Impact Wrestling on Destination America
August 19, 2015
Universal Studios
Orlando, FL

Jeff and Karen Jarrett opened the show, with Jeff getting in his weekly GFW plug. He talked about PJ Black challenging EC3 for the World heavyweight title in the main event, which prompted EC3 to make his way to ringside. EC3 was not pleased about having to defend his title and refused to compete. Karen dressed down EC3 and accused EC3 of attacking Bully Ray and Drew Galloway. Jeff gave EC3 two options, either wrestle Black in the main event, or relinquish the TNA World Championship. This resulted in show long “drama” over whether EC3 will defend the title or give it up. I’ve always thought this is forced drama. The need for this story is a display of how little confidence creative has in the Black vs Carter main event to hook the audience for the whole show. They think they need this extra story to hook the audience instead of giving the audience a reason to care about the characters and the thing they’re competing for. In some ways you can’t blame them because they have systematically destroyed any meaning that World title matches (or title matches in general for that matter) have.

Nobody could reasonably, passionately care about Black challenging EC3 because Black was introduced to the audience last week and we’ve been given little reason to like him. And even if you were excited for the prospect of an EC3 vs Black title match, you don’t have confidence in what TNA will deliver. They’ve never established a standard that you can generally trust World title matches to meet. There is no trust between the audience and TNA in general because too often have TNA betrayed that trust. And thus you get what essentially amounts to stopgap story telling like this. It doesn’t really do much for anybody involved and usually serves as a contrived substitute for real character development. But it fills the television time and that’ll do. Later in the show EC3 agreed to defend the title rather than be stripped of it.

Open Mic Challenge
Bram vs. Mr Anderson

No, Open Mic Challenge doesn’t mean both guys are going to do a stand up set and the crowd is going to judge the winner. Rather, the first one to reach a microphone that had been suspended above the ring was allowed to use it as a weapon. Anderson set up a table on the floor and hit a big Green Bay Plunge off the apron through the table.  Bram pushed Anderson off the ladder and took over. Bram set up a pile of chairs and powerbombed Bram on them. Bram climbed the ladder and grabbed the microphone. Anderson ducked a mic shot, hit a Mic Check into the chair pile and clubbed Bram over and over with the microphone for the win. The work was suitably intense and the pace was really good but the basic conceit of this match was silly. These guys were putting each other through tables and  dropping each other on chairs and ladders, but they still needed to climb a ladder to grab a microphone. The microphone seemed tame in comparison. Also, considering how they hype up and how they present Bram, he certainly loses an awful lot of important matches. This feud has overachieved in ring though. It did play to Anderson’s strengths though. **3/4

James Storm and his ever decreasing goon squad made their way to the ring. Storm was upset about Mahabali Shera’s actions a couple of weeks ago. Storm said that in return for their devotion he’s given Shera, Manik and Abyss (and Sanada before them I guess) he’s given them everything their heart desires. That’s not especially true. I suppose Abyss did get a tag title run out of The Revolution. Storm gave out to Shera for his dissent and asked him to pledge to The Revolution again. Shera said Storm never did anything for him (which is rather true) and talked about how he loved to dance. They then played some generic Indian music and Shera started to dance. The crowd certainly seemed to enjoy dancing with Shera. Shera tried to teach Manik how to dance but Storm was not amused. Shera hit Storm and The Revolution beat down Shera. Manik was reluctant to attack Shera. Apparently TNA’s big idea to create a big Indian star is to have him be a dancing goofball (because that went so well for Rob Terry). I’m not sure is that even a step up from subservient heel.  Shera is not particularly good, in fact he’s rather bad, but protect him in mostly tag matches and the very occasional short singles match where he only kicks ass and reedit the Indian airing of Impact so that his segments are always the main event and who knows, he might catch on. As a dancing goofball? Never going to happen. Even if the dance gets over the shelf life will be way too short.

Six Sides of Steel Cage Match
Gail Kim vs. Jade & Marti Bell of The Dollhouse

I have no real idea why this is a cage match. Also, it was barely promoted so nobody watched this show to see a big steel cage grudge match. I have always liked the ring to Six Sides of Steel though. It’s probably the alliteration. Kim dominated for a while before The Dollhouse took over. Gail made a comeback and hit a top rope hurancanrana on Jade. Gail hit a big crossbody off the top of the cage. Gail countered a double suplex attempt into a double DDT. Marti missed a crossbody and hit Jade, which gave gave Gail Kim a chance to hit Marti with Eat Defeat for the win. This was great fun when Gail was on offense, less so when Jade and particularly Marti were. Gail got revenge on Taryn Terrell later in the show. **1/4

No Disqualification Match
Drew Galloway vs. Eli Drake

Galloway is clearly much tougher than Bully Ray. Both were mysteriously attacked but Drew is back without a scratch a week later and Bully is still missing. They brawled for a while. Drake took control before Drew made a comeback. Drake DDT’d Galloway on a chair for two. Drew got a table and but Drake hit a baseball slide into the table. Drake pulled the crutch from under the ring but Drew hit a belly to belly. Drake kicked Drew low and hit him with the crutch. Drake set Drew up on another table and went up top but Drew cut him off and hit a Celtic Cross from the top through the table for the win. This match shouldn’t have been placed on the same show as Bram/Anderson as they were too similar and Bram/Anderson was wrestled at a level of intensity more fitting of a bitter feud. This felt like they were just getting this match out of the way before Drew moves on to other things. The finish was cool though. **1/2

Eric Young came to the ring and ranted about not being in the main event. He claimed he was the greatest wrestler in the world for taking out Kurt Angle. Chris Melendez interrupted him. Melendez wanted another match with Young in spite of all the walloping’s he’s been on the receiving end of. Young said the only way he’d accept the rematch is if Melendez puts his prosthetic leg on the line. Melendez accepted so a war hero’s leg will now be on the line in a wrestling match. How do a room of people think that is anything but a cheap, tasteless idea?

Tyrus vs. Matt Hardy

Tyrus dominated for a little while before Matt caught him with two Twist of Fate’s for the win. EC3 jumped Hardy after the match and called out PJ Black. 1/2*

TNA World Heavyweight Championship
PJ Black vs. Ethan Carter III ©

EC3 looked to escape Black but Black hit a bunch of dives. Black went for a springboard crossbody but EC3 took him out with a dropkick. The Tyrus/Hardy match before this was to explain why Tyrus wasn’t at ringside, instead of title matches without interference just being the rule. Black hit a crossbody for two. EC3 hit a superplex for a near fall. Black took out EC3 with a kick and followed with a springboard moonsault for another two. Black missed a moonsault and EC3 lifted him into a Powerbomb for two. Black countered the One Percenter into a Blue Thunder Driver. Black hit a Springboard 450 but EC3 kicked out. Black went up top again but EC3 crotched him and hit the One Percenter to retain the title. This was lots of fun. They had to rush because of the time they had but they did make the most of it. Like a lot of Impact matches it made you really want to see a fully-fledged match between the two. Sadly it doesn’t look like we’re going to get that. ***1/4

After the match Jarrett asked Dixie if he could run Impact full time. Dixie asked for time to contemplate the idea.

Final Thoughts: On a micro level, this was a decent enough show. Three matches were enjoyable to good, and much of the rest was inoffensive (Shera and Melendez segments aside). On a macro level, there are still huge structural problems on this show. Everything is still rushed. The show is still always overstuffed. Gimmick and title matches come and go without any promotion. Character always gives way to contrived story. Nothing feels special and nothing is ever built up to actually mean something.