SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
TNA Impact Wrestling
November 18, 2015
Taped in Orlando, Fla.
Aired on Destination America
Report by PWTorch contributor Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonPW)
As it has over the last several weeks, Impact Wrestling opened with a recap of last week’s episode, including Gail Kim, Ethan Carter III, and Matt Hardy picking up victories in the World Title Series.
Tonight: It’s do-or-die. Awesome Kong vs. Brooke. Bobby Roode vs. Abyss in the main event. Also, ECIII and Matt Hardy will meet face-to-face.
[MM Reax: Interesting here that the video running through tonight’s line-up said “Eric Young is in action,” but didn’t specify that he’s wrestling James Storm.]
In-studio, Josh Mathews and Pope welcome us to the show. Mathews points out that everyone tonight is in a must-win situation.
They throw to a video that highlights the wrestlers already through to the Round of 16, including Gail Kim, ECIII, and Matt Hardy.
Mathews said that Group TNA Originals is tonight’s spotlight and run through some predictions.
1 – BROOKE vs. AWESOME KONG – round-robin match in the World Title Series
Brooke ducks a clothesline from Kong to open the match. They square off again and Brooke again ducks a charging Kong. Brooke looks light on her feet and lands a kick to the legs as Kong again charges. Mathews points out that Brooke’s hand is still taped from a broken finger she suffered in her match with Gail Kim.
Brooke again with kicks to Kong’s legs while also trying to land forearms. Kong has Brooke’s taped hand and she’s wrenching her fingers. Brooke is screaming in pain as she drops to the net and the crowd chants “Brooke! Brooke!” Kong stomps on the hand and then just steps on it while Brooke writhes in pain.
Now back up, Kong in the corner and Brooke is firing off right forearms. Out of the corner Brooke goes for a cover, but only gets a two count after a butterface maker. Mathews wonders what should Brooke do now that she hit her finisher and Kong still kicked out.
As Brooke went to lift Kong, she couldn’t get her up and Kong nails a chokeslam for the win.
WINNER: Awesome Kong via pin in about seven minutes.
[MM Reax: Decent opening match with a very expected finish. TNA did a nice job throughout the round-robin format teasing that Brooke could be an upset winner in this group, but ultimately it should have be Gail Kim and Kong, and that’s exactly who will be moving through.]
[Commercial Break at 9:12]
[Q2] Back from the break, Mathews and Pope show replays of the Brooke-Kong match.
In-studio: Mathews asks Pope how far Gail and Kong and go when they’re competing against the men. Pope said they’ve revolutionized women’s wrestling, so the sky is the limit. But, he says it all comes down to the seeding and who they will face. Mathews said that the Round of 16 will be unveiled next week.
Mathews brings in Hardy and ECIII, who are both joining via satellite, so not exactly “face-to-face.”
Hardy said that being in the Round of 16 means he’s ready to once again win the TNA World Title. He said he swept his group and that he has something to prove. He also praised Robbie E and The Wolves, who were also in his group. Hardy said it’s his time to prove he’s a deserving TNA World Champion.
ECIII said he can’t believe he has to share screen time with Hardy. ECIII said that if he were a true World Champion, he’d be in Group Champions. He called Hardy naval lint. ECIII said getting out of his group proves that he’s a winner, and this World Title Series isn’t over until he wins.
Hardy said that he wants whoever is seeding the Round of 16 to know that the needs to face ECIII in the tournament. Hardy said that this whole situation is about Hardy and ECIII. Hardy said he’s going to take everything ECIII. He said he’s going to take away his undefeated streak. Hardy said he’ll take ECIII’s career.
ECIII said the only thing worse than Hardy’s face is his voice. He called Bound for Glory a conspiracy, and said he hopes he faces Hardy so he can eliminate him. ECIII said if he meets Hardy in the finals, it will be true vengeance and vindication.
Hardy said he feels like he’s the favorite, but ECIII interrupted and said he’s never been beaten. He said he’s the man around TNA, and everything he touches turns to fire. He said he’s going to walk away and watch it burn, and then he hung up on them, essentially. Mathews then cut away from Hardy and said they would try to continue that interview in a little while.
Backstage: Eric Young said that this is James Storm’s last chance. Young said that tonight is not a good night to mess with Eric Young, and he guaranteed Storm he’d get hurt if he showed up tonight. Young said that there was a point in his life he’d lose sleep having to get in the ring with Storm, but now he’s a shadow of his former self.
Tonight: Eric Young vs. James Storm.
[Commercial Break at 9:25]
2 — TNA X-Division Champion TIGRE UNO vs. MANIK — round-robin match in the World Title Series
Plenty of fast-paced offense to start this match and it almost immediately spills to the outside. Uno is down in the aisle and Manik climbs back in for a count-out but Uno gets back in at seven. Manik is all over Uno as the match gets going in the ring. Manik has his foot over Uno’s throat until a four count.
Manik with a side headlock on Uno. He powers him to the ropes, but Uno takes him down. Uno with a boot to the face and a flurry of kicks, including one to the back of the head and plants Manik on the canvas.
Manik goes up top and misses a frog splash, but rolls through it. With Uno back down, Manik goes to the top again, but Uno knocks him off the ropes. Uno sets up Manik for a missile dropkick in the corner and hits a corkscrew for the win.
WINNER: Tigre Uno via pin in about seven minutes.
Post-match: Mathews said because of the three-way tie in the X-Division group, there will be a playoff in that group, but he didn’t say how that would work.
Tonight: Bobby Roode vs. Abyss.
Mathews then throws to a video highlighting the group play of TNA Originals.
[Commercial Break at 9:41]
[Q4] Back from the break, Mathews said that next week it will be a triple threat, sudden-death match. All three will compete, the first person to person to earn a victory is through. Then it becomes a 1-on-1 match, and the next person to win goes on.
Mathews and Pope do more predictions in the studio.
In a pre-taped video, Bobby Roode said he knows Abyss will do whatever it takes to win, but Abyss needs to be asking what Roode would do to win. Roode said that he’ll do whatever he needs to do in order to win the match and earn the right to once again be TNA World Champion.
3 — JAMES STORM vs. ERIC YOUNG — round-robin match in the World Title Series
Right as Eric Young hits the ring, he jumps James Storm and attacks before the bell rings.
[Commercial Break at 9:51]
Back from the break, Young is easily in control. Young tosses James Storm to the outside. The crowd is reacting to Young as the heel and Storm as the babyface, even though he’s been a heel on television. It sounded like a faint “please don’t go” chant was happening right out of the break in this match.
Both men back up, Storm and Young are trading right hands. Storm how in control after catching Young twice and puts him down with a knee to the head. Storm goes for last call but Young ducks it. He goes for a piledriver, but Storm tosses him with a back-body drop. James Storm hits an Eye of the Storm, but Young kicks out.
[Q5 — second hour] Storm misses a backcracker after Young grabbed the ropes. Now in the middle of the ring, Storm hits the backcracker. Storm incites some clapping from the crowd and goes for another Last Call, but Young pulls Hebner in front of him and Storm pauses. EY takes advantage with a low-blow and piledriver for the win.
WINNER: Eric Young via pinfall in about 10 minutes
[MM Reax: That could be the last time we were see James Storm in a TNA ring. If so, it ends one of the best careers in company history. Clearly he’s moved on to NXT, but he was a TNA Original and made his name with that company from the start. … Interesting to see the crowd suddenly react to him as a babyface.]
In-studio: Mathews and Pope look at some highlights of Austin Aries and talk about his upcoming match with Bobby Lashley next week.
[Commercial Break at 10:04]
Back from the break, Mathews recaps Eric Young’s win over James Storm. Mathews then brings Matt Hardy back on the screen to continue the interview.
Hardy-ECIII Interview Take 2
Hardy said that the issue between him and ECIII couldn’t be any more personal than it is. Hardy said that he loves nothing more than taking haters like ECIII and jamming the hate back down their throat.
Hardy said at Bound for Glory, he was the man. Hardy said that he knows ECIII is watching him right now pouting. He said ECIII has never had to deal with someone like him before. Hardy said he’d win the feud, and he’d be TNA World Champion.
Moving forward, Hardy said that he loves his chances. He said he’s confident and he feels like he’s as good as he’s ever been right now. Hardy said he relinquished the title feeling confident he could retain it. Hardy said he was trying to send a message and be an example across the world. He said he relinquished the TNA World Title for the greater good. Hardy said he feels more confident than ever. Hardy said he loves his odds.
Mathews asked Hardy for a pick between Roode and Abyss. Hardy said it would be a hell of a fight, but he needed to go with the guy who was the longest-reigning champion in history, and that’s Bobby Roode. He called Roode the cornerstone of TNA.
[MM Reax: A decent promo from Hardy. Between this and the previous segment, things were a little repetitive, but there also wasn’t really much for Hardy to say. Regardless, he’s a marketable name and it’s nice to see Hardy finally get a push as a main-event player. This promo left a little to be desired, but again, there wasn’t much to say. TNA probably made him go a little longer than they should have. Nothing was said here that we haven’t heard Hardy say either in other interviews or in pre-taped video packages over the last several weeks since Bound for Glory.]
4 — AIDEN O’SHEA vs. MAHABALI SHERA — round-robin match in the World Title Series
Before the bell even rang, O’Shea egged on Shera to punch him on the chin. They start with a lock-up and back into the ropes where the referee breaks the hold. Shera takes down O’Shea as Mathews and Pope talk about how this could be a slugfest.
Mathews said that they’re feeling each other out at this point. Shera with another takeover to flatten O’Shea on the map. O’Shea gets out of the side headlock by pulling Shera’s hair to the mat.
[Q6] Shera applies a headlock on O’Shea again. O’Shea gets to the rope and the official counts for Shera to break. O’Shea and Shera shout back and forth and O’Shea blindsides him with a punch to re-take control of the pace.
With O’Shea is in control, the match is much more physical. Out of the corner, Shera lands a right hand but O’Shea plants him on the bottom turnbuckle. O’Shea has Shera draped over the apron and O’Shea lands multiple shots to the back. Meanwhile, Mathews said it seemed like yesterday that everyone was talking about how innovative the World Titles Series was, and now they’re seeing copycats, obviously referring to WWE’s World Title Tournament for Survivor Series.
O’Shea is sitting on the top turnbuckle. Shera tosses him off the top to the mat. Shera charges out of the corner and hits a pair of clotheslines. Shera scoops up O’Shea and bodyslams him. O’Shea pokes the eyes, though. Shera goes for a big clothesline, but Shera ducks and hits a pop-up powerbomb for the win.
WINNER: Mahabli Shera via pin in about five minutes.
[MM Reax: TNA is clearly building up Shera for the tour of India, but he’s still very green. I’m still not sure, as a viewer, why he’s dancing like a fool. Not everything in pro wrestling needs to be funny. That’s a concept Vince Russo never understood. … Anyway, also an interesting line by Mathews trying to implicate that WWE is a “copycat” for running its own World Title tournament. Really? TNA didn’t invent the tournament format, and I’m sure WWE would much prefer their champion still have an ACL. I guess TNA is copycatting its Full Metal Mayhem match after TLC? Or is that not being a “copycat?” Or the Feast or Fired concept seems like that’s a copycat of the Money in the Bank concept. It just makes TNA sound petty and insecure.]
[Commercial Break at 10:20]
Backstage: Eric Young said it doesn’t matter who is in his way, because he knocks them down and stands tall. He said he proves his opponents are wrong and he’s right. Young said his eyes are the eyes of a winner and he’s never going to stop. He said he will keep winning and taking.
5 — ELI DRAKE vs. CRIMSON — round-robin match in the World Title Series
Mathews notes that Crimson has already been eliminated. Crimson is on the offense early, hitting a standing suplex on Drake. Drake misses a clothesline and Crimson hits a back suplex. Crimson charges Drake and Drake tosses him to the outside. Crimson back in and is now getting his shoulder smashed into the post.
Drake has a game plan, according to Mathews, going after Crimson’s shoulder. Mathews notes that Drake is attacking Crimson’s injured shoulder.
In the middle of the match, ECIII appears in a box on the screen and said he’s ready to talk now, but Mathews tells him to wait because a match is going on. Back in the ring, Crimson hits an elbow on Drake. Crimson lands a clothesline and two more running clotheslines. Crimson charges Drake in the corner with a splash. Crimson is nursing his shoulder as he gets up.
Crimson plants Drake with a right hand. Drake rolls out of the ring amidst pressure from Crimosn. Drake scoops up Crimson for a slam, but drops him on his shoulder. Drake then wrenches the injured arm of Crimson in a standing arm bar, and Crimson taps out.
WINNER: Eli Drake in about five minutes via submission.
[MM Reax: I’ll have to go back through old recaps, but I think this is the first full match we’ve seen from Crimson in this tournament.]
ECIII-Hardy Interview Take 3
Mathews welcomes ECIII back in. ECIII said he’s not okay, because the thing he loves the most was taken from him and he couldn’t do anything about it. ECIII called himself distraught.
ECIII said he gets no respect in TNA. He wasn’t fed tomato cans, he said. He said he became TNA World Champion by beating the best champion ever, Kurt Angle. ECIII said he wouldn’t be okay until he beats Matt Hardy.
Mathews asked if ECIII is obsessed with Matt Hardy. ECIII said no, he’s only obsessed with beating Matt Hardy. ECIII said he wants to make sure Hardy never wrestles again. Mathews asked ECIII for a pick between Lashley and Aries. ECIII said that he’s beaten Lashley twice this year. ECIII then bragged a bit more and the show crashed to a break.
[Commercial Break at 10:35]
Back from the break, Mathews runs down what we’ve seen tonight, including all the winners.
In-studio: Mathews and Pope play more prediction games.
6 — ABYSS vs. BOBBY ROODE — round-robin match in the World Title Series
The bell rings and Roode and Abyss are staring across the ring at each other. They slowly walk to the middle of the ring. Mathews said that Abyss needs to turn this into a fight. They lock up.
[Q8] After some back-and-forth with lock-ups, Roode is in control and charges Abyss int he corner. Abyss right back however with his own splashes into the corner. Abyss goes for a chokeslam but Roode blocks it and fires off some kicks to Abyss’s thighs.
Sidewalk slam from Abyss.
[Commercial Break at 10:47]
Back from the break, Abyss enters the ring with a chair. Earl Hebner warns him that he’ll be disqualified, but Abyss sets up the chair between the ropes in the corner. Roode schoolboys Abyss, but Hebner is out of position after removing the chair. Abyss kicks out at two and then slows the pace back down with a stiff clothesline to Roode.
Abyss is leaning on Roode’s chin but Roode starts to get back into the match with elbows to Abyss’s gut. Matthews said there are five minutes remaining. Roode starts hitting clotheslines on Abyss after charging off the ropes. Third time’s the charge and he has Abyss down. Roode off the second rope with a blockbuster, but Abyss kicks out.
Under four minutes left.
Abyss charges Roode in the corner, but Roode leap frogs him and Abyss goes into the chair set up in the corner. Abyss is down now and Roode has a cross-face applied. Roode is cranking on the cross-face, but Abyss drags him to the corner and breaks the hold by snatching the ropes.
Abyss back up and chokeslams Roode but Roode kicks out at two. Abyss seems frustrated and he rolls to the outside. Abyss goes under the ring and grabs Janice. Mathews said that if Abyss uses it, Roode is done. There are two minutes left. Hebner tells Abyss he can’t use it, but Abyss raises Janice at him and he ducks out of the ring. Abyss swings at Roode, but Roode ducks and hits a spinebuster for the win.
WINNER: Bobby Roode via pin in about 14 minutes.
Post-match: Mathews said there was only about 90 seconds left in the match. The show goes off the air with Roode walking up the ramp in celebration.
Next week: Austin Aries vs. Lashley in the main event.
[MM Reax: Solid show with more interview time than we’ve seen from other World Title Series episodes of Impact. The main event was a very good match, with Abyss looking better here against Roode than he has in any match over the last year at least, if not longer. Roode won, but Abyss seemed more like a monster here than he has over the last several months.
The Matt Hardy interview was a little long, but if TNA is heading in the direction of a Hardy-ECIII final, this was the start of that build. At the very least, it’s very apparent that ECIII and Hardy will meet at some point in this tournament.
Finally, a random thought, but I’m somewhat surprised that we haven’t seen or heard from Kurt Angle at all during the World Title Series. Realizing he was injured when these matches were taped, he did make his in-ring return at Bound for Glory and I would have thought, even if just as a guest analyst or something, that TNA would have wanted to use arguably its most marketable name at some point during these episodes.]
Current World Title Series Standings
Top two finishers from each group advance. Bold means a wrestler has locked in to advance. Italic means a wrestler cannot advance.
1 — Ethan Carter III (7)
1 — Austin Aries (4)
3 — Bobby Lashley (3)
4 — Mr. Anderson (0)
1 — Drew Galloway (6)
2 — Rockstar Spud (3)
2 — Bram (3)
4 — Grado (0)
1 — Gail Kim (6)
1 — Awesome Kong (6)
3 — Brooke (3)
3 — Madison Rayne (3)
1 — Mahabali Shera (9)
2 — Kenny King (3)
2 — Aiden O’Shea (3)
4 — Crazzy Steve (0)
Group TNA Originals
1 — Eric Young (9)
2 — Bobby Roode (6)
3 — Abyss (3)
3 — James Storm (3)
Group Tag Team Specialists
1 — Matt Hardy (9)
2 — Robbie E. (3)
3 — Davey Richards (1)
3 — Eddie Edwards (1)
Group X Division
1 — Manik (6)
1 — D.J. Z (6)
1 — Tigre Uno (6)
4 — Mandrews (0)
Group Future 4
1 — Eli Drake (6)
2 — Micah (4)
3 — Jessie Godderz (3)
4 — Crimson (0)
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