Reviewing the 12/15/11 episode of IMPACT WRESTLING…
1. No trip to Louisville, KY = Gunner DDT on the concrete floor = Goodbye Jesse Neal.
2. I like when a wrestler references events from the past year and uses them in a current story. Bully Ray is a believable character and sells believable scenarios in almost any situation. Big props to Ray for rising through the ranks to ascend to being one of the top characters on Impact Wrestling.
3. TNA launched it’s Wild Card tag tournament which seemed to be used in stories here much better than they have used it in the past. I applaud them for that as it not only made for some interesting pairings, but matches as well. And any segment that can pique my curiosity about an ODB and Eric Young tag team match is a job well done..
4. Early Christmas present —-> Both Jarretts are fired and off TNA programming for a while.
5. The Pope’s corruption of Devon’s sons story came to a head on this edition of Impact when Pope got Devon’s sons to join him as he beat down on their father. Pope declared his ownership of Devon’s sons with his powdered up pimp slap heard ’round the world. The crowd ate up the turn which capped the segment with the chorus of boos.
6. Move of the Night:
Anthony Nese’s- springboard slingshot second rope moonsault on Zema Ion
Pretty sweet looking move.
7. Lines of the Night:
a.Bobby Roode on AJ Styles
Roode- “I outsmarted AJ. He’s a stupid redneck.”
b. Bully Ray to Jeff Hardy
Bully Ray- “I’m not your stepping stone. I’m a freight train…and you’re standing on my tracks.”
8. Notable Matches of the Night
5 Minute Overtime World Heavyweight Title Match
World Champion Bobby Roode vs. AJ Styles
Good stuff while it lasted and told a nice little story. It went into Sudden Death, but Roode quickly made AJ tap after a clip from behind on his bad wheel. Nice ending to the match.
Best of 3 for the final spot in Genesis 4-Way match for X-Division Title
Zema Ion vs. Anthony Nese
Zema solidified his heel status with his cocky pick ups of Nese during their nicely contested match up. That leaves two more matches to help get these guys and their characters over and establish one as a legitimate contender when they are eventually added to the 4-Way match.
Wild Card Tag Tournament Match for #1 Contenders to Tag Team Titles
Samoa Joe and Magnus vs. TV Champion Robbie E. and Douglas Williams
This was my favorite of the evening. The prematch backstage vignette set up the team of Joe and Magnus and they ended up working well as a team and Magnus watched Joe’s back leading to his Muscle Buster on Williams for the pin. Very good tag team match. The exchange between Magnus and Williams was very nice to see at the beginning of the match. Jolly good chain, Brits.
9. Final Show Thoughts:
After Jeff Hardy’s decisive win over Bully Ray, the two BR’s, Bully Ray and Bobby Roode beat down Jeff Hardy driving him through a table until Sting came down for the save. Roode and Ray attacked the Stinger, too which looks to lead to Sting wrestling again? Plus, the ominous music to end the show was eliminated. Thank you, TNA or Spike. Whoever pulled the plug, it was a good move. TNA moves forward with the Hardy vs. Roode feud here, but what will become of AJ Styles? Is he thrown to the bottom of the ladder? Will he or should he face James Storm for the #1 Contendership? Not if Kurt Angle has anything to say about it as Kurt teased going to Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee to beat up citizens there until James Storm answers his challenge for a rematch. Be careful, Kurt. A trip to the slammer there could get you an unlawful entry. Traci Brooks returned to the square circle yet again battling Madison Rayne in an interesting grudge match up. Traci gave a spirited effort. Maybe not the best episode they could have done as they lead to the January PPV, which is quickly approaching due to the 2012 PPV schedule, but certainly not the worst, either.
10. IMPACT PLAYERs of the WEEK:
Bobby Roode, The Pope, Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, Magnus, Sting
Roode retained his title, Pope gave the expected turn on Devon, Ray and Hardy were good in their roles and the Magnus/Joe team just seemed to work. Sting also was solid in all aspects of how he was used on the show.
That is all.
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