By John Moore
TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Drew Galloway vs. Moose: Still not sold on the Grand Championship being a valuable tool in TNA Impact Wrestling, but at least Drew and Moose continue to make the most of this weird round system. We got the standard split round fare in the first two rounds, but they really kicked things up in the third one with the trading of the finishers. The split decision was a good ending and could have been fuel for Galloway to try to demand a rematch, but sadly this might be Drew’s last match in TNA? That aside, this was a solid Grand Championship bout. On a side note, I feel bad for Moose; his character really needs to wear a cup because he keeps getting kicked in the balls on a weekly basis!
The Broken Hardys: This is a slight Hit, and mostly because the indie footage (and Cameron, N.C. footage) was better than the Mid-Atlantic and Mexico scenes. You can give or take Jeff Hardy trying to do his best Broken Matt impersonation, but at least the quality was up on these Broken Hardy segments with even the returns of the rest of the Hardy family. The Hardys have been very low budget iterations of themselves in 2017 so it was good to seem their segments move up in quality even though they don’t seem as original as the multitude of 2016 Hardy segments. The match against Kevin Eck’s Ecktourage was fine too in that we actually got to see more of the in-ring action with Matt fighting the Eck guys while Jeff had to handle the number one contender indie guys. The music was better with Jeff’s obsolete theme playing as opposed to the lyric-less TND melody.
Moose and Cody Rhodes Segment: A nice follow up to last week’s angle involving Cody Rhodes and Moose. Rather than rush to a match right away, TNA looks like they are attempting to take their time on this one with Brandi involved. I also like that TNA isn’t rushing through their usage of Cody like they did with his last run as a babyface. These concentrated tapings really benefits Cody the Freelancer because he’s allowed to work weeks of television in the time span of days. As for Moose’s promo, it seemed scripted specifically for him with references to Cody’s American Nightmare Promo, but he delivered it as well as he could have. It might have been his best delivered promo in TNA. The pull-apart brawl was a nice successor to that promo.
Trevor Lee vs. Andrew Everett: Okay, even though most of these early Anthem taping left a lot to be desired, at least we’ve seen a longer stream of X Division singles matches than we’ve had in a long time. I’m not a fan of every match being a title match in the X Division (same with the Grand Championship), but baby steps with the X Division, I suppose. Everett got to win the crowd over with his high flying repertoire which meshed well with Lee’s contrasting yet refined mat based style. The huracanrana driver and Shooting Star Press came off really well and gave Everett a little something. If Anthem wants a point of reference regarding their own X Division, they should look at how WWE has done way more for the career of Mark Andrews with three matches and one video package as opposed to what TNA has done with Andrews in two years.
Rosemary vs. Jade: Even though DQ-wise this was the same set of rules as the Monsters Ball, the women really put a lot of effort into making this matchup fresh and compelling to watch. It’s interesting that they’re having Jade lose so many matches, but maybe that’s by design (which they might not be able to see to fruition because of Jade’s contract expiring or perhaps even because of her contract expiring). Rosemary got to build some in-ring credibility here by hitting multiple F5’s on Jade to dispatch her.
D’Angelo Dinero: While Elijah Burke isn’t the first person I would choose to be color commentator, he really did his best to step up tonight while Josh Mathews sunk into heel Michael Cole mode. Dinero really took it to task here to actually fill in the play-by-play gaps left by Mathews heeling it up. Dinero also fought for the babyfaces while decrying heel actions. What made Heel Cole get really old really quick was how he took over the show so much while Booker T and neutered Josh Mathews just had to sit there and take it from the heel lead guy. Pope did his best tonight and hopefully he uses this to grow as a color commentator to the next level.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Lashley vs. Josh Barnett: First of all, they rushed their way to this match in a hurry for some reason. They treated this like they did with Cody Rhodes, when they had to burn through the match quickly due to not having him locked down with the company. Secondly, am I forgetting something or was the character profile video (right before the match!!!) the first video package and hype video that we’ve gotten about Josh Barnett? Thirdly, the match wasn’t that good. A majority of fans seemed to be more behind Lashley. Josh hadn’t really got a chance to establish his pseudo-MMA style to the audience, and it didn’t look nice. The finish was really ugly as Josh kicked out of Lashley’s finisher. D’Angelo Dinero even called that Barnett kicked out which didn’t help. If they were going to establish Josh’s MMA, it probably would have served them well to have him fight his way to the Grand Championship and build to a unification match with Lashley down the road.
Jessie Godderz vs. James Storm: Well… at least they picked up a win this time given that they had the numbers advantage yet again. That said, the DCC still DC-Suck. It’s sad, Storm and Bram could be so much more, and TNA’s going to need them with four of their “Big Six” not signed. What’s worse is they are losing to the directionless Jessie Godderz. I’ve become a fan of his work, but TNA isn’t doing anything of substance with him at the moment. DCC might be worse than 3MB. They might be even worse than the Global Force Wrestling faction from two years ago.
Heel Josh Mathews: I mentioned in the member exclusive TNA Roster Evaluation audio show a few weeks ago that I recalled Josh Mathews stating in an interview Wade Keller of the Torch that he was a huge admirer of the concept of “Heel Michael Cole”, the evil lead play-by-play. I’m afraid that they are giving Mathews a bit of freedom on his character and he’s taking it in the totally wrong direction that will not help the overall wrestling product. It may get Josh over as a character but as we’ve seen tonight, it really detracts from the matches. Josh started to set the heel wheels in motion last year when he tried to treat EC3 the same way that Cole used to treat Miz with over-the-top complements, but luckily that got halted when Big Money Matt caused EC3 to turn. Now it’s just random, even though there was a bit of an attempt to try to justify this. What made the Cole turn successful on the onset was Daniel Bryan and Miz serving as the impetus for the shift. Josh is turning heel now for heel’s sake right now and I’m hoping this is not the direction that TNA/Anthem feels would draw viewers because it could very well push them to turn the channel.
If Josh Matthews is gonna be a “heel” announcer, he should have a confident tone, like Jesse Ventura did and sort of like Corey Graves…this was annoyingly bad and his over-the-top paranoia over the changes coming didn’t help; maybe he should watch WWE Network and listen to Ventura and Bobby Heenan