While You (And By You, I Mean Me) Were Out: Impact Wrestling 12/26/13 – 1/9/14, Part One

Over the next three days, Dave will be reviewing the past month of Impact Wrestling action in anticipation of Thursday night’s Genesis Free-for-View (or whatever it is they call the things that used to be PPVs that they were losing money on). Here’s Part One: the 12/26 show.

Due to the holidays, work, and all the reasons Andy wrote about yesterday, I’ve been somewhat gleefully shirking my duty in covering TNA. All that ends now, though, as I tell you everything you need to know heading into TNA’s Genesis show this week, one show at a time:

Impact Wrestling, 12/26 

What You Need to Know

Throughout the show, there was a series of strong Magnus vignettes that really helped get over Magnus as a calculating, thinking heel. The packages were perhaps overly derivative of the “Bully Ray’s master plan” vignettes from his turn on the Hogans, but nevertheless, it was a good use of TV time to get over the new champion.

Jeff Hardy showed the balls to complain about getting completely screwed out of a title win, a trait of which top babyfaces seemed absolutely devoid in 2013. Unfortunately, he needed help from a 55-year-old man when he took a shoulder tackle, which made him seem, like, maybe just a little bit weak.

Jeff Hardy delivered a post-main-event-loss promo that was perhaps his best of 2013. Before announcing he was “leaving TNA,” he put over Sting strong and did what a top babyface is supposed to do: he spoke the thoughts of the people. He expressed his hatred for Dixie Carter’s dominance of the show, showed his disappointment that a World Title match had such a terrible finish, and showed his frustration that he couldn’t deliver the fans and himself the big win they all deserved. In short, it was a sincere, believable, babyface promo.

James Storm and Gunner have a personal feud that makes sense, and Storm is still one of the best at the business at selling personal feuds. This show saw them have a solid TV match that got across the intensity of their feud but also left a lot on the table for their eventual blow-off.

The Ugly Truth

Rockstar Spud is really good at his schtick, but it almost feels like a smokescreen for TNA to pair him with Dixie Carter. It’s like they want you to think, “Hey, Spud makes this whole Dixie thing bearable!”

Gunner seems way too reasonable in his feud with Storm. He did a bunch of heelish stuff to Storm (cost him a chance at the World Title, literally jackrabbited over his back to take another title shot away from him), and yet in his promos he plays the “I care about you, I just also care about myself” card. Without a strong, definitive heel turn from Gunner, babyface Storm comes away looking whiny.

Bully Ray is the last guy on earth who needs a “get his balls back” angle. He had a good run, but I think TNA got every inch out of him… and then continued with him as the centerpiece for another six months.

A Monster’s Ball match happened. In the year 2013 (’14 as I write this), in which wrestlers don’t beat each other about the heads and necks mercilessly, there is really no reason to ever have a Monster’s Ball match. The weapon shots in the match all looked incredibly safe, which is a good thing unless you’re supposed to be having an ultra-violent gimmick match. The match was criminally long, and the eventual finish was so predictable and awful that it made me wonder for the thousandth time who exactly all the fans of this angle are.

I am and always have been a fan of ODB, but her match with Lei’D Tapa was fast-forward material if ever I’ve seen it. Tapa has the agility of Akeem the African Dream and the charisma of Nathan Jones.

The main event of the show was an absolute clusterkerfuffle featuring roughly half the TNA roster. Furthermore, if Sting is going to be involved in a four-on-two handicap match, wouldn’t you expect him to be on the four-man side rather than forcing his unfortunate partner to do the long-sell-of-all-long-sells while The Stinger stands on the apron sucking wind?

The Bottom Line

Good emphasis on new champ Magnus, good build for Storm and Gunner, a way-better-than-Jeff-Hardy-generally-delivers promo, and a sloppy, boring, overly-Dixified night for everybody else.