By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
[Q1] Impact opened with footage “from earlier today” of Lashley driving in his car and talking about how he was going to see if Drew Galloway really was looking for a fight. They cut to Galloway, who was giving an interview inside a gym. Lashley attacked him from behind.
Lashley ended up throwing Galloway inside an MMA cage. Lashley said Galloway was in his world now. Lashley put Galloway in a hold, but Galloway powered out of it. A bunch of guys ran into the picture, jumped over the cage, and pulled them apart…
Josh Mathews, who was joined by “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero, checked in on commentary and recapped the incident and hyped that this would be an unforgettable night… A video recapped last week’s show with Mike Bennett beating EC3 in the main event…
Maria introduced Mike Bennett on the stage and they headed to the ring. Bennett boasted that he had been saying for weeks that he is “The Miracle” and would “change this place.” Bennett said he did what Bully Ray, Kurt Angle, Lashley, and Jeff Hardy couldn’t do by defeating EC3. “I truly am something special,” Bennett said.
Bennett said he doesn’t have a God complex. “I am God,” he declared. Bennett boasted that he’s even defeated the TNA Champion Drew Galloway. Bennett said he is the only person who deserves to be World Champion. Bennett said when he wins the title, the fans will also say they do believe in miracles.
Jeff Hardy’s music played and he made his entrance. Hardy ran around ringside and greeted fans before entering the ring. Hardy questioned whether Bennett just called himself God. Maria said maybe they should talk a little slower for him. Bennett repeated his line about being God. Hardy gave him credit for beating EC3, but he said that doesn’t make him God. Hardy said that’s a joke. The fans chanted, “You’re a joke.” Hardy said he believes in miracles, “but you my friend are not.”
Bennett said he respects what Jeff has done and what he did to his brother Matt Hardy was quite impressive. The fans chanted “that was awesome.” Bennett agreed and then went back to boasting about beating EC3. Bennett said all of Hardy’s creatures have become his miracles.
Bennett accused Hardy of trying to use him to propel himself to the top of the world title picture. Bennett said he would do him a solid by talking to “my good friend Dixie Carter” by asking if she would book them in the main event. Hardy said they didn’t need her permission because they could do it now. Hardy attacked Bennett with a punch to the back of the head. Hardy knocked Bennett down with a shot coming off the ropes, then Bennett fled to ringside. Bennett took the mic and called for a ref, saying they could have their match now…
Powell’s POV: A good opening to the show. Bennett is trying to define his character by playing up the idea that he has a God complex. There’s really not much he can say beyond that about The Miracle character. At this point, I hope he leaves it at that and just continues to deliver good, egomaniacal mic work. By the way, I liked the unique opening with Lashley attacking Galloway at the gym.
[Q2] [C] 1. Jeff Hardy vs. Mike Bennett (w/Maria). The match was joined in progress. Hardy was getting the better of Bennett when Lashley ran out and speared Hardy to end the match. Bennett was happy about Lashley taking out Hardy, but he turned and Lashley speared him as well.
Jeff Hardy fought Mike Bennett to a no-contest in 1:50.
Lashley took the mic and said that he speared Galloway, Hardy, and Bennett and will continue to plow through people until he’s given what he wants. He called for Dixie Carter to come out and give him a TNA Title shot. Dixie Carter made her entrance to no reaction.
Dixie wasn’t happy about Lashley’s demand. She said title shots are earned in the ring. She said the fans want to see a huge main event, so she booked Hardy vs. Bennett vs. Lashley to determine the new No. 1 contender. “Thank you, Dixie,” Lashley said with a smile. Dixie said she had a special referee to make sure the match played out fairly. Drew Galloway’s music played and he walked out and stood next to her…
Backstage, Rosemary told Abyss and Crazzy Steve that change is upon them. She said they took the tag title gold as step one of their plan. She said evolution continues. She asked if Steve and Abyss are afraid of change, then asked if they are ready for their transformation. She had Steve open his mouth and then spat a substance (her mist?) into it that made him gag. Rosemary told Abyss to take off his mask. Noooooo! Anyway, she did the same to Abyss and he started screaming and gagging. Rosemary said Decay a few times and laughed… [C]
Powell’s POV: Man, the things some guys put up with just to get laid…
[Q3] Mathews said Matt Hardy would speak for the first time since he was stretchered out of the building following his I Quit match with Jeff. Mathews also hyped the main event…
Decay made their entrance. Rosemary led Steve and Abyss, who were both wearing hoods. Rosemary spoke about how they wandered through the Valley of Shadows and destroyed heroes. She said the men in the ring where changed and not just changed men. She said the man without a voice is silent no longer. She ripped the hood off of Steve. The fans actually chanted Crazzy’s Steve’s name.
Steve took the mic and said that Rosemary gave them a voice, and the monster gave them purpose. She said as far as the rest of you are concerned, your pain and suffering is their pleasure. Rosemary said doctors, brothers, and Abyss’s father tried to control him. She said they set him free and showed him his scars. The hood came off and Abyss had Decay style makeup.
Abyss said he hid behind a mask for years, but now he’s free from his pain and he is beautiful. There was a brief “yes, you are” chant. He said he takes joy in his beauty and pain. Rosemary said anyone who gets in their path will suffer. She closed with the Decay line.
The Beer Money theme played. James Storm walked to the ring while Abyss called for the music to be shut off, saying Beer Money is dead. Storm said they may have had something to do with Beer Money not being around “right now” but they left him standing. Storm said a rhyme about himself and said he drinks beer every day that ends in day “because I am the Cowboy James Mother F’n Storm.” Storm said he normally lets them decide whose ass will get kicked, but he wasn’t feeling that nice.
Storm charged the ring and threw punches at Abyss and Steve while Rosemary fled. Abyss left the ring, and Storm tossed Steve to the floor. Storm called for Abyss to meet him, saying he would whip his ass so bad that he would put the mask back on… [C]
Powell’s POV: Good riddance to the Abyss mask. He looks much better than I expected in his Decay garb. I still wish he were taking the silent approach of the trio. I also wish they had used this moment to rename Crazzy Steve, which still sounds ridiculous. Nevertheless, Decay is working. It will be interesting to see how long Storm feuds with them. You’d think he would move on to something on the singles side now that Bobby Roode has left the company.
[Q4] 2. Abyss (w/Rosemary, Steve) vs. James Storm. Storm took control late and then dodged Steve’s attempt to spit mist in his face. However, Storm turned and Abyss spit mist in his face and then gave him the Blackhole Slam for the win…
Abyss beat James Storm in 5:50.
Mathews hyped the main event… Backstage, Maria told a crew member that she doesn’t care if Dixie said she doesn’t want to be bothered. She said she is the leader of the Knockouts Division and she needs to have paperwork looked at by Dixie. She told the man to get Jade and get the papers looked at. Maria looked into the camera and asked if you want to know what she has in store for the Knockouts division. She said she’s already made an impact on Gail Kim, and she said she hopes Jade is a lot smarter than Kim is… [C]
Powell’s POV: I like that Abyss has been reinvented and I hope he follows it up with a wardrobe change. He’s in a goth (or something) group now, not Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It will be interesting to see how Storm is used now that Roode is gone. He’s always been a good talker and the fans react well to him. Speaking of good talkers, Maria is very comfortable shines in her speaking roles.
Backstage, Jeff spoke about how his body hurts, but he is focussed. He said it’s been three years since he’s been champion. He put over his opponents and said he has to beat them both to get what he wants. He said he approaches every match like it’s his last and fights for his creatures. The anonymous interview guy asked about Matt Hardy. Jeff said he heard he changed after their I Quit match and not for the better… Mathews hyped the main event again…
Maria stood in the ring and introduced herself as the first lady of pro wrestling. She introduced Knockouts Champion Jade, who had new music and a new video wall. She didn’t come out right away. “Uh, Jade, now,” Maria said.
[Q5] Jade walked out while Pope said he doesn’t think Jade likes taking orders from anyone. Maria said she needs Jade to stand behind her and admit her mistake. Jade said she didn’t make a mistake. Maria said she literally handed Jade the title. She said the fans think Jade is a badass chick, but she thinks Jade is a little girl who needs her help and needs to be taught a lesson by her boss.
Maria said she’s not asking for Jade’s title. Rather, she’s asking her to lay down on the mat for her. Maria called for a referee. Maria said she’s the first lady and she deserves the championship. “It would look much better around my waist, so lay down,” Maria barked. Jade said she’s not laying down for any man, woman, or bitch.
Maria said she has someone who shares her vision. She said Jade wouldn’t have a match, she would have a fight. Newcomer Sienna’s music played and she headed to the ring. Sienna entered the ring and struck a fighting pose. Jade charged at her and Sienna quickly took control of the fight. Mathews stressed that it’s not a match. Jade got a couple shots in, but Sienna put her down with a big boot and then followed her to ringside.
Sienna and Jade fought up the ramp, where Sienna backdropped Jade. Sienna rolled Jade back toward the ring. Jade fought back with some hokey looking chops. Sienna ran Jade into the ring steps, then picked her up and flung her head into the steps. Sienna rolled Jade inside the ring, where she punched Jade in the head while Maria asked if she believes in her vision now. aria told Sienna to finish her. Sienna performed a move that left Jade lying. Pope said Sienna is a hit woman…
Backstage, Bram said he’s been called crazy and psychotic and a follower. He said he and Eric Young had a great time doing whatever they wanted to do, but one thing he is not is a follower. Bram said he has a new title – King of the Mountain Champion. Bram said he’s still crazy and invited all comers…
Backstage, Jeremy Borash sat in a chair and spoke about how EC3’s winning streak ended. He said he would have an exclusive interview with EC3 coming up after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Sienna is independent worker Allisin Kay. The brawl was only okay, but I like the idea of Sienna being Maria’s hired gun. I know I just praised Maria’s mic work earlier, but they have to be careful to avoid overexposing her. We’ve heard too much from her tonight.
Borash said they were scheduled to interview EC3, but he had yet to arrive. Mike Bennett showed up and said that they should be talking to the winner, not the loser. Bennett said EC3 is a coward and the legend of EC3 is old news. Bennett said if he has to beat two men then he will. He said he beat EC3 and he can beat anyone…
[Q6] Mathews had the unenviable task of explaining the rules of the ridiculous King of the Mountain match…
3. Bram vs. Eli Drake vs. Andrew Everett (w/Shane Helms) vs. Jessie Godderz vs. Eddie Edwards in a King of the Mountain match for the King of the Mountain Title. Everett went for a springboard move and Bram powerbombed him to become eligible to hang the title belt. Drake pinned Edwards to become eligible. Godderz made Everett tap to a Boston crab, so he became eligible.
Edwards and Everett fought to the back for reasons only known to them. Godderz tried to hang the belt, but Drake pulled him down and hit him with a Feast or Fired briefcase. Drake tried to hang the briefcase, but Bram springboard dropkicked the ladder out from under him. Bram ended up hanging the belt to win the match. Afterward, Drake attacked him with the thought of cashing in his contract, but Bram fought him off…
Bram beat Eli Drake, Andrew Everett, Jessie Godderz, and Eddie Edwards in a King of the Mountain match to retain the King of the Mountain Title.
Backstage, Galloway was asked about being the special referee. He said he planned to ask Lashley for a fight, but instead he got jumped by Lashley before he even got to the building. He spoke about how the three men in the main event want his title belt. He said that if Lashley puts his hands on the referee, he will be happy to fight back… Mathews hyped the three-way main event…
Powell’s POV: Really good effort from all five men in the KOTM match, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a ridiculous match and a worthless title belt. Meanwhile, TNA continues to blow away everyone in the industry when it comes to hyping their main events consistently throughout their shows. You know what the main event is early in the show if not a week in advance, and they remind you of it repeatedly.
[Q7] A bearded Matt Hardy wore the hood up on his sweatshirt while talking about how his brother changed the game. He spoke slowly and quietly while saying doctors told him he should never wrestle again because of a spinal injury. He asked how his brother could be so cruel…
Mike Bennett and Maria made their entrance for the main event. EC3 made his entrance and then stood face to face with Bennett. EC3 said he only had one thing to say to Bennett – congratulations. EC3 said he wouldn’t be friends with Bennett or show weakness by shaking his hand. However, he said he can appreciate that he said he was going to do something and did it. EC3 said Bennett pinned him and his miracle is complete.
EC3 said whenever he beat someone during his winning streak, they came out next week “with their crotchety old asses” and complained about how he won. EC3 said he is not that man. He said he won’t run from it or shy away from it, but it changed him. EC3 said this is the moment that defines Bennett.
EC3 said he truly hopes that Bennett wins and becomes the TNA Champion so he knows the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with being champion. EC3 said he wants to take that feeling from him. EC3 said they will fight again. He said Bennett’s win over him has already defeated him, because it will make EC3 the best damn wrestler on the planet. EC3 said it’s cool if Bennett wants to call himself God because he can now consider him his devil.
Lashley made his entrance and walked past EC3 on the ramp on his way to the ring… [C]
Powell’s POV: Strong mic work from EC3. Bennett played it well by smiling arrogantly as EC3 spoke to him. I like that EC3 wasn’t scripted to piss and moan about the way he lost. After all, he was the guy who cheated to win constantly, so it would look hypocritical of him to bitch now even though he’s a babyface. The Matt Hardy promo was also intriguing as it looks like he is either reinventing himself or conning his brother into believing he is distraught.
Jeff Hardy and then Drew Galloway made their entrances…
4. Jeff Hardy vs. Mike Bennett (w/Maria) vs. Lashley to become No. 1 contender with Drew Galloway as special referee. Hardy was roughed up in the opening minute by the heels.
[Q8] Hardy came back and clotheslined Lashley to ringside, then backdropped Bennett to the floor. Hardy went up top and performed a wild dive onto both men. Hardy was down with his face under the mat with Galloway checking on him heading into the break. [C]
Lashley went for a spear on Bennett, who moved, causing Lashley to spear Galloway. Bennett was dumped to ringside. Hardy gave Lashley a Twist of Fate and then a Swanton. Hardy covered Lashley, but Galloway was down at ringside from the spear and Mathews was quick to bring up Galloway’s previously established rib injury. Hardy placed Bennett on the ringside and then performed a Swanton from the top rope onto Bennett.
Decay ran out and attacked Hardy. Steve punched him and then Rosemary choked him. Steve ran Hardy’s back into the edge of the ring and then laughed in his face. Abyss chokeslammed Hardy onto the ring steps (which didn’t look all that impactful compared to all of the other crazy things that Hardy does). Decay made their exit.
Lashley recovered and somehow still had his silly headband on. As Hardy stood up on the steps, Lashley ran up the steps and speared Hardy into the ring post. Lashley rolled Hardy back inside the ring and speared him and covered him. Galloway made a reluctant three count…
Lashley defeated Jeff Hardy and Mike Bennett in a three-way in 13:30 to become No. 1 contender to the TNA Title.
After the match, Lashley got in Galloway’s face and wanted him to raise his arm. Galloway took out his earpiece and told him to piss off, but then reluctantly raised Lashley’s hand. Lashley went for a clothesline, but Galloway ducked it. Galloway caught Lashley with a Claymore Kick. Lashley recovered quickly and they scrapped in the ring to close the show…
Powell’s POV: An entertaining main event. I’m amazed at what Hardy is doing with a bad knee. He continues to shine. Lashley looked like a badass again and the post match brawl with Galloway was quick, effective, and a hot way to close the show. I’m looking forward to their match. I assume Hardy teams with Storm to face Decay now that they both have issues with the TNA Tag Champions.
TNA continues to produce strong television in 2016. They may not have the depth that other companies do, but they have done a really nice job of establishing Galloway, Lashley, EC3, Bennett, Matt Hardy, and Jeff Hardy as their top stars, and they all feel like relevant players in the TNA Title picture. You are missing out on a good product if you’re still not watching for whatever reason.