Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Tuesday, February 16
Manchester Arena
Manchester, England

EC3 opened the show acknowledging that he has a giant chip on his shoulder and that he will destroy Matt Hardy next week in his title rematch at Lockdown. EC3 then called out Tyrus for betraying him. Tyrus came out and started beating the hell out of EC3. As a newly turned, relatively fragile babyface EC3 shouldn’t be selling this much for somebody like Tyrus. They need to establish that he’s somebody the audience can believe in before having him beaten down. EC3 started making a little comeback but Matt Hardy ran out they beat EC3 down two on one. Hardy grabbed a chair but EC3 got it off him and Hardy and Tyrus fled. Hardy challenged EC3 to find a partner and have a tag match in the main event. EC3 needs to be protected right now; it’s too early for him to show too much vulnerability. Especially when they are literally billing him as an ass kicker.

TNA King of the Mountain Championship
James Storm w/ Bobby Roode vs. Eric Young© w/ Bram

These guys were on fast forward because of the time they had. Storm hit an enzuigiri and a draping DDT for two. Young and Bram jumped Storm on the floor while referee Earl Hebner was distracted. Young worked over Storm for a while before Storm made a comeback. Storm hit Closing Time and set up for Last Call before Roode and Bram interfered. Everybody brawled on the floor and got counted out. Both teams brawled in the crowd for a while. Matches like this really frustrate me because Storm and Young are capable of delivering a really good match to make the King of the Mountain title seem like a title worth fighting for (unlike the TV/Global/Legends title that preceded it). However when they’re given four minutes with a lazy finish it shackles them in terms of what they’re capable of delivering in that time. These two can do so much better than this; they just weren’t given a chance to. The two teams brawled throughout the show until a tag team cage match was announced for next week. *1/2

“The Miracle” Mike Bennett w/ Maria vs. Mark Andrews

Andrews got in a few hope spots, probably too many for what this match was supposed to achieve, but Bennett won after a Tower of London and his finish the MIP (a Cradle Shock), standing for Miracle in Progress, to pick up the win. Bennett looked to attack Andrews further after the match but Drew Galloway made the save. While Bennett’s promos have been assured and confident (and Maria is very good in the evangelical preacher role), Bennett has left a lot to be desired in the ring so far. He’s only been wrestling squash matches but they don’t scream that he is some special talent. When you look at the impression Andrews leaves literally everywhere else he works, you realise how narrow TNA’s view of a featured act really is. Andrews has spent a year in TNA and done nothing of consequence. It’s an incredible waste of an extremely talented wrestler. Bennett attacked Andrews and Galloway backstage later in the show. *1/2

They played a video hyping up Angle vs. Lashley in three weeks. The package featured some Taz soundbites and it actually felt weird to hear his voice on the show even though he’s only been gone a year. I shall also throw in the obligatory mention that I miss Mike Tenay.

TNA World Tag Team Championships – Monsters Ball
Decay vs. The Wolves©

Jimmy Havok appeared earlier in the show suggesting he had a past relationship with Rosemary. Josh Mathews was hyping this as the first ever Monster’s Ball for the tag titles. It’s not. And a basic Wikipedia/Google search would have told them that. The Wolves dropkicked a chair into Abyss and then drove a ladder into Crazy Steve’s groin. Abyss threw a chair ad Edwards causing him to fall through a table. Abyss tried to puncture Richards with Janice but Richards avoided it and suplexed Steve into a ladder. Edwards sunset flip powerbombed Abyss off the middle rope onto a pile of chairs. The Wolves hit Steve with an Alarm Clock and followed with a double stomp onto a chair.

Abyss took out The Wolves and grabbed some thumbtacks but before he could empty it he got smashed through a barbed wire board. Steve placed Edwards’ head in a chair and then poured tacks on him. Edwards escaped being hit with another chair and struck Steve with Janice (which Steve deflected using said chair). Richards kissed Rosemary in order to remove poisonous mist from her mouth. I understand exactly what they were going for there but unwelcomed, forced sexual advances have absolutely no place in wrestling. What made this even more tone deaf was that it was taped mere days after the gross Ric Flair/Becky Lynch kissing spot at the Royal Rumble. The Wolves hit a modified Chasing the Dragon onto a steel chair with tacks to score the win. A pretty good match and a commendable level of commitment from both teams but this was inferior even to the 2008 Bound For Glory tag team Monsters Ball TNA have forgot even existed. You can only watch Abyss in this kind of setting so many times. ***1/4

The Dollhouse (Jade and Marti Belle) vs. Madison Rayne and Gail Kim

Marti Bell hit a sloppy Samoan drop and what I’m pretty sure was a flipping neckbreaker. Marti Bell is really rough in ring. They made no mention that Kim and Rayne used to be a team. The Dollhouse worked over Kim before she made the hot tag to Rayne. Rayne countered a roll up attempts to pick up the win. A flat, short match. The Dollhouse attacked Kim and Rayne after the match until Velvet Sky made the save, stunning everybody like she was Steve Austin. Velvet challenged The Dollhouse to a three on three Lethal Lockdown match next week. Gail Kim is a superb wrestler but doesn’t have nearly the catalogue of matches she should have. *1/4

Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz vs. Mahabali Shera and Odarg the Great

Odarg came out to Grado’s music. The announcers didn’t even pretend it wasn’t Grado which was nice from an avoiding insulting your audience’s intelligence standpoint. Drake and Godderz worked over Shera before he made the tag to Odarg. Odarg ran wild, hit a cannonball on Drake but Godderz broke up the pin. Shera took out Gofferz with a Sky High. Drake tried to pull Odarg’s mask off but Odarg pulled his mask off, rolled up Drake and then put his mask back on. Some perfectly fine Grado goofiness but not exactly a way to do Drake and Godderz any favours. *

Next week is Lockdown featuring Drake vs. Odarg, Beer Money vs. Bram and Young, Trevor Lee vs. Tigre Uno for the X-Division title (I have no idea what Uno has done to earn another title shot), The Dollhouse vs. Sky, Kim and Rayne in Lethal Lockdown, and Hardy vs. EC3 for the World title. At least they’ve put a week’s build into the show but there should be longer than a week between announcement and match for EC3’s title rematch.

EC3 and Rockstar Spud vs. Matt Hardy and Tyrus

EC3 insisted he fight alone so he started the match by himself. After Hardy and Tyrus worked over EC3 for a while Spud came out. EC3 initially refused to tag Spud but eventually relented and accepted the assistance. Spud ran wild before eventually being cut off. Spud tagged back in EC3 after hitting the Underdog on Tyrus, who proceeded to take Hardy and Tyrus out with a dive. Hardy and Tyrus did an awful catching EC3 on the dive. Tyrus has a bit of a history of totally whiffing when it comes to catching dives. Hardy hit the Side Effect but EC3 kicked out. EC3 put Hardy away with the One Percenter shortly after. A solid tag match plus EC3 and Spud are tremendous together. Spud serves as a really good audience proxy for forgiving EC3’s past discretions and accepting his new role. If Spud can forgive him, the audience can too. **1/2

Final Thoughts: A bland show that failed to capitalise on a still pretty energised crowd (in spite of this being the second show in a back to back taping). Most of the wrestling felt rushed and most of the show felt like rushing to get matches ready for next week’s Lockdown. There was nothing on this show that you’ll remember this time next week.