Show starts with a highlight package laying out the details of last weeks World Heavyweight Title change.
Backstage we see Bobby Lashley, MVP and Kenny King walking into the building. All three are wearing suits this week which is a huge upgrade for both King and Lashley. Lashley’s powder blue suit sort of looks like something Vince McMahon would have worn on an early Raw. I did think it was cool that he was sauntering around wearing the belt with his suit. I kind of like the idea of Lashley using the championship as an actual belt.
Taryn Terrell/Gail Kim vs. The Beautiful People: Not a good way to start the show. While her promo last week was problematic, I feel like they generally did a decent job making Terrell’s return feel like something that was supposed to matter. Unfortunately this was a crowd that was already burnt out from the first wave of tapings, so by the time Terrell actually made her in ring re-debut no one cared. I’m not saying they would have cared, not saying they should have cared, but this whole segment came across as really flat. The match itself was pretty bad. Velvet Sky has this really bad habit of jumping when she delivers basic stuff. The end result is that almost everything she does looks less impactful than it would if she just stayed on her feet. I don’t know why she’s biting Kofi Kingston spots, but it really hurts a match like this where the basic tag structure was there, but the heels are so offensively inept that you are left wondering why the faces don’t just no sell the garbage being tossed at them and steamroll their opponents. I’m not saying Gail Kim/Taryn Terrell should be working as Bruiser Brody/Stan Hanson, but in this match it would have been totally excusable. They did win shortly after Gail made the hot tag, but this is a rare Impact match that was about three times too long.
More of Lashley, King and MVP walking backstage. I know MVP is on crutches but it sure is taking them a long time to get to the ring.
Brief video clip announcing TNA’s Bound For Glory is going to Tokyo. The end of this clip featured Bully Ray tugging at a chain which felt really out of place.
Dixie Carter is walking around backstage, wagging her phone, saying tonight is going to be a great night to be her.
MVP and Kenny King come to the ring. Each has a woman on their arm. MVP grabs the mic when he gets to the ring and introduces the new champion, Bobby Lashley who also comes to the ring with a woman on his arm. The ring has a single table in it draped with a table cloth and a some balloons on the corner posts. It literally looks like TNA sent someone to Party City with a thirty dollar budget to set up for their new champions big celebration. MVP talks about how it took a while, but his plan has worked. He says he thinks Eric Young will be asking for his release, which of course brings out EY who is in a sling. At this point a not good segment takes a real turn for the awful. EY says there is a saying “you can fight city hall.” Actually that’s not the saying. Young hits the ring and gets beat up. It’s not even a good beat down either as he eats two punches and is selling them like he got hit with a hammer. Lashley goes down to the floor and is looking for something under the ring, possibly the gift bags for the party. Bobby Roode then shows up. He makes the exact same run in as the week before. I realize this is a business where guys throw each other into ropes who voluntarily spring into them and back at their opponents, but there is something really ridiculous about Roode coming over the barricade in the exact same place, in the exact same way, to save the exact same guy (also like last week, he showed up only after Young was getting his ass kicked). They go to commercial at this point, but now I’m curious if this is going to be Roode’s gimmick for the next several months.
Back from commercial Bobby Roode is in the ring cutting a promo explaining that he and EY have had their ups and downs, but they have been on this ride in TNA since the beginning and that he’s back to deal with MVP for taking the business away from him. He tells MVP to be a man and fire him to his face. During all of this Young is drinking liquor out of a bottle. I don’t blame him. MVP gets into the ring and is about to fire Roode when Earl Sullivan Armstrong shows up. Who you ask? Don’t worry, Tazz didn’t know his name either. It turns out Armstrong is a TNA bigwig here to tell MVP that he has last his power as director of wrestling operations. You would think at this point that Lashley and Kenny King would help their crippled buddy out of the ring, but instead after an awkward moment, Roode asks for clarification from Armstrong, and after being told MVP can’t fire him he decks him. This was painfully long, not well executed, made the heel stable look stupid, made Roode look like an asshole, and made EY look like a guy who has sunk into an alcohol fueled depression just one week after losing the title. Worse yet they couldn’t even be bothered to bring in an actual Armstrong-wrestling family Armstrong to strip MVP of his authority. This was TNA at their worst.
Backstage Knux is on the phone. He is talking to the person he owes money too. Knux tells the rest of The Menagerie that they need money now or they are losing the family business. Knux then puts his hopes in Crazy Steve winning the X Division title which feels like quite the gamble. Then DJ Z and Jesse show up to say they want a shot at the belt. Then maskless Manik shows up to say the same thing and has a brief stare off with Crazy Steve after he puts his mask on (“there’s something on your face” was actually a good line). Anyway, if the payoff to all this Menagerie stuff isn’t going to be someone in the group working an AT show gimmick and feuding with a barnstorming hustler I hope we can at least get a proper final season of Carnivale out of it.
Backstage Dixie and Spud are excited. Dixie believes she is a shoe in to get full control of her company back tonight.
Sanada vs. Manik v. Crazy Steven vs. DJ Z: Sanada’s pre-match bit, telling them they were all getting title shots was the TNA equivalent of the Jive Soul Bro video. Just unbelievable. This match was short, and not any good. Manik did have a couple of nice spots, but much of the rest of this looked incredibly choreographed, and the finish was not what you want from a match like this. Sanada retained.
Back from commercial MVP and Kenny King are venting about Armstrong’s decree. Lashley is just standing around, now holding the belt on his shoulder. Which is pretty disappointing, as I wanted that “Lashely uses the title as a real belt” gimmick to take off. Oh well.
Magnus and Bram cut a meaningless backstage promo.
Dixie Carter and Rockstar Spud come to the ring. This is another segment with a table and Party City purchased table cloth. Dixie talks about how she put her faith in others and they didn’t live up to her expectations for them. Dixie has the phony Armstrong come to the ring believing she will be put back in charge. Of course Armstrong tells us that she is not being appointed, but that he cannot name the new head of operations until later. Bully Ray comes out as Dixie and Spud are pitching a fit and we get the typical “I’m going to put you through a table” stuff from Bully, this time with Dixie offering to buy him off. Bully turns down the money. ECIII hits the ring (why is his shirt unbuttoned every week?) but is tossed to the floor. Spud gets kicked in the face. Bully has Dixie up and it looks like she is going through the table, when Spud comes back in and flips the table. ECIII and Spud have saved Dixie again, which to me makes ECIII a great nephew, and Spud very gallant. Bully just comes across as a huge asshole.
Backstage Dixie and Spud are shown storming out of the building. They then cut to a promo with Bully promising to put Dixie through a table.
James Storm vs. Ken Anderson: I can’t believe this feud is still going on. Is there anyone who finds this rivalry interesting or entertaining on any level? I really like Storm, and he felt like a key player during the Gunner feud, but he’s fallen off a cliff opposite Anderson. Honestly Anderson might be in the two worst feuds of this year between this and the Sam Shaw feud. He’s just a terrible wrestler. This was kept mercifully short, and Storm got the clean win, so maybe this is over. I hope.
Backstage they show a limo pulling up to the building.
We haven’t seen Sam Shaw in a few weeks, so naturally it’s time for a Sam Shaw segment. Gunner walks in to Shaw’s white room as Sam is pacing around. Gunner tells him the doctors are going to release him, but only if agrees to go into Gunner’s care. I’m still holding out hope that this turns into a same sex love angle, but they didn’t tease it here as they have in the past.
James Storm confronts Sanada backstage. He calls him “The Great Muta’s boy,” and asks him if he is prepared to cash in the X Division title for a world title shot. Storm asks him what happens if he chokes. Sanada bucks up at Storm, but it ends with Sanada looking nervous after Storm stared him down.
ECIII is backstage screaming into the phone for Spud to come back and get him. Tommy Dreamer runs in from off camera and attacks ECIII. They end up brawling all around backstage, down the ramp, all around ringside, and into the ring until two refs and Al Snow break it up. I understand what they are going for here, but if you are going to book a brawling segment that long it may as well be a match. The brawling itself was okay, but the crowd didn’t seem all that into it. I will say that ECIII’s yuppie look v. Tommy Dreamer’s blue collar worker who just got laid off look, gave this fight the feel of two guys fighting over a parking space at a Jersey A&P, but I’m not sure a Paramus v. Lodi feud really works in an ostensibly national promotion.
Backstage Abyss and Willow cut a promo on Magnus and Bram. I’ve said this before, but these Willow promos are so bad I can’t believe they actually let them on air. I know they want to keep their top star happy, but my god.
Backstage MVP, King and Lashley are looking for MVP’s “replacement.”
MVP, Lashley and King show up at the limo. Lashley jacks the limo driver out of the car. MVP asks who his client is, but the limo driver won’t say so they beat him up. I think this segment would have been more interesting if the driver had a tazer.
Abyss/Willow vs. Bram/Magnus – Monster’s Ball: This had no heat which hurt it a lot. I very much doubt it would have made any real difference, because the first half of it was just boring, by the numbers, garbage brawling, but they did a few crazy things down the stretch that got no reaction. There was supposed to be a BIG moment with Abyss breaking out of handcuffs the heels had put him in, but that got no reaction at all, to the point where I actually felt bad for Abyss and I can’t stand Abyss. Say what you want about 2014 Jeff Hardy, but that guy will still take an absolute lunatic bump. Here it was a chairshot to the head that caused him to fly wildly through a barbed wire board bridged between the ring in the guardrail. It didn’t get near the pop you would expect. The crowd did react to the inevitable thumbtack spot, and god bless Magnus for taking it, but the match felt like a lost cause by that point. Bram ended up winning after hitting Abyss in the gut with “Janice.” This did get better as it went along, but it was still pretty bad.
They show the feet of someone walking to the ring as Tenay teases that we will find out who the new director of operations is next.
Back from break Armstrong announces Kurt Angle as the new director of operations. As with virtually everything on this show, this didn’t get near the reaction you would expect it to get. Angle acknowledges that TNA has made a bunch of mistakes in the past, but he’s here to correct them. MVP comes out and asks if Angle is even ready for the job given all of his personal problems. That is a completely valid question, but I have to admit it makes perfect sense from both a real life and kayfabe perspective for TNA to put control of the company in the hands of an emotionally crippled, drug addict, with a long history (including the previous week with Lashley) of sexual harassing co-workers. MVP, King and Lashley threaten Kurt, but Kurt flips out and says he’ll fire all of them if they touch him. He then announced that Lashley will face Eric Young for the title next week, and follows that up by announcing that he has reinstated Bobby Roode. The show ends with EY and Roode hitting the ring to brawl with Lashley and King.
Really bad show. To some degree this show was hurt by a live crowd that didn’t react very much to anything, but looking at what was put in front of them it’s hard to blame them. The wrestling on this show sucked, there were lots of segments that were way too long, and the big “dramatic” moments were all comically awful in either execution or content (or both). When the highlight of the show is a TJ Perkins joke you know you’ve just wasted two hours of your life.