By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
James Storm vs. Bobby Lashley: This was a phenomenal main event match. Storm gets overlooked for his wrestling ability. The guy’s not flashy, but he sure as hell knows how to tell a good story between the ropes. He even proved at one point that he could have a good match against a tall broomstick (a/k/a Mahabali Shera). The match kicked off well with Storm fulfilling his prediction of getting the three second pinfall over Lashley in under 30 seconds, which he said he would do in his promo last week when comparing this to his world title win over Kurt Angle. Storm didn’t win of course because the ref was distracted, but Storm counting to three himself did provide some credibility. Storm also had that other great moment where he did two consecutive Last Call superkicks in a row and he had his most believable nearfall of the night. The only thing that almost ruined it was Josh Mathews spoiling the nearfalls by forcefully interjecting “we have a new champion” for every single Storm nearfall.
Aron Rex: Honestly, I was about to give this a Miss, but the former Damien Sandow got a great reaction and drew viewers to this episode so the guy is a Hit. I joked with friends watching the show that he was trying to be Dami-CM PunkDow. The strength here is Sandow’s amazing delivery whenever he has to deliver a promo. Let’s call this a minor Mit since the more I write about him, the more I swing towards a Miss. The worst line was when the crowd called him a genus and he told them that he only played one on TV. Is he drawing inspiration from Stephanie McMahon?
Opening Segment: While not as innovative as the Big Money Matt opening segments that carried the promotion throughout the beginning of 2016, sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the proverbial wheel. EC3 is starting to become the master of these “simple but effective” introductory promos. Every person in this opening segment gained something from being in it, maybe not a whole lot, but they did enough to adjunct their programs. Lashley is one of the most believable people in pro wrestling. He’s like Brock Lesnar, but not a ripoff of Lesnar. Lashley is an amazing, organic promo, which is crazy since at one point he was the worst promo in the business. I felt a bit bad for James Storm when his microphone cut out on him. Ultimately, this segment did its job by forwarding the feuds of all the players involved.
James Storm vignettes: This would have been more effective if they could have spread out these videos over the last few weeks somehow, but these were good. It’s easy to forget that Storm was a main eventer at one point and turning his descent into mid-card obscurity into a journey to get back to the top was well done via these video packages.
Mike Bennett and Moose vs. Ethan Carter III and Eddie Edwards: The match was okay. Moose looked good while handling Eddie Edwards and having the visual pinfall on him. It’s a bit clunky, but I hope they go through with breaking up Moose and Bennett since putting them together as heels in the first place was awkward with Moose doing his babyface march. Bennett also looks like a douche for making the blind tag and stealing the glory, which was the point.
Vanguard 1: Matt and Jeff will get their own separate hit, but Vanguard 1 gets a hit for the cinematic of the week. First of all, Vanguard 1 was driving Matt’s SUV. A Drone was driving an SUV! The moment of the night came when Matt Hardy opened the door to unleash Vanguard 1 and some majestic music played for a few seconds as Matt even outstretched his arms.
The Broken Hardy Boyz: The match against Al Snow’s French J.O.B squad was fine and Snow was as entertaining as usual, but the true story was Jeff Hardy becoming “Broken”. I’m assuming that in turn we has witnessed the true babyface turn of Broken Matt. This is great for the tag team division because the Hardy Brothers are a definitive upgrade over BroMans. I have two wishes. One, is that I hope that Decay somehow doesn’t fall victim to the curse of the TNA Tag Titles by getting hurt. Second, I hope this doesn’t lead to The Hardy Boyz vs. Decay in a “Valley of the Shadows” match (a.k.a. a regular match with Sin Cara’s mood lighting).
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Aron Rex confronting Lashley: What I fear here is TNA falling into old patterns of failure in regards to their treatment of WWE castoffs. It worked with people of the likes of Christian, but failed when they tried to make people like Chavo Guerrero or Mr. Kennedy the greatest thing ever. What it seems like, is hotshotting. It would be terrible if they push aside EC3 in favor of Aron Rex. Couldn’t they pair Rex with Bennett? Or maybe dig Rockstar Spud out of the void known as the X Division?
Drew Galloway: Galloway has become the one main eventer out of their top six to have been lost a bit. This was mostly due to that random “fight” feud with EC3. Luckily, they got EC3 out of the funk by pulling him away from Galloway, but I’m not sure what they can do with Galloway. I don’t think turning Galloway heel is the way to go because Drew makes such a great pandering babyface. Heel Galloway also has the potential to become bad Drew McIntyre if the writing isn’t that great.
Gail Kim vs. Marti Bell: It’s simple, Marti Bell hasn’t clicked yet. We don’t know anything about her. Also, Gail Kim continues to destroy the Knockouts division by looking too strong and her latest quest to earn a title shot at Bound For Glory is no exception. Oddly enough, they seem to be underplaying Kim’s Hall of Fame induction.
Josh Mathews: Mathews hasn’t seemed all that great in recent memory aside from a few stellar main event calls. This week’s call was not so great and took away a bit from the nearfalls. You can’t help but notice that Josh is forcing it when he gives away kickouts by saying “we have a new champion.” It’s as if Vince McMahon is back in Josh’s headset again.