TNA Impact returned last night (Nov. 3, 2016) from the Impact Zone in Orlando Florida with an episode with three titles on the line.
You can find the full results at the live blog here.
Lashley defeats himself
This was a disappointing ending to a big championship rematch. It was a match that had a good contract signing build from last week and that they built up tonight with video packages of Eddie Edwards narrated by Josh Mathews tonight. It’s unclear why the defending Edwards had all the packages as if he were the underdog challenger and Lashley had nothing, but that’s whatever.
They even gave the match 20 minutes and allotted another 10 for entrances and introductions. The match itself was pretty good but it all fell apart at the end with all the ref bumps and ridiculousness.
The first ref bump, where Lashley pulled Brian Hebner in front of him in a sloppy looking spot, was immediately followed up by a spear from Lashley onto Edwards. Of course, there was no ref to count the 1-2-3, which the challenger would have had easily. When another ref finally came down, Edwards had enough time to kick out at two.
Then things just started getting stupid when Lashley decided to punch that new ref in the face despite still having clear control of the match. That was happening as Hebner was re-entering the ring and seeing all of this. He called for the title, likely to DQ Lashley and hand it to Eddie when Bobby confronted the ref and started arguing it.
During this, Edwards had time to recover and hits the Boston Knee Party. He goes for the cover and Hebner uses an obvious quick count to award Edwards the title. No one came off looking any better after this was all said and done.
Edwards took a spear that would have pinned him if the ref wasn’t already down. And then when he hit his finisher, he was awarded the victory with a cheap quick count so he can’t even claim he won it fairly. Meanwhile, Lashley is suddenly an idiot, hitting refs when he could just finish off a match. And the ending sequence felt like it was more about the referee getting some revenge than about the two men who had fought for 20 minutes prior.
That’s all asides the fact that Lashley probably should be the champion since he’s doing the best work of his career and just mauled a dude in his Bellator match, showing he’s a legit MMA athlete as well. (Obviously, this was taped prior to that.) While Eddie Edwards isn’t by any means a bad champ, Lashley is on fire now and given the story they were telling coming out of Bound for Glory, he should be champion.
On the good side, this will set up a match that I am looking forward to for next week as Eddie already has to defend his title again next week.
Don’t be a dummy
Eli Drake and EC3 went back and forth on the microphones again and predictably, it was fire. Why wouldn’t it be? These are two of the hottest guys on the mic in TNA.
EC3 used his promo to bring the story back around to Drake’s claim that Carter had everything handed to him while Drake had to scratch and claw for everything. He took a bit of offense to that claim, stating that his undefeated streak, his championships, and the overall fact that he’s the man around here were all hard work.
Ethan then tried to convince Drake to defend his Bound for Gold title shot against him. When Eli said he’d be a dummy himself to take such a horrible deal, Carter tried to sweeten the pot. He added in the stipulation that if he lost, he’d never challenge for the title again.
Eli pretended he was going to accept, but pulled the swerve, saying that instead he’d cash in his Bound for Gold opportunity next week against the winner of the main event later. (We know now this will mean Drake will get a shot at Edwards and I’ll be pulling for my man E-Li Drake big time this time next week.)
This was great stuff all around. EC3 is still showing a bit of desperation by offering up a match that Drake would be an idiot to take. Luckily, Drake isn’t an idiot. That’s not his character. He may be arrogant and obnoxious, but he’s never been stupid. He’s got too much to lose just to try to get EC3 out of the title picture forever.
The sudden title match for next week makes sense here. Carter prodded Drake a bit for being too cowardly to cash in Bound for Gold. That backfired since instead of defending it against Carter, which was Ethan’s goal, Drake decided to go ahead and cash it in.
These two aren’t done with each other of course. It’s been a well paced story between two of the hottest acts on the roster and one of the best stories in TNA currently.
The title match that wasn’t
The Hardys had a title match against the mysterious DCC which ended in a DQ due to the third member of DCC interfering. They then brawled backstage for a good while.
While just Matt Hardy’s expressions make me laugh, this was one of the weaker Hardy segments in awhile. The beginning in-ring bit felt disjointed because it started as a 3 on 2 brawl where the DCC left after beating down the Hardys. They left despite challenging the Hardys to a title match last week, a title match promoted by TNA this last week. You’d think they’d stick around to have the match that they challenged the champions for.
It wasn’t until Jeff called them back to fight some more that the match itself started. (It’s entirely possible this wasn’t made a title match until after this was filmed, contributing to the confusing feeling.) The DCC really don’t care about those tag titles because they got themselves DQ’d when all three men getting involved.
This turned into a taped brawl backstage. It had a few chuckles that you’ll find in a pre-taped Hardy segment, such as Jeff taking a break to take a selfie with Grado, or Jeff getting transformed by the lake water into heel 2011 champ Jeff with that ugly ass custom belt, but most of this felt like filler. (These episodes have had a lot of recap packages lately, which is likely because they are stretching this set of tapings as long as they can.) A lot of time was spent to accomplish very little.
The ending was intriguing. Matt took a spill off a forklift and when Jeff went to check on him, the Broken One didn’t know who his own brother was. Does this mean Matt is even more broken? What will his amnesia mean for his broken empire?
Brandi Meet Maria
Brandi Rhodes opened the show with a promo. She updated the crowd on Cody after Cody was attacked by Lashley last week. She also talked up how proud of her husband she is for all he’s done recently. But when she was about to turn the subject to her plans, Maria Kanellis and Sienna interrupted.
Maria eventually invited Brandi to join her squad, but Brandi declined, saying she does not need Maria’s help. Because of that, she was eventually attacked by Sieanna and left laying.
Brandi may be early in her career, but she’s already a solid promo and good with facial expressions to get her points across. Of course, the First Lady is a master on the mic, but her presence didn’t end up making Brandi look bad. Weaker promos, such as Gail Kim, have looked over matched against Kanellis, but Brandi didn’t. Mrs. Rhodes is putting across the character of a woman who isn’t going to take anybody’s crap and she does it well.
While I’m not necessarily looking forward to whatever match that this may lead to because Brandi is so green, her character work alongside Maria’s top notch promos is enough to make the feud worth watching.
Revisiting the Grand Championship
You know, I’m starting to enjoy the Grand Championship match.
Sure, it’s really gimmicky and I chuckle every time Josh Mathews says that Aron Rex is made for the championship because his style is absolutely not one that’s made for an MMA style match. But in the end, it just presents a wrestling match in a different way where you can enjoy things differently.
Rest holds aren’t just time killers here. They have a major impact on the round, which has an impact on the finish. That’s because the man with more offense wins the round. So suddenly, a rest hold that could go on as long as necessary in a regular match has meaning. And there’s different psychology that can be implemented since there are points in the match where guys absolutely need to win a round to have a chance or need to win by pinfall or submission within the three minute final round to get the win. So they have to change their strategy.
Tonight’s match was a rematch between Jessie Godderz and Aron Rex and it was pretty much a carbon copy of the first time they met up. Jessie won the first two rounds (though this time the second was by split decision and it could be argued Rex should have won.) So the champ again needed to cheat to win, this time by raking the eyes and then using that loaded fist (the one where he tapes over his rings.)
It’s a bit disappointing that they didn’t advance anything with the Rex heel turn since this was pretty much exactly the same thing that happened a few weeks ago, but they’re heading in the right direction with Rex and playing the babyface who keeps getting screwed is a good fit for Jessie.
X Force Gold continues and it’s just as badly booked as ever.
This time it was a triple threat between
three all the teams in this tournament (?). The Decay is still a part of it (without Rosemary) so that’s super sad. It’d be better if it were Abyss, Crazzy Steve, and Rosemary in this kicking ass. But it’s not. It’s Rockstar Spud instead. Tonight, Steve and Abyss ended up getting ejected because they didn’t adhere to a 5 count. I don’t know why Spud didn’t get DQ’d as well since he was part of the team, but confusion rules are par for the course when it comes to the meaning behind all of this.
The one team with a team name won and they earned the same thing in victory the losing teams earned: jack.
It’s good for the division that they get some TV time, but it would be nice if they didn’t just run random trios matches. You know, the same kind of random tag matches that were so popular when WWE did them with the Divas Revolution and then the Cruiserweights.
Pros of the Show:
- Eli Drake and EC3 continue to kill it
- Brandi Rhodes is going good character work early on in her wrestling career
- I’m coming around on the Grand Championship (though the match was a retreat of 3 weeks ago)
Cons of the Show:
- Poor finish to an anticipated main event
- The Hardys segment felt like a ton of time killer
- X Force Gold is still the laziest of booking
Eli Drake and EC3 were worth watching, but the rest of the show felt disappointing.