By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Taped in January in London and Birmingham, England at Barclaycard Arena
[Q1] Footage aired of Rockstar Spud turning on EC3 last week… Josh Mathews and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero were on commentary… Backstage, Matt Hardy, Tyrus, Reby Hardy, and Maxel Hardy approached Spud. Matt hugged Spud and told him that he’s his new number one guy. Matt said he came up and became a man…
1. Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode. Both men received favorable reactions during their entrances. Angle caught Roode with three German suplexes. Roode came back with a crossface. Angle responded with an ankle lock. Roode countered back into the crossface. Angle teased tapping. Mathews noted that Angle tapped to Galloway’s similar finisher. Angle rolled into a pin for two, then Roode reapplied the crossface. The crowd chanted “this is awesome.”
Roode performed a Roode Bomb on Angle for a near fall. Roode went for another Roode Bomb, but Angle slipped out and applied the ankle lock again. Roode fought to reach the ropes, but Angle held on and then wrapped him up so he couldn’t escape. Roode tapped to give Angle the win. Angle shook Roode’s hand and then they hugged. Roode raised Angle’s hand and limped to sell the ankle lock… [C]
Kurt Angle beat Bobby Roode in 8:40.
Powell’s POV: It was refreshing to have see Impact open with a match rather than a long talking segment. I don’t mind the talking segments when they serve a purpose, but it’s nice to get a break from the sports entertainment formula. The match was fun while it lasted and they easily could have doubled the length. I didn’t even hate the ankle lock, which is rare. I usually groan at the way Kurt applies it and tugs a couple of times before his opponent rolls out of it. I also liked the call of Mathews and Pope, who were putting this over as a gem of a match and a meaningful moment given that it’s Angle’s penultimate match in TNA.
[Q2] They picked up with Roode and Angle still in the ring. Roode said there’s no shame in losing to the best professional wrestler of all-time. Ric Flair? Shawn Michaels? Oops, never mind. Roode said that on behalf of himself and everyone in the back and all the fans, “we want to thank you for what you have done for us, this company, and for me, I love you.” They hugged, and Angle teared up.
James Storm walked to the ring in street clothes while the fans chanted “Thank you, Angle.” Storm said he came out to say thank you to a TNA legend. Storm said that people in every organization will say that the knowledge of Angle is worth millions of dollars. Storm said that Angle’s friendship has been priceless.
Storm said he hoped Angle didn’t think he was leaving without a celebration party. Storm pulled beers out of a bag, but Angle declined. They reached into the bag while doing the Beer Money dance and pulled out a container of milk. The fans chanted “Chug” and Angle spilled more beer on himself than he got in his mouth.
Ron Burgundy’s POV: Milk was a bad choice.
Angle said he has one match left with Lashley and it will be a classic. Angle said the match he wants to see is Beer Money vs. The Wolves. Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards came to the ring holding the TNA Title belts. Richards praised Angle for inspiring him. Richards said that if the fans want to see The Wolves vs. Beer Money for the tag titles, “then I say let’s do it.”
Edwards took the mic and said it would be a good idea for Beer Money to keep their Feast or Fired contract because they will lose this match to the best team in TNA history. Storm said they’re not here to prove they are the best team in wrestling today, they are here to reenforce it. Storm told them to shine up the title belts for next week because there will be new tag champions. Mathews hyped the tag title match for next week as the two teams shook hands… [C]
Powell’s POV: Another good segment and a nice transition to promoting the tag title match. Milk actually may have been a bad choice if Angle wasn’t able to wash his milk covered gear before he worked Lashley the next night in a match that will air next week. In all seriousness, TNA has done a terrific job with the Angle sendoff thus far and I’m looking forward to his match with Lashley next week.
Matt Hardy, Reby Hardy, and Tyrus headed to the ring for a promo as highlights were shown of Rockstar Spud turning on EC3. Matt boasted that he beat EC3 again and he’s done it so many times that it’s boring. Matt said he is finished with EC3. “I will never, ever wrestle EC3 again, and Ethan Carter will never get a shot at this title again,” Matt said. “Because Matt Hardy owns EC3.
[Q3] Matt gave a shoutout to Rockstar Spud and introduced him. Spud was booed by his home countrymen. Spud and Hardy hugged in the ring. Spud took the mic and said you would have sold out too if you lived in this dump your entire life. Spud said he was left bloody, battered, and with his head shaved by EC3.
Spud said it’s just like the British public to jump on the flavor of the month by disrespecting one of their own in favor of chanting EC3. He encouraged an EC3 chant that didn’t take off. Spud said none of the fans were there when he needed them. Spud said they are jealous that he landed his dream job. Spud said he is a hero and a national treasure. He said people at home wish they could be a star like he is.
Spud said what he did to EC3 was good old fashioned revenge. Spud dedicated his life “to The Family and the Matt Hardy brand.” Spud said Hardy is the champion the company needs and deserves. Spud told Hardy they did it, they got rid of the cancer in TNA.
EC3’s entrance music interrupted Spud’s speech and he came to the ring with a chair in his hand. Tyrus remained in the ring while the others fled to ringside. EC3 performed a soft jab with the chair and then slammed it over the back of Tyrus. Hardy attacked EC3, who quickly cleared him from the ring. Spud approached EC3 from behind, then fled when EC3 turned toward him.
EC3 took the mic and said he didn’t want a match or a referee. He said he wanted a fight. EC3 said he was happy to be in Birmingham because there were enough people who have seen his ugly face so the coroner won’t have trouble identifying the body…
Backstage, Gail Kim addressed Maria by looking into the camera. She said she gave Maria a chance, but she showed that she’s selfish and conceited. She said she was going to the ring to call out Maria for a fight… The Decay video aired…
Powell’s POV: We got the long talking segment, which felt even longer because it followed the post-match talking segment. Still, it more than held my interest and served as good followup to last week’s main event.
[Q4] Backstage, Matt Hardy yelled at Dixie Carter while his family stood by. Hardy said this is Dixie’s fault because she didn’t fire EC3. Dixie said this is all Matt’s fault. Dixie questioned Spud’s involvement. “Don’t bump me off, woman,” Spud told her. Spud said EC3 should be fired. Dixie said she was washing her hands clean of this by making it an unsanctioned fight…
Powell’s POV: So there’s nothing forcing Spud to fight, right? It seems like he doesn’t want it, and it’s not like he’s being forced into it.
Decay made their entrance as footage aired of Jimmy Havoc trying to get back together with Rosemary. Once Decay was in the ring, Havoc made his entrance…
2. Abyss (w/Rosemary, Crazzy Steve) vs. Jimmy Havoc in a no DQ match. Havoc got the better of Abyss and sent him to ringside. Havoc went for a suicide dive, but Abyss threw a trashcan at his head. Steve and Rosemary set up a table at ringside. All sorts of weapons were thrown into the ring.
Abyss set up a table in the corner, but Havoc slammed the cheese grater into his balls. Havoc struck Abyss with a can and then covered him for two. Rosemary and Steve distracted Havoc as he was on the ropes, allowing Abyss to throw a chair at Havoc, who fell from the rope and through a table at ringside.
Rosemary handed Abyss the ridiculous Janice weapon. In a shocking development, Havoc moved when Abyss swung it at him. Havoc dropkicked Abyss through a table and covered him for a two count. Havoc slid a barbwire board inside the ring. He picked up Janice and shockingly Abyss stopped him from using it. Havoc came back with a kendo stick shot to the head. Abyss followed up with a Blackhole Slam onto the barbwire table and got the pin…
Abyss beat Jimmy Havoc in 6:10.
Mathews hyped Galloway vs. Bennett, then said Gail Kim was on the way to the ring… [C]
Powell’s POV: A typical Abyss hardcore match complete with the worst weapon in pro wrestling (because no one can actually be struck with it). Has anyone tried to sit Abyss down to inform him about the dangers of head trauma? I’ll just leave it at that. On a positive note, Havoc worked the style well even though I wasn’t sure whether viewers were supposed to like him or dislike him.
Backstage, EC3 said he left Spud bald the last time they fought in England, and this time he would take his last breath…
[Q5] Gail Kim came to the ring dressed in non-wrestling attire. Kim said the Knockouts have always been about excellence and being the best at what they do “and that is wrestling.” She said she got into the business because she loves wrestling, not to be famous. The fans popped and chanted Gail’s name. She said she is willing to sacrifice her body to raise the bar.
Gail said Maria had a chance to prove herself at Lethal Lockdown, but she proved she is all talk and no action. Gail challenged Maria to come to the ring to face her. The lights went out for Maria’s entrance. Maria walked to the bottom of the small ramp and asked the fans if they want to see her fight. “No,” she said. Maria said she would stand where she was until she was finished talking.
Maria said Gail is proud of being a wrestler, while she is proud of the lesson she taught Gail. Maria said she couldn’t cross the line at Lethal Lockdown because then she would be just like Gail, and she’s nothing like her. Maria said Gail wants to be just like her. Gail responded that she’s nothing like Maria and called her “a crazy ass bitch.”
Maria said Gail claims she doesn’t want to be a celebrity, yet she married a celebrity chef. Maria said she is happy to be a celebrity. She recalled appearing on Celebrity Apprentice “with the great entertainer Donald Trump.” Maria said she was in Playboy. She said she is the first lady of pro wrestling. Maria said she will never get in the ring.
Gail said the people came for a fight. Gail ran after Maria and chased her toward the back. However, Jade popped up from the side of the stage and attacked Kim from behind. Jade worked over Kim on the stage and then picked up the Knockouts Title belt and slammed it into the head of Kim. Jade took the mic and said that if Kim wants a fight, she found one. Jade said she is coming for what is hers…
Mathews hyped upcoming matches… Eric Young and Bram made their entrance as Jeremy Borash delivered ring introductions for the King of the Mountain Title match… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Miracle music playing throughout the talking segment was annoying and not in a “good heat” way. Jade’s mic work was brief, yet poor. Still, the segment left me encouraged. Jade is the new threat to the Knockouts Title, and they are wisely going to make viewers wait to see Gail get her hands on Maria. I hope they show some discipline by holding off on a Gail vs. Maria match for a long time so that it means something when Gail finally gets her hands on her.
Bram cut a promo about how none of the fans were touch. He said none of them could fight like they could. Young said the fans were looking at the king of wrestling and god. Young said there’s not a man “on this side of the pond” who could beat him in a fight.
[Q6] Damo from Belfast, Northern Ireland made his entrance as Mathews said he has a cult following on the independent scene. Damo got in Young’s face and recalled Young saying he was looking for the toughest guy on this side of the pond. “He’s standing right in front of you, so what are you going to do about it, son?” Young took a shot at Damo and apparently the match was on…
3. Eric Young (w/Bram) vs. Damo for the King of the Mountain Title. Damo put Young down and then stood on him with one foot for a cover. Young kicked out and then Damo walked over him. Young came back with a neckbreaker. Damo no-sold a bit and then came back with punches. Young returned fire.
Damo got Young down and then performed a senton. Damo powerbombed Young and followed up with an elbow drop for a two count. Damo went for a senton later, but Young put his knees up and then performed a piledriver and scored the pin…
Eric Young beat Damo in 3:35 to retain the King of the Mountain Title.
Backstage, Drew Galloway spoke about how Mike Bennett. He said Bennett picked the wrong guy. He said he is going to make an example of Bennett by making him tap out… [C]
4. “The Miracle” Mike Bennett (w/Maria) vs. Drew Galloway. It was all Galloway early. They took the fight to ringside. Galloway propelled Bennett over his back and into the ring post in a cool spot that was replayed. Bennett clipped Galloway’s knee on the apron to gain control and took the match back inside the ring.
[Q7] Galloway came back and then both men traded strikes in the middle of the ring. Bennett performed a Diamond Cutter for a near fall. Bennett went for the MIT, but Galloway fought out of it and came back with a Celtic Cross. Galloway performed the Claymore Kick and then applied the Iron Maiden. Maria reached inside the ring and put her husband’s foot on the bottom rope. Galloway stood up and was distracted by Maria, allowing Bennett to roll him up and hold the tights for the win…
Mike Bennett pinned Drew Galloway.
Backstage, Matt Hardy and Tyrus fired up Rockstar Spud for his fight. Hardy told Spud to finish the job he started last week. Spud got all fired up and ran out to “do it for you.” Mathews said it looked like Spud was actually excited about the fight… [C]
Powell’s POV: The Galloway vs. Bennett match was a good first step in what should be a lengthy program. I hope WWE officials are paying attention to what Galloway has done since they released him. It’s not that I care if he goes back, it’s that I hope they recognize that he’s proven them dead wrong by becoming a standout performer both in the ring and on the mic. It’s hard to believe he’s the same guy who was wasted in 3MB. A strong case could be made for TNA building around Galloway rather than EC3 as the top babyface. It’s a really nice problem for TNA to have. Meanwhile, this was a step forward for the Bennett character.
Grado delivered a promo from outside the building about how he dreamed of working in venues like it. He said his dreams came true when he worked for TNA and everything was going well until Feast or Fired. He says he finally has the proof and next week he will show the world why he was screwed…
A video package recapped Kurt Angle beating Lashley to win the TNA Title on April 3, 2015 in Orlando to set up their match for next week… Angle vs. Lashley, The Wolves vs. Beer Money for the TNA Tag Titles, and Eric Young defending his KOTM Title were advertised for next week’s Impact…
Rockstar Spud headed to the ring wearing jeans and a t-shirt. EC3 was shown backstage and then he was attacked by Tyrus, who opened the back door of a truck. EC3 recovered and threw Tyrus inside the truck.
[Q8] Matt Hardy entered the picture and Galloway fought him off and threw him inside the truck. EC3 headed to the ring… [C]
EC3 beat up Spud at ringside and ran him into the guardrail. EC3 obliged the “one more time” chant. EC3 brought Spud inside the ring and continued to kick his ass. Back at ringside, Spud raked the eyes of EC3 to gain momentarily control. He picked up a chair and ran at EC3, who kicked the chair into Spud’s face. EC3 rolled Spud back inside the ring again.
EC3 brought the chair with him, but Spud kicked out his knee and then threw the chair at EC3’s face. EC3 came back and performed TK3. Pope asked if EC3 would got for the pin or dish out more punishment. Sigh. Josh was there to remind him that there are no pins because this is an unsanctioned fight.
EC3 pulled out a table as Josh raved about EC3 being the “ass kicking machine.” EC3 pulled out a table, but Spud kicked it at him. Spud dove off the apron at EC3 on the floor. EC3 caught Spud and press slammed him. EC3 set up the table inside the ring. Spud put up a fight, but EC3 ended up powerbombing Spud through the table. EC3 picked up Spud from the table and then put him in a Cobra Clutch. Spud tapped. Several referees and agent Simon Diamond ran out to end it. EC3’s music played while he played to the crowd and Spud sold on the mat…
Powell’s POV: A lopsided fight that seemed more about establishing EC3 as “the ass kicking machine” than building up his rivalry with Rockstar Spud. The backstage bit with EC3 throwing Matt Hardy and Tyrus into the back of the truck in record time felt Rock-like, and the payoff for EC3 fans came quickly given the way he manhandled Spud. Fortunately, Spud is such a good talker that he’ll make crowds hate him again in no time. By the way, I like the way he changed his look from the loud outfits to the black leather and jeans to coincide with the heel turn. Overall, though, this was another good episode of Impact. I was worried they went too talk heavy during the first hour, but the talk was mostly good and there was some good action in the opener and then later in the night.