Segment 4: Gut Check Part 1
Positives: “The Big O” is gone from TNA.
Negatives: One of the consistently worst parts of Impact is the backstage banter between Pritchard, Al Snow, and Danny Davis. Does Bruce Pritchard really think he’s over or that 90% of the fans even know who he is? Also, while both of these contestants sucked, it doesn’t make too much sense to start by eliminating the guy who actually won a match. I know that in legitimate sports some guys are signed even after a poor showing in a workout or tryout, but the executives picking the teams wouldn’t choose them over someone who actually looked good. Sheesh.
Segment 4 Score: -1
Segment 5: Hernandez vs. Jay Bradley
Positives: Nobody got hurt. Jay Bradley looks like he could be a player with a bit of polish. Hernandez will never be accused of making his opponent look good, but Bradley looked capable of going toe-to-toe with an established TNA star.
Negatives: Boy, I wish I had minute-by-minute ratings to see how many viewers this show lost the second they announced the two wrestlers. Bradley is exactly the kind of wrestler TNA should keep Hernandez away form: he makes Supermex look short and he can’t do anything to help hide Hernandez’ signature sloppiness. On top of that, the cameras showed a number of spots being called, which is just poor direction considering the show was taped and they had their pick of angles.
Ultimately, this was the kind of finish that should never happen: a babyface manager using heel tactics against a heel to help his colleague win. It only makes things worse that this finish occurred in the context of the Bound for Glory Series, where TNA desperately needs to establish that the matches are prestigious and somehow sacred.
Segment 5 Score: -1
Segment 6: The Bro Mans vs. Gunner & Storm
Positives: This match wasn’t anything to remember, but it was a functional squash match to establish that Gunner & Storm are strong champions.
Negatives: Gunner looked largely back to his old look, which I think is a mistake. His man bun made him stand out. Also, he looks way too much like Storm (at least from the front) at this point. There was some sloppy offense from both of the tag champs in this match, including an especially ugly fallaway slam from Gunner at one point.
Segment 6 Score: +0
Positives: I’m a fan of these mission statement promos. Angle clearly stated, “We’re here to destroy Aces & Eights and to make sure Bully Ray loses the World Heavyweight Title.” Now the audience has something to hold onto to judge just how successful the new Main Event Mafia is in their journey as a group.
Magnus really looked the part in the suit. It was honestly Flair-esque. He pulled off a very confident promo considering his age, explaining what made everybody in the group elite and reinforcing their mission statement. I was expecting not to like this segment, but I honestly came away impressed with the direction of the angle.
Negatives: Joe’s promo was fairly strong, but I thought Angle explaining it afterwards was unnecessary. Why not let Joe introduce his former tag team partner Magnus himself?
Segment 7 Score: +1