TNA Impact returned tonight (September 9, 2015) as they build to their big Lethal Lockdown event next week. Let's see how they did, shall we?
The show opens with Ethan Carter, flanked by Tyrus. EC3 talks up the TNA/GFW war and say he could not give a crap. He then calls out his new personal assistant Jeff Hardy, who comes out sans music at request of his new boss. After Jeff delivers EC3 and Tyrus some water, which he failed to keep at the appropriate 72 degree temperature, he is given a large EC3 head on a stick to hold up for Tyrus and Carter's match against Matt Hardy and Rockstar Spud.
EC3 & Tyrus defeat Matt Hardy and Rockstar Spud
During the match, Jeff Hardy, though willing to hold it up during the match, refuses to use the EC3 giant head to get involved. However, Jeff Hardy wouldn't let his brother go after EC3 on the outside of the ring. Carter takes advantage of that situation by landing a kick in the groin on Matt. Ethan then hands a chair to Jeff and instructs him to hit Spud with a it, which Jeff refuses to do. However during all this distraction, Tyrus hits his finisher on Spud for the win.
The pre match segment was superb. Ethan Carter is a fantabulous heel as always. And it's a smart move making Jeff the trapped baby face here. Carter is getting closer and closer to being a beloved heel. So using the always over Jeff Hardy as EC3's victim will help him keep the champ heel status for some time. Hardy isn't the greatest actor, but his reluctant servant is pretty enjoyable. And even Tyrus' sheer enjoyment of Hardy's torture was fun to watch. There were a couple backstage segments later on that kept the early fun of this angle going.
The match was nothing more than a tool to push the personal assistant story forward. Much of it was Tyrus working over Rockstar Spud, which isn't anything to get excited about. The one thing that would help the angle is they cleared up why Jeff has to do this. Did he sign a contract? That's my assumption. But if that's the case, why can he choose what he can and cannot do?
I do worry this is leading towards Jeff Hardy vs. EC3, maybe at Bound For Glory, and there's always a good risk that Hardy goes over. However, for now, I'll just enjoy the comedy stylings of Ethan Carter III.
The Doll House (Jade, Rebel, and Marti Bell) corner Madison Rayne backstage and beat her down. However the rest of the Beautiful People show up to even the odds. It ends with Jade taking a chair to Angelina's shoulder.
Odd that after the big return of the Beautiful People last week, they are relegated to a brief, clunky backstage brawl. An in ring segment would have been more fitting.
Jeff Jarrett calls out Bobby Roode and insists he return the King of the Mountain title (you know... the one Eric Young stole from Jeff Jarrett at a baseball... forget it.) When Bobby refuses and then takes his shirt off to fight Jeff, Karen interrupts. She tells Jeff that fighting Roode would be too risky close to next week's big show down. She then tells the It Factor that he's too smart not to try to secure a deal with Jeff for when GFW wins control.
This segment cemented the fact that Karen is really in charge and she just points Jeff to where she wants. While it kills my Jeff Jarrett master plan interpretation of the story I enjoyed so, this can work too. Karen is an excellent heat seeker and her playing puppet master while Jeff blindly follows could be fun too.
It's still annoying that Bobby Roode is a face all of a sudden. Any time someone talks about "sharing a title with these fans," they are a babyface. That aside, this is an intriguing angle because Roode's part in all of this has always been uncertain. The entire time, fans suspected him to be corrupt and working for GFW and now that's become a story. The It Factor will stab anyway in the back to get ahead which he's done multiple times before.
Now with Karen trying to manipulate a great manipulator that is Bobby Roode, that could be a fun conflict.
Robbie E, Tigre Uno, & Micha defeat Jessie Godderz, Kenny King, and Eli Drake when Robbie pins Jessie
This whole match was set up briefly with a backstage segment prior. Kenny, Eli, and Jessie were badmouthing Drew for being a suck up as Drew walked by so Drew gets on them for not standing up for TNA. Then he brings in the other three as three guys who stand up. (Drew is very into standing.) They brawl and it turns into this match.
It's a simple quick story, but a story none-the-less. This is a random tag match, but at least they bothered giving us a reason for it.
Unfortunately, all six guys in the match are pretty much ignored by TNA so there was little reason to care beyond that minuscule story. Hell, last week, Kenny King cut a babyface promo, which straight up baffles me. This isn't a week to week show. This is all filmed in the span of four days. But somehow, Kenny King is still face one week or heel the next? Or Bobby Roode's feud with Rockstar Spud is just dropped? That's something that should not happen when everything is planned out and then filmed in such a short amount of time.
Not to be a completely negative Nancy about this, there's one thing they are doing here, and all along the show, that I am appreciating. Often, when two companies collide in the rare invasion angle, one company ends up completely playing babyface and another playing heel. That makes absolutely no sense because within every company, there are good guys and bad guys. TNA is doing their best to keep the TNA heels as heels (asides from Roode.) Having heels like the three in this match or EC3 say "I don't give a damn about this, I just care about me" is a great way to cement a bad guy as a bad guy without have to move them to the promotion that is playing heel.
Granted, GFW are all heels currently, but that's not a problem because GFW doesn't have any prior on air personas. It's not like we've seen PJ Black play face with GFW for years and feud with certain people and now they are all bad guys. So they can afford to be a 'heel promotion" in this instance.
Brooke defeats Gail Kim via DQ in a Knockouts Title match
During the match, Lei'd Tapa came out with Royal Red and took the title and started showboating with it. When Brooke noticed, she broke her pin on Gail went and attacked Tapa. However, then she turned her back on Tapa to showboat for the fans, so Tapa hit Brooke with the title. That ended the match causing the DQ.
Tapa then goes into the ring after Gail Kim. Gail tries to fight her off but fails. Awesome Kong then comes down to the ring and she and Tapa brawl back and forth, with Kong gets the best of it. The segment ends with Kong holding up the Knockouts title.
The highlight of this segment was the match itself. This was the best Brooke has looked. And that's not a knock on her past stuff because she continues to improve. But her match with Gail Kim was a strong back and forth affair that I found myself getting swept up in.
What does not work was how Brooke left the ring mid pin on Gail to get her title back and then turning her back on Tapa. An argument can be made that she cares about the title so much that she'll leave the match to get it back. Though it's hard to believe someone would leave a winning position to retrieve it. What was terrible was how after laying out the much larger Tapa earlier, Brooke posed for the crowd for 5 seconds instead of either getting in the ring or keeping her eye on Tapa. That's a bad move for a babyface. People don't like stupid baby faces. It's the reason people couldn't stand Ambrose's solo booking in WWE for so long.
It was good to come back around to the Awesome Kong/Tapa feud since they had a match end in a non-finish about a month ago. If this is any indication, though, it looks like Gail is done with the Doll House story, meaning the her huge feud with Taryn ended with a backstage segment where the payoff wasn't even seen. If that's truly the case, that's horrible booking.
The Wolves defeat Brian Myers and Trevor Lee to regain the tag team titles
When it looked like the Wolves had it won early on, Sonjay Dutt grabbed the referee, pulled him from the ring, and dropped him. However, then Earl Hebner comes down the ring, cheap shots Dutt, and then counts the pin for the Wolves after they hit a double team tombstone.
It's going to be tough for me not to be biased because i cannot stand Earl Hebner. So I really don't want to see him delivering the worst forearm to Sonjay Dutt and Dutt selling it like he wasn't just hit by a 66 year old man. This would have worked much better if it were someone like Drew Galloway or Bobby Lashley. But no, they gave the hot interference spot to Earl frickin' Henber. Come on now.
It also felt weird for TNA to get their tag titles back this soon. Storyline pacing was an issue last week and it still seems to be so. The Wolves were robbed last week and it really gave great heat to Myers and Lee. So how do the help build that heat? The lose the titles back in a match that wasn't even announced on the TNA website? It's not like they decided this match last minute. It was all filmed months ago.
This whole GFW/TNA story has featured a good deal of stories being paid off way too soon or stories being dropped completely. That is really hurting how this angle is coming off on TV.
I should say that I love watching the Wolves work and if it weren't for the New Day, they could be my favorite team in wrestling now. And the actual match pre-Hebner was great. But too much clunky pacing/booking for the Wolves to overcome to save the segment.
Chris Melendez comes out to yet again own up to another loss and once again call out Eric Young. Eric Young comes out with the Sarge's leg. EY brags about what he's done before Chris challenges him to another match. EY says he'll take another match and goes to give him his leg back. However instead EY knocks him over. He says they will wrestle again but Chris won't get the leg back and next time, he's taking more.
So this angle is still going on, eh? I think after Melendez's 4th loss, this angle was dead in the water. And yet there he is, with on one leg (apparently he doesn't have a back up), challenging Young to a match that he's already lost multiple times over. He reminds me of the knight in Monty Python and Holy Grail that keeps losing limbs but keeps insisting he fights anyway.
At this point, even if Sarge does get his win back, he'll be 1-4 against Young so it won't mean much.
Now a random turncoat prediction: Drew Galloway has been so goody goody as Mr. Stand Up For What's Right, I wouldn't be surprised if he turns heel costing TNA the win next week. It would be interesting seeing heel Drew in TNA.
- Enjoyable main event
- The in-ring portion of both the tag match and women's match were very entertaining
- Intrigue surround Bobby Roode's role
- The booking around the tag match was poor and the Wolves getting their win back was way too rushed
- So Eric Young vs. Chris Melendez is still going on, eh?
- The Beautiful People were under represented after last week
- The 3 on 3 tag had little invested because those guys are rarely used.