TNA Impact returned last night (Dec. 1, 2016) from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida.
You can find all the results from the episode at the live blog here.
The Demon Assassin
Our new Knockouts champion is pretty much a demon.
The main event last night was a steel cage match between Rosemary and Jade for the vacant Knockout’s title. It was announced just two weeks ago that Gail Kim would have to relinquish her title due to injury and these two would fight in a cage to crown a new champion.
Unfortunately, the circumstances didn’t allow any build after announcing the match outside a Rosemary backstage promo. When it comes to hardcore matches, they usually need a reason. Specialty matches, especially hardcore ones like cage matches, need a reason to happen. There should be a build of a personal grudge to warrant its use. Otherwise they are hardcore for hardcore sake.
This was my only issue coming out of tonight. I would have almost preferred they just go one on one because this feud hasn’t yet earned that stipulation. Start with a regular match and then build on that to lead to a hardcore bout.
That aside, the match was really fun. Even without any real build, both women are strong enough to have fans take aside. Jade is excellent in the ring and she’s one of my favorite Knockouts. However, standing across from her last night was my favorite knockout: Rosemary.
Rosemary debuted this year and immediately started winning people over with her unique character and creepy charisma. Alongside the rest of the Decay, she was a highlight of TNA this year. She’s a fantastic character and turned a gimmick that can easily fail into gold.
So despite the build and despite having a stipulation match for no reason, this was a good main event. Both women delivered, including this gem:
.@JadeTNA is incredible! #IMPACTonPOP #RedvsBlue pic.twitter.com/CAZOddUMZ6— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) December 2, 2016
And the move didn’t even win her the match! It took her too long to cover and Rosemary kicked out. Rosemary ended up spraying some mist and her F5 finisher (which she dubbed the Red Wedding which is a sick name).
For me, and I’ll admit my fanboying for Rosemary is definitely a factor, seeing Rosemary debut earlier this year and already win the title was worth it alone. Hopefully, this is a feud that’s just starting because there’s more here to be had.
Matt Makes Everything Better
With Matt Hardy back in his full Broken form, he and his Brother Nero defended their titles successfully against the DCC.
Thank God Matt was back because the Impact Zone stuff between the DCC and Jeff Hardy had been the pits. It had been lazy storytelling with random hardcore matches, pretty much treading water until Matt returned.
As soon as Matt returns, things are more entertaining. Jeff dressed more like Brother Nero, lending credence to the theory that he was dressing more like Jeff because amnesia Matt didn’t have that control over him that Broken Matt does. It also works that Jeff is successful as Brother Nero with Matt and not on his own as someone resembling more Jeff than Nero.
He also performed a “Brother Moore, I knew you’d come” when Matt made his return to the Impact Zone which was a cool moment.
Not that all is right with the story. The DCC is still a rather lazy trio. James Storm did a promo early in the night (his voice was altered like in their videos) saying they are here for the little person who gets trampled on.
But that’s not enough. This isn’t a new trio we’ve never heard of. That may work better with three new people showing up in TNA with an agenda. But this is Bram and James Storm. We know these guys. We know that Bram was last disposed of by Decay. How did he find himself here? We know James Storm was indefinitely suspended by Billy Corgan. How did he end up doing this? These are questions that are going need to be raised if the DCC is going to succeed going forward as a stable.
It’ll be interesting to see where these groups go. The Hardys are headed for Total Nonstop Deletion in a couple weeks, but we don’t know anything about that story wise. The DCC need some work to become successful as this trio with this gimmick.
Shake it up
Aron Rex came out to issue an open challenge for his Grand Championship. But before he did that, he made sure to talk up how he has made that title the best title in the world.
Then he proceeded to lose it.
It was Moose who answered the challenge and beat Aron only halfway through the first round and that was that. After the match, Rex was so upset that not only would he not do a post match interview with JB but he was crying as he left.
This was a good creative move all around. Moose had no direction after they moved him away from the title picture. They build him to be the next TNA champion going into Bound for Glory but coming out of it, there was an obvious change in plans. He wasn’t often featured and in the only match he lost to Lashley in a #1 contenders bout. Using a secondary title to build up a guy who’s eventually planned for the main event is a good call.
And Rex wasn’t doing anything with the title. It looked like we had more Rex/Godderz in our future for that title, which I can’t imagine anyone was clamoring for. But instead, they built that up to swerve us the other way. That’s all good. They used the title to turn Rex into a heel after his babyface run flopped. It was the perfect use of the title for Rex but now he can leave these gimmick matches as he continues to work as a heel.
Go For Broke Up
The X Division did something last night they haven’t done in a while: They set up a story! An actual story!
They had a triple threat match where DJ Z defended his title against his Go For Broke teammates Braxton Sutter and Mandrews. Mid match, Z hurt his leg but was able to pick up the win anyway. He waited until Mandrews neutralized Sutter with a Shooting Star Press and rolled up Mandrews for the win.
It was a pretty fun match, but it was post match where they started something. Braxton Sutter was concerned about DJ Z’s leg, but Mandrews wasn’t. He was upset he lost a chance at the title. So after he held up Z’s arm as a sign of respect, he kicked his bad leg out of it as a sign of disrespect.
Sutter was shocked, trying to talk some sense in to Mandrews but he wouldn’t have it.
This was good. Mandrews has always been a good in ring talent, but he’s never had a character. His character was dude that wears a backwards hat and rides a skateboard. But now he’s a heel who cares more about the title he believes he deserves than his friend. (And a guy wearing a backwards hat and skateboards to the ring should be a heel anyway.)
The Slap Heard Around the World
Allie finally slapped Maria tonight when Maria continued to berate her in the ring. Maria, alongside Laurel Van Ness, was out to give Allie the business for hitting her in the face with a pie last week. The First Lady knew it was a mistake, that Allie was aiming for Laurel. But that wouldn’t fly either since Laurel and Maria are buddy buddy.
Laurel then tried to rub the fact she’s dating Braxton Sutter in, which upset Allie more. Then Maria went on her final rant about how incompetent her assistant was, ending with calling her a “stupid bitch.” That was enough to get Allie to finally strike her boss, but was soon ambushed by Laurel Van Ness.
While a somewhat sweet moment, the length of time they took to get here did lessen the impact for me. I also wish that less of Allie’s frustration stemmed from the fact that Laurel is dating her crush Braxton. Yes, it’s a fun meta nod to the fact they’re really married. But Maria has done enough to Allie to warrant the slap without laying on the Braxton stuff so thick.
And For Next Week
We learned that Ethan Carter will get his title shot next week against Eddie Edwards. Both men had a small promo in the ring. They set up they were friends but Carter made it known that he will do anything to win that title back.
As for Eli Drake, EC3 complimented him backstage but also screwed with him a bit since Drake is no longer allowed to talk. (Josh Mathews let us know that Drake will be fined $25,000 every time he speaks.)
There’s not much to be said here. Carter is a good promo. Edwards is an average promo. But it did the job of making us wonder how far EC3 will go next week. He turned face at the beginning of 2016. Will he turn heel at the end of it?
Pros of the Show:
- Rosemary winning the title in a fun main event
- Needed shake up in the Grand Championship picture
- X Division starting to build a character and tell a story
Cons of the Show:
- DCC still need a lot of work
There wasn’t a lot of bad on the show, but a decent amount of just OK. Main event was fun though.
Sound off below, Cagesiders.