Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Thursday, August 24
Universal Studios
Orlando, FL

oVe (Jake and Dave Crist) def. The Heatseekers

Unlike last week where Cade and Wentz looked competitive, this was more of a straight squash for oVe. They looked solid again and the tag division needs more opposition for LAX. Hopefully oVe can be the rivals LAX need right now considering they didn’t seem to want to do more than one Garza Jr and Laredo Kid match. And VOW sure weren’t cutting it. Solid squash. *

Taryn Terrell, who has apparently reconciled playing a sexualised psychopath with her new found faith, returned saying she’s sick of Gail Kim hogging the limelight (and was also mad about Kim not following her on Twitter). Long story short Terrell, who is playing a variation on her Dollhouse character, wants to retire Kim.

Grado, having failed to secure a spouse, came out to bid farewell before being deported. Grado needs to return to his home planet. Grado listed the variety of American food staples he’d miss before thanking everybody. Just as he was taking his final bow, a distinctly no longer crazy Laurel Van Ness came to the ring. Laurel proposed, Grado said “Aye”, nobody knew what that meant, he then said yes and everybody danced. This was a delight. Grado and Joe Parks facials were amazing. Kongo Kong looked to ruin proceedings again before Mahabali Shera (coming to his old pal Grado’s aide) ran him off. Grado and Laurel can finally wed.

Jim Cornette was involved in a variety of pretapes throughout the show and regardless of how you feel about him as a person, he was leaps and bounds better than Prichard, Karen Jarrett, and Dutch Mantel have been filling the same role. If he is the sole authority figure on this show then there are few better to fill that role. If he’s one of four, that will be a serious problem.

GFW Global Championship – Gauntlet For The Gold
Eli Drake def. Eddie Edwards, Mario Bokara, Kingston, Braxton Sutter, Richard Justice, EC3, Kongo Kong, Suicide, Mahabali Shera, Chris Adonis, El Hijo Del Fantasma, Johnny IMPACT, Garza Jr, Fallah Bahh, KM, Taiji Ishimori, Bobby Lashley, Moose and Low Ki

The Gauntlet for the Gold name goes all the way back to the first ever TNA show – where Ken Shamrock captured the NWA World title after defeating Malice. Interesting stories included the return of Kingston for the first time since the demise of the DCC, Shera and Kong continuing their dispute, Johnny IMPACT’s debut (he looked good), and Lashley wrecking everybody. Moose, Lashley, Drake, IMPACT and Eddie Edwards were the final five. Moose dumped out Lashley before Edwards reversed a pop up powerbomb to take out Moose. Drake eliminated IMPACT from the outside after going through the ropes.

Edwards and Drake who entered #1 and #2 were the final two – winner by pinfall or submission. Drake and Edwards had a super fun three minutes closing spring with some great teases and counters before Drake picked up the win with with a Celtic Cross. Recent Impact gauntlet matches have been a tad dull but this was good fun – the action kept ticking over, the final five period was fun and the closing stretch was great. They had Lashley and the American Top Team attack a referee again which was very dumb to take the spotlight off of Drake when he had just won the Global title. It’s funny actually, the Global title used to be a TNA midcard belt and now its the name of GFW’s headline title. Drake is more than capable of carrying this role if he’d not kneecapped by booking tropes from 1999. Of the last twenty five TNA/GFW title reigns, fifteen of them have been first time champions. Hopefully they’ve learned why a lot of those didn’t stick. ***1/4

I am a big fan of the choice of winner, even if they could’ve spent some more time getting there. Drake debuted as an utterly bland babyface doing a Rock knock off act and as 2016 progressed he found a voice all his own and improved rapidly. He showed all the promise that a portion of TNA die hards pretended he had when he debuted in 2015. He is somebody who is very much worth taking a chance on and recent matches with El Patron, Eddie Edwards and EC3 have proved he is capable of carrying matches at that level.

They’ve done very little to build toward or prepare Drake for this role though. After being elevated in the back half of 2016, he faded into the background for much of 2017 – feuding with football players and reality TV stars. They could have taken their time getting there – built toward Drake’s crowning moment over the weeks leading to Bound For Glory. Hopefully at least they give Drake every chance to succeed from here. Hopefully he doesn’t become every tired heel champion we’ve had in TNA history – just another poor imitation of Jeff Jarrett. That same template that has plagued TNA for 15 years and shouldn’t plague GFW too. Because if it does it will sink Drake before he even has a chance.

Final Thoughts:

A fairly straightforward show, consisting predominantly of one match and some angles. That main event was a lot of fun though and served its purpose of having Drake run a gauntlet of 19 other men to capture the top title in the company. Hopefully he thrives from here.