By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Taped in January in Birmingham, England at Barclaycard Arena
Dixie Carter stood in the ring and introduced Angle as “the best wrestler in the history of our sport.” Angle made his entrance. Once Angle was on the ring, Dixie said she would never forget when Angle arrived in TNA and they shocked the wrestling world. She said Angle has set the bar so high not just for TNA but for the entire industry.
Drew Galloway came to the ring minus music and said that wrestling Kurt Angle is like being in a master’s class. Galloway came to the ring without music and gushed over Angle and thanked him before hugging him. Angle spoke about being a better husband, father, and wrestler. He thanked Dixie and the TNA roster for letting him work in TNA. Angle thanked the fans and said he loves them all. Angle said he is the luckiest man on the planet.
Lashley made his entrance with his music and thanked Angle. He said it’s been an amazing experience for everyone on the roster to work and wrestle with Angle. Lashley said it’s going to be a rough day, but it’s also a great opportunity for everyone in the arena to see Angle’s last match. Lashley said it’s an amazing honor for him to have an opportunity to wrestle the man who got him into the business but the hero that he looked up to. “For that I say thank you,” Lashley said. Lashley said that based on the look in Angle’s eyes, he’s just not ready to wrestle him. Lashley dropped the mic and left the ring while Angle showed some concern…
Mathews hyped the Angle vs. Lashley main event, Gail Kim vs. Jade for the Knockouts Title, and The Wolves vs. Beer Money, and Eric Young defending his King of the Mountain Title were hyped for later in the show… [C]
Powell’s POV: A very good opening segment with genuine emotion from Angle, Dixie, and Galloway. Lashley also seemed very genuine in what he said about Angle initially before went into storyline mode with the comment about Angle not being ready. I really liked that Lashley’s transition to storyline mode didn’t feel like a guy suddenly flipping the switch and becoming a character. It felt like a logical progression from his kind words into once again stating that he can see Angle isn’t ready for him.
[Q2] 1. Eric Young vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Will Ospreay vs. Big Damo vs. Bram in a King of the Mountain match for the King of the Mountain Title. Mathews scrambled to explain the ridiculous rules of the KOTM match. Ospreay became eligible early and Mathews raved about him as one of the best high flyers in the world. Young piledrove Havoc on the ring steps and pinned him to become eligible. Bram pinned Damo to become eligible. Young and Bram squared off and traded blows before Bram put him down with a leg lariat. Later, Young caught Ospreay with a neckbreaker off the ladder and then hung the title belt on the hook to retain the title…
Eric Young retained the King of the Mountain Title in 6:40.
Footage aired of Angle beating Samoa Joe at the Genesis 2006 pay-per-view…
Backstage, Maria thanked Dixie Carter for having her and “The Miracle” Mike Bennett. Maria said she doesn’t want to overstep her bounds, but she said Bennett wants to ask her a question later in the show and she hopes that Dixie will hear him out. Maria also said she could be an asset by having a leadership role in the Knockouts division. Maria said Dixie could call her assistant and they could have a chitchat. Dixie said she likes Maria and Bennett, but she believes in actions more than words… The Decay video aired… [C]
Powell’s POV: King of the Mountain? An awful match concept. A waste of Will Ospreay. I want to forget that it even happened again on TNA television. Meanwhile, Angle vs. Joe was great, but it still frustrates me when I think about how TNA pissed away what should have been a long money program between the two.
[Q3] Mike Bennett and Maria delivered an in-ring promo. Bennett said Angle is cheap-shotted him and is on his way out the door. Bennett said he will be named the No. 1 contender to the TNA Championship. Bennett said he will then complete his mission of saving the company and all of pro wrestling. Bennett called for Dixie to come out and make the miracle happen.
Drew Galloway came out instead with his Feast or Fired briefcase. Mathews said Galloway was robbed in the match against Bennett. Galloway told Bennett he should do a little more fighting and a little less running his mouth like a little bitch. “Speaking of which,” Galloway said while looking at Maria. The crowd chanted “little bitch” while Galloway laughed.
Bennett said it’s funny hearing Galloway claim that TNA isn’t a charity when he begged Kurt Angle for a rematch. Bennett said Galloway carries around a briefcase he won in a weird game show segment, which Bennett labeled a charity. Bennett told Galloway to go get Dixie for him. Galloway said he could do that, but then he punched Bennett instead. Galloway cleared Bennett from the ring, and Bennett complained at ringside that Galloway ruined his moment…
Footage aired of Kurt Angle winning a King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary in 2007…
Backstage, the peeping camera caught The Wolves telling Kurt Angle that it meant a lot to share the locker room with him. Angle said The Wolves have no idea how talented they are. Angle joked about Davey Richards using his ankle lock. Angle said the move was given to him by Ken Shamrock and Richards can use it. Angle told them to kick Beer Money’s asses and then said he would teach Richards some moves with the ankle lock… Mathews hyped The Wolves vs. Beer Money for later, and said Gail Kim vs. Jade was coming up next… [C]
[Q4] 2. Gail Kim vs. Jade for the TNA Knockouts Title. Gail applied a figure four around the ring post early in the match. She tried to work over the leg in mid ring, but Jake caught her with a kick. Later, Jade wasted time bickering with the referee. She set up for her finisher, but Kim blocked it and caught her with a kick. Kim performed a cross body block off the top rope. Jade rolled through, but Kim rolled her over and got the pin…
Gail Kim pinned Jade to retain the TNA Knockouts Title in 6:30.
Backstage shots aired of The Wolves and Beer Money as Mathews hyped their match as coming up after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Mathews did his best to make it seem like the finish could have gone either way. I’m sure they will go back to this matchup, but I don’t care for the clean finish here. TNA needs a top heel in the Knockouts Division and I don’t think this match or that finish will make viewers see Jade in that light.
A recap aired of the Rockstar Spud vs. EC3 fight from last week… Mathews hyped that EC3 will challenge Matt Hardy for the TNA Title next week…
A Matt Hardy interview aired. He said it was a travesty that EC3 was getting the title shot and questioned how much whining he did to get the shot. Hardy said EC3 can’t beat him and he will defeat him next week for the third time…
Powell’s POV: I’m still not big on TNA going back to Hardy vs. EC3 so quickly, but at least they didn’t forget Hardy claiming that he would never defend the title against him again.
3. Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards vs. Bobby Roode and James Storm for the TNA Tag Titles. The Wolves had the Union Jack flag painted on their chests. Mathews noted that they actually formed their team in England.
[Q5] Edwards made a hot tag to Richards, who worked over both members of Beer Money heading into the break. [C] Richards had a leg lock on Storm and put the ankle lock on Roode simultaneously. The Wolves set up for their finisher, but Roode pulled Richards to ringside. Storm performed a top rope huracanrana on Edwards and Roode followed up with a splash. Storm went for a cover, but Richards broke it up. Beer Money did their stupid time wasting dance rather than going for the win, but the live crowd ate it up.
Richards caught Storm with a kick, but then dove off the top rope and into a Codebreaker. Richards landed awkwardly and immediately clutched his knee and rolled to ringside. Edwards performed a superkick. Storm returned the favor. Roode performed a spinebuster and then catapulted Edwards into a DDT from Storm, which led to a two count. With Richards down at ringside, Beer Money hit the DWI and Roode pinned Edwards to win the match.
[Q6] Richards was helped backstage while Beer Money celebrated their title win…
Beer Money beat The Wolves in 16:20 to win the TNA Tag Titles.
Footage aired of Kurt Angle being inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame… Backstage, Lashley told Drew Galloway that there will be a new top dog after tonight. “And it’s not you, you’re not ready for it,” Lashley told Galloway… Mathews hyped Angle vs. Lashley… [C]
Powell’s POV: Unfortunately, Richards suffered a torn ACL from that spot and has already undergone surgery. Hopefully TNA will do something with Edwards while Richards is sidelined, but they don’t have a good track record when it comes to showcasing these guys as singles wrestlers while the other sidelined. I liked the overall match even though there were times when Beer Money came off like the Keystone Cops with some of the moves they took. They normally save those spots for when they are working heel. I assume Beer Money will work with Decay now that The Wolves are sidelined.
Mathews set up clips of fans issuing their video comments regarding Kurt Angle…
Backstage, Bennett told Angle that everything in life happens for a reason. He said that everything Lashley does to Angle is what Angle deserves. He said Angle could have wrestled him and he blew his chance. Bennett said that if Angle ever gets an itch and wants to scratch it, he’ll be waiting for him in TNA. Angle said Bennett better hope he never comes back or it will get damn real…
Grado ran out and took the microphone from Jeremy Borash. Grado entered the ring and spoke about how he was fired from TNA. Grado said something was fishy about it and he has the proof. Grado said he has a friend named Kenny in the video truck and told him to play the footage that would prove he was screwed. Eli Drake’s entrance music and video wall played instead.
Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz walked onto the stage. Drake said Grado is pathetic and accused him of begging for his job back. Drake headed toward the ring and said he was going to bash Grado over the head with his Feast or Fired briefcase until he never shows up again. Godderz took the mic and said that they would escort Grado out since no one else apparently wanted to.
Drake and Godderz attacked Grado and put the boots to him. Mahabali Shera ran out to no reaction and helped Grado. Drake struck both babyfaces with his briefcase. Grado ducked a briefcase shot and Drake struck Godderz instead. Grado performed a Diamond Cutter on Drake, then picked up the briefcase and ran away with it… [C]
Powell’s POV: Grado’s friend Kenny must be a dick since the video footage never played. If they drag this out long enough, everyone might forget that no one was actually fired as part of the latest Feast or Fired match.
[Q7] [C] Mathews hyped the return of Jeff Hardy for a match with Eric Young, and the Matt Hardy vs. EC3 match for the TNA Title for next week… An Angle video aired with comments from TNA agents Simon Diamond, Shane Helms, and Al Snow raving about him. A graphic appeared at the end that read, “Thank You Kurt”…
Lashley made his entrance for the main event. Mathews noted that Lashley has a 14-2 MMA record and how he told Angle that he can beat him on his best day. Angle made his entrance and Mathews spoke about his gold medal history and labeled him Captain America (the name UFC used for Randy Couture at one time). Jeremy Borash delivered in-ring introductions for the main event… [C]
[Q8] 4. Kurt Angle vs. Lashley. Brian Hebner got the honors of being the referee for what is billed as Angle’s final TNA match.
Lashley ditched the silly headband early in the match. Angle caught him with a couple of German suplexes. Lashley went to ringside. Angle continued to control the offense once Lashley returned to the ring with an overhead suplex and several punches. Lashley came back with snake eyes.
Pope talked about the pressure Lashley felt and how Angle doesn’t have to beat Angle, Angle has to beat Lashley. So he’s saying Angle’s character would be content with a loss in his last match? The wrestlers traded punches and Mathews noted that they had already taken their final commercial break and would stay with the match until the finish. Nice touch.
Lashley performed a running power slam. He charged at Angle, who caught him with a kick. Angle went for the Angle Slam, but he struggled to keep him up and it appeared Lashley’s arm hit Angle’s mouth on the way down and busted him open. Angle performed three German suplexes and was cheered by the crowd. Angle applied the ankle lock and included his usual baby tugs. Lashley countered into a Cross Arm Breaker. Angle rolled him over, freed his arm, and applied the ankle lock again.
Later, Lashley put Angle down with a spinebuster and was booed. Lashley speared Angle for a two count. Lashley went for another spear, but Angle avoided it and rolled him into another ankle lock, which he grapevined. Lashley eventually broke free and kicked Angle off, then dodged him as he charged and then speared Angle for the win.
Lashley defeated Kurt Angle in 11:00.
After the match, Lashley and Angle embraced in mid-ring while the fans and the referee applauded. Lashley raised the arm of Angle, then punched him in the face. “What the hell was that?” Mathews asked. Lashley speared Angle and the crowd booed. Lashley tossed the referee to ringside. Drew Galloway ran out and Lashley backed into the corner and held his arms up. Galloway looked to Angle, then walked back toward Lashley, who speared him. Eddie Edwards ran out and ate a spear. Lashely performed another spear on Angle.
EC3’s music played and he walked to the ring. EC3 entered the ring and had a brief staredown with Lashley, who then left the ring with a smile on his face. Mathews said it was supposed to be a celebration for the career of Angle, but Lahsley took it upon himself to put everyone on notice and to take out a man he considered a friend.
Powell’s POV: A good sendoff match for Angle. It wasn’t a great big match finish, but the right man went over and the post-match angle made up for the finish. Lashley is so much more effective as a heel. His quiet demeanor clicks as a heel because he comes off as disturbing at times. I didn’t care for the way EC3 just came out and was content to look at Lashley. I realize there may be some desire to keep them from touching one another to save that for somewhere down the road, but it there was a way to accomplish that by having Lashley simply leave before EC3 got there. It made Lashley look good to not back down, but the downside is that EC3 let him off easy for his attack on Angle.
Overall, TNA did an excellent job with Angle’s farewell tour. They found the right tone over the last several weeks and while Angle got some wins, he also put over Galloway and now Lashley on his way out. I wonder how many fans at home are wondering if Angle will return to go after Lashley and Mike Bennett. Heck, I wonder if Angle will eventually return for those readymade programs. I’m cool with Angle returning somewhere down the road, but I hope they don’t undo the good they did on the farewell tour by bringing him back too soon. Another good edition of Impact.