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TNA Impact preview (June 26, 2014): Time is money

The Lashley era begins with returns from Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode. With other big names scheduled to return over the next few weeks, we wonder if there will be time for some of the new faces they've been building over the last few months.

Previously on Impact Wrestling

The Head of Wrestling Operations, Montell Vontavious Porter, is having some bad luck.  First, a serious knee injury takes him out of his Slammiversary title match against Eric Young, then Dixie Carter throws her money around with the board and got him in trouble - even though all he's trying to do is make the company better.

A lot of jawing lead to Young beating Kenny King in a quick match.  Allies of the champ, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries and The Wolves ended up brawling with MVP's alliance - resulting in Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards having to defend their tag titles against Joe & Aries and a mystery team...and EY having to pull double duty without any backup against Bobby Lashley.  Oh, and Earl Hebner getting fired, but f that guy.

Old Earl wasn't the only one getting punished though.  After retaining their titles over Joe & A-Double and Willow & Abyss, The Wolves were given another championship match against Bram & Magnus.  That one was largely a front to put the boots to the champs, with Bram triggering a disqualification by using a steel chair.  Edwards & Richards were spared from more damage by a run-in from the monster & alter ego they had vanquished earlier.

A keyboard feud got verbal, as Dixie Carter called Tommy Dreamer out to the ring to settle their Twitter beef.  She accuses him of getting free publicity off of her name (which he did) and the House of Hardcore owner says that he's embarrassed by what TNA puts on television every week (he very well might be).  Dreamer begged Dixie to give the fans what they want, and she knees he'd in the groin.  I don't know about the fans, but that's probably not what the Innovator of Extreme wanted.  Spud and Ethan Carter III sent a wounded Tommy to the floor, and it looks like he might be the next legend slayed by EC3.

New mother Taryn Terrell returned to Impact and hugged it out with former rival Gail Kim.  The two Knockouts earned each other's respect during their brutal feud last year.  But that didn't scare off The Beautiful People, who came out to mock the new friends.  Champ Angelina Love and her partner Velvet Sky tried to attack, but got caught by Terrell and Kim.

Those two were kicked out of the building, which allowed the cameras to catch a backstage meeting between wounded warriors MVP and Kurt Angle.  The Olympian wanted to talk about what MVP'd been up to, but the baller wasn't interested in talking.  His troops pushed Angle around, and King took a punch for the team.

Two matches in one night turned out to be too much for FIGHTING CHAMP Eric Young.  The arena was cleared of wrestlers...not named MVP and Kenny King, and those men helped Bobby Lashley become the new TNA World Heavyweight Champ.  It looked like they might put Super Eric on the shelf for a while, too, but a post-match Pillmanizer was cut short by a returning Bobby Roode, who made the save from the crowd.


I can't claim previews are 100% spoiler-free this week, since I had to write them up last week (they're here if you want them).  But I can do my best to keep what I know out of this post.

What will new champ Lashley have to say?  Can anyone stop MVP now that he has the most important belt in the company in his camp?  How will Eric Young respond to losing his title like that?

TNA officials are promising an update on Bobby Roode.  He was technically still under a suspension issued by Porter, and it's unclear if that had expired or if his appearance last week violated his contract.  We'll find out tonight if he's back or in line for more punishment.

Two big tag matches are lined up, as Gail Kim & Taryn Terrell face The Beautiful People, and Willow & Abyss take their feud against Bram & Magnus to Monster's Ball!

And with the Destination X event - and a championship opportunity available to whoever holds the X Division title - current king Sanada will be defending his title on this week's show.

Expect to pop for:

Returning stars. Kurt Angle!  Bobby Roode!  Jeff Hardy! Matt Hardy! Rhino!  Low Ki! Exciting names, ranging from TNA originals to future Hall of Famers to indy legends.

It should make for some exciting shows, fresh match-ups and names that could drive ratings and sell tickets.  Which sounds great, right?  Well...

The heat is on:

New acts. Guys like Gunner, Bram, Samuel Shaw, EC3...even Crazzy Steve are just starting to find their groove in TNA and connect with audiences.  With only a couple of hours worth of shows each week, television time is going to be at a premium.  If all of a sudden Gunner and Shaw aren't on Impact, will the gains they've made over the last two or three months been gone?

That's without even addressing the fact that Sanada and The Wolves have held gold for a while now with no real character other than "good guys who compete".  In all likelihood, yesterday's announcement about Bound for Glory will mean even more Wrestle-1 wrestlers being worked onto the card of the next big pay-per-view (PPV).

TNA needs guys who pop a number now, AND they need to be bringing along the next generation of stars that will keep fans tuning in and coming back over the next few years.  They're going to have to carefully manage the time that bigger vs. newer names get over the next few months in order to generate buzz and make money.

Will the Lashley era also mark a new balance in TNA between old stars and rising ones?

We'll start to get a sense of it on Impact tonight.  Be sure to follow along with the live blog, and stick with cSs for all your TNA news!

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