Last week’s show ended with Aces & 8’s standing tall as TNA world heavyweight champion Bully Ray challenged Hulk Hogan to try and stop them.
Yesterday’s edition was taped the week prior and came from the Sears Centre in Chicago for the second week in a row.
Here’s a recap of the March 21 episode on Spike TV, which aired at 8 p.m. EST.
Match of the Night
The main event to crown the No. 1 contender stole the show. Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Magnus vs. Samoa Joe put on a solid 15 minutes of wrestling. With such talented and popular names, this one had “winner” written all over it. It was a great main event in a night full of quality matches.
Segment of the Night
Maybe TNA checked out one of my recent columns since they finally explained why Bully Ray created Aces & 8’s through several documentary vignettes after weeks of leaving everyone in the dark. After watching the documentaries it begs the question, was Ray the planned leader from the start? Sure looked that way. Sprinkling the vignettes throughout the show was a nice touch, as one giant segment would have been overkill.
Move of the Night
There were a few moves in the three-way X-Division match that stood out. Each move topped the other until Sonjay Dutt hit the moonsault stomp from the top rope. That’s not something seen every day, and a bonus was that he hit it nearly perfect.
Most Shocking Moment
There was nothing really shocking on this show. Perhaps one was the lack of time Aces & 8’s got, since they’ve been such a major factor. Otherwise, I thought Magnus would take the pinfall loss in the main event, not Joe, who seemed to be the crowd favorite last night.
Other Quick Positive Notes from Impact
-The tag title match was decent. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode continue to work smoothly for a team thrown together. Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero are getting kind of bland, but they’re a viable threat in the tag division. Not to be shown up, the Daniels and Kazarian post-fight attack keeps the tag division hotter than ever.
– Dutt made a return, for one show at least. He’s the one X-Division wrestler who never won the strap but deserved to. Hopefully, that will change this year.
– Aces & 8’s offered AJ Styles a spot in their stable. I’m not sure where they’re going with Styles, but he could be the one to save TNA from the Aces & 8’s. It’s starting to look that way, and who better than the face of TNA since day-one?
Matt Morgan vs. Joseph Park is always a boring match. Whether on pay-per-view or free TV, it’s just awful. These two have been feuding on and off for years. All the matches were good last night except this one. Please, bring back the Abyss gimmick and let Morgan have a real role in TNA.
No bad segments during the show, but I wish the knockouts were given a stronger role and more TV time.
Botch of the Night
Like with any X-Division match, mistakes are bound to happen with such high-risk moves. Dutt did botch two moves. The first was off the top rope and I have no clue what he was going for since he completely bombed it. The other mistake was also on Dutt’s part, but he saved it somewhat after almost slipping on the ropes when he went for the moonsault to the outside.
Other Quick Negative Notes from Impact
-The new X-Division rules are interesting, but it’s not the same. TNA was built around the X-Division wrestlers before they even made it to the Impact Zone in Orlando with a TV deal. The last few years have really seen it become nothing, which is a true shame because it could be what TNA needs to reach to get to that next level.
– The opening segment was just a bore to watch. It seems every week Hogan needs crutches or a wheelchair to make it down the entrance ramp. This week, he needed just one crutch and wasted valuable time raving about how four wrestlers in particular will overcome the odds against Aces & 8’s. Those 15 minutes could have been done in a two-minute backstage segment.
– Taryn Terrell is no longer employed by TNA as a knockout official. Instead, she’s a wrestler. She couldn’t ref, let alone wrestle, so who knows what her future has in store. Calling Playboy, again.
The wrestling aspect made this show work. Outside of the action inside the ring, it was disappointing. I wanted to see a little more of Aces & 8’s and less of the Hogan family.
Does everyone agree with that grade? Was the report too generous or critical of TNA? What grade would you, the TNA faithful, give last night’s episode?