By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Taped in June in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
[Q1] Impact opened with a man reading a disclaimer in Spanish asking viewers not to try what they were about to see at home… Broken Matt Hardy and Reby Hardy celebrated their baby Maxel’s first birthday somewhere on their property. The disclaimer guy is apparently the gardener based on Matt telling him the garden looks magnificent. Matt gave Maxel a toy xylophone and then cut a promo about restoring honor to the Hardy name. Matt told “Senor Benjamin” to prepare the battlefield for massacre…
Josh Mathews and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero were on commentary in the Impact Zone… Maria introduced “The Miracle” Mike Bennett. Footage aired of Bennett beating Braxton Sutter to retain the X Division Title last week. Mathews said the X Division Title is Bennett’s ticket to a title shot at Destination X, and said he doesn’t really care about the title.
Bennett boasted that he is “the greatest X Division Champion of all-time ever.” Bennett said he wasn’t going to wait to cash in via Option C (give up the X Division Title for a TNA Title shot). Bennett said he is the hero that TNA desperately needs. He said he wants to cash in the title for a title shot tonight. Dixie Carter’s music played and she walked to the ring to no reaction.
Powell’s POV: Okay, there was one guy clapping and a lady who was too lazy to move one of her hands, so she just kinda hit it with the other. Seriously, watch the fans along the rail.
Bennett assumed that Dixie was there to give him his title shot. Dixie said Option C can be in effect, but he has to defend the title one more time. Bennett said Billy Corgan told him he didn’t have to. Carter said she is the president of the company. She booked Bennett face would be the entire X Division roster in an Ultimate X match that would begin immediately. Bennett vented while Carter left the ring. Carter stood on the stage while Jeremy Borash introduced Trevor Lee and Andrew Everett as the first two challengers… [C]
Powell’s POV: I have vented many times about how the Ultimate X concept is misused and just thrown out there. I’m cool with it this time around in that at least it makes sense for Dixie’s character to stack the deck against Bennett as revenge.
1. Mike Bennett (w/Maria) vs. Trevor Lee (w/Gregory Shane Helms) vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Braxton Sutter vs. Mandrews vs. DJ Z vs. Rockstar Spud vs. Andrew Everett in an Ultimate X match for the X Division Title. Edwards received a televised entrance and the match got underway.
[Q2] Early in the match, Sutter blocked a kick by Spud, then kicked him in the face. Spud dropped down and held his mouth and his hand was quickly covered with blood and teeth. A referee helped Spud to the back. Everett had Lee stand on his shoulders and tried to walk his stablemate over to the title belt at 4:00.
Mathews pointed out that Bennett had yet to attempt to climb the cables to get the title belt. Bennett started running and jumping in a failed effort to reach the title belt. Bennett gave up on that plan and went to the cables, but he fell off. Edwards kicked Spud and then performed a top rope huracanrana. At 6:25, Sutter took out a bunch of wrestlers and Helms with a dive. Z followed with a dive onto the same batch of wrestlers (instead of trying to win the match while everyone was down).
Mandrews climbed up the scaffolding that holds the cables above the ring, then did a backflip off it onto a group of wrestlers. Later, Edwards climbed the cables. Meanwhile, Bennett set up a ladder and tried to climb it. Edwards kicked Bennett off the ladder and then pulled down the title for the win…
Eddie Edwards won an Ultimate X match to win the X Division Title in 9:55.
Powell’s POV: The same thing I’ve said about countless Ultimate X matches. Good athleticism, yet most of it didn’t mean anything because the majority of the players don’t have defined characters. They have some talented wrestlers in the division these days. It’s going to be a challenge to get them all over when so few of them mean anything at this point, but they have to start making more of an effort creatively.
Mathews noted that there was an altercation involving Galloway and EC3 following the TNA Title match that resulted in both men being suspended. Footage aired of the duo brawling and being held apart by other wrestlers… Mathews hyped Galloway and EC3 facing off in an interview, and a King of the Mountain Title match… [C]
Powell’s POV: I expected a huge brawl when Mathews said the wrestlers were suspended. Instead, we got a few punches and a brief pull apart, which happens constantly in pro wrestling.
[Q3] 2. Eli Drake vs. James Storm for the King of the Mountain Championship. Mathews said Drake has held the title longer than most people thought he would. That’s a lie because no one cares about how long anyone holds the Little Red Toy Belt That Nobody Cares About. Mathews hyped the TV tapings for next week in Orlando.
Storm put Drake down with a Codebreaker. Storm followed up with a Last Call superkick that resulted in Drake stumbling and falling through the ropes to ringside. Storm went to ringside to grab Drake, who struck him with the title belt that nobody cares about for the DQ…
James Storm beat Eli Drake by DQ in 5:35.
Footage aired of the Final Deletion match that included Jeff jumping out of a tree and all sorts of fireworks… Backstage, Matri Bell slammed a baton against her hand and called for Jade to come out and play… [C]
Powell’s POV: I’m fine with the cheap finish in the first Drake vs. Storm match. I don’t know if they can make anyone care about the title belt, but they may be able to make people want to see Storm beat Drake if they play this right.
Backstage, Edwards spoke about winning the X Division Title again. He said he had to think about Option C…
Powell’s POV: I don’t know how the spoilers played out, but I would like to see the right X Division Champion care enough about the X Division Title to decline to cash in his title for a TNA Title shot.
[Q4] 3. Jade vs. Marti Bell in a street fight. The women used a bunch of weapons. At one point, Marti shoved Jade onto a trashcan lid in an award spot. She followed up by kicking the lid into Jade. Marti struck Jade with a kendo stick. Jade asked for more. Marti obliged. Jade blocked the third swing, then took the stick and struck Marti with it repeatedly. Jade covered Marti with a trashcan and then struck the can with the stick a few times. Jade dropkicked the can, then covered Marti for two.
Mathews said the women started on the same day in TNA and jealousy drove them apart. Marti regained control and grabbed a baton from ringside. Jade pulled out nunchakus and got the better of it. Jade picked up the baton, threw it down, and dropkicked Marti. Jade performed a safe looking package piledriver onto a chair and got the win…
Jade beat Marti in a street fight in 5:45.
Powell’s POV: It was too soon to go to a hardcore match. The fans reacted to the weapon shots and then just sat there for the finish because I’m convinced they have no idea which woman they are supposed to cheer for. Jade just didn’t make enough of a connection as a babyface (I assume) before this feud started. By the way, that wasn’t an insult when I wrote that the finish looked safe. That’s a risky move even without the chair.
Light music played as Jeff sat down in his home and strummed an acoustic guitar. A drone arrived outside his window. “What the hell is going on?” Jeff said. We heard Matt’s voice call out Brother Nero. Jeff smashed the drone with a guitar. A second drone cast an image of Matt’s head. Matt cut a promo about the final deletion and who controls the Hardy name. Jeff swung and missed with the guitar. “Oh, hell no,” an angry Jeff said. Jeff hopped on his dirt bike and chased the drone until he approached water and had to stop.
Matt was shown sitting on a lawnmower and he spoke about how Jeff’s beloved yard was about to be broken. Matt struck the crucifix pose while driving the lawnmower and holding the drone…
Powell’s POV: It’s so insane that you can’t take your eyes off it.
[Q5] Bennett and Maria stood in the ring for a promo after Mathews recapped Edwards winning the X Division Title. Bennett said the fans don’t deserve him. “I am the hero this company needs to survive,” Bennett said. “Don’t you get it?” He said he is better than Edwards and Lashley, and deserves to be in the main event for the TNA Title.
Maria called out Billy Corgan, the rock star who gets the same non-reaction as Dixie Carter gets in the Impact Zone. Maria spoke about how she deserves to be president of TNA. Maria said Dixie’s week of vacation wasn’t enough punishment. She said it has to be her or Dixie.
Dixie came out again to the sound of her entrance music and crickets. Maria demanded to know whether it will “you or me” obsessively and repeatedly. Corgan stood between them for a moment. Carter said she is calling Maria’s bluff. She said she is president of the company and she isn’t going anywhere. Dixie said she struck Maria, but she sat out a week. She accused Bennett and Maria of manipulation the rules and Corgan.
Bennett said they have made the biggest difference in the company. He claimed people watch because of him. Bennett said Dixie is going to put him in the main event or he and Maria will walk. Maria started the “me or you” think again. Corgan eventually screamed “Stop!” He told Maria to take a deep breath and a step back.
Corgan said he has admiration for their ability, but they are acting like two spoiled children. Corgan said Bennett had what he wanted, but he’s not in the main event is that he blew it by losing. Corgan said Dixie has been more than fair. “I’m not going to stand here and watch you take advantage of her like others have,” Corgan said. He added that he came to TNA a year ago to clean things up and then said enough of the politicking. He told them they know where the door is if they want to quit.
Bennett asked if they want them to quit. “We’re not gonna quit,” Bennett said. He said Carter and Corgan made their bed and now they have to lie in it. Bennett said he is going to ruin the entire Destination X show. Bennett and Maria left the ring together… Mathews hyped the six-man tag…
Powell’s POV: Can’t they just make Bennett clean toilets again like EC3 did when he was in charge of the show for one week? Bennett threatening to ruin Destination X should actually make the show better since whatever he and Maria do will be better than watching a bunch of guys who lack character depth perform big flip dives onto one another for two hours.
Back at Broken Matt’s crib, Hardy told Reby that Final Deletion would take place. he told the lawn guy to prepare. They showed Senor Benjamin preparing the battlefield with fireworks. Matt brought him gasonline and told him to apply it generously to the battleground. “It takes a lot of fuel to delete Brother Nero,” Matt said…
Lashley spoke about Eddie Edwards winning the X Title. He said you fight with your hands, not a bunch of circus tricks. Lashley congratulated Edwards and said he had a huge decision to make. Lashley said it should be very simple in that Edwards should keep his title and continue to reign as X Champion “because you’re not ready for this”…
[Q6] 4. Abyss, Crazzy Steve, and Rosemary vs. Robbie E, Jessie Godderz, and Raquel. Before the match, Jessie had footage from his hidden cameras show Rosemary making out with Bram. The BroMans team attacked a surprised Decay to start the match. Late in the match, Abyss tried to chokeslam his partner onto Robbie, who rolled out of the way. BroMans hit their BroDown (a/k/a Hart Attack Clothesline) for the win…
Robbie E, Jessie Godderz, and Raquel beat Decay in 4:45.
Powell’s POV: The hidden camera bit also closed out the story of Jessie and Raquel keeping a secret from Robbie, as Godderz explained that they know he can’t keep a secret. The broadcast team tried to play up BroMans beating the tag champions and also questioned whether Decay are on the same page following the Rosemary make out video. Unfortunately, there’s still no indication that BroMans are catching on as a babyface act.
[Q7] Eddie Edwards stood in the ring with Jeremy Borash, who said it was time to announce his intention regarding a possible TNA Title match at Destination X. Edwards spoke about winning the title and was about to announce his intention when Lashley’s music interrupted him.
Lashley spoke about how he likes Edwards. He said he’s a likable person with a great smile and a great X Division Champion. However, Lasley said he destroys people and ends careers. Lashley said Edwards is a great tag wrestler, but he doesn’t want him to make a mistake.
Edwards said Lashley doesn’t scare him. He spoke about the injuries he’s suffered and how he kept fighting. Lashley put his hand on Edwards, who slapped it away. Lashley asked the fans if they see Kurt Angle, the boasted that he sent his ass home. Lashley said Galloway and EC3 are both gone too.
Lashley said they could make history. He told Edwards not to vacate the title. He said they could do champion vs. champion. He said that if Edwards beats him, he gets both titles, but if Lashley beats him then “I rip the heart out of the X Division.” Lashley said that’s how you make history.
Lashley said the other option is Edwards take his title, go home, and forget this ever happened. “Save yourself,” Lashley told him. Edwards said Lashley doesn’t know him well. He said the smart move is to do what Lashley said, but his heart was telling him something very different. Edwards said the X Division Title means everything and everyone who has ever held the title feels the same way, they are the best wrestlers in the world.
“Then let’s do it,” Lashley said before holding up his title. Edwards did the same and agreed to the match. Lashley face-palmed Edwards, then suplexed him. Lashley went for a spear, but Edwards caught him with a kick that cleared him from the ring. Edwards held up the X Division Title, then picked up the TNA Title and held up both belts…
A brief video hyped the main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: A strong segment with Lashley continuing to be an amazingly believable badass champion. This may have been the best promo that Edwards has ever delivered. He showed good fire and seemed much more comfortable than usual. He closed on kind of a flat note when he said the X Champions all know they are the best in the world. There was a time when that could have been said with a straight face, but we’ve seen some forgettable champions in recent years. The crowd just didn’t react to it as much as they were some of the other things he said. Still, a good segment that set up an intriguing main event for next week.
Mathews recapped the weak brawl that led to Galloway and EC3 being suspended, then introduced them both from their homes. EC3, who apparently has a very strange room in his home based on his backdrop, said he’s a professional. He said Galloway can’t be in the same room with him because he’s a hot head.
Galloway said EC3 isn’t the wrestler or the man that he is. He said EC3’s opponents think he’s entertaining and in good shape. EC3 said the TNA Title is won in matches, and Galloway didn’t win his match (um, EC3 was pinned). Galloway said the punches that EC3 threw at him afterward were nothing, then challenged him to a match. EC3 said Galloway through he was his problem and now he is. EC3 said he will walk to the ring and wait for Galloway to meet him and then kick his ass at Destination X…
The TNA referee arrived at Broken Matt’s battleground and asked, “What is this?” The dark setting was lit up by lights around the ring. Matt asked if he is a licensed official. The ref confirmed he is. Matt said that under no circumstances should he resuscitate Brother Nero. Matt played the violin (because why the hell not?). Jeff arrived on his dirt bike and stood on the apron. Matt realized he was there and said he knew he would come. He said this would be Brother Nero’s true armageddon and his deletion…
Powell’s POV: Admit it, you can’t wait to see the madness. Fine, I’ll admit it first. I’m hooked. I’m all in. The scripted insanity is truly brilliant.
[Q8] [C] The landscaper cautioned viewers…
5. Broken Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy. Dramatic music played as the match got underway. Matt reached under the ring and pulled out a fence covered with leaves and used it as a weapon. Matt hit a Twist of Fate for two. He got frustrated and hit Jeff with a kendo stick.
Matt pulled out a ladder and shoved it into the throat of Jeff. A shot time later, Jeff recovered and had Matt laid out on the ladder that was set up over the middle rope. Jeff climbed a tree and performed a Swanton that didn’t really hit Matt, yet Jeff covered him fro two.
Matt rolled to ringside. The music tempo changed to being upbeat as he lit Roman candles and fired them at Jeff, who asked, “What’s wrong with you?” while shielding himself with a garbage can lid. Matt pulled out a rake and said, “Brother Nero, it’s over.” Matt’s expression turned to shock and he yelled, “Oh shit (censored),” and ran away. Jeff started firing a Roman candle at him. Matt his under a boat.
Matt put Jeff in a sleeper and they both tumbled into the water. Matt quickly emerged. “Brother Nero’s been flushed,” Matt said. A Willow laugh played out. Willow emerged from the water and choked Matt with an umbrella. Suddenly, Senor Benjamin used a taser on Willow, who then pushed him out of the picture.
Matt picked up a small flashlight and called out for Brother Nero. He found Willow lying on the grass and called for the referee. Matt pinned Willow, but then unmasked him to reveal it was Senor Benjamin. “No!” Matt yelled before asking where his brother was again.
Jeff attacked Matt from behind and they fought into a big dirt pile. Jeff put Matt in a chokehold. Matt’s arm went limp, so Jeff released the hold and then looked up at his Hardy symbol. Jeff climbed to the top of the ladder. A video flashed from earlier with Matt saying the birthday candle would be lit when the deletion of Brother Nero occurs. Reby handed Matt the candle, which he used to light the symbol that Jeff was standing on top of. Jeff fell off the burning symbol. Matt threw him into the dirt below and then pinned him to win the match. Matt struck a crucifix pose in front of his fallen brother and the burning symbol to close the show…
Broken Matt Hardy beat Jeff Hardy in the Final Deletion match.
Powell’s POV: I love the insanity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not something I want to see on a regular basis. TNA desperately needs viewers. They’ve delivered six months of quality television shows and it hasn’t resulted in a substantial viewership increase. If this is what it takes to get viewers, then I say go for it. I also like that the show with the ratings stunt had good hype for next week’s main event. Obviously, this isn’t going to be for everyone, but TNA needs attention and this seemed to generate more going into the show than anything else they have done in ages.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Mister Saint Laurent, who offers passionate words about what MLW delivers that pro wrestling has been missing, addresses criticism of MLW's contracts, straying from the path that his family paved for him, discusses the MLW Saturday Night SuperFight pay-per-view event that will be held on November 2 in Chicago, and more (62:44)...