By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
EC3 and Jeff Hardy: The opening segment was a good start to the EC3 title reign. Jeff Hardy is hit or miss on the mic and he was a hit here, laying out his intentions on targeting EC3 and the World Title. EC3 was his usual great heel self, gloating about his clean win in order to maintain heat. It was also cool to see Jeff Hardy be cleared to wrestle as he told people at WrestleCade that he needed another surgery that would keep him out most of the year. Hopefully he tones things down to continue to rehab and we might be in for a fun singles run.
Main Event Title Picture: EC3’s initial title reign was flawed at no fault to him, but mostly due to TNA production and storylines underplaying him in favor of the Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett segments week-to-week. The nice twist this time around, for this episode at least, is that EC3 and the world title picture are a major focus of the show. Likewise, Kurt Angle’s farewell tour receives equal prime billing in a solid way. Matt Hardy was on fire and we could be on the verge of a slow burn heel turn with Reby Sky planting the seeds. This kind of heel turn/breaking point is something we’ve wanted to see with Roman Reigns in WWE, but TNA is beating them to the punch with this type of turn and doing a solid job thus far.
Kurt Angle vs. Drew Galloway: This is another example of TNA providing proper build to a match and delivering in an awesome way. Last year they were booking week to week and it was a bit jarring to see so many storylines come and go so quickly. Drew Galloway as the world’s biggest pro wrestling fanboy comes off as very genuine and he delivers in the ring every time he steps in it. Angle being out of action for so long also makes his matches now seem fresh and less formula. Galloway lost nothing in defeat because all he has to do is cut the promo he usually does, and he is teflon. Starting off with Drew is a bit high so I’m looking forward and wondering who is next on the Angle retirement tour. Bobby Lashley? Jeff Hardy? Bobby Roode? James Storm?
Overall Show: This was a nice improvement over last week due to a lot of freshness being inserted into the show. As I mentioned earlier, they built up a lot of intrigue in next week’s show, and while I would have possibly like to have seen at least one week of EC3 dodging Hardy in his challenge (like he did many times in his Rockstar Spud feud), you can’t fault TNA for giving this Last Man Standing match a big match feel right out of the gate. With the Hardys targeting EC3, Dollhouse reestablishing themselves as a force, and Kurt Angle’s farewell tour, there are a lot of good things to watch for. One can only hope that they don’t find a way to screw this up!
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Beer Money Beer Bash: At least at first glance, Beer Money Inc. are starting to look like WWE’s Dudley Boyz, a good tag team from the past here to do their classic nostalgia material. This segment wasn’t that funny and it didn’t serve to serve a true purpose. Storm is also acting very mechanical and we’ve seen better from Storm, especially during his run with Mickie James and Magnus. Bram is also not benefiting from being Eric Young’s little sidekick who acts like an imitation of the deranged psychopath. The lone bright spot in this segment was Roode, mostly because he showed a bit more personality then he does in the It Factor persona.
Eric Young vs. Bobby Roode: A good match until the finish. In an Only in TNA moment, you had outside interference result in a wrestler putting his hands on the referee to prevent the pinfall victory. Josh Mathews rightfully pointed out on commentary that the situation should have provoked a DQ. In what must have been a mistimed moment, Beer Money held their signature pose too long and looked like dopes waiting for the interference to come in and cost Roode the match. We did get a piece of TNA history though. Eric Young has now won the Legends, Global, Television, and KOTM titles – all pointless titles that no one really knows or cares about that use the same belt. Wowzers! That belt went through so many name changes yet still have no meaning.
The “Huh” Talk Show: The content of this talk show was actually pretty good with the Matt Hardy and Reby Sky character development. Anderson was fine as an agitator, I guess. The negatives come from this coming off as a cheap WWE talk show imitation. Mr. Anderson is starting to creep back into being overbearing and annoying (which usually equals yet another turn). He toned it down in 2015 and perhaps could have been a good main event player in 2016. I hope he doesn’t continue to develop this talk show thing, as it exemplifies TNA’s inferiority complex to their WWE competition.
The Wolves and Tigre Uno vs. Jessie Godderz, Eli Drake, and DJ Z: This usually would be the time filler three-way X Division match, but they probably wanted to have the Wolves do something so it became a pointless Teddy Long classic. DJ Z was probably the only extra in the room as he was out of place here. Not to mention a part of what made me like Jessie Godderz last year was how he sadistically beat up Z to torture Robbie E. I would have walked out on him after that. Also, Jessie and Eli have also regressed into being a lame BroMans 2.0, and how can you get lamer than BroMans?