TNA Impact returned last night (January, 26, 2016) with it's fallout show after Matt Hardy defeated Ethan Carter for the title. Let's see how they built on their momentum from last week.
The show starts with Jeff Hardy, who said he's shocked and sickened about what happened last week regarding his brother Matt and how he won the title. Jeff says he needs some answers form Matt Hardy. "I am iconic!" plays over the speakers and Matt comes out with his wife, Reby, and Tyrus... who is holding Matt's baby! Babysitter Tyrus! Jeff says that he only wants to speak to Matt that this is a family issues. Reby says she is Matt's family. She was there for Matt when Jeff decided to be a "Redneck Evil Kenevil". She says Matt doesn't need Jeff or the fans.
Jeff calls everyone a bitch (except for baby Maxel) and Matt, understandably, doesn't like that. He says that Jeff is just upset that he's in his shadow for a change. The champ tells his brother that Reby convinced him it was his time and then suggests it's time for the brothers to go their separate ways.
The crowd starts chanting for EC3. Jeff says he agrees with the crowd because EC3 won it fairly when Carter beat Matt. Jeff then requests a title match tonight, which Matt accepts. Matt says he loves Jeff, but now he washes in his hand of anything that happens to Jeff.
I am on board with Big Money Matt... the Iconic Matt Hardy. He just slid right into the role with ease. It helps that he has his wife do some the explaining for him because she feels like a natural heel. Plus he has Tyrus acting as just a massive babysitter, which I loved for some reason.
Unfortunately, Jeff reminded me of why he's an average promo at best. He spent more time trying to get the crowd to chant stuff and call everyone a bitch (including Reby Sky, which is a total heel move) than actually trying to relay the emotion of betrayal or concern for Matt.
And speaking of betrayal, they neglected to mention the fact that the man who put Jeff in the hospital last week... is working for Matt! That was a vital part to the story last week and really helped cap Matt's new evil nature. He hired a man to injure his brother enough to get him in the hospital so he could go and win the title in his dastardly way without someone to stop him. It's a shame they didn't play off that at all this week.
Feast or Fired Match results:
Grado stands on top of Aiden O'Shea to grab a briefcase, which takes him forever.
Drew Galloway grabs a briefcase after hitting a suplex on Eli Drake from the Tree of Woe position.
Eli Drake grabs a case wisely when other people are preoccupied doing other things.
Beer Money are alone with one case left. Bobby Roode lets James Storm take it as he guards him.
Later on in the evening, they are all together for the reveal. The Miracle Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis interrupts the opening and talks about how when you're the Miracle, you don't need to take such chances. Drew Galloway stands up and tells Bennett that at least they're taking a chance on something. He then apologies that he's not even talking to the brains of the operation and looks at Maria instead. The Miracle is unhappy about that but ends up leaving without any physicality.
Throughout the night, the men open their briefcases. Drake has the King of the Mountain briefcase, James Storm has the tag team briefcase, Galloway has the World Championship briefcase, and Grado was fired.
In my preview, I mentioned that I'm no fan of the Feast or Fired match, and now I'm going to tell you why using tonight as the example.
For one, the match itself is mainly random brawling with little action to focus on. Sure there were a couple spots in the ring with a couple guys here and there, but nothing to make the match itself worth watching. Most of the time, it's guys just fighting outside the ring and sometimes inside the ring. Plus, there are multiple times where one guy will go stop another from grabbing a briefcase where there's a pole or two with an unattended briefcase they can just go get. (To his credit, Eli Drake did just that.) The fact there are multiple briefcases to fight over instead of just one makes it difficult to plan a match with sensical psychology but also has action. Plus, the match has no finish like any other match because the men who grabbed the briefcase didn't necessarily win anything good. They could be fired. The match is just a means to an end.
The case reveal, which is actually the end of the Feast or Fired event, was a backstage bit that had multiple drawn out segments that were themselves drawn out throughout the night, killing the pace of the show. And even that is just a means to an end to get to the men having the briefcase (and getting Grado out of there I guess).
What I don't mind is where it leaves us. The briefcase gimmick itself is always fun, just as it is in WWE. Three guys who can either cash it in randomly or set up a title match down the line lends itself to many opportunities or surprises down the road. It's just unfortunate that the way they get us there isn't very entertaining.
As for my man, Grado, I'll miss his goofy ass. The first Impact I reviewed for this site, I slammed his segment with Al Snow. But his stupidity grew on me, and he was fun for comic relief.
Tigre Uno hits a move from the top rope to defeat Mandrews and DJ Z to retain the X Division title.
Gregory Shane Helms, in a neon green jacket that matches the colors of the X Division title, comes out and he says that Tigre Uno is a good champ, but not for long. He says he's giving Tigre one more week to be X Division championship because Uno is going to lose it next week.
Man, the X Division is in shambles. They have three guys have random title matches and there's absolutely no reason to actually care about any of them. That is not an indictment of the men in the match, who busted their asses to have an enjoyable match even when there's no reason for us to care except for cool flippy shit. But it is an indictment on TNA creative who has treated the X Division like an after thought at best.
Enter Gregory Shane Helms, who implies he's getting a title match next week. If that's the case, that's a terrible idea for the division and isn't going to help anything. Putting a guy who was a cruiserweight star a decade ago in a match isn't the answer for the X Division. However, since he didn't actually say "You're fighting me next week", it could very well be introducing a new (fourth) X Division star. That's all well and good, but this division needs more than one more athlete to save it.
At least they've got some type of story brewing in the X Division, which is better than anything the last year.
Awesome Kong defeats Velvet Sky via pinfall
After the match, Kong attacks Velvet. Madison Rayne comes out for support, but the rest of the Doll House follow to lay both women out.
This entire segment was flat. The match itself didn't connect. It felt slow, even sluggish at times. The post match beat down was predictable, and is just spinning this story in circles. The crowd was completely dead for it, which added to the issues with the match feeling off and made the post match beat down feel like nothing to care about.
I like this heel Awesome Kong, and I don't even mind her leading the Doll House. But they need to do something to freshen up this division because it is completely stale.
The Wolves cut a backstage promo about how Crazzy Steve and an unknown assailant took their titles last week so they're going to the ring and going to wait for a fight.
They go to the ring and an extremely creepy woman (on twitter named Rosemary) in awesomely creepy face paint cuts a quick promo revealing the group's name as Decay and then Steve comes out with his new partner, Abyss.
During the end of the match, it looks like the Wolves have the advantage but Rosemary is suddenly standing at the entryway with both tag titles. Davey leaves the ring to get them but Eddie gets caught with a Black Hole Slam from Abyss before he can too. Davey goes to get back in the ring but gets red misted by Steve and then turns around to get green misted by Rosemary. Steve applies a Chicken Wing to Davey as Rosemary jumps on him and starts aggressively biting him.
So I was totally into this. I can see how some may think it dumb or campy, but I loved it. I said last week I'm a fan of horror movies and Crazzy Steve and the new girl Rosemary nailed their roles. While I would prefer another young guy who could perform the role like Steve did over Abyss, the Monster will always have a place in TNA and this is as good spot as any to use him. It also adds a team to the very slim tag division.
If you think they are too gimmicky, that's understandable. I've always felt that the tag division is the best place for the more ridiculous characters. Steve and Rosemary committed to the roles so well too that I'm just excited to see what weird stuff they're going to do next.
Before the Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy title match that was advertised all night could get started, Eric Young comes down and yells at Jeff for "stealing his title match." Then Jeff is jumped by Bram and both Bram and EY beat up the challenger as Matt stands and watches. Then Beer Money runs out and attacks Bram and Young. Then the new group Decay (Crazzy Steve and Abyss) run out to attack Beer Money, and they fight up the ramp.
This leaves Big Money Matt in the ring with Jeff and it's looking like he's about to attack him when Kurt Angle's music plays and Kurt comes out to stop Matt. For his efforts, he is rewarded with a TNA title shot to the face. Matt and crew leave as Bram and Young come back and EY ends up pile driving Jeff through a table as Matt watches from the entryway.
Welp, that was disappointing. Instead of giving us any semblance of a title match, one they advertised all night, they gave us random people running in. It was clear this was never going to be an actual clean title match, but I figured it would at least start as one and then Matt would do something terrible.
Endings that are just a bunch of people beating each other up randomly, especially when you were promised something else, are poor. It just cluttered an interesting story involving Matt Hardy and his brother who is appalled by his actions. It was so random too, from EY suddenly thinking Jeff stole his title match (he is crazy I guess) to the Decay running down after Beer Money, even though they are feuding with the Wolves. Kurt Angle did have a couple backstage segments during the show, one talking to Jeff saying he supports him and one talking to Matt trying to talk sense into him, so at least that was explained. It possible would have worked too if they didn't throw the entire tag division in there as well.
The one thing that I did appreciate was Matt Hardy, who looked on stoically as his brother got as people did horrible things to his brother. Big Money Matt continued to be on point tonight with his total commitment to the "Me only" mantra that he introduced in his Twitter rant last week. It worked, but how they got there felt thrown together.
I am a bit disappointed that instead of Matt having some scheme that fit his masterful plan from last week, instead he seemed to just get lucky that Eric Young and Bram started this cascade of run ins. Maybe we'll find out differently later, but by his body language, it was evident that Matt did not orchestrate this but was just cool to let it happen. While that's good in its own right, I'd like to see more of the Matt who sent Tyrus to injure his own brother.
Former champion Ethan Carter was kept off the show wisely. They did announce a sit down interview with him (from his home I believe) to give a status regarding what's next for him next week.
Pros of the Show:
- The Iconic Matt Hardy continues to do great heel work
- Creepy Crazzy Steve and Rosemary were on point
Cons of the Show:
- Title match main event was just a bunch of random people beating each other up
- Feast or Fired was drawn out, often breaking pacing of the show and a match with little worth watching
- The dud of the women's segment
While Matt Hardy continues to own his new persona, the main event was a failed opportunity to continue with the intrigue of this story. The Feast or Fired gimmick sucked up way too much time and momentum on the show.