1/12 Moore’s TNA Impact Wrestling TV Review: The Wolves vs. The Broken Hardy for the TNA Tag Titles, EC3 vs. Lashley in a Last Man Standing Match, Mike Bennett vs. Braxton Sutter, a former Knockouts Champion announces her full-time return


By John Moore

TNA Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped January 5, 2017 at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida

This week’s Impact Wrestling intro video focused on the EC3 vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Lashley triple threat match from last week where we had the run-in return of Davey Richards…

Cut to the Impact Zone in Universal Studios, Florida. The Impact Zone tron had new Impact Logos featuring the A in Impact being the Anthem Sports Owl logo. Josh Mathews and D’Angelo Dinero checked in from ringside. Josh Mathews said we were getting the return of a former 3 time Knockouts Champion. Dinero said he was excited to see DCC vs. Decay. Josh advertised The Broken Hardys vs. The Wolves.

Jeff Hardy and Broken Matt were backstage. Jeff was making wolf noises. He said the Wolves Nation is nothing without the I-magi-nation. Jeff said soon the hunt would be obsolete. Matt said the wolves are not an easy tag team to defeat and are one of the greatest tag teams in history. Matt said the seven deities have mandated they become the best tag team in all space and time. Matt said he must defeat the wolves and then delete, delete, delete, delete…. delete!

Back at the Impact Zone Ethan Carter III was making his entrance with a steel chair in hand. Josh Mathews recapped how Eddie Edwards retained his world championship with the help of Davey Richards last week on Impact. They cut to clips from the One Night Only show where Davey Richards accidentally hit EC3 with the chair to cost him the title.

John’s Thoughts: So are they making One Night Only shows a part of storylines now? I still don’t think that would increase PPV buys.

Ethan said he was going to air his grievances while sitting alongside the fans in his chair. Ethan went over the matches he had last week where Davey Richards interfered in both of them. EC3 said even though they seem like good guys the Wolves aren’t what they seem. EC3 said he sensed collusion with the Wolves. EC3 said he wants to invade Wolves Nation. EC3 called out the Wolves.

Instead Bobby Lashley made his entrance with a mic in hand. Lashley asked Ethan how it felt to be interrupted? Lashley said there is a big difference between he and Ethan. Lashley said he is the only person who will do whatever it takes to win the World Title. Lashley said Ethan’s pride got in the way when he gave Ethan a chance to take Eddie’s head off with the chair he handed him. Lashley said he would have buried Eddie Edwards and be world champion but rather they both got screwed over by Davey Richards. Lashley said in order to get the title he has to eliminate Ethan. Lashley proposed a match between them with Last Man Standing rules with the winner becoming number one contender for the World Title. Ethan Carter III said he doesn’t think Lashley has the authority to book the match so he was going to ask the “Anthem Owl” if that was okay.

EC3 was talking to the anthem turnbuckle which caused Lashley to walk away in disgust of Ethan’s games. Lashley said EC3 should just give him an answer or play games with the owl. EC3 said he doesn’t want the match later tonight. He wants it right freakin’ now. EC3 ran to Lashley and they brawled at ringside. The generic security guards ran out to try to break it up.

John’s Thoughts: Good mic work from Lashley and EC3 as usual. I’m not a huge fan of EC3’s storylines sometimes as his issues are very similar to his feud with Drew Galloway where they just bickered over controversial match finishes. What’s also a bit odd is Lashley and EC3 looks like the feud that should be our World Title feud but Eddie Edwards is holding the title hostage at the moment.

1. Bobby Lashley vs. Ethan Carter III in a Last Man Standing Match. Lashley swung and missed with the opening chair shot. Lashley took a punch to the face. EC3 hit Lashley with an exploder suplex. EC3 followed up with a missile dropkick. Lashley recovered at ringside and hit a low thrust kick into EC3. Josh Mathews did the TNA Social Media plugs.

John’s Thoughts: All rejoice! For the second week in a row, Josh Mathews told us to follow the Impact Wrestling Twitter as opposed to the Dixie Carter twitter. I wonder if they are still giving out Dixie Carter MP3 downloads at TNA Shop?

Lashley backdropped EC3 into the barricade. Lashley used EC3’s recovery time to set up a table. Lashley maintained dominance by slamming EC3 into the apron. EC3 blocked a suplex into the table. Lashley blocked a TKO. Lashley hit EC3 with the dominator powerslam on the outside. Lashley was tossed off the top rope and hit with a modified cutter from EC3. EC3 took the brawl to the outside and set up another table. [C]

Lashley suplexed EC3 on the entrance ramp. EC3 beat the count at eight. Once Lashley took the action back in the ring EC3 tried to make a comeback but Lashley came back with a clunky looking clothesline. Lashley hit a better looking elbow. EC3 recovered out of nowhere and hit Lashley with a TKO. EC3 did his signature offense leading to the stinger splash. EC3 hit a terrible looking flapjack. Lashley blocked the one percenter. Lashley missed a shoulder tackle into the ringpost. EC3 hit a suplex on Lashley. After the stinger splash, EC3 went for and hit the Superplex. Lashley recovered and hit a superplex of his own. Lashley hit EC3 with the spear.

EC3 got up at eight only to be taken down by another spear from Lashley. Lashley went to ringside to set up some tables. EC3 got up but fell right back down after he broke the count. Lashley set up a table against the turnbuckle. EC3 came at Lashley with hand strikes. Lashley came right back at EC3 with a uranage. EC3 dodged the spear and hit Lashley with a one percenter. Lashley quickly recovered but EC3 hit Lashley with a spear into the set up table. Lashley made it to his feet by rolling out of the ring. Lashley was stumbling around the ring but pursued by EC3 with a chair who used it on Lashley.

EC3 sat on the chair as he instructed the Referee to count. Lashley used the steel steps to get back to his feet. EC3 did a jumping sideslam on Lashley through the two tables set up by both men. Lashley beat the count at nine but EC3 got up right after the ten…

Bobby Lashley defeated Ethan Carter III in a Last Man Standing match in 16:06.

EC3 recovered but sat in disappointment on the outside as Lashley tried to make it to his feet in the ring after the tough match. Josh Mathews went over some of the big spots from the match. As a teaser leading into the break, a hand was hovering over giant ass rings as he put a big ring on his pinky finger… [C]

John’s Thoughts: While there were a few botched moves in this match, it was still solid and I like the ending where they are still keeping Lashley strong while EC3 doesn’t lose anything by just barely losing. Not quite your main event workrate in this match but it wasn’t meant to be since it was slotted at the opening match. These two are showing that their feud should be the World Title as opposed to whatever weekly opponent they have lined up for Eddie Edwards.

Ugh. Josh Mathews said next week we were getting the TNA “Race for the Case” where four briefcases are going to be hung from poles containing title matches. They showed clips from past “Feast or Fired” matches. I’m assuming this is Feast or not-fired…

McKenzie Mitchell was getting set up for an interview as Tyrus and Eli Drake barged in. Eli Drake told Tyrus to grab the stagehand who was working on her microphone. Drake threatened the staff guy to read a written statement to the camera. The guy read “Let me talk to ya. Dummy Yeah!”. Eli Drake had a bat in hand. The paper said that was not an insult this is the last time you would hear this because “you” did it to yourselves. Drake put the boots to the stagehand as Tyrus sarcastically said “no… stop…”. Drake walked off as Tyrus said that the guy looked better at one point…

John’s Thoughts: Not the most threatening thing because Drake has been a goofball for most of his career but let’s see where this goes. It looks like they’re trying to put more of an edge on Drake which might be one of the components of his game that he’s missing. Also, Tyrus wasn’t bad there. Maybe he should talk more as the bodyguard rather than be the silent giant as he was with Del Rio and EC3.

Rockstar Spud was in the middle of the ring wearing blue chauffeur clothing. Spud said it was 2017 and it was a new year. Spud said he was here to present to you something bolted down for your safety. Spud read from a rolled up paper. He said he presents to the crowd, the sultan of showmanship, the prince of pageantry, the alchemist of entertainment, and the sole reason God himself gifted you with eyesight. Spud pointed to the ramp as the video wall flashed the name of Aron Rex. Rex had a new version of his Handel Hallelujah theme.

Saying that Rex was effeminate would be an understatement as he was in super-duper effeminate mode. He had concealer, light lipstick, giant rings, bling, a furry robe. Rex was all smiles as he walked to the center of the ring. Spud said this man’s name could not be spoken only sang, Aron Rex. Rex said to look him over in the most effeminate voice ever. Rex also wore skin colored tights. Rex asked the crowd how do they like the jacket. He called “Jolene” a doll and shot her an air kiss. Rex said Spud looks wonderful. Rex said he would say the intro was excellent, but rather it was Rex-cellent. Rex was showed by boos. Rex got mad at the fans and said they would be sued for Rex-Ual harassment.

Rex said he had a epiphany a few months ago. Rex said what he realized was for years people have watched him on television and paid good money to see him, but not one single person on the face of this earth has ever paid to see him compete in the ring or wrestle. Rex said the fighting was barbaric. Rex said people just watch television to simply see him. Rex said it was getting hotter in her than Mariah Carey on New Years eve. Rex was interrupted by Robbie E who was not dressed as a bro man.

John’s Thoughts: Please let this new year and look mean that BroMans is finally dead and buried. I’m assuming DJ Z will try to keep that dead horse alive.

Robbie said this was a bit weird and awkward. Robbie said people are actually seeing how he’s dressed and how he’s wearing makeup. Rex claimed he wasn’t wearing makeup. Robbie said he’s wore costumes before too but this was too wild. Rex said this was entertainment. Robbie said people are wondering what the hell they are looking at right now. Rex said it was the greatest thing in humanity. Robbie E brought up Spud losing to a baby and Swoggle. Robbie also brought up Spud quitting last week. Robbie said it was a new era for Impact Wrestling, but Rex was still a jackass. Rex and Spud got angry and put the boots to Robbie E. Rex aggressively pummeled Robbie E with elbows. Rex punched Robbie E with his giant rings. Dinero compared Rex to Liberace. Rex then told the crowd that Violence is never the answer as he made his exit…

James Storm and DCC cut a promo backstage. Storm and the guys actually talked. Storm said 2017 was a new beginning for Impact Wrestling but some memories you never forget. Bram said he couldn’t forget that Decay left him half dead and to rot. Bram said he doesn’t forget things like that and the reason he joined DCC is for revenge. Kingston said he has fifteen years of memories paying dues, office people telling him he’s too violent and too street, people told him he didn’t belong in the business. Kingston said after Storm’s call he found out he belongs in DCC. Storm said that’s what it’s all about, people telling them that they don’t belong, not good enough, not looking right, not talking right. Storm said this is the DCC with Kingston, Bram, and the cowboy James mother F’n Storm. Storm said the devil whispered in his ear that you can’t handle the storm but he whispered to the Devil that he’s the storm. Storm said they were the “Death Crew Council”… [C]

John’s Thoughts: I’ll wait and see how this goes but the crowd didn’t really react aside from the Rexual Harassment line, but tonight’s crowd isn’t great either. Even though I think Spud deserves better, this is actually an upgrade over the X Division. Plus, Spud is going back to his roots where he was really entertaining as the man servant character. As for DCC, it looks like they’ve given up on making them the Anonymous faction somewhat. Bram also looks like he wants to be there so that’s an upgrade, but they are still useless and pointless.

Allie was watching Braxton Sutter videos on her phone. Maria took her phone and started to yell at her. Maria said you should stand when in Maria’s presence. Maria said Allie shouldn’t be sitting on her ass since she has a list of things to do. Allie said she finished the list of chores. Maria said Allie will never be a wrestler and she thought Sienna taught her that. Maria said Mike Bennett will help her end this thing with Braxton Sutter by putting him in a body cast unable to train Allie…

Decay made their entrance to their not as good theme possibly written by Dale Oliver. Josh Mathews recapped DCC’s attack from last week. DCC made their entrance next. They had spikes in their face masks for some reason. Kingston and Bram were dressed to compete…

2. Kingston and Bram (W/ James Storm) vs. Crazzy Steve and Abyss (w/ Rosemary). Steve took on Kingston on the outside. Bram knocked down Abyss with a spinning wheel kick. Kingston went for a powerslam but took an uppercut and cannonball from Steve. Bram and Kingston put the boots to Steve with the numbers advantage. Bram and Kingston gave Steve a double Alabama Slam. Bram and Kingston isolated Steve in their corner. Storm got some cheap shots in while the ref was distracted.

Steve escaped with a huracanrana which allowed him to tag in Abyss who took the hot tag and cleaned house. Abyss splashed DCC in the corner. Steve gave DCC a splash from the top rope to the outside. Mathews reminded the viewers that Rosemary’s mist could be the wild card in the match. DCC was disqualified because Abyss fought with Storm on the outside.

Decay defeated DCC via Disqualification in 5:13.

James Storm hit Abyss with a water bottle to get the advantage. Storm and Bram worked on Abyss on the outside. Steve had the advantage on the other side until the numbers caught up with him. Josh Mathews said Bedlam again. James Storm said “We are the DCC”. Steve actually got the advantage on Kingston as they cut away…

Eddie Edwards told Davey Richards that he was excited about getting a shot at the TNA Tag Team Championships in their first match back as the Wolves. Eddie Edwards said this was a career defining moment for Wolves Nation. Richards told Edwards he was sorry about last week and that he was a hot head. He said he’s proud of Edwards while watching at home injured. Richards said he’s feeling naked right now. Edwards said to change that naked feeling by winning the titles. Josh Mathews hyped The Hardys vs. The Wolves. Josh Mathews also hyped that “A Knockout Returns”…

John’s Thoughts: Decay is over and it’s cool that they’re also the hell away from the X Division gold BS, DCC still isn’t good. They still lose all of the time and can’t even win with the three on ones by being clever. They even had Kingston being dominated by Crazzy Steve at the end of their segment! This should be scrapped because they actually had better storylines with both Storm and Bram prior to DCC where Storm had a good two week feud with Lashley over the title and Bram was feuding with Decay as a babyface.

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed the returning woman wrestler, Brooke Tessmacher, who said it’s been a crazy couple of days. Brooke talked about the Impact Zone being her home. She talked about how she left in October of last year (she probably meant two years ago). Brooke said she also needed a break. Brooke talked about her new baby boy and how rewarding it is to be a mother. Brooke said she wants to make her son proud by being a fighter. Brooke said she’s read interviewers from top guys in the past and how it’s easy to miss the lights and the action of being in wrestling. Brooke said she’s going to be back full time as a Knockout. Brooke said there were a lot of new faces in the locker room and she wants to wrestle all of them, but the one constant is the Knockouts Championship. McKenzie Mitchell hyped Brooke’s return to the Impact Zone for next week…

John’s Thoughts: While to the casual or even hardcore viewer Brooke’s return may not be that big of a deal, especially with her being gone for so long, I feel that this is a huge coup for TNA because she ended 2015 with so much upside. Brooke spent most of that year getting better in the ring and was able to have good matches throughout 2015. Where she shines is when they give her an opportunity to speak. In both the ring and on the mic she can come off well as the underdog babyface of the division. I just hope they change her entrance music and entrance routine where it the lyrics and look focus on bending over and ass shaking.

Maria handled Mike Bennett’s full miracle Entrance..

3. Mike Bennett (w/ Maria) vs. Braxton Sutter. The announcers pointed out that Maria was using Mike Bennett to do her dirty work this time and take down Sutter. Sutter and Bennett locked up to start. Sutter got the advantage and some chops in the corner. Sutter used chops to maintain and advantage. Sutter hit the powerslam for a two count. Bennett went for the backdrop but Sutter held on the apron area. Bennett hit a dropkick on Sutter to send him outside. Bennett initiated the methodical heel offense next. Sutter tried to escape a headlock but Bennett maintained control. Sutter regained control with right hands. Sutter hit Bennett with the uranage for a two count.

Bennett was caught by a pump kick and then a crossbody. Maria distracted Sutter to allow Bennett to hit a superkick followed by the Miracle in Progress. Bennett took his time for some reason but Mathews clarified that Maria told Bennett to “Finish Him” and nail him with a pile driver. Bennett hit Sutter with a pile driver. Maria called Bennett over for a kiss and to order him to nail him with another pile driver. Bennett went for another driver as Allie was forced to watch by Maria. Sutter reversed with a jackknife cover to pick up the pinfall win.

Braxton Sutter defeated Mike Bennett via pinfall in 5:11.

Allie was as excited as she usually is when good things happen as she held up Sutter’s hand in victory. Maria had her usual evil angry face in the ring. Josh Mathews hyped Rosemary for after the break… [C]

John’s Thoughts: While a lot of storylines in TNA aren’t great and cohesive these days, this is the one that’s been around the longest and has been written really well for the most part. This was a little thing but it still progressed a story. Mike Bennett is clearly in a league higher than Sutter and had the win secured here. Good job by the announcers for pointing out that Maria was barking orders to Bennett and how this was more to punish Sutter than to pick up a win. Everyone actually came out of this match better. Bennett was protected, Maria got to develop more heat, Allie is beloved even more for just being Allie, and Sutter got a big win. Plus, Sutter must also be happy being out of the X Division. Hmm… Decay, Sutter, Spud, and Andrews all out of the X Division. I feel sorry for Trevor Lee, Everett, and DJ Zema Ion right now.

Mike Bennett told Maria that 2017 was supposed to be the year of the Miracle and First Lady and this was all Allie’s fault. Maria said she hates Allie and her bunny face. Bennett said she hates Allie too. Bennett reminded Maria that Allie is forced to do whatever she says. Maria had an evil happy look. Maria said she knows exactly what to do and they would both enjoy it. Mike Bennett really wanted to know but Maria wouldn’t tell him…

Rosemary made her entrance by herself for a knockouts segment. Josh Mathews said it was tough for any knockout to plan for the Demon Rosemary. Rosemary said the ancient shadow reigns over Impact Wrestling and darkness has consumed the Knockouts division with “our” reign as champion. Rosemary said Gail Kim and Jade were only the first. She said with each passing day Decay spreads like a virus and every last pretty little knockout will feel, taste, and become the darkness. This drew a “Rosemary” Chant from the Impact Zone. Rosemary said every last one of them will decay, decay, decay.

Jade came out next with a microphone and was sporting a shorter haircut. Jade said unfortunately for Rosemary she’s still here. Jade said things were just getting started and Rosemary is only champion because of her mist. Jade said she wasn’t leaving the ring until she gets her rematch for the title. Rosemary called Jade “Blue” and said that there was some life left in her carcass. Rosemary said “we” enjoy making you suffer.

John’s Thoughts: Oh! “We” are Rosemary and Montgomery the talking tree right?

Rosemary said if Jade wants to go to hell and back for this championship, who are “we” to deny such a death wish. Rosemary first Jade will have to accept our invitation to a Monster’s Ball Match. Jade called Rosemary sick and twisted, but so is she and you’ve haven seen it yet. Jade said you will see it at Monster’s ball. Jade said Rosemary vs. Jade, Red vs. Blue, prepare for war demon bitch! Rosemary tried to blindside Jade with the title but Jade fought back with kicks and punches. Jade went for the package piledriver causing Rosemary to retreat… [C]

John’s Thoughts: There was a lot of good in that segment. First of all, Rosemary is one of the best knockouts they have. She’s a master of her character! Jade is still not really good on the mic but she was better and got her message across. I also like her new look as it emphasizes more of her American side. I also have a soft spot for people who are proud of their mixed race heritage (Jade actually has the same ethnicity mix as me). That said, there is still and obstacle that the creative team has on their hands here. Rosemary is just too popular and I can see this backfiring on Jade’s end as far as getting over with the crowd. In fact, I’m looking more forward to Rosemary’s programs with Allie and Brooke Tessmacher.

Josh Mathews hyped the Feast or [not] Fired match titled “Race for the Case” next week. It was main event time…

4. Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards vs. Broken Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy for the TNA Tag Team Championships. Dinero called this a Dream Match. Eddie started off the match against Matt. Eddie won the initial lockup and tagged in Davey immediately. Davey made the double leg takedown but Mat was able to tag in Jeff. Davey locked in a wristlock. Davey tagged in Eddie who helped him hit a basement dropkick after a drop toehold. The Hardys recovered and double teamed Eddie hitting him with a double fist drop.

Matt slammed Eddie’s head many times into the turnbuckle pad. Eddie dodged a running Matt and hit hit him with chops. Matt bit Eddie’s hand. Jeff tagged in and hit poetry in motion on Eddie. [C] Jeff hit the crossbody on Eddie followed by a dropkick to the back of his head. Edwards was isolated in the Hardy corner and hit by a Matt Hardy leg drop. Eddie blocked a double back suplex and hit a double huracanrana on Matt and Jeff. Davey caught the hot tag and cleaned house. Davey the Northern Lights while pinning Jeff for a cool double pin nearfall. Davey blocked the Twist of Fate and locked in the figure four. Davey managed to also lock Jeff in the ankle lock. Davey did an Indian deathlock strike to Matt’s knee.

Eddie used the ring post to work on Matt’s knee. The wolves isolated Matt in their corner with quick tags and quick headbutts. Matt hit a Side Effect outta nowhere. Eddie and Jeff tagged in with Jeff gaining the upper hand with his signature offense. Jeff hit a sit-out front suplex with Davey breaking it up. Jeff hit whisper of the win on both Wolves. Eddie blocked the Twist of Fate which also crotched Jeff on the top rope. Jeff recovered and had a Swanton blocked.

Eddie hit a kick suplex combo on Jeff. Eddie got backdropped. Davey body slammed Jeff. Jeff dodged the double stomp. Jeff hit the Swanton but Eddie broke up the nearfall for a really believable nearfall. Eddie dispatched Matt and the wolves hit their popup roundhouse combo. Matt grabbed Eddie’s leg and detained him outside. Jeff schoolboyed Davey to pick up the win

The Broken Hardys defeated The American Wolves via pinfall in 12:14 to retain the TNA Tag Team Championships.

Davey was pacing and pissed at Eddie in the ring who tried to explained that he couldn’t enter the ring. Matt did his usual broken Matt facial expressions. Davey settled down after pacing a bit and Impact closed…

John’s Thoughts: The match was slow before the commercial break and I was afraid that the Wolves would have some ring rust after Davey’s long layoff combined with Jeff Hardy not being 100 percent these days, but Jeff always wrestles like he’s 100 percent so I should never think that he isn’t, and the Wolves looked like their old selves. Davey in particular looked good in his singles. Going back to his Ring of Honor days, I always felt that Davey Richards was the better singles star and he always had personality on the microphone. Eddie is a tag team specialist and nothing more until he really finds an identity, which he hasn’t yet. That said it was a fun match and they are clearly building to a Davey vs. Eddie encounter down the road which I’m sadly not looking forward to unless it transfers the belt to Davey. The problem with that is I can see the fans turning on Eddie at that point, but maybe they’ve already apathetic to him.

This was a better episode of Impact than last week. Still nothing groundbreaking other than some logo changes but the return of Brooke was a good one along with them building for future weeks rather than awkwardly try to do one day promotion for a random PPV no one was going to buy. I’m not looking forward to Feast or [Not] Fired though, because those matches both suck and show that TNA can mark out to WWE concepts sometimes. On a positive note, I noticed that aside from the title belt mentions, they minimized talking about the letters TNA and and emphasized Anthem’s owl and Impact more. Progress?


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