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TNA¿s Super Impact lives up to its name

Thursday night's special three-hour episode of Impact -- which was dubbed Super Impact -- featured a great match between Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles and did an excellent job of getting over Sunday’s Bound for Glory pay-per-view as a huge event.

Expectations are always high whenever Angle and Styles get in the ring together, and they delivered again. Angle continues to amaze me with his performances despite being so banged up. It’s going to be difficult for anything at BFG to top this match. Judging by the finish, which saw Styles on the verge of tapping out from an ankle lock when the 20-minute time limit expired (who knew there are still time limits in wrestling?), I’m guessing that a program between Styles and Angle for Styles’ TNA world title will begin after BFG.

Most of the final hour of Impact consisted of “Rough Cuts”-style interviews and video packages pushing the top four matches on the pay-per-view – Styles vs. Sting, Angle vs. Matt Morgan, Mick Foley vs. Abyss, and Bobby Lashley vs. Samoa Joe. While all of the wrestlers were in character, they came across as real people (well, except for Abyss, because that would be impossible) involved in a legitimate athletic competition. TNA president Dixie Carter, Mike Tenay and Taz also offered comments on the matches and participants. Very well done.

Other thoughts on Thursday’s show:

From what I have read, Carter’s comment about having to convince Sting to keep re-signing the past several years was a shoot. ...

One nit-pick on the BFG preview segments: Taz picked Samoa Joe to defeat Lashley “in an upset.” Sure, we all expect Lashley to win, but in the context of the show, it wouldn’t be an upset. Joe is a former TNA world champion and has victories over the likes of Angle, Sting and current champion Styles. ...

When Foley talked about Abyss being a rip-off of his character and showed videos to prove his point, it was hard to argue with him. No wonder the fans seem to be backing Foley more than Abyss in this feud. ...

When Dr. Stevie had a woman who supposedly was Lauren (her back was to the camera) tied up backstage, it was obvious that it was going to be Daffney in disguise. The big question is: Where was Lauren? She never appeared after that segment, and SoCal Val assumed her duties as backstage interviewer. ...

Hernandez was put over strong in his gauntlet match against The British Invasion. However, it sure did make TBI look pretty weak heading into their BFG match against Team 3D, Beer Money and Scott Steiner and Booker T. ...

Don West coming to ringside with Amazing Red as his “promoter” was a surprise. I thought West was treated unfairly when TNA replaced him with Taz on commentary just as West was hitting his stride as a heel announcer, so I'm glad to see him back in an on-air capacity. I think the roles should be reversed, however, with West still the color commentator and Taz as a manager. It is a good idea to give Red a mouthpiece, although West was pretty annoying when cutting Red’s promo for him. West was a lot more entertaining as a heel. When did West turn babyface, anyway? ...

West said that he has always been Red’s biggest supporter, which Tenay said as well. That’s funny, I seem to recall West belittling Red when he was getting squashed by Kevin Nash a few months ago. ...

The brawl in catering between the teams in the Full Metal Mayhem tag match at BFG looked pretty weak. ...

I really liked the Hamada-Alissa Flash falls-count-anywhere match. I actually have more interest in their program than I do the three-way feud between TNA knockouts champion ODB, Tara and Awesome Kong. ...

It looked bad when Tara’s superkick didn’t come anywhere near ODB’s face – it hit her in the upper chest – yet she still was KO’d by it. ...

Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t think Lacey Von Erich was ever tagged in during the six-woman tag match between The Beautiful People and ODB, Tara and Kong. That speaks volumes as to where LVE is as far as her wrestling ability at this point. When it comes to being eye candy, however, she doesn’t have many peers in wrestling. ...

The finish to the Lashley-Rhino stretcher match was weird, as we didn’t even see Lashley putting him in the ambulance. After a replay, Rhino was already in it and then Lashley slammed the door shut. ...

Speaking of Rhino, it’s a shame that he doesn’t have a match at BFG. He’s been a compelling character since turning heel. ...

I’m still not sure I get the Pope D’Angelo Dinero character, but he does cut a nice promo. He has a bright future. ...

So, Homicide was disguised as Suicide. TNA, you’re killing me.

Note: I conducted a phone interview with A.J. Styles Thursday. The Q&A will be posted either later tonight or early Saturday.

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