Wrestling's 4Rs 6.23.14: WWE Smackdown & TNA Impact Reviewed
Posted by Daniel Clark on 06.23.2014
Bobby Lashley won the TNA World Title, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose continued their feud and more! Wrestling’s 4Rs breaks down the Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous of WWE Smackdown & Impact Wrestling!
How the 4Rs of wRestling Work! Here is a quick explanation of the 4R's. The column will run TWO times a week. We will group our feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and needs discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come. This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a "mark" column, nor a "smark" column, our goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. We will not apologize for our opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.
By: Jericho Ricardi IMPACT 6.19.14:
QUICK MATCH RESULTS:
Eric Young def. Kenny King via pin at 3:00
The Wolves def. Willow / Abyss and Samoa Joe / Austin Aries in a three-way match via backstabber combo to Willow at 13:00
Dixie Carter def. Tommy Dreamer's nether-regions via Tiger Knee at 0:00 (No Match)
The Wolves def. Bram and Battousai the Magnus via DQ at 5:00
Taryn Terrell def. My Heart via a red dress and general gorgeousness
Bobby "Balrog" Lashley def. Eric "Zangief" Young via Spear to win the Impact Wrestling World Title at 9:00 .....whoa.
THE RIGHT: Thank You EY: You had a great run as champion and it was inspirational to watch. I think everyone knew it wouldn't last forever, and it didn't. While the way they did the beginning of it was suspect at best and insulting at worst, it turned into a superbly well-done title reign - which is a rarity nowadays - and a lot of that is owed to the sheer likeability of one Eric Young. Far from the comedic weenie they used to portray him as, he's an outstanding wrestler and personality who really deserved something like this.
The Crowd: The Bethlehem casino crowd wasn't huge, but it was LOUD and super-into the show. They popped massively for most of the roster. MUCH better than the Impact Zone, and it felt like the performers were getting a huge boost from the crowd. If you were in that crowd, I salute you. This crowd made the show lots of fun to watch and showed a heck of a lot of passion. Pennsylvania is such a great state for wrestling crowds, and it boggles the mind that the company hasn't spent more time in the Northeast in general.
ROODE: The Vegeta to EY's Gokou returned, and immediately laid the smack down on Kenny King's Dodoria. Nothing like a common threat to unite former rivals. This was a great surprise; I almost felt like the company forgot Roode existed in recent weeks. Turns out they were just saving him for a shocking return in front of a crowd of actual fans rather than tourists.
The Overarching Storyline: Pretty cool how they brought up that Lashley has two pinfall victories over EY. One of those was a WHILE ago, and I like when they reference their history. The overall storyline throughout this show was particularly good, with the circumstances getting increasingly dire for our fighting champion.
Rollup: If do right, no can defense.: Case in point: The first match of the night was fast and furious right up until EY reversed King's rad finisher into a rollup. Good stuff...yet I wish it had been ten minutes longer and not ended in a rollup. Especially since it was EY's last win as champion. More on that in a bit.
Triple threat tag match, Shane Douglas Not Included: Another great match, with a definitive finish that really put the Wolves over. They've been somewhat underutilized for a while now, so this was really good to see. Though I continue to question their usage of Jeff Hardy. Maybe this loss will be the catalyst for him snapping out of Willow-form? Either that or he and Matt will show up in NYC dressed like Sailor Scouts. I wouldn't put it past them, honestly.
You Screwed Earl: Compelling stuff with the firing of Earl Hebner, but I feel like we've seen this before. That's the problem with constant heel authority factions in this company; things like this are bound to happen more than once. The company deserves a lot of credit for not going for any kind of ref screwjob in the main event, something I was almost certain would happen after Hebner's firing. Props for not running Montreal Version MMLXVII or anything of the sort.
Perchance to Dreamer: Tommy Dreamer's impassioned shoot-ish promo was good; he said a lot of things that wrestling fans actually think about Impact Wrestling as a company. He addressed a lot of the complaints, but also noted the hope that fans have for the company to succeed as an alternative and do well. Just a great promo all-around and something well worth seeing. Dixie Carter's Testicular Devastation Super Combo Breaker put an end to Dreamer's speech, sadly.
"Fancy Boy" Rockstar Spud's awesome suit: If anyone reading this goes to the NYC tapings next week, please throw a plush Pokeball at Spud. It'd be the zaniest moment of Impact EVER.
Taryn Terrell is ridiculously beautiful: It was great to have her back. I was lucky enough to be in attendance for her match with Gail Kim last year, and it was the best women's match I've ever seen. She then took about a year off to have a baby. Great to see her again, and mad respect. A tiebreaker between her and Gail sounds really good to me, and hopefully they give it lots of time and build.
puRgatoRy: THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE, HIGHLANDA: So evidently we've got a new champion, as Lashley turned out to be the man that EY simply could not defeat. Sadly, EY was really working well as champion from a storyline perspective. I was really into his reign and so were the audiences, and I think they ended it too soon. Then again, he got something like three months to run with the title, and there were ratings issues after his reign began. When EY's segments on the show tend to be among the lowest-rated, you can't blame the company for rethinking having him in that position. It's a shame because he's such a talented and likeable guy, but the low ratings are probably the direct result of the company not taking more time to build him up as an actual threat before his out-of-nowhere title win. I do wish that EY had kicked out of the Spear, forcing Lashley to finish him off with the Dominator – which is probably Lashley's more damaging super-move. All in all, there isn't really anything negative about this segment (aside from the bad guys finally prevailing)... but I'm putting it here because of Sadness For EY and the uncertainty around the new champion. We'll see how things shake out in the coming weeks.
Everyone Talks Too Much: Opening the show with MVP promos wasn't the way I'd have done it, but since it led right into an awesome match I was willing to overlook it. However, after the match we went right back into MVP promos. I'm all for MVP cutting heel promos, but they keep overdoing it. Felt like he was just going on and on, and I wish EY Vs. King had gotten more time instead. The talk-fest continued with Dixie ranting a lot. I did like her mention of people on the internet who think they know what's best for her company more than she does. What she doesn't realize is that her overexposed role on this show is about as awkward and out of place as the time I tried to teach my ex-girlfriend Video Game. At least she looked cute as usual. Easily the cutest owner of a wrestling company in the history of wrestling companies, even though she's basically a troll character at this point.
I hope to see a Magnus AMV set to Stabbing Westward's "Torn Apart": The second tag team title match? Not so good. It was too short and ended in a DQ. On a show with very few real matches, this was a bad call in my opinion. Give us some longer, decisive matches! At least Magnus' Battousai the Manslayer form continues to be intriguing, as he reverts back to his murderous instincts of olde. Damn you, Saitou Hajime! In general, I'd like to see Magnus be better-used. His title reign was horribly mangled by the company, and it'll take time to undo the damage. In a perfect world he should be TNA's Roman Reigns: A guy they look out for and manage carefully as their Chosen Beautiful Prince.
The Knockouts picture is getting a bit jumbled: We've got The Beautiful People beefing with Gail Kim. Taryn Terrell is back and wants a rematch with Gail. Madison Rayne is around somewhere and hates TBP. Brittany exists, is incredibly sexy, and has strangely enchanting theme music. While I'm all for a thriving women's division where everyone is interesting – which is what we have here – I feel like things are getting chaotic. Let's try to group them off in individual feuds (Taryn and Gail versus TBP, Madison versus Britt). And let's also try to remember that Madison and Brittany exist and had a feud. A feud that could have been huge, but it seems like the company got cold feet and simply dropped it. If not, going weeks with no further developments isn't a good look.
"Not Everyone": Nice touch sending Borash and even the cameraman out of the arena. What about the commentators, though? And the music guy? I was expecting EY and Lashley to walk out to no music and have a match with no commentary. On the other hand, that would have probably detracted from the story being told rather than added to it, so I don't know. But it was noticeable that "not everyone" actually got kicked out
THE wRong: Nitpickery: The sound guy not only got to stay, he had Roode's new theme cued up? This just stretches the suspension of disbelief a bit much. Why was Roode's new theme cued up if his appearance was a total surprise run-in from the crowd? See above. I believe that when a guy debuts a new theme, it should always be in the context of a regular appearance. Never in the context of an "unplanned" run-in or other surprise moment. But this, quite frankly, is nitpicking.
Kenny King gets owned more than Kuririn: So wait, is he Dodoria or is he Kuririn? Now I'm just confusing myself. I feel like King has been portrayed continuously as the weak link of MVP's triumvirate, and it's making him look weak rather than like the equal of MVP and Lashley (or at least on a similar level). King is the one who takes the pinfalls constantly and King was the one who got the beatdown from Roode. He deserves better and I'd like to see him actually win some matches with that sweet finisher he has (which could get crazy over very fast).
THE RIDICULOUS: NOTHING
Best episode of Impact in 2014. The small yet raucous Bethlehem casino crowd was a big part of that, but the show in general had a different feel to it. Was faster-paced, everything felt significant, and it all seems to be going somewhere. The past couple months in the Impact Zone felt like placeholder shows, just there to kill time. As of right now, the next few Impacts all seem very special for one reason or another (New champion, Bethlehem, NYC, Muta, Destination X, Hardys Reunion) and it's a good time to tune in if you haven't been.
As for Bobby Lashley, we'll see what he can do. Jury's out on this one. The crowds haven't really reacted to Lashley all that much and I can't help but think that if they wanted to move the title because of ratings, Austin Aries would have been a great choice heading into NYC. That said, I expected Lashley to win the title, but I thought it'd happen in Slammiversary (I was the only one to predict a Lashley win in the Roundtable). It didn't happen, but here we are a week later. I have to wonder if MVP was the original plan and Lashley is effectively his replacement. Either way, doesn't Lashley winning go against MVP's original motivations, namely that he wanted to seize the world title for himself? Or does merely having it in his stable give him the power he wants? These things will need to be addressed. At least Lashley will probably get nuclear heat from the smark crowds in NYC, which contrary to popular belief would be a win for the company.
The overarching storyline throughout this show of EY being forced to do multiple title defenses, and other wrestlers coming to his aid, was compelling. Though the loosely-allied faction of "good guys" does seem a bit suspect and contrived. The problem with it is that nearly everyone in Impact Wrestling is a selfish jerk. It's hard to root for any of these people. Aside from Eric Young, Jeff Hardy, and Gunner, I can't really think of any true "good guys" on the roster. You know how Adam Rose does those trust falls onto his entourage on RAW? I don't think EY could believably trust fall onto the rest of the good guy faction in Impact Wrestling. And that says a lot about the state of the cast of characters. Constant heel turns over the years will do that; most of the Impact Wrestling roster has turned more often than Big Show. Guys like Mr. Anderson change from face to heel and back six times while they're walking to the ring. Impact Wrestling needs good guys, and they need good guys badly.
I've been watching some old 1998-era WCW every so often, and one thing that really stands out to me about that roster is that there are a lot of genuine good guys. People like Sting, DDP, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, Rey Mysterio, Kidman, and so forth. Some extremely noble and likeable people, at a time when the WWF roster, quite frankly, consisted almost entirely of jackasses. Mick Foley winning the title was such a huge moment because he was one kind, noble everyman among a sea of jerks. That's kinda how Impact Wrestling is now. Just a sea of jerks. Difference is that WWF did that as part of a concentrated effort to overhaul their persona as a company; Impact Wrestling just sorta ended up like this because they have a boner for flipping character alignments like the world's most indecisive Mass Effect player.
For example, tonight I couldn't really enjoy the segment with Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell because I was constantly waiting for and expecting Gail Kim to turn on Taryn and blindside her. Even though that didn't happen, I've been conditioned to expect things like this from years of heel turns and jerkitude. I'd love it if I could sit back and watch two honorable, likeable characters conversing without worrying about who's going to turn evil in this segment because it's such a regular occurrence with this company.
The good news is that Bully Ray and Samoa Joe are really catching fire in terms of face reactions, despite their general dickitude even as faces. If Impact Wrestling is smart, they'll avoid turning either guy heel for quite some time and run with it. Give the fans some actual heroes. Of course, shades of grey are also fun; Bobby Roode could well be the Vegeta to EY's Gokou as a complete prick who had to ally with the good guy simply because he was out-pricked by worse characters. But for the most part, more outright heroic characters, guys who the fans can actually trust and root for with confidence, would be a refreshing way for Impact Wrestling to become a more fun company. I would have loved to see James Storm as a heroic, consistent people's champion by now, with world's douchiest "good guy" Bobby Roode as his arch-frenemy who allies with him when necessary but not for his sake. Matt Morgan would have been a great evil nemesis for both of them.
But that's all just fantasy booking. All things considered, Impact Wrestling seems to be turning a new leaf between this and Slammiversary. The company really seems like they're trying. Keep it up.
Cheap plug time, check out my musings on video games and media at Coronajumper.com.
Show Rating: 8.3
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…
0 - 0.9: Torture 1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous 2 - 2.9: Very Bad 3 - 3.9: Bad 4 - 4.9: Poor 5 - 5.9: Not So Good 6 - 6.9: Average 7 - 7.9: Good 8 - 8.9:Very Good 9 - 9.9: Amazing 10: Virtually Perfect
By Daniel Clark Smackdown 6.20.14
QUICK MATCH RESULTS:
Seth Rollins def. Kofi Kingston at 2.55 by pinfall
Dolph Ziggler def. Bad News Barrett at 3.43 by pinfall
Adam Rose def. Titus O'Neill at 0.46 by pinfall
Adam Rose def. Titus O'Neill at 0.08 by pinfall
Kane def. Dean Ambrose at 3.32 by pinfall
Big E def. Jack Swagger at 0.48 by pinfall
Bo Dallas def. Fandango at 1.12 by pinfall
Roman Reigns, John Cena and Sheamus def. Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt and Cesaro at 16.13 by pinfall
THE RIGHT: Dean Ambrose vs. Kane: Although Ambrose lost the match, it was for the right reasons and at this stage, is not going to harm him too much. In kayfabe terms, Kane is the man who put Daniel Bryan out of action and has been in and around the WWE title scene, so a loss to him is not that damaging. But it is the manner of the defeat that definitely protects Ambrose. He may have lost his last three matches, but they were all matches that he was in control of and was on course to win had it not been for Seth Rollins causing a distraction in some way. And this distraction and Ambrose's sole focus on getting revenge on Rollins to an extent proves Rollins right; that Ambrose is a loose cannon and too unreliable and cannot keep his focus. Had he done so, he would have won his last few matches and been in the MITB match but instead, he is losing because he cannot keep his concentration and is blinded by a desire to fight Rollins. All of which sets up their eventual match to have even more riding on it when it does eventually happen.
Fandango vs. Bo Dallas: This was absolutely fantastic from start to finish with every single one of the four people involved in this playing their part brilliantly. Summer Rae and Fandango's backstage segment to start with was great as a way of continuing the feud with Layla, as my impression is that Summer's declaration of love was purely a set up to try and mess with his and Layla's relationship, and the way she came out to the match and danced in front of him to confuse him seem to be suggesting as well. Layla and Summer have a decent catfight as well, which partly ends with Fandango getting kicked in the head, which allows Bo Dallas to hit the bo-dog and steal another win. Bo Dallas was great in this as well. From being introduced before the match as ‘inspirational', to the initial look of concern towards Fandango before stealing the win, and then his post match pep-talk to Fandango, telling him that there are plenty more fish in the sea, was just brilliant, and this was definitely his best outing so far on the main roster in terms of his character, which seems to be getting over with the crowd more and more. It is these kinds of ridiculous and over-the-top things that make Bo so watchable.
John Cena, Sheamus and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro and Alberto Del Rio: This was effectively a one match show but fortunately the main event delivered. It was given time to develop as a match and all of the people involved played their part effectively and did exactly what they needed to do. As it is, the team of three beating the team of four doesn't do a massive amount for the heels, but Alberto Del Rio getting pinned shows him as the weak link, but then, we knew that anyway, he has no chance of winning the title, and in all honesty, it is a little difficult to understand why he is in this match having done nothing for months on end. Roman Reigns, when he eventually got the tag, was put over a real best and was extremely dominant and pretty much single handedly destroyed the other team. It is the kind of performance that he has become great at doing and importantly, the crowd were behind him as well which bodes well for his future.
puRgatoRy: Seth Rollins vs. Kofi Kingston: So far Seth Rollins has not entirely convinced as a heel. This match may have only been less than three minutes long, but for the majority of it, it was Kofi who was on the offence and in control of the match. It was only one slight mistake that allowed Rollins to get the advantage and then get the win, which is not quite the dominant performance that you would be expecting from Rollins to be honest. Dean Ambrose's promo after the match, where he appeared and said that he will get even with him again at some point and when he does, he will send him straight back to hell, worked quite well, with a quiet craziness in his words that make him seem even more dangerous.
The opening promo: This was what it was. It was nothing groundbreaking, nothing special, and was pretty much the same thing that we have seen time and time again before multi-man match, but did the job that it was supposed to in just highlighting why the seven men in the match want the title and why they think that they are going to the win. It was the kind of promo whereby it exists solely to fill a little of time and to set up a match later in the show. As it was, this was wine, the brawl between Reigns and Orton sets the scene towards their inventible one on one match in the future, while it does remind everyone just who is involved in the MITB match. I'm not entirely convinced that John Cena's jokey recap of the title situation was needed and sort of felt out of place, but once he got serious, he did recover to cut a decent promo.
THE wRong: Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett: The actual match that we had from these two was absolutely fine, but what really killed this was the commercial break in the middle of the match which was probably longer than what we saw of the match on TV. We had 3.43 of it televised, while the break was probably around 4 minutes, meaning that half of the match was lost. Commercial breaks in some matches make sense depending on the length of them, but a 7 minute doesn't need a break as all it does is ruin the flow of it and doesn't allow the viewer to get a feel for what is happening in the ring. As it is, these two sort of seem to be stuck in the same mid-card hell that they have been for a while. Ziggler keeps challenging the main event guys to a match and keeps losing, while BNB has got an act and a gimmick that is really over with the crowd, has lost four non-title matches since winning the belt and seems to be stuck in the same position he was last time he held the belt. Ziggler steals the win, but then gets attacked after the match, meaning that they are in the same situation they were beforehand.
THE RIDICULOUS: Adam Rose vs. Titus O'Neill: Quite what Titus has done to continually be buried like this is beyond me. I know I've said this before, but since splitting from Darren Young, he has created a character, cut decent promos, and is able to have good lengthy matches, and his reward is to be beaten twice in a minute by Adam Rose. Titus comes out of this looking like a complete idiot for having lost twice, particularly the second match, which the eight second match timing is actually rounded up. While obviously Rose is getting pushed at the moment and keeps being featured on TV, these kinds of segments don't really help him. All this does is get him out there, he wins a match, and then parties, and allows his no time to show what he can in the ring, or on the microphone, or develop his character and showcase that to the audience. He is pretty much in the same place as he was when he debuted as he hasn't been given a chance to do anything else yet.
Jack Swagger vs. Big E: If Swagger and Coulter really are the Real Americans, surely they should be standing up for their nation and challenging Rusev, rather than accusing Big E of being in league with him. As it is, Big E winning the match in 48 seconds doesn't do anything for anyone really. Big E has already beaten Swagger convincing enough times that one more quick win isn't going to do anything for him. Swagger is getting jobbed out and at the moment is not going to be seen as a threat by anyone if he does eventually challenge Rusev. And presumably we are still looking at another Big E/Rusev match, which I'm not sure anyone really is looking to watch. This segment was just so short and ultimately pointless as it meant nothing at all.
There were two things on this episode that were in the grand scheme of things important, and both of them delivered in what their aim was. The MITB title match got plenty of build up on this show, with all seven men having a chance to say at least a few lines as to why they will win the match, before they all competed in a main event that that had plenty of time to tell a story, while coming out of that match, Roman Reigns seriously was made to look like he is someone who is getting very close to being the champion based on the way that he demolished the opposition and that his ascent to stardom continues. The other main angle on the show was the continued way in which Seth Rollins is getting in Dean Ambrose's business and how he keeps costing him matches, which in turn is proving 100% that his complaints about Ambrose – that he is a loose cannon and totally unfocused – are correct. And what this is doing is furthering the anger and resentment that Ambrose has as he has not managed to get any degree of revenge on him yet, which means that when they eventually face off, the stakes will be higher. But the rest of the show, bar the glorious Fandango/Bo Dallas segment, was quite disappointing and full of short and meaningless matches. Seth Rollins got a win over Kofi Kingston, but didn't look anywhere near as impressive in doing so that he should have done so. Dolph Ziggler and Bad News Barrett had an okay match that was unfortunately damaged by the fact a commercial break took up the majority of the match and thus it never had a chance to going, while Big E vs. Jack Swagger and two Adam Rose vs. Titus O'Neill matches lasted less than two minutes combined and did nothing but job out the loser and not do anything to benefit the winner. Seven of the eight matches on this show had were shorter than four minutes (in TV time), which isn't really long enough for them and a result they either felt rushed, incomplete, or pointless, while the main event, which got 16 minutes (and a commercial break), turned out to be good match that meant something because it had time attached to it. Surely the WWE should know that unless you give something time and purpose, it is likely to either fail or fall short of expectations. As for this show – the main event delivered, as did the Rollins/Ambrose build, but the rest of the show was forgettable and a bit of a filler.
Show Rating: 6.3
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…
0 - 0.9: Torture 1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous 2 - 2.9: Very Bad 3 - 3.9: Bad 4 - 4.9: Poor 5 - 5.9: Not So Good 6 - 6.9: Average 7 - 7.9: Good 8 - 8.9:Very Good 9 - 9.9: Amazing 10: Virtually Perfect
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