By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped January 2017 at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
Impact Wrestling opened up focusing on Davey Richards costing Lashley and EC3 their title opportunities. This led to clips from Ethan Carter III vs. Lashley in a Last Man Standing match where EC3 lost by just barely not making the count…
Josh Mathews and D’Angelo Dinero checked in on commentary. Josh Mathews said we were getting the first ever “Race for the Case” match in Impact Wrestling history. Josh Mathews said the cases contained “four major opportunities”. Trevor Lee, Crazzy Steve, Mahabali Shera, and Jessie Godderz were already in the ring. Matt and Jeff Hardy, Eli Drake and Tyrus, Kingston and Bram, as well as Mike Bennett all received televised entrances. Josh said that James Storm, Gregory Shane Helms, and Maria were banned from ringside. Josh also said that this match was just like Feast or Fired, just without the “Fired” part…
1. The Race for the Case. Madness ensued to start off the match. Your typical briefcase on a pole match where the wrestlers stopped each other from reaching the colored briefcases. Josh Mathews and D’Angelo Dinero started to try to explain the rules a bit better. Josh said each colored case had a number in it. As everyone wrestled in the ring, Eli Drake was avoiding the action by walking around the ring. Tyrus hit Trevor Lee and Jessie Godderz which cleared the way for Eli Drake to pick up the red briefcase.
Eli Drake picked up the red briefcase at 1:52.
For some reason, because they were a team (?) Eli Drake and Tyrus left together. Dinero thought that there were title shots in the briefcases, but Josh Mathews said there were numbers in the cases which allowed the wrestlers to pick their opponents. Mike Bennett had Trevor Lee alone in the ring. Lee downed Bennett with double knees followed by a punt kick to Jessie Godderz which allowed him to pick up the blue briefcase.
Trevor Lee picked up the blue briefcase at 3:25.
Trevor Lee gave everyone a crossbody before he left with his blue briefcase. Bennett dragged down Crazzy Steve before the commercial break.[C]
Matt stopped Steve and Bennett from getting the green briefcase. Bennett blocked Matt’s twist of fate and superkicked him out of the ring. DCC kept Mahabali Shera from grabbing the green case. Shera did his basic offense on DCC. Bennett hit Shera with the Miracle in Progress. Bennett hit Jeff Hardy with a neckbreaker. Godderz hit Bennett with an overhead toss. Steve tossed out Godderz after an uppercut. Steve gave Kingston and Godderz a plancha. Matt had a premonition but Bennett stopped Matt from acquiring the briefcase. Josh and Dinero wondered if the premonition caused Matt to predict the best briefcase.
Bram and Kingston hit Steve with an assisted pile driver. Godderz hit DCC with a springboard shoulder block. Godderz picked up the yellow briefcase but Kingston slightly punched Godderz in the balls which caused him to drop the briefcase on top of Bram. For some reason this leads to DCC getting the next case and leaving.
The Yellow Briefcase fell on Bram at 7:49
Matt Hardy distracted Mike Bennett while Jeff Hardy secured the green case.
Jeff Hardy picked up the green briefcase in 8:37.
Jeff Hardy’s performed “Obsolete” entrance music played as he and Matt celebrated with their newly won green briefcase. Josh Mathews pointed out that the green case was the one Matt Hardy had a premonition about. They cut to a few TNA Greatest Hits matches…
John’s Thoughts: Well… Removing the “Fired” part was an upgrade, but this does harken back to the days when TNA was the king of contrived match types. At points during this match it seemed like Josh Mathews was confused as to the actual concept and honestly I couldn’t blame him. TNA does look a little bit goofy as well for bringing back the goofy comedy moments in these matches. This time we got Godderz dropping the briefcase and DCC winning because Bram caught it.
Bobby Lashley made his entrance next. He cut a promo saying that he told everyone that the title picture wasn’t big enough for him and EC3. He said he eliminated that speed bump and nothing was stopping Lashley from getting the title, not Davey Richards, TNA Management, or anyone. Lashley said Eddie Edwards should bring his ass out there right not to see him. Eddie Edwards complied and made his entrance next.
There was an “Eddie” chant. Eddie said he gets what Lashley is doing because Lashley knows more than everyone how much the title means to Eddie as a fighting champion. Eddie said his goal is to take the company to the next level. Eddie wanted to know Lashley’s master plan to take the title from him and Wolves Nation. Lashley said Eddie was not a fighting champion since Eddie relies on fluke wins, bad referees, and Davey Richards. Lashley said he was a fighting champion because he fought everyone by himself with no help.
Lashley said Eddie just relies on the idiot people that like him for being a feel good story. Eddie Edwards said the movie was over and this was his life. Lashley said if Eddie wants to be a real fighting champion instead of relying on all the people he mentioned earlier, he should give Lashley an opportunity in a real endurance test in this sport, a 30 minute ironman match. Lashley said he was going to beat Eddie over and over and over again. Eddie said it was a deal which gives Eddie a chance to prove that Lashley will always be “Eddie’s Bitch”. This caused Lashley to put the boots to Eddie. Davey Richards ran in with a chair and stopped Lashley from spearing him. Lashley pointed out to Eddie that Davey ran out again with the interference as he made his exit…
John’s Thoughts: This was one of the better Eddie Edwards segments as champion. Mostly due to him saying little (and not the prepared “I’m not a fluky champion” speech he usually gives), as well as Lashley being such an amazing natural promo these days.
Maria was talking on the phone and left a message for Braxton Sutter for a meeting. She then saw Brooke Tessmacher backstage. She said she was never introduced and asked if Brooke was the girl who used to “shake her butt” around here. She wondered if her name was Bobby or Brooklyn. Brooke shook Maria’s hand and said she was a three time Knockouts Champion. Brooke says she knows who Maria Kenellis-Bennett is who doesn’t back up what she talks about. She told Maria to stay out of her ring… [C]
Back in the Impact Zone, Deonna Purrazzo was already in the ring with generic music. Brooke Tessmacher came out to her usual entrance music that talks about her shaking her ass. she also did her usual thing of bending over and shaking her ass. She still the female version of Mr. Ass I guess which she is so much better than! Madison Rayne joined the commentary team and said this was a “New Version” of Brooke (It Kinda seems like the not-so-new version of Brooke from 2015).
2. Brooke Tessmacher vs. Deonna Purrazzo. Deonna won the initial lockup and grounded Brooke with a drop toehold leading to a headlock. Madison Rayne talked about this being a rematch from Deonna’s debut match a few years ago. Josh Mathews used this moment to advertise the return of Don West who was now at the helm doing the PR for TNA Shop where he’s giving his discounts and special promotions.
John’s Thoughts: Will Don West still have to give TNA Shop customers free Dixie Carter MP3 downloads? Or will they go back to giving 50% off on Jeff Jarrett guitars? I’m just playin’!
Brooke slammed Deonna’s head several times on the apron. Brooke did the same on the ring turnbuckles. Brooke then converted to doing forearms and elbows in the ring. Deonna tried a low reversal but Brooke rolled through to a reverse STF. Brooke then hit a rolling neckbreaker. Deonna came back with a running knee and then she did the ground and pound to Brooke. Deonna hit a headbutt while working the crowd as a heel. Brooke came back with a forearm rally and hit Deonna with a flapjack. Brooke hit an ugly looking front chokeslam thing (?) to pick up the victory.
Brooke Tessmacher defeated Deonna Purrazzo via pinfall in 4:38.
After the match Sienna ran in to interrupt Brooke’s celebration. Brooke went for the same finisher but Sienna blocked it and hit Brooke with The Pounce/Silencer. Sienna told Brooke that Maria says “Welcome Back”…
The “Fact of Life” backstage set was back as Eli Drake was in full silent mode with Tyrus handling the mic work. Eli Drake had his Sting bat with him again this week. Tyrus said Fact of Life was coming after the commercial break with the suitcase reveal… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Nothing really standout from Brooke and that finisher looked a bit ugly. She should probably go back to the X-Factor she was using right before she left. Aside from that, she didn’t look bad given her long time away from the ring. That’s probably due in part to Deonna Purrazzo, who always seems to have good matches with most people she’s in the ring with (Deonna is one good gimmick away from being a real name in the big promotions, and La Luchadora isn’t going to be that gimmick). I am still looking forward to Brooke’s feuds in the Knockouts division because of how well-spoken she is as well as TNA never booking her to be as dominant as Gail Kim. It would be good if she really became a “new version” and dropped the female Mr. Ass entrance routine and entrance music.
Maria caught up with Braxton Sutter backstage who gave Maria the raspberry. Maria said Sutter must not check his voicemail like a regular person. Sutter said she was in the ring training with Allie. Maria said that Allie was just a terrible assistant who’s still employed to Maria. Sutter called Allie a beautiful human being. Maria mocked that as cute. Maria said this training is ruining Maria’s life and she wants Sutter to stop training Allie. Sutter said Maria can’t order around a 220 pound grown ass man. Maria said no one wants to ruin Allie’s life. She then whispered something in Sutter’s ear to imply blackmail. Maria made her request again which Sutter agreed with “Crystal Clear”. Maria then recommended that Maria hook up with Laurel…
Tyrus and Eli Drake hosted the Fact of Life briefcase reveal. Tyrus called Eli Drake the voice of his generation, good to his mother, a standup republican, not a dummy, and extremely attractive. Tyrus said he walks in the weight room and breaks records while also being cooler than the cold side of a pillow. Tyrus said this was special because it was the Race for the Case reveal. Tyrus said these wrestlers fought blood tooth and nail to hold the suitcases. Tyrus said we all know who got number one. Tyrus said you can pick any match and stipulation in turn order. Tyrus also said if you pick a match no one else can claim that match.
Eli Drake pushed the dummy button and opened his briefcase face out away from him. Drake was in silent mode. He opened up the last place case which caused Trevor Lee and Jeff Hardy to crack up. Eli Drake sold disappointment when he saw the result and Tyrus said it was fine. DCC acted like goofs next. Trevor Lee acted like an idiot because his character’s an idiot. Storm and crew did a three stooges mime routine. DCC had the number 2 case. They suddenly had smiley face masks now after Tyrus asked them for their thoughts.
John’s Thoughts: Well… At least TNA is aware that DCC sucks!
Drake hit the dummy button because Trevor Lee tried to talk without the microphone. Trevor Lee acted simple minded by admiring the wood on Drake’s desk. Tyrus asked Lee what match he would choose if he had number one. Trevor Lee said he liked something Tyrus mentioned earlier in having a no disqualification match for the World Title. Tyrus said Lee likes shiny things and he is willing to trade the red suitcase for the blue suitcase, along with a t-shirt. Trevor Lee said he would do it for the case, headphones, and Tyrus’s chain. Tyrus then pulled back on his offer. Since Trevor Lee’s character is an idiot he had a hard time unlocking an unlocked suitcase. Tyrus helped to reveal the number 3. Jeff Hardy said we shouldn’t have to state the obvious as he revealed number one. Jeff said whoever his opponent is will fade away and call themselves obsolete. There wasn’t an “obsolete” chant in the laugh track. Tyrus ended Fact of Life as they cut to highlights of Big Money Matt Hardy losing the title to Drew Galloway via the Feast or Fired cash-in… [C]
John’s Thoughts: I really wanted to hate that segment. While I did hate what they are doing with Trevor Lee’s character. They could make Lee a fighting badass but they decided to make him a redneck dummy. Aside from that, I cracked up. Why didn’t they extend the Eli Drake silent stipulation for longer than a month because he’s showing that he can do a good job selling his emotions without talking. Tyrus is also an underrated talker and I’m not sure why in his previous stints as a bodyguard, they never allowed him to talk? DCC also might have a future as a comedy trio, but it’s a shame because at least Bram and Storm should be main eventers.
Allie was super hyped to show Sutter some wrestling moves. Sutter told Allie that everything was okay but she doesn’t thing they should be together anymore. Allie wondered if she was too socially awkward? Sutter said it would just be better if there was some space between them. Sutter walked way and Allie cried a bit…
Rockstar Spud was in his chauffeur mode as he did the ring introduction for Liberace-mode Aron Rex. Rex came out in his fur coat and band aid colored tights. Robbie E was out next and his tag partner was [Horn]Swoggle. Robbie E is no longer a Bro Man…
3. Rockstar Spud and Aron Rex vs. Robbie E and Swoggle. Josh Mathews mentioned how Swoggle had Spud’s number. Spud had new sparkling dancers tights. Spud blindsided Swoggle and hit him with an elbow drop. Spud isolated Swoggle in his corner as Rex chatted with Swoggle in the corner as Spud beat him. Rex grabbed a mic and said that’s what the fan wanted. Rex said he was what you came to see. Spud held Rex’s leg and Rex yelled at Spud to tag back in because Swoggle was toughing him.
Swoggle hit Spud with the GTS. Rex tagged in and taunted Swoggle who bit him. Swoggle made the tag to Robbie E. Robbie did the hot tag sequence. Josh Mathews said Robbie was now the “hybrid wrestler”. Robbie E flapjacked Spud on Rex. Swoggle tagged in and was whipped into Rex. Swoggle gave Spud the stinkface and gave Robbie E a hug. Spud blindsided Swoggle again. Robbie took out Spud and gave him a plancha. Rex lounged on the knocked out Swoggle while winking at the crowd to pick up the pinfall win.
Aron Rex and Rockstar Spud defeated Robbie E and Swoggle via pinfall in 4:17.
Josh Mathews continued to try to sell Rex as awkward. Robbie E went to check on Swoggle in the ring. They cut to more Drew Galloway career highlights. Josh Mathews also hyped Red vs. Blue for the Knockouts Champion in Rosemary vs. Jade in Monsters Ball. Also advertised was Lashley vs. Eddie Edwards for the TNA Championship in an ironman match. Josh said next week was dubbed “Genesis” as they showed old TNA PPV logos… [C]
John’s Thoughts: I’m still not fully sold on the Liberace character yet especially since I thought he found a good soft spot with the Miz/Sandow hybrid he was doing right before this. At least it’s a character which he excels at doing. The two other positives out of this program is the death of Bro Mans (until DJ Zema Ion brings that back which I’m just going to assume). Another positive is Spud going back to his roots at the man servant character.
A reluctant Braxton Sutter was forced to drive around Laurel Van Ness who was walking around in her ring gear…
A Drew Galloway and Moose interview package was shown. Moose talked about making an Impact in TNA. Galloway talked about beating Eddie Edwards and how the Grand Championship was created for Drew Galloway. Moose said he respects Drew’s ability but Moose was also fast, athletic, and powerful. Moose said he’s beat many of the best wrestlers in the world. Galloway talked about his life almost taken away due to injury and divine intervention gave him a second chance. Drew said all he has on the mind is the Impact Grand Championship. Galloway said you’re looking at Drew Galloway and everything he does is for the greater good… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Is it just me or does Galloway look ripped? He was always a big dude but it was always understated due to him being muscular but not ripped.
4. Drew Galloway vs. Moose for the TNA Grand Championship. Galloway started a lockup but was knockdown by Moose. Galloway kipped up and gave Moose the middle finger. Galloway hit Moose with the Pounce. Moose kipped up too. They traded chops next to a stalemate. Galloway ended the sequence with a kick and Moose came back with his high dropkick. Galloway jumped over Moose but was caught by Moose into a fallaway slam. Galloway dodged a shoulder tackle and hit Moose with a pile driver to pick up a nearfall. Galloway called moose a son of a bitch and slapped him. Moose and Galloway traded blows as round 1 ended. Jeremy Borash announced that Drew Galloway won the round by split decision… [C]
Moose and Galloway traded blows on the outside. Galloway gave Moose an AA on the ring apron. Moose came back with an Apron Bomb on Galloway. Galloway and Moose beat the count back in the ring. Galloway sold a back injury. Moose hit Galloway with a popup powerbomb, running senton, but Galloway dodged the moonsault. Galloway locked in the iron maiden which Josh Mathews said Kurt Angle lost to. Josh pointed out how Galloway had it locked in for over thirty seconds before the round ended. Moose won this round via split decision, which the crowd and Josh Mathews disagreed with due to Galloway looking like he won.
Josh said the judges might have seen things we haven’t seen. Moose hit Galloway with his Moose punches. Galloway went for the Future Shock DDT but settled for boots on Moose. Moose caught Galloway with a dropkick. Galloway blocked the rainmaker and hit Moose with a low blow in front of the referee. The referee stopped the clock and told all the judges to deduct a point from Drew Galloway. Moose stood up and Galloway hit him with the Claymore to pick up the Grand Championship.
Drew Galloway defeated Moose via pinfall with 1:17 left in Round 3 to win the Impact Grand Championship.
Galloway marched around the ring with his new championship. The referee held his hand high in victory as he actually got a decent reaction from the crowd. Josh Mathews cut to the replay including the controversial second round. Impact ended with Galloway showing the judges his Grand Championship…
John’s Thoughts: That was a good match between Moose and Galloway that was held back due to the round stipulation and the low blow finish. That even coupled with the round format as they added a terrible clerical flaw in the system. Why are low blows not disqualifications in Grand Championship format matches when they still allow pinfalls and have judges to enforce the rules? This thing can work if it becomes their new TV Championship now that the belt design is much improved over the Booker T Toy Belt, but this round format is just too damn terrible. I also like how Josh Mathews doesn’t treat the audience like idiots by not ignoring obvious flaws in TNA booking as it keeps the viewer from feeling worked.
Overall, this was an average episode of Impact due to some good and some bad. They did a good job hyping “Genesis” for next week which was fine and has two strong matches with the World Championship and the Knockouts battle. Something also tells me that Impact might also be treading water until the next set of tapings when hopefully they will have a more established writing crew and roster. Be sure to check out Jason Powell’s thoughts in his TNA Hit List and member exclusive audio review later today.