Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Thursday, July 28
Impact Zone
Soundstage 20, Universal Studios
Orlando, FL

Matt Hardy opened the show and demanded Jeff Hardy join him. Matt continued to berate the now obsolete Jeff and demanded Jeff help Matt beat EC3 in the BFG Playoffs semi final. Jeff was reluctant until EC3 arrived. Matt contemplated eating EC3 before EC3 mocked Matt and rallied behind Jeff.

Bound For Glory Playoff
Ethan Carter III def. Matt Hardy

EC3 came out firing on all cylinders but tweaked his ankle on a top rope dropkick giving Matt Hardy control. Hardy then began to attack EC3’s ankle. Matt removed EC3’s boot and attempted to bite his foot. Reby handed Jeff Hardy a hammer. The ref was bumped so Jeff rolled the hammer ambiguously into the center of the ring. The referee grabbed the hammer off of Matt allowing EC3 to clunk him with his boot and hit the One Percenter for the win. This was the eighth time these two have wrestled one on one on TV in the last year. And each successive match has been less interesting than the last, especially considering their first match together – a Full Metal Mayhem match last August – was easily their best. **

Gail Kim def. Madison Rayne

This is these two’s tenth match together- the best of which was their Lockdown 2014 effort. They are also former tag team partners. If Kim loses she will never get a KO title match again. Rayne controlled 90% of the match until Kim hit the Eat Defeat out of nowhere for the win. A disappointingly unambitious match both in terms of how much time it had and how it was wrestled. *1/2

There was a whole deal detailing Rosemary’s backstory and how she slowly went crazy after falling out of a tree and Bram was involved. Cats died. Trees were talked to. Her forgotten (perhaps imaginary) brother Montgomery introduced her to magic. Bram’s reaction to all of this was tremendous. He was very confused about all the dead cats and talking to trees that were involved. At least this stuff was something different. They teased that Rosemary may have been abused in some way but left that as a hook. I’ll reserve actually writing about that until they finish that story.

Moose (w/ Mike Bennett) def. David Starr

Moose dropkicked Starr off the top, powerbombed him on the apron, and finished Starr with The Gamebreaker, a discus Rainmaker. Moose looked like a beast here. NR

Lashley came out after the match and confronted Moose. Mike Bennett hyped up a potential match before Bennett and Moose left. The Moose/Bennett dynamic is a pretty smart one actually – because the inevitable Moose turn is the easiest thing in the world to pull off.

I love how good a job TNA has been doing lately with building up key matches in the heavyweight division and then protecting those matches until the time is right. EC3/Lashley, EC3/Galloway, Galloway/Moose, Moose/Lashley, the way Storm and Drake figure into Lashley’s quest for all the gold, the X-Division seeking to reclaim their title, and Bennett/EC3 are all stories and matches simmering coming out of this show. Hopefully they make the most of those matches when they actually pull the trigger on them. It would be a shame to do a great job building up all those matches only to do any of them on TV with too little notice.

Lashley said he wanted to win every title and destroy the entire roster. DJ Z took exception to this. DJ Z challenged Lashley for the X-Division title. Lashley said he could do anything an X-Division guy can do and allowed DJ Z to pick the match – and so a ladder match was on.

Ladder Match
TNA X-Division Championship
Bobby Lashley © def. DJ Z

Lashley physically dominated DJ Z and wanted very little to do with the ladders. DJ Z hit a big dive to the floor and followed with a dive off the announce table. DJ Z hit a dive off a ladder to the floor. DJ Z looked to climb the ladder but Lashley lifted the ladder while DJ Z was on it and dumped DJ Z into the ropes. Lashley in an extremely impressive human being. DJ Z turned the tide once again with a low blow and his rolling DDT. Both men climbed the ladder but Lashley press slammed DJ Z off the ladder and grabbed the belt to retain. If this match is any indication Lashley vs. X-Division guys, even without the ladder stipulation, should be loads of fun. Lashley killing them and them fighting for their lives is a really fun dynamic. ***1/4

Eli Drake was in the ring for another edition of Facts of Life. Drake was upset that Lashley was potentially coming for his title like he was playing Pokemon GO (which inspired a Pokemon chant). James Storm interrupted Drake. Storm offered Drake a beer again but Drake insisted he prefers water. Storm booted Drake’s jug of water from the ring declaring that water sucks. That poor jug of water didn’t do anything. It was merely guilty by association. Storm asked Drake for another King of the Mountain title shot and Drake agreed on the condition that if Storm lost he could no longer drink beer. Storm drank a couple of beers and agreed. Storm looked to leave but Drake hit him with a low blow and dropped him with the Blunt Force Trauma. These two have a fun and easy chemistry and make for a really enjoyable little midcard feud.

Monster’s Ball
TNA World Tag Championships
Decay (Abyss and Crazy Steve) © def. The BroMans (Robbie E and Jessie Godderz)

This match started backstage before the break and was joined in progress. Jessie took out Steve and Abyss with a springboard double clothesline. The BroMans charged Abyss into a barbed wire board before hitting the BroDown on Steve into thumbtacks. Jessie locked Steve in the Adonis Lock in the thumbtacks but Abyss made the save before knocking Abyss off the top through a table on the floor. Robbie E ate a chokeslam onto a barbed wire board handing Decay the win.

Abyss has done this kind of match many, many, many times through the years. And not just Monster’s Ball – Doomsday Chamber of Blood, Matches of 10,000 Tacks, Last Rights, Prison Yard, Stairway to Janice, Valley of Shadows, Hardcore Wars, Street Fights, Cage Matches, Full Metal Mayhem, No DQ, Ultimate X, Casket, Falls Count Anywhere, Foley’s House of Fun, Beer Bottle on a Pole, Barbed Wire Massacre, Shop of Horrors, Ladder matches, Nightstick on a Pole, Hangmans’s Horror, Chain matches, Final Assault, Serengeti Survival, Tables matches, Chair on a Pole First Blood match and of course the infamous Silent Night Bloody Night barbed wire Christmas tree match. He has covered this same ground over and over again so it’s tough to bring anything novel to it. But you can’t but commend the effort and commitment and at least The BroMans are new to this scenario. ***

Bound For Glory Playoff
Mike Bennett (w/ Moose and Maria) def. Drew Galloway

Moose attacked Galloway before the match and powerbombed him on the apron. Bennett dominated Galloway for a while as a result. Galloway fired back with a big belly to belly but Bennett took control again with a cutter. Galloway hit a reverse Alabama Slam for two. After a painfully telegraphed ref bump, Drew hit the Future Shock but there was no ref. Moose interfered dropping Galloway with the Sky High but Galloway kicked out. EC3 came out but accidentally hit Galloway with a Kendo stick. Bennett hit the Miracle in Progress to score the win. Like pretty much every in this tournament so far this match was more focused on furthering a story than the match itself. That isn’t an inherently bad thing but none of these tournament have risen above simply good. That somewhat hinders it as a vehicle to send the winner of the whole thing into Bound For Glory with loads of momentum. **1/2

EC3 vs. Bennett as the BFG Playoff final over EC3 vs. Galloway is an interesting choice. The Finals will be next week. EC3 overcoming Bennett, the man who handed him his first loss, one final time on the road to reclaiming the World title is somewhat fitting but the way this match played out suggests that Drew Galloway has a role to play in EC3’s road to Bound For Glory yet. Perhaps something like EC3 putting his shot on the line vs. Galloway sometime in the two months still to go before BFG.

Final Thoughts:

The first hour veered toward just a show territory but some fun stuff in the second hour dragged the show up a notch.