By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Taped in January in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at Sands Event Center
[Q1] Footage aired from earlier in the day of Matt Hardy, Reby Hardy, and their son backstage… A recap video aired… Josh Mathews and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero introduced the show from ringside…
Jeff Hardy made his entrance. Once in the ring, Jeff said something doesn’t feel right about the deal that his brother made with EC3 last week. Jeff called for Matt Hardy to join him in the ring. Matt obliged. Jeff said they made careers out of taking risks. He said he is the artist of the family, but Matt is the in-ring master. Jeff said he owes his career to Matt, but something feels risky and not right about the deal with EC3.
Matt said he felt like he let the fans and his family down. He said he has never beaten EC3, but tonight all of that changes. Matt said he’s putting all his chips on the table and going all or nothing. He said pro wrestling his like a game of chess and he’s putting EC3 in checkmate. Matt said he will show the world who he is – the premier wrestler on the planet. Jeff said he feels better because if Matt believes it then he believes it. Jeff predicted a new champion and said the creatures would chant Hardy by the end of the night.
EC3’s music played. Tyrus walked onto the stage wearing ring gear and said Matt made the biggest mistake of his career. He said it’s over for Matt, but Jeff’s mistake was more serious. Tyrus entered the ring and said Jeff made it personal between them when he said he couldn’t read. Tyrus said Jeff implied that he was stupid. “Nobody makes me stupid,” Tyrus said. “So later on tonight, smart ass, you belong to me, I’m calling you out.” Hardy said just in case Tyrus can’t tell time, they can do this now. The match was about to start when the show cut to commercial… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good opening segment. I was most impressed by Jeff Hardy’s performance. He seemed more at ease than usual on the mic. He was believable as the concerned brother, while Matt is intentionally coming off a bit manic. Tyrus was fine, but he looks a bit silly for being mad about Jeff joking that he might not be able to read.
[Q2] 1. Jeff Hardy vs. Tyrus. They picked up where they left off before the commercial break. Tyrus targeted Jeff’s bad leg. He had Hardy’s legs spread around the ring post. Tyrus picked up a chair. The referee intervened, so Tyrus shoved the ref to the ground for the DQ. The broadcast team agreed that he didn’t care about being disqualified and wanted revenge. Hardy recovered and put Tyrus down with a Twist of Fate…
Jeff Hardy beat Tyrus by DQ in 3:00.
Powell’s POV: Not much to the match. It’s hard to get a feel for where Jeff is at in terms of his in-ring ability following the long layoff. That said, I worry more about Tyrus, who looks like he’s struggling to get around. It seems like TNA wants him to b
A Feast or Fired video package aired… Mathews said Bobby Roode, James Storm, Eric Young, Bram, Grado, Chris Melendez, Rockstar Spud, Robbie E, Ariden O’Shea, Eli Drake, Jessie Godderz, and Drew Galloway will compete in the match where title shots are earned and one wrestler is fired…
The Wolves cut a backstage promo. Davey Richards said two years ago they walked into TNA and they’ve overcome the best in wrestling. He said they saved the best for last in Beer Money. He said Beer Money have no one to fight, but they are two gunslingers looking for a battle. Crazzy Steve showed up on the set with new face paint and a sinister laugh. Abyss knocked down one of the Wolves from behind and Crazzy Steve squatted over him and laughed maniacally…
Awesome Kong, Rebel, Marti, and Jade made their entrance, then Gail Kim made her entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: Finally, they are giving up on the wonky babyface clown gimmick. Steve’s new evil clown gimmick has Heath Ledger’s Joker written all over it, but that may not be such a bad thing. If nothing else, at least he’s not playing the silly babyface clown routine.
[Q3] 2. Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong (w/Rebel, Marti, Jade) for the TNA Knockouts Title. Mathews discussed the history between Kim and Kong.
Kim caught Kong in a submission hold. Pope pointed out that Kong looked at the rest of Dollhouse and told them not to interfere because she wants to do this on her own. Later, Kim had Kong down when Jade pulled her to the floor. Kim roughed up all three women at ringside, then went to the top rope and dove onto them on the floor.
Kim performed a neckbreaker. Jade climbed onto the ring apron and distracted the referee. Rebel and Marti went after Kong. Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky ran out and fought Rebel and Marti to the back. Kim threw Jade off the top rope and onto Kong, then pinned her…
Gail Kim beat Awesome Kong to retain the TNA Knockouts Title.
Mathews recapped the Jeff Hardy vs. Tyrus match, then questioned how that could affect the main event. He also hyped that Beer Money would appear after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I am surprised to see Kim get a decisive win over Kong this early in Kong’s run with Dollhouse. I thought that was sort of a reset and assumed we would at least see her minions save her from being pinned in this match. Still, the match was entertaining thanks in part to Jade getting involved. It will be interesting to see who Kim feuds with if Kong is out of the title picture.
James Storm and Bobby Roode came to the ring. Storm spoke about how it’s been five years since he and Roode teamed together as Beer Money. Roode worked up the crowd by asking if they wanted to see them kick some ass. They called out Eric Young and Bram. However, Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz came out instead. Drake said Beer Money should actually be called Midlife Crisis. Godderz took the mic and said they won’t just beat Beer Money, they will break them. Storm said they wrote a check that their ass can’t cash.
[Q4] Storm and Roode attacked Drake and Godderz on the floor. The teams fought around the ring. Storm rolled Godderz inside the ring and apparently it became a match because the referee was there and started enforcing rules…
3. James Storm and Bobby Roode vs. Jessie Godderz and Eli Drake. The heels isolated Storm early on. Storm and Roode eventually came back and did their Beer Money dance and hit the DWI (Driving While Investing) on Godderz. Roode pinned Godderz to get the win…
James Storm and Bobby Roode beat Jessie Godderz and Eli Drake.
Powell’s POV: A nice showcase win for the returning Beer Money. Storm has always played well to the crowd on the mic and Roode is better in this role than I remember him being. The live crowd is enjoying their reunion. Storm sold briefly early, but they were wise to keep the match brief and the energy high. I am looking forward to Beer Money vs. The Wolves, but it’s a shame that there’s not a strong heel team in TNA.
Separate backstage shots aired of Matt Hardy and EC3 getting ready for their title match… The broadcast team hyped Kurt Angle appearing next to discuss who will be his next opponent on his farewell tour… [C] Jeff Hardy’s injury was recapped…
Backstage, Rebi Hardy told Matt that he had to do something now. They both entered Jeff’s locker room with their won. Jeff had ice on his knee. Matt told Jeff that he had to go to the hospital now. Reby told Jeff to think about his daughter Ruby. Matt assured Jeff that he would be fine. Jeff said he would go call his wife Beth, then limped out of the room…
Kurt Angle made his entrance and a video aired of his match with Drew Galloway and his night last week. In the ring, Angle thanked the receptive crowd, which responded with a “thank you, Kurt” chant. He said that type of reception makes all the bumps and bruises worth it.
[Q5] Angle said his match with Galloway was phenomenal. “It was a five star match,” Angle said. The fans chanted “you’ve still got it” at Angle, who thanked them. Angle said that was the type of match that he wants to have on his farewell tour. He spoke about how his decision regarding which talent to face was difficult for him.
Lashley’s music played and he headed to the ring wearing a suit. Lashley was all smiles as he slapped hands with the fans. Once in the ring, Lashley recalled Angle approaching him when he was training for the Olympic team. Lashley said Angle told him he had a great look and he would make him a pro wrestler. Lashley said he signed and Angle made it happen, so he thanked him for that.
Lashley said he has waited and waited for them to have a match together. He said that like the cliche goes, to be the man you’ve got to beat the man. Lashley said Angle is the man. He said about a year ago, he and Angle had a match and he called it the greatest time in his wrestling career, yet also the worst day of his career because he lost the match. Lashley said Angle beat him and took the TNA Title, and took a lot from him. Lashley said he hasn’t been the same since that match.
Lashley told Angle to look at his eyes and he wouldn’t see the same person who was just entering the wrestling business. Lashley said he watches his match with Angle every day and it drives him crazy. Lashley said the only solution is Angle giving him one more match. The fans chanted “one more match.”
Angle said Lashley is the most dominant wrestler he has ever faced. “I don’t even know if I can beat you, but that’s why I want to wrestle you.” Angle said he backs down to no one. “If you want to wrestle the greatest wrestler of all-time, you’ve got it, but Lashley it’s going to be real, it’s going to be damn real.” Angle’s music played. Lashley looked intensely at Angle and the music stopped. “I’m gonna beat your ass, Kurt,” Lashley said before leaving the ring… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good segment before that final line. Lashley has never been a great talker, but he was solid here. I said it was a good segment before the last line because it became a great segment thanks to that last line. It was a really nice touch to have the music play and for Lashley to continue to glare and then deliver that line. It’s nice to see that every Angle farewell match isn’t going to be the typical handshake and hug style babyface vs. babyface match.
Backstage, the anonymous interviewer interviewed Lashley, who said he hates losing. He was interrupted by a new female performer who flirted with him and told him that his pain is her pleasure…
Powell’s POV: They had me before that segment, which felt like amateur hour. I’m all for adding the right person to Lashley’s act. I’m not sure whether she is being added, and I really question whether she is the right person if that is the plan.
Maria delivered The Miracle mic work and then Mike Bennett made his entrance wearing long black tights with his Miracle logo on the sides…
[Q6] 4. “The Miracle” Mike Bennett (w/Maria) vs. Pepper Parks. Bennett was in control of the match when he went to the ropes. He leapt off and Parks put his foot up. Bennett stopped short of the foot and flashed a cocky smile while shaking his head no. Parks kicked him anyway. Bennett recovered quickly. He hoisted Parks onto his shoulders and then performed a sit-out slam for the win…
“The Miracle” Mike Bennett beat Pepper Parks in 3:00.
After the match, Bennett told the fans they just witnessed a real life miracle. He told them it’s okay if they need a miracle because Parks sure as hell needed one. Bennett said he is building a kingdom of miracles where everybody involved screams out yes, we do…
Powell’s POV: I still don’t get it. I like the big entrance and the giant video wall behind Bennett. The match was fine, though I probably wouldn’t have gone with a guy whose physique stands out more than Bennett’s does. Still, I’m just not sure what they are going for with the Miracle gimmick. Bennett is playing his role well in terms of delivering his lines with confidence and looking the part, and Maria is always very good. I want to like this, but I’m just not sure that The Miracle is a very good gimmick.
Another tease for Feast or Fired aired…
Backstage, EC3 looked down and spoke about how it ends tonight between him and Hardy. EC3 looked into the camera and said Hardy can’t beat him. He said there is honor in being a family man. EC3 said he has his family. The camera pulled back to show the TNA Title and Tyrus, who was playing with a stethoscope, sitting behind him. Tyrus stared at the belt while EC3 spoke about how he sacrificed everything to win the title and there’s nothing he won’t do to keep the title. EC3 said Hardy goes home tonight “in this.” The camera pulled back and it was revealed that they were actually sitting inside an ambulance…
Powell’s POV: A good promo in a good setting. EC3 continues to be excellent, and Tyrus continues to show signs that he wants the TNA Title.
Christy Hemme stood in the crowd and hyped the battle for the TNA Championship… Matt Hardy made his entrance, and he stopped and kissed Reby, who was behind the guardrail. EC3 and Tyrus made their entrance, then Jeremy Borash delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Hardy attacked EC3 as he was being introduced to start the match…
5. EC3 vs. Matt Hardy in a Last Man Standing match for the TNA Title (Hardy’s TNA career is over if he loses). EC3 quickly took control of the match and brought Hardy to ringside.
[Q7] EC3 suplexed Hardy at the bottom of the ramp, then set up a couple of tables. Hardy recovered and ran EC3 into the ring post. Hardy took the match back inside the ring and was on the offensive heading into the break. [C] After the break, a ladder and a table were set up inside the ring. EC3 placed Hardy on the table and then climbed to the top of the ladder and performed a splash that drove Hardy through the table.
Hardy got back to his feet and caught EC3 with a Twist of Fate a short time later. Reby was shown standing in the crowd with her hands folded in front of her and watching the match intently. Hardy performed a low blow on EC3, which Josh called a dastardly move. Hardy jawed at the referee and Mathews said Hardy was coming unglued. Hardy performed a Twist of Fate off the ring apron and through the two tables that were set up on the floor.
The referee counted while they were at ringside. Hardy was up first and EC3 got back to his feet before the ten count. Hardy wrapped EC3 inside a chair and then performed a Twist of Fate. Pope said it was a different side of Hardy. EC3 bled from the mouth. The referee counted and Hardy barked at him to count faster. EC3 got to his feet to stop it.
[Q8] Hardy went to ringside and approached Reby, who reached inside the diaper bag. Hardy pulled out a hammer and headed back to the ring. Josh pleaded with Hardy not to use the weapon via commentary. Hardy swung and EC3 ducked, then put Hardy down with a One Percenter.
Tyrus headed to the ring and looked down at EC3, who shook his head no and looked down, then looked up at Tyrus, who performed a move on EC3. Hardy and Tyrus embraced. EC3 attacked Tyrus and hit him with repeated punches. Hardy took the title belt and struck Tyrus with it. Reby was at ringside at this point and shouted encouragement and clapped for Hardy. Mathews asked if the world championship means this much to Hardy. Hardy and Tyrus stood over EC3 as the referee counted to ten.
Matt Hardy defeated EC3 in a Last Man Standing match to win the TNA Title in 19:15.
After the match, Mathews referred to Tyrus as a hired gun. He scoffed at Reby Sky having a hammer in her diaper bag. Mathews said we would hear from Hardy after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good double turn that was set up nicely over the last few weeks of television. They told a really good story with Hardy snapping after he lost the TNA Title match on the Pop TV debut and continued that last week and finally into tonight. The call of the match was important and it was done well for the most part. There was an abrupt shift in terms of Josh being upset by Hardy’s antics. I could imagine him endorsing many of Matt’s actions as fighting fire with fire given some of the things that EC3 has done over the years. However, they did go the extra mile with the violent Twist of Fate with the chair wrapped around the neck, and then certainly with Matt pulling a hammer out of the diaper bag. Some may complain you could see this coming. Not everything needs to be a big surprise. This was effective storytelling and I’m looking forward to seeing Matt Hardy as a heel, EC3 as a babyface, and I think Reby is going to be really good in her role.
Matt Hardy delivered a promo with EC3 still lying on the mat while Reby and Tyrus stood by. Hardy boasted that he won the TNA Title and beat the unbeatable EC3 “for me.” Hardy said he doesn’t listen to the fans because they are all ants and insignificant. Hardy said he is a self made millionaire and lives a life that the fans could only dream about.
Hardy said his wife whispered into his ear two weeks ago that he needed to stop giving and to start taking. Hardy told Tyrus that he made the right business decision. He said this is the era of “Big Money Matt, the iconic Matt Hardy.” Mathews questioned how Matt would be able to look into his son’s eyes and explain what he did.
Hardy placed EC3’s head on a chair and then picked up another. “EC3, I won,” Hardy said over the mic. Hardy slammed the chair down onto EC3’s head conchairto style. Reby smiled and kissed Hardy. Reby got down on her knees and then spat at EC3. Josh called her act disgusting and questioned why she was even there. Josh said their actions were reprehensible, despicable, and disgusting. “Matt Hardy didn’t just taint his legacy, he scorched it,” Mathews said. “But it all boils down to this, it’s a new day, a new era, a new champion. What does this mean?” Matt, Reby, and Tyrus raised their hands on the stage to close the show…
Powell’s POV: An excellent post-match angle/promo. Matt Hardy delivered the best promo of his career, and Josh was very good when it came to conveying how disgusted he was by the actions of Matt, Reby, and Tyrus. I was worried that Jeff was going to show up if only to shoot Matt a look from the stage, but they played this just right and saved their first interaction for another time. I like the way that Tyrus targeting Jeff’s knee earlier in the show makes even more sense in retrospect. This was some of the best booking we’ve seen in TNA and I am looking forward to seeing where they go from here.