Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Tuesday, June 21
Soundstage 20, Universal Studios
Drew Galloway opened the show and called out EC3. EC3 inadvertently cost Galloway his World title match with Bobby Lashley last week. EC3 apoligised to Drew but Drew wanted to fight. EC3 suggested that Galloway was burning himself out and that irked Galloway. Things began to escalate, insults were thrown, EC3 accused Galloway of being needlessly headstrong by taking his title rematch when he wasn’t prepared and just as they were about to come to blows Lashley interrupted.
Lashley challenged Drew and EC3 to a tag team match. If EC3 and Galloway won they would get a title shot, if they lost they’d go to the back of the line. Eli Drake was Lashley’s partner and if he won he got a title match too. Galloway and EC3 didn’t come off as particularly likable here – in comparison Lashley was cool and levelheaded. I get that they wanted to get across tension between EC3 and Galloway but they came across less frustrated than entitled and a tad whiny.
Number One Contenders Match
Drew Galloway and EC3 def. Eli Drake and Bobby Lashley
Drew and EC3 beat up Drake before Lashley turned the tide for his team. Drake and Lashley worked over EC3, Galloway got the hot tag and made a comeback, EC3 hit the One Percenter on Drake, Lashley Speared EC3 (which Galloway may have accidentally pushed EC3 into) and Galloway pinned Drake. Formula tag team match to advance the story more than anything else and line up Galloway and EC3 as Lashley’s next challengers. A three way title match is set for next week. **1/4
Decay made their way to the ring. Rosemary is seeing somebody in secret (Rosemary’s second secret relationship this year after the Jimmy Havoc angle went nowhere) and won’t spill the beans to Abyss and Steve. Rosemary called out Bram and offered him a spot in Decay, feeling their mindsets aligned. Rosemary made the case that she doesn’t want to change Bram – that she wants him to embrace his inner chaos, not stifle it. While Bram was a little attracted to Rosemary he rather impolitely declined. Steve and Abyss beat up Bram. I wonder who Bram’s eventual partner in this dispute will be. James Storm isn’t up to much right now, and he’s always up to team with somebody he’ll eventually betray/who’ll eventually betray him.
Marti Bell def. Jade
Jade controlled much of the match but Marti won after hitting Jade with the same baton that Marti used to cost Jade her title match at Slammiversary. Both these ladies need to further flesh out who they are because the audience wasn’t really invested in this match at all. TNA rushed into their first match without doing a good enough job establishing why they have issues. The match was alright, but nothing noteworthy. *1/2
Mike Bennett and Maria made their way to the ring. Maria claimed Dixie Carter’s slap last week has kept her up all week. She demanded that Dixie Carter come out to explain her actions. Dixie said she was provoked and Maria deserved exactly what she got. Dixie did a little non-apology apology but that didn’t satisfy Maria. She demanded Dixie’s resignation. Billy Corgan attempted to diffuse the situation and began to take the Bennett’s side (Billy has been in the Bennett’s pocket for a while). Corgan suggested Dixie take a one week leave of absence. Dixie obliged and then Bennett demanded and received an X-Division title shot from Billy Corgan because he wanted to cash in Option C at Destination X.
TNA X-Division Championship
Mike Bennett (w/ Maria) def. Eddie Edwards ©
Bennett tried to do a springboard move in an attempt to prove he was a worthy X-Division wrestler but slipped off the ropes like a goof. Edwards hit a dive and a Blue Thunder Bomb but Bennett kicked out. Bennett grabbed the ropes on a pin to score the win and became new X-Division champion. Solid enough match but nothing special. **3/4
I don’t like this. It goes one of two ways – Bennett keeps the title and cashes in, or Edwards regains the title and defends the honour of the division. I don’t like either scenario. In the first the X-Division is nothing but a cheap prop that doesn’t matter year round and then is used by a heavyweight wrestler at their “spotlight” show. In the latter scenario, instead of Edwards going into a big title match with Lashley as a credible challenger with momentum he’s going in as a loser who barely made it to Destination X.
They made the exact same error with Chris Sabin in 2013 – he won the X-Division title at Slammiversary that year and then lost it to Austin Aries before winning it back. It hampered his eventual victory over Bully Ray (a reign that had countless issues of it’s own aside from that). Not to mention it has resulted in a meaningless Eddie Edwards title reign for the sake of a story and titles should always be protected, with each reign being meaningful and serving some real productive end.
Braxton Sutter def. Rockstar Spud
Sutter was set to wrestle Balam (Lince Dorado) but Spud interrupted and demanded he wrestle Sutter instead. The booking of Spud has really disappointed me this year. He regressed to the same heel character he was pre-EC3 feud and he’s nothing but a lower card goof now. He showed real glimpses of breaking through the size ceiling that he was inevitably under last year but he bashed right up against it and slowly slipped down. Sutter won quickly with a jumping Flatliner. Spud is just a job guy now. Spud feigned endorsing Sutter before hitting him with a low blow and started whipping Sutter. Considering how easily Sutter just beat Spud I have no interest in seeing them wrestle again. *
Six Sides of Steel
Jeff Hardy def. Matt Hardy
The match was billed as Hardy’s revenge – a theme for past Hardy cage matches vs. James Storm and Eric Young. Jeff filled the ring with weapons before the match as Matt came out to his new solemn piano music. Matt powerbombed Jeff into the cage for two. Matt bit Jeff’s knee which prompted a Matt has rabies chant. Matt hit a Side Effect on a chair but Jeff kicked out. Jeff hit Matt with two low blows, a handful of Twist of Fate’s and a Swanton but Matt kicked out. Jeff placed Matt on a table, put two chairs on top of him and then put another table on top. Jeff then dived off the top of the cage onto the whole pile to score the win. This wasn’t nearly as smoothly constructed and executed as their Slammiversary match. It was basically a one spot match. That one spot was pretty cool though. **1/2
This was one of those middle of the road simple and straightforward but totally forgettable editions of Impact. Impact is nearly always a solid to good enjoyable show that’s an easy watch with mostly strong stories and decent wrestling. It ebbs and flows week to week but it hasn’t been consistently bad in over two years. In spite of that it’s biggest problem is that it’s pretty much never must watch. Very rarely on a Wednesday can I go “You absolutely positively have to check out last nights Impact!”. And there are times where on paper there are things that could be must watch but they’re rarely given the opportunity to be. As a result there’s just never any buzz around the show. It just affably comes and goes without much consequence. That really has to change. Impact needs to start going out of it’s way to leave an impression of people.