This episode of Impact Wrestling was the final show before the Destination X television special, airing live next week. The suspense was mainly built around Chris Sabin's decision to cash in his X Division title, and the newest member of the Main Event Mafia.
The show mostly revolved around the "Joker's Wild" tournament—basically a shortened, slightly modified version of the WCW BattleBowl of old—to determine who would receive 25 points toward their BFG series point total. Since the show was mainly those matches, I am going to rate them one by one.
Before I go to the matches, I just want to briefly mention the opening segment, where Bully Ray broke kayfabe and mentioned Brooke Hogan's real engagement. And the purpose was for...? We (hopefully) all know that this is a kayfabe sport. Simply a promo, without officially ending the Bully/Brooke "marriage" angle, was poor writing.
Now, on with the "Jokers Wild" matches and gauntlet:
Samoa Joe/AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy/Joseph Park: Like I've alluded to before, Joseph Park really sucks the importance right out of the BFG series. Although his character is funny (although it is becoming stale), he has no business in the series. Other than that, Joe, Styles and Hardy did manage to provide good in-ring work in the match, with Joe and Styles advancing. 6.5/10.
Magnus/Mr. Anderson vs. Hernandez/Jay Bradley: Similar to Joseph Park, Jay Bradley also has no business in the tournament. However, he did not look bad in this match, though. This tag match actually was decent, especially since the fact that both Magnus/Anderson and Hernandez/Bradley are both engaged in some kind of feud, but was forced to tag with each other. Magnus gets the win, although he barely received any help. 6/10.
Bobby Roode/Kazarian vs. Christopher Daniels/Austin Aries: Interesting play on teams, as they were forced to split up and compete with their nemesis. As expected, this was a good match, which was well played due to not showing any signs of Bad Influence disbanding. 8/10.
Magnus wins the "Joker's Wild" gauntlet. Good choice. Especially being a member of the Main Event Mafia, it is clear that TNA has high hopes for his future. Even if he does not win the BFG series, which he should, he will be a staple in the main event picture. However, as a member of the MEM, it would only make sense to win the series, potentially achieving one of the Main Event Mafia's goals of dethroning Bully Ray from being TNA World Champion.
If he gets past Chris Sabin. We'll get to that later.
Mr. Anderson as the new VP of the Aces and Eights would have been important about six to nine months ago, but not anymore. My true hope with this dissension between he and D.O.C. is that they do not split up in two groups, similar to nWo Hollywood and nWo Wolfpac.
Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell was the match of the night (go figure), with some amazing spots. This is proof that the Knockouts division should again be one of the main focuses of TNA, as it used to be. Again, we need a deeper Knockouts main roster. The very fact that this was a #1 contenders match was also a good thing, as it shows the passion involved in becoming Knockouts champion. #1 contenders matches are truly a lost art. It does nothing but help the prestige and importance of a title.
My thoughts are unwavering regarding Chris Sabin being the top candidate for Bully Ray's TNA World Championship out of the X Division. Aries has proven that he has what it takes to be in the main event, and pushing Sabin in this manner is far-too rushed. Sabin's crowd reaction when he came back was surprisingly low, but has started to pick up a bit. Instead of derailing any momentum gained by having him both cash in his X Division title and lose to Bully Ray, TNA should have planned this earlier in the year to garner enough steam for Sabin, as supposed to wrestling triple threat matches every week.
The only good thing that can come out of this for Sabin is a title win, followed by a quick loss to appropriately build up for Bound for Glory—because Sabin will not headline the biggest TNA PPV of the year as the top guy by any means. Even this scenario is wishful thinking for all the die-hard Chris Sabin fans, to say the least.
"Rampage" Jackson chosen as the newest member of the Main Event Mafia was an absolute monstrosity. He has absolutely no reason to be in that group at this time. He has not even honed in any kind of skills in the wrestling business, and putting him in this position was grossly premature. He should be in OVW, acuminating his wrestling craft, eventually being called up to the main roster. I am not going to totally dismiss him as a wrestler, because both Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock had successful pro wrestling careers post-MMA. However, hopefully we don't see him on the same list as Tank Abbott, whose pro wrestling career was a sheer debacle.
What are your thoughts of "Rampage" Jackson in the Main Event Mafia? Sound off below.