The +/- #’s: Impact Wrestling, 8/29

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 for the show.

Segment 1: Aces & Eights Mourn Devon

Positives: Knux’s quick promo was a pleasant surprise. It’s very late in the game for TNA to begin making his character anything more than “guy who hands the other guy a hammer,” but at least he seemed to know who he was, and was ready to tell people about it.

The “Ray loves Tito” angle is actually really intriguing in a twisted way. Ray seems almost creepily enamored with Ortiz, who responds by shifting his weight from foot to foot and not speaking.

Negatives: The first image of this week’s Impact Wrestling: a butt. If TNA’s best plan to bail out the ship is butts, then God help us all.

Bischoff and Brisco were high school theatre awful, especially Brisco. Him calling Ray “prez” was so forced it hurt.

It was weird that Bully Ray was the only member of Aces & Eights who cared that Devon was gone even a little bit. It would have made sense for him to grieve the most, given their history, but everybody else acted like they wouldn’t miss Devon whatsoever. Of course, this all would have been fine if TNA had ever hinted once before that there was tension between Devon and the rest of the club.

Ray ultimately heeling on Devon let all the steam off of the Main Event Mafia’s victory last week. This is classic TNA booking with the heels laughing everything off to try and keep their heat.

Here’s the problem with Ken Anderson spinning out of Aces & Eights as a babyface: The only logical thing to do with him is to have him feud with Ray, and the only way to book that angle is for him to eventually go over Ray and win the title. Impact needs babyface champion Ken Anderson like it needs a third hour.

Gosh, that felt long.

Segment Score: -1

***

Segment 2: Jeff Hardy vs. Kazarian

Jeff Hardy (with troll hair) drops both legs on Kazarian
Positives: This match had a pace that matched the body types and repertoires of the two wrestlers involved. Not everything was crisp and beautiful, but they both got themselves over with the match they put together.
The crowd was really into both Hardy and Kazarian, which helped this match a lot. On an intriguing note, the crowd seemed poised to accept Kaz as a babyface.

Add Jeff Hardy to the list of people with better figure fours than the Miz.

TNA resisted the urge to involve other members of EGO in the finish, and by doing so helped keep Jeff Hardy looking strong.

Negatives: If you watched this match on mute and didn’t hear the crowd, you’d say it was just okay.

Segment Score: +1

***

Segment 3: Gail Kim vs. ODB – Two out of Three Falls

Positives: This match involved a well-established heel who is over with the crowd working over a well-established babyface who is over with the crowd. That is the formula that works.

The first fall of the match told a really fantastic story, but it should have been the third fall of the match (see below).

Throughout the match, Gail Kim worked ODB’s leg with a degree of ferocity and calculation that very few wrestlers (of any gender) can achieve.

Negatives: The idea that Kim would work over ODB’s leg to the point of submission in the first fall and then lose the match is crazy.  Who is ODB that she could recover from her knee being destroyed to come back and win two straight falls? Superman? Tommy Dreamer? Hulk Hogan?

Even with this match under her belt, ODB doesn’t feel like a threat to Mickie James’ Knockouts Title. She’s over and TNA has put the wind in her sails, but something just isn’t clicking with ODB at the tippy-top.

Segment Score: +0

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