tna_impact_logo

The Night Shift: TNA Impact 01/16/15 – Hardys vs. Wolves, Low Ki vs. Aries, plus MVP talks!

Howdy everyone!  Drew Koscelek here with another week of TNA Impact!  It’s our 2nd episode on Destination America, and the first post-produced episode, so hopefully some of those magic hidden cameras will start to actually have purpose.

The show opens with a recap of the happenings last week, with special attention to the attack on Robert Roode in the main event.  Bobby Lashley is our new champ, and Eric Young turned on Roode.

Continue reading

tna_impact_logo

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.

roode_lashley

Wentz’s Blog – Random Thoughts on TNA’s Live Debut on Destination America

Editorial Note:  This is not an “Afterthoughts” column and I won’t be offering something of that nature for TNA going forward.  This is simply a compilation of random thoughts regarding TNA’s debut show on Destination America last night as a whole now that I’ve had a chance to see it.

Let me start by saying that I really want to like TNA.  I want them to offer a true alternative product to WWE, which as you know by reading our coverage and listening to audio we feel is also in a bad place right now.  There have been a lot of folks hoping for TNA to bring forth a new era in their programming last night when they debuted live on Destination America.

Continue reading

tna_impact_logo

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!

kurt_angle

Interview Highlights – TNA Star Kurt Angle Teases Big Announcement, Compares his TNA Run With His WWE Run

TNA star Kurt Angle was also quoted in the same AP piece with Dan Gelston.  In that article, he was asked about returning to the ring.  Angle said, “It looks like I’ll be wrestling here sooner rather than later, if that gives you a hint.”

Angle also talked about his time in WWE and compared his current run in TNA to it.  “I had an incredible career at WWE,” Angle said, “but my career has actually been better in TNA.”

There have been some teases on Twitter and in other social media outlets that Angle has a major announcement tomorrow night on the live Impact broadcast.  He has been playing as an authority figure as he rehabilitates a knee injury.  My guess is that his announcement will be that he is going to give up the authority role and return to in-ring competition.  Solely a guess though, not a spoiler.

dixie_carter

Interview Highlights – TNA President Dixie Carter Discusses the Changes in IMPACT Wrestling

TNA President Dixie Carter has been making the rounds in a lot of media interviews and podcast appearances in advance of the January 7 debut of Impact Wrestling on Destination America.  Her latest interview was with Dan Gelston of the Associated Press.

She made comments on the changes that they intend to make to the new television product. “We’re going to pull the curtain back and have cameras where they’ve not been before,” Carter said. “You’re going to see some changes that will help the viewer feel a stronger connection to the show and the characters. It will be a new way of watching it compared to what we’ve had in the past.”

In the same piece, Destination America General Manager Marc Etkind talked about the decision process that arrived at airing Impact on Fridays. “We felt there was an audience coming to Friday already looking for wrestling and we expect them to find `Impact,'” Etkind said. “What we like about the wrestling audience is, it’s an all-American audience.”

There are a number of topics that are covered in the AP article, linked above.  As we said in Ring Rap Audio today, Impact returns at 9PM EST tomorrow (January 7) on Destination America with a special live broadcast.  On the following Friday night, they will settle into their normal time slot.

ring_rap_audio_dark

Ring Rap Audio: 01/06/15 – Presenting the 2014 Ring Rap Year-End Award Winners, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9 Review, WWE Raw, TNA Impact, plus more!

iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS | MP3

It’s time for our 2014 Ring Rap Year End Awards!  Where, YOU, the listener, have spoken and voted on topics like Match of the Year, Wrestler of the Year, Stupid Gimmick of the Year, and lots more!

In addition to that, Bill and Drew talk about the amazing New Japan Pro Wrestling “Wrestle Kingdom 9,” and contrast it to the absolutely, positively terrible WWE Raw this week.

Plus, a discussion on TNA’s debut this week, plus lots more!

Follow all of us on Twitter as well: @RingRapAudio and @RingRap.  Bill is on Twitter @Bill_SoonerFan.  Matt is on Twitter @bigmat75.  Drew is on Twitter too @PsionStorm.

Be sure to tune in to our shorter, more frequent solo audio show, Around the Ring with Ring Rap! (iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS)

You can also follow us on Facebook and Google+!

*****

Music Credits

“Summon the Rawk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

*****

“Pulse” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

eric_young

TNA iMPACT Wrestling Announces Yet Another Talent Signing, Re-Signs Former World Champion

During WWE Raw tonight, it came across my Twitter feed that John Gaburick has announced another re-signing for the TNA roster.  Eric Young, a former World Heavyweight Champion, has re-upped with TNA.  Terms were not disclosed.

Young is actually a somewhat accomplished champion in TNA, having held all the belts (except the Knockouts title, of course) and having been both a Triple Crown Champion and Grand Slam Champion.  His character is definitely more comedy than seriousness of late, but he does have talent and a place on the roster.  The original tweet from Gaburick is shown below.

wolves

TNA iMPACT Wrestling Announces Re-Signing of The Wolves and Other Key Talent in Advance of January 7 Live Debut on Destination America

TNA has been on a talent re-signing binge since announcing their new television deal with Destination America.  Within the past half hour on Twitter, John Gaburick announced that The Wolves have re-signed with the company.  The tweet is shown below:

As of this morning, the following talents have been announced as re-signed by TNA:

  • Mr. Anderson
  • Madison Rayne
  • Jesse Godderz (one half of the Bro-Mans tag team)
  • Ethan Carter III
  • Abyss
  • The Wolves

There were no indications of the terms of any of these signings.  Gaburick has indicated that additional signings may be announced.  If so, we will pass that information along.

Also noteworthy is that a number of talents have been moved to the “Alumni” section of the TNA roster on their webpage.  Those talents are:

  • Bully Ray
  • Devon
  • Brittany
  • Rampage Jackson
  • Shark Boy

Bully Ray’s contract had expired, and time will tell if he will re-sign or seek opportunities elsewhere.  Rampage Jackson has been embroiled in a bit of contract controversy with UFC and Bellator, and is working on returning to UFC.  He also had a number of negative things to say about his TNA experience.  Brittany has been working as Santana Garrett on the independent circuit of late.

cropped-300x3001.png

READER POLL: 2014 Ring Rap Year-End Awards

2014 has come to a close, and it was a fairly eventful year for pro-wrestling fans.  We want to take a moment to look at the Year in Review, and host our reader-voted Year End Awards.

Please take a few moments to vote on your favorites throughout the year, and be sure to tune in to Ring Rap Audio on Tuesday as we discuss the results!