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Heavy Impact (10/28/15): Fun and Games

Hi, Marie here, ready to dish out the lowdown of this week’s Impact Wrestling!

The mishmash nature of this week’s show also signalled a change from a storyline-driven show to a character-driven one.  Every match is a singles fight: a wrestler cannot use a tag team or stable to hide his or her weaknesses anymore. A wrestler cannot fully rely on scripts because of the thin storylines in the tournament. The talents must adapt to these challenges, or perish in pro wrestling obscurity. 

Robbie E vs Matt Hardy in a 15-Minute Time Limit Match

This was a decent starting match, with Robbie E being the more energetic competitor despite not being able to dominate the match. Matt Hardy (who is looking as out of shape as ever) gets three points in the tournament by pinning Robbie E after a Side Effect and a Twist of Fate. 

This week’s match emphasizes Robbie E’s shift in attitude, from a happy-go-lucky bro to a more serious guy with his eye on the prize. These attempts at giving characters more depth are always a good thing. What I like about Robbie E in particular is that he has kept his sense of humor, and turned it around such that he’s a more enhanced version of his BroMans persona. My only concern is that babyface characters are more difficult to develop than heels. In this case, he will need all the patience in the world as his character develops.

Grado vs Drew Galloway in a 15-Minute Time Limit Match

This is definitely my favorite match of the night. For two guys who are polar opposites personality-wise, Grado and Drew Galloway have a certain chemistry with each other; I would really like to see them have a long rematch after the tournament.

My problem with Drew Galloway is that his character—fighter of injustice, always angry, “Leonidas of TNA”—is one-dimensional, and a bit of a bore. Facing a comedy wrestler like Grado gave Drew a bit of character (he even managed to smile and laugh during the match). I don’t know what TNA has in mind, but adding more character depth to Drew is much more interesting that making him a heroic babyface.

Like Drew Galloway, Grado also shows us a side of himself seldom seen in his usual matches. He has always relied on his comedic skills to earn a pop. This time around, he showed a more capable side of himself: a surprisingly agile wrestler with solid technical abilities. Despite losing against Drew and getting eliminated from the tournament, the World Title Series was a great place for Grado to showcase his skills. Too bad he has only one more match to go, and—surprise, surprise—it’s against Bram! Talk about saving the best for last!

(By the way, I think it’s fair for TNA to put subtitles on foreign talents with language barriers, such as Grado and Mahabali Shera. I think it’s a good solution: one that Grado immediately and brilliantly incorporated into his comedy routine this week.)

Aiden O’Shea vs Crazzy Steve in a 15-Minute Time Limit Match

Here, two competitors with one loss each fought for survival. It’s more or less about Aiden O’Shea squashing the snot out of the hapless and painfully unpopular Crazzy Steve. Steve, for his part, tried to put up a fight against his much larger opponent, and (unsuccessfully) tried to rally the crowd to his cause. A final jab to Steve, and a big clothesline got Aiden O’Shea three points in the tournament.

Despite a loss against Kenny King, Aiden O’Shea has established himself as one of the toughest brawlers in the roster. It will be interesting how he’ll fare against Mahabali Shera, who is just about as strong and as tough.

James Storm vs Abyss in a 15-Minute Time Limit Match

James Storm’s last matches in TNA are pretty much dirty heelish affairs, and this preliminary match against Abyss is no different. This match involved water bottles, steel chairs, Abyss’s Janice, a cowbell, and a bottle of beer. With so many foreign objects involved, I’m not sure why Earl Hebner let this match continue. After spitting beer on Abyss’s eyes and a couple of Last Calls, ex-TNA wrestler James Storm got the win.

We don’t know for certain if James Storm was informed about the World Title Series or not, but I don’t think the tournament is harmful to him or TNA. In fact, it can even be beneficial. Casual fans who don’t know who James Storm is may find his last TNA matches a great crash course. Or does he think that TNA is leeching from the publicity that his NXT run is generating? In this case, nobody from NXT can do anything about it, much less care; sorry about his damn luck.

Tigre Uno vs DJ Z in a 15-Minute Time Limit Match

If this week’s show is a sampler of what the current TNA roster has to offer, then the match between X Division Champion Tigre Uno and the former BroMan DJ Z is worthy to be included here. 

Fast-paced high-flying maneuvers were dished out by both wrestlers, which is par for the course for the X Division. At one point, one huracanrana after another was thrown out there by both Tigre Uno and DJ Z. DJ Z got an upset win over Tigre Uno by launching himself from the apron with a very unique Tornado DDT. That was quite a smooth series of maneuvers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if DJ Z would be slated for a feud with Tigre Uno for the X Division championship. If Robbie E becomes the babyface and Jessie Godderz turns heel, then DJ Z becomes the keeper of everything BroMans. It’s not a bad gimmick, and it fits his DJ character. He just needs to give a few tweaks to it here and there for him to make the gimmick his own.

Awesome Kong vs Gail Kim in a 15-Minute Time Limit Match

Kudos to TNA for having a Knockout match as the show’s main event. It shows their commitment to giving the Knockouts division all the focus and opportunities that they can give. Gail Kim and Awesome Kong delivered a great match that figuratively—and literally—pulled no punches.

My problem with the match isn’t so much about its quality, but quantity. While Josh and the Pope talked about the storied rivalry between the two, there’s nothing really new about this latest chapter to their feud. After all, their last fight was just early this month at Bound for Glory. Kong should have won this time around, if we are to think that they’re on equal footing. Admittedly, the finishing series of maneuvers by Gail Kim was pretty darn awesome—a dropkick, a springboard crossbody, a sunset flip, and ending with a surprise rollup—cements the legacy of Gail Kim as one of the best female wrestlers in the planet. I would really love to see an X Division style match between Gail Kim (if she ends up being her group’s representative) and whoever wins from Group X Division.

It’s good to see great matches in this week’s show. Despite being another rehash of Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong, the Knockout match was a very good main event. I also enjoyed DJ Z vs. Tigre Uno, and Grado vs. Drew Galloway. Two more people were eliminated from the tournament: Grado and Crazzy Steve. I’m looking forward to next week’s Impact Wrestling, where Mahabali Shera faces Kenny King, a match between the Wolves (Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards), Brooke against Madison Rayne, and a promising main event match: Eric Young faces off against Bobby Roode!

Did you see this week's Impact Wrestling? What did you think of the episode? How do you feel about Gail Kim winning over Awesome Kong in the main event? What do you think about James Storm continuing his advance in the tournament? Who do you think will win in next week’s matches? Let us know in the comments!

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Marie Ricana (@cris_ricana) is an IT specialist and a network/system administrator. While an engineer by profession, she dreams of becoming the next Roland Barthes or The Masked Man. One of these days, she’ll publish the most insightful book on pro wrestling in the Philippines. But for now, she is mostly writing reviews of TNA Impact Wrestling for Smark Henry.

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