TNA Impact retuned last night (Oct. 13, 2016) from Orlando with the aftermath of the Eddie Edwards title win from last week.
You can find full results from last night’s episode at the live blog here.
Earn Your Shot
Bobby Lashley made things harder on himself tonight.
The show started with Eddie Edwards giving his post victory promo, thanking the fans and talking about how he never gave up. It was an average promo from a guy who is an average promo (probably should have removed the gum from his mouth), but it served its purpose. He closed by saying Bobby Lashley could have a match at any time to prove it wasn’t a fluke.
Lashley immediately came out and beat the crap out of Edwards demanding his rematch right that moment. He didn’t get it. Instead, he got EC3 and Moose, who chased off the former champ.
Things got worse for the Destroyer when Billy Corgan exercised some power. He decreed that Lashley’s actions cost him his automatic TNA title rematch. Now he’ll have to earn a title shot by facing the winner of tonight’s not yet made main event.
Lashley was surprisingly calm about the news after talking to Corgan. They worked out a deal where it would be sudden best friends EC3 and Moose going one on one tonight. In said match, Ethan Carter lost clean to Moose, who will face Lashley in a #1 contenders match next week.
The basics of the story were enjoyable. Lashley losing his title match due to his actions was great and hopefully it’s something they’ll be consistent with. Actions should have consequences. However, if they pick and choose what actions have those consequences, it’ll create poor, inconsistent stories.
Some of this didn’t seem to click though, such as the fact that EC3 and Moose were suddenly billed as best friends. Moose was a face for maybe a month prior to Bound for Glory. Prior to that, he was the muscle to EC3’s nemesis Mike Bennett. Just because they’re talking sports backstage for half a second tonight doesn’t sell the fact they’re suddenly besties.
The other part that I’m not a fan of is how fast they are rushing into these big matches. EC3, Moose, and Lashley are all major players in TNA. Alongside Bennett and Galloway, they’re the top guys in TNA. Having EC3 face Moose one on one suddenly tonight and finish with a clean victory for Moose feels like a wasted opportunity. It’ll likely lead to Eli Drake continuing to needle EC3 about choking in big spots, so at least that will be fun.
It’s the Lashley/Moose match suddenly next week that’s more disappointing. Suddenly, this feud is serving as just a stop in the road for someone to face Edwards. They built Lashley/Moose as a big time program prior to Bound for Glory, even at the expense of the EC3/Lashley fight that was the main event of the pay-per-view. Now it’s just part of Lashley’s path to the title next week. Considering the way they handled it prior to BFG, it should be a major program.
We’ll see in the upcoming weeks where Carter and Moose’s paths lead and how tonight’s match factored in, but these all could have been major programs.
The Next Broken Challenge
Broken Matt Hardy and Brother Nero, who is looking much less Broken and more like standard Jeff Hardy, had a celebratory promo in the ring. Matt Hardy and the entire gimmick is something that can be delightful with a simple in ring promo. Broken Matt is so committed to character and fans just love him that just watching him speak is an event. After allowing Brother Nero to sing a dirge for Decay (the Obsolete song of course) he said they’d give a title shot to anyone, even the Bucks of Youth or the Day of New!
Just a simple promo but with the roll that Matt is on, it feels special.
On the opposite side, you have the Tribunal, who have been doing terribly since rolling into TNA. They got saddled with Al Snow in a feud with Grado and Mahabali Shera, which they lost. Then they meandered a bit around here and there, but for all intents and purposes, their introduction was a failure.
They were backstage last night when they ran into Billy Corgan’s assistant Aiden O’Shea. O’Shea told the team that they’re "on the bubble" with how disappointing they’ve been and suggested they do something impressive.
They decided to make that impressive action attacking the Broken Hardys.
It’s good to see the Tribunal get some direction and focus after a terrible start. The fact that they acknowledged that their initial time in TNA was disappointing was a great touch, becoming the reason they attacked the Broken Hardys.
While they’ll surely end up losing to Broken Matt and Brother Nero, it’ll give them more exposure than anything they’ve done yet in TNA. This will be their chance to prove themselves.
A Slow Turn
While I’m not 100% certain, it looks like TNA has learned that mega-face Aron Rex isn’t working. Events tonight hint at a heel turn in the near future.
Once again, Rex defended his Grand Championship, this time against Jessie Godderz. The announce team mentioned an amateur background for Jessie, which is new to his character, but sure, why not?
The BroMan used that amateur wrestling skill to slow things down and fairly easily control the champion Rex for the first two rounds. This forced Rex to have to win the third and final round by pinfall or submission if he wanted to retain his title. And it looked like Jessie was going to be able to work his slow grappling game, which would give him the win.
Jessie found himself out of the ring at one point and took his time getting in to milk the clock. As he was setting foot in the ring, Aron delivered a rather cheap kick to the face and hit his spinning elbow for the win. He retained his title.
And the crowd booed.
The boos weren’t a crowd turning on a failed face run (though it certainly could be classified as a failed face run). Aron was clearly working a bit heel in that match. He was showing visible frustration outside the ring in the third round, banging the ring apron. And his manner of winning, while legal, came off as dirty. And the fact that fans were so ready to boo him shows that this is the right move.
As for the match format, I almost can’t believe I’m still on the fence about it. Going into the match, I was thinking that I don’t care about this nor do I care about their babyface champion. And the first round of chain wrestling was slow and meandering. But that ended up factoring into the story, showing that Godderz’s pace was something Rex didn’t have an answer for. And by the middle of the second round, I was thinking "If Jessie keeps up this style, he’s got Rex" so clearly they brought me in. So I’m still giving it time.
Cody’s debut match
Cody Rhodes won his first match against Mike Bennett clean and now he’ll move onto a title match against Eddie Edwards next week. (Somehow, with so many people having to earn a title match, he just gets one.)
It was surprising to see this end in a clean victory and Cody to move to a title shot already. Unfortunately, it’s another quick title match with little build, which seems to be TNA’s MO in the brief time after Bound for Glory.
It’s quite possible that this title match will just serve as part of the Rhodes/Bennett feud that can’t be over already. They built up the fact that Cody has wanted to win a world title the last 14 years. Mike Bennett taking that from him could be the fuel for this feud.
Leader No More
Billy Corgan, exercising that power mentioned earlier, banned Allie, Sienna, Laurel Van Ness, and Mike Bennett from ringside for Maria’s no-DQ title rematch against Gail Kim. Even without her posse, she had a good showing against Gail Kim, but of course, Gail ended up winning.
It was a decent match, but this match felt like they just needed to get it out of the way to get to whatever they plan for next.
Madison Rayne has been calling the Knockouts matches alongside Josh Mathews and the Pope. It’s a good fit for her. She’s good on commentary and they haven’t had anything for her within the division for awhile.
Meet the New Guy
DJ Z defended his X Division title successfully against newcomer Marshe Rockett. Rockett is a bigger guy who is playing heel in the division. It was nothing to write home about and didn’t do anything to make me excited about the new guy.
There may be a story going on when the announcers talked about "How did this new guy get a title shot immediately?" At least they’re trying to explain it, though maybe he just signed the same type of deal Cody did.
Pros of the Show:
- Matt Hardy remains DELIGHTFUL
- Aron Rex’s slow turn
- Actions have consequences
Cons of the Show:
- Big matches feel rushed in the main event angle
- Continuing to spam title matches
Tonight was an average show. Some aspects of the main event angle have been good, but the pacing comes off as rushed. That’s possibly because of the decision to take the belt off Lashley so quickly, resetting things built prior. Maria had a good showing but that title match felt like a foregone conclusion and the X Division title match was just there.