Josh Boutwell reviews TNA Impact Wrestling for 3/7/13

Josh’s Final Impact
March 8, 2013
By: Josh Boutwell of

Almost 10 years later TNA is officially done with the Impact Zone. It’s LONG overdue and over the years we’ve had glimpses of the atmosphere Impact COULD have on the road (the initial Las Vegas tapings in 2008, the Huntsville/North Carolina tapings in 2010, the UK tapings, etc.), and I’ve been one of the more outspoken critics of the Impact Zone but you can’t deny there have been some great moments for TNA there. The very first episodes of Impact were taped there, from Fox Sports Net until now. Over the last few years it has just gotten stale from the fans to the atmosphere and it is time to move on. For what it’s worth that final Impact Zone crowd was definitely as hot as it’s been quite some time. They were rowdy and looked to be into everything that was going on all night long.

The opening was great as TNA seemed to want to give the Impact Zone a match to remember them by with Aries/Hardy IV, and they put on yet another excellent match. Aries & Hardy really seem to work well together and last night was no exception. The non-finish was expected however, but the perpetrator was not. I’m wandering where they will go with that. Matt Morgan came off really well and made good on his promise to Hogan that he would start gutting the roster.

Wes Brisco did fairly well for his first solo promo but you could tell he was nervous and trying not to forget his lines. The crowd was also really messing with him with that loud “what” chant after every word. He’ll have to get used to that especially as a heel but he did good getting through it. The reveal of D-Lo as a member of Aces, and even the VP wasn’t that surprising, but the guy that Angle fought last week definitely didn’t seem to be D-Lo. Not that really matters but D-Lo is another piece to the puzzle and probably the second to last to fall into place. The question is what that final piece will be. I initially thought Bully Ray (and still do) but they are making it so obvious with the Mr. Good Guy routine they’re doing it’s also making me wonder if they are trying to throw us off. Then, AJ Styles shows up to a biker bar talking to a guy that SEEMED to be wearing an Aces & Eights jacket (I couldn’t tell if it actually said Aces & Eights though) and driving a bike the last couple of weeks. Is AJ behind Aces & Eights instead of Bully, or maybe even both?

The Gut Check thing really surprised me. Ivelisse was the obvious better wrestler at this point and much more polished than Tapa, though Tapa may have the most upside. I just don’t understand that decision though. Tapa will certainly be sent to OVW now to get more seasoning (like most Gut Check winners) and get better whereas Ivelisse was ready for the main roster right now. Ivelisse could have joined the main roster and they could still sign Tapa to a developmental deal.

Sting’s pep talk to Team TNA was pretty cool and I really liked the way they got to Devon pinning him, with the “fan” attacking Sting. I had more than one person actually ask me if that was legit so job well done there.

The 6-person tag was really fun and it played into two different matches for the PPV. I’m just wandering what the deal with Bobby Roode is though. Two weeks in a row he was nowhere to be found, heading into Lockdown. Hernandez & Chavo and Bad Influence both showed off some great double team moves and Gail got heat on Velvet going into their match.

Magnus & Joe worked well again together seemingly picking up where they left off before. I really like DOC but Garett is still struggling.

Kenny King’s new haircut was magnificent, that guy is something else.

Anderson & Storm wasn’t much of a match but it got the heels the man advantage which is par the course for the heel team in a Wargames/Lethal Lockdown. You could definitely see the finish coming through but I will say TNA made Aces & Eights actually look strong for the first time in a while.

I hated the final segment with Bully/Hardy. Just way too much of a love fest for a big Main Event Title match, give us some HATE! I know it’s likely playing into the eventual turn for Ray but it just doesn’t do much to sell a big Main Event for the two guys to slobber all over each other (figuratively speaking). The brawl to end the show was pretty fun though really putting over how chaotic things will be at Lockdown.

Promo/Segment of the Night: Wes/Angle
– Match of the Night: Hardy vs. Aries (***1/2)
– Overall Grade: B+

Until next week… PEACE!