Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Tuesday, March 29
Impact Zone
Soundstage 20, Universal Studios
Orlando, FL

Matt Hardy opened the show with his posse. Matt was upset that Jeff was getting a title shot before Matt got his rematch. Mike Bennett interrupted him, saying nobody wants to see Matt anywhere near the World title (at least that was consistent with Bennett putting down Hardy in his debut promo) because the company needs a Miracle. Maria and Reby shouted at each other (including Reby threatening to cut Maria with her earrings) and everybody argued some more before EC3 interrupted everything. Josh Mathews mentioned how EC3 failed yet again in his quest to regain the World title last week. TNA have had EC3 fail far too often since he turned. EC3 put down Bennett before agreeing to fight all of Matt Hardy’s crew in a handicap match.

EC3 def. Matt Hardy, Tyrus, Rockstar Spud, and Reby Hardy by DQ

Hardy’s crew beat up EC3 for a while, EC3 made a quick comeback before Mike Bennett jumped him for the DQ. This was another instance of EC3 being booked to fail or be beaten up way too often. Beer Money made the save leading to another match. *

Mike Bennett, Tyrus and Matt Hardy def. EC3 and Beer Money

Hardy and company worked over Storm before making the tag to Roode. EC3 and Bennett brawled to the back. Storm hit the Last Call on Tyrus and followed with the Beer Money suplex. Tyrus cut off the DWI, hit Roode with a heart punch and Matt Hardy followed with the Twist of Fate for the win. Solid tag match but there was way too much Tyrus wrestling in the first 30 minutes of this show. The way the first three segments flowed into one another was pretty neat, but it would have helped if the matches were better and felt a little more meaningful. **1/4

Number One Contenders Match
Madison Rayne def. Velvet Sky

Madison Rayne has new entrance music that’s nowhere near as good as Killer Queen was. Rayne and Sky started out sportingly but things got a little feistier as the match progressed before Rayne won with a jacknife cover rather anticlimactically. This was fine. *1/2

Pope got in the ring and called out Bobby Lashley. There was a period in 2010 where is really felt like Pope was about to break through as something special. He was blatantly aping Dusty Rhodes promo style but it was working. Then he fizzled out. That seems like an age ago. Lashley gave Pope a chance to back down but Pope refused. Pope is a much better promo than he is an announcer. He’s much better when he knows what he’s going to say and evoked memories of those awesome 2010 promos here. Pope wanted to fight Lashley. Lashley gave Pope one last chance to back down but Pope attacked and they brawled. Pope took Lashley out with a dive before security separated them. Weirdly they cut away from the compelling brawl for a video recap. This was the best angle on Impact in a good while. Lashley has a confidence as a heel that he didn’t have in the past, he still looked like a badass and Pope clicked as a plucky underdog fighting for his manhood. Really good stuff.

The BroMans (Jessie Godderz and Robbie E) def. Eric Young and Bram

Jeremy Borash replaced Pope on commentary. Young and Bram are currently at odds. Bram and Young isolated Robbie before he made the tag to Jessie. The BroMans won with the Bro Down. I don’t have an objection to the basic tag team formula. But when matches are only five minutes long there’s not exactly much room for variety in them. It’s the same old heat, comeback, finish that’s perfectly fine but can never feel substantial. **1/4

Grado was planning a victory party backstage with Shera before Al Snow attacked them both. Clearly he’s upset at being embarrassed by Grado over a year ago and has waited patiently to get his revenge. Snow smashed Grado’s hand with a pipe. Josh Mathews ruined the whole thing by calling Al Snow a legend in the wrestling business (and also by failing to link Snow’s issues with Grado back to British Bootcamp and their subsequent feud).

Shane Helms accompanied by Trevor Lee called out Eddie Edwards. Helms put over The Wolves before Edwards said he was going to pursue a singles career while Davey Richards was on the shelf. Helms offered to be Edwards partner while Richards was injured. Helms gave Edwards a week to think about it. I assume this is a way to pivot to Lee vs. Edwards for the X-Division title. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the formula for a successful X-Division is extremely straightforward – young hungry athletic wrestlers given the opportunity to consistently have great matches. Less five minute matches or pointless multi-man matches, just put them in the ring, give them time and let them tear it up. The fact that Mark Andrews hasn’t had a single great match in over a year in TNA is a travesty. TNA have to value and utilise that kind of talent while they have it. Edwards and Lee are more than capable of doing great stuff.

TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Drew Galloway© def. Jeff Hardy

They went back and forth before Drew took Hardy down with an overhead belly to belly. Hardy came back with some high flying including a Whisper in the Wind. Hardy looked for a Swanton but Drew took a while to cut him off so he just kind of had to stand there. Drew hit a superplex followed by the Claymore for two. Hardy hit the Twist of Fate and followed with the Swanton but Galloway kicked out. TNA’s main event style has become way too over reliant on kicking out of finishes. Hardy hit a slingshot Swanton to the floor but Drew kicked out when Hardy rolled him back in. Hardy placed Drew on the ringsteps and went for the Swanton but Drew got his knees up. Jeff Hardy being casually stark raving mad is one of my favourite things in wrestling. Drew hit the Future Shock shortly after to score the win. A step below anything great (part lack of atmosphere, part not feeling like a special title match) but this was a really good main event. Galloway is the kind of guy who can deliver this kind of match or better whenever it’s asked of him and Jeff in spite of suffering a serious injury last year is still great (and will only get better as he works more and gets sharper again). ***1/2

Matt Hardy came out and announced he’ll get his title rematch next week. Eric Young and Bram attacked Jeff Hardy and Galloway. Jeff challenged Eric Young to a Six Sides of Steel match next week.

Final Thoughts

Impact has settled into a groove lately of solid, reliably fine TV where their stories make sense and there are usually at least one or two worthwhile segments. This show followed that format to a tee. Hardy/Galloway and the Pope/Lashley confrontation are worth checking out and the rest of the show was perfectly acceptable, forgettable filler. I’m not sure that’s a formula for growth but the show could certainly be worse. Next week has Matt Hardy vs. Galloway for the title and a Young vs. Jeff Hardy cage match as a double main event.