By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
[Q1] The broadcast team Josh Mathews and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero opened the show talking at ringside about Lashley becoming No. 1 contender… A recap video package aired…
Jeff Hardy made his entrance for an in-ring promo. Hardy brought up the Decay faction. Hardy said he wrestles each match as if it is his last. He said he does it for the Creatures (fans) and together they are an army.
The Decay faction made their entrance. Abyss spoke about how he and Hardy are not strangers. He said it’s just business and they think he would be a great addition to their family. Abyss said Hardy’s devotion “to these pathetic Creatures” makes you weak. Crazzy Steve echoed what Abyss said.
Rosemary said Hardy’s “pretty little head” is a prize. She said his pain and suffering comes at a high price. Hardy questioned if someone paid them to attack him last week. Abyss said that’s why he said it was all business. He said the person responsible will reveal himself at the right time. Abyss said Hardy should be more concerned about what they intend to do to him tonight.
Decay started to enter the ring as Hardy said he doesn’t sellout, he sells in. Hardy hit Steve and was getting the better of Abyss when Rosemary caught him with a low blow. James Storm ran out to save Hardy from the three-on-one attack. Storm said he and Jeff both know something about tag wrestling. Abyss they destroyed Hardy for a large prize, but tonight they will destroy them both for free. Hardy told Abyss to pretend he’s the weatherman and then told him he’s in for a charismatic storm…
Powell’s POV: You have to assume that Matt Hardy is the person who paid Decay if only because the broadcast team played dumb. It’s a tough spot to put them in because it’s the first name that viewers would think of and thus the broadcast team should naturally do the same.
[Q2] 1. Abyss and Crazzy Steve (w/Rosemary) vs. James Storm and Jeff Hardy for the TNA Tag Titles. Hardy put Abyss down with a Twist of Fate and went up top for his finisher. The lights went out and then a fake Willow appeared on the screen. Abyss and Steve sprayed mist into the eyes of Hardy. Abyss hit the Blackhole Slam and pinned Hardy…
Abyss and Crazzy Steve beat Jeff Hardy and James Storm to retain the TNA Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: I don’t know who was in the Willow suit. Maybe they will shock me by going in a different direction, but it still feels like Matt Hardy will be the man behind paying Decay and the fake Willow appearing. I don’t mind predictable, but I’m not a fan of making a top babyface look clueless for not questioning whether it’s the brother he’s been feuding with. That said, the crowd was very lively for the match and they can definitely go back to Decay vs. Hardy and Storm again. It’s certainly more appealing than Decay feuding with babyface BroMans.
Lashley winning the No. 1 contenders match last week aired… Drew Galloway cut a promo backstage and told Lashley to remember when he was a man. Galloway said he was calling him out… [C]
Backstage, Jeff asked what the hell just happened. He said he is Willow and not the person who showed up. Hardy said he would reveal the fake Willow’s identity tonight…
[Q3] Maria and Mike Bennett were shown at a Billy Corgan concert and appearing onstage. Bennett shot the footage with a handheld camera as Maria visited with him backstage. Corgan praised her leadership of the Knockouts Division and said “stuff’s happening.” Maria said Bennett also had some great ideas and she should talk to him. Corgan said he didn’t have a lot of time, then agreed to talk with Bennett…
Drew Galloway headed to the ring for a promo and spoke about how he said he would be a fighting champion. He called out Lashley, who obliged by coming to the ring. Lashley asked if Galloway respects him or fears him. Galloway said Lashley sneak attacks him, yet it nowhere to be found when he calls him out.
Galloway said he was looking Lashley in the eye and told him that he’s not afraid of him. Lashley said he should be. Lashely said he has been beating up everyone on the roster and he’s the only real fighter in TNA. Lashley said he respects that Galloway is still showing up and he’s inspired by it. Lashley said he’s going to take the title from him.
Galloway addressed his rib injury and said it nearly cost him his title in the match against Tyrus. Galloway said Lashley’s game is breaking someone down and then destroying them. Galloway said Lashley will not break him. Galloway challenged Lashley to meet him in an immediate title match.
Lashley said he’s in Galloway’s head just like he was in Kurt Angle’s head. Lashley said he would whip Galloway’s ass in record time if they fought now. Lashley said he doesn’t care about the people, but they deserve a prizefight. Lashley told Galloway to take a week and then he would beat him and take his title back.
Galloway stopped Lashley from leaving. Galloway said he’s going to fight tonight. Lashley said that’s the mistake that Galloway makes. Lashley said he’s not the person to play with. “If you fight me, I hurt you,” Lashley said. Lashley said Galloway had one week and then he’s taking his title back. Lashley told Galloway to have fun with the people and then left.
The broadcast team spoke about Lashley vs. Galloway until Eli Drake’s music interrupted them. Drake walked onto the stage and said that if Lashley doesn’t want to take an opportunity, then he will create one. Drake said he’ll win the King of the Mountain Title via his briefcase, the tag titles even if it’s by himself, and the X Division Title “even if I have to do sunset planchas like those jumping jabrones.” Drake said he wanted the TNA Title tonight. Galloway said he picked the wrong night, then started fighting him at ringside. Mathews said they would meet for the title after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Lashley has actually become one of my favorite promos in the business. I would have had someone committed if they had told me that I would have wrote that even six months ago. He’s confident and believable. Galloway is also very good and I’m sold on their match. Meanwhile, Drake’s line about sunset planchas and jumping jabrones cracked me up, but they should have one of the X Division wrestlers call him out and put him in his place in response.
[Q4] 2. Drew Galloway vs. Eli Drake for the TNA Title. The match was joined in progress. Mathews and Pope spoke about whether Galloway is breaking down. Drake caught Galloway on the top rope by leaping up there and tossing him down. Drake went to ringside and grabbed the TNA Title belt.
Drake slid the belt in the ring. The referee grabbed it and then Drake tried to use his briefcase as a weapon, but the referee stopped him. Galloway caught Drake with the Claymore Kick and a Future Shock DDT for the win. After the match, Lashley ran out and speared Galloway, then held up the TNA Title…
Drew Galloway beat Eli Drake to retain the TNA Title.
Backstage, EC3 said he has business with Mike Bennett and would compromise and negotiate until he gets his rematch… [C]
Powell’s POV: It was hard to take the threat of Drake winning the title seriously when they are building to Galloway vs. Lashley, yet it’s logical for Galloway to grant a title match due to his claim of being a fighting champion. However, that’s two title matches that TNA gave away on the show without being able to hype them due to the way the show was structured. Meanwhile, they really need to get rid of that damn Feast or Fired briefcase. Nothing screams “wannabe WWE” quite like Feast or Fired briefcases.
Backstage, Gail Kim and Jade approached Maria and asked what she wanted. Maria said she hopes that Gail learned her lesson a few weeks ago, and she’s sure Jade learned hers. She said she knows Gail wants a rematch. Jade said she’s game. Maria said they won’t be out there alone because Sienna will be present. Maria said she wants a five star match “like that Davey M guy always talks about.” Sienna wished them luck in a menacing manner…
EC3 made his entrance. The fans chanted EC3. “I don’t mind it, keep it going, thank you very much,” he said. EC3 started his promo, but the fans chanted again. “I will never talk over this chant, thank you very much,” he added.
[Q5] EC3 said he was once unbeaten, unbreakable, and unbeatable. EC3 said he is now just a man with a vendetta. He called out Mike Bennett and told him to fetch his wife so they could talk business. Bennett and Maria made their entrance. Maria started to introduce herself. EC3 said her name is “Toots McGee” and he wasn’t there to talk to her.
Bennett said he needs nothing from EC3, so he has moved on. EC3 said he’s happy that Bennett wore his sunglasses indoors “because it’s always sunny in Doucheville.” There was a brief Doucheville chant. Bennett said he has an ego the size of the sun. He boasted about his wife and beating EC3.
EC3 said Bennett did. He also recalled telling him that his performance in the No. 1 contenders match would define him and he lost that match. EC3 challenged Bennett to a rematch on the spot. Maria said she thought EC3 might be relentless about this, so she spoke to her good friend and TNA management member Billy Corgan backstage at the Smashing Pumpkins concert, where her husband gave him a great idea.
Bennett said he knew EC3 would stop at nothing to fight him again. Bennett said he would have done the same if he had lost. Bennett said EC3’s demons eat him up inside. Bennett offered the EC3 road to redemption story. He said that he would put all of his demons from his past in front of them and if he can defeat them then he will give him his rematch. EC3 said he’s been playing the game his entire adult life. “Deal, challenge accepted,” EC3 said.
Bennett announced that the road to redemption for EC3 starts tonight in a six sides of steel match. He teased telling EC3 the name of his opponent, then told him he would have to wait… [C]
Mathews recapped the Willow angle from earlier in the show… Gail Kim was introduced by Jeremy Borash for her title match… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good verbal exchange with EC3 delivering his most crowd pleasing one-liners thus far. The Impact Zone crowd is lively this week and they treated EC3 like the biggest star in the company. I really like the way they are making viewers wait for the rematch. Giving EC3 some obstacles to clear first keeps the fans invested in his matches, and it gives Bennett more time to gloat.
Jade made her entrance after the commercial break…
3. Jade vs. Gail Kim for the TNA Knockouts Title. Sienna was at ringside to start the match. Mathews said Kim could tie Angelina Love’s record of six Knockouts Title reigns by winning the match.
[Q6] Jade caught Kim with a nice German suplex into a bridge for a two count. Later, Kim caught Jade at ringside with a cross body block off the middle rope. Kim rolled Jade back inside the ring, then turned and started jawing at Sienna. Jade performed a suicide dive onto Kim, then threw her back inside the ring. Sienna attacked Jade at ringside and ran her into the ring steps, which led to the referee calling off the match.
Afterward, Gail dove onto Sienna on the floor and threw several punches at her. Sienna came back with a shoulder block and rolled her inside the ring. Sienna performed her finishing move in mid-ring. Sienna stood tall with Jade and Kim both down…
Footage aired of Al Snow at a pro wrestling training school. He spoke about how the trainees were learning the respect and humility it takes to learn how to survive in pro wrestling. He said no anybody with a dream can just walk in. He said Mahabali Shera and Grado are examples of that. Snow said he will find out tonight whether Shera will do whatever it takes like he was. Snow said he will be just like Donald Trump. He said Trump wants to make America great by not letting anyone in anymore. Snow said he will do the same for pro wrestling… [C]
Powell’s POV: Is it wrong to cheer for Al Snow? Anyway, that makes it three unadvertised title matches in one night. I’m more forgiving of this one being unadvertised since it was more of a showcase for Sienna than anything. It is comical that Corgan praised the job that Maria was doing. TNA management apparently approves of her telling Jade to lie down for her so that she could beat her for the Knockouts Title.
Backstage, an excited EC3 said it was time to let the ass kicking commence. He added that Mike Bennett should start praying…
4. Al Snow vs. Mahabali Shera. Snow came out first and then Shera charged the right to get his hands on him to start the match. Snow pulled out an object from his tights and used it as a weapon and then hid it from the referee. Snow dominated the next few minutes of the match as Mathews spoke about how Snow is bitter.
[Q7] There was a Grado chant that Snow acknowledged by telling the fans to shut up. Snow showed frustration when Shera kicked out of his Snowplow finisher. Snow bickered with referee Earl Hebner, who shoved him and insisted it was a two count. Snow pulled out a weapon, but Grado ran out and stopped him from using it. Shera used the distraction to hit Sky Hi for the win…
Mahabali Shera defeated Al Snow.
Backstage, Hardy searched for Willow and ended up finding him. Hardy beat the masked man down heading into the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Everything I wrote earlier about not advertising matches does not apply to this one. Snow kept this mildly entertaining despite Shera’s limitations. Snow vs. Grado may actually be fun.
Hardy was still beating up the Willow backstage when another Willow showed up and attacked him. Hardy regrouped, but a third Willow hit Hardy with a chair…
EC3 made his entrance for the main event cage match. Maria introduced Bennett, who then stood on the stage paced back and forth while Mathews said viewers the opponent would be revealed after the break…
[Q8] [C] Bennett introduced Rockstar Spud as EC3’s first opponent on his road to redemption…
5. EC3 vs. Rockstar Spud in a cage match. EC3 got off to a quick start, but Spud caught him with a low blow. Mathews tried to make a case for calling Spud a turncoat when he turned heel. Probably best just to let that one go. Anyway, Spud took off his belt and used it as a weapon.
EC3 blocked Spud from jabbing the spoke from his belt into his eye, then ran him into the cage a couple times before pressing him over his head and throwing him into the cage. Later, Spud came back and climbed over the top of the cage. EC3 raced up and caught Spud, then press slammed him while standing on the top rope. EC3 performed the One Percenter and pinned Spud to win the match…
EC3 defeated Rockstar Spud.
After the match, Bennett came out and applauded EC3 from the stage. Mathews hyped next week’s main event…
A video package hyped the Galloway vs. Lashley title match for next week…
Powell’s POV: Let’s get the negative out of the way. TNA had three title matches and a cage match, yet didn’t advertise any of them in advance. I keep pointing this out because TNA had been doing a better job than anyone of advertising matches in advance or at least announcing their main event at the top of the show and selling it consistently throughout the show. Fortunately, that won’t be a problem next week, as they set up the Galloway vs. Lashley match. The other negative that I didn’t address during the show is that Spud isn’t in a money role right now. The guy is excellent, but we don’t hear much from him these days and he’s been cast in a secondary role within Matt Hardy’s faction.
On the plus side, this was an entertaining edition of Impact. It wasn’t as hot as last week’s show, but there was a good mix of wrestling, talking, and storytelling. TNA continues it’s run of good television shows in 2016 and I am really looking forward to the Galloway vs. Lashley match for next week.
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...