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TNA Impact Results, Review, & Video (May 17, 2016): The End of an ICON

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TNA Impact returned last night (May 17, 2016) from Impact and built some matches to Slammiversary. Unfortunately, on the road to Slammiversary, this was a bump in the road.

Willow comes out cuts a brief but ridiculous promo about now he is free. Jeff comes out and says that Willow is who Jeff Hardy is when he needs to go to a dark place. He then promises to unmask this Willow. This turns into a very brief match that Jeff wins.

After the match, Jeff goes to unmask Willow, but he is attacked by the Golden Willow. A third Willow comes out (this Willow walks and looks a LOT like Matt Hardy).

After break (yes this is a two segment story) the main Willow reveals himself to be Matt Hardy. Matt, in a slow, drawling voice tells Jeff that Jeff loved Willow more than his own brother. Now Matt's used Willows to show Jeff his mistakes. His mistake wasn't injuring Matt in that "I Quit" match but not getting the job done. Then the Willows beat down Jeff some more, Matt orders them to leave and he chokes his brother out.

Jeff said later on backstage that he would see Matt at Slammiversary.

Well, that was supremely stupid. I mean from start to end it was dumb. Laughably so.

The most upsetting part of all of this nonsense is the fact the is the end of the ICONIC Matt Hardy. Big Money Matt was a great character. He was so cocky and full of shit and it was excellent. Matt's matches are hit or miss given how the years of wrestling have taken a toll on his body, but he always brought it with his heel character. And now he's got this ridiculous crap to work with. They take away the best part of Matt Hardy and then give him the worst part of Jeff.

Everything else was laugh out loud ridiculous too. The Willow in the black body suit that wrestled the match was ridiculous. (Think Charlie's Green Man from Always Sunny but with black.) The altered voice the Willows used to cut their promos was ridic as well. All of it was.

This isn't saying you can't enjoy it. If you're into campy and corny maxed out or you're really high, it could be for you. Personally, I worry that this story is going to be this ridiculous for the remainder of the build towards Slammiversary.


Backstage, Maria's new protege/personal assist Ally (Cherry Bomb) tells Velvet Sky she has a match with Sienna and if she loses, she's fired.

Sienna def. Velvet Sky meaning Velvet is fired from TNA

This match was short, but the psychology was there early on. Velvet tried to get multiple early pins, knowing that the longer the match went against the stronger opponent, the less chance she had. Sienna ended up getting that control of the match and Velvet paid for it.

My big gripe with this match is it didn't have a weighted feel. While Velvet hasn't had much of a run lately in TNA, she is a big name and deserved the match to feel bigger. They ended up replaying a lot of this match later in the night and then an emotional backstage promo that was fitting, but the match didn't play up the gravity to what was going on.

Velvet was a cornerstone of the Knockouts for the longest time. The match would have been better suited for her really to crawl and fight for her job, not giving up until the very end. Instead, it ended quickly with little fight, almost like it would when someone wants to leave instead of wants to fight for her job.


The Miracle Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis come to the ring. The Miracle tells the fans that they don't believe in him because they don't believe in themselves. He then reminds EC3 that if EC3 doesn't win all of the matches during his redemption tour, he won't get to face him at Slammiversary.

Then Bennett calls Earl Hebner down to the ring. He tells the senior referee that he wants to fight a Hall of Famer and Earl is the only one around. The Miracle asks Referee Brian Stifler down to the ring to start the match but initially Stifler won't ring the bell. Bennett keeps shouting "Fight me old, man!" in the face of Earl until Ear shoves him.

For some reason, then Stifler does ring the bell. A punch lays out Hebner, but he is able to kick out at two and eventually gets a low blow on Bennett. However, Bennett hits a big boot and Stifler reluctantly counts the pin.

Bennett goes to attack Hebner some more and EC3 finally slowly walks out for the save.

There was a lot that happened here and little of it made sense. Yes, I know the point was to get heat on Bennett. But within the story, what was the point?

First off, why is Bennett picking a fight with Hebner? He's having all these issues with EC3 and suddenly he wants to fight an old man? This "win a fight" over a Hall of Famer bit was out of the blue. But Bennett is a heel so they have a little freedom to act like jerks just for the hell of it.

What doesn't make any sense at all was why this match ever happened. Mike Bennett doesn't hold any power in TNA. His wife may control the Knockouts, but that doesn't give Bennett power to make matches over non-wrestling talent (or any talent for that matter.)

And referee Stifler had no reason to have to ring the bell. Hell, even after shoving EC3  Earl was telling him not to. Just because Earl shoved a guy who was getting in his face doesn't automatically mean that he has to ring the bell. Hebner is his colleague. In the end, Stifler reluctantly counts the pinfall, but if he was so reluctant, then he should never have started the match.

Since all the stuff that didn't make sense within the story they've told and the general rules set up within the world of wrestling, the attempt to get more heat on Bennett just came off as confusing.


Bennett tells EC3 that it's time for his next challenge, and it's Tyrus in a Last Man Standing match.

Ethan Carter defeats Tyrus in the Last Man Standing Match

Later on, Bennett tells Carter backstage that next week, he's going to have to pin or submit Matt Hardy.

So far, the matches that the Miracle have put together have given EC3's opponent the best chance to win. Last week, Carter faced Spud in a cage match because that's the only match Spud had any chance to win. The same goes for this week with Tyrus, who is a huge guy that would be very tough for Carter to keep down for a 10 count.

Obviously, he eventually did, but Tyrus got up a couple more times than I thought he would. It got to the point I was wondering how the hell Carter would keep this big man down. And that's the desired reaction of the people watching. How will EC3 keep him down?

In the end, he lifted the big man in a Fireman's carry, which was damned impressive, and hit a Samoan Drop on a guardrail leaning up against the ring and then covered him with the ring steps and pounded the steps with the chair. That was finally enough to keep him down.


Eddie Edwards & DJ Z def. Trevor Lee & Andrew Everett

This was a really fun match and probably more time than the X Division normally gets. While it was surprising the new heel team they are trying to establish did not get the win, it was an enjoyable match. Hopefully they start featuring Helms' new stable more frequently on Impact.


Eli Drake has "the future former King of the Mountain Champion" Bram on his talk show The Fact of Life. Bram tells Drake that the briefcase is dangerous, but dangerous for Drake. Eli says that Bram should just do things the easy way and hand him the title now. Bram has a counter offer of ripping out Drake's throat.

Eli decides the Face of Life is over and leaves. Bram calls him out for not having any balls, which upsets Drake. He says he'll cash in the briefcase... but not tonight and then peaces again. Bram goes and grabs him, tosses him the ring, and sets up for his Brighter Side of Suffering DDT. Drake is able to slide out of the ring.

This was a really fun segment. The original Fact of Life segment was a flop, but it wasn't really the fault of Eli Drake. Drake was the obnoxious douchebag his character always is, but the BroMans were really annoying (as the good guys), they weren't able to play off each other well, and that ended up not working at all.

Tonight, it was Bram, who wasn't going to play along with any of Drake's BS, going toe to toe on the mic with the cocky Drake. Eli plays his character wonderfully and when he talks on the microphone, you just want to hate him (or love to hate him.) Bram is really good on the stick too, but his style pretty much the opposite of Drake, as a no nonsense fight who just wants to brawl with someone. That dichotomy plays really well for this feud.


Because of a brawl backstage earlier in the day the main event title match between Lashley and Galloway is made into a... sigh... lumberjack match.

The lumberjack match either ends in No Contest or DQ in favor of Drew Galloway when Andrew Everett and Trevor Lee pull Galloway out of the ring and attack him.

After the match, everyone brawls for a long time and a bunch of dudes hit top rope dives onto a bunch of other dudes.

Man, when they announced a lumberjacket match, I let out an audible sigh. TNA just added the worst stipulation that doesn't involve poles to the title match, a title match they did a really good job building to. When you have a lumberjack match, the best possible outcome is it's just as good as the match without the lumberjacks. It's not going to elevate anything.

And it surely did not. The match inside the ring between Lashley and Drew was great. Lashley had control much of the match, as to be expected, until Drew's comeback, which was excellent. Then the men went back in forth with a series of moves, building the momentum of the match until.... Disqualification.

This is a poor showing for a title match that was advertised and promoted as something big. And for what? Just so everyone could brawl with everyone else? And the DQ finish of a great match doesn't have me angry at the heels who, for no reason at all, interfered. So if that was the intent, it failed. It had me upset at the referee, who called a DQ in a lumberjack match, where the guys on the outside always beat up the competitors (though maybe pulling out is the illegal part?) and it has me upset at the fact they made it a lumberjack match in the first place.

The good thing is, this isn't going to hinder the story going forward. It's a huge disappointment tonight, but Galloway and Lashley will still happen and it's been a strong feud so unlike with the Hardy stuff, we don't need to worry about this affecting the enjoyment of this story going forward.


Pros of the show:
  • The Fact of Life
  • Fun X Division tag match
  • Last Man Standing match was a good pick for the redemption tour
Cons of the show:
  • The Willow/Matt Hardy stuff... I mean c'mon
  • The disappointing end to the title match
  • The events of the Hebner/Bennett match made no sense.
This show had a ridiculous beginning, a disappointing ending, and a baffling segment in the middle. There were a few good things, but not enough to make this a show worth watching.

Grade: D+

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