TNA Impact Wrestling Review: Willow Debuts on Impact, Two Big Names Return


TNA Impact Wrestling’s first show since the Lockdown pay-per-view. MVP is now in control of wrestling operations, and Magnus is still TNA World Heavyweight Champion, thanks to some help from a new friend.

MVP and Magnus promo

Pretty good promo here. MVP isn’t a master on the mic, but he can hold his own. The biggest problem, and it’s been a problem for months, is that Magnus isn’t good enough at promos to be a top heel. Top heels need to be good on the mic to get people invested, but more importantly to get people to hate them, and it’s just not Magnus’ best quality.

MVP gives Samoa Joe another title shot for next week, but for now he will take on Magnus’ associate, Abyss.

Samoa Joe vs. Abyss

Okay match. Bad ending. It ended by DQ, when Abyss got Janice from under the ring, and Eric Young came out to stop him from using it on Joe. Abyss was chased from the ring by EY. If they had waited until after Abyss used Janice to send out EY, it makes this ending so much better, but now it looks like the #1 contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship needed EY to save him from a loss.

Jeremy Borash backstage

Before the commercial, JB is backstage anxiously waiting the arrival of Bully Ray. He gets distracted by somebody off-screen, then Angelina Love appears. Angelina’s return is a bit exciting, she can certainly bring something to the Knockout Division.

After the commercial, JB is still standing there waiting, when he gets distracted again. The camera pans to Willow standing in the darkness, and he speaks in a very screechy voice, cutting a very creepy promo. It’s certainly an interesting character and should be fun to see where Jeff Hardy takes it.

Brittany vs. Gail Kim

It’s time for Brittany’s TNA debut, and she gets the victory over Gail in this one. Lei’d Tapa went to get involved and tried to attack Brittany, but she missed and took out Gail. Brittany then rolled up Gail for the win. Good win for Brittany in her first match.

After the match, Gail gets angry with an apologetic Lei’d Tapa and attacks her. Lei’d Tapa didn’t stay apologetic long and proceeded to dominate Gail, and every referee that tried to stop her. It looks like Gail is going to be the heel in this feud, which is good because Gail is going to be much better at it.

Bully Ray Arrives to the building

Backstage, Bully is arriving to the building. Rockstar Spud appears and is looking to yell at him, but then Bobby Roode, EC3, The Bro-Mans and DJ Z appear to attack Roode. It’s an intense beat down that ends when they leave Bully laying. TNA really trying to get sympathy for Bully.

Sanada and Tigre Uno vs. The Bro-Mans

Pretty quick match with Sanada and Tigre Uno getting the victory. Sanada got the pin with a moonsault. Interesting to see The Bro-Mans lose, it doesn’t make much sense as they already have pretty good foes in The Wolves.

Bully Ray backstage/Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne backstage/The Bro-Mans, DJ Z and Bully Ray backstage/Sam Shaw backstage/Willow backstage/EC3 and Rockstar Spud backstage

A bunch of really short segments here.

Bully gets up and gathers himself after the beating he suffered earlier. Bully picks up a chain that was used to choke him earlier and walks off.

Madison and Velvet are discussing Angelina Love’s return, not much substance.

The Bro-Mans and DJ Z are flipping out over The Bro-Mans’ loss earlier. Bully enters the room and takes out all three men. DJ Z looked the weakest here as Bully tossed him around like a rag doll.

Shaw is talking to somebody or something that is out of sight from the camera. This is not going to be a person. This character is easy to hate, and it will probably become offensive eventually, but he plays it so well. Credit to him.

We see Willow backstage sitting in a dark corner. Hardy is creepy.

EC3 and Rockstar are getting ready for the Dixie tribute. They end the segment when they make their way to the ring.

Samoa Joe and Eric Young backstage

Joe is running around screaming for EY. EY tells Joe that he will be chained to Abyss during Joe’s rematch with Magnus for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on next week’s Impact. Interesting to see how this plays out, something’s going to have to give here. Abyss has already turned face/heel 1000 times in the past month, will he do it again? Or will EY?

Dixie Carter tribute with EC3, Rockstar Spud and MVP/Jeremy Borash, EC3 and Bully Ray backstage

EC3 and Rockstar are talking about the great things Dixie did while controlling wrestling operations, with the added help of a video tribute. MVP comes out and is furious that they were even given this ring time. MVP tells Rockstar that he is starting to like him, but he needs him to start wrestling. Rockstar is unsure at first, but MVP convinces him, then books him in a match with Willow. EC3 goes to step in, but MVP brings out EC3’s opponent for next week, Bobby Lashley. Good segment, Rockstar and EC3 were very entertaining in their “state of mourning”. They are the two funniest performers in the country. Lashley’s return has me very intrigued and I can’t wait to see him take on EC3.

Right after EC3 goes through the curtain after this segment, he is met by JB. JB asks him about the segment, but then Bully comes flying in and takes out EC3.

Sam Shaw vs. Mr. Anderson in a Street Fight

Good match here. Shaw came to the ring with a mannequin torso that looked like Christy Hemme, then lost when he was distracted while looking at the mannequin, allowing Anderson to hit the Mic Check. Shaw plays his character so well and he should be applauded for that. The whole match he played to the character really well, and not many others could have sold being distracted by a mannequin.

Willow backstage/Kenny King vignette

Willow is backstage holding an umbrella.

A vignette airs for King. He is going with a character that has him acting as the king of Las Vegas. Anything’s better than the nothing he went with before.

Angelina Love backstage/Angelina Love promo

Before the commercial, a camera man asks Angelina why she’s back. Angelina says that she’s here for one person and we’ll find out who that is soon.

After the commercial, the shot of Willow, and Kenny King’s vignette, Angelina’s music hits and she comes to the ring. She calls Velvet Sky to the ring and tries to reform the Beautiful People. At first, Velvet says no, but Angelina convinces her to think about it. They really are beautiful people, but I don’t see what anybody gains if they get back together. It really felt like Angelina was going to attack Velvet here. I think that will happen down the road, when Velvet gives an official “no”. Could be the beginning of an actual women’s feud, like Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell’s feud from last summer, which produced one of the best women’s matches WWE or TNA has had in recent years, their Last Knockout Standing Match at Slammiversary.

Bully Ray backstage/Willow backstage

Bully is walking around. He has already taken care of the EC3, The Bro-Mans and DJ Z, now he is looking for Bobby Roode.

Willow is seen again in a dark corner. There seems to be a theme of filming him in dark corners by steps. That could have just been a coincidence, but whether he was in the dark or not, he was by steps. There had to be a reason for it.

Rockstar Spud vs. Willow

Willow dominates Rockstar the whole match. At the end, Rockstar was in the tree of woe, when Willow went to retrieve the umbrella he had during his entrance and an earlier backstage segment and he used it to low blow Rockstar. The ref called for a DQ, then was trying to get Willow to leave, so Willow hit him with the Twist of Fate. He then continued to beat up on Rockstar. The only thing that didn’t make much sense was that the announcers kept reminding the viewers that Willow is Jeff Hardy’s alter-ego. It would seem the best thing to do is treat Willow as a separate entity, but it appears as though Willow will be a side of Hardy that he is not able to control, at least that’s what I got from the commentary. That seems like a mistake because Hardy really was owning this character tonight, so it would be nice to see him get to really live this character before going to this storyline that sounds a lot like Abyss/Joseph Park.

Bully Ray promo

Bully came out to talk about Lockdown, his turning on Dixie Carter, and Bobby Roode. Bully, who is the best promo right now in wrestling, talked about the events that unfolded when he became special guest referee for the Lethal Lockdown Match on Sunday. He talks about the attack he suffered earlier in the night, and how he got revenge on most of the attackers, but Roode had eluded him, so Bully calls Roode out. Roode makes his way to the ring and the two end up brawling. After Bully knocks Roode down, he goes for a table. When he sets up the table, they both go back and forth teasing putting the other guy through it, until Bully finally powerbombs Roode through it to end the show. Really good segment. With Bully as a newly-turned face, these guys could have a really good feud on to Sacrifice and through Slammiversary in June.

Overall Impression

Good show. Good follow up to Lockdown. Really no better way for them to start a new era of TNA. They had new talent like Sanada and Tigre Uno. They brought back Bobby Lashley and Angelina Love. Questionable booking is still there, but hopefully that starts to fade out. The best news from tonight, Dixie Carter did not appear. If that’s not a sign of TNA moving in the right direction, I don’t know what is.

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