By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Lashley vs. EC3 in a Last Man Standing match: A solid big man match that opened the show with some star power. The Last Man Standing stipulation allowed them to work a more physical style with tables and chairs that helped their cause. The finish was creative in that it was EC3 who performed the move off the apron and through the tables, yet he the one who was unable to get back to his feet to beat the ten count. Last Man Standing matches are either blowoff style or the heel cheats to win somehow (or John Cena uses duct tape, ugh), but in this case they came up with a way to make both men look essentially even, as EC3 was just shy of getting to his feet, and Lashley sold it as if he was actually the worse for wear.
Broken Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy vs. The Wolves for the TNA Tag Titles: Davey Richards performed well in his first televised match following knee surgery. The match was entertaining and featured some good near falls before the actual finish. One can only assume that Richards being distracted by whatever his issue was with Eddie Edwards was step one in their split. The only negative is that 2017 is off to a flat start as far as the Broken Matt character is concerned. I realize we just had Total Nonstop Deletion in December and I’m not looking for another full show, but hopefully they will pay a visit to Cameron or do something with the Broken Universe soon because the first couple weeks have been forgettable.
Brooke Tessmacher returns: A strong addition to the Knockouts roster. She came off well as she spoke about motherhood and her desire to show her son that she’s a fighter. It’s cool that the industry has reached a point where the women actually speak openly about having children rather than ignoring it in favor of playing up their sex appeal.
Mike Bennett vs. Braxton Sutter: A good television match with Sutter looking strong before Maria set up the distraction. And just when it seemed like Bennett was going to use that distraction to win, the heel duo got cocky and kissed at a time when Bennett could have been getting the win. Allie walking out and being present for Sutter’s win appears to be setting up a mixed tag feud, which could be fun. By the way, why is Allie still taking shit from Maria? Bennett established that Allie is still Maria’s apprentice. Perhaps I missed something, but can’t she just quit?
Race For The Case: Apparently, Anthem is a good company in the storylines in that it isn’t cold or idiotic enough to hold Feast or Fired matches that could lead to top stars being fired for simply grabbing the wrong briefcase. Meanwhile, the return of Open Fight Night does nothing for me. After all, it’s always Open Fight Night since so many matches are established as if they are impromptu and would not have happened had it not been for one wrestler challenging the other in a verbal segment. Plus, I’m all for the company ditching all concepts and even most of the pay-per-view titles that simply bring back bad memories. Rebrand and start fresh. The Anthem owl appearing on the middle turnbuckle isn’t enough.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Aron Rex and Rockstar Spud: Rex’s conversion into the Liberace of pro wrestling is complete. I mentioned weeks ago that he seemed to be getting more effeminate by the week. We also saw teases with the rings. Yet despite the fact that they built up to this moment, listening to Rex suddenly impersonate Liberace’s talking style in his promos made it feel like he was suddenly playing a character rather than showing a true side of his personality. That said, Spud is back in his man servant role, which is actually a big upgrade over anything he did in 2016, and I’m not ready to give up on it yet due to the strong personalities involved in the act.
DOC vs. Decay: Conversely, I gave up on the DCC’s empty concept weeks ago. There’s no mission statement. It continues to come off like someone was inspired by Anonymous and/or USA Network’s Mr. Robot and didn’t put any real thought into the concept beyond the masks and suits. James Storm already made it to the top of TNA, so the idea that he is rebelling against office types who don’t think he talks the right way just doesn’t ring true. The actual match was a big brawl that followed the opening brawl that was the Last Man Standing match. The fans really had no idea which team to cheer for. Decay had a sense of danger when they were at their peak as heels that I doubt that will carry over if they work as babyfaces. And if they are babyfaces, does that mean heel Knockouts Champion Rosemary is also a babyface? Apparently not based on Rosemary’s promo and interaction with Jade later in the show. And if neither team is playing the babyface role, then why is this feud happening?
Rosemary and Jade: A poor verbal exchange. Jade just never comes off like she is speaking in her own voice and isn’t good at speaking lines handed to her. Rosemary plays her role well, but the dialogue was pretty generic. The end result of the two women having a Monster’s Ball match is cool even if the build was weak.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...