Impact Wrestling on Destination America
Wednesday, June 10
Soundstage 20
Universal Studios, Orlando, FL

TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Rockstar Spud vs. Kurt Angle©: EC3 came out before the match. Josh Mathews cheerleading for EC3 is extremely grating. For most of the show he’s a perfectly fine babyface announcer, until EC3 comes out and suddenly he’s ranting and raving about how much he loves the main heel on this show. The lead announcer is one of the most important roles in a wrestling company. They are the most direct link of communication between the company and the audience – so more than anything else the audience needs to trust them. Every time Mathews goes on one of his “I love EC3” tirades he whittles away a little bit of that trust. It’s made even worse when he starts ragging on lovable underdog babyface Spud, and then it’s made even weirder when he turns on EC3 after the main event for doing the kind of thing he’s been doing for months. It’s a shame too, because otherwise he’s been doing a fairly solid job since January. EC3 staged a sit in seeking to have Destination X be cancelled until Angle kicked him out like a geek.

Spud took it Angle early but got cut off with a big Belly to Belly on the floor. Angle then dominated Spud in a way that was reminiscent of Angle’s matches with Rey Mysterio. Spud made a comeback punctuated by a Senton to the floor. Spud went up top but Angle followed him in hit a Belly to Belly off the top. Spud went for an enziguri but Angle caught him in the Ankle Lock. Spud escaped, dodged a charge leading to Angle striking the ring post and hit the Underdog but Angle kicked out at the very last second. Angle has always been great at the late kick outs. Spud began to fire up but he was standing too close to Angle, who picked Spud’s ankle resulting in the submission win. I always enjoy the dynamic of Angle working against smaller guys. **3/4

Taryn Terrell stated that the only way Kong gets a title shot is to compete in a lingerie pillow fight later in the show. Why? Since when can a champion book her own matches? I’m not a fan of the modern use of overbearing authority figures in wrestling, but I do think it’s still important to have them in a strictly match making role and to help enforce some kind of consistent rules. Otherwise you get stuff like this happening where it would appear anybody can do anything they please, so if you extend that logic further then the whole internal logic of the show collapses (for example if Terrell can do this here, why can’t she set up ridiculous stipulations for every title match and keep the title forever?). The authority figure helps maintain some kind of consistency.

Low Ki vs. Manik vs. Crazzy Steve: Low Ki won with the Warriors Way. This was way too short and surprisingly unremarkable. *1/2

Grado was backstage trying to cut weight before his match later. Apparently he didn’t get the “Not about weight limits!” memo (except that period in 2013 when it was about weight limits when they were imposed by somebody who didn’t understand what the X-Division was supposed to be about (that was around the time of that terrible three way rule as well)). If TNA’s solution to reinvigorate the X-Division is to put the title on Grado then I will despair.

Mark Andrews vs. Zema Ion vs. Tigre Uno: No one got entrances because they’re X-Division wrestlers so who really cares, right? Tigre launched Andrews into a Spear by Zema. Andrews hit Uno with a headscissors over the top and Ion took both out with a flip dive. Ion nailed Andrews with a tornado DDT but Tigre came in, dumped Ion out and hit a Phoenix Splash (connecting knee first on Andrews’ face) to pick up the win. Zema Ion is really good. Mark Andrews is really good. Tigre Uno is extremely hit or miss. So naturally Uno won. Jessie Godderz attacked Ion after the match. This needed more time but it was good fun while it lasted. **1/2

The Dollhouse came to the ring. Kong didn’t accept Taryn’s offer of a lingerie pillow fight. She did come out and beat up Marti and Jade though. Kong disappeared and Brooke came out. Brooke challenged Terrell to a title match but Taryn declined. Brooke jumped Terrell and stripped her to her lingerie. This is the segment where I’ve gone from tolerating The Dollhouse as something I have to sit through every week to actively resenting their existence.

Kenny King vs. Cruz vs. Grado: Grado still has the Like A Prayer knock off music. Grado beat Cruz with a cannonball in the corner. Much of the match was built around Grado comedy. This show has pretty much been the epitome of TNA’s attitude toward the X-Division in recent years. They pay lip service to how important and how innovative it is but in truth their actions speak louder than words. It’s clear they have absolutely no vision for what the division is supposed to be. They don’t care about it in the slightest. It’s just there because they think people like it, but they have no clue what to do with it or how to make it matter. They have no clue how to make anything matter.*1/2

Bram vs. Crimson: Bram issued an open challenge to any past TNA wrestler. Crimson answered it. Bram’s new character is that he hates absolutely everything. I’ve always liked Crimson. Him and Gunner would make a good team, it’s not like Gunner has anything at all going on at the moment. It feels like an age since they were pushing Crimson really hard though (I suppose it was four years ago). Crimson hit an exploder suplex and locked on the Rings of Saturn but Bram reached the ropes. Bram hit the Brighter Side of Suffering for the win. This was every bland Bram brawl ever. *1/2

TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Austin Aries vs. Kurt Angle©: Aries worked over Angle before Angle came back with Rolling Germans. Aries reversed an Angle Slam into a DDT for a near fall but Aries transitioned into Last Chancery. Angle escaped and picked the ankle but Aries escaped. Aries went for the IED but Angle caught him in an Ankle Lock. Angle reversed a roaring elbow into an Angle Slam but Aries kicked out. Angle missed a Moonsault and Aries locked on the Last Chancery but Angle reached the ropes. Aries hit both the 450 Splash and the Brainbuster for near falls. Aries went for the Heat Seeking Missile but Angle moved and Aries struck the guardrail. Angle dragged Aries into the ring, looked for an Angle Slam but Aries rolled him up for two. Angle quickly transitioned to an Ankle Lock, grapevined the leg and retained the title via submission. Thank god for this match because this show was slowly sucking the life out of me – make sure you watch this. It was a shame they didn’t spend more time making it mean something. ****

Final Thoughts: The main event helped redeem what was a lifeless, empty show otherwise filled entirely with short filler. People routinely refer to Impact as a good show when largely it isn’t. Every single week I’m hoping, pleading, begging for more from this show but every week it seems to come and go without consequence. You get the odd element that’s good, like Aries vs. Angle this week, but predominantly the show is bland, inoffensive fluff. It doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere. It doesn’t feel like this must see show that you should go out of your way to watch. It never feels like there is any real necessity to come back next week. It just comes and goes without much need to give it a second thought.

And don’t get me started about PPV build. Slammiversary is two Impact’s away and guess how many PPV matches have been announced. Zero. None at all. TNA have technically had 243 days to build up this show (the amount of time since their last PPV) and yet they just decided not to. They taped six weeks of TV at once and apparently in the meetings booking that TV nobody brought up the fact that they should really promote the PPV they have. It’s barely even being mentioned on the show. And the frustrating thing is that you could announce most of the matches right now. The card will probably be Angle vs. EC3, Wolves vs. Aries and Roode, Uno vs. Low Ki vs. Grado, Robbie vs. Jessie, Angelina vs. Velvet, The Dollhouse vs. Brooke, Gail and Kong, Storm vs. Magnus, and Young vs. Melendez. So just announce those matches and promote the hell out of them. They’re not going to do that and they’ll wonder why nobody will buy Slammiversary. They’ll blame piracy, or the “dying PPV industry”. They won’t blame the fact that they failed to promote something customers wanted.