By John Moore
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Best of 2017 – Part 2
The intro teaser was a Slammiversary highlight package. The living Owl flying to the ring was shown. The also showed clips of the one night return of Don West on commentary, Jeff Jarrett thanking the fans for helping him star his dream (TNA) 15 years ago, LAX teasing a new member, DeAngelo Williams doing a frog splash, Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards, Sonjay Dutt hitting Low Ki with a Warrior’s Way Moonsault, American’s Top Team, and Alberto El Patron celebrating his unified title win with Dos Caras…
Josh Mathews welcomed the viewers to Best of 2017 Part 2. Mathews pointed out that they didn’t show clips from the unification of the TNA and Global Force Championships…
1. Sienna vs. Rosemary in a title unification match for the Global Force Wrestling and TNA Knockouts Titles from Slammiversary 2017. Rosemary took her entrance seriously this night as she came out with this badass skull mask while being flanked by zombie chicks. Gail Kim watched the match from ringside. Good action to start focusing on Rosemary’s brawling style. Because this was a TNA anniversary, there was an Earl Hebner bump. KM interference. An Allie Run in for the save. Belt shot. At least there was a false finish, but there was plenty of “only in TNA” there. Sienna won by covering her hand in what was supposedly acid mist from Rosemary’s mouth which she used to “blind” Rosemary and defeat Rosemary via submission with the Dragon Sleeper.
Sienna defeated Rosemary via Submission to unified the Global Force Wrestling and TNA Championship titles.
Rosemary sold the “acid” in the ring… [C]
Cut back to the Josh Mathews blue screen room. Josh talked about how he was uncomfortable talking about the next Slammiversary match because of the ending of a match including him and Scott Steiner…
2. Jeremy Borash and Joseph Park vs. Josh Mathews and Scott Steiner from Slammiversary 2017. The footage started off in the post-produced Jeremy Borash Style cinematic with Borash fearing Scott Steiner. Steiner wanted to run some fat asses over with a golf cart. Final Deletion antics ensued with Scott Steiner saying the words “fat asses” a lot. Eventually the match found its way to the ring with James Mitchell bringing in the monster Abyss. Then came the usual monster’s ball stuff like the thumbtacks. Mathews worked a decent match with Abyss (since he is a legit trained wrestler that competed on WWE Tough Enough). Abyss hit Mathews with the Black Hold Slam on the tacks. Borash got the pinfall win, after a frog splash on the tacks which gave Borash a handfull of painful tacks.
Jeremy Borash and Abyss defeated Josh Mathews and Scott Steiner via pinfall.
Borash showed off his bloody thumbtack filled hand after the match. Back at the recap room, Josh Mathews acted like he didn’t like what he saw. Mathews then tried to make excuses by saying that Borash needed interference and thumbtacks to beat him. Mathews then moved on to highlights of the “Gauntlet for the Gold” match to crown a new Global Force Wrestling Global Champion after Jim Cornette stripped Alberto El Patron of the Global Championship to begin an investigation on him…
3. Gauntlet for the Gold match for the vacant GFW Global Championship. Johnny Impact (John Morrison) made his debut during this match. Ultimately, this was the first match of the year that Eli Drake was taken seriously (I want to look back to see if this was the first match he won all year since they had Drake losing to everybody at one point including incoming celebrities). Eli Drake, Eddie Edwards, and Johnny Impact were the final three. Eli Drake caught Eddie Edwards midair and hit him with the Gravy Train for the clean pinfall win in the subsequent singles match.
Eli Drake defeated Eddie Edwards via pinfall to become the new GFW Global Champion.
Drake celebrated his title win with Chris Adonis afterwards while gloating to the fans… [C]
Back at the Josh Mathews green screen room, Josh welcomed the viewers back and talked about 2017 being a year of “accomplishments” for Impact. Mathews said there was the launch of the Global Wrestling Network, a Pluto TV free channel, the launch of something in Germany, and their various worldwide relationships. Josh named AAA, Crash, and Noah as their relationships. Mathews cut to a video package recapping Eddie Edwards becoming the first gaijin GHC (Global Honored Crown) championship. Eddie talked about making the belt a global title and how he was Mr. Anything is Possible.
The show cut to a Johnny Impact video package where Jeremy Borash hyped Johnny up as a guy who hold’s AAA’s Mega, Cruiserweight, and Latin American titles. Johnny Impact talked about how all the great wrestlers from GFW and AAA were in the arena for TripleMania including the return of DJ Z and Andrew Everett. Borash pointed out a similar situation to Eddie Edwards where Johnny Impact was also a gaijin (foreigner/American) who won a foreign belt. Johnny Impact hyped up El Texano Jr and El Hijo Del Fantasma (King Cuerno from Lucha Underground). Borash said both opponents were multi-generational wrestlers.
Josh Mathews said Johnny Impact takes people to “Slamtown” all over the world and how Eddie Edwards won the Global Honored Crown title. Mathews cut to a Taya Valkyrie video packaged which focused on her dominance. The next spotlight match was Sonjay Dutt vs. Trevor Lee for the X Division Championship…
4. Trevor Lee vs. Sonjay Dutt in a falls count anywhere match for the X Division Championship. Good X Division action. The brawl spilled to the Universal Studios lot. There were a handful of trash can shots to Sonjay’s head. Caleb Konley assisted Lee to lead to a two on one situation. Trevor Lee won with a handfull of tights.
Trevor Lee defeated Sonjay Dutt via pinfall to become the new Impact X Division Champion.
Lee and Konley ran out of Universal Studios wearing their ring gear… [C]
Josh Mathews talked about Impact’s hot Tag Team Division and focused on OVE, Ohio vs. Everything. Mathews said OVE didn’t catch on with the fans at first. Mathews said after some time people got to see how good OVE were. Mathews said LAX was the anti-LAX with things like being from Ohio while LAX is from Los Angeles (isn’t Homicide from New York and Konnan from Florida?)…
5. LAX (w/ Konnan) vs. Ohio vs. Everything in a 5150 Street Fight from Bound for Glory 2017. They cut to about the midway point of the match where LAX and OVE brawled to the scaffolding area near the crowd. The crowd was clearly chanting “We can’t see shit” at this point because they didn’t know what LAX were doing. Santana was shown climbing up the scaffolding. This led to Santana doing a huge dive onto Dave Crist who was on a table. The next cut was to Ortiz brawling with Jake who wore a dress suit. There was more hardcore madness. The end of the match had the debut of Sami Callihan giving OVE the numbers advantage.
Jake and Dave Crist defeated LAX via pinfall to retain the Impact Tag Team Championships.
The reason this looked like a double turn was because Santana looked really sympathetic in taking the bullet for Ortiz when OVE tried to put the boots to him. Sami Callihan cut a promo about Ohio and Thumbs afterward. Dave was acting heelish after the match by taunting fans… [C]
John’s Thoughts: I wouldn’t say that Impact had a hot tag team division all year because ultimately it was just LAX and OVE. Teams like the Veterans of War or Reno Scum had a little time in the company but ultimately faded away. Josh was right about OVE not catching on, mostly due to Jake trying to get crowd to chant their dumb tag team name. Sami Callihan was a godsend and totally changed the public perception of what were two pretty dorky babyfaces. OVE has a cool factor now and LAX was cool to begin with via Konnan’s stellar mic work. If I were putting this compilation together I would also end up showing that Lucha Underground like cinematic between Konnan and Sami with the fireball.
Josh Mathews talked about how Gail Kim promised to retire at the end of 2017 and had the final goal of wanting to become Knockouts Champion one more time. A good Gail Kim retirement highlight package aired. This was followed by the Gail Kim retirement speech from a few months ago…
John’s Thoughts: Another odd move by Impact was the handling of the Gail Kim retirement. There was a lot of bad segments we got in the Anthem era of Impact yet they had an effortless hook set in front of them with the Gail Kim retirement; yet every Gail Kim segment after Slammiversary seemed rushed and it looked like they wanted to show other segments instead. I was caught up a bit in the emotion at the time, but looking back it was a bit odd that Allie was in the retirement segment for no reason. This was really similar to Gail Kim’s teased retirement where they wanted to make Jade (Mia Yim) Gail Kim 2.0.
Josh Mathews moved on to talking about American Top Team. Mathews named the MMA fighters like Colby Covington, King Mo, and the rest of the staff. The show cut to a Dan Lambert vignette where he talked about exposing Professional Wrestling…
John’s Thoughts: Oh. I remembered an unintentional “best of…”. They should have showed that weird Moose and Stephan Bonnar skit where they “invaded” an empty gym. It was more “best of” in a wrestlecrap sense so I do also understand if they wanted to hide that segment too. Moose getting beat up like an idiot trying to invade a full gym was funny too. Moose has had such a strange run in Impact Wrestling.
The next and final spotlight of the show was the Bound for Glory main event…
John’s Thoughts: Random thought, they call it the “Global Championship” but wasn’t their Global Championship Eric Young’s rename of Booker T’s Red Toy Belt when he tried to act like their version of suit-wearing heel Chris Jericho as “World Elite” Eric Young?
6. Johnny Impact vs. Eli Drake (w/ Chris Adonis) for the Impact Global Championship from Bound for Glory 2017. The match was decent but nothing really standout due to the focus being on interference. Since this company is still TNA at heart all the focus was on former WWE Wrestlers (Three of the four wrestlers in the segment were past WWE wrestlers. I know Eli Drake was as well, but I don’t count him due to him not making WWE/FCW/NXT Television). There were REF BUMPS!!! Alberto El Patron showed up and “ruined” the main event like he said he would.
Eli Drake defeated Johnny Impact via pinfall to retain the Impact Global Champion.
Josh Mathews talked about how the main event of Bound For Glory was ruined (then why is it considered a “best of”? It honestly wasn’t, kayfabe and not kayfabe). Josh Mathews thanked the viewers for watching. Josh then asked if in 2018, would it be the last ride of James Storm. Josh wished the viewers a happy new year.
John’s Thoughts: It’s tough to come up with a “best of 2017” episode with this company since this company regressed so much this year. It would be much easier to make a “worst of” compilation but that would take maybe six parts from the bad Karen Jarrett promos, the odd Prichard promos, the Authority figure brigade, the flurry of bad press of this company, Alberto El Patron’s lame family storyline, Dan Lambert, Lashley’s regression, Swolemates, Eli Drake’s bad 75% of the year, James Storm being borderline racist that one time, bad independent wrestling footage, having nine active title belts, Slamtown, Gail Kim’s botched retirement focus, and I’m going to stop there but I can come up with maybe 100+ bad things that has happened this year and that’s not hyperbole.
LAX was good, Konnan was greater, Low Ki had standout matches, Sonjay Dutt was a nice surprise, and the X division was finally given a good spotlight for the first time in probably ten years. Even those good complements are graded on the TNA-curve. These past two weeks weren’t a “best of 2017” episode, it was a “best of Anthem” series and there was nothing really “best” about the anthem management of this company other than us not being reminded weekly that the company wants viewers to “follow Dixie Carter on Twitter” as Josh Mathews was forced to say during every episode last year and prior.
The real “best of 2017” was stuff like Rosemary’s dominance, Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards, Rosemary vs. Jade, Braxton Sutter and Laurel Van Ness’s wedding, The Broken Hardys, Bobby Lashley as world champion, and a few other things between January and March. Why didn’t we get those in this compilation? Because that creative was from the Dave Lagana and Matt Conway which made TNA Impact Wrestling the best weekly television show of 2016 going into 2017 even in comparison to WWE. It was too good to be true and let’s just hope 2018 gets better with Don Callis (ECW’s Cyrus) and Scott D’Amore. D’Amore in charge of creative has me a bit nervous of nothing changing but I hope he’s more logical than Jeff Jarrett of learning from past failures as opposed to being stubborn.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Todd Martin on his background, attending pro wrestling events in Japan, the NJPW G1 Tournament, why lucha libre companies haven't been as successful as NJPW in the United States, AEW optimism, covering pro wrestling and MMA, and more (68:57)...