By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Taped in January in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at Sands Event Center
[Q1] A recap of EC3 winning the vacant TNA Championship opened the show. The narrator also hyped that they celebrate Kurt Angle and hyped his match against Drew Galloway… Footage aired of Angle arriving and posing for pictures with fans… The Impact opening montage aired… Backstage, EC3 was admiring his title belt when Tyrus showed up and told him that it was time. “Damn right it is,” EC3 said… Josh Mathews and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero were on commentary and checked in from ringside…
EC3 and Tyrus headed to the ring for a promo. EC3 boasted about becoming the TNA Champion. He turned his attention to Tyrus and spoke about their personal friendship. EC3 said Tyrus has taken so many bullets for him that he can never thank him enough. EC3 said he knows Tyrus earned a title shot and he’ll honor that. EC3 thanked him for never doubting him even though he wasn’t at his side during his match against Matt Hardy. Tyrus called him “boss” and said he never doubted him, nor did he leave him. EC3 took the mic back and turned the attention back to himself.
Jeff Hardy’s music played and he made his entrance. Hardy said he thought of EC3 as a spoiled brat and said he probably still is. He praised EC3 for doing it on his own last week and showing he is the man. Hardy also recalled EC3 making him wear “that stupid suit” and making his brother’s life a living hell. Jeff said Matt can speak for himself, but tonight is about the Charismatic Enigma.
Hardy handed over a piece of paper to Tyrus and told him he should give to EC3 since it involves reading. EC3 said it was a note for Jeff’s doctor clearing him to wrestle. EC3 didn’t look pleased. Hardy wanted his first match to be against EC3 and challenged him to a TNA Title match. The fans were excited. EC3 asked Hardy if he knows how badly he’s wanted this match. “Jeff Hardy, your request for a World Heavyweight Title match has been denied,” EC3 said.
[Q2] EC3 said he started at the bottom and now he’s at the top. EC3 told Hardy that he has to do the same. EC3 called to Bob Ryder backstage and told him to send out a young wrestler to face Hardy. Meanwhile, Tyrus was gazing at the TNA Title belt. A masked wrestler made his entrance without music. EC3 instructed production to give him music, then sang along to it. The masked man introduced himself as “the master of motion” Shynron, and he said he would beat Hardy…
1. Jeff Hardy vs. Shynron. EC3 sat in on commentary as the match got underway. Hardy gave Shynron some offense before putting him away with the Twist of Fate…
Jeff Hardy pinned Shynron.
Powell’s POV: Hardy returning to the ring is a pleasant surprise because he had been telling people at WrestleCade that it was possible he would another surgery. It’s also worth noting that he has expressed some interest in a WWE return.
The broadcast team hyped upcoming matches… Backstage, Jeremy Borash introduced The Dollhouse, which now featured Awesome Kong. Marti spoke initially, then Kong asked if Borash and everyone else hates her. She said “these girls, this house, it’s my house.” Kong said Gail Kim has something she wants.
Kong was interrupted by Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne, who said Kong should be worried about them. They were laughed at . Madison said they don’t have to jump anyone from behind, they can do it now. The two Beautiful People attacked the four members of Dollhouse and brawled heading into the break…
Powell’s POV: Kong did a nice job with her mic work. She hasn’t done a lot of talking during his career, but she was good here. I don’t know whether to respect Velvet and Madison for fighting four women or to question their sanity.
The women’s brawl spilled into the arena coming out of the commercial break.
2. Awesome Kong and Jade (w/Marti, Rebel) vs. Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky in a street fight. Marti and Rebel got involved, but the Beautiful People fought them off with kendo sticks. They followed by by teaming up on Kong with kendo stick shots to the back. In the end, Kong chopped Madison and then Jade performed a small package cradle piledriver on Madison and pinned her…
Awesome Kong and Jade beat Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky in a street fight.
[Q3] A shot aired of Kurt Angle talking with Dixie Carter backstage… The broadcast team hyped upcoming segments… A vignette aired for female wrestler Raguel, who is coming soon…
Christy Hemme stood in the crowd and asked who is ready for a beer bash. James Storm and Bobby Roode entered to the Beer Money theme and wore Beer Money t-shirts. Two tables with a keg, bottles and glasses of beer, and a couple of coolers were set up in the ring. Storm said he’d been drinking, and it was the drunk and ready edition. He also spoke about making a decision on January 5 for himself and his family.
Roode took his turn on the mic and said that he had also been drinking, though not as much as Storm. He said he gets emotional when he drinks. He said they got together initially with the goal of being the best. Roode apologized to Storm and the fans for his action. Storm apologized for all those times he kicked him in the face. Roode said he was sorry about all the times he smashed a beer bottle over his head. Storm made him drink.
Storm said he was sorry about all the times he left Roode with bar tabs. Roode apologized for puking in Storm’s cowboy hat. Storm said he thought that was his dog. Storm toasted Roode as the greatest tag partner. Roode toasted Storm for starting more bar fights and for always having his back. Roode toasted the fans. Storm asked everyone to raise their glasses along with them. Roode and Storm agreed that something was missing. Roode said they needed to get rowdy and loud. They did the beer money dance and spilled some beer off the table in the process.
Eric Young and Bram walked onto the stage. Young said Roode and Storm make him sick by kissing up to the fans, Young said quitting was the smartest thing that Storm has ever done. He said Storm made a mistake by coming back and putting his nose in his business. Young said taking the TNA Title was the best day of his life. Young said he doesn’t need or have friends. “I don’t even like Bram, but I like the way he operates,” Young said. He added that they hate Beer Money’s guts.
Storm told Young to get on his knees and suck on his beer bottle. Young recalled telling Roode that he would never forget what he did to him. Young said Roode has something that belongs to him. Young said he wants the King of the Mountain Title and he wants it now.
Powell’s POV: I’d just give him the stupid belt that no one cares about, but that’s just me.
[Q4] Roode said that if Young wants to whine like a bitch, he’ll kick has ass like a bitch. Roode challenged him to an immediate match. Young nodded, and they cut to break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Beer Money segment wasn’t all that entertaining. I’m sure all the drinking talk appeals to some fans. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a beer or six as much as the next guy, but they came off like two guys who thought it was way too cool to talk about drinking. The apology bit was solid, but I’ve honestly who was the last to turn on the other because it feels like it’s happened so many times.
3. Bobby Roode (w/James Storm) vs. Eric Young (w/Bram) for the King of the Mountain Title. Late in the match Roode hit the Roode Bomb finisher, but Bram pulled the referee to ringside. Storm threw a beer in Storm’s face and they both rolled inside the ring. Beer Money performed a double suplex on Bram and did their Beer Money dance again. They looked like dopes when Young recovered and attacked them from behind. Young low-blowed Roode, piledrove him, and pinned him…
Eric Young beat Bobby Roode in 7:50 to win the King of the Mountain Championship.
Powell’s POV: How stupid do Roode and Storm look for doing their silly dance and having it backfire? It’s one thing when they do it as heels and it backfires, but it’s a pet peeve when babyfaces get caught playing to the crowd. That said, as much as I roll my eyes at the Little Red Toy Belt That Nobody Cares About, it was a logical move to move it to Young, who gains something from it, especially given that Roode is back in the tag division.
Backstage, Mr. Anderson spoke about his new talk show. He said his first guest was Matt Hardy and they would talk about how he choked in the biggest match of his career… [C]
Backstage, Mike “The Miracle” Bennett and Maria were talking when they ran into EC3 and Tyrus. Bennett congratulated EC3 for winning the TNA Title. Bennett recalled saying he was getting rid of the washed up has-beens. He said EC3 set the precedent by beating Matt Hardy. Bennett said he’s going to back up what he says when he debuts next week.
[Q5] EC3 thanked him and was ready to walk off when Bennett told him not to blow him off and treat him like a young boy. EC3 said he’s the champion and he doesn’t have time for an issue with him. Bennett told him the belt looks good on him for now…
Powell’s POV: Bennett dressed nothing like he did last week. No suit, no shades. It was an improvement. I’m surprised they waited an hour to get Bennett on the show given how big of a deal he was last week. We know his in-ring debut on Impact is next week, so I wonder if that’s all we get from Bennett and Maria tonight.
A video recapped the EC3 and Matt Hardy story from Bound For Glory through last week…
Mr. Anderson introduced himself on the stage and then some lounge music played as he walked to the ring for the first Huh? talk show segment. There was a couch and a coffee table set up in the ring. Anderson introduced Hardy, who made his entrance along with his wife Reby and their son Maxell. Once in the ring, Reby sat on the couch with the baby. Anderson said he had something special for Matt. He pulled a chair out from under the couch and set it up for Hardy. Anderson said he spared no expense.
Anderson spoke about his friendship with Hardy. He said they did some things that they probably shouldn’t talk about. He told Reby not to worry about because she wasn’t in the picture back in those days. Anderson said Hardy was the TNA Champion and then he lost it. Anderson said Hardy choked last week. “Choked?” Hardy asked. “That’s the word you want to use?” Hardy asked if he choked when he won the title at Bound For Glory.
Hardy said he thought he had EC3 beat last week. Hardy said EC3 didn’t beat him. He said the only reason he lost was because Eric Young gave him a piledriver on the concrete. Anderson said that sounds like excuses to him. Hardy said he was offended by that. Hardy his destiny is to become the TNA Champion and he won’t stop until he achieves it.
Anderson asked if Jeff is doing Matt’s dirty work. Matt said he loves his wife and his child. Matt looked at his son and spoke about how he loves him so much. Matt said he’s making EC3 an offer he can’t refuse. Hardy said he needs one more match to fulfill his destiny because he’s the guy who has EC3’s number. “I am Matt Freaking Hardy,” Hardy said. He said he will not die. Matt and his family left the ring. Anderson said Matt and Reby were totally into the conversation, but he has to go backstage. Reby turned and glared at Anderson before walking backstage. Anderson said he loves them. “Huh?” Anderson said to end the segment…
The broadcast team questioned what Matt has to offer EC3, then set up a live look-in at Angle as he prepared for his match. It was actually a clip of him shaking hands and then opening his suitcase in the locker room…
[Q6] In the crowd, Christy Hemme interviewed Drew Galloway, who said he had his first wrestling lesson when he was 15 and his dream was to wrestle Kurt Angle. Galloway said Angle is one of the best of all time, and he wants to be the best, so tonight is a must win match for him… [C]
Powell’s POV: All signs point to Hardy and his wife turning. After all, Reby flashed that same nasty look last week. However, Anderson came off like an asshole (which he’s probably proud of) for accusing him of choking last week. I understand if the idea is for him to ask the tough questions, but it’s tough when they are trying to establish that as the same time that Matt and his wife are showing heel tendencies. Meanwhile, I like that Hemme interviewed Galloway in the crowd. It looks like they have a small podium that they stand on, but it’s a unique look. I also like the way Galloway framed this as must win rather than simply gushing over Angle as he did last week. He managed to make the main event feel important.
Mathews recapped Young winning the King of the Mountain Title.. Young and Bram spoke backstage about doing whatever they want…
4. Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, and Tigre Uno vs. DJ Z, Eli Drake, Jessie Godderz. The match was presented as a champion’s showcase with the tag champions and the X Division Champion teaming together. Uno wore a shoulder brace. Mathews put over The Wolves as the greatest team in the world. Z had a momentary advantage, but Godderz tagged himself into the match. Later, Godderz press slammed Edwards, but Drake tagged himself in. In the end, The Wolves doubled up on Godderz and pinned him…
Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, and Tigre Uno beat DJ Z, Eli Drake, Jessie Godderz in 7:00.
Another backstage shot of Kurt Angle was shown…
Powell’s POV: Holy WWE six-man tag match time filler. Okay, it only sent seven minutes, but it still overstayed its welcome. I thought maybe they were trying to establish Drake and Godderz until Godderz was pinned. They just refuse to abandon the silly DJ Z name, but at least he’s not doing the actual DJ act. He’s a talented guy and they need to get him back to the role he played when he started in TNA. It was odd to see him team with Godderz again given the falling out that the BroMans trio had.
[Q7] [C] Backstage, Matt Hardy was looking tense when Jeff showed up and told him to snap out of it. Jeff said he has to start at the bottom, but Matt is still at the top level. “If you want it, go get it,” Jeff told him. Matt said he is going to make EC3 an offer he can’t refuse. Matt said he knows that his wife, son, and Jeff believe in him. Reby showed up and dragged Matt away while saying she had something to talk to him about…
EC3 came out and called out Matt Hardy. Once Matt arrived in the ring, EC3 said Hardy has nothing he wants, but questioned what his offer was. Matt spoke about how they started at different places. Hardy said he started with nothing in his backyard. He said EC3 had an open door in the business because his last name is Carter. Matt said he uses the word fate a lot, and asked EC3 if he’d like a chance to control his fate. EC3 boasted that he kicked out of the Twist of Fate last week.
Matt said he couldn’t offer anything materialistic that EC3 doesn’t already have. Matt said that if EC3 gives him one more match and he can’t defeat him, then he will leave Impact Wrestling forever. Matt said that if he can’t beat EC3 then it’s time for him to go home. EC3 said that if this is the part where Hardy expects him to say he respects him then he’s wrong. EC3 said he doesn’t respect Hardy or his legacy and he can’t beat him.
EC3 said that if they do this, then they do the match on his terms and it’s their last dance. Hardy agreed to it. The fans chanted “Hardy” briefly. EC3 said he wants to stand above Hardy when he’s broken, humiliated, and defeated when his legacy goes away. EC3 announced that they will have a last man standing match for the TNA Title next week. EC3 asked if they have a deal and offered his hand. Hardy shook his hand and said deal. Josh asked if someone just made a deal with the devil… [C]
Powell’s POV: Very good setup for next week’s title match. Hardy came off as desperate and obsessed with winning the title, and EC3 came off like the cocky champion who holds all the cards. I am looking forward to watching this unfold. By the way, Reby dragging Matt away from his brother backstage sure made her seem like she’s trying to come between the brothers, which I assume was intentional.
Christy Hemme stood in the ring and handled the introductions for the main event…
5. Kurt Angle vs. Drew Galloway. Mathews effectively ran through many of Angle’s TNA accomplishments and then asked if he likes Galloways strategy of trying to beat Angle at his own game. Pope said absolutely not, he’s a fighter and should stick with that approach.
[Q8] They cut to break three minutes into the match. [C] After the break, Galloway got out of an ankle lock. Angle caught him in a backslide for two. Galloway caught Angle with a Future Shock DDT for two. Galloway applied a crossface. Angle came back with the ankle lock. Galloway rolled out of it and Angle tumbled to the floor. Galloway followed and sold the ankle. Galloway moved toward Angle, who performed a suplex that drove Galloway into the guardrail.
Back inside the ring, Angle went for a cover, but Galloway kicked out. Galloway sold the ankle again, but then performed a Claymore Kick for a near fall. Galloway performed the move again and Angle once again kicked out. Galloway expressed frustration and went back to selling the ankle. Galloway set up for a superplex, but Angle punched him off and caught him in the tree of woe. Galloway sat up and flung Angle off the top rope in a cool spot.
Galloway and Angle traded punches and then Galloway clotheslined Angle to the mat. Galloway charged Angle, who moved. Angle followed up with the Angle Slam for a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” briefly. Galloway went to the ropes and Angle caught him. They traded shots and Galloway signaled for a move, but Angle performed the Angle Slam off the ropes and pinned Galloway…
Kurt Angle pinned Drew Galloway in 15:00.
Mathews raved about the match and said Angle is 1-0 on his farewell tour. Angle checked on Galloway and helped him to his feet. They abruptly cut away from the post-match moment to play a video package that hyped the TNA Title match for next week and to question who Angle would face next in his farewell tour…
Powell’s POV: My only complaint about the main event is that they didn’t save enough time for the post match moment with Angle and Galloway. It was a strong babyface vs. babyface match with several believable near falls. Despite putting this match over as a must win situation earlier, Galloway doesn’t really lose anything by losing this match that he can’t erase with one of his promos next week. It will be interesting to see how strong Angle looks on his way out the door. He’s a legend and deserves a strong farewell, but this is a business and they also have to be mindful when it comes to transferring some of the equity they’ve built up in Angle to the right opponent before he leaves. Overall, this was a good edition of Impact with a nice mix of good wrestling and storyline developments. I’m really looking forward to the EC3 vs. Hardy match next week.
Check back on Wednesday for John Moore’s TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List. I’ll be back on Wednesday with a member exclusive audio review of this show.