By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Lashley vs. Eddie Edwards: A strong match with Lashley getting the better of the smaller Edwards, who had big flurries as part of some good hope spots. The near fall off the Boston Knee Party as Lashley was holding the belt was especially dramatic. Lashley coming back a short time later and winning the match clean was a nice surprise in that we didn’t get more shenanigans. Unfortunately, I’m not sure why they felt the need to put both titles on one man. I would have been fine if Lashley had somehow taken the worthless King of the Mountain Title, and maybe he still will if they want him to become a Triple Crowd Champion. The post-match angle with Lashley showing disrespect for Edwards at a time when the broadcast team thought he was going to show good sportsmanship was promising in terms of keeping Lashley slotted as a heel where he belongs.
Broken Matt and Brother Nero: TNA is taking the strike while the iron is hot approach. My fear was that they would run this into the ground after the success of Final Deletion. And while it’s possible that match could be the peak of the program, I’m not betting against them finding a way to top it. After all, the segments with Broken Matt and company have been highly entertaining and this week was no exception. I can’t believe the bump that Jeff took off the bike. Then again, I can’t believe the bumps the guy takes in and around the wrestling ring. Jeff will be 39 next month and I am truly amazed by how well his body seems to have held up from the years of crazy bumps. One of my favorite parts of all of the Broken Matt insanity is Reby Hardy channeling Septa Unella and the ongoing ode to Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame. I just wish Señor Benjamin was walking with Reby chanting “Obsolete” at Jeff.
Broken Matt vs. James Storm: An entertaining match with a finish that made Reby look truly evil for taking out the leg of Storm with a mallet. Reby was the one who was scripted as driving a wedge between the Hardy brothers to begin with, and she completes the Broken Matt act by not only endorsing his antics, but by playing an evil character who never shows any sign of remorse. We haven’t seen her manipulate the Broken Matt character like she did the Big Money character. Will we get more of that or is the idea that Matt is too much of an evil genius to be manipulated?
Mike Bennett vs. Jeff Hardy: The latest Hardy film set up Jeff’s injuries well and explained how Bennett was able to defeat him rather easily. Bennett is the perfect guy to take advantage of Hardy’s injuries, as it played right into the shortcut path to success that his character has taken.
Drew Galloway vs. Bram: A good match and a solid win for Galloway. I don’t know where they are going with Bram and Rosemary, but I hope it finally puts Bram in a meaningful role. Dot Net staffer John Moore was down on the Impact Zone crowed for being rather flat, but I can’t blame the fans. Bram’s character is in transition and fans have no clue whether they are supposed to like or dislike him at this point.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Bound For Glory Playoffs: The presentation of what turned out to be a single elimination tournament rather than a round robin tournament was lazy and underwhelming. TNA did a wonderful job with the World Title Series tournament, so it really surprised me that they just threw these matches out there without even bothering to display a bracket. Give me interviews, profiles, something, anything to make this tournament feel prestigious given that the winner gets a title shot at the company’s biggest even of the year.
Drew Galloway and EC3: Their weekly bickering sessions are apparently leading to the two of them meeting in the finals of BFG Playoffs. That’s not a spoiler because I haven’t read them, but it certainly appears that’s the plan, as it helps explain why there’s been so much emphasis on the friction between them. If that is the plan, then I can’t really judge this approach entirely until we get to the match. At this point, though, it’s making the fans choose between the company’s top two babyfaces and making them both look a little catty. I can’t help but wonder whether TNA would have been better off keeping both men strong and simply using the tournament to build to a showdown of the two elite babyfaces. By the way, Eli Drake is the latest dope to interrupt a potential fight between two of his foes. Dummy, yeah. That said, I like the way Drake teased the crowd with an “I say dummy, you say yeah,” before shutting them down like a true heel should.
Moose: A flat second week for the recent addition from ROH. I can’t help but feel like he’s slotted poorly as a heel sidekick for Mike Bennett. Moose can do some amazing things for a man of his size, and Moose chants for his music will only grow. It’s not like they can’t have him break away from Bennett and turn babyface at some point, but it doesn’t change the fact that his first couple weeks in TNA have been forgettable.
EC3 vs. Eli Drake: Solid in-ring action. My issue with the match is that it felt like they were trying to get Drake over by hanging with EC3, who has cooled off lately and needs a dominating win over someone. TNA played up EC3 as being unbeaten and it felt like a big deal when Mike Bennett finally pinned him. EC3 lost another match recently, and his weekly bitch sessions with Galloway have brought him down a notch. This may have been one of those matches where Drake could have gained something in defeat if he had been facing the EC3 of a two months ago.
State of the Knockouts: This did nothing more than showcase just what a sad state the division is in with only seven women involved including one character who reluctantly wrestles (Cherry) and one who only wrestles when she’s forced to do so (Maria). And now we presumably get Gail plowing through a few women to get yet another title shot.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features former ROH TV Champion Shane Taylor discussing how his background prepared him for the world today, his run with Keith Lee, why Kofi Kingston's WWE Championship win was so meaningful, and much more...