01/05 Powell’s TNA Impact Wrestling TV Review: New TNA Champion crowned, Matt Hardy vs. Eric Young, EC3 vs. Lashley World Title Series semifinal matches

By Jason Powell

TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Aired on tape delay from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at Sands Event Center

[Q1] Impact opened with a video package spotlighting the four semifinalists in the World Title Series… The new opening video with music by Billy Corgan aired… The broadcast team Josh Mathews and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero checked in from ringside…

Dixie Carter stood in the ring with the TNA Title belt and spoke about how happy they are to be entering their 15th year. She said wrestling is a vital part of pop culture, and nothing is more vital to wrestling than the TNA Title. Ethan Carter III’s entrance music interrupted her, and then he and Tyrus walked out.

EC3 said there’s no better time for a family reunion. EC3 and Tyrus entered the ring, and EC3 said his holiday invitation must have been lost in the mail, so he felt it was time for an airing of family grievances. EC3 complained that he was robbed of the title and then had the deck stacked against him in the World Title Series. He said it’s over tonight because he will win the title and become champion again.

After Dixie shot back at EC3, Matt Hardy’s music played and he came out talking about how EC3’s same old song and dance is boring. Hardy said the fans were robbed because of his legal antics. “Spoiler alert, it’s going to be me,” Hardy said while adding that it’s his destiny. Eric Young showed up and attacked Hardy from behind, as Mathews reminded viewers that Hardy and Young meet in a semifinal match. It turned into a three-on-one attack.

Lashley ran out for the save. EC3 and Tyrus got the better of Lashley, and Young worked over Hardy. Matt eventually fought off Young and then performed a dive off the top rope onto Lashley, EC3, and Tyrus… [C]

Powell’s POV: The building looks pretty good and it looks like the same or similar set that they used previously. I could have done without Dixie being the first face we saw aside from the broadcast team, but it is what it is. The opening segment set the stage for the semifinal matches. Here’s hoping Pop will upgrade to HD on DirecTV and Dish Network. This is literally the only television show I watch that isn’t in HD.

[Q2] 1. Lashley vs. EC3 (w/Tyrus) in a semifinal match. Tyrus got involved early and Pope complained on commentary about how sick he is of seeing that. Tyrus approached Pope, who just looked down and told Mathews he was simply there to call the action with him. Lashley, who wore a headback during the match, finally had it come off when he suplexed EC3.

Late in the match, Lashley set up for a spear, but Tyrus grabbed his foot. Tyrus also climbed onto the apron, but Lashley knocked him off. However, EC3 avoided a charging Lashley and then rolled him up for the win…

EC3 defeated Lashley to advance to the finals of the TNA Title tournament.

Backstage, Kurt Angle told the backstage cameraman that he would save his comments for the ring… [C]

Powell’s POV: A forgettable match. We’ve certainly seen better from these two. I am surprised they went with this match first simply because it’s hard to envision EC3 facing Eric Young in the finals.

[Q3] A new “The Miracle” vignette aired and stated that wrestling needs a miracle… A pre-taped Bobby Roode interview aired. He quoted Kid Rock saying it’s not cocky if you can back it up. Roode issued an open challenge to anyone from any promotion for his King of the Mountain Title. He emphasized “any promotion”…

Kurt Angle made his entrance. Angle noted that he made his decision to step aside public. He spoke about having a farewell tour, and said he handpicked Drew Galloway his opponent for next week. Galloway made his entrance. Galloway said he is honored that Angle complimented him and chose him to face next week. Galloway was emotional until he was interrupted.

Jessie Godderz walked onto the stage to a flat response and said he is a superstar. He boasted about his reality show background and said he’s the best thing on the network today. Eli Drake came out to even less of a reaction and said that Godderz is cool with teenage girls, but he agrees with him about Angle. He threw out the idea of teaming with Godderz, then insulted Galloway. Angle cut him off and said Drake is all talk. Angle challenged them to prove that they are more than just words. Drake and Godderz headed to the ring and were quickly cleared from the ring…

Backstage, Jeremy Borash was trying to get an update on Matt Hardy. Jeff Hardy exited the locker room and said Matt is a fighter and no one will stop his journey. Jeff said Matt will be the new TNA Champion, and he’ll be right there raising his hand… The broadcast team hyped Hardy vs. Young for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The Angle segment peaked when he was alone in the ring and somehow got worse each time someone else came out. Galloway being respectful is true to his character, but it didn’t make for the most exciting television. The fans just didn’t care about Godderz or Drake and didn’t seem to take them as true threats to Angle or Galloway.

[Q4] Eric Young came out and demanded that the referee count out Matt Hardy, who then made his entrance…

2. Matt Hardy vs. Eric Young in a World Title Series semifinal match. Young pulled the mat back and piledrove Matt on the floor. Jeff came out to check on his brother. Young put Jeff down with a sliding kick and put Matt back in the ring. Young leapt off the top rope and into a Twist of Fate from Matt, who pinned him. Mathews hyped that the tournament final would feature EC3 vs. Matt Hardy…

Matt Hardy defeated Eric Young to advance to the finals.

Mathews hyped Roode’s open challenger against anyone from any promotion… A shot aired of a man walking backstage with his luggage. Mathews said he didn’t know who it was, but Pope said he thought he knew… [C]

Powell’s POV: If this is live, then Roode’s open challenge seems pretty silly, as the person would have to live pretty close to the building. Granted, he issued the open challenge “earlier today” according to the graphic, but I still got a laugh out of that. As for the match, this was definitely the better of the two semifinal matches. They are really going above and beyond to make Matt look sympathetic. The only question now is whether it’s because he’s winning or because they want to give him an out if he’s losing.

Backstage, Young threw a fit about his match being a two-on-one scenario and then said everyone is going to pay…

[Q5] Backstage, EC3 and Tyrus approached Jeff Hardy and accused him of being the referee who cost EC3 the title. Jeff said Matt has never lived in his shadow and he never will. He said EC3 won’t have anyone to blame other than himself when Matt becomes the new TNA Champion…

Bobby Roode made his entrance for the open challenge match. Bram’s music played and he made his entrance. He asked if Roode was surprised it was him. Bram boasted that 2006 is his year, then corrected himself. Bram entered the ring and suggested “we do this right now”…

3. Bobby Roode vs. Bram for the King of the Mountain Championship. Pope said his sources were correct and Bram was the the person who was making his way to the building. He neglected to say what Bram was doing in Pennsylvania. Mathews seemed to cover it by saying that Roode out a tweet regarding the open challenge. Roode put Bram away with the Roode Bomb…

Bobby Roode defeated Bram to retain the King of the Mountain Title in 4:40.

After the match, Young attacked Roode. He tried to piledrive Roode, who avoided it and set up Young for his finisher. Bram recovered and performed a low blow on Roode. The two of them put the boots to Roode until James Storm ran out through the crowd for the save. Storm put Young down with the Last Call superkick as Pope yelled that the bearded outlaw has returned. There was a welcome back chant for Storm.

Storm took the mic and said five or six months ago he was asked why he left TNA. He said he didn’t like where he was going or who he was portraying. He said his grandma told him that wasn’t him. Storm said he travelled everywhere in wrestling trying to figure out who he was and what he was going to do next.

Storm said he was watching Impact Wrestling at home when he received the Biggest Disappointment award. He said he took exception because he put everything he had into the company for the last 13 years. Storm said the company didn’t make him, it’s guys like him who made the company. Storm turned his attention to Roode and said they drank a lot of beer together and made a lot of money together. Storm said it’s time to get back to having fun.

Storm picked up two bottles of beer and asked the fans if they want to have fun. Storm offered one of the beers to Roode, who turned away from Storm and then took it and said, “money.” The Beer Money theme song played…

Powell’s POV: For Storm’s sake, I hope TNA broke the bank to get him back. For the company’s sake, I hope they did not because I’m not sure what is left for him to do in TNA. Sure, the Beer Money reunion could be fun, but it’s not like they had a lot of fresh ideas for him when he was the leader of an undercard faction before he left. That said, if it’s not a case of TNA overspending, then it’s nice to see him back.

Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviewed The Beautiful People. Angelina Love announced that she’s pregnant and is there to support her girls. Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne spoke, then Angelina said TNA officials were letting them pick her replacement. She said the person they selected hates Dollhouse almost as much as they do…

[Q6] [C] Backstage, Roode and Storm hyped that they will be teaming together again on the TNA One Night Only Live pay-per-view that airs on Friday night… Christy Hemme stood in the crowd and introduced the next match…

4. Rebel, Jade, and Marti Bell vs. Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne, and Gail Kim. There was an early “this is awesome” chant. In the end, Gail performed a nice body scissors on Jade and pinned her.

Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne, and Gail Kim beat The Doll House in 4:10.

Afterward, the Dollhouse attacked their opponents. Awesome Kong came out and performed the Implant Buster on Kim, then struck a pose while the Dollhouse members posed around her… The broadcast team hyped the main event and The Miracle… [C]

Powell’s POV: Kim as the third woman was expected once Love said the third person hated Dollhouse as much as they do. For those who missed it, Taryn Terrell announced this week that she got married and left TNA, though she was complimentary of the promotion.

[Q7] The broadcast team spoke at ringside… Maria made her entrance with special lighting and welcomed fans to her place of worship. She introduced herself and said she’s the first lady of professional wrestling. She said today is a blessed day if you’re looking for someone to save professional wrestling. She asked if the fans believed in miracles. She said she does and his name is Mike Bennett.

Bennett received a good reaction. He walked onto the stage wearing a suit and a hat. Mathews told people who are unfamiliar with him, they should go to Youtube after the show and look him up. He said Bennett is one of the most sought after free agents in pro wrestling. Mathews said Bennett arriving in TNA is a game changer.

“And just like that you’re internet darling becomes the miracle that will save TNA,” Bennett started. He said there were a lot of questions regarding who The Miracle is. He said he is an international superstar, a real life superhero, the baddest mofo on the show, and “your pro wrestling Jesus.” Bennett dubbed himself your new hero and said pro wrestling needs a miracle.

Bennett said pro wrestling used to be fun and was mainstream when he was a kid. He said now it’s filled with washed up regurgitated wrestlers who call themselves pro wrestlers. He mentioned Matt Hardy as an example of washed up, and said he would be facing EC3. Bennett said that’s not the miracle that will save pro wrestling. The fans chanted Hardy. Bennett said the miracle will be when the TNA Title is in his hands and the fans ask the fans whether they believe in miracles and the fans say yes they do…

Powell’s POV: For those who complain that TNA was laying it on thick, I’m all for them positioning Bennett as the hottest free agent in wrestling. You should build up your new talent as major players. Bennett and Maria are nice additions and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do outside Ring of Honor. Bennett was well spoken. I’m not sure what he was going for with the look. It seemed a little low budget, especially since he was wearing tennis shoes. Maybe it’s by design and will make more sense once we learn more about the gimmick.

Backstage, Matt was sitting with his wife and son. He said he does it for them. Hardy said you can’t change destiny and tonight he’s going to become the new TNA Champion and hold the title up for his son… [C]

Backstage, Galloway was still going gaga over Angle making him the first opponent on his retirement tour. The Wolves showed up and said that while they respect Angle, they’ve never faced him. Davey Richards suggested The Wolves vs. Angle and Galloway in a dream match for Friday night. Drake and Godderz showed up and wanted in the match. Both babyface teams agreed…

Powell’s POV: Wait, didn’t they want to have a dream match?

EC3 and Tyrus made their entrance for the main event…

[Q8] Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy made their entrance. Matt limped as he walked to the ring to sell his previous injury. Matt stopped at ringside. Reby Hardy carried their baby over and Matt kissed him… Jeremy Borash delivered in-ring introductions for the TNA Title match. Jeff took the mic and said he believes in his brother enough to walk away. He asked Tyrus if he believed in his boss enough to do the same. “Cool,” Tyrus said before dropping the mic and walking away. EC3 didn’t look pleased…

Mathews set up a video for the Pop TV show Schitt’s Creek, which stars the awesome Eugene Levy. The season one recap may have lasted longer than the main event will…

5. EC3 vs. Matt Hardy for the TNA Title. Despite going into the match injured, Hardy got off to the fast start and tossed EC3 over the broadcast table. EC3 took control of the offense once they returned to the ring. Mathews promised that they would not leave the air until they crowned a new champion. At 5:15, EC3 set up for a move on the steps. It looked like Hardy was going for a Side Effect and they stumbled and fell. Back inside the ring, Hardy performed a moonsault for a two count. Hardy performed his third Side Effect, but EC3 kicked out of a pin attempt.

[Overrun] Hardy went for the Twist of Fate, but EC3 held onto the ropes. EC3 performed a pair of TKO’s on Hardy. Hardy came back with the Twist of Fate. EC3 came back and caught Hardy with his One Percenter finisher and covered Hardy, who kicked out at two. Pope noted that it’s early in the year, yet said this is a match of the year candidate. Um?

Anyway, Hardy hit the Twist of Fate and got a two count. Hardy went for a Twist of Fate off the ropes, but EC3 blocked it and then hit the One Percenter off the top rope and got the win. After the match, Reby and the baby joined Matt and then she comforted him on the stage. Reby looked back at EC3 and shot him a look of disgust as he was celebrating his win…

EC3 defeated Matt Hardy in 10:20 to win the TNA Championship.

Powell’s POV: I didn’t mind the way they laid it on thick when talking about Mike Bennett’s new character, but the broadcast team really pushed the credibility limits by talking about how great the main event was and how great the overall night was. The match was good, but it won’t be remembered even a few weeks from now. And while I liked the clean finish to the main event, it did seem odd that Reby looked so disgusted by EC3 given that he won the match fair and square. They’ve had a heated feud, so perhaps the idea is that it’s more about that than her husband losing their particular match.

Overall, this was not a hot return. The “surprises” of James Storm returning and Mike Bennett and Maria showing up were not well kept secrets, and the rest of the show was pretty basic and unmemorable. Am I supposed to be excited about the pay-per-view on Friday? They announced a couple matches, but I guess we have to find out the rest of the information online. It’s strange that they had a chance to offer strong hype for that show and instead gave it less hype than WWE Raw gave Thursday’s Smackdown debut on USA Network.

I assume Josh Mathews is battling a cold, because his voice was much weaker than usual. If so, it could be a long week for him with the marathon tapings. I had to laugh when they went to the “This Is TNA” special immediately afterward and Josh was talking in a normal voice about what a great show they just had. Doh! Thanks for watching along with me tonight. Check back on Wednesday for John Moore’s TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List.

If you are reading this on the Prowrestling.net app, our mobile website will refresh more frequently than the latest updates than the app will. CLICK HERE to see the very latest updates to this article throughout the show.



The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...


Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.