I wanted to give some of my thoughts on tonight’s TNA Impact, because the product they’ve been putting on lately is actually really good. With Hulk Hogan signing on to TNA, I was a bit worried about how that would change the show. Thus far Hogan hasn’t shown up, and the shows are better than they have been in a while.

Tonight’s Thanksgiving edition featured a “TNA Championship Series” (TCS) Tournament, and I was impressed with how the brackets were setup, with exciting possibilities throughout. The scoop on the TCS is that it’s an 8-man, one night tournament for shot at the championship in whatever division in which the winner typically fights.

TCS Match 1 : Abyss vs Bobby Lashley
I didn’t hear which title each of these two were going after, but I assume it’s probably the World title for both. I was impressed by how even TNA had this match be. I don’t know why, but I assumed that Lashley would get nearly a squash. Near the end, Krystal Lashley got “injured” when Abyss ran into her outside the ring, and the distraction to Abyss lead to Lashley getting the dragon sleeper locked in (a finisher I think is very appropriate for Lashley due to his participation in MMA as well as TNA). After the match, it was interesting to see Krystal Lashley not selling the ankle injury – though not because I felt it was poor acting – it was interesting because the announcers brought up the question of whether or not she was ever injured in the first place, which means that there’s the potential for Bobby Lashley getting some heel heat.

TCS Match 2 : Desmond Wolfe vs Suicide
Desmond Wolfe going for the World Title, Suicide going for the X Division strap, and so right off the bat, it seems obvious who might win this one.  Just like the first match, both guys got plenty of offense, and at times I thought Suicide might advance, but I was happy to see TNA continue to push Nigel McGuinness / Desmond Wolfe strongly with a clean victory with the London Bridge neckbreaker.

TCS Match 3 : D’Angelo Dineiro vs Kurt Angle
I didn’t catch which title Dinero was going for, but I have to assume it was for the X-Division Title.  Obviously Kurt Angle is looking for the TNA World Title shot, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Kurt Angle won the match, but it was a good fight, and after the match Kurt looked impressed, even shaking Dinero’s hand as a sign of respect.  Seems as though The Pope’s push is going to continue… though just getting into the tournament is a good sign to that effect.

TCS Match 4 : Robert Roode vs Homicide
Robert Roode is the only guy going after a shot at the Tag Team Titles in this tournament, and it was interesting to hear the announcers mention that Roode will need to win the tournament if Beer Money want another shot at the belts anytime soon, as the British Invasion apparently refuse to defend the belts against Roode & Storm again.   Homicide is going for the X-Division shot, and throughout the match you can definitely see that Homicide is turning back into the same type of hardcore, no limits character he was back in Ring of Honor and with the heel days of LAX – which is a very good thing.  Roode gets the win and advances, and I always thought that he was one of the more valuable homegrown talents in TNA, so I was glad to see him get to at least the semi-finals.

The semi-finalists get a break before their next match as we get a Knockout Battle Royal for a shot at ODB and the women’s singles division championship.  I didn’t catch all the eliminations, but I was disappointed that Daphney was eliminated first.  She brings something special to the division with her alternative look / gimmick, and if TNA doesn’t see that, they’re missing an opportunity.  The final two left in the Battle Royal were Velvet Sky & Tara, which is a good option, I suppose.  Tara winning was not unexpected, especially if they’re going to have ODB turn heel, but I’m still hoping that the Beautiful People will end up with championship gold, because they could use some more credibility.

I really like the Eric Young & Kevin Nash Alliance we are seeing on the show.  Nash is a popular guy, and the more Eric Young hangs around with him, the more fans Eric Young will get… and he deserves it.  He’s a good competitor, a worthy champion, and can be highly entertaining.

TNA tends to over do it with chain-segments, various segments which evolve over the course of the night.  The main offenders in the past have been the ones with the Main Event Mafia.  Tonight, they did a good job with chain segments, with Mick Foley walking around frantically trying to talk to people about Hulk Hogan – who he has never worked with and whom he feels might ruin TNA.  He talked to Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash.  Foley still doesn’t look happy about Hogan showing up, and I can’t wait to see an eventual Hogan / Foley segment… which could be an interesting match if that transpires.

TCS Semi-Final Match 1 : Desmond Wolfe vs Bobby Lashley
At the end of a pretty decent match, Wolfe got disqualified doing some sort of arm hold while Lashley was in the ropes. Desmond was yelling at the camera, sending a message to Angle, which I was quite happy with.  One of these guys had to lose, and I didn’t really think that Desmond Wolfe should win the tournament – it’s too early for him to get a TNA World Title shot, so I’m happy that’s how he lost the match.  And Lashley getting his arm injured leads me to wonder if maybe Robert Roode can find a way to win the tournament finals.  If you would’ve told me at the start of the night that the finals would be Lashley vs Roode, I would’ve told you that Lashley was the odds-on favorite to win, but now I have my doubts.

TCS Sem-Final Match 2 : Robert Roode vs Kurt Angle
Another great match between Kurt Angle and a younger talent.  I couldn’t believe it, but they actually let Robert Roode kick out after getting taken down with an Angle Slam.  Desmond Wolfe shows up at ringside, Angle goes after him, and Kurt gets counted out.  Not a bad way to finish the match, I suppose, though maybe Wolfe could’ve caused a distraction and Roode could’ve ended up using a roll-up pin or something like that.

Prior to the finals, we get a good in-ring segment involving AJ Styles first talking to Sting prior to being interrupted by Christopher Daniels.  They hyped their upcoming World Title match well.

TCS Finals : Robert Roode vs Bobby Lashley
These two guys battled well, and we got some psychology from Roode – working over Lashley’s arm.  Roode with the PAYOFF Fisherman’s Suplex… NO – False Finish!  Lashley kicks out!  I really thought we’d see Roode get put into the dragon sleeper and see another false finish, but Lashley somehow pulls out the victory with a spear, and TNA really fooled me tonight.  They over-sold the fact that Roode needed to win the match so Beer Money could get a shot at British Invasion, they setup an injury for Lashley, they had Roode look really good in competition for the main event… and in the end we get Lashley winning the match anyway.

Lashley vs AJ Styles is an interesting match I’ll be anticipating, because part of me thinks that there’s no way Lashley is gonna take the belt from AJ – nor should he, but part of me really thinks that Lashley might get the belt when those two meet.

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