By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Jeff Hardy vs. Mike Bennett vs. Bobby Lashley: A well fought match between three professionals. After watching WWE Payback, I was reminded of all of the old overbooked TNA shows from the past (Payback was also headlined by AJ Styles, go figure!). Impact was the complete opposite of vintage TNA and this is the model of writing they should follow going forward. Jeff Hardy was doing his Jeff Hardy things with corkscrew sentons, swantons, and moonsaults. This guy had a career threatening injury? His knee is still injured? They also managed to elevate every single person in this match by the end of it. Good job, TNA!
Jeff Hardy and Mike Bennett opening segment: Mike Bennett is really coming into his own as a character and this was the perfect way for him to respond after pinning EC3 for the first time. I like that even though Bennett is willing to take shortcuts, he never backs down from a challenge. This reminds me of how they built up EC3 in a way where he just gains creditability as the weeks go on. Jeff Hardy is finally being used correctly as TNA’s top merchandise star, and he doesn’t have to hold the belt to be that top star. What Hardy is doing is using his star status to elevate anyone he stands in the ring with. Hardy was never great on the mic, but he just has to stand there and be Jeff. Lashley interjecting himself into the picture was great too. I was afraid they were going to waste all of Lashley’s great character work and they’ve found a way to keep all of his showdown matchups fresh.
Lashley and Galloway gym brawl: This was a bit ridiculous in the way that it transitioned to a conveniently placed MMA ring, but how else would you write it? The scene made Lashley look like an obsessed beast and Galloway never loses anything if he’s beaten up. Lashley vs. Galloway now looks like a showdown match and now that Lashley’s the number one contender, I hope they take their time to build it up. Hopefully they wait until their next pay-per-view or at least their next pay-per-view themed show?
Decay: Okay, Rosemary throwing up in the mouths of Abyss and Crazzy Steve was hilarious as hell, but overall we saw an evolution in the group. Abyss finally changed the look and it might have been a subtle change in character as well. It’s sad that they don’t have any tag teams to work with due to the titles being cursed, but Decay is one of the best acts that TNA has going. Strange enough, we got good James Storm as well as opposed to his coasting Beer Money character. Everyone here benefited, simple as that!
Jade, Maria, and Sienna: First of all, Jade finally got rid of the Courtney Love theme. They gave her that awesome theme too, the one that TNA had reserved for Taryn Terrell before they got the rights to Hole song. It was odd that Jade was playing the ass kicking babyface that Gail Kim usually does, but at least she’s vulnerable and it was a good debut for Sienna, who didn’t look bad in the ring, which is a plus for the Knockouts Division.
Matt Hardy: This was a short segment, but an intriguing one. We’ve never seen Matt Hardy play this philosophical and dark character, but so far so good. This can totally fail, yet I’m totally confident that Matt Hardy can pull it off because of how he’s been the best talk in TNA in 2016. What’s also cool is without Hardy carrying the opening segments, everyone else has stepped up their game while he’s been off selling his match injuries the last couple weeks.
Overall Show: There weren’t that many things wrong about this show. This was a fun and refreshing show to watch. With WWE Payback reminding us of how past TNA shows were booked, it was refreshing to see smart booking and intelligent storytelling all across the board. The key here is every single person that was spotlighted was built up, not torn down.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
The King of the Mountain Match: The Miss comes from the entire King of the Mountain section of Impact. First of all, you have to notice that the match was contrived when the announcers spend a majority of the match explaining the rules. The belt they fight for doesn’t seem worth it. What is the King of the Mountain? Does it make you Jeff Jarrett? Bobby Roode tried to say the belt means “pro wrestling” but he was reaching there. Another problem about this title, and we saw it in this match with Gregory Shane Helms around, is that it blocks people out of the X Division. If you had all of these wrestlers going for the X Division title, you would have a meaningful X Division again. Tigre Uno, Mark Andrews, and Zema Ion are getting a bit lonely in their pointless ladder match island.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...