The +/- #’s: Impact Wrestling

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: Bully Ray & Tito Ortiz Arrive

Bully Ray and Tito Ortiz

Positives: Bully Ray and Tito Ortiz playing (suddenly) best buddies actually does something for both of them. Ray knows how to cut the storyline-driven wrestling promo, and Ortiz’s attitude and body language add a new wrinkle to a Bully Ray character that seemed to have hit a wall in the past three months.

Negatives: The idea of Ken Anderson being spun out of Aces & Eights as a top babyface seems a bit much considering the short shelf life of his previous curse-based gimmick. Anderson’s presence in this angle shows what TNA lost when D.O.C. was not retained.

Segment Score: +0

Segment 2: Extraordinary Gentlemen’s Organization Promo

Positives: In this segment, TNA actually did something to fight the perception that the company is an intellectual continuation of the failed WCW: They established a heel faction within the company that is equal to the heel outsiders. After the nWo caught on, WCW lost the ability to create successful heels without the nWo brand. Here, TNA showed some forethought and laid the ground for the next generation of top heels after the Aces & Eights saga wraps up.
James Storm cuts the soundest babyface promos in the business. It sounds like a backhanded compliment, but the fact of the matter is that Storm gets himself over as a likable guy who sets goals that fans want to see him accomplish.

Negatives: It was a little puzzling that the EGO declared war on Aces & Eights only to be greeted by the babyface Tag Team Champions. Storm has plenty of reason to dislike Roode, but his appearance came across as a bit out-of-turn.

Segment Score: +1

Segment 3: Street Fight – James Storm & Gunner vs. EGO (Bobby Roode & Kaz)

Positives: As in the previous segment, James Storm proved his near-Jeff Hardly-level Teflon status. In spite of all that his character has been through over the last two years, Storm can still put together a flurry of offense that gets the fans as hot as anything.

One of the reasons to be excited about EGO is the way all three members of the group sell. They know when to take the bigger-than-average bump in a way that contributes a lot to the match but doesn’t make fans expect it every time.

The dirty finish in this match was well-executed by all involved. There were no conspicuous pauses or awkward moments that made things look fake. The referee’s focus shifted for just a second so that Roode snuck in the low blow, but Storm didn’t have to have his shoulders pinned for any longer than the three count.

Negatives: Gunner looked like the Yang to Storm’s Yin in terms of charisma. His work lacks top star polish, which hurts his ability to get over as exciting, and he seems more like a guy that Storm needs to help rather than a talent with whom Storm can create something new.

Segment Score: +1

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