Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Thursday, October 13
Soundstage 20, Universal Studios
Well here we are. I’m sure you’ve all desperately missed an Impact review these last two weeks. Bound For Glory happened. TNA still exists for now at least. The battle for company ownership is becoming increasingly bitter and messy. I honestly don’t even know what to say about everything going on about the future of TNA anymore, so how about we just get lost in two hours of wrestling?
New TNA World Heavyweight Champion Eddie Edwards, the 38th reign in nine years and the 20th man to hold the belt, opened the show to a chorus of “You deserve it!” chants. Edwards thanked the fans and said that he is now the man in TNA. Edwards promised to face all comers as Lashley made his entrance and they brawled. Lashley overwhelmed Edwards with a Spear before EC3 and Moose made the save. I’m not a great fan of an underdog champion being left on his back on the first night of his reign, especially given the out of nowhere nature of Edwards win. Edwards is somebody you innately root for but he needs credibility as champion or people won’t care about him. Nobody wants to watch a loser or a fluke. Moose vs. EC3, with the winner facing Lashley next week to determine the number one contender, was announced as the main event.
Impact Grand Championship
Aron Rex © def. Jessie Godderz
You can read the Impact Grand Championship rules here. Godderz controlled and won Round 1. Godderz also won Round 2 comfortably. Rex scored the pin after cheap shotting Godderz as he invited him to reenter the ring. I like the idea that Rex is basically a fraud who only won the Grand Championship because he dodged wrestling Drew Galloway at Bound For Glory and now he’s struggling to beat even the most meager of wrestlers under Grand Championship rules, resorting to underhanded tactics and last minute saves to do so. That’s a neat idea. The problem is the work here was painfully bland. Rex condescendingly applauded Godderz after the match. *
They say the best pro wrestling characters are simply a reflection of a persons own personality dialed up as much as possible. That’s a fine idea if someones base personality is pretty interesting – taking beer drinking redneck Steve Austin to it’s trash talking ass kicking logical Stone Cold extreme or example – but that principle doesn’t hold if somebody isn’t particularly exciting to begin with. Aron Rex seems like a perfectly nice, affable fellow. So when he plays himself, like he has been for the last few months, he comes across like an entirely pleasant but utterly forgettable fellow. Thankfully rather than trying to fit a square peg in a round hole to the detriment of the overall product TNA has recognised the short comings in Rex’s character and have sought to course correct with a heel turn. Rex was at his best elsewhere when he was embodying a character to its fullest, hopefully playing a character rather than himself will invigorate him here.
Brother Nero and Broken Matt made their way to the ring to celebrate their tag team title victory. Matt declared them the greatest tag team champions in the world, better even than The Bucks of Youth or The Day of the New. Jeff Hardy sang a eulogy for Decay. The Tribunal attacked The Hardys to set them up as their next potential challengers. In spite of being on television for six months, Josh Mathews felt the need to differentiate between Dax and Baraka. That says it all really. The Tribunal were dressed like goons that Liam Neeson would indiscriminately murder in a Taken film. They are functional but extremely simple wrestlers. Though The Hardys are good enough wrestlers and characters to take the blank ciphers that are The Tribunal and make something half way decent of it.
Cody (Rhodes) def. Mike Bennett
Cody controlled the early exchanges including springboard dive before a Maria distraction allowed Bennett to hit a draping DDT off the guardrail. Cody made a comeback and hit the Beautiful Disaster. Cody missed a moonsault allowing Bennett to his a superkick and a Pedigree but Cody kicked out. Both men exchanged punches before Cody hit the Cross Rhodes for the win. I’ve insisted since he left WWE that TNA is the best fit for Cody Rhodes. TNA’s style isn’t dramatically dissimilar to WWE’s and the burden of expectation is lower relative to Evolve or PWG. Cody slots right in and can work a little above the general level asked of the TNA roster. Cody looked really sharp here. ***1/4
TNA X-Division Championship
DJ Z © def. Marshe Rockett
The idea here is that Rockett (who got a little video package before the match) is getting a shot due to have close ties to Billy Corgan. Rockett was on the losing side of the Team X Gold six man last week. I really hope Corgan doesn’t become too large a character on this show. Authority figures who overstep a simple matchmaking role have long outstayed their place in wrestling. Rockett dominated with his power. DJZ fired back with his speed. Simple formula but it worked for what it was. DJZ is tremendous and TNA should get behind him as much as humanly possible. Rockett looked much better here than he did in some of his Xplosion matches. **1/2
TNA Knockouts Championship – Title vs. Power
Gail Kim © def. Maria Kanellis-Bennett
All of Maria’s pals were banned from ringside. Kim dropped Maria in a bin and rolled her down the ramp. Maria turned the tide with weapons, Gail did the same. Kim hit a Kendo stick assisted Eat Defeat only to pull Maria up at 2. Kim then hit a trash can assisted Eat Defeat for the win. Considerably better than their Bound For Glory match, this was a simple fun little plunder brawl. **1/4
Moose def. Ethan Carter III
They traded control before Moose took it forcibly with a bicycle kick and a Death Valley Driver on the apron. EC3 turned the tide again with a missile dropkick. Moose scored a nearfall off a popup powerbomb followed by a senton. Moose hit the Go to Hell but EC3 reversed the Game Changer into a backslide for two. Moose followed with the Game Changer to the back of the head for the win. This feeds further into Eli Drake’s narrative that EC3 chokes when it matters and it sets up the Lashley vs. Moose match that TNA has been building toward since July for next week. This was pretty solid. Taped pretty late in the taping the crowd just didn’t seem too interested and the work, in spite of the effort clearly being there, didn’t really bring them into the match. Enjoyable but nothing special. **3/4
A pretty meh first hour was followed by a much more enjoyable hour two with some fun wrestling. Next week features Eddie Edwards vs. Cody for the World title and the long awaited Bobby Lashley vs. Moose match.