On a positive note, I do enjoy the work Rockstar Spud has been pulling off as Dixie's “chief of staff”. He's just annoying enough to make for a quirky, frustrating heel that you simply want to punch in the face. He's TNA's Miz character, with an accent that makes it seem like he's got more charisma. For now, being attached to Carter's hip seems a good fit for him, but one has to wonder if that will help or hinder his career when this angle plays itself out. Ask Brad Maddox.
There's an underlying level of frustration starting to build with some of the veterans, especially Sting. I guarantee that plays out with the likes of Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, maybe even Samoa Joe and a returning AJ Styles in the future.
Speaking of AJ, you have to imagine the winner of Magnus-Hardy in two weeks will face AJ Styles down the road. If not immediately, the live Genesis special seems the most obvious destination. This adds more weight to the argument of putting Magnus over, as I'm not sure what kind of build they can put together with Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles, unless they plan on turning the “enigma” heel again. Bad things happen when Jeff Hardy goes heel, historically speaking; I advise against it.
Former Gut Check contestant Sam Shaw made his return to Impact Wrestling this week, in a pre-recorded skit as ring announcer Christy Hemme's date. When Hemme – a married lady, I might add – goes to the bathroom, Shaw grabs the waiter by the cuff and threatens to kill him, apparently for looking at “his girl”. This is one of those gimmicks I don't see lasting long, ala Madison Rayne and Earl Hebner. It's got potential, as Shaw can play the jealous boyfriend card with literally anybody on the roster who gets announced by Hemme, but it will come down to the star behind the gimmick, and whether he can evolve beyond the role, which will not last forever.
Speaking of gimmicks, the former Derrick Bateman is coming along nicely as Ethan Carter III, spoiled nephew of TNA President Dixie Carter. When he made his in-ring debut at Bound for Glory, you could hear the crickets. Nobody knew who this guy was, whether it was a lack of interest in NXT, or they simply didn't recognize him. Putting anybody near Dixie Carter right now equates to instantaneous heat. Some say she's got change-the-channel heat, though, in which case EC3 needs to set himself up, and get as much of the rub he can before Dixie inevitably takes herself off television again. His segment with the Hebners was masterfully executed. Every bit of it was designed to get heat, but EC3 took it to a different level. He can talk, there's no doubt about it. It's not just picking up a microphone, but the subtle character traits and on-the-fly comebacks like “get on the mat before I put you in the ground.” I'm invested in his success going forward.
James Storm and Gunner need some more work developing an interesting program. There's clearly tension, with the later costing their team a big win over tag team champions Jesse Godderz and Robbie E (who are great, by the way) because he couldn't control his emotions in the ring. I enjoy the two working together, but they haven't been on television enough as a unit to really care about them splitting apart. Gunner has a great look and has come a long way since being the muscle behind Eric Bischoff's regime several years ago; I don't want to see that talent wasted, but I also think James Storm deserves another run in the main event.
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