Paul K attended Tuesday’s Impact Wrestling TV taping, which aired on tape delay on Pop TV. He sent us the following live report:
I saw TNA advertised at the Sands. Took my wife (not a wrestling fan) and my daughter (loves seeing guys hit with chairs) to see it. The second row seats right near the stairs for the ring. $25 a ticket. Paid the same price I paid in the early 90s. The Sands was at about 95% capacity. There were some empty seats–but not many. Being a school night, there were maybe 50 kids there total. So if the Sands holds a 1000, figure 900 adults and 50 kids. They had lines forming inside the Sands for general admission and VIP. VIPs they took in about 45 minutes early. At one point Tyrus popped out and stood in front of the doors, just looking at the lines.
So inside everybody was getting seated, and it took a good 45 minutes to an hour to get the show started. Jeremy Borash came out first and really played to the crowd. Kept telling everyone to get loud and as an incentive, the loudest get on tv and will go backstage. The crowd gave him a great pop for that.
Dixie Carter came out, and the crowd started a ‘Thank You Dixie’ chant. Not sure if that made it on tv or not but you could see she was smiling from it.
As for matches: EC3 got the loudest pops. (Side note–guy that lost out on the VIP experience? EC3 gave him a high five when he was going into the ring). Say what you will about wrestlers, the guy knows how to work the mic. It was Cena-esque in the sense that half the crowd was screaming for him and half against. Nothing like a ‘You can’t wrestle’ chant going, immediately followed by a ‘Yes he can’. chant. As for the action, he carried the Lashley match–you could see the difference in ring awareness and in how to work the match. Funniest lines in the crowd came from TNA plants (there were a few empty seats next to me, and the TNA lady that worked with the guy with the VIP issues had these well dressed/well-groomed guys take the seats–told them to move if the fans of those tickets showed up). Every time Lashley was working with EC3 ‘Come on Lashley, work your transitions’. And ‘Okay Lashley it’s sleep time. Go to sleep’.
Eric Young got the most boos and really played to the crowd with it–even threatening fans–made one guy jump back out of fear. In the same sense–Eric Young carried the Hardy match. Don’t get me wrong. Matt Hardy is a good wrestler–you can see though that he has lost a step or five. Matt Hardy also got some loud pops. Eric Young really played up losing and being angry. It came across the big screen from the back how he was going to make everyone pay…
Angle came out to some of the loudest pops as well. Fans chanted for him, and you could see him tear up from the response. The whole thing with Galloway was nice but slow, and Jesse Godderz stole the show. The camera didn’t fully catch how he played it up to the crowd, flexing his pecs and making the facial expressions.
Bobby Roode vs. Bram was okay. Bram coming out and saying he was the wrestler for 2006 really resonated with the crowd. Got chants of ‘2016’ going. When Eric Young came out and started helping to pound on Roode, the entire crowd was looking towards the ramp to see when someone would come out. James Storm came through the crowd on the opposite side–no spotlights, no nothing–to make the save. His speech got the crowd going with and the beer moment was nice. You could hear fans muttering ‘About f’n time’ when it came to getting Beer Money back together.
The Mike Bennett intro was okay. I’d say about half the fans knew who he was. Pretty much everyone recognized Maria, which made it obvious. Calling himself the savior of wrestling or whatever he said was okay–he got some pops, but timing wise it began deflating the crowd.
The knockouts match was quite possibly the biggest headscratcher. The DollHouse came out first–their entrance seemed campy and cluttered. When the Beautiful People came out, people seemed genuinely confused that Angelina Love wasn’t there. The crowd did give a good pop to Gail Kim though. Gail Kim carried the match. You could see the inexperience of Rebel–even her tags seemed painful. Just the six of them together you could see a big difference with in ring awareness. It was frustrating to see Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne do little to nothing. Seeing Velvet Sky just lay on the apron (granted, nice view from behind) seemed like a wasted opportunity. Even with Awesome Kong coming out, there was little to no heat from the crowd on the match. A truly wasted opportunity to build anything with the fans–my guess is there were too many people in the ring and no one to truly single out to cheer or boo.
The championship final between EC3 and Hardy was worked very well. Again, EC3 carried the match. At one point when they were on the stairs, and Hardy botched the move, EC3 fell hard face first on the stairs. Even the plants in the audience said ‘Oh crap that wasn’t supposed to happen.’ It looked painful. It looked real. How EC3 shook it off really is a testament to his showmanship.
After he won and the taping was over, he addressed the crowd. He thanked everyone for coming out and reminded everyone about Wednesday and Thursday (I think Friday and Saturday are sold out or close to it). In a profound moment, he said ‘You make like me, you may hate me. You cheer for me, you boo me. I hear it all. I love it all. Thank you for being fans of TNA, and please keep coming. Please set your DVRs. Watch us, follow us. Wrestling needs fans like you.’ He got an incredible pop from the crowd for that.
Jeremy Borash thanked the crowd as well and told the fans to stick around for a few matches–Spud vs. Tigre Uno, brother vs. brother match –Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards and a Knockouts match. We took off as my daughter was already exhausted. Stopped by the merchandise booth, bought a t-shirt (they didn’t have kids sizes).
From a fans perspective, this show was phenomenal. The crowd came together. They cheered everybody, they booed everybody. Borash, Dixie, EC3, Roode/Storm–they got everybody involved. Angle worked the crowd. It was an amazing live experience and worth the price. My wife, who isn’t a fan of wrestling loved it.