TNA Impact returned last night (Oct. 6, 2016) with the first of their post Bound for Glory tapings from Orlando.
For full play by play results, check out the live blog here.
Eddie Edwards won the TNA championship tonight.
I’m happy he’s champion. Eddie has been putting in great work in TNA since his tag partner Davey Richards went down. He’s been up in the main event, working with the X Division, and he in for Drew Galloway in the Grand Championship match at Bound for Glory. He’s been doing yeoman's work in TNA, his matches are always entertaining, and I’m happy for him. He deserves it.
How they got there, however, was very disappointing.
The show opened with every champion in the ring talking about why they are such a good champion. Then Billy Corgan, who lost the suit and has a new assistant in Aiden O’Shea, said asides from the X Division title, all titles would be defended tonight. Lashley would get to pick his opponent between Eddie Edwards, EC3, and Moose. (He chose Eddie because he’d be the easiest.)
This is not new to TNA. They do the sudden title matches often. While occasional surprise title matches are fun, springing them on unannounced as frequently as they do, lessens that big deal feel championship matches should have.
The titles are important and the matches for them should always feel big. Usually, you’ll need at least a week to get people pumped up about a match with a good promo and some time to let it simmer. We didn’t get that at all tonight. Instead, tonight, we got the Decay and the Hardys having their rematch 4 days after the original match. That was a major feud! Milk the rematch!
The Bobby Lashley sudden loss is worse because of the story they were telling prior to tonight. He’s the dominant champion. Even EC3 can’t beat him. In fact, the reason I defended Lashley going over Carter at Bound for Glory is because Lashley needed more time as champion to really cement himself as the dominant champion. Instead, he loses it in an unannounced match four days later. That’s a major disservice to the story they were telling.
After building Lashley as a mega dominant champion, the eventual supplanting of the Destroyer needed to feel huge. That means someone earning a title match, weeks of a build, with promos getting into the mind of both men. And then a big match where the challenger finally overcomes. That’s where this story was headed. But then it was just completely derailed in a hot shot title change.
Again, this isn’t about Eddie Edwards winning it. He would have been a fine choice to be the guy in the scenario I mentioned above. But to build Lashley as the most dominant champ and having him lose it in an unannounced match retroactively worsens the good Lashley story they had told.
Now THAT’S Just a Fact of Life
Eli Drake got a new Fact of Life set to go with his eventual TNA title match. He also got a big feud to go with it.
Ethan Carter was his guest and Eli asked him about Carter wasting his opportunity at Bound for Glory last Sunday. Then he spammed him with the Dummy button (of course that was going to be part of the new set). That set EC3 off.
Carter was pissed. He owned the fact he lost on Sunday, but said that his passion has turned in to vengeance in his path to winning his title back. And if Drake hit the button one more time, he destroy Eli in quite the graphic manner. Carter was spitting fire, showing a man who is on edge after losing his big opportunity against Lashley. He dares Eli to hit the button because he needs someone to fight.
Drake doesn’t play that game. Instead, he slides the button aside and cuts a fire promo of his own. He talks about how Carter had a rocket ship up his ass, being handed all his opportunities. But Eli debuted as the third man in the "dumb" Rising and he scratched and clawed to get his opportunity. And that puts Drake out of Carter’s league. He then tells them to cut the mic and leaves.
This was a fire segment by both men. Nothing sells a feud like to people cutting promos and showing us why we should want to see them fight. These are two of the top promos in TNA and they showed that off tonight. Carter showed off how he’s a bit changed after not getting the job done Sunday. Drake showed that he resents that Carter got so much and squandered it.
I want to see these men fight, but I want some more promos first.
Team X Gold
The X Division has a new event called Team X Gold where they run trios matches. The point of it all?
You’ve got me.
They did a terrible job telling us why these matches were happening or explaining why they were important. The only thing they told us was that the rules are going to be strictly enforced. This means all those fun spots in X Division matches where people are flying everywhere and the ref loses control? That’s gone now. (Though to be fair, at the end of the match, Braxton Sutter tagged Mandrews in who won, but Sutter didn’t leave the ring within 5 seconds, so I suppose they’ll ignore things.)
In this match, DJ Z (who was credited with helping come up with this unknown concept), Braxton Sutter, and Mandrews beat Andrew Everett, Trevor Lee, and new comer Marshe Rocket.
Rocket was a bigger guy and the announcers made sure to talk that up. May he’ll end up being a big deal. May he won’t. He did lose his debut match after all.
The match was a fun match and it’s nice that the X Division is getting some time. But without knowing why the hell we’re watching trios tag matches that are special enough to earn a gimmick name is a poor way to start things off.
Sienna faced Gail Kim for the Knockouts title and lost. She had control much of the match, but the veteran Kim was able to roll her up for a victory. It wasn’t a long match and it was clear that the title being on the line wasn’t a big deal.
The focus of the segment was the post-match attack on Gail Kim by Maria, Sienna, and Laurel Van Ness. Maria revealed that her Knockouts title rematch will be no DQ. That means that this handicapped beat down is perfectly legal when Maria tries to win her title back. That’s a huge disadvantage for the champ.
It should be noted that Allie refused to slap Gail when Maria instructed her too. She remains the wildcard (and her relationship with Maria remains the interesting part of the Knockout’s story).
We learned later on that Maria will get that match but if she loses, she loses the title of Leader of the Knockouts, a title Dixie Carter took from her weeks ago when she was champion. But whatevs to continuity, right?
Big Title Rematch!
Something happened in the tag title cage match between the Hardys and Decay.
But F if I know what.
Towards the end, the PopTV feed froze and the match was over when it came back. I read on Twitter that the Hardy’s won.
That’s a failure.
Cody, alongside his wife Brandi Rhodes, cut a promo that put over TNA. He talks about he left his last spot on his own driven by his list or dream matches. And how ironic that he should find himself face to face with a name on that list this last Sunday: Mike Bennett.
But he also revealed a bigger thing: He’s been given a TNA title shot. Cody goes on to put over how big that is when Mike Bennett interrupts.
The Miracle was upset that when he said he wanted a title match, management said he had to earn it. (I’m glad someone drew attention to the fact that Cody was just handed a title match.) When Rhodes suggested that the men fight then, Miracle kept talking so Cody took the fight to him. He held the ring after Bennett needed to escape from the Cross Rhodes.
The promo from Cody was a strong one, showing passion, but unlike Aron Rex, did not come off as bitter or disgruntled. He gave TNA their props and really talked up what it would mean to win their title. Meanwhile, even though Bennett spoke truth about Cody not earning his shot, he is still really unlikeable so he was able to avoid any sympathy.
They face each other next week and I’m looking forward to it.
Aron Rex defeat Baron Dax in another one of the random championship matches tonight. Then he talked again about how that new title changes the game. I don’t know how though. Rex is still not connecting as a face at all, and this new format is still finding its footing.
I will note that he’s "Changing the Game" and Cody is the "Game Changer" so maybe we’ll get a Rhodes Scholars reunion one episode.
Pros of the Show:
- Eli Drake and EC3 killed it
- Cody’s intro promo
- Congratulations to Eddie Edwards
Cons of the Show:
- Spamming title matches
- Derailing the Dominant Lashley story
- Pop TV not airing the end of the rushed tag title rematch
- Lack of explanation regarding the purpose of Team X Gold
While I’m happy for Eddie, the way they did it killed the great stuff they were doing with Lashley. The rest of the title matches didn’t feel big at all, which is not how title matches should.