TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Thursday, January 12
Universal Studios
Orlando, FL

Photos (c)

Last Man Standing
Bobby Lashley def. Ethan Carter III

They jibber jabber a little beforehand to set this up. The winner would be the next contender for Eddie Edwards. The Anthem Owl approved of the match. This paled in comparison to the excellent Moose/Mike Bennett plunder brawl on One Night Only LIVE! last week. Lacking the same frenetic pace, memorable moments and tangible sense of hate – this was just solid. I’d just question why all of a sudden these two are having a Last Man Standing match – which was literally announced before the break, minutes before the match would actually happen. They weren’t on the same page at times and they didn’t entirely click. It got plenty of time, they certainly tried hard but Last Man Standing matches are built on the tension of the ten count. Each successive count should be accompanied by an increase in desperation and tension, an increase in danger – but this just didn’t get there. Not to say it bad though – it was a perfectly enjoyable TV match, it’s just that they seemed to be aiming for more than that. ***1/4

Josh Mathews needs to be addressed. He is a detriment to the overall product. His problem is less that he’s trying to make the product seem more epic, it’s that he is incapable of sounding sincere while doing so. He never sounds like he’s organically excited by what he’s calling. It sounds like he’s faking it. Pope is less of a issue. He is white noise – he neither adds nor detracts. But Josh Mathews’ inability to sound authentic undercuts what’s happening in the ring. It comes across as phony.

Rockstar Spud, who quit last week, was in the ring wearing a sailor get up. He introduced Aron Rex, doing his new Liberace act. Spud sang Rex’s name. Rex was garbed in a white fluffy robe wearing an assortment of rings. He made a Rexellect pun which amused me. He also made a Rexual harassment joke which amused me even more. In defense of Rex, the Impact Grand Championship format was so diametrically opposed to his skill set that it was an unfair way for him to display his talents – but he displayed so little personality that it beggared belief that people actively believed that he was held back by WWE. He was a schtick act trying not to be. He’s back to embracing what he’s good at – playing a character, not himself. Will he be better off than he was last year? Will this new character have any legs? Who knows. But I’m on board to at least get some fun puns.  New serious Robbie E interrupted to question what the hell was going on, before getting dropped with Rex’s loaded punch.

Decay (Abyss and Crazy Steve w/ Rosemary) vs. DCC (Bram and Kingston w/ James Storm) – No Contest

Who are DCC? What do they want? Why are they here? I don’t care about a group attacking people without a reason. Especially when they’re having forgettable TV matches. Steve, who’s a better wrestler than most give credit for, was the driving force behind any energy the match had. I think everybody got counted out, it wasn’t entirely clear, and they brawled for a while. **

Brooke Tessmacher returned in a sit down interview with McKenzie Mitchell. Brooke talked about having a kid and wanting to return to the ring, she came across as likeable and earnest though they could have done with running a little b-roll to give viewers a more visual reminder of who Brooke was. Brooke improved a great deal in her last couple of years with the company and adds a different flavour to a Knockouts division that has a great deal of potential right now. Brooke will make her in ring return next week.

Braxton Sutter def. Mike Bennett

This was a part of the ongoing Allie vs. Maria saga. Allie has been smitten with her wrestling trainer Sutter, but Maria is using Laurel Van Ness to drive a wedge between Allie and Sutter. Bennett vs. Moose this was not. Ho hum TV match. Sutter won with a jacknife pin after Allie came out when Bennett had the match won. Pointless, forgettable matches like this always throw off the general pacing of this show. **

Knockouts champion Rosemary came to the ring. Rosemary, who was presented as a babyface a couple segments ago opposite DCC, shouted about how everybody was going to Decay. Jade demanded a rematch, though I’m not 100% clear on what grounds. Purely because she enjoyed making Jade suffer Rosemary agreed, only if it was a Monsters Ball. Because any TNA confrontation is incapable of ending without physicality, they brawled for a while, Jade teased a Package Piledriver but Rosemary bailed. The Monsters Ball match next week should be very good.

TNA World Tag Team Championship
The Hardys © def. The Wolves

This was the third match between these two teams. The Wolves won the first in 2014 as a precursor to the superb Wolves/Hardys/Team 3D series. The Hardys won the second encounter on the second episode of Impact on Destination America. It wasn’t mentioned why The Wolves were getting a title match (bar some 7 deities mumbo jumbo) – in spite of having an easy built in reason given The Wolves never got a rematch after losing the titles to Beer Money following Richards’ injury. Lacking the same frenetic pace as their earlier matches, this was still two utterly pro teams having a really enjoyable TV main event. Jeff pinned Davey after Eddie was distracted taking out Matt on the floor. Davey was quite mad about it. ***1/2

Final Thoughts:

I basically have a consistent pattern every year when it comes to Impact. In January I’m hopeful – I believe Impact can change. I believe my words can change Impact. If I say something loud enough or often enough, something might change. But Impact is still Impact, for better or worse. Occasional points rise during the year that feel like they could be organic turning points – they rarely actually are.

By April or May I’ve given up and generally try to accept Impact for what it actually is, not what I hope it’ll be. In April or May I may have enjoyed this show more. But it’s January. And I’m hopeful. TNA needs to more than this.