Impact Wrestling on Destination America
Wednesday, August 5
Universal Studios, Orlando, FL
A brief tribute to Roddy Piper opened the show. This week’s show is branded as No Surrender.
No Surrender 2013 (featuring AJ Styles vs. Magnus, AJ Styles vs. Austin Aries and Bully Ray vs. Ken Anderson) and No Surrender 2014 (featuring The Wolves vs. The Hardys vs. Team 3D, and Bobby Roode vs. Bobby Lashley) were the best Impacts of their respective years. I hope that trend continues.
Bram vs. Mr Anderson
They brawled around ringside early with Anderson getting the better of it until Bram swept Anderson’s leg on the ring apron and took control. Anderson made a comeback and hit the Green Bay Plunge for two. Anderson went up top but Bram cut him off and hit a Superplex for two. Bram followed with the Edge-o-matic and a spinning wheel kick for two more nearfalls. Bram hit four straight clotheslines but still couldn’t put Anderson away. Anderson looked for the Mic Check but Bram reversed into a suplex, which Anderson then countered into a roll up for the win.
You know what was really nice? Bram not doing the same weapons match we’ve seen a million times. Bram struck Anderson with a microphone after the match so that weapons match is still likely coming but it was nice to just get a straightforward wrestling match here. And a pretty good one at that. Bram threw everything he had at Anderson, he couldn’t finish the job and Anderson stole a win. It was a simple story and easy set up for Bram being frustrated and attacking Anderson after the match. **3/4
James Storm made his way to the ring. Storm is upset with how often Khoya has been a total failure as part of his Revolution (really he should also have a problem with Abyss and Manik too because all they ever do is fail him too). Storm slapped Khoya over and over while dressing him down but Khoya snapped and dropped Storm with a Sky High. Khoya said his name is not Khoya, but rather Mahabali Shera and said he is from India and he is proud of who he is. Shera has shown very little since he debuted but TNA want to try and create an Indian star and I’m relatively certain Shera is more likely to achieve that as a kickass babyface than a subservient heel. This was pretty well executed though and it looks like The Revolution is going the way of the dodo.
The Dollhouse vs. Gail Kim
Speaking of things I wish would go the way of the dodo, The Dollhouse! The story of the match was Gail dominated Jade and Marti while Taryn was avoiding wrestling Gail. Jade hit a nice bridging German for two. Taryn inadvertently hit Marti which allowed Gail to run wild, including a tornado DDT on Jade. Taryn then fled ringside rather than face Gail. Gail took out both Jade and Bell with a double dropkick and pinned Bell after an Eat Defeat. Perfectly fine build to a Gail vs. Taryn match but Jade and Marti have shown very little since debuting a few months ago. Gail Kim is still great though. *1/2
Drew Galloway vs. Eli Drake
Drake was wearing a #SitDown shirt. Eli Drake is a more natural heel, he was miscast as a face. They brawled around ringside before the match started. They got in the ring, the bell rang and they went straight back to brawling on the floor. Drew German’ed Drake into the turnbuckle. Eli rolled up Drew and grabbed the ropes. The match was rushed and the finish kind of came out of nowhere but I suppose this feud will continue. **
Career vs. Nickname – Austin Aries vs. Rockstar Spud
Josh Matthews was discussing when does one lose the underdog label — which is a really valid point when discussing Spud’s character development. There has to come a point where they stop booking him as an underdog and start booking him as something more than that. There has to be that growth. Aries immediately locked in the Last Chancery but Spud quickly reached the ropes. Aries dominated early with the implication being that he was better than Spud and to a degree taking Spud lightly. Spud made a comeback but missed an enziguri. Spud countered a backdrop into a crossbody and hit an enziguri. Spud went for the Underdog but Aries countered, dropped Spud with a backdrop and locked on the Last Chancery again.
Spud reached the ropes again. Aries hit a corner dropkick but Spud rolled Aries up for two. Aries hit a number of Discus Elbows, followed with a corner dropkick and a Brainbuster but Spud kicked out. Aries was shocked that Spud kicked out. Spud fired up and took it to Aries with punches but Aries cut him off with a clothesline. Spud dropped Aries with a punch, a plancha to the floor and a crossbody from the top but Aries kicked out. Aries looked for a super backdrop but Spud countered into a super Underdog for the win. Aries offered Spud his bowtie as a sign of respect and raised his hand after the match. I REALLY liked this. Aries was superb as an overly cocky heel, taking Spud lightly and thinking he could outwrestle him easily. Spud as always was tremendous as the underdog who wouldn’t quit and who would keep coming no matter what. It was really well paced, brilliantly wrestled (particularly Aries who is on a whole other level than nearly everybody else on this show) and this was one of my favourite TNA matches this year. ****
Aries has been, easily, the best thing about TNA for the last four years. Without him this show would have been much worse off. Greedily I’ll miss him because he made reviewing this show more fun, but I know he’ll do some pretty great stuff outside of TNA. But for the last few years, he truly was the greatest man to grace a TNA ring.
After the break Roode said goodbye to his partner backstage. Aries said this isn’t goodbye, it’s just I’ll see you down the road.
James Storm vs. Mahabali Shera
They couldn’t let this feud breathe a little? Shera wasn’t even in ring gear.
Shera was laying into Storm, Storm hit Shera with a cowbell for a DQ and that was it.
Bully Ray was attacked backstage. Dixie was upset about it and Jeff Jarrett walked in and suggested he help and step in, running Impact next week. Dixie agreed. And so another duping of Dixie begins.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship (Full Metal Mayhem) – Matt Hardy vs. Ethan Carter III©
Hardy was watching the match backstage. EC3 grabbed a chair and sat down in it, taunting Hardy. Hardy then hit a Side Effect through the chair. Hardy grabbed a ladder, hit EC3 with it for a while and then hip tosses EC3 onto it. Hardy looked to climb the ladder but EC3 hit him in the legs with a chair and pulled him off the ladder. Hardy pushed EC3 off a ladder and then drove a ladder into EC3’s private parts twice. Hardy placed EC3 on a table and looked to moonsault him through it but EC3 cut him off and Powerbombed him through a table.
EC3 began working over Hardy’s knee, which he hit with a chair earlier in the match. EC3 looked to climb the ladder but Hardy Powerbombed him off it and then both men tumbled out to the floor. Hardy looked to suplex EC3 on a ladder bridged between the steps and the apron but EC3 low blowed Hardy and pushed him onto the ladder. Hardy dropped EC3 with a Side Effect on the apron, placed EC3 onto a table on the floor and leg dropped him through it from the top rope. Hardy slowly climbed ladder but EC3 took a chair to the knee once again. Both men duelled atop the ladder but EC3 kicked Hardy’s leg out from under him, causing him to fall to the mat, and grabbed the belt to win the match and retain the title. Not the best ladder match you’ve ever seen but singles ladder matches are a much different beast than multi-person ladder matches and they did a very good job here, working in the story of EC3’s work on Hardy’s knee being the difference maker, preventing Hardy from climbing quickly and ultimately being the route by which EC3 defeated Hardy. ***3/4
Final Thoughts: After three weeks of poor shows, this show was much needed. This was a good show, particularly the second hour which was great. Aries went out on a high putting over Spud on the way out in one of my favourite TNA matches this year, and EC3 had his one of his best in ring performances to date. Everything else was either decent of served toward building to something else down the line. Thumbs up!