By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
[Q1] Impact opened with a recap of the Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy saga from last week… Josh Mathews and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero were on commentary… “Broken” Matt Hardy made his way to the ring for a promo. He claimed that Brother Nero/Jeff Hardy is out of his life forever. He claimed he beat Jeff so bad that fans will never see him again. Matt called out TNA Champion Drew Galloway.
Galloway headed to the ring as a recap of his win over Decay last week was shown. He said he’s known Matt a long time and he’s never see him like this. “You’ve lost your damn mind,” Galloway said. Matt said he has evolved. Matt said Jeff is gone and he is the lone Hardy in TNA, and he deserves to be added to the main event at Slammiversary.
Galloway said he and Hardy had their fight and it’s over. He said he has a personal score to settle with Lashley. Matt persisted, but Galloway stood his ground initially. Galloway said that if he wants to be remembered as one of the top champions of all time then has to shake things up. Galloway said he was going to defend his title against Matt just days before Slammiversary.
The broadcast team acted shocked by this development. They hyped EC3 and Gail Kim vs. Mike Bennett and Maria, and Trevor Lee vs. Eddie Edwards for the X Division Title for later in the show… Jade made her entrance and took a seat at ringside, then Madison Rayne made her entrance for a match against Sienna… [C]
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team did a nice job of putting over the idea that it was unheard of for a champion to defend his title this close to a major pay-per-view. Galloway has pushed the idea of being a fighting champion consistently, so this is fits nicely with his character.
Sienna made her entrance and was accompanied by Allie, who is Maria’s assistant. Allie introduced Sienna as the biggest, fastest, and strongest knockout. She announced that the winner of the match would challenge Jade for the TNA Knockouts Title at Slammiversary…
[Q2] 1. Sienna vs. Madison Rayne for a TNA Knockouts Title shot. Madison grabbed Sienna after she said “out with the old.” Sienna attacked Madison to start the match. Mathews hyped that next week’s show will be live and will go long, so he encouraged viewers to set their DVR accordingly. Sienna hit her finisher and won clean. After the match, Sienna wanted to dish out more punishment, but Jade made the save and ran off Sienna and Allie…
Sienna defeated Madison Rayne in 2:40 to earn a TNA Knockouts Title shot at Slammiversary.
Backstage, Maria and Mike Bennett delivered a promo. Maria said she is going to end the career of Gail Kim at Slammiversary. Bennett said that that EC3’s redemption quest will end on Sunday “or maybe I’ll just end you tonight”… Mathews hyped the upcoming matches… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s good to see the women get a pair of matches at Slammiversary. The women’s division was in complete disarray not all that long ago, but the additions of Maria, Sienna, and Allie and the improved positioning of Jade have breathed new life into the division.
An Eli Drake video filmed outdoors aired. The idea was that he was on a mountain and was inviting Bram to come to Slammiversary and attempt to knock him off…
Drake headed to the ring for a Fact of Life talkshow segment and then introduced himself as his first guest. Drake said Bram will get a rematch for the King of the Mountain Title at Slammiversary. Drake introduced Decay as his next guests. Rosemary led Abyss and Crazzy Steve to the ring as Mathews hyped their Slammiversary tag title defense against BroMans. Drake referred to the trio as freaks and said he meant that in the nicest way possible.
[Q3] Drake asked about their match with BroMans. Steve said madness lives inside everyone and they just choose to embrace it. They all said BroMans will decay. BroMans made their entrance with Raquel and spoke from the entrance ramp. Jessie said they would beat Decay’s asses and win the tag titles on Sunday.
Rosemary asked who said anything about Slammiversary and indicated they were going to fight on the spot. Raquel said they have friends. Grado and Mahabali Shera made their entrance, which was Drake’s cue to hit his “dummy” button repeatedly. Grado and Shera were on their way to the ring when they were jumped by The Tribunal and Al Snow. Everyone brawled at ringside while Drake spoke in the ring. Bram came out and roughed up Drake, who fled to ringside… [C]
Powell’s POV: I guess the idea was to get Slammiversary’s undercard hype out of the way in one segment, which is fine by me. Decay deserves better than this at Slammiversary. Things should get better once Davey Richards is healthy.
2. Bram, Grado, Mahabali Shera, Robbie E, and Jessie Godderz (w/Raquel) vs. Abyss, Crazzy Steve, Eli Drake, Basille Baracca, and Baron Dax (w/Al Snow). Godderz had a nice run with press slams and a nice dropkick. Abyss cut off his Boston Crab on an opponent by grabbing him by the throat.
[Q4] Later, Grado checked in and performed a top rope splash on Drake for a two count. Drake came back with a combination that concluded with a clothesline and pinned Drake to win the match for his team…
Abyss, Crazzy Steve, Eli Drake, Basille Baracca, and Baron Dax beat Bram, Grado, Mahabali Shera, Robbie E, and Jessie Godderz in 7:00.
Powell’s POV: I cringed when I saw the Slammiversary undercard wrestlers were getting a 10-man tag match, but it turned out fine. The wrestlers kept a good pace and the crowd was into it.
Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviewed Gail Kim and EC3. Kim said Maria can’t hide behind her husband because of her partner. EC3 said his match against Bennett is about who is the best now and he said he will stand above him on Sunday… Mathews hyped the mixed tag match… [C]
Mathews hyped the main event and then the opening segment was recapped…
Backstage, Matt Hardy told Lashley that he assumes he is upset, but tonight is destiny and this is his time to take it back. Lashley asked if he is supposed to sit back and let it happen. Hardy said he supposes Lashley has a choice just like Jeff did, who is gone forever. Lashley said the title is his and he’s not letting anyone stand in his way…
Ring entrances for the mixed tag match took place. Once everyone was in the ring, Maria took the mic and introduced herself as the leader of the Knockouts Division. As the leader, she said she chooses not to wrestle. She said she would wrestle Gail Kim at Slammiversary, but her apprentice Allie would do her dirty work instead. Allie put on kneepads and shoes in the ring.
[Q5] 3. Mike Bennett and Allie (w/Maria) vs. EC3 and Gail Kim. Bennett and EC3 started, but Bennett tagged in Allie before making contact with EC3. Bennett pumped up Allie to face Kim. Allie eagerly turned around right into a punch from Kim. Later, Allie slapped EC3’s chest repeatedly as he just looked at her. Kim sent Allie to ringside and then dove onto her.
Bennett brought a chair in and approached EC3 from behind, but Bennett dropped the chair and ran backstage when EC3 caught him. Kim pinned Allie with an inside cradle. Afterward, Kim went after Maria, but Sienna ran out and attacked Kim. They wrapped Kim’s knee in a chair and then Maria slammed another chair down on it…
EC3 and Gail Kim beat Mike Bennett and Allie in 4:50.
Mathews hyped the main event and hyped the Slammiversary main event, then hyped the X Division Title match. A Willow laugh and image took over the screen momentarily… [C]
Powell’s POV: Good final hype for two Slammiversary matches in that it left viewers wanting to see the babyfaces get their hands on the heels. Bennett fled before EC3 could get his hands on him. Likewise, Kim never got her hands on Maria. I assume Gail will be selling a knee injury on Sunday, which should lead to the majority of the offense that Maria gets in the match.
A shot aired of Braxton Sutter (a/k/a Pepper Parks). Mathews said Sutter would make his Impact debut later in the show… Ring introductions for the X Division Title match took place.
4. Trevor Lee (w/Gregory Shane Helms) vs. Eddie Edwards for the X Division Title. Edwards threw a running kick at Lee that knocked him off the ring aprons during his entrance. Edwards followed Lee to ringside and and worked him over.
[Q6] Later, Edwards performed a nice dive onto Lee at ringside and then followed up with a suicide dive. Back inside the ring, Lee came back and performed a nice German suplex into a bridge for a two count. At 6:15, Edwards went to the top rope and Andrew Everett ran out and knocked him off while Helms distracted the referee. Lee went for a cover, but Edwards kicked out at two. DJ Z ran out and pulled down Everett, but Helms took out Z. Helms struck Edwards with the title belt and then Lee rolled up Edwards and held the tights for the win…
Trevor Lee pinned Eddie Edwards in 7:15 to retain the X Division Title.
Backstage, Lashley entered Drew Galloway’s locker room and told him he wasn’t there to fight him. Rather, he said he is pulling for Galloway to retain in the main event and then it’s the two of them on Sunday and he will either knock him out or tap him out. Galloway said he tapped out Kurt Angle and asked Lashley what makes him think he can’t do the same to him…
Powell’s POV: A good X Division Title match. Sure, it had a lot of outside interference, but I assume that leads to a rematch being set for Slammiversary. I still wish we knew something about Lee aside from the fact that he is Helms’s guy. How about some sit-down interviews with Lee and Edwards to help them establish their personalities?
The Gail Kim injury angle was recapped… Backstage, Kim was in agony as she received medical attention…
5. Braxton Sutter vs. Kalus. The broadcast team played this up as Sutter’s debut and spoke about how he must have butterflies. They also acknowledged that it was his opponent’s debut as well. Sutter won with a Flatliner.
[Q7] After the match, Jeremy Borash interviewed Saxton, who said he worked for a very long time to be in TNA. Saxton said he is in TNA to take over…
Braxton Sutter beat Kalus in 2:15.
Backstage, Willow said the future is here for Matt Hardy. He said surprises are so unknown and the surprises await… A shot aired of Galloway walking backstage, then Reby Hardy was shown speaking into the ear of Matt Hardy… [C]
Powell’s POV: I missed the first name of Kalus and he didn’t get a graphic or a televised entrance. It was odd that it was also his first Impact match, yet all of the focus was on this being Sutter’s first Impact match. Still, I like the way Sutter is being positioned as an older rookie.
Backstage, EC3 delivered a promo about facing Bennett on Sunday… Mathews ran through some of the Slammiversary matches… A Galloway vs. Lashley video package aired… Ring entrances for the main event took place…
[Q8] [C] 6. Drew Galloway vs. Matt Hardy for the TNA Title. Galloway jumped out to the quick start and took the fight to ringside where he performed a backbreaker onto the ring apron. Hardy came back with a Side Effect on the ring steps. Hardy came back and got a two count off an enzuigiri. Hardy applied a submission hold, but Galloway broke it with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex.
Galloway threw a series of chops at Hardy, who caught him with an elbow to the head. Hardy went for an elbow off the middle rope, but Galloway caught him and slammed him down. Galloway placed Matt on the top rope and went for a superplex, but Hardy swept his leg out from under him and then headbutted him until Galloway ended up in the tree of woe. Galloway sat up and flung Hardy down to the mat. Galloway set up for his Claymore Kick, but Lashley ran in and attacked him for the DQ finish…
Drew Galloway beat Matt Hardy by DQ in 8:30.
Lashley went for a spear, but Galloway stepped side and Lashley ended up crashing and burning at ringside. Galloway went to ringside and he and Lashley fought their way to the back.
Matt Hardy stood in the ring. The lights went out. The Willow laugh could be heard. When the lights turned out again, a bunch of fans at ringside were wearing Willow masks and chanting for Willow. Four Willows walked onto the stage. The real Willow said Matt’s cloak is a joke, and Jeff thinks Matt is a joke too. Willow said Slammiversary will be Matt’s armageddon. Willow said Matt will always live in his shadow.
Jeff Hardy’s music played and he walked onto the stage with his head covered and then removed the cover and started putting neon green face paint on. Jeff and Matt brawled in the ring to close the show…
Powell’s POV: The finish of the main event was logical given that there’s no reason to have either man lose heading into Sunday. The Pope sold it well by explaining that Lashley didn’t want Galloway to lose the title, but he didn’t want him to win the match either. Overall, Impact delivered good final hype to the top Slammiversary matches. I am looking forward to Slammiversary and I’m hoping that the creative team will deliver satisfying finishes rather than saving them for rematches on the live Impact. The build has been strong and I am hopeful they will do the right thing on Sunday. Join me for live coverage of Slammiversary on Sunday night.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Brian Fritz of Sporting News and Between The Ropes discussing WrestleMania 36, WWE television from the empty WWE Performance Center, his own travel woes, NFL free agency, and more...