TNA Impact returned last night (Oct. 20, 2016) from Orlando, Florida with a show boasting a double main event with title implications.
You can find the full results at the live blog here.
Cody Rhodes had a TNA title shot against Eddie Edwards tonight. Everything tonight was pretty good, but it just didn’t feel as big as it should have.
Cody opened the show telling a story about when he was 15, he told his father, the legendary Dusty Rhodes, that he wanted to be a wrestler. The Dream thought about it, leaned in, and said "OK, but only if you’re the best." Rhodes went on to say that he needs to be the champion to be the best.
Eddie came out to say that he respects Cody but he needs to prove that he’s no fluke after beating the unbeatable Bobby Lashley. He needed to show that he deserves to hold the belt.
This was a good opening promo to build that excitement for the main event. However, it also highlighted the fact that a Cody Rhodes title opportunity could have been a good story if really given at least a few weeks to breathe. A few weeks of Cody earning the title match (instead of randomly getting it handed to him), expanding on the type of promo from tonight about his desire to be the best and why he came to TNA do so, could have really given this match a big fight feel. TNA often steamrolls through stories, possibly because of their taping schedules and uncertain future, but this match and the Moose/Lashley match that was also tonight were two stories that would have benefited from a slower build. It doesn’t need to be months. But one week isn’t enough.
It felt like that lack of build affected the match. It was OK. There was nothing wrong with it. But it never seemed to pull me in. (That’s a subjective part of wrestling and many may have dug it.) It just never felt like it hit that next level that the great title matches reach. Then it ended suddenly with a quick roll up at a point in the match that didn’t feel like it was at the end. Without a good build to add that extra emotion, an OK match is going to be just that: OK. OK matches are OK, but title matches deserve more.
The post-match angle did hit though. Eddie and Cody shook hands and Edwards allowed the newcomer to stay in the ring afterwards with. However, as Brandi was entering the ring to stand by her husband, Maria ran down and tossed her into the ring steps. Then the first lady retreated up the ramp and laughed at the Rhodes family with the Miracle.
The sudden clean win over the Miracle last week didn’t feel like that was it for these teams. Now the Bennetts added a little heat to this feud.
It’s unfortunate that the title match didn’t get a longer treatment to make it feel special like a Cody Rhodes TNA title match should, though.
The Destroyer Reigns
In the other rushed match up, Bobby Lashley defeated Moose to become the number one contender. Hopefully, this is just the start of a Moose/Lashley feud since they gave it so much build prior to the Bound for Glory pay-per-view.
I don’t mind Lashley going over clean (and delivering Moose his first loss) since Lashley has so much more to offer given how great he’s been. His promo earlier in the night and then him trying to mentally mess with both Edwards and Rhodes back stage were a reminder of how smooth Lashley is with his words lately. Moose is surely talented inside the ring and his music is sweet as hell, but there’s more character building for the newcomer that could be done before pushing him to the moon.
It is a shame that their first match didn’t get more of a build/focus after they paid so much attention to it earlier. But it feels like they reset some stuff after BFG for whatever reason. And while that’s disappointing, this was the best outcome for the story that they started telling with Eddie two weeks ago.
As the Rex Turns
Eli Drake was back with the Fact of Life. Along with the new talk show set they had last time, they added in purposely terrible canned audience sounds to play as reactions. It’s a nice touch, though they spammed it a bit too much and a couple times it just distracted from the guys talking.
Drake’s guest was Aron Rex, who’s eventual heel turn is more obvious. He still played humble when talking about the Grand Championship, but he had no problem mocking Jessie Godderz’s Jersey roots when discussing his win last week. (I know my colleague Sean Rueter loves when people like Corey Graves make fun of Jersey, but around these TNA recap parts, that’s frowned upon.) Plus heel Eli Drake talked about how he’s come to respect Aron because he does what he needs to do. When the heel respects another guy, that other guy is usually a heel.
It became more evident when EC3 came out and demanded a fight with Eli Drake. After a small back and forth verbally, they finally hooked up. Rex tried to break them apart and took a punch from Carter for his efforts. This lead to him helping Drake beat down Ethan until Jessie Godderz ran out to even the score. They were all restrained by security.
This was a good segment to advance two stories and continue the heel turn for Rex, which may not be full blown but it’s not too far off. Carter and Drake continue to bring the fire and this is a match I’m already excited for. And it looks like Jessie will be the babyface to the new Rex heel. Jessie has improved with his time in TNA and a single’s story as a babyface is a good chance for him. His last solo run, as a heel, did not go well, but perhaps he can use a small bit his goofiness that he’s brought to the BroMans to get the crowd behind him.
The Broken Train rolls on
The Broken Hardys defeated the Tribunal tonight. The Tribunal ended up being the first feud of the new champ. In wrestling, the first feud of new champs is often one the new champs win. It’s a nice way to feature new champions in a winning effort to build them up.
While being that first opponent is often an undesirable position, the Tribunal actually had to be taken more seriously to even get to that spot. So while they lost, they were actually elevated in doing so. Plus, they gave them a more serious (somewhat Shield-esque) outfit and attitude. That’s something they can use going forward.
The real threat to the Hardy’s was revealed after the match when the lights went out and the new Anonymous themed trio appeared and beat the hell out of an already defeated Tribunal. They then pointed at the Hardys who were watching on the entry ramp. While Jeff looked intrigued, Matt had his normal smile of madness. (He also had blood still on his mouth from his match earlier.)
A new mystery stable is always fun and the Broken gimmick is still going strong so this should be fun.
The Next Chapter
Tonight Maria, alongside her new BFF Laurel Van Ness, blamed all of her misfortunes on her poor assistant Allie. In a moment of emotion, Allie fired back saying the only person Maria should blame is Maria.
Laurel Van Ness ended up attacking Allie and Maria dropped the bombshell that Allie will have to fight Van Ness next week. (Though technically she’s not in charge any more so I don’t know why Allie would have to listen.)
That was all on point. It was time for the story to go to the next stage. There was only so much Allie accidentally screwing up to the delight of the crowd they could do. Now she’s been physically assaulted by Van Ness and will have to fight her next week with zero wrestling background.
Through all of this, Allie remains the sympathetic babyface and Maria remains absolutely terrible (in the good way!). And Laurel Van Ness is doing really good character work. She’s playing the spoiled, wealthy diva and doing it well because I don’t like her and I’m not supposed to.
All the rest
Needs more Fixin’
Tyrus is back on TV as the Fixer and he’s going to fix Mahabali Shera. I’m not entirely sure if Shera hired Tyrus and if so, why. But it’s a low card story that could be funny and give these guys time on TV.
Shera had an opponent that Tyrus picked out for him. It was the Miracle Mike Bennett and of course Bennett won. During the match, the announcers were talking about how Bennett has been on a bit of a losing streak (EC3, Moose, Cody) and needed a win. That attention to the W-L record is appreciated.
DJ Z explained tonight why he started X Force Gold, the trios tag matches. It’s because he wanted to see what random group of three guys is the best... I think. I still don’t know. We don’t know if this is a tournament or if there’s a prize or if it’s just for the hell of it. It’s probably the last one.
Rockstar Spud came out upset that he didn’t get invited to this tournament said he’ll be there next week with two partners of his own. So I guess he didn’t need an invite.
Pros of the Show:
- The Fact of Life segment furthering along two stories
- The Maria/Allie story is moving to the next chapter and all women are owning their roles
- The Hardys continue to be fun and the new mystery trio adds intrigue
Cons of the Show:
- The two main matches could have felt really big if given some build
- X Force Gold still doesn’t make much sense despite the explanation
Pretty good show overall that could have been better if they gave the two big matches a few weeks to build.