By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped in August at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
Ethan Carter III and Drew Galloway met atop of a penthouse pool area. EC3 thanked Drew for the invite. Drew said he didn’t send an invite. EC3 picked up that the TNA offices set this up to stir the pot. EC3 said they thought of doing this in the future but there was no time like the present. Drew saw a bottle of whiskey and said that he never says no to free whiskey. They started their meeting and the show cut to a video package showing all of the times that EC3 cost Drew the world title…
Josh Mathews said that EC3’s and Drew Galloway’s meeting was a “summit” to hash out their problems. Bobby Lashley came out next in the Impact Zone (his on-screen nameplate now says “Bobby Lashley” as opposed to just “Lashley”, maybe it’s because Roode is not around?). Lashley went to join the commentary table. Pope said he had issues with Lashley so he was going to take a coffee break right now. Josh wanted Lashley’s thoughts on the upcoming match. Lashley said this doesn’t make sense since all they are fighting for is for an ass whooping by Lashley. Lashley said they should all just throw themselves over the top rope.
1. “Open Invitational” Battle Royal to become the number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. The wrestlers included BroMans, Eli Drake, The Tribunal, Grado, Mahabali Shera, Mike Bennett, Moose, and Eddie Edwards.Josh Mathews brought up how Lashley threw away the King of the Mountain title because Lashley said it meant nothing. Lashley said it did mean nothing. It was garbage. Lashley said since there is only one champion there should be a Unified Title. Madness ensued to start the match. The Dixie Carter twitter graphic flashed on the screen.
John’s Thoughts: Since Billy Corgan is now president; shouldn’t we now be following Smashing Pumpkins/Corgan on twitter rather than the old president Dixie? Just sayin!
Nothing really stood out to start the match. Josh Mathews said this week’s theme was “Turning Point”. Baron Dax was the first eliminated by Basile Baraka. Moose easily tossed out Mahabali Shera next. They cut to commercial after that… [C]
Nothing of note really was happening at the moment we returned to Impact. The heels were against the babyfaces with the faces having an advantage. Basile Baraka tossed out Robbie E. Moose quickly tossed out Baraka. Lashley pointed out how relaxed he was. Grado was crotched on the top rope and eliminated by Eli Drake. Jessie Godderz tried to take on Moose and Mike Bennett by himself with elbows but the team had the numbers advantage. Josh Mathews continued to try to get preferences out of Lashley. Eli Drake had a cool moment where he skinned the cat and used his feet to keep from falling out. Eddie Edwards eliminated Drake quickly afterward.
Moose and Bennett were the last ones alongside Jessie Godderz and Eddie Edwards.Josh said Bennett was standing behind his offensive lineman. Moose punched Godderz off the apron, but Godderz fell on the apron to stay in. Godderz hit a springboard clothesline on Moose and Bennett. Moose tossed Godderz out next. Edwards was stuck in a two on one situation and the numbers dominated him. Edwards went for a huracanrana on Moose, but Moose stood his ground and tried to toss Edwards out of the ring. Bennett took advantage of the situation and simultaneously eliminated Eddie Edwards as well as his teammate Moose to pick up the victory.
Mike Bennett won the battle royal in 9:50 to become the number one contender to the TNA Championship.
Moose was fuming outside of the ring. Lashley said “That’s what happens when you’re the help”. Lashley also said the Miracle was done. They showed a clip of Galloway and EC3 taking whiskey shots during their summit as well as Aron Rex entering the arena… [C]
John’s Thoughts: When you have such a limited roster, why are you exposing it in one single match? TNA isn’t the only company that makes this mistake, because WWE does this on their thin Smackdown roster on occasion. Even though Lashley was mediocre from a broadcast perspective, his reactions were natural and didn’t detract from his story. He said the King of the Mountain title is garbage and he’s right. He also said the guys in the ring weren’t threats and in most cases he’s right aside from Bennett, Moose, and Edwards. TNA should have found a way to isolate this towards spotlighting the aforementioned trio rather than spotlight their thin talent pool.
A Tyrus “Fixer” faux-commercial aired during the commercial. Moose and Bennett were arguing backstage. Bennett kept trying to pin the blame on the elimination on Eddie Edwards. Maria saw the camera guy and pushed him away to keep it a private issue…
Broken Matt Hardy made his entrance to an extremely favorable reception. Hardy had the tag title contract in hand while yelling delete. Matt made his orgasmic noises. Hardy said to the ants this may seem like a piece of “pepper” (paper). But in this case it is a majestic key that unlocks destiny and that destiny was the tag team titles of the world. He said the titles were currently decaying and could only be restored by his brilliance. Brother Nero’s (Jeff Hardy’s) theme started to play. The crowd filled in for Reby with the “Obsolete” line and were totally into the broken Jeff gimmick. Jeff was into the gimmick alongside them.
Matt Hardy said Jeff was quite generous to visit Matt, but he wasn’t needed now. Jeff said he was here to work, wrestle, and win for “the creatures!”. Matt said he was glad that Jeff was here to work and wrestle. He said when he sets his broken brilliance on a target he renders them obsolete. Rosemary was heard laughing and she was standing next to a cameraman. She said the Hardy’s were so filled with worry, worry, worry about what everyone thinks of them. She said that Decay did away with it long ago and look how they turned out. She said they have something the Hardy’s want and won’t let the Hardy’s have them.
Abyss walked out and said they would take joy in destroying what’s left of the Hardy legacy. He said they will rot in decay. Matt looked happy. Abyss said it would be just like himself, “Beautiful, I am Beautiful! (Please don’t tell me I’m the only one already tired of Abyss saying he’s beautiful). Crazzy Steve was at another part of the arena and said that the Hardy’s have so much to lose. He told “Matthew” that he wasn’t broken, but decay would shatter him as well as his legacy. He said everything would be gone forever. He said no matter what premonitions Matt has that he would never see them coming. Matt told “Steven” that in a premonition he saw which member tried to abduct King Maxel and that he will swear to eat that member. Matt said “I will eat you” several times. Rosemary said that Matt may be used to Jeff doing what he says, but they don’t play by Matt’s rules.
Matt said no one understands his rules because he comes from another place. Matt said the nefarious Brother Nero was here to fight and wanted to know which Decay member would like to face him. The crowd chanted “all three” for some reason. Abyss said that he recalled that his and Jeff’s history was beautiful and wanted to face one more time “you broken son of a bitch”. Jeff gave Abyss a baseball slide and plancha. This started the match for some reason… [C]
2. Jeff Hardy (w/Matt Hardy) vs. Abyss (w/Crazzy Steve, Rosemary). Josh Mathews said that American Horror Story has nothing on what just happened. Abyss had Jeff in a chinlock. Matt told Jeff to Delete. Pope D’ Angelo Dinero was back on commentary at this point. Abyss no sold some elbow shots but was taken down with a clothesline. Hardy did his signature leg drop and dropkick from the ground. Hardy’s twist of fate was blocked once but not twice.
The crowd chanted “delete” and Jeff went for the Swanton. Matt told Jeff to stop being a spotmonkey and to fight with honor. Jeff didn’t listen and (sorta) hit a crossbody on Crazzy Steve. Josh and Pope blamed the miss on Jeff listening to Matt. Jeff took down Abyss and Steve. Jeff hit Abyss with a chain and low blow. Jeff gained a nearfall from this. Abyss blocked a twist of fate and hit Jeff with a chokeslam. Rosemary distracted Earl Hebner. Steve accidently gave Abyss the red mist. Jeff hit the twist of fate for a nearfall. Matt said the person he saw in the premonition was Steve. Matt bit Steve’s ear. Matt was eating at Steve. Jeff took green mist from Rosemary. Abyss hit the Black Hole Slam for the victory.
Abyss defeated Jeff Hardy via pinfall in 7:20.
Matt stood on the ring steps with a mic in hand. Abyss had some red on his face, which I assume was supposed to be blood from Steve’s ear. Matt said that Decay’s day of deletion would soon come at Matt’s hand. He called Jeff a grasshopper and reprimanded Jeff for going to the top rope and costing him the fight. Matt said he won’t allow it to cost him the tag team titles. Matt said Jeff must accept that he is broken and to stop fighting him and it…
Maria was yelling at Allie for not knowing Sienna’s title match later on. Allie blamed it on many emails. Maria asked who would go over her head. Billy Corgan said he made the match. Maria told Billy Corgan he didn’t have to do that since they were equals. Billy Corgan said they weren’t since he was now president. Billy Corgan said he was doing this because of Sienna interfering last week. Billy Corgan said that there may be more than one person in this title match which was next… [C]
John’s Thoughts: The Hardy stuff is still consistently entertaining, but I feel we were missing something from the Decay end. Maybe a cinematic to redirect Decay away from Bram and onto the Hardy’s. By the way, is Bram “dead” or coming into play in the title match? Who Knows? I felt like we were missing something from Decay because they seemed very paint by numbers this week.
Lashley walked up to Mike Bennett and told him to be careful what he wished for. Mike Bennett said he beat everyone and was going to beat Lashley for the title. Lashley said Bennett always has had help like Maria and Moose. Lashley said he was beating either Drew Galloway or EC3 at Bound for Glory. Bennett said the problem was Lashley looking past him and should worry about him in the title match next week. Lashley said Bennett should worry about Moose. Lashley said that he could handle Moose, but not sure if Bennett could…
Sienna was in the ring for her title match. Marti Bell was out first with her baton in hand. Madison Rayne was out next and was in total babyface mode. Allie came out next as an opponent for Sienna. Jade was out last.
John’s Thoughts: So it’s the entire Knockouts division not named Gail Kim? Great…ugh.
3. Sienna vs. Marti Bell vs. Madison Rayne vs. Allie vs. Jade in a fatal five way (?) match for the TNA Knockouts Championship. Jade and Marti Bell paired off quickly. Madison was distracted by noises from Allie. Sienna hit Madison with a Samoan Drop. Allie tried to help but couldn’t help with a suplex. Madison tried to pick up the win with a small package. Allie made noises to distract Marti Bell from attacking Sienna. Maria approached ringside.
Allie played incompetent as far as wrestling moves was concerned. Marti put the boots to Allie. Maria tripped Madison Rayne off the ring apron. Allie used her noises to distract Jade next which allowed Sienna to lock in a chinlock. Allie’s noises distracted Sienna next and she at a back kick from Jade. Jade missed a lionsault on Allie. Allie blocked German Suplex and hit a stunner on Marti Bell. Jade came in and hit a Package Piledriver on Madison Rayne. Marti grabbed her baton. Allie grabbed it and accidentally hit Sienna. Marti hit Allie with the baton who fell on Madison Rayne to earn her the pinfall victory.
Allie defeated Sienna, Marti Bell, Jade, and Madison Rayne via pinfall in 4:24 to become the new TNA Knockouts Champion.
Maria looked shocked outside, and was overacting a bit. Madison and Allie were still selling. Earl Hebner threw the title at Allie in a comical way. Allie woke up and acted like this was a big moment. Hmmmm….
John’s Thoughts: Something seems to be a bit off tonight. I gave TNA the benefit of the doubt last week for having just a run of the mill episode, but tonight it seems like we are stepping back into some of the problems TNA had in 2015 which were an improvement of 2014, but the main problem is rushed storylines. It seems like we could have had a storyline involving Allie somehow to build sympathy for her but it looks like they squandered that story to have a [not so] big moment?
Aron Rex talked backstage and talked about Galloway and EC3 having an opportunity tonight and that he was here for opportunity. Aron said that’s why he asked management to put him in the match as a referee. Rex said that one of these men were Bound for Glory, he guaranteed it… [C]
Another Tyrus commercial aired (are we doing the same thing as Brodus Clay? He better not be coming back to Impact as a dancing dinosaur). Josh Mathews recapped Allie becoming the Knockouts champ. Allie acted shock backstage and said she came to TNA to work for Miss Maria but now she’s the knockouts champion. She was excited and happy over the crowd chanting her name. The interviewer asked her what would Maria think. Allie’s smile became a frown…
EC3 and Drew Galloway took their whiskey shots. Galloway said his problem was EC3 costing him the title three times. The video showed the three times that EC3 cost him the title with date subtitles. Galloway said he asked EC3 as a friend to keep his nose out, but EC3 didn’t listen and cost him the match which they had video footage. EC3 said that the reason that Galloway wasn’t champion was because he lost but he took responsibility for being part of the reason. EC3 said a third time was the charm and it was his mistake. EC3 that’s the reason he was giving Galloway a chance.
Galloway said he would be hitting harder than he has in his life and would win this Thursday. EC3 said he was going to Bound for Glory and seeing his moment. EC3 gave one more toast in honor of both Drew and hopefully him becoming an EC-3 Time world Champion. Galloway joked and said they should toast for cats. EC3 and Galloway took shots and shook hands. Drew Galloway pushed EC3 in the pool in at the end of the segment. EC3 laughed and spit water in the air… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Somewhere out there, Vince McMahon might be watching Impact by accident and thinking “Yeah! That’s why Drew McIntyre’s my chosen one!”
Moose was walking in the parking lot and Lashley drove up to him. Lashley said someday Moose won’t have to park so far or hang out with losers like Mike Bennett. He said Bennett wants to pull Moose’s puppet strings forever and Lashley knows based on experience (in reference to MVP I believe). Lashley gave Moose a business card to invite him to a dinner meeting to discuss Moose’s future. Moose nodded…
Fact of Life time! Eli Drake had the entire X Division in the ring. He also had the X Division title right next to his dummy button. Drake did all of his many supposed catchphrases. The Division bickered a bit. Rockstar Spud essentially called everyone a loser. Braxton Sutter mocked Spud for having braces. DJ Z cut a promo about an X Division guy defeating Lashley someday while also threatening Drake to not press the dummy button. Essentially this segment’s purpose was to say that there was a multi man spotfest next week for the X Division Title. The X Division hit each other with planchas and stuff since it’s in their nature to just do highspots in pointless multi man situations for some reason. DJ Z stood tall with the title in the end as he made his lame BroMan noise… [C]
John’s Thoughts: There was some good in this segment, mostly from Spud, but Spud and the guys have nothing to work with. The X Division is a pointless entity of guys with no individuality. Josh Mathews calls them collectively as “The Stars of the X Division”, and that sorta just equates them to being meaningless undercard guys. They are the “Social Outcasts” of TNA!
Aron Rex made his entrance first as guest referee leading to EC3 and Drew Galloway coming out for their title contender match…
4. Drew Galloway vs. Ethan Carter III in a singles match with EC3’s title shot on the line. Aron Rex is the special guest referee. EC3 won the initial lockup with Galloway still on his feet. Galloway dominated the next leading to a takedown. EC3 and Galloway shared a stalemate chain wrestling sequence next. Galloway managed to lock in the headlock and hit a shoulderblock on EC3. EC3 came back with some hip tosses. Galloway gave EC3 a slap. EC3 retaliated with some right hands. They caught each other midair with a crossbody.[C]
EC3 gave Galloway a dropkick on the apron. Galloway caught EC3 to prevent a tope. Galloway hit EC3 with a Celtic Cross on the ring steps. Rex started to count but both wrestlers beat it before ten. Galloway stomped on the head and feet of EC3. EC3 fought back with chops but ate a clothesline from Galloway. Galloway locked in a chinlock next. EC3 fought out with an armdrag and hit a jawbreaker on EC3 which gave EC3 most of the pain. Galloway saw some blood on his wrist tape but there was no visual blood on anybody.
EC3 hit a Russian legsweep on Galloway on the bottom buckle. They fought to the top rope and Galloway went for a Super Celtic Corss. EC3 hit a sunset flip and follow up powerbomb to earn a nearfall. Galloway blocked a TKO, EC3 blocked the Future Shock. EC3 hit the TKO this time. EC3 hit the stinger splash with Galloway coming back with a claymore. Galloway hit a sitout powerbomb to earn the next nearfall. Galloway and EC3 had a chop battle next which Galloway dominated for the most part. EC3 countered with a flapjack. Galloway blocked the one percenter and hit EC3 with a Claymore. EC3 got the rope break and kickout afterward.
Drew Galloway went to the top rope to try a Super Future Shock. EC3 hit a one percenter on Galloway when he was on the second rope to earn the next pinfall. The crowd aren’t buying into these nearfalls. Galloway countered the one percenter into a pile driver. EC3 kicked out at two . Galloway was tuning up for the claymore, but hit a big boot. EC3 countered with a jackknife rollup to earn the surprise victory.
Ethan Carter III defeated Drew Galloway via pinfall in about 12:42 to retain his title shot at Bound for Glory.
Galloway and EC3 rolled to bottom turnbuckles to recover a bit. Galloway was stone-faced to sell shock. Aron Rex clapped and gave Galloway a handshake. Galloway gave Rex a headbutt and put the boots to the former Sandow. Galloway slammed Rex’s back on the apron and barricade. He tossed Rex on the ringpost. Galloway slammed Rex’s head several times on the ring steps. Galloway walked off to light boos as Impact ended…
John’s Thoughts: Technique-wise that was okay. Psychology-wised that match was extremely flawed. Part of it was the Impact Zone crowd, but I’m not going to put the full blame on them because they’ve been good up to this point by providing energy throughout and even cheering Eli Drake at points. When you can’t surpass Eli Drake’s pop you know something must be wrong. There were also a lot of kicking out of finishers in this one, but the crowd didn’t buy in to any of the nearfalls. Part of this is due to the steam being let out of Drew Galloway over the last few months. This ultimately hurt what I think may be a heel turn.
Because of all of the steam being let out of Galloway, this heel turn had no Impact. He also just beat the cameo guy, Aron Rex, who was there just to be on camera it seems. Right now, I’m not too high on the Galloway heel turn because he was such a great natural babyface. The last time we saw Galloway as a heel on national television, he was about 23 years old as the boring Drew McIntyre character who was good in the ring but boring as a heel. I have confidence in Drew to have learned from past mistakes, but I’m not sure if the writing will fully support him, especially when he has to carry the former Damien Sandow with him.
Overall, this episode of Impact could have been worse. We’ve seen worse in recent years, but this still wasn’t all that good. I gave them the benefit of the doubt last week for slowly progressing storylines, but this week they took the opposite approach to many by rushing through several like the Knockouts, Decay, and Galloway/EC3. We also had two number one contendership matches when you think it would be a bit more economical to just focus all of your efforts into booking slowly towards Bound for Glory. I hope this accelerated booking philosophy isn’t directly correlated with Billy Corgan as president. This was not a great episode of Impact which is a departure from the consistently good episodes we’ve gotten in 2016. Let’s hope they get back on track next week by slowing things down, but it’s tough with the flawed Allie storyline and yet another pointless X-Division spotfest on the horizon.