Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Tuesday, January 26
Sands Bethlehem Event Centre
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Impact opened with Jeff Hardy making his way to the ring, demanding that Matt explain his actions last week. Matt, by the way, has new music which starts with “I am iconic” accompanied by a cash register noise. Matt came to the ring with Reby and Tyrus, who was carrying Matt’s son Maxel, following behind. Reby accused Jeff of abandoning Matt after breaking his leg “playing a redneck Evil Kinievel”. Jeff called everybody a bitch. Matt decided to stop giving and start taking at the suggestion of Reby. Matt wanted to know why Jeff wasn’t proud of him but Jeff was disappointed with how Matt won the title. Jeff challenged Matt to a title match later in the show and Matt accepted. I’d have preferred to see more along the lines of Matt’s Twitter rant after he won the title last week here. A totally over-the-top deluded self-aggrandising egomaniac who firmly believes that he is the best wrestler and biggest star in the world. He’d excel in that role.

Feast or Fired
James Storm vs. Bobby Roode vs. Bram vs. Eric Young vs. Drew Galloway vs. Jessie Godderz vs. Eli Drake vs. Rockstar Spud vs. Aiden O’ Shea vs. Robbie E vs. Grado vs. Chris Melendez

There are four briefcases hanging from poles, three with title shots (for the World, King of the Mountain and Tag Team titles) and one with a pink slip. The main problem I’ve always had with Feast Or Fired (aside from the fact that no man has ever successfully cashed in the World title briefcase – Hernandez, Scott Steiner, Gunner, Samoa Joe, and Austin Aries all cashed in and lost) is that title shots are not rare enough in TNA to warrant putting your career on the line to get one. Just wait for a while and you’ll probably get one anyway. Robbie hit a big dive onto Jessie to the floor. Roode hit a Roode Bomb on Spud over the top onto Bram and Young on the floor. Grado crotched Aiden O’ Shea, climbed onto his back and, with a little effort, pulled down a briefcase. Galloway ran wild and took everybody out, including a corner German on Drake, and pulled down a briefcase. Melendez took Young and Robbie E out with a tower of doom. Eli Drake pulled down another briefcase. Bram and Young started to take everybody out until Beer Money wiped them out allowing Storm to pull down the final briefcase. While it occasionally lacked some energy, this was a fun match with some fun sequences. Last year I ranked all the Feast or Fired matches and this clocks in as the third best Feast or Fired match ever. **1/2

TNA X-Division Championship
Mark Andrews vs. DJ Z vs. Tigre Uno ©

Neither of the challengers got an entrance. All three men got a brief moment to shine at the start before we had some neat three way pinfall and submission attempts. DJ Z hit a dive to Uno and Andrews followed with a moonsault off the steps. Andrews grabbed his skateboard and went to the top of ramp, rode his skateboard down into a huracanrana on DJ Z. That was both super goofy and super cool. DJ Z hit a reverse huracanrana on Andrews for a near fall. Uno hit a top rope Spanish Fly on Andrews to score the win. As usual with most combinations of TNA’s current X-Division guys this was lots of fun but felt inessential. There’s only so many times they can throw these guys out there in meaningless five minute multi-man title matches and still expect people to care. The division needs attention and focus. Shane Helms made his way to the ring after the match. Josh Mathews called Helms the greatest cruiserweight of all time again. Helms towered over Uno. Helms challenged Uno to a title match next week and Uno appeared to accept. It is nice to have an actual programme in the X-Division even if it does involve Helms who, in spite of what Josh Mathews insists, is not the greatest cruiserweight of all time. ***

Awesome Kong vs. Velvet Sky

Josh brought up how Velvet was a victim of Feast or Fired during this match, which wasn’t the smartest thing to do considering one year later she’s still here. Nothing says care about our gimmick match like reminding people how you reneged on it last year. Basically a quick match, with Velvet getting a little in, but mostly a Kong squash. Kong looked to beat up Velvet after the match but Rayne made the save. The Dollhouse overwhelmed Rayne and Sky after the match. Kong squashed Velvet figuratively during the match and then literally with a middle rope splash afterwards. *

Jeremy Borash hosted the Feast or Fired reveal. I still haven’t gotten over Curry Man being informed that he was fired in 2008. They played dramatic music which made this play more as melodrama. Mike Bennett walked in on the reveal and talked for a while. Drew was fed up with Bennett’s interruption and suggested that Maria was the brains of their operation. That appears to be Bennett’s first programme. Drake revealed a King of the Mountain title shot. They took a break for a while before Storm revealed a tag team title shot, Galloway got a World title match and Grado was fired. It took a moment for it to dawn on Grado that he’d been fired. Grado was crushed.

The Wolves vs. Crazzy Steve & Abyss

Abyss and Steve stole the title belts in last week’s attack, pretending not to know who Steve’s accomplice was. A woman came out, Courtney Rush now going as Rosemary, and introduced Steve before Abyss entered to the shock of Josh Mathews. This was all very silly considering how obvious it was that Abyss helped Steve last week. Steve is apparently an evil clown now. No idea when that happened. Though I suppose aren’t all clowns evil. Abyss chokeslammed Steve onto Richards. Abyss and Steve worked over Richards before he made the hot tag to Edwards. The Wolves hit the Alarm Clock on Steve but got distracted by Rosemary with their title belts. Steve and Rosemary spat mist in Richards face causing a DQ. Abyss and Steve posed with the belts after beating up The Wolves some more. Something tells me they won’t be the answer to TNA’s lack of tag team depth. They certainly didn’t leave a stellar first impression. *1/2

TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy ©

This was a bait and switch. Just as the match was about to start, Eric Young interrupted, ranting for a while before Bram attacked Hardy from behind. Matt never helped Jeff as Young and Bram attacked. Beer Money made the save but Steve and Abyss also ran out and brawled with Storm and Roode to the back. Kurt Angle ran out to confront Matt Hardy, whom he talked to earlier in the show, but Tyrus attacked Angle and Matt laid him out with a belt shot. Young piledrove Hardy off the apron through a table on the floor, as Matt looked on. I enjoy the yearly tradition of having to write Jeff Hardy off TV every year before the UK tour. While I’m not entirely sure why any of this was happening (why did Young and Bram attack Hardy and why did Steve and Abyss attack Beer Money) they at least tried to put some heat on the heels, even if it was the third time in an hour that a group of heels beat people down. The bait and switch on the Hardy/Hardy match was cheap. People will say “Well you shouldn’t do a Matt vs. Jeff match on two hours notice” and that is true, but you don’t have to book it in the first place.

Final Thoughts: The first hour was fun and breezy but the second hour chugged with an excess of heel beat downs and no good wrestling. The company can’t get to the UK quickly enough so as to give the shows a sense of energy.