Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Thursday, August 4
Impact Zone
Soundstage 20, Universal Studios
Orlando, FL

EC3 and Mike Bennett opened the show to set the stage for the main event. Bennett ran down his road to the BFG Playoff finals and then pointed out that he also pinned EC3 in the past. Bennett said he was always going to be Tom Brady and EC3 was always going to be Peyton Manning. Simple, effective framing for the main event but I wish this stuff would be on the show last week. It seems too little too late to give the hard sell for the match on the show itself. Moose and Bennett attacked EC3.

TNA King of the Mountain Championship
James Storm def. Eli Drake ©

If Storm lost he’d have to give up all of his cowboy related antics. Drake controlled the early stages until Storm made a comeback. Drake hit a superplex and powerbomb for a nearfall. Storm fired back with the Eye of the Storm for a nearfall of his own. Drake spat beer in the referee’s eyes and struck Storm with the KotM title but Storm kicked out. They exchanged finisher attempts before Drake springboarded straight into a Last Call to hand Storm the win. Solid, enjoyable match with a fun finish. ***

Storm barely had a moment to celebrate before he was interrupted by Bobby Lashley. Lashley bragged about his current title collection. Storm pointed out that he beat Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle for the TNA title in 2011 in a minute, so he should be able to beat NCAA champion Lashley in thirty seconds. Lashley wanted the King of the Mountain title to complete his collection while Storm had his eye on the TNA World title. Lashley challenged Storm to a winner takes all match. Storm accepted and the match will be next week. It’s been ages since Storm has had something to sink his teeth into so it’s nice to see him in a big match again. Lashley’s calm, cool badass act is tremendous.

Gail Kim def. Allie and Sienna

A similar match to the Madison Rayne match last week with Sienna and Allie dominating Kim and Kim snatching a win after Sienna accidentally hit Allie with the Silencer. This bordered on a comedy match at times with Allie doing the bad wrestler schtick. I wish TNA gave Kim more opportunities to have standout matches – too often is she placed in these short story driven matches and it seems a waste of her talent. *1/4

Matt and Jeff Hardy def. JT Dunn and Chuck Taylor

Matt has given Jeff the task of winning the tag team titles by himself without jumping off the top rope. Matt did running commentary from ringside. Matt pulled a fan over the barricade and started biting him. Dunn and Taylor were allowed to be surprisingly competitive before Jeff defied Matt by hitting the Swanton Bomb. Matt dropped Jeff with a Twist of Fate, tagged himself in and pinned Dunn for the win. Considering Dunn and Chuck were presented as job guys this was pretty fun. **1/2

I was talking a couple of weeks ago about how it was the loss of the TNA World title that left Matt Hardy less than whole and I think I was wrong about that. It was the collapse of the relationship with his brother that left Matt Broken. That’s why Matt can’t simply let Jeff fade into obsolete deletion. He needs Jeff, and at this stage the only way he feels he can keep his brother at his side is by making him subservient but he needs him. The betrayal in Matt’s eyes by Jeff has hurt Matt deeply but this is Matt’s way of staying close to Jeff.

Grado and Mahabali Shera def. The Tribunal (Basile Baraka, Baron Dax and Al Snow)

This feud must continue apparently. Snow tried to use brass knuckles but Shera stopped him and hit the Sky High for the win. Everybody here really has to move on to something else. **

Rosemary continued to spill her heart to Bram who was increasingly crept out by Rosemary’s madness. She was betrayed by an ex-lover for seemingly just placing his hand on her knee and Bram didn’t quite care, going so far as to tell Rosemary to get over it. Crazy Steve and Abyss appeared, kidnapped Bram and stuffed him into the boot of a car. Well, this was certainly…interesting.

Bound For Glory Playoff Finals
Ethan Carter III def. Mike Bennett

EC3’s ribs were injured after the Moose attack earlier in the show which allowed Bennett to control the early stages of the match by targeting the ribs. Bennett and EC3 exchanged German suplexes before EC3 finally made a comeback. EC3 hit a sitout powerbomb for two. Bennett hit a cutter off the top rope for a nearfall. EC3 hit the One Percenter but the referee was distracted by Maria long enough to allow EC3 to kick out. Moose arrived only to be taken out by Eddie Edwards. Bennett hit EC3 with a Kendo stick and followed with the Miracle In Progress but EC3 kicked out. They traded finisher attempts, did a callback to the way Bennett originally beat EC3 but EC3 prevailed after hitting another One Percenter. Better than their Slammiversary match – this was probably these two’s best effort to date, even with the schmohz in the middle. ***1/2

Considering this year is basically EC3’s redemption arc, him overcoming what is in many ways the physical manifestation of his past self to cement his role as number one contender is quite fitting – leaving his past indiscretions behind him once and for all.

Final Thoughts:

Another in a long line of solid Impact episodes. I really wish they’d try to get more out of big matches though. Bennett vs. EC3 happened on a week’s notice, same with Lashley vs. Storm next week – I wish they’d give those matches a slightly longer lead time to make them feel more special.