TNA Impact returned last night (Dec. 8) from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida with their final Impact Zone taping of the year.
You can find the results of this episode at the live blog here.
In what can be considered the Impact Zone series finale (Total Nonstop Deletion would be the true finale but it’s all off site), they set up a big title match between champion Eddie Edwards and challenger EC3.
They hinted that maybe EC3 would tap into his heelish side to win. He hasn’t been champion most of 2016 and he was ready to get it back any means necessary. Meanwhile Edwards had to prove it wasn’t luck that brought him the title.
They gave this big match the last 30 minutes of the night, plenty of time to build a match and then get to the finish. Would EC3 regain the title? Would he turn heel to do so? Could Eddie Edwards turn aside yet another competitor?
Who the hell knows?
After all of that, this ended up a double finish where Eddie Edwards tapped to EC3 as he was pinning EC3. The referee called the 30 minute title match a no contest. This must be how disappointing it is to watch a match go Broadway. (Well, this would be half as disappointing.)
On first view, the finish itself was sloppy, with it not even clear what happened. On replay, admittedly they timed the tap and the three count rather will so credit where credit is due right there. Doesn’t mean it’s not a lame finish.
Perhaps it wouldn’t feel as much of a let down if we didn’t know we won’t get any resolution to any of this for at least the next three weeks. Sure, I suppose this could be address at Total Nonstop Deletion, but honestly it shouldn’t. This should be separate from the Broken World and taken care of inside the Impact Zone.
The match did heat up towards the end and this will probably play a part in the overall story. (Eddie Edwards did seem to celebrate a bit much post match which could add to things down the line.) However, it was surely disappointing tonight.
Introducing Total Nonstop Deletion
Matt Hardy dreamed Tag Team Apocalypto and then revealed the concept of that and Total Nonstop Deletion to the world.
This was pretty much a set up segment with not much to really delve into except what we learned about the spectacle headed our way next week:
- Tag Team Apocalypto is an open invitation for any tag team out there. The Decay, Helms Dynasty, and DCC have already accepted. But it’s not confined to TNA. Just time and space.
- There will be women’s action. Since the Decay was involved in the segment tonight, Rosemary will likely be in action. Maybe Reby will challenge her for that title.
- King Maxel will make his TNA in-ring debut. Yes. You read that right. It’ll probably be against Rockstar Spud given Spud has been railing on Maxel on the Twitter machine.
You cheer for him because he's a child cuz think 'Awww'. The fact @BABYHARDYBRAND makes more money, is on tv & I'm not, legit makes me sick!— Rockstar Spud (@RockstarSpud) December 9, 2016
- And of course we’ll see Señor Benjamin and Vanguard One.
It’ll be Delightful!
Drew Galloway is back!
When new Grand Champion Moose opened the show, Drew Galloway soon interrupted. He reminded Moose that he never got a chance at the title and until he does, all of this is just the pre-season. Moose was game to fight him right then and there.
But not so fast. Aron Rex wanted his rematch first. He claims he wasn’t ready last week (and he thinks 3 seconds isn’t nearly enough time to decide a match in general) so he’s used his rematch clause.
Rex had a better showing this time around, cutting every corner he could, whether it be the punches with the rings taped on his fist or a good ol’ rake to the eyes. He won the first two rounds, forcing Moose to pin him or submit him in the last 3 minutes to win.
That was no problem for the big man, who hit a big drop kick and discus clothesline to retain his title early into the third round.
Rex’s heel turn has been enjoyable. He’s completely obnoxious making up excuses and telling fans who boo him he’ll sue them for "Rex-ual harrassment." Only a heel can say something that dumb and get away with it.
Now with Rex out of the picture, we can look forward to a big ol’ hoss fight between Drew Galloway and Moose. That’s should be really fun.
Allie started finally getting her long awaited revenge and it was so sweet.
She showed up for her scheduled match against Laurel Van Ness with a bit more confidence than usual, something Madison Rayne made sure to point out on commentary. When Maria mocked her for not knowing how to wrestle, Allie dropped the (Cherry) bombshell. Not only has she been training recently but it was Braxton Sutter who was training her.
That devastated Van Ness, who thought Sutter was into her like she was him. There was no way that anyone could not like Daddy’s Little Girl. Now Van Ness had to deal with not only the information that this wouldn’t be as easy as she thought, but also a confidence blow.
Allie continues putting together superb character work. She didn’t suddenly become a great wrestler. She was more crisp than she has been but she still had a very limited move set and Laurel still controlled much of the match, as would be expected. Also every time Allie properly performed a move, it shocked even her. She’d look back to Braxton for approval and almost over celebrated even the simplest arm drags. Like usual, she did the little things that made the Allie character a hit in TNA this year.
Mike Bennett came out to attack Braxton Sutter to try to shift momentum and the two brawled to the back (this could be a good feud in the future), leaving Allie alone. But she weathered the storm and hit a reverse DDT for the win.
After the match, Maria tried to sneak her from behind but Allie caught her and threatened a punch, causing the First Lady to bail and reminding us that Maria vs. Allie is the end game and something we all have to look forward to.
After the match, she was backstage with Braxton acting super bubbly and excited. When Braxton told her this win means she can do whatever she wants (referring to in the ring), she planted the most perfectly awkward kiss on him and then quickly left.
Last night wasn’t the payoff, but it was still a sweet moment. If I were to list my top three highlights of TNA this year, it’d probably be Broken Matt, the Decay, and Allie. While the story started to tread water for a bit before getting here, this was still extremely satisfying. And if they do it right, we’ll get to watch Allie continue to grow in the ring and eventually get Maria one on one.
The Underdog heel
I shouldn’t even spend as much time as I’m about to picking apart the stupidity of a real low card feud, but the match was long enough that I’m going to anyway.
After an intriguing heel turn for Mandrews last week, he went up against the much bigger (and heelish) Aiden O’Shea this week. He got beaten the entire match until he fought back and win.
What a baffling way to follow up a good heel turn.
You know who sustains a long beat down from a heel that’s much bigger than them and then valiantly fights back? True blue babyfaces, that’s who. Not heel. Heels cheat. Heels aren’t an underdog story and the story of this match was a Mandrews underdog story.
That’s not to mention the fact that this match was completely random. Perhaps that was because they had something with Billy Corgan planned since Aiden played his right hand man. But what ended up on the TV was a major disconnect from the sharp heel turn last week.
To follow up the above match, we got an Al Snow and Mahabli Shera/Tribunal double strap match.
It was... what’s the word... horrible. It was horrible.
It was just the heels and faces taking turn choking and whipping each other. For like an hour. OK, so it was probably 10 minutes but it sure the hell felt like an hour. And then the Tribunal lost!
If you want a blue print of how not to build a tag team, just look at how TNA handled the Tribunal. When we’re lamenting that TNA has no good tag teams outside Decay and the Hardys next year, we can look back to all of this and remember that they could have actually built a tag team and opted not to.
The fact that the Mandrews match (which itself wasn’t bad but the heel dynamics hurt it) was followed up with this, creating about 30 minutes of subpar television brought this show down.
But on the bright side: This feud may finally be over.
Pros of the Show:
- Allie getting some comeuppance finally
- Drew Galloway is back and will soon be feuding will Moose
Cons of the Show:
- Disappointing main event finish, especially given the amount of time it received
- Mandrews’ heel turn followed up with an underdog match was baffling
- That strap match. All of it.
The progression of Allie’s journey was worth watching. The main event wasn’t bad but the ending was a big let down, even if it does play into something later. 8:30 - 9 pm was just brutal.
Sound off below, Cagesiders.