A couple of months into the Pop Network Era of TNA Impact Wrestling seems like a good jumping on point for those new to the promotion or lapsed former congregants of the Impact Zone. I am largely unfamiliar with the cosmology of TNA but as a lifelong X-Men fan, the untangling years of dangling plot threads is fun and the good kind of baffling. There’s belt to fight over, some fantastic wrestlers and some odd energy from the crowd that everyone (except Beer Money) seems to do battle with.
With that, by gawd, let’s get to the ring!
TNA Impact Wrestling
Filmed at Universal Studios Orlando, FL
Match 1: EC3 vs. The Matt Hardy Brand
Match 2: Beer Money/EC3 vs. The Matt Hardy Brand
Matt Hardy is a magnificent heel, exquisite in form and completely unhinged. The first segment and match showcase the all-new, all different Matt Hardy and his cohorts Reby Sky, Tyrus and Rock Star Spud. The six-man tag that evolves out of the EC3-targeted Handicap Match is good and allows everyone to display what works about each participant.
With the recent news of Bobby Roode leaving TNA, it is interesting to see a clean pin by Hardy following a nicely executed Twist of Fate. Throughout the match Roode is so good and I can’t wait to see where he lands in the not too distant future.
Match 3: Madison Rayne vs. Velvet Sky in a #1 Contenders Match
The fight for Gail Kim’s Knockout Championship lands Kim’s former Tag Champion partner and 5 time Knockout Champion Madison Rayne and her former Tag Champion partner and 2 time Knockout Champion Velvet Sky (phew) in a #1 Contenders match. This a terrific match with great rhythm throughout and a super sweet Northern Lights Bridge by Rayne who dispatches Velvet Sky with a clean Jackknife pin.
I can’t wait for a championship match. The caliber of the Knockout Division could go toe to toe with much of the Divas/NXT Women’s division.
Match 4: The BroMans vs. Eric Young & Bram
If you had told me The BroMans were clones of “The Model” Rick Martel brought from the future and raised in a training facility in Florida to capture tag team glory (OR WHATEVER) I absolutely would’ve believed you. I hope everyone who is irritated by the ever hyped Mojo Rawley is prepared to meet Robbie and Jessie. That being said, they have a Martel-like slickness in the ring which is completely opposite (the soon departing) Eric Young and Bram. Young is legit scary. I have no doubt wherever he terrorizes next will appease this loose cannon and current King of the Mountain Champion with whatever he desires. The match was okay but the set up for a Young/Bram dissolution and confrontation is more interesting.
Match 5, Main Event: TNA World Champion Drew Galloway vs. Jeff Hardy in a World Championship Match
Newly crowned TNA World Champion Galloway has his first title defense against a heavily decorated legend, Jeff Hardy who won a Gauntlet Match to capture the #1 Contendership, betraying Matt Hardy in the process. The quick-paced bout is laced with killer moves from both opponents, notably a gnarly superplex, a devastating Claymore Kick from Galloway and a frightening Swanton Bomb onto the steel steps from Hardy. Galloway wins clean, totally nailing a Future Shock DDT solidifying his early championship reign.
In a smaller venue, possibly with a different crowd this match would have been totally bonkers. It took the above mentioned Swanton to elicit ‘This is awesome’ chants. Several spots throughout the match (not to mention the rest of the show) certainly deserved the same respect. Tough crowd.
That Matt Hardy shows up to put the brakes on the celebration and sportsmanship between Galloway and Jeff bookends and sets up the recently defrocked champion’s rematch challenge nicely.
Random Notes from the Impact Zone
- Not unlike what is said about Yes’ Tales from Topographic Oceans, somewhere in the morass of excess lies a really solid chunk of business. The set ups for the matches are no more illogical than any other promotion…mostly it’s about belts and climbing the ladder. It just takes a bit of a wander to get there, specifically the opening segment and matches.
- It was fun watching a commentator up and decide to return to action which is what we got with Pope and his interaction with Lashley. It sort of kind of reminded me of Alex Riley’s return to action but with faaaaar less angst.
- Al Snow beating up Grado was like watching Al Snow beating up a goddamn golden retriever.
- X Division Champion Trevor Lee is also TNA Side Eye Champion for his reactions to Shane Helms calling out recently solo Eddie Edwards to form a tag team. I’m sure it’ll all work out for all parties involved.
- An Eric Young/Jeff Hardy cage match next week? How can I say no?