By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Taped in July in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
At Cameron, North Carolina, Jeff Hardy was standing on a mound contemplating. He was thinking deeply about the moment when he and Matt Hardy won the TNA Tag Team Championships the last time, followed by the continuation of the TNA Tag Curse with Jeff Hardy suffering major injuries from a dirt bike accident. Vanguard 1 (The Drone) passed by leading to Matt Hardy appearing out of nowhere to taunt Jeff. Matt told talked about how the mound that they were standing on was what caused their tag team to become “broken”. He blamed Jeff for seeking some sort of redemption at this moment.
Matt called Jeff an empty vessel because he deleted everything that Jeff was. Matt dared Jeff to try to jump the mound again. Matt said he knows the result because he saw it in his “premonition”. Matt called Jeff a coward and an obsolete mule. Matt said he wanted to see Jeff fail “a-geen, a-geen, and a-geen” (again). Jeff said he was going to succeed in an angry voice. Jeff went straight for his dirt bike and went to attempt the jump. The camera cut to the Impact Zone…
At the Impact Zone, Lashley made his entrance as Josh Matthews recapped the events of last week’s where Moose interfered in the X-Title vs. World Title match. Lashley said he doesn’t care who, what, where, why, or to what extent he has to do the things he does. He said he beats people up on a regular basis and that’s why he’s the TNA “Heavyweight World Champion”. Lashley said he has a problem when someone comes in his company and gets in his business. Lashley said he should also be the X Division Champion and tonight he was going to beat Eddie Edwards to win said title.
Lashley said he wanted to deal with “this Moose”. A portion of the crowd did the Moose arm pump thing. Lashley said because Moose calls himself a so-called athlete and played in the NFL, that Moose thinks he can stick his nose in Lashley’s business. Lashley said what he does is different because he doesn’t need protective equipment to call himself a man. Lashley said he enters a cage or a ring with his bare knuckles to knockout, choke, or destroy people. Lashley dared Moose to bring his big goofy ass out here so he can destroy moose just like he destroys everyone else on the roster.
Instead, The Miracle Mike Bennett made his entrance alone. Bennett mocked Lashley’s first name Bobby. Lashley said he didn’t mind “Mikey”, nice comeback. Bennett said he can come and say and do whatever he wants because of the big man he brought out to beat Lashley’s ass. He said he’s sick and tired of the company screwing him over and Lashley has something that belongs to him. Bennett said the title was coming to him because of, this man right here. Moose’s theme and video wall happened and Moose did his Moose arm pump thing. Moose stood next to Bennett with a blank stare at Lashley.
Lashley asked Bennett if his boyfriend was coming over to get the ass kicking that he deserves. Moose held Bennett back and unbuttoned his shirt. Mathews brought up how Moose was an Atlanta Falcon. Eddie Edwards ran out to ambush Moose. Moose and Bennett had the numbers advantage until Lashley evened up the numbers. Eddie Edwards performed a Tope Suicida topple Bennett and Moose. Suddenly, Dixie Carter appeared on the titantron and the crowd went silent. Dixie told everyone to stop. Dixie said that Lashley and Eddie should get their “game…faces…on…”. She said nothing was stopping them from having a winner in that match, not Moose or Bennett. Dixie said if either of them got involve, Bennett will be fired on the spot. Dixie said the Bound For Glory Playoffs was happening now with Bennett’s match happening next. Moose was banned from ringside.
Jeff Hardy’s music played but Matt Hardy came out instead wearing some kind of red dress (I’m drawing a blank if this is a reference, but it was cool/funny). Matt said to stop the musical monstrosity. He said Impact and Dixie didn’t understand that an obsolete mule like Brother Nero doesn’t deserve a shot at the world title. Matt said TNA didn’t have the express written consent to use Matt’s intellectual property. Mike Bennett looked confused. Matt said since he was such a nice guy he was going to let Brother Nero appear in front of “you ants”. He said he let Jeff prepare for this match in Cameron, North Carolina.
An abridged version of the opening video played. This time with the ending of Jeff Hardy wiping out at the ramp. Matt laughed and said he knew that Jeff couldn’t do it. Matt said Jeff’s bike was broken and soon Brother Nero will as well. He told Brother Nero to follow him because he has a world title to win. Back on Impact, Matt said he was allowing Jeff to wrestle tonight and that Vanguard 1 composed entrance music for Brother Nero. This entrance theme consisted of a robotic Jeff Hardy voice saying “I fade away and classify myself as obsolete” with Reby Sky interjecting “Obsolete” as the quote looped. Jeff’s entrance namecard said “Brother Nero #ObsoleteMule”. Jeff walked to the ring trying to not look at Reby and Matt… [C]
John’s Thoughts:: A packed opening that was mostly good combined with a bit of confusion. The Matt Hardy stuff continues to be the highlight of the show with Hardy adding more and more layers on the Broken act while supplementing it with more Lucha Underground-esque cinematics. In the segment prior, Lashley continues to be extremely confident in the microphone and even shows good wit at points. Where TNA is losing me is anything regarding Moose. Are people supposed to cheer him? That’s what they are encouraging, yet he’s attached to the overconfident heel Mike Bennett. Dixie appears, which is always a buzzkill, and she wants us to think of the former ROH guys as heels, I think? Let’s see where this goes but so far it is unnecessarily contrived.
1. Brother Nero vs. Mike Bennett in a first round BFG Playoff Match. Mike Bennett gained the upper hand early on with Jeff selling injuries from the crash. Jeff attempted a reversal but couldn’t get off his feet. Mike Bennett used this moment to lock in an armbar on Jeff. Jeff managed to get the rope break. Bennett earned the quick victory after a cutter.
Mike Bennett defeated Brother Nero via pinfall in 2:11 to advance in the BFG Playoffs.
Jeff Hardy sold the pain inside the ring as Matt smiled at ringside. He grabbed a mic and called Jeff a pathetic, pitiful, weak, obsolete mule. He told Jeff to get out of the ring since he’s beneath Matt. He kept calling Jeff obsolete. He called Jeff a vessel of flesh that is pitiful, pathetic, and empty. Matt said he was going to break Jeff’s back and to begone. Jeff shook hands with fans at ringside. Matt asked to bring out his opponent so he can delete, delete, delete… delete! James Storm came out on the Boozer Cruiser.
2. Broken Matt Hardy vs. James Storm. Matt was chomping his teeth and staring at Storm before the initial lock up. The Dixie Carter Twitter reminder appeared on the screen. James Storm dominated early and grounded Matt Hardy with the Sling Blade. Matt retreated at ringside and was pursued by Storm immediately who slammed him into the steps. James Storm rode the Boozer Cruiser and crashed it into the balls of Hardy. Cut to commercial.[C]
Matt Hardy was biting the face of James Storm back from the break. He gave Storm a Belly to Belly for his own pin attempt. Storm fought out of a sleeper, but Matt stayed on top of the attack which led to a Side Effect on the ring apron. Hardy dragged the steps out and attempted a power bomb. Storm backdropped Hardy over the barricade. Matt Hardy ended Storm’s momentum by biting Storm’s hand. Storm rested a bit and used the steps to jump the barricade and hit Hardy with a lariat. Storm brought Hardy back in the ring and hit Hardy with a codebreaker (for some reason Pope and Mathews always calls this move the Lungblower, when the lungblower is the backstabber since it attacks the lungs). James Storm took his time in telegraphing the Last Call Superkick. Reby ended that by hitting Storm’s leg with a hammer. Matt Hardy hit the Twist of Fate on Storm to earn the pinfall victory.
Broken Matt Hardy defeated James Storm via pinfall in 4:45 of TV time to advance in the BFG Playoffs.
Matt Hardy’s classical entrance theme as he did his weird faces in the ring. He also did his delete hand movements. Josh Mathews recapped the opening segment with Dixie Carter banning Moose and Mike Bennett from the main event. The interview guy wanted Eddie Edwards’s thoughts about Moose. Edwards talked about Moose being a good NFL athlete who wrestled around the world. He talked about Bennett and Moose trying to crush his dreams and tonight was all about second chances. He reminded the interviewer about Moose and Bennett being banned. Edwards said he was becoming the new World Heavyweight Champion tonight.
An Ethan Carter III vignette aired. The video featured his winning streak as well as him lifting weights. EC3 talked about Lashley being a dominant world champion and he said he can destroy the destroyer because he did before and always will… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Not much on in-ring action tonight, but luckily we got mostly Hardy brother segments, which are the top dsraw on Impact these days. Storm does look like a dope for telegraphing the superkick, but that’s his gimmick and he isn’t in the main event so it was harmless.
Mike Bennett complained to Moose about Dixie Carter. He said that Dixie doesn’t know who he is. Bennett said he controls his own destiny. He talked about beating Jeff Hardy and was two wins to make it to Bound For Glory. Bennett said he was going to wait until Maria’s “State of the Knockouts” address and then go home to let things settle. Moose exclaimed that he came here to make an Impact. Moose said that if Bobby wants a fight he’ll give him a fight and that he didn’t care about no cage. Moose marched away. Mike Bennett chased Moose to stop him because of possibly being fired if Moose interjects himself in the main event…
EC3 was in the ring for a promo segment. EC3 said he was going to chat at ringside as he sat on the steps. He called this an intimate situation and said that people always asks him why he is here. EC3 said he was here for the exact same reason everyone else was here and that was the passion, desire, and drive to be the best. EC3 said that to be the best you had to hold the position that says you are the best which is the world title. EC3 said he was standing at the precipice of greatness, the BFG playoffs. EC3 referenced Allan Iverson. EC3 said he has been to the top of the mountain but felt empty about the way it ended. He said he was going all the way to Bound for Glory and was going to become champion.
Drew Galloway made his entrance. Galloway said he was going to give it to EC3 because he was passionate. He brought up EC3’s connection with the crowd due to singable entrance music and catchphrases. Galloway said that they will never agree on who is better. Galloway gave EC3 credit for being a former two time champ and being an ass kicking machine. Galloway said the fact was EC3’s last name was “Carter”. He talked about TNA being Carter’s last chance. Drew Galloway said that companies come to Galloway to grow. Galloway said TNA came to him, not the other way around. Galloway said since he appeared, he has main-evented every single PPV (which is probably true due to TNA only having about two live PPVs a year).
Galloway said that wasn’t bragging, that was just a fact. EC3 said the fact is that Galloway was accomplished and a valuable asset. He said that history was written by winners and if people didn’t pull him away from the fight last week, he would have won. Galloway thought about it differently with himself being the probable winner. Galloway said no one won and they were now in the playoffs. Galloway said that the only time EC3 could fight Galloway would be in the finals. EC3 called it a prediction and called Galloway Nostra-dumbass (censored). EC3 and Galloway were about to fight. Suddenly Eli Drake walked out. Drake did a few of his catchphrases and had a good amount of crowd reaction this time. Drake said they weren’t talking about deletions or one-percenters. They were talking about Eli Drake. Drake called everyone a dummy, yeah! Drake talked about EC3 facing him in the first round and said EC3 was going to lose when he saw Drake because that was a fact of life… [C]
John’s Thoughts: As good as EC3 and Galloway are, the two just aren’t clicking in this current feud. One of the problems is the motive of the feud. They’re angry about getting in the way of the other person? Then just take turns getting title shots! Now these two have some obsession with starting a “fight”. As for Eli Drake, the guy has to stop trying so hard and let the reaction come naturally. He got a solid reaction here but he tries too hard sometimes that his heat loses steam.
3. Ethan Carter III vs. Eli Drake in a first round BFG Playoff Match. Drake tried to escape the opening lock up with an armdrag but EC3 went to the hammerlock. Drake escaped and was grounded into an armbar after a hip toss. Drake tried and missed many chops which led to him getting tossed and locked in the armbar again. Drake fought out and hit a shoulder block. He body slammed EC3 and missed the succeeding elbow. EC3 returned the favor, just hitting the elbow this time.
EC3 yelled his initials in Eli Drake’s usual cadence. Drake gained the upper hand with an eye rake and a neckbreaker. Drake worked on EC3’s head on the 2nd rope and hit a guillotine leg drop. EC3 had the boots bout to him in the corner. Drake initiated a methodical sequence. EC3 fought out of the headlock with a few punches. Drake canceled any momentum shift with a head slam. Drake missed a knee. EC3 came back with a back body drop and used his right arm to stagger Drake.
Drake was shaken up with a jawbreaker. EC3 tossed Drake around with ease. Drake blocked the one percenter and countered into a body slam. EC3 fought out of the cutter and ran into Drake’s boot. The ref caught Drake trying to cheat with the leverage pin. EC3 turned the tide by nailing Drake with the TKO. This lead to a nearfall for EC3. Drake fought back with a unique front slam to earn a nearfall of his own. EC3 blocked neckbreaker and gave Drake a legsweep into the bottom rope.
EC3 went high risk and gave Drake a crossbody. Drake almost took the bin by rolling through the crossbody. EC3 went back to the TKO but missed. Drake went for his finisher but EC3 countered into the sunset flip pin for the win.
Ethan Carter III defeated Eli Drake via pinfall in 7:29 to advance in the BFG Playoffs.
EC3 celebrated his ring up the ramp. Josh Mathews gave EC3 credit with pulling a win out of nowhere…
John’s Thoughts: The style matchup just wasn’t there with Drake and EC3, so much to the point where it seemed that Drew Galloway would have been a much better opponent for Drake in the first round. This was rudimentary match which is okay for now since it’s just the first round in this tournament. Drake does need to find a way to show more aggression during his heat drawing sequences to keep the crowd engaged rather than bored.
Matt Hardy called Jeff a mule and told Jeff to follow him through the backstage area. Matt Hardy was pleased as he ran into Vanguard 1 who responded to Matt with beeps. Matt talked about how he hasn’t been watching Impact and wanted to know who he was deleting next week. The hologram appeared and showed EC3 winning his match. Matt talked about his opponent being the “Third Carter, Brother Nero Ethan”. Matt then asked for the keys to victory. Vanguard 1 showed the keys which caused Matt to yell at the cameraman to stop recording. Vanguard 1 stopped the transmission and the camera cut out. Josh Matthews hyped Bram vs. Drew Galloway next…
Allie talked to Maria and told her that the State of the Knockouts was going to be perfect. Maria didn’t want to answer questions just because Dixie wants her to. She also mentioned Dixie threatening her husband. Allie sucked up more. Maria told Allie to focus and stop kissing her ass. Allie tried to get Maria to meditate. Maria walked out… [C]
A Tyrus “Fixer” commercial aired where he talked about fixing all kinds of problem there was a phone number, 407-906-1965.
John’s Thoughts: Don’t judge me, I actually called the number to see where it leads. It leads to a Google Voice answer machine for “The Fixer”. Not quite as polished as Famous B’s 423-Get-Fame phone number.
Lashley was interviewed. He talked about people getting to comfortable. He said Dixie was trying to exercise control but all he needs is a ring and a ref. He said he was taking Eddie’s title. Lashley told Moose if you want some, to come get some…
The Knockouts roster was inside of the ring with Allie. The roster consists of Gail Kim, Jade, Madison Rayne, Marti Bell, and Sienna these days. Allie introduced Maria who entered the arena with her hand brace. Maria said that some people believe that she has gone too far in her leadership. Maria said if she made anyone feel insecure or small, she was sorry. Maria said she was allowing anyone to air their grievances. Jade, Gail Kim, and Madison Rayne (The Babyfaces?) raised their hands. Maria took Allie’s question instead. Allie kissed more ass. The crowd chanted “shut her up”. Allie asked how can they be more like Maria. Maria told everyone to believe in her vision. Jade asked Maria, why hasn’t she got her one on one rematch for the title after this “bitch” screw her (points to Marti). Marti yelled “esperate” and said that Jade screwed herself.
Gail Kim said as long as Maria was in charge, neither Jade or Gail Kim will get a rematch. She talked about Maria’s hand being broken and called it an excuse. Gail Kim said that the hand seemed fine last week. Sienna yelled and stood up for Maria. Maria held Sienna back. Maria held Sienna back. Maria pointed out how Gail Kim lost two times to Sienna and was being selfish. Gail Kim said she had respect to everyone in the locker room except Maria and Allie. Gail Kim said she would face everyone. Maria proposed having Gail Kim face all of the knockouts. Maria said that if Gail Kim lost one match, she will never get a title shot again. Maria put a bounty on Gail Kim. Jade said she never followed the rules and wasn’t starting now. She walked out initially, but then brawled with Marti Bell on her way out. Gail Kim said she was going to do whatever it takes. Madison Rayne attacked Gail Kim from behind and have her the Cross Rhodes. Madison said “nothing personal Gail, but it’s time we all start looking out for ourselves”. Madison’s theme played as Maria’s trio exited the area…
Bram was backstage when Rosemary entered the scene. She talked about changing. She said she wanted Bram to feel the change and win tonight. Bram said he was crazy and out of his mind all his life. Bram said all he wants is to be World Heavyweight Champion. Rosemary than offered her help. Bram said he didn’t know and then started to make out with Rosemary…
John’s Thoughts: This segment seemed like a waste of time overall. In a similar tone to the Drew and EC3 feud. There is just no real motive here. Gail is also jumping between two things. On one hand she wants to fight Maria, then she jumps to wanting a title shot. Jade and Marti Bell continue to meander in their storyline. What TNA needs to do with the X and Knockouts divisions, is start simple with singles matches and have matches lead to title shots or feuds.
The interviewer tried to talk to Mahabali Shera about the BFG Playoffs. Al Snow’s French guys then ambushed him and left him lying.
John’s Thoughts: For some reason, seeing Shera get beat up is extremely entertaining.
4. Bram vs. Drew Galloway in a first round BFG Playoff match. Bram and Galloway tried to take each other down but none would break from a vertical base. Bram managed to get a successful shoulder block. Galloway won the next sequence with a shoulder block of his own. Bram blocked a Future Shock in the next sequence. Bram hit Drew with a boot, but Drew’s boot was even stronger. Galloway worked on Bram in the corners. Bram fought back with forearms. Galloway hit a splash and top rope clothesline. Drew sent Bram to the outside with a clothesline.
Bram met Drew with a spinning heel kick to Drew. Galloway came right back with a whip to the steps. Josh Mathews reminded the viewers that Rosemary was watching. Galloway was staggered on the top rope and had a right arm battle on the ropes. They both crotched each other. Galloway and Bran fought from their knees this time and traded punches until they stood up. Galloway earned a pin attempt after a Northern Lights Suplex. Bram got a nearfall after. Bram got tossed by Drew who set up the Claymore. Bram blocked the Claymore into a pop-up powerbomb.
As Drew grabbed Bram, he tried to lock in the Future Shock. Bram punched Drew a lot. Drew sat on the top rope and gave Bram a super Future Shock DDT for the victory.
Drew Galloway defeated Bram via pinfall in 7:10 to advance in the BFG Playoffs.
The crowd was very tepid here. They even showed the camera to a guy who was awkwardly clapping while looking the least bit excited. Josh Mathews took it to the break while also hyping the Edwards vs. Lashley match in the main event…
John’s Thoughts: Drew Galloway and Bram work a solid brawling style every time they face in the ring. This was an okay match. What killed it wasn’t the wrestlers, it seemed like the crowd was either tired or disinterested. It was just like the Hardy vs. Hardy cage match from a few weeks ago where Jeff couldn’t feed off of the crowd cheers because they weren’t interested. The Impact Zone can be weird sometimes.
Drew Galloway said he was gunning for his title but was also looking for the conclusion to the EC3 vs. Galloway fight. Mike Bennett walked into the camera and told Drew that Drew was looking past him. Bennett said Drew needed a miracle next week. Drew Galloway shot back by teasing Bennett because Moose being a loose cannon could cost Bennett his job. Bennett looked frustrated and pushed the camera…
The title vs. title match was about to start. Eddie Edwards didn’t let Lashley in the cage to start. Edwards jumped out of the ring with a corkscrew plancha on Lashley. Lashley ate a few chops outside. Lashley got to regain some strength after backdropping Edwards. Lashley pressed and pummeled Eddie’s head on the cage. Lashley slammed Eddie on the steel steeps. The match hasn’t officially started yet.
5. Eddie Edwards vs. Lashley in a cage match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and X Division Championship. Lashley had the upper hand inside of the cage and put the boots to Eddie. Lashley’s initial attack consisted of pressing down Edwards with his boot. Lashley had Edwards in his signature vertical delayed suplex. Eddie Edwards kneed Lashley to escape. Lashley still had the power advantage.
Edwards tried to get a miracle huracanrana but was caught into a powerbomb into the steel cage. Cut to commercial… [C]
Josh Mathews pointed out how this match could only be won by pinfall or submission. Eddie broke out of a chinlock with a jawbreaker. Lashley fought back with a powerslam. Lashley grinded Edwards’s face on the ropes and ripped of Eddie’s shirt afterwards. Lashley maintained a consistent offense on Edwards with several chokes and suplexes. Eddie Edwards gained a hope spot but that ended quickly after an elbow from Lashley.
Lashley maintained his consistent onslaught against Eddie Edwards. Edwards escaped out of the Argentine Backbreaker. He pummeled Lashley with rapid fire chops and strikes. Lashley ended those hopes with a powerful spinebuster. Lashley went for the spear but was sent into the cage by Eddie Edwards. Eddie gained his best offensive sequence so far at this point. That was halted after a devastating clothesline from the Destroyer. Lashley went for the gutwrench and German Suplex, but Eddie dodged both of them. Edwards grounded Lashley after using the cage to slam Lashley into several times.
The camera focused on Lashley’s bleeding arm. Eddie was climbing to the top of the cage but Lashley recovered enough to attempt a super power bomb. Eddie turned that into a frankensteiner. Eddie Edwards hit the shining wizard, his finisher, to earn a nearfall on Lashley. Lashley bought some time with a backtoss but ran into an elbow from Edwards. Lashley threw Eddie Edwards through the cage door. Lashley speared Eddie Edwards to keep him outside.
Lashley brought the World Championship inside of the ring to attempt the belt shot. Eddie Edwards hit Lashley with a surprise Shining Wizard with the belt for another good nearfall on the champ. Edwards made another attempt to climb the cage for a high risk move. Lashley crotched Edwards on the top of the cage and gave him a superplex. Lashley hit the spear on Edwards yet didn’t go for the cover. Lashley hit another spear for good measure and picked up the clean win to become the new TNA X Division Champion.
Bobby Lashley defeated Eddie Edwards via pinfall in 14:00 of TV Time to become the New TNA X Division Champion.
Lashley had struggled to get to his feet and used the ropes for help. Once he got up he adjusted his headband and held up the World and X titles high. Lashley picked up Eddie Edwards who was still selling the spear. Lashley then gave him a disrespectful push. EC3 ran in for the save and pummeled Lashley. Broken Matt Hardy Ran out next. Drew Galloway ran out after. Mike Bennett and Moose were out last. Josh Mathews managed not to say the word “bedlam”. This ended TNA Impact.
John’s Thoughts: A really good title atch with Eddie Edwards getting enough hope spots and Lashley looking dominant. I have mixed feelings about the X Division Title being won by a heavyweight, but for now I am high on the idea simply to keep it away from those weekly pointless spotfests (that’s not stopping TNA from having matches for giant plastic or wooden letters). Eddie Edwards was allowed to hang here and got enough offense to be believable. The shining wizard spots were done well and gave Eddie a bit of credibility. Lashley should look strong though as his title reign needs a few good wins.
Here’s where Lashley as X Division Champion can work. Lashley is a beast who can have good matches and destroy a handful of opponents. I don’t have confidence in TNA to do so since this has been a problem for years, but if they do manage to have an X Division guy pin Lashley clean, that could be a huge boost to the X Title. Then it is up to TNA to avoid the temptation of putting the new X Division champ after in pointless six-way gimmick matches.
Overall, this was a decent show. There was some good, some bad, and some pointless. The Title vs. Title match was good and TNA is finding ways to sprinkle Matt Hardy throughout their broadcast. As for the Bound for Glory Playoff, so far I’m not impressed. It’s just a series of matches leading up to a number one contender match. Thank you for reading along and make sure to check out Jason Powell’s TNA Hit List coming up soon.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Frank Zarrillo discussing his film "The Wrestler: A QT Marshall Story", which includes appearances by Matt Riddle, Damian Priest, Gerald Brisco, Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino, and many more, the involvement of Marshall's wife and mother, and much more. Stick around after the interview for Powell's audio review of Wednesday's AEW Dynamite television show...