Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

In hockey, basketball, and other sports I’m sure I’m forgetting, individual players are held accountable for their team’s performance during their time in the game through the plus/minus statistic. This week’s Impact review will attempt to score each segment as a hit (+1; a superior match or well-executed story-building segment), a miss (-1; offensive to the eyes or ears), or a push (+0; a segment that is wholly acceptable, but nothing memorable) in order to find an overall rating to the show.

Segment 1: A.J. Styles/Bully Ray Promo Exchange
Bully Ray-AJ Styles

Positives: A.J. kicked things off by putting Carter/Hogan nonsense aside and stating that his focus was on winning the title and becoming a great champion. This was precisely the “Best Case Scenario” described in this week’s Impact preview.

Ray found a heelish balance of bragging up how he was going to destroy A.J. while also dropping hints of underlying fear and insecurity.

Negatives: The crowd was a little sleepy until Bully Ray came out and turned up the heat. Their reaction to Styles’ entrance seemed extremely subdued. This was probably the result of them having just sat through the painful Dixie Carter-Hulk Hogan segment that ended the first half of the taping last week.

Segment Score: +1

***

Segment 2: Kenny King & Chris Sabin vs. Manik & Jeff Hardy
KennyKingManik

Positives: Nobody got hurt. The babyfaces won clean.

Negatives: This match felt like it broke down instantly. The organization and structure that make tag team wrestling work were completely absent here.

Austin Aries was 1997 Shawn Michaels on commentary, and not in a good way. He came across as a self-congratulatory cool heel when he’s supposed to be a babyface, a “cripplingly pill-addicted HBK” staple if there ever was one.

Considering the four men wrestling, this match was criminally dull. If anything, it felt like the match before intermission at a house show.

Segment Score: -1

***

Segment 3: Hogan/Sting and Sting/Magnus Backstage

Positives: Magnus’ promo seemed intense and driven. He’s definitely pulling his weight in terms of making himself a star. It remains to be seen whether TNA can hold up their end of the bargain by booking him correctly.

Negatives: “Last week” was plastered on the bottom of the screen, but it still felt really jarring how they cut from Sting wearing a suit and talking to Hogan in a room with cushioned chairs right to Sting wearing his ring gear and talking to Magnus in a room with folding chairs. Subtle stuff like that serves to maintain the illusion that Hogan is still a venerable figure who deserves fans’ respect. “Only jabronis sit in the folding chairs, brother!”

Segment Score: +0

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