience.  He calls Rockstar Spud out to the ring.  Tyrus carries Spud out to the ring.  EC3 threatens to shave off the rest of his hair.  Borash tries to dissuade him, tells him he’s done enough.  EC3 tells him to stand down.  Borash slaps him in the face with the microphone, but the camera kind of missed it.  Tyrus attacks Borash.  Spud tries to fend him off.  EC3 wants to shave Borash’s hair instead.  So he does.

Good heat-generating segment.  EC3 has a ton of confidence.  Went a little long, but nothing terrible.

More backstage MVP stuff.  I would like more wrestling now, please.

Video highlights of Roode vs. Lashley II.  Again, these segments are very beneficial.

Low Ki (c) vs. Austin Aries for the X-Division Championship

As Low-Ki comes to the ring, there’s a solid video package putting over the X-Division.  Lots of AJ Styles clips.  While the package is solid, it was a missed opportunity to put Low Ki over specifically.  Get to know him a bit.  Aries too.

The bell rings, and the fans are all over this.  Matthews and Taz struggle to explain what the X-Division really is.  Matthews talks about Low Ki being the first Ring of Honor champion.  Odd for them to name drop ROH.

This is a really fun match, and what TNA should really focus on to set them apart from the rest of the pack.  Low Ki and Aries work very well together.  It’s hard hitting, it’s fast, and explosive.  Everything these men do, they do it crisp and flawlessly.  The crowd chants are split between both Aries and Low Ki.  After a hard-fought battle, Austin Aries hits a nice Brain Buster to capture the win.

Winner: Austin Aries to win the X-Division Championship

A very good match.  I would’ve liked to have seen a few more minutes out of these two.  A clean finish.  Well done.

The TNA Knockouts are already in the ring for the Knockouts Battle Royale.  The Beautiful People get a full ring entrance, accompanied by DJZ and Jesse Godderz.  DJZ welcomes back Robbie E.  The Knockouts are kind of getting annoyed.  Me too.  Robbie E says he didn’t win a million dollars, but he looks like it.  He blames Brooke for the loss.  Taryn Terrell, our Knockouts Champ, interrupts him.  Seems she’s had enough too.

TNA Knockouts Battle Royale for the TNA Knockouts Championship

All hell breaks loose.  There’s moments of brilliance peppered in with segments of disaster.  Brooke runs out and attacks Robbie E.  It’s taking away from what’s happening in the ring.  Terrell sneaks in the win, sending both Gail Kim an Havoc over the top rope at the same time.

Winner: Taryn Terrell to retain the Knockouts Championship

Havoc immediately attacks Terrell.  The lights go out.  When they finally turn back on, Awesome Kong is standing in the middle of the ring, nose to nose with Havoc.  The crowd eats it up, and it’s a pretty awesome moment.  Havoc takes off.  One of the referees talks trash to Kong, so she choke-slams him.  Take that, you jerk!

Roode vs. Lashley, up next!

Awesome Kong’s return to TNA was, well, pretty exciting. The fans loved it, and it felt like a big deal.  Good to see her back in the company.  I can’t wait to see her and Gail Kim tear it up again.

Lashley vs. Bobby Roode (c) for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship

Roode lays the belt down on the ramp, then runs into the ring.  It’s on.

The action is fast and furious.  Back and forth.  Lashley ducks out of the ring to regroup.  Action spills outside and Lashley gets the advantage.  Roode counters with a sick clothesline.  Those cameras backstage show an inset video.  MVP has a few people in masks with him.  They attack security, and start heading towards the ring as we go to break.

I don’t have a good feeling about this.

The match is still taking place outside.  Guess what?  No headlock!  Lashley rolls Roode back in and taunts him.  Roode fires back.  Lashley cuts him off.  Lashley has a solid bear hug locked in.  Roode hammers him with a clothesline.  Lashley shrugs it off and amps up.  He gets the best of Lashley and gets a near fall.  Lashley catches Roode and hits a running slam for two.  Roode goes for a sunset bomb, turns it into a sitout powerbomb instead.  Lashley hits a Roode Bomb on Roode, worth only two.  Lashley is bleeding significantly from the mouth.  He misses a spear, Roode hits him with one instead.  Two-count.

Right on cue, MVP, Kenny King, and two masked men approach the ring.  Lashley goes for a roll-up just as my DVR stops the show.

And I was actually into this match.

I’ll be picking up coverage from Prowrestling.net from here.

Roode locked Lashley in a crossface.  Kenny King attacked the referee.  Kurt Angle ran out to get outnumbered.  The masked men pulled their masks to reveal their identities – Low Ki and Samoa Joe. Eric Young ran out to the ring with a chair to even the odds, but then turned on Roode as well.  He attacked Roode with the chair, Lashley hit the spear, and the referee mystically popped up to make the three count.  It was implied that Lashley wasn’t privy to the plan.

Winner: Bobby Lashley to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship

Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss.  A shame too – there was a lot on this show I enjoyed, but the main event didn’t need to be an overbooked mess like it was.

TNA did a lot of things right tonight, and some things wrong.  It was a better show than Raw, for sure, but the booking and pacing didn’t leave me with much hope that there’s any changes being made in their philosophies.  This concerns me.

From the broadcast point of view, Destination America seems to have provided them with solid backing, and everything looked great.  I hope it evolves somewhat going forward here.

Thank you for joining me tonight.  Feel free to tell me what you thought of the show!  See you next week!