Who saw that coming?
After months of speculation, Brown’s entrance to the group was a total letdown. Although he’s always been decent on the mic and has ability in the ring, he’s far from the blockbuster name many fans expected.
Once a cool new heel faction, this “unveiling” eliminates a ton of the momentum the company had.
The same thing could be said for Lei’d Tapa’s Gutcheck win over Ivelise Felez. Even though Tapa has a great lineage and a ton of strength, Felez is the better performer. While the knockouts division isn’t terrible, Felez would have been a much better addition.
Aside from a slew of decent matches, the highlight of the show was an update on AJ Styles. Although it was only a few seconds long, it appeared Styles was with a member of The Aces and Eights.
For TNA’s sake, let’s hope that’s the case. That’s the only thing that’ll save the faction from mediocrity. Styles’ announcement that he’ll be on the show next week also added a much-needed level of anticipation.
Overall, this episode was lacking.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy vs. TNA Tag Team Champion Austin Aries: “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived” certainly looked like it at the start of the match after a slew of strikes. Hardy fought back with a series of ten punches in the corner, but Aries quickly sent him to the outside. Hardy battled back again and the two traded moves for several minutes. Hardy then countered the Brainbuster into a seated Twist of Fate and then followed it up with the traditional version of the move. Just when it looked like Hardy was set to finish things with the Swanton, Matt Morgan interfered and nailed the champion with a massive Carbon Footprint.
TNA Television Champion Devon vs. Sting: A nice amount of this match was on the outside and was mostly strike-oriented. In a rather weird turn of events, a “fan” threw a substance in Sting’s eyes on the outside, which allowed Devon to throw Sting back in the ring. After a Yakuza Kick, the TV Champion was victorious.
Hernandez, Chavo Guerrero and Velvet Sky vs. Frank Kazarian, Christopher Daniels and Gail Kim: Everyone had a few spots in this stereotypical six-man mixed tag match. After Hernandez and Guerrero took out Bad Influence on the outside, Kim was left alone with the weaker Sky. After a quick counter, Kim caught Sky with her unique Eat Defeat finisher for the win.
Magnus and Samoa Joe vs. Doc and Garret Bischoff: The Aces and Eights sold a lot through the early going, but used heel tactics to stay in the match. Regardless, the former Tag Team champions were on the same page. They finished off Doc and Bischoff with their signature Snapmare, Elbow Drop finisher.
James Storm vs. Mr. Anderson: Solid main event with plenty of offense. Anderson and Storm pushed a solid pace. The game changed once The Aces and Eights and Team TNA hit the stands to watch the action. With Storm focused on the men on the outside, Anderston hit the Mic Check for the win to give The Aces and Eights the man advantage at Lethal Lockdown.