Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Impact Zone – Universal Studios
Orlando, Florida
April 26, 2016

TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Drew Galloway (c) def. Tyrus

Drew’s ribs were taped up after a couple of weeks of sustained attacks so Tyrus, with Spud at ringside, targeted Drew’s midsection. That was basically the story of the match and it really helped what may have been a much flatter effort otherwise. Drew hit Spud with a huge Belly to Belly and followed with the Claymore on Tyrus but only scored a two count. Tyrus dropped Drew with a slam and went up top. Drew cut him off and hit him with a giant superplex but Tyrus kicked out again. Drew followed with the Future Shock soon after for the win. This was a rare case where the built-in story actually helped a match, rather than hinder it, and the match overachieved as a result. Especially considering how little Tyrus has shown in his TNA run to date – though Drew was the engine of the match bringing enough energy to make it work. **3/4

Maria was in the ring preaching about how she’s gained control of the Knockouts division. Gail Kim was upset about it and threatened to beat up Maria. I like the core wrestler vs. entertainer conflict between Kim and Maria but using a tired heel authority figure angle as a way of facilitating their issues does absolutely nothing for me. Been there done that way too many times. Maria booked Kim in a match with Rosemary.

Rosemary def. Gail Kim

Rosemary controlled Kim with a number of submissions before Kim made a comeback and locked on a ringpost figure four. Kim hit a reverse DDT but Crazy Steve pulled Kim from the ring. Maria distracted Kim, Rosemary spat mist in Gail’s face and followed with an F5 for the win. Rosemary and Kim were doing some fun stuff before the interference kicked in; I’d like to see them have a full match devoid of silliness. *3/4

Eli Drake was in the ring for his new segment called Fact of Life. Drake had a button that had a little head come up on the screen identifying dummy’s. Drake introduced his first guest – The BroMans. All three bickered about who was actually a dummy. Drake became more aggressive in his calling of Jessie a dummy which led to fisticuffs and Drake running away. This was quite the deal. At least it was better than Huh.

TNA World Tag Team Championships – Valley of the Shadows Match
Decay (Abyss and Crazy Steve w/ Rosemary) def. Beer Money (James Storm and Bobby Roode)©

Valley of the Shadows is a fancy was of saying No DQ. The match had wacky Sin Cara style lighting which made me think there was something wrong with my screen for a moment. It kind of just served to make things on the outside of the ring a little harder to see. They brawled for a while before Decay hurled Roode into a chair wedged in the corner. Abyss tried to throw Steve at Storm but Steve ate a chair to the face for his troubles. Beer Money ran wild punctuated by a Storm elbow drop for two. Storm and Roode hit the Beer Money suplex on Steve onto a barbed wire board. Roode ate a Black Hole Slam but Roode kicked out at two. Rosemary inadvertently sprayed mist in the eyes of Abyss and Storm followed with a beer bottle to the head but Abyss kicked out. Steve pushed Storm off the top through a table on the floor. Rosemary low blowed Roode and Abyss followed with a chokeslam into thumbs tacks which crowned new tag champs. You can’t help but be numb to these kind of matches at this stage, especially when Abyss is involved. The sheer frequency and sameness of them generally puts a ceiling on their quality but you can’t but commend the effort. ***

TNA King of the Mountain Championship
Bram def. Eric Young©

They brawled for a while and Young used a trash can lid which didn’t prompt a disqualification for some reason. It’s apparently Falls Count Anywhere, but was never advertised as such. Would it have killed them to throw a match graphic up with an announcer VO saying this was Falls Count Anywhere earlier in the show? Young set up a table on the floor. Young hit a top rope elbow drop for a two count. Bram hit the Brighter Side of Suffering off the apron through a table to win the title. That was certainly an impressive looking finish but another hardcore match on this show after the tag title match wasn’t a great idea from a diminishing returns standpoint. **1/2

Jeff Hardy limped out to the ring. Jeff talked about his match with Matt and his gigantic Swanton Bomb last week. Reby Hardy came to the ring with Spud and they gave Jeff a dressing down for what he did to Matt. Reby said Jeff only succeeded because of Matt. Reby said Matt had changed and then spat in Jeff’s face. Spud tried to attack Jeff but Jeff ran them off. Moral of this was a changed Matt Hardy is lurking in the shadows.

No Disqualifications
Mike Bennett w/ Maria def. Ethan Carter III

EC3 bounced Bennett around ringside before Bennett began to work over EC3’s arm. Bennett reversed the One Percenter into his wind up punch and followed with spinebuster for two. EC3 hit a jumping flatliner and hit a top rope crossbody for a near fall of his own. They had a series of reversals that ended in a TKO by EC3. Bennett took EC3 down with a cutter and went to town with a steel chair. EC3 hit the One Percenter but Maria took out Earl Hebner.  EC3 locked on the Million Dollar Dream but Bennett ran up the turnbuckles into a bridging pin to score the win and hand EC3 hit first ever pinfall defeat. I like that Bennett did his best to make that seem more like a real pin and less like EC3 being too stupid to just release the submission. Bennett was delighted and EC3 was dejected at having been caught out. This was Bennett’s best match in TNA to date, though still a step below real high end output. The character dichotomy between EC3 and Bennett is neat, because Bennett as a character is very similar to how EC3 was two years ago and that helps add an extra layer to their rivalry. That has largely been subtext though and I’d like to see TNA drive that point home a little more as text. ***1/4

Final Thoughts:

This show was another in the now very long string of solid enjoyable Impacts that rarely rise above good but are pretty much never bad.

This show was the last appearance of Eric Young and Bobby Roode on Impact. It can’t be overstated how important they have been to TNA for the last 12 years. Roode was TNA’s Mr. Consistency – no matter the scenario or the opponent Roode delivered for TNA and over his time in the company grew from a really solid hand to a top class worker. Roode’s first TNA World title run is still the best single title reign in TNA history for making a title seem important, seem like it really mattered. Young meanwhile was TNA’s chameleon. Variety was his specialty. Whether he was Team Canada’s daredevil, shopping for condoms, insisting he not be fired, attacking celebrities, a women’s champion, a leader of a wacky group of misfits, a World champion, or a deranged psychopath – Young did everything in his power to make it work. He oozed versatility. Both men have been the backbone of the company for the last few years and there are no obvious replacements to step up into the voids they’ll leave. Their contributions to TNA over the last 12 years were many and invaluable, and I’ll miss seeing them on this particular show every week. Hopefully though they will find huge success on somebody else’s show because they wholly deserve it.