TNA Impact was live-ish tonight from Orlando before their Slammiversary Pay Per View this Sunday, and more importantly, the PPV caliber card next week on Impact. They had tons of surprises in store, so let's take a look at what they were.
The show opens with Angle in the ring asking Ethan Carter III to reveal his opponent. EC3 comes out and first the two go back and forth discussing why they are going to win. EC3 lists all the men he's already beaten. Angle tells Carter his ego has gone too far and says he will make EC3 tap next week. Then Ethan reveals Kurt's mystery opponent: Matt Hardy.
In the main event, Kurt Angle defeats Matt Hardy via Ankle Lock submission.
After the match, EC3 and Tyrus run in to beat up Matt Hardy. At the end of the short brawl, EC3 and Angle are left standing. When EC3 goes to attack the Gold Medalist, Kurt quickly hooks an Ankle Lock and Carter taps as the show goes off the air.
This was our go home angle, but not to the Pay Per View this Sunday but Impact next Wednesday, which is booked more like a PPV than Slammiversary. So tonight was their last chance to sell you on this match. Unfortunately, what they did did not add any more intrigue to turn in next week.
The opening bit was the same the we've been getting for some week's now. Carter can still cut a promo. My favorite line was telling Angle to "Raise your heroes from the ashes and I will sacrifice them on the alter of my perfection." Man, that dude is a wordsmith. Angle did his generic face bit that's getting old. They've done this for 3 or 4 weeks now leaving tonight feeling played, even giving how strong a promo Carter is.
As for another opening talking segment in general, TNA had some of their best shows when they just opened with a match. There's no reason they couldn't open with the X Division title bout and then have their second segment be Angle and EC3 talking. People tune into wrestling shows to watch other people wrestle. So why not open with that?
The main event match wasn't bad, especially given that these two guys are getting close to the point where they creak in the ring with all their past injuries. They did not have much time, which actually helped because they could jump right into spamming their moves and were able to make it work. Kurt Angle did kick out of about five Side Effects and one Twist of Fate before making Hardy tap. In the end, this match won't be a match you should seek out if you didn't see it. But it served its purpose to set us up for the ending.
Honestly, I'm ready for this match and there wasn't much they could do to make me want it more or less, but it would have been nice if they tried a bit harder. We just have to make it through their big Pay Per View before we get to see it on Impact next week.
Tigre Uno pins Low Ki in a triple threat X Division elimination title match to become X Division Champion. Grade was pinned by Low Ki earlier.
TNA always talks up the X Division but their on air treatment of it does not match their words. The X Division has always been what TNA should be about: Fast paced and fun action. It should have been their identity all these years. But they gave this match too little time to prove the division is more than a talking point for TNA. The match never had time to reach that crescendo before it was over.
All three men did well with the time they got. Grado did his comedic bit and the fans enjoyed it. But he wasn't around too long for him to seem like any threat, which is fine. He's Grado. He's not a threat. Tigre Uno and Low Ki had some good spots, but should should have had at least a few more minutes.
I'm indifferent on Tigre Uno winning. He's got the in-ring move set but he's super generic. Low Ki has the personality and the style, but if the X Division is going to take its normal back seat to everything else, I'd rather Low Ki have more prominent role in the Beat Down Clan faction than a lesser roll as X Division champion.
The new Velvet has more of a vicious in ring style to go with her new metal look. (Is that look metal? I really don't know.) The change works given the contrast with character she was when she was in the Beautiful People. I am usually initially favorable to trying a new gimmick for characters unless it's obviously horrible out of the blocks. Change and trying new things is good and I'm still intrigued with things they can do with this new Velvet.
The match itself was not bad. They got about as much time as the X Division match but it felt longer since this was a standard one on one match and not a three person elimination match.
Velvet's new character could be a good fit in the Knock Outs division given she's already a stark contrast to the Doll House. Would not be surprised if there's a feud there in our future.
The Dirty Heels defeat the Wolves after Austin Aries pins Eddie Edwards. This series will go to a final match.
If you're going to bet on the match of the night, bet on these teams. Once again, they deliver a fun, brutal, back and forth affair. The Heels play up their heeling, especially with spot where they both applied headlocks to the Wolves while sitting in chairs set up in the ring. That got a good laugh from me.
The Wolves did a little heeling themselves when Davey Richards wrapped a chain around his foot. Sure it's legal in this match, but it just feels dirty. The first time he tried to use it failed, and he didn't connect with it until later in the match where at that point I forgot about it. Kudos to Josh Matthews for reminding us it was on Richard's boot.
There were some comedic spots that could be considered a bit over the top. The main was when Bobby Roode and Austin Aries were "out on their feet" long enough for the Wolves to hit three suicide dives on them. But these men are talented enough that it all seemed to work.
I look forwards to match five.
Jeff Jarrett walks down to the ring with his wife Karen and cuts a long promo about how TNA called him to come back for one match. He talks about how he wasn't planning on coming back because TNA was in the rear view mirror but reconsidered when they told him it would be at Slammiversary. Jarrett reminisced about the time Angle signed, when Joe debuted, and the success of AJ Styles. He started to get teary and gave the microphone to Karen.
Karen talked about how she even more wanted TNA to be in the past. But she said that Jeff didn't like how he went out, being fired on a pre-tape, so she is OK with him coming back to go out on his own terms. Jeff takes the mic back and said he will be in his match at Slammiversary... the King of the Mountain match.
This entire segment felt weird. It was long and it sucked the air out of a show that just was lit up by another great tag match between the Heels and the Wolves. I suppose I can understand why Jeff would be emotional thinking about TNA but it seemed weird that were this emotional. Unlike what Karen said, Jeff ended up leaving TNA on his own accord (according to Wikipedia, because Bob Carter insisted his daughter still have a large role).
Plus Karen Jarrett in the ring just gives bad flashbacks to when she was last in TNA and they kayfab put her in charge of the Knockouts division. That was terrible. I had forgotten how much I disliked listening to Karen Jarrett but tonight brought those memories flooding back.
Listen, Jarrett and TNA doing business, such as a talent share or helping each other promote, is good for TNA. It may not help them save their TV deal or change the mind of Destination America, but it couldn't hurt. It could make them feel bigger and perhaps change some minds at the network if TNA finds some success with it.
But Jarrett doing business with TNA as an on screen talent, even if it is for one time only? That's not going to help anyone. Do we really need to see him win another King of the Mountain match? (At this time, he's the only name announced.) I don't think Jarrett is going to help pay-per-view (PPV)buys. Fans are not clamoring to see more Jarrett in a TNA (or any) ring. So getting a promo that was longer than the X Division match that leads to "I'm gonna win another King of the Mountain match" is a waste of time. Hopefully, they will be working together to help each other's brands and not just to see Jarrett win another match at TNA.
The last point on all of this: For all intents and purposes, the TNA Hall of Fame looks to be dropped. But this was the time of year that they would do it. It wouldn't be surprising, or wrong, if they opted to give Jarrett an induction this weekend since he did create this company - even if it's with little fanfare or ceremony.
Vader defeats Bram via DQ when he hit him with a turnbuckle wrench. When Bram tries to attack Vader afterwards, Matt Morgan runs into make the save!
Before Matt Morgan, who I was a huge fan of back when he was still in TNA, I was going to write how awkward this segment felt. Vader as a surprise was just a surprise for surprise sake. Most people on the live thread tonight were wondering when he was even in TNA so this is stretching "Past Impact star" to the max.
The match itself didn't really work, even given that Vader looked pretty good for his age. The spot where Vader lost his mask was weird. Bram didn't rip it off in heelish fashion. Instead, while Bram was punching him in the corner, Vader took it off himself and threw it outside. And seriously, Bram couldn't get a win over Vader? Does Vader really need protection? If you're trying to build up this monster heel, he can get a win over a 60 year old Vader.
Plus, last week, we were told that all these Bram matches were his no DQ rules. Until this week when they don't want Vader to take a loss so they are not by no DQ rules.
The Matt Morgan reveal was the only time this episode I marked out. The idea of Bram vs. Morgan at Slammiversary has me excited. They could put on a great hoss match.
It looks like this is how the final chapter will begin for the BDC and Rising. The Rising showed that when it's a three on three fair fight, they win. So what to the heels do? They get an extra player. That's good heeling and good booking. And given that Hernandez was the past tag partner of injured BDC member Homicide, the surprise makes sense.
I've never had an issue with Hernandez and he's a big guy who can move. Hopefully this is the final chapter and not just another chapter in this feud. The feud is still fun but it would wear out its welcome if they don't conclude it soon.
- Another great match from the Heels and Wolves
- Matt Morgan!
- Good story telling with adding the surprise of Hernandez to the BDC -- a return that made sense.
- Chris Melendez can sure bump.
- That Jeff and Karen promo sure took the wind out of that show and for what? A King of the Mountain match?
- Main event angle added little to the build to the title match
- Could Bram really not go over Vader clean in their odd bout?
- Too little time for the X Division title match