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, as ever, this 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; wholly acceptable, but nothing memorable) in order to find an overall rating to the show. This week, for the first time, however, Dave’ll be doing his best to explain his reasons behind the score.
Seg 1: Kurt Angle/Magnus Promo Exchange
Thoughts: Kurt Angle’s had so many head injuries in his career that all his promos sound like he just got a head injury.
Magnus needs to stop hedging and turn heel. Talking about having heart and desire in promos isn’t at all consistent with his in-ring actions in what was supposed to be a star-making vehicle against Sting at BFG.
Roode cut a solid heel promo, but the best part was the closing line when he told Magnus he will “never ever be World Heavyweight Champion.” Mangus sold being legitimately insulted, too, which made it even better.
Jeff Hardy starting his own “Hardy” chant was awkward on a lot of levels, most notably: If TNA had booked one of the most over wrestlers of the last 15 years with any competence at all, fans would pop for him on their own. On the other hand, can we already go back to blaming the Orlando crowd for not being into anything?
Reasons: None of these promos were home runs — heck, Roode only hit a double. With that said, Impact opened with a segment that featured wrestlers promoting the two big matches on the card without any authority figure meddling. That’s a good, rare thing these days.
Seg 2: Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode — Tables Match
Thoughts: A few minutes into the match, Hardy bumped right onto his head on a short-armed clothesline from Roode. It looked really scary, and the announcers threw to a replay, suggesting he took an awkward amount of time live to recover. Things got even worse when Hardy crashed and burned on a Whisper in the Wind attempt on the next spot. If Hardy starts respecting his body more, he’ll be able to make money wrestling for many years. If he doesn’t, he won’t.
Hardy and Roode simultaneously bumping through the table from the apron was very well-timed. If that spot had gone wrong, it would have made for a really awkward decision: call for the bell on the fly, possibly changing the finish, or pretend it looked good. Lucky, it looked great, preventing what could have been a bad situation. Also, it was a nice, logical spot to throw to commercial on, rather than cutting away in the middle of in-ring action.
The finish on this match was great in that the right man won, and he did it in an original way. Hardy had already hit the Swanton and the Twist, so finishing on the mule kick off the apron felt fresher than “here’s my finisher again!”
Reasons: Strong TV match between a great babyface and a great heel. Several good spots throughout with a clean, different finish.
Seg 3: Ethan Carter III vs. Earl Hebner (yes, you read that right)
Thoughts: Based on the tight shot of Carter during his promo, it’s safe to say that all his “You suck” heat came out of an extra large can of Goldberg Brand Canned Heat.
This segment was an awful, awful idea, but you know what the worst part of it was? No babyface wrestler came out to stop EC3 from being a gigantic jerk wasting the fans’ time. As I said in my preview, whoever’s booking this angle thinks they’re being “old school” by building Carter on an island separated from any real wrestlers, but that strategy has already cost the character valuable heat. On this trajectory, EC3 will never become a heat magnet, just a channel up button.
Reasons: This whole segment felt like a pre-intermission house show bit, and a bad one at that.