By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped in July in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
This week’s intro consisted of recapping the Bound For Glory Playoff matches from last week. Ethan Carter III dispatched Matt Hardy after thwarting the Hardy’s hammer. Mike Bennett defeated Drew Galloway after EC3 accidentally hit Galloway and costing him a title opportunity again… Josh Mathews and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero were on commentary…
John’s Thoughts: Hmmmm… The camera shots leading up to the “wub wub” sound effect? I know it’s probably a coincidence, but please don’t tell me it’s just me that thinks that TNA’s new intro logo video looks like it is shot in the exact same way as the Lucha Underground intro logo clip?
The anonymous backstage interview guy tried to catch up with Drew Galloway to ask him about EC3, but Drew was pissed off. Galloway was super angry at the deja vu moment of Ethan costing him yet another title shot. Galloway said he didn’t want the interview to be used as evidence as to what was going to happen to Ethan Carter III, so he was just going to walk away…
Jeremy Borash had Mike Bennett and Ethan Carter III for a pre-match interview. Bennett jumped in quick for his comments. Mike Bennett mocked EC3 for being related to Dixie Carter and thought that she was still trying to screw him over by putting the toughest opponents in front of him. He also mocked EC3 for accidentally beating Galloway by thanking him. Bennett said that guys like him and Ethan were bound to do this forever, God vs. The Devil. Bennett said he did something that no one else has done and that was pin EC3. He said it was because he was the Miracle.
EC3 said Bennett’s voice was shrill and his face angers him. He said he was thinking of punching through his face to his heart and punting his heart. EC3 said Bennett beat him because he had skill, talent, and ability. EC3 said at Slammiversary, EC3 beat Bennett for his redemption. EC3 said tonight they will finally find out who is “Bound for Glory”. The crowd chanted “EC3” and Bennett called them idiots. Bennett said everything EC3 can do, he can do better. Bennett said that once he beats Ethan he will win the world title in less than one year since entering the company.
Bennett said it took Ethan two years to get to that. Bennett called EC3 the Peyton Manning to his Tom Brady. He said he was always first in line while Ethan was way behind him. EC3 said to bring all of the analogies, Moose, Maria, all of the Bennett wannabes, but to guess what? EC3 is going to become the number one contender tonight. EC3 said there was nothing anyone can do to stop him from being World Champion at Bound for Glory. Bennett said he didn’t need Moose or Maria because what you see tonight is two men face to face. He said if Ethan loses focus for one single second, Ethan was going to lose. On cue, Moose’s theme started to play.
Moose walked out looking like he just came out of the gym or shower. The crowd and Mike Bennett did the moose arm thing. Mike Bennett then used the Moose distraction to blindside EC3. Moose joined in on the beatdown. Moose put EC3 on the top rope and gave him a Sky High spinebuster. Mike Bennett’s theme played to close out the segment…
Eli Drake was interviewed backstage. He addressed the main event players. He said none of them including James Storm were the King of the Mountain Champion. He said after tonight Storm was crying crocodile tears and crocodile beers. That was a fact of life. Yeah. An abridged version of Rosemary’s barn tale from last week was shown…
John’s Thoughts: The opening segment was okay but it started to drag on a bit with EC3 getting a bit too cute with the one liners and Bennett overdoing the analogies. It’s also strange that they are solidifying Moose as a lackey to Mike Bennett and the babyface arm pump things just add more to the confusion.
James Storm made his way out to the ring for his KOTM Championship opportunity. He was riding the Boozer Cruiser. Mathews said that if James Storm loses, he would have to give up beer and the boozer cruiser… [C]
1. Eli Drake vs. James Storm for the King of the Mountain Title or Storm has to give up beer if he loses. Storm got the jump on Drake immediately and didn’t allow him to get settled. Josh Mathews said if Storm loses he can’t be himself anymore (even though Revolution Storm didn’t need beer to be James Storm. Drake fought off storm and got the first pin attempt of the match. Drake put the boots to Storm in the corner. Pope D’Angelo Dinero and Josh Mathews were summarizing the Fact of Life segment from last week.
Drake choked Storm with the second rope and hit a leg drop on Storm when he was hanging on the ropes. Storm hit a flying fist on Drake to slow Drake’s offense down. Storm hit an atomic drop and lariat. Drake was staggered with a kick to the back of his head. Storm earned a nearfall after a neckbreaker. Drake escaped the Eye of the Storm, but couldn’t escape a spinebuster. Drake caught Storm on the top rope with a quick superplex and turned it into the powerslam.
After a pin attempt, Drake grabbed the KOTM Belt but Storm kicked it away. Storm hit the Eye of the Storm on Drake to earn himself a nearfall. Eli Drake took a swig of beer and gave the ref accidental mist. REF BUMP! Storm went for the roll up but of course, ref bump!
Storm went to recover the referee which allowed Drake to hit Storm with the belt. Drake got a really good nearfall out of this. Drake went for BFT but it was blocked, Drake blocked the Codebreaker, Drake blocked the last call. They both traded forearms. Drake went for a springboard move, but flew right into the foot of James Storm for the Last Call Superkick. James Storm picked up the victory to become the new King of the Mountain Champion.
James Storm defeated Eli Drake via pinfall in 7:03 to become the new King of the Mountain Champion.
James Storm grabbed the title and some beers. He celebrated by showering himself and some fans in a beer bath. Suddenly, Lashley’s music interrupted the celebration. Lashley walked out with both of his championship belts. Matthews didn’t know why Lashley was coming out heading into commercial (even though Lashley and Eli Drake made it clear last week that Lashley is after the KOTM Title)… [C]
John’s Thoughts: For the record, let me say that beer is more significant in TNA than the Booker T red toy belt that nobody cares about. What sucks, is they didn’t properly build to this match, but that’s because in the Fact of Life segment, the fact that it was leading to a wager match was a bit vague. Mathews tried his best to inform the viewers about this (and didn’t do it in a way that patronizing Matt Striker would when trying to convey information on Lucha Underground). Nitpicks aside, that was a good title match. What made it more dramatic was James Storm’s beer drinking had more equity in it than the red toy belt, so the Drake nearfalls had the proper luchas de apuestas drama. They could have built better to the lucha, but ended up pretty fun.
Lashley was wearing a flat cap this week as opposed to his Ninja Turtle headband. Lashley said he wasn’t here to fight Storm, at least for now. He just wanted to congratulate Storm on his victory and put out his hand for a handshake. Storm accepted. Lashley said these things are championship titles and the reason both of them have titles is because they both beat people. Lashley said that right now people try to send championship belts to all of these sports teams (mocking Triple H sending all of the sports champions WWE Championship belts).
Lashley said you don’t see him with an NBA trophy? He said he has the X Division title and World Title because he beat someone for that. Storm said he likes that World Title right there and five years ago he had a celebration for winning that title. Storm said he beat an Olympic Champion in under a minute for that title. Storm said Lashley was only an NCAA champ so he might be able to beat him in about 30 seconds. Lashley said Storm is here writing checks that he can’t cash (just like TNA… zing!)
Lashley says he can see that he intimidates Storm just like he does to everyone else. He said everyone knows that he is the best and he is here to collect every title around here and that Storm has something that he wants. Storm said Lashley has something that Storm wants. Storm said he has mad respect for Lashley but he fears no man and no man intimidates him. Storm said that when they meet Lashley’s fist will be sore from punching Storm in the face, but storm’s foot is going to be sore after kicking Lashley’s teeth through his throat.
Lashley said that Storm doesn’t have to be afraid of him because brave people get their ass kicked by Lashley every day. He brought up a similar wager that he did to Eddie Edwards. He said Eddie had no option, but Storm has no option. Storm can either accept the challenge or just hand Lashley the title. He said then he could buy Storm a $500 replica belt so Storm could brag to his family and social media that he’s a champion. So he can save himself from an ass whooping. Storm said his respect just went out the window because he like’s ass whoopings, “Bitch!” Lashley said he’s going to hurt Storm real bad and that he’ll wish he didn’t make that decision. Mathews said that Lashley was putting his title on the line against Storm’s King of the Mountain Championship…
Backstage, Allie was chatting with Gail Kim about her future Knockout opponents. Maria walked in and told Gail Kim that she’ll never get the championship again. Allie said never, ever, ever, ever, ever. Maria shut Allie up and told Gail Kim that she would be facing Allie… [C]
John’s Thoughts: As pointless as the KOTM belt is, that was a good segment. It’s almost a guarantee that that Storm has no chance given their placements on the card, but Storm always shines in these face to face promo segments. I wonder if they are done with Eli Drake because I felt like that thing was just starting to get good?
At “the barn”, Bram was hanging in there with Rosemary. He tried to bail by saying it’s a bit late because he would rather be drinking a pint or watching football. Rosemary told Bram not to go just yet. She’ll tell him, she promises. She said she was waiting her whole life to tell someone this…
Back at the Impact Zone, Gail Kim made her entrance. Allie came out next to a generic Impact Wrestling video wall. Maria came out next and said that Gail Kim wasn’t just facing one opponent; she was facing Allie and Sienna in a handicap match.
2. Gail Kim vs. Allie and Sienna (w/Maria). Allie distracted Gail with yelling which allowed Sienna to blindside Gail Kim. Sienna put the boots to Gail Kim. Sienna demanded that Allie enter the ring which she obliged to reluctantly. Allie acted like she didn’t know how to kick Gail Kim and hit some funny kicks on Gail. Gail turned the tide a bit but ate a roundhouse to the back. Sienna tagged in and hit a Samoan Drop on Gail. Allie wanted to be tagged in this time. She kicked Gail once and tagged Sienna back in.
Gail recovered and went for a crossbody, but was caught. Sienna hit a back body drop and Allie demanded to be tagged in again. She scratched Gail and tagged Sienna back in. Sienna hit a nice modified German Suplex on Gail Kim. Allie wanted in again. Allie struggled to get Gail up for a Body Slam. Allie lifted Gail and fell back. Sienna pulled Allie to the corner forcefully and tagged herself in. Allie hit Gail with a corner splash.
Allie missed her corner splash. Allie and Gail clotheslined each other. Gail Kim took Sienna off the apron. Gail Kim gave Allie some forearms and a shoulder tackle. Gail hit the splash this time. Gail hit Allie with a straitjacket neckbreaker. Gail went for Eat D-Feet but Sienna hit her instead with the AK-47 slam. Allie went for the pin, but Gail Kim kicked out at two and a half. Kim kicked Allie away. Sienna accidentally hit the run and push (a.k.a. The Silencer) on Allie. Gail pushed Sienna aside and picked up the victory over Allie. Kim celebrated as Josh Mathews said that Gail was one step closer to her Knockouts Title match…
Gail Kim defeated Allie and Sienna via pinfall in 5:39.
Broken Matt Hardy talked about Brother Nero. He said that Jeff failed him and cost him the title shot for the title of the world. He said that after winning all of the Tag Team Titles in the wrestling universe, they finally won the TNA World Tag Team titles and thus solving the Rubik’s Cube of tag team wrestling. He said that Jeff went out like an inconsiderate mule and hurt himself costing them the titles, money, and damaging his net worth. Matt said he was going to Impact Zone to tell a story and Jeff will learn what he must do next. Matt breathed and crunched his teeth… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Well, that could have been worse, but it was not quite my cup of tea. What would have been worse is if this mimicked last year with Gail Kim dominating Dollhouse despite facing three or four women. This year wasn’t as bad. It was funny, but did we really need a three stooges style comedy match involving Allie and Sienna? Allie was good, but was it worth it to damage the credibility and intelligence of their Knockouts champ in order to have a “ha ha” moment?
Josh Mathews said that next week on the “live” Impact James Storm will face Lashley for the World, X, and King of the Mountain Championship. Back at the Impact Zone. Reby Sky introduced her husband. Matt came out in his red dress. Matt said that tonight we go to the genesis of the Brother Nero story. Matt asked Vanguard 1 to summon Jeff. Jeff came out to his Obsolete entrance. Jeff posed to the crowd as Reby yelled “obsolete”.
Matt told Brother Nero that he knew he would come. Matt told the crowd that Jeff was not his name. Matt said that last week Jeff assisted the third version of Ethan Carter. He said how dare you. Matt said Jeff has been tarnishing the Hardy brand for years and that they used to be the most popular and exciting tag team in history, but everyone loved Jeff more. Jeff held up his hand for cheers. Matt called Jeff a spot monkey and a gorilla. Matt said he only came to TNA to win the tag titles but Jeff betrayed him by getting injured and betraying him after he won the world title. He said that Jeff took so much money from Matt’s pocket. He said that tonight Jeff will embark on an odyssey to regain the Tag Team titles that they didn’t lose.
Matt then said that Jeff would fight by himself and he couldn’t go from the top rope. He then called for “Senor Ryder” (Bob Ryder) to send out a licensed official and young prospects. Two local indy guys came out. Matt said Brother Nero Dunn and Taylor, he’d knew they would come.
3. Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy vs. JT Dunn and Chuck Taylor. Dunn and Taylor put the boots to Jeff in a two on one situation. Matt demanded that the crowd stop chanting Hardy. Jeff made a comeback and pummeled Dunn in the corner. Josh Mathews pointed out how this was a tag team match, but Matt was letting Jeff do all of the work.
Dunn and Taylor did some double team moves on Hardy. Taylor got a two count. Most of the action is happening between Reby, Matt, and the Crowd. The crowd chanted Matt Hardy at this point. Jeff missed a double lariat and ate a knee and forearm from Taylor and Dunn. Matt gave a “fan” a snapmare and bit him. Matt sucked blood from the “fan”. Josh acted cartoony in his outrage.
Matt made strange noises after seeing the blood. Reby fixed Matt’s hair. Jeff made a comeback with kicks and punches. Hardy took them both down with punches and hit some of his signature ground offense. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate on Taylor. JT Dunn blocked a twist of fate and hit a superkick on Jeff to get a nearfall. Jeff blocked a discus forearm and hit Dunn with a Twist of Fate. Matt stopped Jeff from the Swanton, but Jeff hit the Swanton over Matt anyway. Matt hit Jeff with a Twist of Fate and tagged himself in. Matt Hardy picked up the pinfall win.
The Hardy Boyz defeated JT Dunn and Chuck Taylor via pinfall in 6:20.
Matt yelled “Delete!” on top of JT Dunn. Jeremy Borash tried to announce the winners as Matt and Jeff Hardy. Matt grabbed the microphone and said that Jeff was an obsolete mule…
John’s Thoughts: The Matt Hardy act continues to be one of the reasons to watch Impact and he continued to entertain this week. The match was okay from what very little of the 6 minutes that we could see because most of the entertainment came from Matt Hardy interacting with fans and the planted fan. By the way, JT Dunn and Chuck Taylor didn’t look bad as a team. Why not sign them to the tag division that has only Decay and BroMans?
Al Snow was hyping up the Tribunal backstage. He said that Grado and Shera were stupid for challenging the three of them to a handicap match. Snow said he was bench pressing a gold Cadillac backstage… [C]
All Three Tribunal members were already in the ring. Josh Mathews said that Grado and Shera couldn’t hire the fixer this time because of Grado spending his money on Pokeball micro transactions.
4. Grado and Mahabali Shera vs. Al Snow, Baron Dax, and Basile Baraka. Dax and Baraka isolated Grado in their corner. The Dixie Carter twitter graphic flashed on the screen. Dax hit a short arm clothesline on Grado. They kept Grado away from his partner. Baraka knocked Shera off the apron when Grado showed a bit of life. They then tagged in Al Snow to keep Grado isolated. Snow knocked Shera off the apron as well. Grado hit a crossbody, but was unable to get to Shera.
Baraka hit a suplex and got a two count off of Grado. Al Snow tagged in and slapped Grado. Snow did some squats to mock Shera. Grado ate a body slam. Grado managed to get a small package on Snow, but Shera distracted the referee accidentally. Grado finally reached out to reach Shera’s hand. Shera did some showboating and punched the Tribunal. They all ran into his body slams. Shera started no-selling things. Grado came in and did some of his signature punches.
Grado hit Al Snow with a cannon ball. for some reason Earl Hebner isn’t keeping order right now. Al Snow had brass knuckles and Shera caught it. Shera hit Al Snow with Sky High for the victory.
Grado and Mahabali Shera defeated The Tribunal via pinfall.
Shera and a few fans did the Shera dance. Grado danced too. A teaser aired for more of the Rosemary story after the break…
John’s Thoughts: At least Shera is better than Eva Marie, but I can see why they are keeping the tribunal and Shera out of the Tag Division. Dare I say, less interesting than Bro Mans. This feud is starting to meander a bit though and the only entertaining part is Al Snow. Grado is fun, but Shera is dragging him down.
Back to the Rosemary flashback. Rosemary said no talking trees, Montgomery, spells, or dreams could prepare her for what would happen that night. Rosemary talked about her 100 year anniversary. She said after she was about to give her card to Johnny, Johnny violated her. She said Johnny was just like the others. Some quick flashes happened. She may have killed Johnny?
Bram said he was getting tired because it was late. He tried to walk away, but Rosemary held him back. He said we all have had our hearts broken on Valentine’s Day and to get over it. Rosemary stood up and wigged out. She grabbed a machete and was held down by Crazzy Steve. Abyss walked in and gave Bram a forearm. Rosemary joined Bram in the trunk as Abyss and Steve laughed while driving away….
Mathews said “Don’t reject Rosemary” as he hyped the main event. An EC3 vs. Mike Bennett hype video played. Afterward, EC3 said that he just got his ass kicked by the Moose and Bennett. He told Bennett to bring the Moose, caribou, the elk and the whole wilderness since it will not matter. He said he was going to Bound for Glory to become champion. He said it was his Guaranteed. A Tyrus Fixer commercial aired… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Not as great as last week, but you had to have a feeling that this was leading to a setup to capture Bram. Since it was involving Decay, it was fine. Are they going to brainwash Bram now?
Maria gave Mike Bennett his usual entrance and EC3 came out after for the main event. Jeremy Borash handled formal ring introductions.
5. Mike Bennett (w/ Maria) vs. Ethan Carter III in the finals of the Bound for Glory Playoffs. Both wrestlers survived the initial lockup. Bennett opened up with a shot to the ribs. Pope pointed out that Bennett was targeting an injury. Bennett kicked EC3’s gut and locked him in a headlock. EC3 came back with a shoulder block. EC3 hit some short arm chops on Bennett. Pope pointed out EC3 selling the ribs.
EC3 locked in a side headlock but Bennett escaped and kneed EC3 in the ribs. Bennett grounded Carter with a boot and went for a pin attempt. EC3 ducked a clothesline and hit one of his own on Bennett. EC3 Gorilla Pressed Bennett afterward. Bennett blocked a running splash with the knees. Bennett whipped Ethan to the corner.[C]
Back from the break, Mike Bennett had EC3 in a grounded bear hug. EC3 tried to come back but was flapjacked. Bennett continued to target the injured ribs of EC3. Bennett struggled to lock in an abdominal stretch and used the ropes to help him out. Maria provided Bennett with leverage. The ref finally broke it up after he caught Bennett cheating. EC3 attempted a schoolboy. Both of them caught each other with a crossbody. Pope pointed out how this should have hurt EC3 more because of the ribs.
EC3 won the next rally with a boot. He hit Bennett with a jawbreaker. EC3 missed the stinger splash. Bennett locked in the German Suplex and went for the triple. EC3 blocked the third. EC3 hit Bennett with a release German Suplex. EC3 flapjacked Bennett. Bennett blocked the One Percenter. Bennett turned a sunset flip to a sitout Powerbomb. EC3 picked up a nearfall off the move.
Bennett blocked the TKO. EC3 hit the Russian Legsweep on the turnbuckle on Bennett. EC3 went high risk but Bennett recovered to punch him on the top rope. Mike Bennett hit a cutter off the top rope. EC3 kicked out at two. Maria handed Bennett a kendo stick which made the ref send Maria outside. Maria was ejected from ringside. Bennett grabbed the kendo stick and missed. EC3 hit the one Percenter. Mike Bennett kicked out because it took the ref a while to get back in the ring.
Moose came to ringside. Eddie Edwards gave Moose the Tope Con Hilo. Bennett hit EC3 with the Kendo Stick to the ribs. Bennett hit the MIP and EC3 kicked out in the same situation as before with him dealing with stuff outside. Bennett went for the One Percenter but it was blocked. Mike Bennett almost beat EC3 in the same way that he did the last time. Mike Bennett went for the MIP and there was a counter sequence. EC3 hit the One Percenter on Bennett to pick up the victory.
Ethan Carter III defeated Mike Bennett via pinfall in 12:39 of match time to earn a spot in the Bound for Glory main event.
EC3 celebrated his win by singing his song along with the fans. Mathews did his usual, ass kicking machine, quote after the match. Pope was hyped up over the finish. Mathews said that Bound for Glory on PPV was next for EC3 and a match for the World Heavyweight Title. EC3 hugged fans to close out the show.
John’s Thoughts: Wow. That was a pretty good match and I’m wondering why they didn’t have this type of match at Slammiversary. They also went against my prediction, which I didn’t want to see play out, so good job TNA! The best part was the ending sequence. Another huge perk of this match was the commentary. Mathews and Pope added a lot of logic throughout the match from beginning to end. The highlight of the team was them protecting EC3 by pointing out the rib injury and how Bennett was smart for exploiting it. The kicked out finishers made sense too because the ref was taking his time getting back to the ring. It was also a positive in that we didn’t get the ref bump finish that has plagued TNA for years.
There were a few nitpicks sprinkled in the show (the KOs and Shera’s thing), but overall we got yet another fun episode. TNA is producing consistent shows and what was cool here was them actually doing something decent for once with the mid-card. The Bram thing wasn’t as great this week, but it was at least promoted well. It’s also cool that we’re done with that BFG playoffs. I wonder where does Drew Galloway and his insanity fit into all of this.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net staffer John Moore returning for an in-depth discussion on NXT, AEW, Impact Wrestling, MLW, and the NWA, and more...