TNA Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Thursday, January 19
Universal Studios
Orlando, FL

Photos (c) jeanmariebiele.com

TNA Mecca co-founder Chris Regal sadly passed away this week after a battle with cancer. Chris was a passionate member of the TNA community and was always pleasant whenever I interacted with him personally. I’d like to offer my condolences to his friends and family.

Race For The Case
Eli Drake, Jeff Hardy, Trevor Lee and Bram def. Jessie Godderz, Crazy Steve, Mahabali Shera, Tyrus, and Mike Bennett

Open Fight Night will return in two weeks. There were cases 1 to 4. That dictated the order people will be allowed to make call outs. So case 1 will have the right of first refusal at a World title match. It’s a step up from Feast or Fired at least. Small victories. There was a lot of rote brawling and climbing here. The sprint of guys hitting their move was fun at least. Drake, Hardy, Lee and Bram won all the cases. **1/4

Bobby Lashley, the number contender for TNA World Heavyweight champion Eddie Edwards, came to the ring. Edwards came out and said he was a fighting champion. Lashley kindly then took a moment to point out just how poorly booked Edwards has been as champion – coming off one fluke win after another. Lashley challenged Edwards to a 30 minute Iron Man match next week. Eddie accepted. Edwards has performed relatively well as the plucky underdog champion but he’s been booked into the ground. Practically all of his defenses have been cheap in some way. TNA clearly consider EC3 and Lashley as bigger stars and that’s always shone through in Edwards’ presentation. And if TNA don’t really believe in Edwards, the audience isn’t going to either. Champions need credibility above all else – otherwise why bother caring.

Brooke def. Deonna Purrazzo

It’s amazing just how much more confident Brooke is as a performer these days. She exudes a real command of the ring. Purrazzo was given a little but this was a clear Brooke showcase and she looked good. Purrazzo did her job well, allowing Brooke be the focus. Brooke won with the Tess Shocker. Sienna attacked Brooke after the match, likely setting up Brooke’s first programme back. **

They did the Race for the Case reveals on an edition of Fact of Life. Drake is now refusing to speak to the crowd because he feels they don’t appreciate his brilliance – so Tyrus did the talking here. They’re continuing with the whole deliberately obnoxious canned laughter thing – which is just off putting more than anything else. Trevor Lee is doing a giant dope schtick now which seems beneath him, given he’s one of the most promising talents on the roster. DCC did some slapstick comedy which, while DCC don’t exactly have a great deal of momentum at the moment, felt tonally jarring relative to the nature of the act – there’s a time and a place to comedy, and with the right people. DCC are apparently anarchists who want to watch the world burn while doing some comedy bits. Hardy got case 1, DCC case 2, Lee had case 3, and much to his dismay Eli Drake ended up with case 4. The only redeeming quality of this was Drake quietly steaming because he got the worst case. It bordered on unwatchable.

Aron Rex and Rockstar Spud def. Robbie E and ‘Swoggle

Aron Rex was more enjoyable here than he’s been for his entire TNA run so far. Embracing comedy schtick has brought life to him – even his exchanges with Robbie (who is an under the radar great fiery babyface) had more energy than any of his prior TNA work. This was surprisingly fun. ‘Swoggle even broke out a Go To Sleep. **1/4

Impact Grand Championship
Drew Galloway def. Moose ©

Bar some format wrinkles this was a lot of fun. They basically just went out there and started throwing bombs. Galloway dropped Moose with a Piledriver and won Round 1. Galloway hit a DVD on the apron which Moose responded to by powerbombing Galloway on the apron. Somehow, in spite of having Moose in the Iron Maiden for a whole minute of the round, Moose was awarded Round 2. The announcers did point out how utterly stupid that was but it still undermines the whole concept – I don’t have a problem with tight rounds going either way, but awarding clear rounds incorrectly is just taking the parts of MMA nobody actually likes.

In spite of how enjoyable the work was, the finish sucked. Galloway deliberately low blowed Moose (I’m not sure was it meant to be presented as an accident but it clearly wasn’t), and rather than be disqualified Drew was simply docked points. There was no prior precedent for this. Nor was Moose given time to recover from the low blow (though I guess that was at Moose’s insistence, so pride was his demise in the end). Galloway hit the Claymore straight after to win the belt. It felt like something they just contrived out of thin air to suit this finish and undermined the sports like presentation of the format. The work here was tremendous fun though – Moose and Galloway have great chemistry. ***1/4

Final Thoughts:

The final two segments helped redeem this show somewhat but nearly everything before that was as poor as this show has been in recent memory. Next week looks more promising though with the big Rosemary vs. Jade Monsters Ball match and Edwards vs. Lashley in a 30 minute Iron Man match.