8/11 Powell’s TNA Impact Wrestling TV Review: Damien Sandow debuts with a new name, Lashley vs. James Storm for TNA, X Division, and King of the Mountain Titles

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By Jason Powell

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TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Taped earlier today in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios

[Q1] Impact opened with a recap video that featured EC3 defeating Mike Bennett to earn a TNA Title shot at the Bound For Glory pay-per-view… A brief video package hyped Lashley vs. James Storm for all three singles championships… The broadcast team of Josh Mathews and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero hyped the show from ringside…

EC3 made his entrance for a promo. EC3 played to the crowd in the ring and then took a seat on the ring steps while recalling some of his TNA history. He said the thing he is missing is a moment of perfection. He said he is on a quest to be the best. He said to be the best, you have to hold the world heavyweight championship. “I”m bound for glory,” EC3 concluded.

Lashley made his entrance wearing the TNA Title and carrying the X Division Title. Lashley mocked the EC3 chants. He said BFG is months away and EC3 isn’t the best. Lashley said he beat everyone up in the X Division and took their title, and he beat up Drew Galloway to win the TNA Title. “Nobody has even come close,” Lashley said. “And you are not the man to beat me.”

EC3 said Lashley is the absolute best in the world. He said people say Lashley is the most legit athlete in sports entertainment or wrestling “or whatever it may be.” Lashley said he’s better than Galloway and EC3.

James Storm’s music played and he made his entrance with the King of the Mountain Championship. Storm said he didn’t get his invitation to the party. He said this isn’t Bound For Glory. He said they are live from Orlando on Pop TV. Storm’s mic went flakey, but he could be heard saying the fans will be chanting the name they’ve been chanting for the last 14 years. Storm invited Lashley to come down and try to kick his ass.

Lashley left the ring and walked to ringside where he went face-to-face with Storm. Lashely swung and missed, then he and Storm fought to the back. Mike Bennett tried to sneak attack EC3, but he saw it coming and cut him off. Moose was right behind Bennett and they double teamed EC3. Eddie Edwards ran out for the save and helped EC3 clear the heels from the ring. Edwards took the mic and called for the match to start on the spot. The teams brawled at ringside heading into the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: A solid opening that set the stage for Bound For Glory, the main event, and even the opening tag match. There really should have been some big hype for the former WWE wrestler who will be debuting since they intentionally let the cat out of the bag by having him reveal it online.

[Q2] 1. EC3 and Eddie Edwards vs. Moose and Mike Bennett. Heel Moose pumped his fist to encourage the fans to chant his name. A few did. EC3 and Edwards sent the heels to ringside. They let out a Wolves howl and performed simultaneous dives onto their opponents.

Back in the ring, EC3 and Edwards worked over Moose. Edwards performed a huracanrana off the ropes and had him covered, but Bennett broke it up. Late in the match, Bennett tagged himself in. Moose powerbombed Edwards, and then Bennett covered Edwards for the win. Moose didn’t look pleased by Bennett taking the pin. Bennett and Moose ended up slapping hands afterward…

Mike Bennett and Moose defeated EC3 and Eddie Edwards in 6:00.

The “He’s Doing It His Way” video teaser for the former WWE wrestler played complete with his former WWE entrance music. The not so mysterious person is coming up next… [C]

Powell’s POV: I may have missed the broadcast team hyping the former WWE wrestler during the opening, but they definitely mentioned it late in this match. I’m happy to see Moose and Bennett having issues. I didn’t understand the decision to introduce Moose as a heel in the first place, so hopefully this is a sign that they are going to slot him as a babyface soon.

Broken Matt Hardy was featured in a Bound For Glory ad…

[Q3] A James Storm feature aired. It showed him beating Kurt Angle to win the TNA Title. He spoke about how his TNA Title shots haven’t been frequent. He said he doesn’t cry or mope, he takes his ass to the gym and he tries harder. He said this match is for the people who supported him since day one, and didn’t care if he gained a little weight “or did this or did that”…

The familiar sound of Damien Sandow’s entrance music played. The music and the lighting changed and then Sandow walked out. A graphic listed him as Aron Rex. He stood in the ring and said Impact management has done what a few people were scared to do – give him a mic on live TV.

Rex said he wasn’t going to talk about glass ceilings. He said he was simply going to tell the truth. He said those who used to employ him don’t need to worry because this wasn’t about them. He said this was about the paying customer, the fans of pro wrestling. Rex said he’s been labeled “too entertaining” to compete for world titles.

Rex said that no matter what any CEO or majority shareholder or authority figure wants you to believe, anyone who has ever stepped foot in the ring has worked for the fans. Rex said there are some wrestlers who are preordained to receive countless opportunities, and the intelligence of the fans is insulted and their opinions are thrown out the window.

Rex said Impact Wrestling is a proving ground. He cited EC3, Drew Galloway, and Lashley as examples. Rex said he is doing it his way and it’s an even playing field. He said he is going to seize the opportunity and realize his full potential. A brief “You’re a genius” chant broke out. Rex said he’s never tested his IQ, but he thanked them. Rex said his way is going to change the landscape and the very template of the industry. He said he’s gone by many names, but his name is Aron, and as of now Aron Rex’s new home is Impact Wrestling…

Backstage, Maria was scolding Allie when Gail Kim entered the picture. Maria said she was unfair last week, so she was giving her a one-on-one match. Marti Bell attacked her from behind with the baton and then told Kim she would see her out there… [C]

Powell’s POV: Rex was over big with the live crowd. For saying that he wasn’t going to talk about his former employer or glass ceilings, he ended up making a lot of references to them. Fortunately, he’s popular and well spoken enough that the fans were with him and even chanted TNA several times. I like that he showed up looking different than he did in WWE. There’s no guarantee that his new approach is going to be successful, but I like that he is trying something new and that he delivered his promo with enough poise and conviction that he felt like a star.

[Q4] Backstage, Moose and Bennett were celebrating their win. Edwards showed up and took exception to them celebrating their win and costing him matches in the past. Edwards challenged Bennett to a singles match next week. Bennett said Edwards could face Moose and he might get a match with him the following week if he wins…

2. Gail Kim vs. Marti Bell in a no DQ match. Bell brought her baton to the ring with her. Maria and Allie watched the match from ringside. Gail took control and Allie grabbed her leg. Kim kicked her leg free, but Marti used the distraction to her advantage and took offensive control while taking the fight to ringside. Kim went for her finisher, but Marti avoided it and then they apparently went for simultaneous forearms.

Kim performed a clunky looking Blockbuster from the second rope and got a two count. Maria barked at ringside and then pushed Kim off the top rope. Mathews vented about Maria being the leader of the division. Maria gave the baton to Allie and told her to attack Kim. Allie reluctantly entered the ring. Kim shoved Allie into Marti, then rolled up Marti and pinned her.

Gail Kim beat Marti Bell in 4:15.

Afterward, Jade ran out and made the save. Maria announced Jade vs. Kim for next week…

Broken Matt Hardy was shown in the passenger’s seat of a car talking with the driver and asking to be taken to Brother Nero. Once the car stopped, Matt opened the driver’s door and his Vanguard 1 done flew out. Matt told Nero (Jeff Hardy) that they are a threat to Decay. Matt sent Vanguard 1 to protect Reby Hardy back in North Carolina. Matt told Jeff it was time to go to the zone and for Nero to win his next match… [C]

Powell’s POV: Marti just hasn’t clicked as a heel. Her feud with Jade was met with the sound of crickets, and the crowd wasn’t much more excited about her match with the well established Kim.

Another Storm video aired. He spoke about how his family was “dirt poor” and how his mom tried to raise him and his brother. He spoke about growing up in a trailer park, and then how emotional he was when he won the TNA Title. Storm said he couldn’t wait to get out of the ring and talk to his mom after he win it. He was shown at the graveyard and said he wished his dad and grandfather could have been there to say they were proud like she did…

[Q5] Mathews hyped Bro-Mans, The Helms Dynasty, The Tribunal, and the Hardys will compete in a ladder match to determine the No. 1 contenders to the tag titles…

Powell’s POV: Creative is doing a really good job of focussing on Storm and setting the stage in a way that makes viewers think this could be his night. Meanwhile, I’m not crazy about a random four-way ladder match determining the No. 1 contenders.

Broken Matt Hardy headed to the ring for a promo. He said he ordered his wife, Senor Benjamin, and Vanguard 1 to protect The King (baby Maxel) with their lives. He explained that it’s because of the premonition he had about Decay now that he’s set Nero on a course to win the tag titles for him. Nero made his entrance and Matt delivered the “obsolete” line that is typically delivered by Reby.

Matt blames Jeff for costing them the tag titles because of the dirt bike entrance. Jeff asked why he bit a fan’s face last week. Matt said it’s because ants are not allowed to judge god. Jeff said he couldn’t win the tag titles on his own. He apologized for breaking his leg last year. Jeff said the fans don’t want to see Broken Matt or Brother Nero, they want to see the Hardys. Matt said they can never go back and the Hardys are over.

The Tribunal and Al Snow walked out. Snow said that as the former Mayor of Crazy Town, he digs what Matt has going on. He suggested that he skin some puppies to make a coat. Basile Baraka said Jeff is a mule, and the fans in the Impact Zone are too based on the smell. Jeff called for a referee so they could have a match…

3. Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy vs. The Tribunal (w/Al Snow). They went to break during the opening minute of the match. [C] A brief Vanguard 1 clip showed Decay and then they went back to the match.

[Q6] Matt took exception to a fan sign that read “Jeff Hardy is no obsolete.” Matt grabbed the fan and said “delete” repeatedly. The fan acted hypnotized, tore up the sign, and agreed with Matt. Snow walked over and pointed at Matt, who responded by biting his hand. Matt took his boot off and hit Baron Dax with it repeatedly against the ring steps. In the ring, Jeff hit the Twist of Fate on Baraka and pinned him…

Broken Matt and Obsolete Mule defeated The Tribunal in 8:00.

After the match, Jeff asked if that was good enough for “broken man.” Matt said the mule showed a little bit of passion. Jeff asked Matt if he wanted to see passion and fire, then he hit Twist of Fates on The Tribunal and Snow. Jeff went to ringside and set up tables. He said said it doesn’t matter anymore, then asked if his brother was proud of him. Jeff performed a Twist of Fate on Snow at ringside and set him on a table. Jeff asked if Matt was going to help him now. Matt said he was watching the mule. Jeff put Snow through the table. Jeff said the only person who punishes him is him. Jeff then performed a moonsault through a table. Jeff and Matt both laughed sadistically. “Brother Nero, I am Brother Nero,” Jeff said. Matt proclaimed that Jeff is broken…

Backstage, Lashley approached Dixie Carter and Billy Corgan. Lashley spoke about there being a clique, citing the James Storm videos they’ve been running. Corgan said they offered to have cameras follow him, but he turned it down through his people. Lashley said he will hold all three titles after the main event and then he will hold all the cards and all the power…

Powell’s POV: I’ve gotten a big kick out of Broken Matt, but hypnotizing the fan was too much for me. I guess we all have our limits. So Nero joins Matt in being broken. I guess they want to set up the most bizarre tag match ever with Decay at BFG. Meanwhile, you didn’t really think TNA could get through a “live” show without including Dixie Carter and her rockstar friend, did you? In fairness, at least they explained why Storm was getting all of the video packages and the champion is not.

Decay delivered a promo from backstage somewhere. She said you are never in control with decay. She said your past, future, and present belong to them. Abyss said decay makes him beautiful. Crazzy Steve spoke about receiving the gift of receiving a voice. Rosemary said Bram’s dectruction was a lesson for all the other fools who challenge them…

[Q7] Drew Galloway made his entrance for a promo. He said he hasn’t been on Impact in a couple weeks. He said that it’s because if he acts on what he feels, he wouldn’t be welcomed back and he would go straight to jail. Galloway spoke about fighting for 16 years to become the world champion. He said he became the first traveling champion since Ric Flair.

Galloway brought up EC3 costing him three matches and set up footage from the last time it happened. Galloway said he can understand it happening once. He said twice and he’s pissed off. He said three times helped him realize that EC3 is a snake in the grass. He said EC3 is jealous of him and he’s trying to sabotage his career. Galloway said he had a proposal for a solution. He said he deserves a match against EC3 with the winner earning the right to main event at BFG.

Powell’s POV: The only question now is whether EC3 is as dopey as Dolph Ziggler’s character was on Smackdown last week. I hope Galloway isn’t turning heel. He’s really good as a babyface and turning him feels premature.

Another Storm video aired. He said people said he couldn’t beat an Olympic gold medalist to win the title, but he did and he’ll beat Lashley too. Storm asked how you beat a guy like Lashley. He said you take away the head and the body will fall. Meanwhile, various clips of Storm performing the Last Call superkick were shown… Mathews hyped the title match for after the break… [C]

Mathews hyped the three previously announced matches for next week’s show… Entrances for the main event took place…

4. TNA and X Division Champion Lashley vs. King of the Mountain Champion James Storm for all three titles. Jeremy Borash delivered in-ring introductions for the title match starting with Storm. Lashley attacked Storm. The referee called for the bell to start the match for God knows what reason. Storm got up and hit the Last Call superkick. The referee was getting Borash out of the ring and was late to make the count. Lashley kicked out at the last moment.

[Q8] Lashley ended up at ringside and grabbed the action figure that Pope keeps in front of him. Storm cut him off. Pope frantically tried to get the action figure back. [C] Lashley had offensive control while Mathews told viewers they had taken their final commercial break. Lashley performed a power slam. Lashley continued to dominate with shoulder blocks in the corner, then he mugged for the camera for a moment.

Storm started to make his comeback. Storm performed hoisted up Lashley for the Eye of the Storm and got a two count. Storm rolled up Lashley, who kicked out, causing Storm to go face first into an exposed turnbuckle. Lashley followed up with a spinebuster, then speared Storm for a two count.

Lashley put his trusty sweatband on again and picked up a weary Storm and jawed at him. Storm shoved Lashley into the ropes and then caught him with a pair of superkicks. Storm covered Lashley for two. Some fans chanted “that was three.” Mathews said it doesn’t get any closer than that.

Storm went for another Last Call, but Lashley caught his foot. Storm ducked a clothesline and hit the Codebreaker, but Lashley stumbled backwards into the ropes and then ran forward, speared Storm, and then pinned him…

Lashley defeated James Storm in 15:40 to win the King of the Mountain Championship and retain the TNA and X Division Titles.

After the match, Lashley celebrated with all three title belts. Mathews questioned if anyone could stop Lashley. Aron Rex walked onto the stage and looked at Lashley, who then spotted him and looked back at him. Lashley motioned for Rex to come to the ring as the show went off the air…

Powell’s POV: The main event was solid. There were a few clunky moments, but the near falls were good. The Storm videos really helped in that he came in without much momentum because winning the KOTM Title doesn’t mean anything. The videos built this up as Storm’s night, so his near falls felt a little more believable than they would have had they not run the videos. Overall, the show had more good than bad and it was nice to go off the air with a clean finish to a title match rather than the ref bump special. I will have more to say in the member exclusive audio review on Friday.


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