By John Moore
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped in April at Universal Studios Orlando, Florida
The early part of this week’s Impact intro teaser focused on the commentator feud between Josh Mathews and Jeremy Borash. The later part of the teaser focused on the Ethan Carter III and Bruce Prichard vendetta…
Ethan Carter III made his way to the ring to start off Impact. Josh Mathews and D’Angelo Dinero checked in on commentary as Josh Mathews handled the social media plugs. EC3 had a barbershop quartet in the ring accompanied by a bassist and Violinist. This was a reference to a barbershop quartet segment he did in 2015 when he became number one contender to face Kurt Angle for the TNA World Championship. That time he had a much younger quartet.
EC3 said tonight was a night for celebration. The quartet then started to sing his entrance theme with a bass and violin accompaniment. EC3 said the band was called “The Hot Boys and One Girl”. EC3 then started to name them off and even referenced Home Alone by saying one had a gimp leg. The quartet then sang that EC3 was the number one contender in the tune of “He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”. EC3 talked about bringing the quartet before. Impact obviously got the unintended reaction at this point because they tried to show that one kid in the audience was unhappy and overacting, yet the crowd loved EC3. He’s a heel so I don’t think they wanted a favorable reaction for EC3.
EC3 asked if the crowd was having a good time and the crowd cheered that they were having a good time. EC3 talked about having the chance to face Bobby Lashley, his biggest challenge yet. EC3 said thing are different because he has a secret weapon now. Carter said he ended James Storm’s career and is on the path to greatness. EC3 said he has something special, fight music. The quartet sung a classic song just with Bobby Lashley’s name in it. The song’s chorus sung “goodbye my Bobby Lashley”. Alberto El Patron made his way to the ring. He just took off the GFW belt before he made his way down the ramp as he hyped up the fans.
Suddenly the Jeff Jarrett entrance music played as Bruce Prichard, Karen Jarrett, Dutch Mantell, and Tyrus came out. Karen wanted to talk but Prichard pulled the mic away from her. Prichard said to knock it off to the people in the ring. Prichard said he told everyone already that the inmates weren’t running the asylum. Prichard said it’s cool they want to fight because they can fight tonight. Prichard then forced Alberto El Patron to put his GFW Championship on the line against EC3. Prichard then told EC3 that there were supposed to be repercussions. Prichard said EC3 will also be forced to put his number one contendership on the line. Alberto then tried to storm the ring for a fight. Prichard talked again and said we were getting tonight’s match inside of a solid steel cage. Alberto El Patron celebrated on the turnbuckles. Josh Mathews hyped a Grand Championship match between Moose and Eli Drake with Chris Adonis in Drake’s corner. Josh said we were getting “special judges for this one”…
John’s Thoughts: Eh? That was not a really good segment on many angles. The EC3 quartet segment was actually really fun and well done. It didn’t, on the other hand, seem to be reaching its goal of making EC3 out to be a heel because the fans booed him heavily early in the segment only to end up cheering him by the end of it due to him being so lovable against the heel Bobby Lashley. Alberto El Patron was put in a tough position because it looked like there was about to be a cool brawl between EC3 and Alberto but he was cut off by three of the many authority figures in Impact these days. Then Prichard forced Alberto to put his title on the line for no reason and then acted like putting the number one contendership is of equal value to the GFW Title. The GFW titles are worthless. It also makes last week’s main event pointless because if this was what they wanted then they should have treated the GFW toy belt as the “golden ticket”. This segment would have been solid before the Jeff Jarrett entrance siren played but then it became classic TNA overbooking. It’s funny that Dutch Mantell, who was in the middle of this segment, was presumably in charge of scripting this mess. Hopefully he saw firsthand how contrived it was.
Josh Mathews hyped EC3 vs. Patron in the steel cage as the main event of this show. Josh then hyped Impact in India for next week’s show. Eli Drake made his entrance first and Chris Adonis accompanied him for some reason. The “Special Judges” were three of the many Impact authority figures: Bruce Prichard, Dutch Mantel, and Scott D’Amore with Tyrus with them. Drake came out to his remixed (non Jeff Hardy) music. Moose was out after.
1. Moose vs. Eli Drake (w/ Chris Adonis) for the Impact Grand Championship with the Impact Authority Figures as guest judges. Moose kicked things off with a boot to the face of Drake right out of the gate. Moose kept Drake down with a variation of boots. Moose manhandled Drake easily by throwing him around like a ragdoll. The ref separated Moose from smothering Drake in the corner with punches which allowed Drake to gain the upper hand after a chop block. Drake put the boots to the left leg of Moose. Drake focused his offense on that left leg. The crowd chanted “happy birthday” for some reason, I’m assuming it’s a birthday of a fan. Drake dominated the majority of the round by working on the left leg. Drake ended the round with a figure four locked in. Referee Brian Stiffler consulted with the Impact authority figures and they gave Eli Drake a unanimous win in round one.
Drake kicked off the second round by giving the targeted leg of Moose a dropkick. Josh Mathews decided to ignore the match at this point by hyping up his new tag team partner Scott Steiner. Drake worked on the left leg still. Josh Mathews turned on the annoying heel switch. Drake showboated on the top rope which set up Moose’s high dropkick. Moose sold a leg injury. Moose ended up nailing Drake with a powerbomb, running senton, and moonsault. Moose couldn’t go for the pinfall because of the leg injury. Josh Mathews sent it to commercial with the cliffhanger as to who the judges ended up voting for as winner of this round. [C]
The judges gave Moose the second round via split decision. Judges #1 and #3 voted in favor of Moose which I’m going to assume are Prichard and Mantel since they are seating at the edges of the table. Chris Masters went to complain but was backed off by Tyrus. Moose and Eli Drake traded punches early in the round. They then traded slow kicks. Moose hit Drake with the Go to Hell. Eli Drake kicked out of the pin attempt. Dinero pointed out that he doesn’t think anyone has ever kicked out of the Go to Hell. Josh and Dinero talked about Prichard’s podcast at this point. Dinero said that Bruce Prichard talks about Impact Wrestling on the podcast as one of his topics. Drake dodged a boot and hit Moose with a flip flapjack to get a pin attempt. Moose and Drake struggled to get to their feet as they traded slow strikes due to fatigue. Moose ended up dominating by Hulking up. Chris Adonis held the leg of Moose while the ref was distracted which allowed Drake to hit Moose with the Celtic Cross. Drake went for the pin but time ran out. The judges gave Moose the win in the third round which gave Moose the overall victory.
Moose defeated Eli Drake via split decision to retain the Impact Grand Championship.
John’s Thoughts: The Grand Championship is just like WWE’s 205 Live, dead in the water. It’s so dead that Josh Mathews decided to have this be the time of day where he goes into not caring about what’s happening in the ring to get his character over. The only thing that stood out here was the Impact authority figures trying to get more TV time for some reason.
Drake went to complain to the Impact authority figures. Backstage, Allie was interviewed. Oh mah Gawd! Allie finally speaks for once! Allie stammered a bit wondering if Rosemary was a demon or something. Allie wondered why Rosemary would help her. Rosemary creeped up behind Allie and talked to her. Rosemary called Allie a little bunny. Rosemary said Allie has a knack for getting herself in trouble. Allie asked Rosemary why she helped her. Rosemary said “we” may have lost our family but “we” still serve “the hive”.
Rosemary said the hive calls out to souls in need of help. Rosemary said the hive tells “us” to protect the souls and Allie is in need of protection. Rosemary asked Allie if she feels the danger that surrounds her. Allie said she does a little bit as she nodded nervously. Rosemary said you don’t have to fear because “we” are fear, darkness, and Chaos and “we” will protect you. Rosemary crept away as Allie looked a tad bit nervous in the fetal position…
Josh Mathews then cut to a hype video for Impact Live events happening in a New York minor league ballpark on August 5th. Matt Sydal then hyped up the Low Ki vs. Andrew Everett singles match. Sydal said Low Ki was the most dangerous man in the division. Sydal then credited Everett for beating him. Sydal said Everett was capable and now has a chance to prove himself against Low Ki. Sydal said there is no room for error against Low Ki and he was paying attention to this match. Sydal said to keep the spotlight on Sydal and to tune in. Josh Mathews hyped a guest commentator. He also hyped Allie in single’s action… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Come to think of it? We don’t even hear much from Rosemary these days either. Rosemary and Allie are two of Impact’s best talkers from a character perspective, male or female, and have been criminally utilized. Hopefully we get to hear more from them going forward. Braxton Sutter should be Allie’s valet, not the other way around. And for some backstory via a cinematic with Bram, Rosemary uses “we” as her pronoun because she is constantly accompanied by the spirit of her dead brother named “Montgomery” whose soul resides inside of a tree in her back yard. It’s her “Brother” Abagail if you will. How funny would it be if Randy Orton decided to burn Montgomery down one day while he was camping?
A new female wrestler came to the ring with no video wall. Her name was Amber Nova and Dave Penzer told us that she hails “from the garage”? Wait what? I’m with Josh on this one. Josh and Dinero were confused and Diner said he wishes she were from his garage. Allie was out next with Braxton Sutter at her side. Swoggle (a.k.a. Hornswoggle) was in the crowd.
2. Allie (w/Braxton Sutter) vs. Amber Nova. Nova started the match with an early takedown. Allie locked it up for a bit but was tossed aside. Allie made her poufy face in the next lockup. Nova gave Allie a knee in the corner. Allie came right back with a clothesline to the corner. Allie missed a corner splash and Nova put the boots to her in the corner. Nova dominated Allie for a sequence. Allie caught a boot and took down Nova. Allie then did a clothesline rally to wake up the crowd. Amber Nova went high risk but Allie put her in fireman carry position. Allie hit the DVD to pick up the victory.
Allie defeated Amber Nova via pinfall in 3:35.
Allie celebrated by giving everyone hugs including Earl Hebner and Amber Nova. Joseph Park and Jeremy Borash were shown driving around in a golf cart. They entered the studio set…
LAX made their entrance next. This was a GFW championship match. LAX had the Impact Tag Team Championships on their waists. Their opponents were the Veterans of War… [C]
3. Santana and Ortiz (w/Konnan, Homicide, Diamante) vs. Wilcox and Mayweather in a No-DQ (?) match for the GFW Tag Team Championships. Swoggle was shown hanging out in the crowd again. Wilcox started the match against Ortiz. Wilcox dominated with his power. Ortiz tried to cut in. The rest of LAX beat up on Mayweather as Josh Mathews said they were taking advantage of No-DQ rules? This is a No-DQ match?
Wilcox managed to give Ortiz and Santana a single man double clothesline. Wilcox and Mayweather tagged in and dominated. Mayweather and Wilcox held control in the ring and Santana gave Mayweather a chop block. Ortiz kept Wilcox on the outside. Ortiz tagged back in as LAX gave Mayweather a double back suplex. Mayweather escaped the attack of Santana by performing a back toss. LAX regained control and kept Mayweather isolated in their corner. Mayweather gave Santana a swinging End of Days to get a little breathing room.
Wilcox tagged in for a back body drop. Wilcox then followed up with Samoan Drop. Wilcox went for the pin but Diamante pulled the ref away. Josh Mathews stressed that this was legal due to it being no disqualification. Only in TNA folks! Mayweather tried to complain but was hit in the hamstring by Konnan who used a pipe. Homicide hit Wilcox in the back with a belt. LAX picked up the win on Wilcox with their powerbomb blockbuster combination.
LAX defeated Veterans of War via pinfall in 6:56 to become the new GFW Tag Team Champions.
Josh Mathews said LAX were now dual champions. People weren’t booing LAX, but the applause was light because they just saw a strange TNA match… [C]
John’s Thoughts: We got an “Only in TNA” classic tonight. I think the goal of that match was to try to set up LAX as heels, but as the reaction of the crowd showed, LAX only followed the rules they were given. The heat’s not on LAX for swarming VOW, the heat is on whoever would be credited for booking essentially a five on two handicap no disqualification match. I don’t remember Dave Penzer announcing it was no-DQ. It might have been Josh Mathews trying to cover the TNA up post production. Ugh. These Only in TNA moments hurt my head. And they can’t even pin it on Dixie Carter anymore because it was a trend by the old creative team to make Dixie Carter look like a doofus booker. Maybe we should blame Karen Jarrett now story-wise?
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Jeremy Borash and Joseph Parks. Mitchell asked JB about his thoughts after finding out Scott Steiner is Mathews’ tag partner. JB talked about getting his first ever radio job in Minneapolis, Minnesota which set his dreams in motion about wanting to become an announcer. He said he has never wanted to step inside of a wrestling ring, especially against Big Poppa Pump. JB tried to tell Park that he was not doing this match. Joe Park said JB has to be confident. Park talked about proving his aunt wrong in becoming a lawyer. Park said he learned to “buck up”. Park said they were going to train and learn everything about tag team wrestling. Park said the training starts now. JB said Park must be out of his damn mind for trying to put JB in the ring with Scott Steiner. Borash walked off. Park asked Borash to not Kay-fab him.
Sonjay Dutt walked out to join the commentary team during the X Division Title match. Josh Mathews called Dutt the greatest X Division star not to hold the X Division Championship. Josh turned the switch and mocked “Impact Originals”. Andrew Everett was out first. Low Ki came out next in his Agent 47 Hitman cosplay. It would probably help if Josh or Dinero would explain the history behind the Agent 47 suit and bar code.
4. Low Ki vs. Andrew Everett for the Impact X Division Championship. Dutt insinuated that Low Ki might have injured him on purpose. Ki pointed out to Everett that the crowd was cheering for him at the moment. Everett was apprehensive about the lockup because of Ki’s quick feet. Everett went for a rear lockup but Ki managed to overpower Everett to the corner for the breakup. Everett locked in a side headlock and used his agility to keep the advantage over Ki. Ki hit Everett with a high mule kick to pressure Everett into a corner. Everett managed to send Ki to the ground with an enziguri while Ki was on the apron. Ki dodged Everett to send him outside. Ki gave Everett a front dropkick going into the commercial. [C]
Low Ki did a back kick to the gut of Everett followed by a feint overhead kick. Everett fought out of the corner with a dropkick but Ki maintained pressure in the corners. Everett fought out with a boot but Ki yanked Everett by the boot. Ki locked in a body stretch. Sonjay Dutt said Low Ki’s new attire based off of his slow and methodical style (even though both him and Will Ospreay are obviously wearing this as an homage to Agent 47). Everett gained a bit of breathing room with a Pele kick. Everett then drove Ki into the second turnbuckle with a huracanrana.
Everett got a nearfall after a standing shooting star. Everett slipped while trying a springboard move. Ki and Everett brawled on the top rope. Everett went for and attempted his impressive shooting star. Low Ki then did the shotgun dropkick on Everett to the corner. Low Ki then hit the Warrior’s Way on Everett to pick up the victory.
Low Ki defeated Andrew Everett via pinfall in 8:57 to retain the Impact X Division Championship.
Low Ki went to the commentary to trash talk Sonjay Dutt a bit. He then celebrated his title win by slapping hands with the fans. They then cut to a Bobby Lashley “Make Impact Great” video where Lashley talked about loving to entertain the crowd…
John’s Thoughts: Not the most exciting X Division Championship match we’ve seen but the singles format sure beats the hell out of pointless 4-plus-way matches because the wrestlers get to show some individualism. I’ll still be guarded as far as X Division optimism is concerned because we’ve seen short pushes in the division in the past but so far so good in the latest one. Now all across the board they should just tone down the title matches.
Hornswoggle was shown in the crowd again. Rockstar Spud blindsided Swoggle and dragged him to ringside. Spud yelled “Why!!!”. Spud then grabbed a hammer and started to beat down Swoggle with it. Spud gave Swoggle a nut shot and other shots with the hammer. The blue referees came out to break things up. Rockstar Spud limped up the ramp… [C]
John’s Thoughts: To quote Toru Yano ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
4. Alberto El Patron vs. Ethan Carter III in six sides of steel for the GFW Championship and Number One contendership to the Impact World Heavyweight Championship. Alberto rallied the crowd with a “si” chant. EC3 tried to escape early on but Alberto maintained an aggressive attack on Carter. El Patron tossed EC3 into the cage and pressured him against the cage. The giant ass camera holes were back and Josh Mathews correctly had to point out that you can’t win the match by escaping the camera holes.
EC3 pulled Patron off the cage to mount strikes on him. EC3 choked Alberto El Patron using the camera hole. EC3 followed up with an overhead hip attack. After dominating for a stretch El Patron nailed EC3 with a tornado DDT. El Patron tried to climb out of the cage with EC3 pulling at his gut. Patron climbed a bit higher but into position for EC3 to put Patron in fireman carry. EC3 hit a super Samoan Drop on El Patron leading into the break. [C]
EC3 had the upper hand back from the commercial. El Patron climbed through the giant ass camera hole for a breather but EC3 went over to stretch El Patron against the ropes. EC3 tossed El Patron like a dart into the cage. El Patron fought out of a side headlock. El Patron turned the table with a tilt a whirl backbreaker. EC3 kept El Patron from escaping and put him in the Electric Chair. EC3 hit Patron with an electric chair front faceslam to get a nearfall. El Patron barely hit a backcracker to keep EC3 from escaping. EC3 won the punch battle with a rake to the eyes. El Patron rallied back and hit EC3 with his signature thrust kick. This gave Patron a nearfall.
EC3 ducked a running enziguri and hit a running neckbreaker on El Patron. El Patron played possum and gave the knees to EC3’s arm. El Patron managed to lock in the Crossarmbreaker. EC3 escaped and hit Alberto with the TKO to lead to a nearfall. Mathews explained that the slow pace of the match was due to exhaustion. EC3 planted El Patron with a sitout powerbomb for another nearfall. El Patron met EC3 near the top of the cage as they traded punches. Alberto managed to kick EC3 off into the tree of woe. Alberto then hit his signature corner footstomp on EC3 from the near top of the cage. El Patron dragged EC3 to the center to hit him with the Frog Splash to pick up the victory.
Alberto El Patron defeated Ethan Carter III via pinfall in 13:00 to become the new number one contender to the Impact Heavyweight Championship.
Josh and Dinero talked about how El Patron has replaced EC3 in the main event of Slammiversary. EC3 celebrated by holding up his GFW Championship to close out the show…
John’s Thoughts: That was not a great championship match as both men are capable of much better. Alberto wasn’t bad per se, he was just not as good as his last two stellar matchups against Magnus and especially Eli Drake. EC3 was downright boring at times in this match and he’s capable of being so much more. The double foot stomp finisher by El Patron was the worst one yet, especially since EC3 had to visibly put himself into position and then hold himself up as if he wanted to take the move. You even had Josh Mathews feeling the need to say that the match was slow due to exhaustion. Another thing that made this match below average was both men tried to escape by slowly climbing up the cage a few too many times.
Impact has been much improved in this current set off tapings and we’ve gotten some great matches including good tag team wrestling, X Division matches, Edwards/Richards, and strong El Patron main events. This episode wasn’t so great. In fact, there was a bunch of old school TNA, and I mean that in the bad way. What makes something TNA is a lack of creative logic. We got overbooked matches, contrived promo segments, giant ass holes in the cages, lack of rule consistency, an over saturation of authority figures. The best parts of the show were Allie and Rosemary being allowed to speak as well as a solid X Division singles match. An X Division singles match is the most non-TNA thing you can think of. I wonder If I’m just missing the boat on this show or if Jason Powell shares my sentiment? Find out via his member exclusive audio review coming up along with his Impact Wrestling Hit List later today.