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. Each 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: Austin Aries & Bobby Roode Promos
Positives: Aries cut a driven, decidedly babyface promo to get the crowd hot for the main event from the top of the show. TNA finally gave Aries a promo in which he could define his character and explain why the quest for the title is so important to him.
TNA has kept Aries and Roode juxtaposed in one way or another all year, which makes it feel like something huge is brewing between the two further down the line.
Negatives: Roode said he was serious again, which is good, but the real world is about showing and not telling.
Aries calling Roode the “spit factor” for spitting when he talks seemed like a bit much. There’s a lot of evidence that
Aries doesn’t understand where the line between “super cool guy” and “person it’s embarrassing to be around in public” is drawn.
Segment Score: +1
Segment 2: Bobby Roode vs. Hernandez
Positives: This wasn’t a great technical match, but it told a story that made sense and both wrestlers portrayed their characters well. Roode looked good selling for Hernandez, which was important to set up the screwjob finish meaning something.
Roode’s involvement in the first segment wasn’t as strong as Aries’, but Roode said he was going to get serious and do anything to win, and then he did it immediately afterward. TNA put two wrestlers over strong in the first twenty minutes of this show.
Negatives: The bottle finish worked for this match on paper, but the execution left a lot lacking (more on this later in the show…). Roode doing the dance with all the chairs to set up the distraction spot felt like something from the 2004 Jeff Jarrett playbook.
It made Brian Hebner (and referees in general) look completely powerless that he noticed the glass on the mat after the bell, looked at Roode, and asked, “Where did this come from?!” like he was scolding a 5-year-old that had broken a dish. Either have the ref miss the spot completely (which makes him look stupid, but works) or draw attention to the fact that he noticed and make a big deal out of it.
Segment Score: +0
Segment 3: Sabin & Mannik Backstage Exchange
Positives: This made Sabin’s title win feel like a real rub for the X Division, as Sabin pulled off being both an X Division wrestler and a newly-minted World Heavyweight Champion in this segment.
Negatives: This didn’t feel nearly as major league as what Aries and Roode did to lead off the show – and this is supposed to set up a Champion vs. Champion match! The title deserves better than the dimly-lit back side of T.J. Perkins’ head.
TNA gets points for trying to add some depth to the Mannik character, but he needs to speak directly to the fans, not through dark backstage pretapes if he’s going to get that character over.
Segment Score: -1