Suicide” beat Chris Sabin and Kenny King to win the TNA X-Division Championship: A really fun and entertaining match to open the show but the finish seemed lost on the crowd. Interesting way to end it and I love the way Sabin sold the loss; man looked like he was going to bawl (***).
Adam Ohriner beat Ryan Howe: TNA’s fan voting for the Gut Check was a creative idea. However, in this scenario, it led to Adam Ohriner, also known as “The Big O,” getting a match and winning. I don’t blame Ohriner for leveraging his popularity from Zack Ryder’s internet show into a great opportunity. That said, I don’t feel that he is ready to compete on such a big stage. Howe didn’t fare much better, showing off little more than his hokey character, and I’m hoping neither guy is back (DUD).
Mickie James Beat Velvet Sky: This match was better than the previous one between these two, but it was still a bit clunky. Though Velvet is over, she really struggles in the ring. I’m hoping that she doesn’t get the title back at any point in the near future. Mickie is a better in-ring worker with the most interesting character in the division. TNA should move her onto something new soon so that she isn’t wasting her efforts in a feud that creates nothing but awkward matches. TNA pride themselves on being an alternative product, and part of that is their women’s division. Just a week ago, Brooke Hogan talked about how proud she was of the division’s competitors and the buzz that they had generated for their ring work. TNA built on that this week by having Velvet Sky cry after losing her match. This didn’t make me pity Velvet; it just made her look like a whiny bitch. Instead of having her act like a grown woman, TNA had her act like a child. It’s hard to hold their women’s division in high regard when you can tell that the people writing it don’t hold women as a whole in a high regard (*1/2).
Magnus beat Bobby Roode: Though it was at the expense of Bobby Roode, who hasn’t been able to catch a break as of late, Magnus picked up another win and is still on top of the Bound for Glory Series standings. While I feel that he will most likely fade off a bit as the tournament progress, I like that TNA is making him a focal point. He can talk, wrestle, and carry himself well, and this run on top of the standings will be a good litmus test to determine if he can be a top guy (**1/2).
LOL UR GAY: Robbie E and Jessie Godderz appear to have formed an alliance, dubbing themselves “The Bro-Mans.” While I can’t imagine them having any five star matches any time soon, I think this idea would be okay for an undercard jobber tag team. However, instead of being showcased that way, they were in a promo with the TNA Tag Team Champions, James Storm and Gunner. James Storm inferred that Robbie E and Gooderz are gay with subpar delivery, which is great comedy in 2013. The reason this ends up in “The Wrong” is because it showcases just how badly the tag team division has gone into the shitter. Not long ago, Bad Influence and Roode and Aries were putting on great matches every week. Now we have James Storm making gay jokes and a bunch of guys who could disappear forever without fans even noticing.
Samoa Joe beat Ken Anderson: I felt a little torn when Samoa Joe joined The Main-Event Mafia. On one hand, Samoa Joe has been great recently. He’s been wrestling with intensity and showing some fire on the microphone. It appears as if he is motivated once again. If this means that Samoa Joe’s work is being rewarded, and he will be a focal point of the company, that’s great. However, a large part of me worries that instead, Joe will be lost in the shuffle as merely another guy who is in a stable. This is one of those wait-and-see issues, so we’ll do just that (*1/2).
Austin Aries is Suicide: First off, let me through this out there: I like unpredictability. When watching a wrestling show, the “anything can happen!” element is a good thing. However, I like unpredictability to be founded in logic and to make sense. Austin Aries beating up a guy backstage prior to a match and presumably stripping him naked with no one noticing is a bit out there. On top of that, we are now left with more questions than answers. For example, what will happen to Aries’ spot in the Bound for Glory Series? Though this was surprising, it now seems like TNA’s X-Division has gone nowhere in the last year. Austin Aries already got his rub. TNA could have given a chance to someone new, but they didn’t. Instead, they’ve gone with Aries for the second straight year. The idea of Aries finding a way to insert himself in the title picture is fine, but this was the wrong way to go about it, and it most likely took away a big opportunity from someone else. This is the kind of convoluted trash that made me stop watching TNA from 2008-2011.
This was the worst episode of Impact that I can remember in some time. Most of the booking made me want to put my head through a wall, and while the in-ring action was okay, there wasn’t one match in particular that stood out. While there were a lot of things of consequence that took place, my reaction to them was either, “let’s wait and see” or “this is not good.” The main storyline for the episode (Aries is Suicide) was hokey and ridiculous. Let’s hope that things get back on track next week.
Show Rating: 4.5
Sheamus d. Damian Sandow: This was rather stupid, and not always in a good way, but on the whole it was an entertaining enough brawl to make the right section. The spots with the beer-keg and the sack of potatoes and the green weaponry weren’t really that funny, but the match improved once it became more heated, and both wrestlers appeared to be enjoying themselves throughout the bout. The finish was pretty darn cool as well. Hopefully everyone involved in this feud can move on to more meaningful matches from here (***).
MizTV w/ Paul Heyman: This wasn’t great. The verbal sparring between the Miz and Paul Heyman was strangely limp and heatless; Heyman had a few nice moments, but Miz was awkward throughout, though the lack of fire on display was appropriate for the lifeless Miz-Axel feud. I wonder if this segment would have had a bit more purpose if it was based around the approximately 231 times more interesting Punk/Lesnar/Heyman love triangle, or whether both men were just having an off night. On the plus side, the Miz saved an abysmal Star Wars joke with the “Luke, you’re not your father” line to Curtis, which was genuinely clever. Hooray for that!
Natalya d. AJ: HAHAHAHA AJ HAD SEX WITH MULTIPLE PARTNERS AND ONE OF THEM MIGHT HAVE BEEN A GIRL!!!!!!!!! JBL’s appalled “OH NO!” when Kaitlyn insinuated AJ and Mark Yeaton had been together made me laugh, but the promo very much didn’t. Since about 2006 the women’s division has been a black hole of creativity, and this AJ-Kaitlyn feud has been sucked into it after an initially promising start (DUD).
Randy Orton d. Kane: I’m starting to have serious concerns that my confident prediction from last week that Daniel Bryanis turning heel might prove to be humiliatingly inaccurate, though his performance on commentary and bungled interference during this bout certainly wasn’t that of your conventional fan favorite. Anyway, this Orton-Kane match was hugely enjoyable, very nearly as good as the Orton-Bryan match from last week, with some surprisingly fluid sequences, close near-falls, and an enjoyable D-Bry cameo. I wouldn’t object to further matches between these two (**3/4).
Ryback d. Justin Gabriel: A Ryback squash is a Ryback squash is a Ryback squash. Jericho’s promo was fine but the feud isn’t anything to get worked up about.
Christian & The Usos d. The Shield: Remember when the Shield were nigh on invincible? Now they’re losing to Christian and the Usos on Smackdown. The match was good fun, with a suitably chaotic finishing sequence, but you get the sense WWE are slowly winding the Shield down, which is a real shame. Still, maybe this was a blip, and a very watchable one at that (*3/4).
Fiesta Del Rio: Del Rio’s such a great heel isn’t he? He manages to be sleazy, slimy, and quietly intimidating all at the same time, and while I couldn’t understand much of his promo, I’m sure it was excellent. The Ziggler Piñata was a nice touch, as was Ziggler commandeering the mariachi band. The segment felt a bit rushed and anti-climactic (WHY DID NO ONE GO FACE FIRST INTO THE SALSA?) but it was a nice concept and enjoyable enough.
This was one of the most painfully average episodes of Smackdown I can remember; nothing really bad happened, but nothing all that good occurred either, which in my eyes is worse than a show that makes the effort to be something, even if that something is awful. Two decent matches and an entertaining, if forgettable final segment aren’t enough to make this a worthwhile use of two hours.
Show Rating: 5.5