It’s a new day for TNA Impact on Pop TV. Included are the semi-finals and finals of the TNA Title Series, plus more developments from the first Impact on Pop…
TNA Impact Wrestling TV Report
January 5, 2016
Live in Bethlehem, Pa.
Episode #1 on Pop TV
Report by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonPW), PWTorch contributor
Impact opens with a very dramatic video package highlighting the importance of the TNA World Title, as well as giving a synopsis of the World Title Series. In the package, Ethan Carter III said the whole series is based on a loss he never should have had. Hardy said that he could have whined after relinquishing the title, but he looks at it as a chance to prove he’s deserving of the title.
The new opening package, with music by Billy Corgan, then aired.
Arena: Josh Mathews welcomes us to the show and says they are sold out, as well as saying tonight is a new era. Pope is ringside with Mathews at an announce table. Pope says the fans are setting the place on fire.
In-ring: Dixie Carter kicks off the show cutting a promo. Dixie said that Pop is all about the fans. She says she’s committed to making this year the most exciting year ever. Dixie says that wrestling has always been a vital part of pop culture, and nothing is more vital to wrestling than the TNA World Title.
Ethan Carter III’s music cuts her off and he walks to the ring along with Tyrus. ECIII goes for a babyface reaction, saying it’s electric in the building. He said it’s time for a Carter family reunion. He said that during the holidays his invitation must have been lost in the mail. He said he’d like to have an airing of grievances.
An “ECIII!” chant breaks out.
ECIII said that grievance No. 1 was that it upset Dixie when he beat Kurt Angle for the World Title. No. 2, he said it upsets Dixie how well he defended the title. His third grievance was that she robbed him at Bound For Glory. ECIII said that it’s over tonight. He said that tonight, the World Title Series isn’t over until he wins, and it ends tonight because he’ll win.
Dixie interrupts and says that ECIII needs to take a long hard look in the mirror at all he’s done. She said that all of this is because of him. Dixie said that Matt Hardy won the World Title at Bound For Glory and ECIII used lawyers to get his way. She said that most people think he robbed Matt, not the other way around.
Out comes Matt Hardy who starts talking over his music, who said this was the same old ECIII song and dance. Hardy said that the only people who got robbed were the fans when the legal team took the World Title and held it up.
Hardy gave the fans a spoiler, and said he’s winning. Hardy said that winning the title is his destiny. Hardy said don’t blame anyone but him, because he’s taking the title.
Eric Young then charged into the ring out of nowhere and attacked Hardy, his semi-final opponent in the tournament. ECIII, E.Y., and Tyrus then triple-teamed Hardy, which Mathews called a 3-on-1 mugging.
Lashley charged the ring to help Hardy. He clotheslined ECIII and E.Y. Tyrus then grabbed Lashley for punches, but missed a splash in the corner. Lashley applied a sleeper hold., but E.Y. broke it up. Lashley whipped Young into the ropes and hit a back body drop. Hardy tosses ECIII out of the ring and then Young.
The brawl continued on the outside. Hardy got Young back in the ring and they continued to brawl. On the outside ECIII and Tyrus and double-teamed Lashley. Hardy dumped E.Y. out of the ring, then Hardy went to the top and dove onto ECIII, Tyrus, and Lashley on the outside, sending Impact to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:13]
[Q2] TNA ran an ad hyping the live “One Night Only” pay-per-view on Friday.
Josh Mathews recaps the brawl that took place right before and then during the break.
1 — BOBBY LASHLEY vs. ETHAN CARTER III (w/Tyrus) — World Title Series semi-final match
Pope says he is picking Lashley in this match. Lashley and ECIII lock up to begin the match. Lashley charges his shoulder into ECIII’s gut in the corner and then tosses him with a belly-to-belly suplex. Lashley goes to charge ECIII again, but he bails to the outside.
ECIII rolls Lashley to the outside and Tyrus bodyslams him. Pope says he’s sick of Tyrus interfering and Tyrus confronts Pope at ringside, who was suddenly quiet.
Back in the ring, ECIII is wearing down Lashley with a modified sleeper of some kind. Lashley is trying to power out and the crowd begins to get behind him. Lashley gets out and hits the ropes, but ECIII hits a dropkick.
Lashley hits a clothesline and whips ECIII to the corner. Lashley begins to power his shoulder into ECIII again while ECIII is prone in the corner. Lashley covers, but only gets a two count. ECIII hits a jawbreaker and then a diving clothesline in the corner. ECIII hits a TKO, but Lashley pops his shoulder up at two.
Lashley is back in control. He plants ECIII with a bodyslam. He goes to the corner trying to line up a spear, but Tyrus grabs his ankle. Lashley again gets ECIII up, but Tyrus is on the apron. Lashley drops ECIII and and charges Tyrus to get him off the apron. ECIII then rolls up Lashley from behind for the win.
WINNER: ECIII via pinfall at 9:21. The World Title Series always felt as if it was going to come down to Hardy and ECIII and that seems apparent here. That’s fine, too. ECIII is one of the best things TNA has, so utilizing him in main-event spots is smart.
Backstage: Kurt Angle was shown arriving.
[Commercial Break at 9:26]
Back from the break, A vignette airs for Miracle, who will debut tonight.
Backstage: Bobby Roode is shown arriving and is asked for his thoughts on his Open Challenge for the King of the Mountain Title. Roode said he’s been in TNA for 10 years and he said he plans on backing it up. Tonight, Roode said his open challenge is laid out to anyone, from any promotion and he means any promotion. Roode said that tonight the world will find out it pays to be rude.
[Q3] Arena: Kurt Angle’s music hits and Mathews said he’s here to address his future.
A “Thank you Angle!” chant breaks out. Angle says that this is incredible. He tells the crowd “No, thank you.”
Angle said tonight’s a night to celebrate the fan in all of us. He said he’s been blessed to be in the spotlight for the past 20 years, from winning an Olympic gold medal to winning 13 World Titles. Angle said he couldn’t have done it without the fans.
Angle starts to choke up. He said it’s an honor every time he steps through the curtain. Angle is getting very emotional in the ring. He said every time he steps through the curtain he’s living his dream. Angle said it’s a very exciting time for Impact, which is also his new home for some of the most important matches he’ll ever have.
Angle said that he’s made it public he plans to step down. The crowd begins to chant “One more match!” He said he’s faced some of the best of all-time, naming The Rock, Triple H, Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Eric Young, ECIII, Bobby Lashley, and Bobby Roode. Angle said it’s important for him to have high-caliber matches for his farewell tour.
Angle said he’s thought about who he wants to wrestle. He said there’s so much talent right behind the screen. He named Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards. Angle said that he personally picked Drew Galloway to face him in next week’s main event as part of his farewell tour.
Drew Galloway steps out on the stage. He walks into the ring and shakes hands with Angle. Galloway says he might need a second. He said he’s honored by the things he said and he’s honored that he chose him to face him in the main event next week. Galloway said he arrived in TNA with a bang. He said he fights for what he believes in.
Galloway said this is beyond words and he won’t let it slip away. Jessie Godderz then interrupts and said that he is the future of pro wrestling. Godderz takes a photo of himself and said he’d put it on social media. He said he knows that Kurt is old and isn’t aware of what that is. Godderz said that he’s the veteran on Pop TV, not Angle.
Out walks Eli Drake, who says Godderz is real popular with 13-year-old girls. Drake says that if Angle, an old dinosaur, talks about the future of wrestling and fails to mention Eli Drake, he has it wrong.
Drake said that he and Godderz aren’t friends, but if they teamed up they would wipe The Wolves, who Angled mentioned by name, off the map. Drake called Galloway a waste of space. Drake said it’s time for Galloway to “stand up” and take a walk.
Angle said that unlike Drake, Galloway does things with action. Angle said they’re live, and everyone has a few minutes. Angle challenges Drake and Godderz to a fight against him and Galloway. They hit the ring and a brawl ensues.
Drake and Godderz gain the early advantage. Angle locks in an anklelock on Godderz, who rolls to the outside. Galloway tosses Drake to the outside as Angle and Galloway stand tall.
Backstage: Jeremy Borash is trying to catch up with Matt Hardy. Jeff Hardy answers the door and said he wasn’t out there because he was getting Matt’s family settled. Jeff said that by the end of the night, Matt Hardy will be World Champion.
Up Next: Matt Hardy vs. Eric Young.
[Commercial Break at 9:42]
Another promo for Friday’s “One Night Only” pay-per-view airs as TNA returns from commercial break.
[Q4] Arena: Eric Young is in the ring with a mic and said that Matt Hardy is finished. E.Y. said that Hardy isn’t coming, and that he’s the next finalist. Young demands that the referee count Hardy out. Hardy’s music then hits for his introduction and he limps to the ring.
2 — MATT HARDY vs. ERIC YOUNG — World Title Series semi-final match
The match begins on the ramp as E.Y. charges Hardy and Hardy plants him with a back drop. The referee makes them get into the ring and Hardy lands a right hand. Hardy is limping as he walks. E.Y. whips him to the ropes, but Hardy hits a tackle.
Hardy goes for an early Twist of Fate, but E.Y. throws him off. Hardy climbs to the top, but Young cuts him off and has him tied up in the ropes. Hardy is hanging upside down in the corner and E.Y. chokes him with a boot.
Eric Young drives an elbow to Hardy as he takes him to the outside. On the floor, Young pulls back the ringside mats and grabs Hardy, but Hardy fights back. Young hits Hardy with a back suplex on the steps. Eric Young rolls Hardy back into the ring.
E.Y. hits a right hand as Hardy tries to charge at him off the ropes. Hardy comes back with a right hand and now they’re trading right hands in the middle of the ring. Hardy charges E.Y. in the corner and then hits a bulldog, but only gets a two count. Hardy hits a side effect for another two count.
Hardy and Young spill to the outside. They’re both slow to get up on the concrete floor, because the mat is still pulled back. E.Y. piledrives Matt Hardy on the concrete floor. E.Y. rolls back into the ring looking for a count-out win. Jeff Hardy is out checking on Matt, then Eric Young hits a sliding kick on Jeff Hardy on the outside.
E.Y. picks up Matt Hardy and rolls him back into the ring. He then starts yelling at Jeff Hardy. E.Y. climbs to the top and goes for a dive, but Matt Hardy catches him with a Twist of Fate for the win.
WINNER: Matt Hardy via pin at 8:08. And there we have it, our title match of ECIII vs. Hardy is set.
Up Next: Bobby Roode issues an open challenge for the King of the Mountain Title.
Backstage: Someone is shown arriving at the building, but his back is to the camera, so we can’t see who it is. Pope said his sources have told him who it is.
[Commercial Break at 9:56]
Backstage: Eric Young is flipping out backstage saying everyone is against him and everyone will pay.
Backstage: ECIII and Tyrus confront Jeff Hardy, calling him the crooked referee. Hardy said that tonight they’ll have no one to blame, and Matt Hardy will be the new World Hvt. Champion. ECIII and Tyrus storm off.
[Q5 — second hour] Arena: Bobby Roode makes his entrance. Pope says he thinks he knows who the challenger is going to be.
Bram walks out and says to cut his music. Bram asks Roode if he’s surprised it’s him. Bram said he hates everyone, and Roode is no exception. Bram then says that 2006 is his year (yes, 2006).
3 — BOBBY ROODE vs. BRAM — open challenge for the King of the Mountain Title
Bram and Roode start with some brawling before Roode clotheslines Bram to the outside. Pope brags that his sources were correct.
Bram grabs Roode’s legs from the outside and tries to wrap his leg around the post but Roode kicks him off. Mathews tries to explain the King of the Mountain Title, noting that it can be defended anywhere, in any type of match.
Roode runs down Bram on the ramp. Roode rolls Bram back into the ring. Bram begs for mercy and then tosses Roode back to the outside. More brawling on the outside, then Bram tosses Roode into the guardrail but Roode no sells it, bounces off, and hits a clothesline.
Roode picks up Bram for a Roode Bomb, but Bram grabs the ropes. Bram drags Roode back to the outside, driving Roode’s back into the ring and then tossing him into the guardrail again.
Bram rolls Roode back into the ring. He charges Roode in the corner, but Roode hits a boot. Roode misses a dive off the top, then Bram hits a spinning heel kick but Roode kicks out at two.
Bram rolls up Roode for a two count, then hits what looks like Rock Bottom, but Roode kicks out at two again. Roode then reverses a suplex into the Roode Bomb for the win.
WINNER: Bobby Roode via pin at 4:20.
After the match, Eric Young charges the ring and tries to hit Roode with suplex, but Roode reverses it. He picks up Young for a Roode Bomb, but Bram hits a low blow. Bram and E.Y. then double team Bobby Roode.
Suddenly, James Storm then returns, hitting the ring to lay out Bram and Eric Young. Storm grabs a mic. He said that about five or six months ago he kept being asked why he left Impact Wrestling. Storm said it was because he didn’t like where he was going. He said he didn’t know it until his granny told him it wasn’t him. (Storm is cutting a babyface promo here.) He said he wasn’t having fun.
Storm said that as he was traveling, wrestling everywhere, trying to figure out his next move, he was sitting at home and he saw Impact while flipping through channels. He said he saw that he got the biggest disappointment award from Pope during the World Title Series. Storm said he took exception to that because he put everything he had into TNA over the last 13 years.
Storm said that TNA didn’t make James Storm, guys like James Storm made TNA. Storm pointed at Roode and said, “then there’s you.” He said they drank a lot of beer together. Storm said that they made a lot of money together. Storm said, “So, I say, it’s time to go back to having fun.” He grabs a beer at ringside and brings it over to Bobby Roode, who looks hesitant to accept it. Roode grabs it and says, “Money!”
Backstage: Jeremy Borash is talking to the Beautiful People. Angelina Love, who is very pregnant, said that she won’t be wrestling tonight because she’s pregnant. But, she said she’s here to support Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne. Angelina said that this is the Beautiful People’s house.
[Commercial Break at 10:14]
[Q6] Coming back from the break, TNA airs another promo for Friday’s One Night Only.
Backstage: Storm and Roode said that Eric Young and Bram made a huge mistake. He said that at One Night Only, Beer Money returns and will challenge E.Y. and Bram.
4 — THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (MADISON RAYNE & VELVET SKY) & Knockouts champion GAIL KIM vs. THE DOLLHOUSE (MARTI BELL & JADE & REBEL) — six-Knockouts tag match
Gail Kim and Jade start the match. Some quick tags and Madison Rayne is in there against Rebel. She hits a dropkick. Rebel then plants Madison face-first after a body scissor. Rebel has Madison Rayne in a submission hold and Marti Bell comes in to dropkick her.
Madison though gets back up and tags Gail Kim. Marti Bell and Gail Kim are legal now. Velvet Sky charges into the ring but gets cut off by Marti Bell. All six women are in the ring now. Jade hits a spinning kick on Gail Kim for a two count.
Jade misses another kick, but follows up with a suplex for a two count. Jade scoops up Gail, but Gail reverses it into a bodyscissor for the pin.
WINNERS: Gail Kim and the Beautiful People at 4:18.
After the match, the Dollhouse attacks. Awesome Kong’s music hits and she takes her time getting to the ring. The Dollhouse backs off. Kong and Rayne square off with the Dollhouse, but Kong turns and nails Rayne. Kong grabs Gail Kim and hits an Implantbuster. Jade and Marti Bell then raise Kong’s hands.
Still to come: Matt Hardy vs. Ethan Carter III for the TNA World TItle.
Another vignette airs for The Miracle, which Mathews says will happen next.
[Commercial Break at 10:28]
[Q7] Back from the break, Mathews and Pope welcome us back to the show. Mathews asks Pope who he believes will win the TNA Title tournament, but Mathews said something is happening, as the lights go out.
Maria Kanellis is on the stage. She welcomes us to her place of worship. She said her name is Maria, and she’s the first lady of professional wrestling.
Maria said that while everyone is hoping and praying that someone will save professional wrestling, today is the most blessed day. Because everyone wants a miracle. She asked if the crowd believed in miracles? She said she does, and his name is Mike Bennett.
Bennett walks out on stage in a white suit and a gold hat. Maria is wearing a gold dress. Mathews said that Bennett was one of wrestling’s most sought free agents, and Bennett is a game-changer in TNA.
Bennett said that just like that, the Internet darling becomes the miracle that will save TNA. Bennett said there had been a lot of buzz about what, or who, was The Miracle. He said the people know him know that he’s an international superstar, a real-life superhero, and pro wrestling’s Jesus.
Bennett said that pro wrestling needs a miracle. He said it was mainstream, and now it’s filled with washed-up throwaways. Bennett said he’s going to change all that. Bennett said that later tonight, Matt Hardy will wrestle for the TNA World Title against ECIII, but that’s not the moment that will save pro wrestling. He said that’s not the miracle pro wrestling needs. Bennett said that the miracle will be when the TNA World Title is in his hands.
Backstage: Matt Hardy is shown with his family, getting ready for the finals of the World Title Series.
[Commercial Break at 10:39]
Another promo for Friday’s One Night Only aired coming out of the break.
Backstage: Galloway thanked Kurt Angle for the opportunity next week. Galloway said he’s not taking this lightly, and he called it the opportunity of a lifetime. Angle said he’s not going out without a fight.
The Wolves show up and thank Angle for putting them over in his promo. Richards said that they never saved Kurt, so they had an idea. Kurt Angle and Drew Galloway vs. The Wolves.
Drake and Godderz enter and say they won’t be ignored. Drake says they want in on the match, so it will be The Wolves vs. Angle & Galloway vs. Drake & Godderz on Friday night.
[Q8] Arena: ECIII makes his ring entrance, followed by Matt Hardy, who has Jeff Hardy with him. Jeremy Borash handles the introductions. Jeff Hardy then takes the mic and says that he believes in his brother enough to walk to the back, and asks if Tyrus believes in ECIII enough to do the same. Tyrus says, “Cool,” and walks off, as ECIII looks confused.
Before the World Title match, Mathews throws to a look back at Schitts Creek on Pop TV.
5 — ETHAN CARTER III vs. MATT HARDY — World Title Series Final
ECIII and Matt Hardy approach each other slowly in the middle of the ring and then start brawling. It quickly spills to the outside. Hardy takes ECIII and runs him over the announce table, sending Mathews and Pope scrambling. Hardy rolls ECIII back into the ring.
ECIII takes control back in the ring. ECIII whips Hardy to the corner. He charges Hardy, but Hardy ducks. Matt Hardy then hits a clothesline. He tries for a bulldog, but ECIII avoids it.
Hardy is in trouble in the corner. ECIII jumps to the outside and kicks Hardy’s head into the ringpost. Mathews says that Hardy is out cold. ECIII rolls into the ring to break up the 10 count but then goes back to the outside. He climbs the steps and grabs Hardy. ECIII tries to pick up Hardy on the steps but Hardy reverses it, somewhat, as they awkwardly fall off the steps.
Hardy goes to the top rope. He lands a moonsault on ECIII and covers for a two count. Hardy goes for a Twist of Fate, but ECIII reverses it. He sends Hardy into the rope, but Hardy comes back with a side effect for a two count, after hooking both legs. Hardy hits a second and a third side effect. ECIII kicks out at two again.
Mathews reminds us that ECIII has never been pinned. Hardy tries for a Twist of Fate, but ECIII reverses it. ECIII hits two TKOs. ECIII picks up Hardy again for another TKO, but Hardy reverses it into a fourth Twist of Fate.
[Q9 – over-run] Hardy covers ECIII, but ECIII is on his stomach and Hardy doesn’t realize it. Hardy then picks up ECIII and tries for another Twist of Fate, but ECIII hits a dropkick and the One Percenter, but Hardy kicks out — barely — at two.
ECIII cuts a smile and shakes his head as he stands back up. Hardy is flat on his stomach. ECIII is yelling at Hardy to stay down. Hardy climbs up, slowly, and out of nowhere hits a Twist of Fate, but ECIII kicks out again.
Hardy charges ECIII in the corner and lifts him to the top turnbuckle. Hardy goes up to the top as well. Hardy is trying to hit a Twist of Fate off the top, but ECIII blocks it and hits a One Percenter off the top rope to win the match.
WINNER: Ethan Carter III at 10:27 to become the new TNA World Hvt. Champion.
Mathews says that tonight, on this night, ECIII did it on his own. Pope said that he doesn’t like the method ECIII used to get to the final, but tonight he has to give ECIII credit.
Hardy is shown on the outside in pain. Back in the ring, ECIII raises the TNA World Title.
On the outside, Reby Sky helps Hardy up. He stumbles backstage as Reby chases him. She hugs him at the top of the ramp while holding their baby. Hardy looks unhappy as he leaves her standing at the top of the stage.
The last shot before the show goes off the air is ECIII holding the TNA World Title in the ring.
[Reax: Considering the time restraints they had, this was a very good main event. It’s good to see that TNA gave the title back to its hottest heel as well. It feels like the Hardy-ECIII storyline has been going on for months, though. Hopefully, with ECIII getting the clean win tonight, they begin to move in a new direction. The next person who is owed a title shot is probably Galloway, considering he earned a one-on-one match at Bound for Glory only to have Hardy added to the match. He’s wrestling Kurt Angle in the main event next week, so we’ll see where it goes from there.]