Impact Wrestling on Destination America
Wednesday, October 21
Soundstage 20
Universal Studios, Orlando, FL

Group Champions Match – Austin Aries vs. Mr Anderson

Anderson and Aries’ match together in October 2012 was only notable for the staggering lack of chemistry they showed together; so I was hoping this would be an improvement. Anderson hit a hip toss followed by a dropkick for a nearfall. Anderson took control before Aries made a comeback after Anderson missed a charge and struck the ringpost. They exchanged blows which Anderson got the better of before they collided as they both went for a crossbody. Aries clotheslined Anderson to the floor and followed with the Heat Seeking Missile and a missile dropkick. Anderson caught Aries on a corner dropkick and hit a Green Bay Plunge for two. Anderson placed Aries on the top rope but Aries pushed Anderson off and followed with a 450 Splash for two. Anderson hit a Green Bay Plunge from the middle rope but Aries kicked out. They exchanged Mic Check and Brainbuster attempts before Anderson went up top, Aries cut him off and nailed a huge avalanche Brainbuster for the win. Anderson is now mathematically eliminated, though he can still play the role of spoiler in his match vs. EC3 (and he did feud with EC3 earlier this year so it would make sense that he’d want to cost EC3 the tournament). This was Anderson’s best match in a long while, it was miles better than their 2012 match and once again Aries had the best match on the show. ***1/2

Group X-Division Match – Tigre Uno vs. Mark Andrews

Andrews came to the ring on a skateboard, which prompted a Dynamic Dudes reference from Josh Mathews. They exchanged holds to start before Andrews hit a standing moonsault. Tigre locked Andrews in a sort of standing Indian Deathlock before followed with a gutwrench Powerbomb and a top rope leg drop. Uno missed a springboard splash allowing Andrews to hit a dropkick and a senton dive to the floor. Andrews missed a Shooting Star, Uno hit a German into the turnbuckles and followed with a split legged corkscrew for the win. This was fine. Everything was well executed but Andrews was working a sort of subtle heel and doing skateboard mannerisms which felt goofy and it just didn’t click as a whole. **1/4

They replayed the main event of Bound For Glory less than three weeks after the show aired on PPV. Once again, that’s 101 in terms of how best to annoy paying customers. If you’d like to know my thoughts on the match you can check out my Bound For Glory review here.

Supplementary segments this week included a discussion of groups of death, a swipe left/right segment, interviews with EC3, Jessie Godderz, Aries and the usual panel discussions.

They aired clipped versions of Jessie Godderz vs. Crimson and Eli Drake vs. Micah. Godderz beat Crimson with the Adonis Crab and Drake vs. Micah went to a draw. This was an extremely odd decision. Either the matches weren’t particularly good so they decided to air clipped versions and sub in the Bound For Glory main event instead, or they felt they weren’t important. In the case of the former, it’s certainly odd after all the poor matches that have aired on Impact over the years to suddenly start editing off bad matches. In the case of the latter, it is certainly ironic that the group crowned Future Four are considered so superfluous that their matches aren’t being aired. It certainly speaks volumes for the future of TNA. Either way not airing those matches undermines the tournament. Let them live or die, sink or swim on their merit.

Group Future 4 as it stands:

Group X-Division Match – Manik vs. DJ Zema Ion

They were trying to explain why Manik was wearing a mask this week after not wearing it at Bound For Glory – which resulted in a bit of Twitter tension last night between Manik and Josh Mathews.

Ion hit a couple of arm drags followed by a pop up dropkick. The announcers were discussing Shane Helms appearing at Bound For Glory, referring to him as potentially the greatest Cruiserweight of all time. I like Shane Helms, particularly his time in WCW (and during his Gregory Helms run too) but that is a stretch of laughable proportions. Manik took control before Ion made a comeback with a hurricanrana. Ion hit a top rope crossbody but Manik avoided a tornado DDT attempt and locked on a cross armbreaker. Ion escaped and hit the Hostile Makeover for two. Manik missed a frog splash and Ion went for a tornado DDT. Manik caught him in the fireman’s carry and hit the Detonation Kick to pick up three points. This was about as well wrestled as the first X-Division match but it felt more like a cohesive match. **3/4

Group X-Division as it stands:

Group Champions Match – Ethan Carter III vs. Lashley

EC3 looked to avoid Lashley to start. Lashley took over with his power including the babyface staple this is the corner ten punch. EC3 flung Lashley into the steps before Lashley hit a spinebuster on the floor. Tyrus drove Lashley into the post giving EC3 the advantage. Lashley made a comeback and hit a pair of suplexes. Lashley connected with a powerslam for two. Lashley locked on a rear naked choke, I suppose Samoa Joe has been gone for a while now so that’s fair game, but Tyrus helped EC3 to the ropes. EC3 hit a modified STO for two. Lashley hit a Powerbomb out of the corner and followed with a Spear before Tyrus pulled Lashley from the ring. This gave EC3 enough time to kick out. Tyrus got in the ring with a chair but Lashley Speared him. EC3 hit Lashley with a low blow followed the One Percenter for the win. Mathews was crying foul in spite of cheerleading EC3 for similar antics in the past. Mathews should be condemning EC3 but the inconsistency is jarring. This was your usual overbooked EC3 match that could have been more. *1/2

EC3 is a talented man. He’s charismatic, entertaining and dynamic. But over and over again the legs have been cut out from under him by booking him as a cowardly heel, who can’t achieve anything without the help of his brutish crony. And while that was fine during the early stages of the character, that was in fact the basis of his early character – an undeserving prima donna who only got where he was because of his aunt – that isn’t good enough for a main event heel and World champion. To fulfil that role to any degree of satisfaction he needs credibility. And yet he has constantly been stripped of any. WWE have the exact same problem with Seth Rollins. You would think both WWE and TNA would realise that approach wasn’t working and change but they haven’t. EC3’s match with Spud and more notably his post-match promo should have been a turning point for the character. EC3 had arrived as a legitimate, credible threat and he put the world on notice. But nothing ever really changed with him and if he’s to be the attraction TNA clearly wants him to be that needs to change soon. In fact running through this tournament would’ve been a very good first step in the right direction.

Group Champions as it stands:

Final Thoughts: The format of TNA’s World Title Series will live and die by the quality of its wrestling and that wasn’t up to scratch this week aside from the very fun opener. While only airing highlights of Group Future 4 undermined the tournament, the lack of a quality main event let this show down more than anything else.