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TNA Impact results & review (Apr. 20, 2017): Still at it


Impact Wrestling returned last night (Apr. 20) from Orlando, Florida with a live episode featuring a few different title matches. You can find the results in the live blog here.

Not over yet

So Josh Mathews is back. On commentary. Yup.

The first half of the show was just called by Pope and Jeremy Borash and it worked. They called the action, told the stories, and it was all fine.

But when Lashley came out for his title match, Josh came with him and called the last hour of the show. That contained the TNA title match and the X Division title match.

As you could probably guess, his heeling was just distracting and took away from both matches (more the Lashley match as he was playing the homer for Bobby). So on occasion, instead of seeing the match, I’d just hear Josh Mathews and see red.

The show ended with him verbally running down the Pope, who walked off, and Jeremy Borash punching Josh in the face so hard that he fell into the guardrail.

The crowd eats this shit up, but they don’t actually have to sit and listen to Josh Mathews on commentary. Putting a heel on an announce desk who solely tries to get his heel character over is a complete detriment to the product. It doesn’t advance any of the stories (unlike a heel commenter who is just a cheerleader for the heels) and actively distracts from what is going on in the ring. It didn’t work when Michael Cole did it for WWE and it’s certainly not working now.

Strap in, folks. It’s going to be a bumpy one.

World Title

Lashley defeated James Storm to retain his title last night. It was a mixed bag.

Of course, one of the worst was this had Josh Mathews talking over it trying to get himself over. That’s going to knock points off every match. The match itself was pretty good. These men worked well together and put together a pretty entertaining bout.

EC3 was watching ringside and early on stopped Lashley from using a beer bottle that Josh Mathews handed him. But Carter really got involved at the end. As is standard for a TNA title match, the ref took a bump. With referee Brian Hebner down, Storm decided to use the beer bottle as a weapon. (Lashley had already introduced a chair so this could be seen as “Turn about” and not outright cheating.)

However, before he could use the bottle, Ethan Carter slid into the ring, took it, and broke it over Storm’s head. This allowed Lashley win with a spear. (One has to wonder if Storm did use the beer bottle, would he have the title stripped from him like Alberto El Patron did? The precedent has been set.)

At last the heel turn for EC3, which was a rocky road, is complete. His motives are unclear still and hopefully he’ll make those known in the coming weeks. Carter is a strong heel and he will make it work. He has a feud with James Storm ready to roll and it’ll be a feud with an actual reason behind it. Those are lacking in the current landscape of TNA so that’s a plus.

Throughout the night, they tried to sell the fact that plenty of people are gunning for the title. They played an interview with Alberto El Patron (who was apparently in Arizona working with his MMA promotion) saying he wants to fight Lashley to take back what was taken from him. Magnus also stated he should be first in line since he is GFW champion. Obviously Storm is going to still have claim to it.

Having multiple people in the title picture isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s the kind of wrestling I enjoy. Multiple strings to pull instead of one on one feud followed by the next one on one feud. However, the last six weeks of Impact did little to show that they can tell that story in a cohesive way. If they can settle the story down and work in every person in a reasonable way, great. But it still runs a risk of being a muddled mess.

X Division Showcase

The X Division was the main event tonight and was a title match between Trevor Lee, Andrew Everett, Sonjay Dutt, Suicide, Dezmond Xavier, and Low-Ki. The returning Low-Ki walked out with the gold. This was also a mixed bag.

The match itself was really fun. All the men brought it. Newcomer Dezmond Xavier was extremely enjoyable to watch and I hope we get to see him show off more. It was the main event, which hopefully means that the division will be less forgotten than it has been in the past. And it got plenty of time tonight. Almost 30 minutes.

That’s all great. And it may seem like my complaints are nitpicking, and maybe they are. But if you’ve been reading my reviews for awhile, you know I’m a storyline based fan. In-ring action is important, but the story that gets us there and how it pays off is more important to me than the moves and quick action.

The story coming into this, one that was being told the last month, was Andrew Everett finally getting his one on one title match against former friend Trevor Lee. For weeks, Shane Helms made Everett jump through hoops before granting him a match.

All of that was derailed to put the belt on the returning Low-Ki.

Low-Ki is an entertaining wrestler. I even enjoyed his most recent TNA work as part of the BDC stable alongside MVP and Samoa Joe. But the story right now was about Everett and Lee, two guys who have been in the company the last year setting up this story. It feels like the rug was pulled out from under them to crown a returning star for some shock value.

Of course, Everett and Lee can continue their feud. But without the gold, it doesn’t mean as much. Hopefully this was just Impact resetting the X Division and developing a set of new stories coming out of this. And hopefully those new stories will see resolution they deserve.

All the Rest:

Tag Team Collision

LAX defeated a team of enhancement guys with relative ease last night. Then, after Konnan cut a promo about how they are taking over, out came Decay. This turned into a brawl that eventually needed security to put a stop to it.

Impact has built LAX to feel like a big deal. They have an established named and led by Konnan, a known persona in the business. And they’re already tag champs. Decay are also a big deal. The were rather dominant (except when fighting the Hardys) the last year and have a fantastic vibe. Because of the fact both teams already felt legit, the brawl felt like an important moment.

Later in the night it was announced these two teams would fight for the titles in a street fight next week. That is not a long build to a title match between the biggest two teams in the company.

Rosemary retains

Rosemary defeated ODB to retain the Knockouts championship. She won after she put her foot up as ODB went for her patented Bronco Buster in the corner. That allowed the champ to hit the Red Wedding for the win. Pretty much, Rosemary won via Kick in the vag. Hey whatever gets the win.

It was a pretty short match that never got off the ground. Rosemary was the right choice to go over, though.


Kongo Kong, with Sienna’s whole crew at ringside, defeated a random dude in a squash. The big man can move in the ring, but it still doesn’t have me sold on Sienna’s stable or a 2017 Savage gimmick.

Pros of the Show:

  • Fun X Division title match
  • EC3 finally turned heel
  • Decay and LAX’s brawl felt big

Cons of the Show:

  • The announcer war is continuing
  • Knockouts title match didn’t get much time to get off the ground
  • The Lee/Everett feud was derailed

The first hour, outside the brief tag team brawl, was underwhelming with squash matches and a disappointing Knockouts title match. The second hour had the good action, with both title matches delivering entertainment, but Josh Mathews was back to actively ruin it.

Grade: C

That may be generous.

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