Hitting our screens this week has been TNA's first pre-recorded show of 2015. Emanating as it was last week from New York City in the famed Manhattan Centre.
Last week's show finished with three soap style cliffhangers, which were Awesome Kong's shocking return to Impact, Samoa Joe and Low Ki uniting with MVP and Kenny King and lastly the swerve heel turn of former World Champion Eric Young after he attacked and cost friend Bobby Roode the TNA World Title.
Dixie Carter has done many media interviews in which she spoke about Impact starting to take on a different look and style of presentation, but it will be a gradual process so viewers are eased into it. This week we saw the start of this with new style of presentation, camera angles, lighting and music so the signs are good, let’s hope they stick with it instead of returning to a WWE style if a few internet fans don't like the changes.
A special mention needs to go to Josh Matthews who once again knocked it out of the park on commentary. The perfect balance of emotion that evokes feelings in the viewers, feelings that TNA want. He also displays an ability to keep Taz in check to boot. Both also gave the viewers actual wrestling move and holds commentary which works to give Impact legitimacy. WWE's loss is TNA's gain with Matthews who probably should be calling Raw over Michael Cole who is USA's equivalent to Andy Townsend.
So, let’s get into this week’s two bad and two good of TNA Impact Wrestling that aired 16th January in the USA and 18th January in the UK.
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Beat Down Clan
MVP at times wears questionable attire from dodgy suits to 90s style jeans and tops. However possibly his best 90s reference is the newly named heel stable the Beat Down Clan or #BDC for short.
Inspired by the extremely up to date pop culture icons the Wu Tang Clan. Unfortunately it's about 15 years too late! Moving on from the name the four members have a great spokesman in MVP. He is no slouch in the ring by the way, but the other three members in Samoa Joe, Kenny King and Low Ki are all great wrestlers and on top of their game.
It'll be a case of TNA not allowing the #BDC angle to walk the same path as their other big heel stables such as Main Event Mafia, Immortal and Aces and Eights who all tried to assume or take control of TNA and left fans bored. This angle was done successfully by the nWo in WCW but since has been done a million times in WWE, TNA and WCW, move on!
Swapping X Division Title
Low Ki and Austin Aries are two wrestlers that can drag and carry a watchable match out of John Cena. The issue here is that A Double clearly wants to be there or thereabouts in the World title picture, and with good cause - he is a fantastic performer in the ring. He's proven it countless times and more recently against Bobby’s, Roode and Lashley so quite rightly fits in that category.
Low Ki similarly is a guy that TNA can focus the whole X Division around and build it back up to match past glories. But the X Title change on last week’s live show was made to look cheap and pointless as Austin Aries dropped it straight back to Low Ki.
It would have made just as good TV if Low Ki pinned Aries last week, and they shook hands on a rematch this week due to the competitive nature of the matchup. Low Ki is a legit enough guy to go over Aries. Then with Low Ki's turn later on that night, the matchup this week could have still finished with the outside #BDC interference.
Thus one less title change and the X Title looks more converted and important.
EY vs Roode
As many onlookers quite rightly state Impact has a stacked roster of talent. Two very underrated guys in the whole of the wrestling world are Showtime Eric Young and Bobby Roode.
Both these Canadian heavyweights can go in the ring and pull off a cracking match as was proven on Impact. The potentially dangerous piledriver move was used by Young onto a chair to score the pin. If done by a lesser skilled wrestler it'd be dangerous, but not here.
As both EY and Roode are on top of their game they can put on more big hitting matches much like Gunner and James Storm did in 2014. If handled right this can be a feud that can build and build over the next few months.
The bookers here have a relatively easy storyline to plot based on trust and betrayal that all viewers can relate to, making the story interesting and relatable.
The Hardy's have still got it!
When a locker room is blessed with Matt and Jeff Hardy you need a tag team to match their commitment and energy. In the Attitude Era of WWE they had Edge and Christian as well as Team 3D/ Dudleys.
Fast forward to TNA in 2015 you have the Wolves made up of Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards. As both teams proved in late 2014 best of five tournament alongside Team 3D, tag team wrestling isn't dead!
On Impact once again both teams showed how good they and tag team wrestling can be. The matchup included some pretty sick spots including Jeff Hardy walking the top rope to take out Eddie and Davey on the outside. Those in attendance were understandably impressed and broke into "This is awesome" chants in appreciation.
As the Hardy's advance towards their forties, and as two of wrestling's biggest risk takers it is great to see that they have still got the passion and desire to perform. With their win here they are set to take on Storm and Abyss for the TNA tag team titles.
If successful a best of 5 tournament vs The Wolves akin to that of The Motor City Machine guns and Beer Money from a few years ago needs to be booked.