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In this week’s edition of TNA Impact Wrestling, we are set to encounter the fallout from last week’s wedding fiasco. After Tazz’s shocking decision to join the Aces and Eights, the group gatecrashed the wedding and proceeded to take out every person in site, and forced Brooke Hogan to watch both her father and her fiancee Bully Ray get beaten down by the rebellious bandits. Also, there will be two championship matches, as Velvet Sky challenges Tara for the Knockouts Championship, and Jeff Hardy defends his World Heavyweight Championship against Christopher Daniels.

Tazz Speaks Out On His Betrayal

Tazz walks out to the ring accompanied by his Aces and Eights brethren, and begins to address the questions as to why he joined their group. In his reasoning, he mentions his thrill of being supported and guided by a higher power, which indicates that somebody particularly famous in the wrestling world is behind this group. Tazz appears convinced that his decision was the only sensible option, as the group will seemingly stop at nothing to get the revenge and retribution that they crave. He describes the events of the wedding as “collateral damage”, so seemingly there is a lot more to come in the future.

Tazz also challenges Dixie Carter over his contract situation, saying if any wrestler lays a finger on him then he would end up owning TNA. I assume that means he could sue for enough money to buy the company, otherwise Carter should really be employing a different negotiation strategy. This also resulted in his new nickname of “Teflon Tazz”, and I’ll be sure to remember that for the foreseeable future.

Taz would then take his place at the announcer’s table alongside a clearly disappointed Mike Tenay and the other guy they have on commentary that nobody really cares about. The concept of a higher power is going to be an intriguing new angle for the Aces and Eights to take, with speculation now thriving about who that person is. Jeff Jarrett? Sting? Hulk Hogan? Eric Bischoff? Big Dick Johnson? It could be anybody at this point.

Christopher Daniels Advertising Appletinis

There is a lot of good things to be said about Christopher Daniels’ current persona, and for the first time he seems capable of being a believable World Champion. The promo he delivers here was short, but very impressive, as he ruminates over his upcoming victory, saying that he is not a creature, but a feature. Kazarian is also there in his new role as “Manager Extraordinare”, but at this point he is merely invading in the spotlight of the cocky and arrogant Daniels, who seemingly has more self-confidence than ever before.

This segment was good at making you believe that Daniels could take home the gold tonight and become the “World Heavyweight Champion of the World”, and was useful at turning my mind back to wrestling following a Knockout’s advertisement for ShopTNA wearing very little clothing.

Knockouts Championship Match

The first match of the night is a championship encounter, as Velvet Sky in a set of crotchless wrestling tights challenges one half of TNA’s Power Couple and Knockout’s Champion Tara, with her boy-toy Jesse in her corner. The match is quite good, if a bit short and constrained, and while there was very little to criticise technically, the action would not set pulses racing either. The real controversy surrounded the finish of the match, when Sky attempted a suplex on the champion only to have her legs grabbed by Jesse on the outside, and holding her legs down for Tara to pin and retain her title.

This clearly means that Velvet is by no means finished in her pursuit of the title, and will probably result in a rematch at the next PPV. Also, how long has it been since Taryn Terrell called a match without making a mistake? Perhaps they are building up her reputation for being inexperienced and therefore prone to errors.

Finally, as a side note, if the entire commentary tonight is going to be Tenay questioning Tazz’s actions only to get absolutely no response other than abuse, then this is going to be a very long night.

Joseph Parks Holds Court In The Ring

Abyss, I mean, Jospeh Parks enters the ring in order to announce that he is assured that his rightful place in life is being a TNA wrestler, rather than as an attorney. He also states that he will be at next week’s Impact in Manchester, and will call out a member of the roster for Open Fight Night. Who will that wrestler be? And does anybody care? I do enjoy this persona of Parks though, as his stuttering and over-excited promos really capture the essence of his character. Next week will probably see him compete against a member of Aces and Eights, as he looks to gain a measure of retribution for his loss at Genesis.

X-Division Tag Team Action

Next up is a tag-team match with Kenny King and Zema Ion taking on Christian York and the X-Division Champion Rob Van Dam, who is beginning to look like somebody’s hippie dad who tags along on his sons’ nights out. However, he definitely can hold his own against the competition as this match demonstrated. The first moment that really caught the attention was how much elevation Ion got after receiving a monkey flip, it was like he could have been launched into the first row of the audience.

The action was fast and furious at the conclusion of the match, with York having to deal with opponents flying in from all angles, and after King was able to connect with the blockbuster, Ion was able to pounce on the scraps and pick up the pinfall, much to the chagrin of his partner. Look for Ion, King and York to have plenty of quick action matches to get their chance to defeat the Whole F’N Show for the belt.

Bully Ray Vows Revenge On Aces & Eights

Bully Ray arrives at the arena with his beau Brooke Hogan, and immediately makes his way to the ring with a purpose. He immediately lambasts Tazz’s actions and vows revenge on Aces & Eights for hurting Sting, Hulk Hogan and Brooke in the manner that they did. The promo is full of raw, viceral emotion, as he vows to eliminate every member of the group in retribution for what they have done to him. But, he needs Hulk Hogan to lift his suspension in order to compete, and we will have to wait until next week for that to happen, if indeed it does happen (suspenseful, isn’t it).

This brings out Sting to the Impact zone, who again takes the side of Bully Ray as he has done since the beginning, and implores Hogan to do the right thing and reinstate Ray so he can reek havoc on the Aces & Eights like everybody wants him to do. The inclusion of Sting seems to be a bit unnecessary, but I guess the Impact Zone always likes to get a little pop from the Stinger.

Roode Awakening For The Tag Team Champions

Prior to the next match, we get to witness an amusing backstage segment between Bobby Roode and Austin Aries over who should be the one to face Hernandez in the upcoming contest, with both trying to get the other in the ring. Eventually, the choice is the “Power Guy” Roode, and he makes his way to the ring to battle the Latino powerhouse. The chemistry between Roode and Aries is very compelling, as both consider themselves to be the better wrestler, but will both put aside their differences for a short while to get what they want.

In the actual match, it cannot be denied that Hernandez is an absolute beast, and at one point Super-Mex is able to hold Roode in an extended suplex for over thirty seconds. Roode was able to sell brilliantly the immense strength of Hernandez, and the two were able to put on an effective mix of powerful strikes and technical wrestling to bring together an entertaining match.

However, another TNA match this week ended in controversy, as Aries came out with the intention of helping Roode, which led to the two getting in each others’ faces. As Chavo Guerrero entered the fray to deal with the interruption of Aries, Roode is able to take advantage of a distracted Hernandez to score the victory after a running bulldog. Expect to see a Tag Team Championship match at the next PPV, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see new champions as Guerrero would probably be well-suited in the X-Division hunt.

Angle And Anderson Aggression

Kurt Angle, surprisingly absent from last week’s show, returns to announce that he too will take revenge on recent Aces & Eights attacks on the roster, but that he specifically wants to start with Mr Anderson. He calls out the King of the A**h***s and states that they will fight next week in Manchester. Anderson says he doesn’t want to fight, before blindsighting the wrestling machine and beating him down, until Angle gets the upper-hand and sends Anderson running from the ring. Angle then stuns his opponent for next week by stating they will be competing in Manchester inside a steel cage.

If anybody recalls the match at Lockdown 2010 between Kurt Angle and Mr Anderson (and if you’re a fan of TNA then you should) then you will certainly be salivating at the prospect of a rematch between the two. The brutality that can be contained in the match will certainly excite the British crowd, and certainly provide Angle with a measure of retribution on the Aces & Eights.

MAIN EVENT – Hardy Vs. Daniels

The final match of the evening sees Jeff Hardy defend his two championship belts against the supremely arrogant Christopher Daniels, with his valet Kazarian in his corner. This should be an excellent spectacle, with both wrestlers capable of stealing the show, and with plenty of the show to do it in.

Hardy continues to get the crowd engaged into the match, which is very much to his credit, whilst Daniels continues to display his brilliance at drawing the crowds disgust. Kazarian continues to be a presence, although we almost miss his attacking of Hardy due to the stupid advertising breaking up the flow of the match. I guess that is the problem of having a championship match on Impact. Tazz continues to push the heel announcing to the point where the words “Michael Cole” are going off like a siren in my mind.

The match is back and forth towards its conclusion, with both Daniels and Hardy providing the very best of their offense. Hardy is able to connect with a front sit-down suplex from the top rope, whilst Daniels gets a near-fall with the Angels Wings. There is a particularly good sequence when Hardy avoids the BME only to see Daniels avoid the Whisper in the Wind to another near fall. The finish comes when Hardy connects with two Twist of Fates on Daniels, and after a Swanton Bomb, Hardy retains the title.

However, that is not the end of the story, as Tazz continues to annoy the viewer and the audience by distracting Hardy after the victory, so a masked member of Aces & Eights can use the famous hammer to attack Hardy’s knee, who takes it like a bullet shot, if the bullet was loaded with marshmallows. Despite Hardy’s lapse selling of the attack, the match was worthy of a world title contest and leads to numerous questions over the motives of the “higher power”

Conclusions

This edition of Impact Wrestling was very fun and interesting, with only four matches, but of very good quality, especially the World Championship main event. Also, it was good to see the Aces & Eights get back to the forefront of the storylines in TNA, with their attacks previously becoming monotonous and predictable, but now this concept of a higher power could prove to be an interesting step in their evolution. Hopefully, it won’t go down the same route as Mr McMahon being the higher power in the Ministry of Darkness, and TNA take some time to properly plan who the leader of this group is and the reasons behind it.

One final point of criticism though is please take Tazz off of commentary and make him the figurehead manager of the Aces & Eights, as once again there is an example of a heel commentator detracting from the action in the ring. It wasn’t popular in WWE, and it’s unlikely to be popular in TNA either.

SHOW RATING – 7/10

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This article was first posted on January 25, 2013