Facts from TNA Impact Wrestling, Phones4u Arena Manchester, January 31st 2014

So after the “Direct from Glasgow” episode on Thursday night, we trekked along to the Arena formerly known as the MEN to catch up on who the mystery investor is. Spoilers abound, obviously, as always.

  • It was freezing in Manchester on Friday, and even more so when you’re on the end of a row and sitting next to the drop curtain that leads to the back of the stage and presumably where all the doors are wide open. Brrr.
  • We opened with an Xplosion match between Austin Aries (who is being completely underutilised at the moment, and got the biggest pop of the evening) and Frankie Kazarian, who is wonderful but seemed to be having a bit of an off-night – I think he might have got a knock to the noggin in the first minutes of this match.
  • Magnus, the “paper champion” himself, had an entertaining microphone duel with new mystery investor MVP. I wasn’t overly impressed with MVP’s insinuation that Dixie Carter is a clapped-out old whore, but I’ve heard worse misogyny in wrestling.
  • Poor Christy Hemme had obviously flown to the UK and forgotten to pack herself a skirt or trousers again, so ended up just wandering around in her hotpants. She must have been cold.
  • The man with a Dolph Ziggler shirt right in the front row will not get on telly, no matter how witty or clever his sign was.
  • James Storm, as I mentioned last time round, is incredibly over with the Manchester fans – does he elicit that reaction all round the UK?
  • In case you weren’t aware that the American Wolves are supposed to be faces and they want you to cheer for them, TNA have taken the easiest possible shortcut to get you to like them, by getting them to tag with Samoa Joe.
  • Eric Young and Abyss had an argument. Seems funny, could swear I’ve seen the monster and a little guy with a funny beard have a traumatic friendship before…
  • Velvet Sky kicked Chris Sabin in the knee and then in the balls. This was possibly my highlight of the evening, because he deserved it.
  • Business picked up considerably when Alpha Female charged out and proceeded to destroy Velvet. Apparently she’s Sabin’s bodyguard, and carried him to the back a la Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara. I would have preferred her to then turn on Sabin and batter him as well, because, as I mentioned, he deserves it – a bit like Mother Russia in Kick-Ass 2, just beating up people because she likes it.
  • Bully Ray and Ken Anderson had a casket match. Anderson bust his nose within the first couple of minutes; Bully Ray got instant heel heat by wearing a Liverpool shirt.
  • Gail Kim and Madison Rayne had a street fight, using a variety of baking trays as weapons. No, seriously. Some nobber in the crowd had a sign for Kim’s enforcer: “Lei’D – I’d Tapa That.” How do people get this stuff past security?
  • In more football-related content, MVP had a dig at David Moyes. Topical!
  • As Gunner faced Magnus for the title, the Wolves and Storm came down to the ring to ensure no interference, looking back up the ramp every so often just to check. At this point I said: “Why are they doing that? Have they not seen this show before? They’ll come in through the crowd and get into the ring from the other side.” And sure enough, Ec3, the Bro-Mans and Spud did just that.
  • Bobby Roode cut a sadface promo about wanting to leave the business because of all the evil things he’s done, but then was persuaded to stay on by Dixie screaming at him that it wasn’t his decision when to leave his job. Seriously, America, you need better employment law. Anyway, she bribed him with promises of stakeholdings in the company should he prove successful as her team captain at the (next?) PPV.
  • James Storm turned heel at the end, booting Gunner (who seems inexplicably popular as well) with a superkick. Presumably he’s been nobbled by Dixie as well, and we’ll have a Beer Money reunion as they work for the Corporation. Wait…

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