Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Thursday, September 1
Soundstage 20, Universal Studios
Impact began at the Hardy family compound, the sacred land of DELETION, with a musical performance of Jeff Hardy’s new theme song by the whole Hardy clan including Maxel, Reby, Senor Benjamin and a stunning vocal performance by Vanguard 1. Maxel’s musical prowess triggered a premonition for Matt, who foresaw somebody breaking into his property. This caused Matt and Jeff to rush to the Zone of Impact in pursuit of a potential infiltrator leaving the Hardy household in the defense of Senor Benjamin, Vanguard 1, and Reby (who was armed with a sword). Never has a cold open of a television show, never mind just a wrestling show, brought me more joy. I want a Hardy family musical spin off show.
Mike Bennett and Maria made their way to the ring. Bennett promised to beat Lashley for the World title in the main event before pivoting to trying to win Moose back over after betraying him to become number one contender last week. Lashley said he’d make the main event a no disqualifications match because of how confident he was. Lashley has also been driving a wedge between Bennett and Moose, but Bennett was still confident in his friendship with Moose. Moose came out and said that he will decide the winner of the main event. I like how they openly admit that Bennett’s only hope of beating Lashley is Moose. Why insult the audiences intelligence by even pretending Bennett is on an even standing with Lashley? The hook for main event was less about the potential of Bennett winning the title and more where Moose stood.
Broken Matt Hardy def. Crazzy Steve
They had a brief crazy off before Steve offered a test of strength. Rather than oblige Matt attempted to eat Steve instead. After boots to the head by Jeff (Jeff placed his boot on his hand and punched Steve repeatedly), Matt won with the Twist of Fate. Matt’s premonition about Crazy Steve being the main threat to King Maxel appeared to be false as Steve announced that Rosemary had kidnapped Maxel after the match. Rosemary tried and failed to kidnap Maxel later in the show (in a sequence that involved a fake baby callback much to my delight) before Reby demanded the battlefield be prepared…..for massacre! *
Ultimate X – TNA X-Division Championship
DJ Z def. Braxton Sutter, Andrew Everett, Mark Andrews, Trevor Lee and Rockstar Spud
This was wrestled under gauntlet rules. Two men started and you could win the match at any time so the earlier you were out the better in this case. DJ Z and Lee started, followed soon after by Everett. Andrews was next and brought the energy up a notch including a big hurricanrana from the cables. After the break everybody had entered. We had a bunch of dives before Lee dropped DJ Z back first on the steps. There was a big stretch of cool moves that Sutter got the best of but Spud took Sutter out with a chair. Everett and Lee both climbed from separate sides and took the belt down together. They fought over it for a moment before DJ Z sprang in and grabbed the belt to become X-Division champion for the first time in four years. DJ Z is one of the most under the radar great wrestlers in the world right now and he’s the perfect guy to carry the division. This was also the best Ultimate X match in a few years. The gauntlet deal meant pretty much nothing but the work was loads of fun and the match wasn’t short changed time wise. ***3/4
Drew Galloway came out to address his attack on Aron Rex last week. Drew pondered why he bothered standing up for TNA in the first place. He wasn’t pleased that the crowd had embraced shiny new toy Aron Rex after Drew lost to EC3 last week. Billy Corgan came out and threatened to suspend Drew but Rex talked him out of it. Rex and Galloway brawled until security separated them. This would have worked a little better had Rex missed a week or two of TV but the pull apart was great.
Ethan Carter III def. Eli Drake
More or less an enhancement match for EC3 with him winning with the One Percenter in fairly short order. While you’d hope Drake would have had a better showing he’s up to nothing right now and EC3 is main eventing the biggest show of the year so…priorities. **
The ring was prepared for celebration as Allie made her way to the ring. Allie thanked the crowd for chanting her name before she was interrupted by Sienna and Maria. Sienna wanted to murder Allie but Maria talked her down. As it turns out the celebration wasn’t for Allie but rather Maria. Maria belittled and berated poor Allie before crushing Allie’s dreams by demanding she lay down. Allie was torn but eventually acquiesced.
TNA Knockouts Championship
Maria def. Allie ©
Maria pinned Allie instantly. NR
Allie was crushed by the loss. A story like this is pretty timeless. Maria is the tyrannical overlord. Allie is the loyal to a fault ally. Maria abuses her power. Allie becomes a sympathetic underdog. Allie finally stands up to Maria. Of course the question is when does Allie finally stand up to Maria. Bound For Glory seems most likely. While you could argue that they should have waited a little longer before pulling the trigger on setting this story in motion (allowing more time for the Maria/Allie relationship to settle in), you can’t really argue with how the crowd has reacted so far.
No Disqualifications – TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Bobby Lashley © def. Mike Bennett
Mike Bennett’s TNA character is basically that of a cockroach. He is more nuisance than threat but he is very difficult to kill. Lashley totally dominated Bennett with Bennett only gaining an advantage due to Maria interference or Moose distraction. Maria’s interference wasn’t enough to put Lashley away so Bennett turned to Moose. Moose declined to help Bennett leading to Lashley winning with a Spear. **1/2
Bennett lambasted Moose and slapped him. Moose didn’t take kindly to that and dropped Bennett with a clothesline. Moose was always a strange pairing especially considering Moose first went face to face with top heel Bobby Lashley and always encouraged crowds to do his chant – so it never felt like a long term pairing. Moose running through Bennett at Bound For Glory and into fresh matches with Rex, EC3, Lashley and Galloway is quite an exciting proposition.
This show did a strong job laying the building blocks for the main Bound For Glory card. EC3 and Lashley both scored wins. Allie’s moment of courage to stand up to Maria has been set in motion. Drew Galloway and Aron Rex are on a collision course. Decay and The Broken Hardys is pure lunacy. Moose has turned on Bennett. And we have a very worthy X-Division champion. A good start on the road to TNA’s biggest show of the year.
Next week though, Delete or Decay. The sequel to The Final Deletion. And while a song from Muppets Most Wanted suggests sequels are never quite as good, there’s a lot of room for fun wacky stuff having the broken brilliance of Matt and Jeff collide with the mystical occultism of Decay. The tease at the end of this show certainly looked like lots of fun.