By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling on Destination America
Taped in July at Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Josh Mathews and Pope D’Angelo Dinero checked in from TNA World Title Series headquarters where they went over the round of eight matches. They transitioned to a Lashley vs. Mahabali Shera hype video for the upcoming Quarterfinal Matchup.
1. Bobby Lashley vs. Mahabali Shera. The crowd was the hottest they’ve ever been for the Shera dance. Lashley was all business as usual, maybe with a few high fives and points to the crowd. Shera was quick to initiate the offense which consisted of punches and stomps in the corners. Shera tried to dance on top of Lashley which the commentators called a mistake against an opponent of Lashley’s caliber. Lashley was able to initiate his varied offense. Shera kicked out at two after a strong suplex. [C]
Lashley had the advantage coming back from the break. Josh and Pope went over how Shera’s inexperience caused him to get behind in this match, and how he should keep from doing the Dance. Josh promoted the full episodes of the World Title Series on TNA’s YouTube Channel. Lashley went for the crossbody, but Shera caught him with a body slam. Shera then did his usual punch and body slam sequence. Lashley tried to come back on the inside, but Shera was still able to dominate with clotheslines. Shera was able to hoist Lashley with a gorilla press. Shera went for a sky high, but instead he ate a Lashley spear for the loss.
Bobby Lashley defeated Mahabali Shera via pinfall in about 6:05.
John’s Thoughts: While still a below average match, this was probably Mahabali Shera’s best match in TNA to date. Lashley and the producers deserve a lot of credit for getting a passable match out of the green rookie. This is also an example of how good Lashley has become since his WWE run, that he can have a good match against almost anyone. Shera has taken steps back since this taping (see his match against James Storm during the revolution angle), but if he can put together good power showcases where his opponents are able to sell his moves in the right way, he’ll be golden. The announcers are also doing a better job acknowledging his shortcomings as it makes it look like he is on a journey.
An Eric Young vs. Tigre Uno hype video aired. [C]
A Dixie Carter interview was hyped for later in the show. Sad music played as they showed the preview to the interview. They showed clips from the surprisingly good Jessie Godderz vs. Awesome Kong match. Godderz said Matt Hardy was the reason they were all here, but the Series was here to show people what “the man” was capable of. He said that Hardy was going to see what he was made off and when Hardy’s dream dies, everybody will know what “the man” the modern day Adonis was capable of.
2. Tigre Uno vs. Eric Young. Tigre Uno ran out to start his match while Eric Young looked as crazy as usual coming out to his regular World Elite theme song. EY grabbed a mic and called Tigre Uno dumb. He said he was going to the next round of the tournament no matter what, he was winning no matter what, and his first step was over Tigre’s back and that Tigre didn’t want to be in the ring with him. Young gave Tigre Uno the opportunity to leave. Uno teased walking out. Young called Uno a coward.
Tigre Uno caught Young with a springboard clothesline. Young couldn’t get his hands on the quick luchador. Uno got a pin attempt after a headscissors. Eric Young was proud of his “agile” dodges and yelled “Lu…Cha!”. Tigre Uno turned the tables a bit but ate a Young powerslam. Young clubbed the back of Uno’s head in the corner as he dominated into the commercial. [C]
Tigre Uno fought out of a headlock but EY continued his dominance. Uno flipped out of a German Suplex. He went for Old School but was crotched on the ropes. EY took the offense to the outside which included much yelling at the fans. Tigre Uno fought out of the top rope and nailed EY with a frankensteiner. Uno went for another hurricanrana, but Young powerbombed Uno instead. Young tried to steal a win with the ropes to no avail. EY spiked Tigre Uno with his piledriver for the victory.
Eric Young defeated Tigre Uno via pinfall in 8:06.
John’s Thoughts: This was a decent match, but Young is probably saving up for his match against Matt Hardy (most likely right). What I’d like TNA to pick up from seeing a match like this is that the X Division can truly add to the mid/upper card more than just once a year and maybe they should mix the X Division into their main shows a bit more rather than just in pointless triple threat matches.
Pope and Mathews went over Young’s attributes in the tournament. Pope said Young’s unpredictable nature makes him a threat. Pope also pointed the Pile Driver as an advantage. He also gave Young credit of being a former world champion. A Matt Hardy vs. Jessie Godderz hype video aired, dubbed by Josh as Youth vs. Experience…
Hardy said the best of the best were left. He called Jessie bigger, stronger, and good looking but not the only person who is “the man” is the reigning TNA Champion. He said Jessie will yell “Oh my Godderz!” because he got his ass twist of fate-ed by Matt Hardy. Hardy said he will then be one step closer to the World Championship…[C]
Inspirational music played as they showed more extended clips of the Dixie Carter interview being hyped for later on. EY yelled and said he gave Tigre Uno a chance by telling the baby tiger to live another day and stay healthy. He called Uno a foreign scum. Young said the beating was Uno’s fault and the pile driver might stop Uno’s career. He called this a warm up match to get his blood pressure going and get a good sweat. Young said he wasn’t responsible for what was going to happen later on…
Pope and Josh did their tinder swipe thing again. Pope picked Matt Hardy as the favorite in his match. Pope picked Davey Richards to pick up the win over EC3 which cause Josh to question whether Davey would get the first pin/submission on EC3. Pope threw out the possibility of EC3 losing through non-pinfall methods, as he has done in the past…
3. Matt Hardy vs. Jessie Godderz. Hardy tried to ground Godderz with a shoulder block but he wouldn’t budge. Hardy adjusted into a headlock and grounded Godderz that way. Godderz tried to power out, but Hardy wouldn’t let go of the hold. Godderz escaped with a power snapmare. Jessie locked in a wristlock which Hardy turned the tables on quickly. Godderz reversed with a power slam. Hardy hit a series of body slams and mocked Godderz by flexing his muscles.
Godderz was grounded after a Hardy side legsweep. Hardy kept the momentum with a back toss and took the action to the outside. Godderz used the help of the steel steps to hit Hardy with his high dropkick.[C]
Godderz put the boots to Matt Hardy back from the break. He followed up with a few kidney strikes. Godderz initiated a calculated attack to Hardy’s lower back. Godderz got a body slam after Hardy attempted a comeback. Godderz worked on Hardy’s lower back with a low bear hug. Godderz got a power slam on Hardy and continued his onslaught on the lower back. Godderz continue to thwart the comebacks of Hardy, all the while isolating his attack on Hardy’s lower back.
Hardy finally broke out of the vice like grip of Godderz and planted him with the side effect. Hardy got up selling the wear and tear of the match. Hardy got a nearfall off a sleeper slam. Hardy hit an authoritative super snapmare to lead to his top rope bionic elbow. Hardy went for the Twist, but Jessie fought out and hit his high dropkick. Godderz got a close nearfall off the move. Jessie Godderz hit an enziguri after Hardy sold the lower back. Hardy kept Godderz from locking in the Adonis Crab with the bottom rope which made Jessie irate and continue to stomp on Hardy’s lower back.
Hardy recovered a bit but was punched on the top rope. Godderz went for the TKO but Hardy reversed into the twist of fate to earn the victory over Jessie.
Matt Hardy defeated Jessie Godderz via pinfall in 12:47.
John’s Thoughts: Smart match and very entertaining. Dolph Ziggler should be taking notes as to how to sell during a match from this one as Hardy did a stellar job here with the various comeback attempts weaved into the selling. Jessie Godderz also continues to impress me week after week and I was a huge fan of his calculated attack to the lower back of Matt Hardy. They made it look like this match can go either way which is a huge plus for Jessie’s singles career.
Pope D’Angelo Dinero focused on Matt Hardy’s hot streak, being undefeated so far in the tournament. He also pointed out how Matt Hardy’s twist of fate can prove to be an x factor in most of his matches. Josh Matthews hyped the Dixie Carter interview again. [C]
Dixie Carter was interviewed by Josh Mathews in the announcer’s booth. She recapped 2015 and said that TNA has had action, shocking returns, some controversy. Dixie Carter gave Drew Galloway credit as the biggest free agent in pro wrestling. Carter called Galloway a real leader in the locker room. Josh moved the discussion to the BFG situation with Ethan Carter III. Carter said she still believes in her family, Ethan, but he should get over his entitlement over being a Carter. Carter said she respected Matt Hardy so much. She said when he held up his baby it was like Simba.
Dixie Carter said that the world championship deserves to be won the right way and both EC3 and Matt Hardy could prove that they truly deserve it with the World Title Series. Josh asked Dixie for her thoughts on the World Title Series as a whole. Dixie said she liked how everyone had a chance including the knockouts which she called the best women in the pro wrestling industry. Dixie Carter then made an announcement on the finals of the WTS. She said the semi-finals and the finals were now being held live on the Pop TV Debut, January 5, 2016. Josh asked Dixie about expectations. Dixie said it was about the fans and they were planning to celebrate…
Josh Mathews called the WTS “competition at its finest”. Pope liked the fan interaction with the logistics of the series with their tweets and predictions. Josh Mathews transitioned to a recap video package which recapped the series starting from the Bound for Glory main event…[C]
John’s Thoughts: What does TNA do to fill up time when they ran out of material to stretch? Enter Dixie Carter. The interview wasn’t that bad, but it was pretty generic as well due to Dixie talking about how good everything is, which is her usual interview style. The announcement looks like they are pushing up their TNA India plans so at least they can get the result they wanted in the World Title Series, let’s hope they don’t overbook this thing (a la their Destination America debut).
Josh Mathews called Davey Richards the Cinderella of the tournament. They went on to the final hype video of the night leading to the main event. After Davey’s entrance EC3 made his. Tyrus had “Ma bad” on his singlet to go with the Brodus Clay references. Ethan grabbed the mic and asked Richards if he knew where he was right now where the men are separated from the boys.
He said The Wolves were also separated from the winners. He said Davey had a hell of a run but his run will end here. Davey said he was at a disadvantage without the rich aunt, the killer spray tan, or the overgrown bodyguard. Davey said he had a nation of Wolves fans that were going to “ah-rooooo!” with him when he kicks EC3’s head off. Davey said to let the hunt begin.
4. Davey Richards vs. Ethan Carter III (w/ Tyrus). Carter dominated early with the shoulder block, but Richards turned the tables with consecutive armdrags. Davey targeted the left arm of EC3. EC3 turned the momentum around with a shoulder block. Richards was shaken up with an EC3 forearm. Davey came right back right with a dropkick, forcing Ethan to retreat at ringside. Pope and Josh drew attention to a bit of animosity between EC3 and Tyrus due to Tyrus being #1 contender.
EC3 got back in the ring with a forearm after the Tyrus distraction. Davey Richards tried to fight out with a European Uppercut but EC3 continued to dominate. Richards was sent to the outside where he was met by a Tyrus right hand. [C]
John’s Thoughts: They keep drawing an exuberant amount of attention to some sort of divide between EC3 and Tyrus; even though visually they aren’t showing any signs of antagonism due to this being taped before BFG. I sure hope this doesn’t lead to some overbooked finish with the former Brodus Clay ending up as World Champion after their January live event.
Ethan had the boots to Davey in the corner. He slowed down things with a half camel clutch. Tyrus continued to keep his presence felt by getting hits on Davey Richards. Davey Richards dodged a chop and hit rapid roundhouse kicks on EC3, but EC3 used Davey’s speed against hi to toss him to the ground. Ethan slowed things down again which Mathews pointed out was good strategy due to speed being Davey’s wheelhouse.
Davey Richards fought out with punches. Davey Richards used his rapid Topes to hit both Tyrus and Ethan. Davey hit a missile dropkick to get a nearfall on EC3. The crowd was hot for this. Davey went for the Daniel Bryan kick series but got caught in TKO position. Davey hit a superkick instead and got a nearfall off the German Suplex. Davey Richards went for the double footstomp but EC3 got out of the way. EC3 nailed Davey with the TKO for the nearfall.
Ethan Carter III went to the top rope which we don’t usually see. Davey Richards met him at the top. EC3 blocked a superplex with body shots. Davey showed some resilience and hit rapid headbutts. Davey Richards hit a Superplex, Suplex combination to get a very hot nearfall on the former champ. Davey went for his finisher roundhouse. EC3 also blocked the popup roundhouse. EC3 turned a pin into a sweet powerbomb into a TKO. EC3 then hit the one percenter for the victory.
Ethan Carter III defeated Davey Richards via pinfall in 12:10.
The semi-finals were now set which had Josh Mathews questioning what will happen with the finals and semi-finals. Next week’s episode was hyped with the final four meeting before their matches along with spotlights on them. Also, consolation matches from the WTS were promoted next week. This closed the show…
John’s Thoughts: Sweet matchup and another match with good psychology in the night. Davey Richards is another person who has gained credibility in the eyes of the fans and right now I see him as a great Austin Aries replacement due to having a similar method of attack. The ending sequence was hot as Carter gave Davey lots of offense and that powerbomb pin into a TKO was innovative. There was little doubt that EC3 was going over, but it was cool to see Davey given a chance.
This was a solid week of World Title Series matches and TNA delivered what I wanted to see coming off of last week, which was the matches being taken up a level. What was solid was each match telling a proper story. Hell, even the Shera match was a step up from your usual boring Shera match. I also questioned as to what TNA was filling the rest of their Destination America calendar with them seemingly running out of material, but it looks like we have some more undercard matches to look forward to which is good for them. Let’s hope they continue to put on straight forward no BS shows and continue to close out the year better than WWE Raw has.