The first TNA Impact Wrestling of 2013 opened with the TNA Wrestler of the Year Award. To no surprise, the fans voted for Jeff Hardy, and that caused Bobby Roode and Austin Aries to argue and complain about it.
Hardy then revealed a Triple Threat match for the title between them at Genesis, and they fought, which ended with the champion standing tall.
I’m glad they did this first and just got it out of the way. I feel that sticking it in the middle of the show would have disrupted any flow they would have going at that point.
The segment saw some great mic work from Roode and Aries, while Hardy did his thing. While they’re not partners or friends, Roode and Aries make a great pairing. They’re entertaining together, and I think they would mesh well as a team.
Backstage, Bad Influence interrupted a James Storm interview and mocked him. Storm then threatened them, using social media references and challenged one of them to a match.
I absolutely love Christopher Daniels and Kazarian as a team. They are so entertaining, whether they’re inside or outside the ring. TNA needs to get the Tag Team Championship back on them sometime this year.
If there’s any team who can help revive the division, it’s Bad Influence. As for Storm saying, “I’ll kick you in the Twitter and punch you in the Facebook,” well, that was just hilarious.
James Storm vs. Kazarian
After Kazarian jumped off the top rope and was caught with the Last Call, James Storm picked up the victory.
Overall, I thought that these two had a good match. They showed that they had good chemistry in the ring with one another and delivered some nice back-and-forth action. Daniels’ interference during the match worked well with the flow of the contest as well.
I find this feud between Storm and Bad Influence an interesting one. Storm targeted them after the former tag champions kept beating the dead horse in terms of A.J. Styles. Right now it's two against one, so that gets me wondering whether or not Storm is going to get some backup here.
Perhaps a return for America’s Most Wanted? That is highly unlikely, but I can dream, right?
Backstage, Devon wanted an answer from Mr. Anderson. After DOC yelled at TNA’s resident A-hole, he seemed to accept the offer.
I’m glad to finally see Anderson back on television, but why as a member of the Aces and Eights? Well, I don’t think he actually is. While it may seem like he is, I feel that he’ll turn out to be a mole who was sent in there by Sting.
Remaining backstage, Kenny King sucked up to Kid Kash before Kash’s match with Christian York. I love that TNA is actually doing something with King.
When he disappeared over the summer, I was worried that him ditching Ring of Honor for TNA was a bad move. Seems like TNA was just waiting for the right time to let him shine, and he is shining.
He’s had a few good showings with Rob Van Dam lately, and his cocky character is coming along great. I wouldn’t doubt if he not only won this mini X-Division tournament but the X-Division Championship at Genesis as well.
DOC then made his way out with the obviously fake hammer. Seriously, what was the cameraman thinking doing close ups of it? The thing is obviously made of rubber!
Anyway, he was tired of waiting for Sting, and then he freaked out when a baseball bat fell from the ceiling. Then the match cut to commercial, and that was it.
The former Luke Gallows showed some good mic work here, but at the same time, he was kind of awkward out there. You can tell he’s not used to cutting a promo by himself on live television.
Since Sting most likely wasn’t coming out until the final segment, I kind of just brushed this off.
Backstage, Brooke Hogan told the magic camera that she hadn’t spoken to Hulk yet. Is this storyline over yet? This is a complete waste of Bully Ray’s talents. It better be leading to something big for him.
Kid Kash vs. Christian York: No. 1 Contender’s Tournament
Christian York picked up the win with his Mood Swing finisher. I thought this was a decent match. It had some good back-and-forth action and a great springboard hurricanrana from Kash to the outside, but it was a lot slower than I expected.
Kash is an intense performer and is a quick guy, while York is no slouch in the ring and can go at a fast pace as well. I was expecting a lot more from two veteran wrestlers like them.
I was glad to see York pick up the victory, though. He is the first Gut Check winner to actually get some major attention, and a loss would have killed his momentum.
I don’t think he’ll win the tournament, but a feud with Kenny King over the title after Genesis could be on the way. That is, of course, assuming King wins it all.
Backstage, Chavo Guerrero wasn't afraid of Joey Ryan or Matt Morgan. I completely forgot he and Hernandez were feuding with Ryan and Morgan.
After their match at Final Resolution, both disappeared until the champions faced Bad Influence on Open Fight Night. It's good to see them getting back on track with a match at Genesis.
Hernandez vs. Joey Ryan
After Matt Morgan came out with a sling on his arm and fed Joey Ryan to Hernandez, Morgan took it off and clotheslined Hernandez to cause a disqualification. He then hit the Carbon Footprint on Guerrero. That match lasted a whole 30 seconds, which is disappointing.
It was good in terms of storyline development but not much else. Then again, this feud needed some storyline development, so I guess it worked out.
Backstage, Hulk Hogan was walking, which is actually quite the feat since Hogan can barely walk anymore.
The cameraman then teleported to Kurt Angle, who was telling Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco to hang back during his and Samoa Joe’s cage match. Angle then told Joe his New Year’s resolution was to unmask the Aces and Eights.
I really hope someone does get unmasked. It’s been a while since someone has, and it’s about time we get to see who more of them are. I really hope it turns out to be Bischoff or Brisco.
The cameraman then did some crazy trick and was in four places at once, as we got to see Miss Tessmacher, Gail Kim, Tara and Mickie James stretching.
As a guy, I was quite thankful for this magically teleporting cameraman.
Hulk Hogan then made his way to the ring and called out Bully Ray and his daughter Brooke. After babbling on about code and how Bully Ray was a bad guy, he suspended Bully for breaking guy code and kicked Brooke out of the ring.
Like I said earlier, I just want this to end. My major concern is what is this going to do for Bully Ray in the long run? He went from a big, bad bully last year to a good guy sleeping with his boss’s daughter.
I personally hate this storyline, mainly because it now has Bully Ray off of the show for who knows how long.
Video was then shown of Ohio Valley Wrestling trainer Danny Davis updating everyone on Joseph Park’s progress, who, according to Davis, is apparently ready.
I really hope this is all leading to the return of Abyss. It has been way too long since the Monster has been on television, and if there’s anyone who can help in the fight against the Aces and Eights, it’s the Monster.
Gail Kim and Tara vs. Mickie James and Miss Tessmacher
The faces picked up the victory in a good tag-team match after Mickie James hit her DDT on Gail Kim. With some solid action, these four knockouts delivered a good showing here.
Tessmacher played the face in peril for part of the match, and she sold very well for Tara and Gail. She has come a long way since dancing with Kelly Kelly and Layla in WWE. All four of them looked great in the ring and showed that the division is still very much alive.
I have been a fan of Mickie since her first time in TNA as Alexis Laree, but I’m kind of tired of seeing her in the title picture. What happened to ODB’s feud with Tara? It was just thrown away once Mickie returned, which was very disappointing.
I didn’t expect ODB to win the Knockouts Championship, but seeing her in the title hunt was great.
A part of me does hope Mickie wins the title, though, so that she can feud with Velvet Sky. Who would be the heel in that situation? I would hope Mickie, since I find her stale as a face, and it’s just time for a change.
Backstage, DOC said, “We remain anonymous,” which is funny coming from somebody without a mask.
The remaining masked members will protect their masks with their lives, but it won’t do any good. One is definitely getting unmasked later.
ODB then appeared and said that Eric Young will be back. I’m glad that he will be; I just hope he’s more serious if he joins in the fight against the Aces and Eights.
More teleportation from the cameraman occurred as Bobby Roode and Austin Aries complained to Hogan about the match. Hogan then made it an elimination match and booked them as a team next week against Jeff Hardy and a partner of his choosing.
I like the idea of an elimination match, as Roode and Aries will no doubt work together to try and eliminate Hardy, but their odd friendship will explode once they have to face each other.
I feel like James Storm will end up being Hardy’s partner next week, but who knows, maybe we’ll get a surprise.
Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe vs. Devon and Masked Guy: Steel Cage Match
Despite DOC taking out Angle and locking Joe inside with both Devon and the other guy, the Olympic gold medalist would manage to make it in and win the match.
Overall, I thought this was a good match. Samoa Joe was great in there by himself against the Aces and Eights and reminded anyone who had forgotten that he can be a force to be reckoned with.
At times, he was really taking the fight to Devon and his masked partner. It was also great to see Samoa Joe in a main event match.
Post-match, seven or eight members of the Aces and Eights came to the ring and beat down Angle and Joe. Then all of a sudden, Sting casually strolled into the ring and beat them all with a baseball bat.
Yeah, you read that correctly. The lights didn’t go out, so he could appear once they came back on. He didn’t repel from the rafters either. He simply walked into the ring. His entrance music didn’t even play. His return was kind of anti-climactic, since he just walked into the ring.
If his return did anything, though, it gave the fans another unmasked member of the Aces and Eights. After Sting took out seven guys by himself, Angle unmasked Mike Knox as a member of the group.
I personally like Knox as a member, since he didn’t get much of a fair shake in WWE, as his biggest storyline was being jealous of Kelly Kelly having male friends.
It’ll be interesting to see where TNA goes with the storyline from here.
Overall, I don’t really know what to say about the first episode of TNA Impact Wrestling of 2013. There were a couple of good matches and segments, but an equal amount of things let me down.
My biggest letdown was Sting’s return, though I am glad he’s back. There was some decent build for Genesis, as two matches have been booked while others were teased.
At the end of the day, I suppose I would call this a decent episode, but I was expecting more from TNA as they kicked off the New Year. There was an equal amount of good and bad here for me.
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