TNA Impact returned tonight (May 3, 2016) from Orlando, Florida with their first of a new set of a tapings where they looked to set up some stories during the fallout of Sacrifice.
A note before I start: I know a few people have told me that they had trouble with the WhipClips on their computer. Because of that, I loaded as much as I could from the TNA YouTube but what I they did not have by the time I finished this last night, I filled in with the WhipClips for those who haven't had issues with them.
The show opens with Bobby Lashley attacking Drew Galloway in a gym. He throws Drew into an octagon that gym happens to have and they fight inside it. Members of the Impact roster who were also working out there, jump the octagon and pull them apart.
The Miracle comes out and puts himself over for doing what no one else could: Pin EC3. He doesn't have a God Complex... he is God. Because of his win against EC3 and a win over current champ Drew Galloway, he thinks he's should be the next man to be champion.
Jeff Hardy comes down to the ring, taking exception to the fact that Bennett considers himself God. The Miracle thinks that the reason Jeff is really here is because he knows that Bennett has vaulted to the world title picture and he wants to ride his coat tails. He says he'll do Jeff a solid and go ask his friend Dixie Carter to maybe make a main event for tonight between the two men. As he's leaving, Jeff says "Why wait?" and hits Bennett from behind and beats him out of the ring. This infuriates Bennett, who demands a ref so they can fight right now.
Mid match, while Hardy has control, Lashley comes down and spears Jeff Hardy, ending the match in DQ. Bennett, delusional as he is, takes this to mean that Bobby is his buddy, pats him on the back and goes to leave. Of course, he gets speared too.
The Destroyer gets a microphone and says that this will continue to happen until Dixie Carter comes out and gives him what he wants: a TNA title match. Dixie comes out and says those are earned and he can earn tonight in a triple threat match between Lashley, Jeff Hardy, & Mike Bennett with Drew Galloway as the special guest referee.
The end goal to this, to get to a triple threat match for the number one contender, was smart. Number one contender matches, especially in such an open title picture, are fun. All three men are without feud (though Jeff will have to get back feuding his brother eventually) and any could slot into that spot well. Of course, Lashley is the most likely, but the other two are the ones who just won huge matches and have a rightful claim.
I'm becoming a huge fan of Bennett, who has been a really good promo in TNA and plays his character as cocky bordering on delusional who in honest wouldn't be close to where he is without his wife. Lashley as the badass who doesn't give a damn who he lays out is a good look for him as well.
Jeff Hardy is still super over with the Impact Zone, and in that sense, he's a good face. Though hitting Mike Bennett from behind seems pretty heelish and rather unprovoked. However, I suppose that can also be interpreted as him knowing that Bennett isn't going to give him the match so he pushed the Miracle's buttons to get what he wants. He also took a swipe at Maria after she slapped him and that doesn't scream "face" either. But the fans do love him.
The opening segment in the octagon in the gym was super lame. Pre-taped brawls with no crowd to react rarely come off well anyway, but adding the Octagon to remind us that Lashley is a legit MMA guy and then turning it into a pull apart was dumb. None of it worked to help set up the feud, which they did a good job of on the show in front of the crowd.
Rosemary leads the Decay to the ring, with both men's heads covered. She says they've undergone and transformation. Steve has found a voice that he did not have. She reveals his face (the make up isn't too different) and he gives a quick Heath Ledger Joker-esque promo. She then turns to Abyss, saying that others sought to control him but they just want to free him. She reveals his face, which does not have a mask but has his own Decay face paint instead. He cuts a promo about how beautiful he is. Rosemary then says that they've taken out half of Beer Money and will do the same to anyone who stands in their way.
James Storm comes down and reminds everyone he's the "Moonshine sipping, creek swimming, beer drinking, Johnny Cash listenin'" cowboy. He clears the ring briefly and challenges Abyss to a match.
In said match, Crazzy Steve tries to use the green mist on James Storm but misses. However, that distracts the referee and Abyss uses mist of his own on James to pick up the win.
If someone were to tell me that the Decay was the dumbest thing, I'd understand why they think that. I wouldn't agree at all, but I'd understand because it's a pretty out there gimmick that could be construed as dumb if this type of character is your cup of tea. But I'm still all in on the Decay.
Rosemary has transformed into a Harley Quinn character from the more traditional creepy horror trope that she debuted as. However, unlike Harley, Rosemary is clearly the one in charge of the Decay. She was the one who transformed them backstage in a segment just prior to this. She is the one who speaks for the group. Rosemary is the glue that holds this group together, not just in story, but also with how they are presented. Without her, this group would not be nearly as interesting.
Steve looks to be channeling his Heath Ledger, which is a bit predictable almost, but it's better than when Sting did it at least.
What I liked most is what they did with Abyss. Part of it is just because I'm a stickler for matching tag teams and now they all have face paint. But it's more than that. I thought I would never be care about the Abyss character again. The guy has been around so long that I didn't think there was much they could do with him that would get me interested again. And while the "I'm beautiful" promo was pretty ridiculous, the Decay is the perfect fit for the veteran. Shedding the mask and going with the face paint is symbolic of the new life he's found as part of this new gimmick.
James Storm will always be James Storm with his loud boisterous promos that is his go to for every situation and his beer obsession. It looks like they're pushing his Cowboy persona again. (And it's probably only a matter of time until they go back to the Longnecks and Rednecks music.). The match was one I'm sure we've seen a hundred times before in TNA and nothing to write home about.
The real question is what are they going to do with Storm now. There's only so long he can feud with a tag team, though looking at the main event, he may be getting some help soon.
Maria comes to the ring and calls Jade down. She reminds Jade what happened to Gail when Gail didn't fall in line. She then orders Jade to apologize for not handing her the belt last week, but the champ doesn't think she has anything to apologize for. The First Lady tells Jade to lay down for her and give her that title. Jade says she doesn't lay down for anybody, man, woman, or bitch. The crowd chants bitch ever so briefly because of course.
Kanellis tells Jade that if she wants a fight, she's got someone who believes in her vision and introduces new Knockout Sienna. Sienna and Jade brawl, which ends with Sienna laying out Jade.
The strength of this segment was solely on the shoulders of the first lady. This woman could sell me Cutco Knives. That was necessary because while I am a big fan of Jade, she has not proved to be a good promo at all in TNA. So it was left to Maria to push this angle forward.
Introducing new Knockouts is important and I'm glad they did. And Sienna has a good look and good size. (I don't know anything about her coming into TNA.) However, her brawl with Jade felt really clunky at times and despite Maria's best efforts, this segment did not land.
Bram retains his King of the Mountain title in a KOTM match.
After the match, Eli Drake, who was in the match attacks Bram and tries to cash in his Feast or Fired briefcase for the title. However, Bram recovers quickly and scares him off before he can cash it in.
The King of the Mountain match will always be ridiculous. 100% ridiculous. It's just something that needs to be accepted at this point.
Because of that, there's no much to say about the match. Bram drop kicked the ladder from the top rope when Drake was climbing at the end and that was an impressive spot for such a big guy. And the tease of the cash in was well played. I bit on it and realized that I could get into an Eli Drake Bram feud.
In the middle of the match, Eddie Edwards decides that his one week long feud with Andrew Everett was more important than winning a single's title so he fought him into the back. That was dumb.
There was a post match backstage where Eli Drake does a promo saying he'll fight Bram whenever but then Bram shows up and Drake hightails it immediately. Bram then cuts a promo which reminded me that the man is just a captivating individual and has a certain charisma that is really important in the business. It's unfortunate that his history has made him a risky man to give the keys to the company to.
Backstage, Matt Hardy gives an interview wearing a hood in a darkly lit area talking about how brother was so cruel to try to take everything away from him. He said the doctors tell him he shouldn't wrestle again because of the damage his brother did.
This was a different Matt Hardy. He was darker and soft spoken. I sure hope this isn't the end of Big Money Matt.
As Mike Bennet is on way to the ring for the main event, EC3 follows him out. He gets in the ring and congratulates Bennett. He makes it clear doesn't like him nor even respect him, but he is impressed that Bennett did what he said he would. Carter says he accepts the loss. And now he hopes the Miracle goes on and wins this match and wins that title. Because EC3 knows that feeling and he wants to take that feeling away from Bennett like Bennett did to him.
Lashley defeats Jeff Hardy and Mike Bennett to become #1 contender
During the match, the Decay came out and took out Hardy. To make things worse for the Enigma, Lashley speared Jeff from standing on the ring steps into the steel post. After Drew Galloway reluctantly counted the 1-2-3, the Destroyer demanded the champ raise his hand. Eventually, Drew did. Afterwards, Bobby goes for a lariat but Drew ducks and then men brawl as Impact goes off the air.
I'm going to start with EC3's promo which was straight FIRE. My worries of him adjusting as a face have completely dissipated. He's not a babyface in the truest of forms, but he cannot be given his promo style and his look. Tonight, he sold me on another meeting with Mike Bennett to settle the score and had me hoping that one day these two battle for the TNA title. While Bennett didn't say anything here, his facial expressions were on point. He had a shit-eating grin the entire time that conveyed "Yes, keep telling me how good I am."
The main event was enjoyable. There's no known reason yet why the Decay would gun for Jeff Hardy so I'm going to assume they don't want anyone else using face paint. And that's cool. Don't let anyone steal your shtick, Decay.
There was some good spots in this match, especially Lashley spearing Jeff into the ring post. That was a great moment. Lashley and Galloway has been a story that has had a nice build, probably the most thorough build of any of Drew's title matches. He and Lashley have been on a collision course back when Bobby speared Drew when the Scot came to the defense of Angle and they have teased it until this moment.
Unlike that really lame gym attack earlier in the show, their interactions post match helped sell their eventual encounter. Lashley insisted that Drew raise his hand just to needle him as Galloway had no desire to do so. Of course, even as a referee, honorable Drew Galloway is going to do his job but he knew that the Destroyer was going to go for the attack. It was a good cat and mouse game between both men and I hope they at least give this 2 or 3 more weeks of build before jumping into the title match.
Also, the sheer size of these men make this collision exciting.
- EC3's promo
- Lashley/Galloway already feels big thanks to some post match moments
- Mike Bennett continues to kill it
- The women's segment felt very clunky outside Maria
- The pull apart brawl inside the Octagon was super dumb