TNA Impact returned last night (Aug. 11, 2016) live-ish from Orlando. This show promised the debut of Damien Sandow and a title vs. title match between Bobby Lashley and James Storm. Let’s get right to it!
EC3 opens the show and the crowd is hot for him. He talks up his history in TNA. He’s now on a quest to be the best. And to do that, he needs to hold the world title.
Lashley interrupts. He claims he’s the best and no one has come close to him. The Destroyer says that EC3 will not be the man to beat him. Carter puts Bobby over as the champion that he is. As Lashley is talking about how good he is, his challenger tonight, James Storm comes on down.
The Cowboy says that tonight is his night. He invites Lashley to come down and fight him now. Bobby accepts and the two men start to brawl to the back. While this is going on, Mike Bennett and Moose slide into the ring and start taking it to EC3 2 on 1. Eddie Edwards, Carter’s tag partner tonight, comes down for the save. The good guys hold the ring. Edwards takes a mic and suggests they have their match now.
Mike Bennett & Moose defeat EC3 & Eddie Edwards
The promo spot to start the show was pretty much to set up everything that’s down the road: The short term being Storm/Lashley tonight and the long term, presumably EC3/Lashley at Bound for Glory.
Unfortunately, it didn’t add any intrigued to the matches we already knew. It was more likely meant to serve as information for those tuning in for the first time to catch thei live show or to see Damien Sandow. For those of us who have seen the show, this was skippable. While EC3 was on point like he often is, Lashley didn’t seem to have the cool calculating tenor he has used to such success lately. Instead, he seemed a bit more amped up or rushed. And Storm may have been saying something good, but his microphone was all messed up it was tough to catch. It set the stage for later, but it certainly didn’t add to it.
The tag match was enjoyable. EC3 and Edwards had some fun chemistry. However, in the end, after Carter and Edwards worked over Moose for awhile, the Miracle was able to get Carter out of the ring and neutralize him. Then Moose hit his sit down powerbomb on Edwards. Unbeknownst to him, Bennett tagged in and was the one to pin Edwards for the win.
Afterwards, The Miracle celebrated like he actually did the work and Moose appeared a bewildered and a bit pissed. By the looks of it, Moose isn’t going be able to deal with Bennett for too long and I could see a Moose/Bennett feud sooner than later.
Damien Sandow, now named Aron Rex, comes to the ring to a pretty good pop. He says Impact was brave enough to do what others were, give him a live microphone. He’s here to tell the truth, but it’s not about his past employers. Aron talks about how he’s been too entertaining to get a shot at titles in the past.
He goes on to say that in this business, there are some preordained to get opportunity after opportunity. And then there are some who can seize the day if there get an even playing field. That field is TNA. He names EC3, Drew Galloway, Bobby Lashley as examples of guys who can succeed when allowed. So he’s going to do it his way and that is going to change the template of the industry.
You can read the full transcript here.
This was almost as much of a TNA promo as it was an Aron Rex promo. He called this promotion the "even playing field" meaning those holding him back prior were no longer keeping him from realizing his true potential.
The promo was OK for tonight, and in general I’m super excited to see Damien Sandow get a chance in TNA. Though hopefully, this is it for him as a disgruntled ex-WWE guy. This seems to be the template for guys who are perhaps under utilized in WWE and come to TNA. If this is it for this type of promo, then it works for a one night only thing. But if he keeps cutting promos that allude to WWE, that’s not going to work for him. Luckily, guys like Carter and Drew Galloway didn’t do that so there’s not much reason to think this is a full time thing for Rex.
Aron delivered the promo with passion and he’s been a hell of a promo in the past. Citing evidence that guys like EC3, Drew Galloway, and Bobby Lashley could come to TNA and thrive really does illustrate the idea that the sky is actually the limit for the former Sandow in the promotion. One thing for sure is that this will be a great chance for him. I hope he makes the most of it.
Gail Kim defeats Marti Bell in a no disqualification match
After the match, both Allie and Marti Bell beat down on Gail. Jade comes out to make the save. Upset, Maria Kanellis decrees that it’s Jade vs. Gail next week.
While the full story they are telling is Gail fighting against the obstacles Maria Kanellis continue throws at her to get a Knockouts title shot, the interesting story is still Allie’s relationship with Maria.
Their relationship has clearly devolved to Allie the whipping girl of Maria (or maybe it was always that way and we just see it more now). Throughout the entire match tonight, Maria ordered a reluctant, nervous Allie to keep attacking Gail. At the end of the match, Allie’s involvement in the beatdown was also a direct order from her boss.
At first, I was skeptical of how they were using the former Cherry Bomb, but this actually a very thorough character introduction. Early on it looked like TNA took an established female indie wrestler and just put her in an odd backstage role. But watching this play out, it looks more like this was part of a bigger plan. Instead of just saying "Here’s Cherry Bomb. She’s really good," they are introducing us to her will give us a chance to watch her grow. And the more Maria berates the poor woman, the more fans will want to see Allie lash out against her tormenter. Overall, it’s a grand introduction.
Color me pumped for anytime Jade and Gail Kim meet because they have great in ring chemistry. While Josh Mathews may have been shocked this was the next match for Gail Kim, Jade was literally the only Knockout left in the division for Gail to fight. (Unless Rebel is still employed with TNA.) After Jade, there isn’t anyone else to stand between Gail and her title shot unless they introduce someone new.
Matt Hardy is being driven to where the Obsolete Mule is by Vanguard One. They find Brother Nero and Matt tells Jeff he had a premonition that Decay abducted King Maxel so Maxel and Reby are holed up at the Hardy Compound in North Carolina. He sends VG1 back to protect his family as he and Jeff
Hardy head to the Impact Zone for Jeff’s next tag team match.
In the Impact Zone, Broken Matt Hardy comes to the ring. He calls the Obsolete Mule to the ring. (With Reby at the Hardy estate, Matt was the one to say "Obsolete" this time.)
Jeff asks Matt why the Broken One bit a mans face last week. Matt says that ants are allowed to touch God. Jeff says he can’t win these tag titles on their own. He needs Matt to do some work. Matt says he couldn’t do it on his own and he had to give up the titles after Jeff broke his leg. Jeff says he doesn’t think the fans want to see Broken Matt and Brother Nero. They want to see the Hardys. Unfortunately, Matt says the Hardys are OVAH.
The Tribunal comes down. Al Snow says as a man who’s been crazy, he’s digging Matt’s look. Snow says if Matt wants really talent, he should have gone to France like he did. Jeff challenges the Tribunal to a tag match.
Brother Nero and Matt Hardy defeat the Tribunal (Matt Hardy did get involved on the outside to neutralize Dax)
After the match, Matt tells Jeff he’s impressed that Jeff is actually showing a bit of passion. Jeff snaps and doles out Twist of Fates on all of the Tribunal and Matt watches with pleasure. Jeff sets up a couple tables and splashes Al Snow through one. He says the only person that punishes him is himself and then Swantons on an empty table. He then starts laughing and says he is Brother Nero.
It looks like we’re going on to the second chapter of this story and it was fantastic.
At first I didn’t care for what Jeff was doing. It didn’t make any sense. Why is he singing the Obsolete theme song (even though I find that hilarious)? Why is he playing along with this? What’s his motive?
Well, apparently, he has no motive. He’s just fully Broken. Weeks of torment and torture from his brother, leading up to, through, and after the Final Deletion has finally caused Jeff to lose his damned mind. He even put himself through a table. This must be what he was talking about when he said his weirdness at that indie show was all part of the story.
Are the Broken Hardy’s a thing now? Because I’m totally OK with that. Broken Hardys vs the Decay is a feud you can sign me up for right now.
Oh by the way, instead of eating a fan tonight, Matt brainwashed one. Don’t mess with that dude. You’re either going to get eaten or transformed. Don’t know which is worse.
Sucks that the Tribunal are a bunch of losers though.
Drew Galloway comes down to the ring. He says he hasn’t been there recently because the last few weeks have left him a bit upset and if he acted on his feelings, things would not have gone well. He talks up his issues with EC3. The Scot says that Carter interfering three times is no coincidence. EC3 is a snake. Galloway challenges Ethan to match for the main event spot at Bound for Glory.
I love this unhinged Galloway. Drew Galloway’s character has always been passionate dude who wants to be champ. Well now he can’t be champ and he blames Ethan Carter, and rightfully so. So now he passion is channeled into something else. It’s changed into an unbridled rage fueling a man wants his revenge and wants what he believes is rightfully his: the TNA title.
The BFG main event looks to still be open. With almost two months until Bound for Glory, having Drew Galloway try to earn his way in as a part of his bigger feud with Ethan Carter is a good story to tell. Having EC3 as the challenger for so long could have become stale without teasing it could change.
Bobby Lashley defeats James Storm to win the KOTM title
After the match, Aron Rex walks out onto the ramp and looks down at the three title champion Lashley.
For a match that was announced last week involving a title James Storm just won last week, TNA did a good job making this feel like a big fight. Part of it is because Lashley’s path of dominance has been going on for longer and his mission to claim all the single’s gold has been around for over a months time as well. Another reason is they played vignettes throughout the night focusing on James Storm’s history with the company, his past title win five years ago, and how these opportunities come so rarely.
The match started before Jeremy Borash could even introduce the champ. Lashley ambushed Storm. As the ref was trying to get things under control and get Borash out of the ring out of harms way, Storm hit a Last Call Superkick, which was a call back to when he beat Kurt Angle five years ago the same way. Unfortunately for the challenger, the ref wasn’t in position in time and Lashley kicked out. This allowed Storm to control Lashley early on, something we don’t often see.
In the end, Lashley got control and dominated as he’s wont to do. He did have to endure two superkicks in a row from James Storm (he kicked out at 2+) before he could claim victory, but of course he did.
The match a solid main event. They built it well, with help from the fact that Lashley’s current run has been very entertaining and the Storm vignettes building him up throughout the night. And in the end, they got where they needed to be: To a point where Lashley has all the men’s singles titles in TNA.
To add a little intrigue, Aron Rex came out at the end to make his intentions known. The former Sandow was likely a big drawing point to many who tuned into this episode, so it makes sense to tease him as a major player at the end of the show, especially after his promo earlier.
While the match was enjoyable, the real intrigue comes from what’s next. Lashley is now officially established as a monster in TNA. What’s next for all those titles he holds? I look forward to finding out.
Pros of the Show:
- Big fight feel to the main event despite the short notice of the match
- Aron Rex debut!
- The Broken Hardys!
Cons of the Show:
- Promo segment to open didn’t add anything to feuds they were trying to hype
- Man, the Tribunal are not to be taken seriously.
The main event felt big, it was good to see Aron Rex, and the next stage of the Hardy Brothers was really fun. Everything else was just OK.