2/23 Powell’s TNA Impact Wrestling TV Review: Braxton Sutter and Laurel Van Ness wedding, Broken Matt and Jeff Hardy seek more gold, Josh Barnett and Lashley

By Jason Powell

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

[Q1] A graphic acknowledged the deaths of George Steele, Chavo Guerrero Sr., Ivan Koloff, and Nicole Bass…

Footage aired of Broken Matt Hardy seeking advice from George Washington (his giraffe). Matt then spoke with Vanguard 1 about his drinking. Jeff Hardy showed up and said he got there as fast as he could. Matt said the seven deities told him they will transport him to an unknown place and he may not have his abilities.

Matt asked Jeff if he could give them to Jeff. Matt transferred his abilities to Jeff, who said he had a premonition that Matt is going to Egypt. Matt teleported away… A video focussed on the Braxton Sutter and Laurel Van Ness wedding… The broadcast team was Josh Mathews and D’Angelo Dinero…

Cody and Brandi Rhodes headed to the ring. Cody said he heard his wife is known in some circles as Mini Moose. Cody called for Moose to come out so that he could personally thank him. Moose made his entrance. Mathews recalled a Cody tweet saying he “100 percent approved” of Mini Moose.

Cody brought up his family and said that Moose is “one of us.” Moose recalled saying that Brandi has his number and he has both of their backs if they ever need anything. “You have his number?” Cody asked Brandi. Moose tried to talk, but Cody put his hand up.

“So it’s wrestling business relationship 101,” Cody said. He said they train together, team together, and asked, “What’s next, are you going to sleep together?” Moose said he did what he did as a friend. “You’re not a friend,” Cody told him. “You are a perfidious slut.”

Brandi asked if he was joking. Cody laughed and said he was, then kissed his wife. Cody and Moose shook hands, but then Cody caught Moose with a low blow. Cody attacked Moose while Brandi tried to plead with her husband. Cody gave Moose the CrossRhodes. Brandi asked Moose if he was okay. Dinero said Cody has become a nightmare. Brandi and Cody left the ring together, but Brandi looked back at Moose with a show of concern…

Powell’s POV: It’s a modern day Randy Savage and Elizabeth with Cody playing the jealous heel husband to Brandi’s babyface persona. There’s no telling where this is headed long term as they could always turn Brandi heel in the future, but I like the initial angle a lot.

[Q2] [C] Mathews recapped the Cody, Brandi, and Moose angle… Backstage, a cameraman asked Cody what happened. “Hey, get away from my wife,” Cody said. “Get away, get away!”…

A video package focussed on the split of Eli Drake and Tyrus and featured comments from both men. Drake still took issue with Tyrus agreeing to face DCC in a handicap match, and Tyrus said he will beat Drake like he owes him money…

Powell’s POV: That was a good piece of production. It let the wrestlers recap their storyline and set the stage for their match. I wish we saw more of this in pro wrestling.

1. Tyrus vs. Eli Drake. Before the match, Drake cut a promo on the way to the ring and said he views Tyrus as the biggest dummy of them all. Drake went to ringside during the opening minute of the match and told Tyrus that they are both businessmen. He said Tyrus knows the right thing to do. He tried to do the finger poke of doom a couple times.

Tyrus gave it back to him and told Drake to lay down. Drake said that if Tyrus wants to get paid again then he has to lay down. Tyrus growled at him. Drake said they would do it the hard way. Drake punched referee Earl Hebner.

Tyrus fought Eli Drake to an apparent no-contest in 2:00.

Drake laughed about punching Hebner. Tyrus grabbed him by the throat. Drake told Tyrus that he got him a raise and offered him a handshake. Tyrus took the mic and said he would never shake his hand. “But I’ll give you a hug.” Drake leapt into the arms of Tyrus. Pope said this won’t happen once new management takes over and puts their fingerprints on the product. Mathews asked how Pope knows this. Pope said the Anthem owl talks to him…

Footage aired of Laurel Van Ness preparing for her wedding with Maria and Sienna. Maria questioned where Allie was. Sienna said she had not seen her. Van Ness asked why she cared. Maria laughed about Allie being the ring bearer. Sienna said she would call and Allie would be there in two minutes flat… [C]

Powell’s POV: The Drake and Tyrus swerve was really flat. It’s true to the Tyrus character in that he’s a fixer who is out for money, but it didn’t make for good television.

[Q3] At the Hardy compound, a gold painted boat teleported into the barn. Jeff was worried that his brother was a boat, but Matt teleported back moments later. Matt said he possesses characteristics of his first ever vessel. He said he was the king of gold and now he knows how to be successful in their expedition for gold. Hardy said Skarsgard is no longer a dilapidated boat, he is now a golden ark that will house all of the tag titles they win. Both Hardys teleported off to their next exdpedition…

Jade delivered an in-ring promo. She said her war with Rosemary is far from over. She called out Rosemary, who came out with the TNA Knockouts Championship. Rosemary said Decay is finished with Jade, who responded by saying she’s not finished with Rosemary. Jade said she took everything Rosemary had to throw at her in the Monster’s Ball and she’s still standing.

Jade asked Rosemary if it pisses her off that she’s still standing and whether she wants to get rid of her. Rosemary indicated she still wants to get rid of her. Jade challenged her to one more match, a last woman standing match. Rosemary granted her the match, and Jade said they were playing her game now and the belt is coming home with her…

Powell’s POV: The best mic work of Jade’s TNA run. She seemed more confident and less like she was trying to play the nice girl babyface, and the crowd was also more receptive to her than usual They had a hell of a Monster’s Ball match and I’m definitely looking forward to their next meeting.

[Q4] Backstage, Braxton Sutter seemed to be trying to work himself up to the point that he would tell Laurel he didn’t want to marry her. Mike Bennett showed up and gave him a pep talk. Sutter started to talk about how it has everything to do with Allie. Bennett cut him off and said Maria had it taken care of. He handed him a bottle of booze before walking off…

2. Jessie Godderz vs. Bram (w/Kingston). Kingston got involved at ringside while referee Earl Hebner was distracted early on. Godderz applied a Boston Crab. Kingston bickered with Hebner. Godderz rolled Bram over and catapulted him into Kingston, then pinned Bram. After the match, Godderz cleared both men from the ring…

Jessie Godderz defeated Bram in 4:00.

The Hardys teleported into an independent wrestling locker room. They asked the wrestlers where the tag champions were and said they were procure gold. The Mid-Atlantic Outlaws showed up and said they are the number contenders match. Broken Matt said they need to have a number contender match. A wrestler stood up and said the Outlaws hadn’t been beaten in nearly 12 years. He said the Hardys could be their ticket out. He asked the Outlaws to give them a chance. The Outlaws shook hands with the Hardys…

Powell’s POV: DCC continues to suck and Bram continues to be wasted. The jury is still out on the expedition for gold. If nothing else, it’s good for some of the independent wrestlers to appear on national television.

Backstage, Maria scolded Allie for showing up late. Allie didn’t want to be there. Laurel asked if she’s upset that Sutter picked her over Allie. Maria told Allie she would be there front and center handing the couple their wedding bands. Allie said it was horrible and she had to go. Van Ness told Allie not to forget about her hotel room, adding that she has a marriage to consummate.

Allie left the room and found Sutter. Allie asked if he really wanted to do this. Sutter told her that she doesn’t understand and he has to do this. She said he does not, then she stormed off. Sutter punched a wall…

Back at the independent event, the Hardys approached the tag champions in the locker room. One of the tag champs hit the wrestlers who spoke up on behalf o f the Hardys earlier. There was a horrifically silly brawl amongst the independent wrestlers while the tag champs agreed to the match. They cut to the tag champs talking. “Tonight it’s a shoot,” one of the wrestlers told the other.

[Q5] Match footage aired from the Madison Civic Center. A graphic noted that the match was held in the “Mid-Atlantic Territory.” The Hardys won the match. The Hardys celebrated in the ring with the local babyfaces, then suddenly teleported away. Back at the compound, the Hardys put their new super indy-riffic tag title belts into their golden boat…

Powell’s POV: It would be even better for the independent wrestlers if we were actually told their names. There was more footage of this match than there was of their match last week in Mexico. This footage had a bush league feel, yet the venue was more packed than any TNA event held in the United States in a long time. Perhaps it’s time for the Hardys to bring teleport an entertaining play-by-play voice for this footage. They play music in the background, but a comedic voice who fits the tone of what the Hardys are doing would be fun and could help tell the story of what is happening and who the other wrestlers are.

A Josh Barnett video package aired. Barnett spoke about taking the title from Lashley, who would then have to prove himself worthy by taking it from him… [C]

[Q6] 3. Josh Barnett vs. Bad Bones. Lashley sat in on commentary and shook hands with Bad Bones beforehand. Mathews said Lashley would face Barnett for the TNA Title next week. A minute into the match, Barnett threw some punches and knees, then tossed Bad Bones to ringside. Barnett told for a bit as Bones raked his eyes. Barnett came back with a suplex and then performed a nasty powerbomb. Barnett followed up with a northern lights suplex and then applied an arm lock for the win…

Josh Barnett beat Bad Bones in 2:45.

Mathews hyped Trevor Lee vs. DJZ for the X Division Title, and the wedding… [C]

Powell’s POV: Barnett did nothing to endear himself to the live crowd. He simply entered the ring, worked his match, pointed at Lashley afterward, and then left. I’m surprised they didn’t have him beat a heel who is better known to the TNA viewers. Everything about the Barnett vs. Lashley feud feels flat and rushed, but hopefully they can change that with a hot match.

4. Trevor Lee (w/Gregory Shane Helms) vs. DJZ for the X Division Championship. Z flipped over the top rope and onto Lee once he got to ringside. The ref started the match once they entered the ring. Z performed a huracanrana off the apron and then did the annoying BroMans sound (yes, he still thinks his BroMans days were cool).

Z sold knee pain from the previous angle, and Mathews pointed it out. Pope spoke about change being imminent again. Mathews said he doesn’t believe a word he’s saying. Later, Helms held hte knee of Z, who kicked him off. Lee quickly rolled up Z and held the tights while getting the pin.

Trevor Lee beat DJZ in 4:30 to retain the X Division Championship.

[Q7] After the match, Z struck Helms. Lee immediately blasted Z with a running knee. Lee placed Z’s leg in a chair. Andrew Everett ran out and performed a springboard dropkick onto both hees, then performed a nice Frankensteiner on Lee. Everett played to the receptive crowd before following up with a shooting star press…

Backstage, Maria asked Sutter if he was ready. She said she was there to remind him of why he was doing this. Sutter said it’s gotten so far out of control that it has to stop. She said it would stop once he married Laurel, and then he never has to think about Allie again. “If you don’t marry Laurel, you know what will happen,” she said. Maria asked if she made herself clear. Sutter said yes. “Well, then let’s get you married,” she said… Mathews hyped the wedding angle for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The match was fine while it lasted, but the finish was weak. Fortunately, Everett came off well in the post match angle. Meanwhile, all signs seem to point to Mathews being replaced on commentary. Mathews read a plug earlier for Schitt’s Creek, and Pope said something about how that will be Mathews’ address soon.

Mathews hyped Lashley vs. Josh Barnett for the TNA Championship “for the first time ever” for next week’s show… The wedding video from earlier in the show was replayed. A graphic teased that it was up next…

An wedding altar was set up in the ring, which had no ropes and was made up for the wedding. There was a red carpet from the stage that led to the altar. Sutter and Bennett headed to the ring. Bennett acted drunk and was still carrying his bottle. Rockstar Spud threw flower petals while walking to the ring with Aron Rex. Sienna and Maria were out next as the bridesmaids. Mathews hyped the arrival of the bride for after the break… [C]

[Q8] Van Ness headed to the ring. Maria had a mic and introduced herself. She said she was presenting the greatest wedding of all time, but first she needed her ring bearer. Maria barked at Allie to get to the ring. Allie walked to the ring wearing a blue dress and carrying the rings. Sutter made a ridiculously over the top face to show that he liked what he saw from Allie.

Maria positioned Allie in a spot where she could see everything. Fans chanted for Allie. The man presiding over the wedding, who unfortunately was not Eric Bischoff wearing latex, kicked things off. Maria wanted him to speed it up. Laurel read her vows first. She said she dreamed of this since she was just a little girl with a trust fund. Fans chanted delete. She spoke about how the last three weeks have been magical. She said Sutter is her everything.

Sutter said he forgot to write his vows down and asked the man to speed up the circus. The man asked if anyone objected. The live crowd roared. Maria barked at the fans. Maria called for Allie with the rings. Allie tripped. Maria called her stupid. Fans chanted for Allie.

Laurel said “I do.” It was Sutter’s turn. Fans chanted no. Suttter paused and looked to the fans. “Say it,” Van Ness told him. “I… I…” he started. The fans loudly chanted “Just say no.” “I… I’m really sorry, but I don’t,” Sutter said. “Laurel, I don’t take you to be my anything.”

Sutter told Van Ness that he can’t stand being around her. He said there is a guy out there who she will make completely miserable one day, but he’s not that guy. He said he’s in love with somebody else. “I always have been and I always will be in love with you, Allie,” Sutter said. He apologized for not telling her before.

Maria reminded Sutter of whatever she has on Allie. Sutter said Maria threatened to fire Allie and said he would never see her again if he didn’t marry Laurel. Maria mocked him by saying somebody put his big boy pants on. Maria fired Allie, who said she couldn’t fire her because she was through working for a monster. Maria wound up to slap Allie, but Sutter blocked it. Bennett tried to get involved, but Sutter punched him out.

Allie attacked Maria. Brooke ran out and attacked Sienna. Robbie E ran out and attacked Rex. Sutter and Allie slowly walked toward one another. He dipped her and kissed her while the broadcast team gushed and Maria fumed on the stage. Pope told Mathews that his honeymoon on Impact was coming to an end. “You know what?” Mathews asked. “I’m outta here”…

Powell’s POV: An absolute train wreck of a segment. The big reveal is that Maria threatened to fire Allie? Sutter couldn’t talk with Allie about that and encourage her to get a new job?!? All of that said, the live crowd was hotter for this than anything at the Impact Zone in ages. The fans loved it and they got the big happy ending. So as much as it could be picked apart, it also worked on some level. It will be interesting to see if the viewership increases for this show given that pro wrestling wedding angles traditionally draw strong numbers. I will have a lot more to say about this show in my TNA Impact Wrestling audio review, which will be available as a free All Access edition on Friday. Plus, John Moore will be by with his Impact Wrestling Hit List.


Readers Comments (8)

  1. I had a lot of fun with it. The wedding worked for me mainly because the crowd were hugely into it and that atmosphere really added to it all. 🙂

    • I’m with you; the old TNA crowds used to be really loud and this reminded me of the olden days. People had fun with it and it came off really well done.

  2. I didnt find the wedding to be a train wreck at all. Thought it was awesome aside from the ‘fired’ angle. Could have been more creative there. The large indie crowd size was obviously due to a rare appearance by the Hardyz in what is typically a high school gym show. I can assure you that their crowd sizes do not typically look like that.

  3. Wow Jason Powell; I know you love everything WWE but you are in the minority. Even many WWE shills really liked the segment and there were tons of positive things said on twitter and for the videos on youtube.
    Stick to the likes of the Miz Jason; there are good things outside of WWE; I promise.

    • I love everything about WWE? I love that one just as much as when WWE fans accuse me of being too high on TNA. I call them as I see them, plain and simple. I noted that it worked on some level, which is fair. My apologies for not liking it as much as you did?

    • I do find it kind of humorous that Jason is bashing it, yet Dave Meltzer called it one of the best TV segments in a long time. Considering how much Big Dave has shit on TNA in the past, I’d say that’s pretty high praise. But yeah, Powell is definitely in the minority on this one.

  4. The Pope talking about new owners for the past couple of weeks has me thinking we might get yet another “authority figure(s)” storyline. We’ve definitely had enough of those in the past 20 years.

    Josh Barnett is…well,boring.

    The wedding was wrestling at its most ridiculous. But yes,it was fun.

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