TNA finishes their busy week with their Bell to Bell Impact tonight. There's were a lot of feuds building up to tonight and because of that, most the entire show was wrestling. And that's a good formula for a successful show.
Let's see how all the matches played out.
Ethan Carter III defeats Kurt Angle to become the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
I don't fully mark out too often. Maybe 10 times a year. Probably 20 now that I watch more promotions than I used to. I get excited for matches. I always appreciate good booking, character work, and matches. But it's not that often where my mind stops really analyzing the booking and just roots for a finish. I found myself there tonight.
The work to get to that point is all done prior to a match. I've often thought that the strength of a match is highly dependent on what came long before the bell rings. A match can be outstanding, but without already getting your audience to care prior, there's a ceiling. A good build can also make a decent match seem better.
The build of Ethan Carter the last year has been excellent. The man was given and opportunity and he ran with it as far as he could. He had amassed a following of fans with his microphone talent and in ring charisma. The work for tonight had long been done even before they started building this feud in particular. The only question left was would they actually pay it off correct.y.
The match itself worked. It wasn't perfect but since the investment was already there, that mattered much less. Yes there was a ref bump, and yes, Tyrus did interfere as he's apt to do. But by this point it's part of the EC3 story and for what it's worth, they told it well tonight. Early on Tyrus was a non-factor, letting the men in the match do their thing. A bit later Tyrus hit Angle with a clothesline on the outside. Finally when the ref went down, he hit a bigger move on Kurt in the ring.
However Angle overcame it the Tyrus attack but instead of another one like in the Bobby Lashley match, the ref finally wised up and kicked Tyrus out, leaving Ethan alone to fend for himself. The match that Kurt and Carter had without Tyrus was good. Carter took a hefty amount of German Suplexes and sold them well.
Despite what the crowds may chant at the man, Carter can definitely wrestle. He's not Dean Malenko (who is?), but he's good. But his in ring character work? My God that's on point. From his evil facial expressions when Tyrus got involved outside, to his utter shock when Angle kicked out of the One Percenter, to putting his wrist band in his mouth to bite to deal to the pain of the Ankle Lock, it's those little things that make you either love him or hate him when he's in the ring.
Props to TNA for putting strap on their hottest young talent. It was the right move, the right ending to this chapter of EC3. Sure it may have been different if Angle was healthy but no matter how they got there, they got it right.
The Beat Down Clan defeated the Rising in an Elimination match.
Low Ki eliminated Micah. Eli Drake was eliminated when he had to forfeit due to a knee injury, leaving Drew alone. Drew pinned Low Ki after Ki was thrown off because he accidentally kicked Kenny King in the end. Drew immediately pinned Kenny King afterwards. After trying to fight off Hernandez and MVP, drew was eventually pinned by MVP. The Rising will be forced to disband.
Most wrestling stories that start well don't end as well. This story was an exception to that pattern. This final match to this feud was perfectly booked. Finally the BDC had the numbers game. Oh they tried and tried before, having lost Samoa Joe and Homicide. But finally they had their ever so brief window with Low Ki not leaving TNA for another day.
It was always meant to be Drew vs. the BDC because the feud was always Drew vs. the BDC. Eli Drake and Micah were just numbers so Drew could feud with a stable. The man who preaches fighting for pro-wrestling did just that by eliminating two men before taking a Boarder Toss, Playmaker, and Drive by to get the pin.
Having Drew actually get back to his feet and smack MVP after getting two finishers was good story telling. Makes him look good but not invincible and sticking to his Stand Up mantra even as MVP shouts at him to stay down. And kudos to Josh Matthews for not blatantly saying "Drew is Standing Up, he is Standing Up like he always said he did" cramming subtle storytelling down our throats. Some stories are best told with out spelling out the symbolism.
It was a good choice to give the BDC the win. Drew will do better as a single's competitor while the BDC was always a great faction, despite losing Low Ki.
Magnus comes out to the ring and introduces Mickie James. Mickie admits Magnus was right about Storm and thanks him for not rubbing it in her face. According to Mickie, that's what real love is. James Storm comes out with Khoya. He says that Mickie should be thanking him for not pushing her further on the tracks and crippling her. He says he wanted to show how easy it is to manipulate a woman. Mickie James tells him then to go find a women because they're going to have a mixed tag with Mickie and Magnus.
I was curious how this segment would play since it was filmed prior to the match on Sunday. Magnus spoke a little before bringing Mickie down and while he said he thinks Storm is a dirtbag, there was no reference this losing their match. That makes sense to not spoil a PPV; however, it does add a bit of disconnect to the story.
Usually when someone loses a grudge match, they come down and talk about it. It's the standard next step in the story process. Because that didn't happen, this segment felt a little out of joint However the story lost it's heat awhile ago so it's really not a big deal.
Given Storm and Magnus have good chemistry, I'm OK with another round. I'm curious who the woman the Cowboy picks is. My initial guess is Velvet Skye.
The Wolves defeat the Dirty Heels 2-1 in the 30 Minute Iron Man match to win the tag team titles.
On every show these four men feuded, they'd either steal the show or come damned close. Tonight was no difference.
My pet peeve in Iron Man matches is the times someone gets an early pin with a move they wouldn't normally get a pin with. That didn't happen here, which made this match believable. There was near fall after near fall to the point they had me believing this would end in a tie and they've have one more match.
The first pin went to the Heels when Aries pinned Edwards at 4 minutes and then the Heels played prevent defense for a few minutes to the point where I thought they may actually win. Then when Edwards gets the tying pin with only one minute left, I was once again convinced that it would tie until the Wolves got their last second win. For a match where the ending was pretty predictable, it's a credit to the performers to convince me it could go otherwise.
By the way, Bobby Roode is awesome. He does all the little things. At one point, when Aries was knocked off the ring apron, Roode goes for a tag first, realizes Aries isn't there, so goes and grabs Davey Richards to prevent him from tagging. Or as pointed out in the live thread, when there was only a few seconds left to try to tie the match, he goes for a submission instead of a pin because he didn't have time to pin.
Now that the Wolves are champs, I have no clue who they feud with. I suppose they could feud with some BDC guys. Or maybe a team like Spud and Mandrews. But that's a different story for a different day. Tonight, these two teams finished off their top notch feud and it was another feud that ended on a strong note tonight
This interview was maybe 3 minutes long and said pretty much everything I said up top. There's not much to react to because there wasn't much said. There's a part two next week that may reveal something.
Pros of the Show:
- And NEW World Heavyweight Champion... E... C... 3
- Well booked finish to the Rising vs. BDC feud
- Enjoyable finish to the tag team series
- Action packed show
Cons of the Show:
- Man, those cool fire teasers were just for Gail Kim?
- The disconnect with the Magnus/Storm feud due to not being able to acknowledge Slammiversary
Honestly, this was a really good wrestling show. Not much more I can say.