By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Broken Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy in The Final Deletion: TNA went all out on this one. They pulled no punches, and even had Jeff Hardy fight off a swarm of Matt Hardy drones. This was great! Baby Maxel’s birthday was awesome because everything involving Maxel ends up awesome. I did get a lot of Lucha Underground vibes from this scene too, but mostly because of the subtitled Spanish, the Latin themed birthday, and the luchador balloon that looked a lot like King Cuerno that was in most of the camera shots. The drone scene was so ridiculous that it was awesome in an eye catching way, even using WWE’s Triple H terminator effect from WrestleMania and a Matt Version 1 reference in Matt saying “Vangard 1”. The match was unlike any we’ve ever seen and they beat Lucha Underground to the punch in having matches contained in cinematics (Will Pruett and I have both been critical over the dissonance between cinematic fighting and in-ring fighting on Lucha Underground, and TNA has beat them to the punch in putting a cinematic with moves you see in the ring). The match stands as one of a kind and it also sets the bar for anyone else who attempts to do a similar thing. There was cheesy action music, a firework cannon battle, swantons from a tree, Willow, and other outrageous things you can’t pull off in the Impact Zone. Another benefit with staying away from the Impact Zone is you don’t have to deal with that apathetic crowd. This is a must see event, and it didn’t even overshadow the main event picture and rather stood parallel with it to draw eyes to the world title scene.
Eddie Edwards and Bobby Lashley: While it would have been preferred for TNA to have built up the X Division title and Eddie Edwards over the span of at least a month, Eddie and Lashley had a solid encounter to set up a Title vs. Title match next week. Combined with good writing and natural ability since Lashley first turned heel, Lashley was particularly presented well here when he took away the Option C option to look both like a badass while also getting greedy for wanting the X Title. Eddie Edwards sometimes comes off as a generic babyface in his promos, but he worked here with the great bully Lashley to work off of. My prediction would be that Lashley wins the X Division Championship next week, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave Eddie Edwards the “Chris Sabin Run” with the World Title. I actually hope they would give Eddie more than just the Chris Sabin Run, but I don’t have confidence in TNA that they would properly book the X Division two months from now.
Drew Galloway and Ethan Carter III: The fear that I had a few weeks ago was that EC3, Galloway, and Lashley matches would get overexposed. I give TNA credit again for pitting the ego of Drew Galloway against the ego of EC3. This is a unique twist on the traditional babyface vs. babyface feud and comes off as very natural. You have EC3 trying to gain the respect of people who he wronged as a top heel. Galloway is the proud pro wrestling guy who never lets up in how proud he is. This was a logical path to get here and I wonder if we get a non-finish next week at Destination X? If TNA plays their cards right they can drag this feud out to Bound for Glory, which might allow Eddie Edwards to make his way to the TNA top six.
BroMans vs. Decay: This gets a minor Hit based on the in-ring action. BroMans continue to click as far as wrestling is concerned. Raquel wasn’t even put in a position to look terrible even though we all know she’s extremely green based on her Tough Enough experience. She’s better than Rebel, who is TNA’s version of Eva Marie. Decay is stuck working the only tag team in TNA right now, but at least TNA is attempting a story with Rosemary and Bram. I’m not sure where that ends up. I kinda wish Rosemary were in the Knockouts division since she had that really good match with Gail Kim a few months ago.
Eli Drake vs. James Storm: This feud is already looking like the best thing that Eli Drake has been a part of in TNA. It gives James Storm something to do, which TNA hasn’t figured out since Beer Money ended. And it allows Eli Drake to work with a veteran who really understands how pro wrestling works. The match was standard and had a cheap finish, but it’s baby steps and you don’t have to rush everything all of the time. Even though nobody cares about the TNA toy belt, at least the feud can survive without that prop. Maybe the belt is meant to be a part of Drake’s costume now, who knows? Storm is playing the role that Mr. Kennedy played last year when he built up heel EC3 to world title status. I believe Storm could do better than Kennedy because he’s better at controlling the crowd to do whatever he wants.
Overall Show: Even though this seemed like an angle heavy show, they built the show around the right angles with the Matt Hardy thing being the draw. This episode had people drawn to the Hardy angle but subliminally they build up Destination X next week with two stellar matchups. On one hand we have the EC3 vs. Drew Galloway in a grudge match and on the other we have Eddie Edwards vs. Bobby Lashley, and they built up both matches well to hopefully draw new viewers.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Dixie Carter and Billy Corgan: These two seem to be a waste of time and time that could have probably been better spent on two X Division singles matches as opposed to putting the entire division in weekly spotfests. Billy Corgan’s acting is particularly strange in that his routine consists of him leaning in to people and moving his hands all over the place. Dixie is also popping up all over the place again for no reason. Can we just not have authority figures in TNA? I feel bad for Mike Bennett and Maria for having to be trapped in this corner of TNA with Dixie and Corgan. At least Bennett and Maria are still on point on the microphone.
Ultimate X: The match had the proper result with Eddie Edwards picking up the strap, but the match overall has been run into the ground like the entire X Division. That run-down was emphasized with Pope D’Angelo Dinero saying that we’ve never seen the entire X Division in a match like this before (even though we see the entire X Division in title matches like this every week with the entire division, we even had ultimate X a few weeks ago). The cool moonsault from the structure just blended in like every other thing in this match since we see these indy spot fests every week. The Helms faction became an afterthought in this match, which is a shame since it looks like Gregory Helms is trying his best to get Trevor Lee and the division over. For some reason, TNA creative feels the need to bury Trevor Lee amongst all of the other X Division wrestlers as cannon fodder.
Marti Bell vs. Jade: The hardcore match was simply not that good. The weapons overall seemed very superfluous since it looked like Jade and Marti were struggling to get them involved in a feud that hasn’t built to a finale yet. At least I don’t think the feud’s over. It hasn’t even really started since we haven’t had characters established for Marti and Jade. A small highlight from this match was Pope in a bad way. One funny comment was Pope talking about Jade and Marti being “in the kitchen” since cookie pans were used. Pope also assumed Jade was Japanese because she’s Asian (even though Mia Yim is more of a Korean name).
Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...