2/2 TNA Impact Report – Angle challenges for TNA Hvt. Title, more


TNA Impact Wrestling Results
Impact on Pop #5
Aired Feb. 2, 2016
Taped in Bethlehem, Pa.
Report by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonPW), PWTorch contributor

Impact Wrestling opened a video shot from “earlier today.” Ethan Carter III is shown walking down the sidewalk. “You want to know what I’m thinking?” ECIII asked. “You want to know what’s going on in my head?”

He grabs a pen and paper and signs an autograph. “You want your interview? Be here, 4 o’clock. Don’t be late,” he said.

In-arena: TNA World Hvt. Champion Matt Hardy makes his way to the ring with Reby Hardy and Tyrus. No baby this time. Hardy was wearing a suit last week, but this week he appears to be in his ring gear.

Josh Mathews throws to a video clip from last week, where Eric Young attacked Jeff Hardy and gave him a piledriver through a table.

“Sometimes in business, you have to work with people you hate,” Hardy said. “Sometimes in business you have to make tough decisions about people you love.”

“We want Jeff!” chant broke out in the crowd. “You’re not going to get Jeff, because Jeff made a crucial mistake of saying I’m tarnishing this title,” Hardy said. “That’s a sin.” Matt said that Jeff getting the piledriver was karma.

“You know Jeff it didn’t have to be this way,” Reby said. “But for years and years, everybody was always saying my beautiful husband was living in the shadow of his brother? I never believed that. And it sure as hell wasn’t true.

“I believe that you’re just jealous that Matt won the World Hvt. Title fair and square. So jealous that it has left you sitting injured, at home.” Hardy tells Reby she is so beautiful. Matt said it wasn’t personal what happened to Jeff, it was just great business for the Matt Hardy brand.

At that point, Eric Young’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring along with Bram. As E.Y. and Bram walk to the ring, Mathews again shows the replay. “Good business,” E.Y. said. “Jeff Hardy is never coming back, because of me! Bobby Roode cost me the World Title, I took his belt.”

E.Y. reveals he’s wearing the King of the Mountain Title. “Now Matt, I have no problem with you,” E.Y. said. “You’re doing a great job as World Champion. But listen real clear, the World Title goes through me.”

Hardy said that E.Y. is smarter than to threaten him. As he talked, Kurt Angle’s music hits and he walks out on the ramp holding a microphone.

“Matt Hardy,” Angle said, “it looks like your business deal just blew up. You have been degraded that World Hvt. Title ever since you won it. Listen to me, I just talked to a TNA official about my next match on my farewell tour, and he had some great news. You see it’s going to be Kurt Angle vs. Matt Hardy, right here tonight, for the TNA World Hvt. Championship.”

The crowd chanted, “One more time!” “Okay,” Hardy said. “It all makes sense, Kurtis. You politicked your way into a title match tonight. I get it. I was enjoying the farewell tour, but if you keep pushing my buttons it will end prematurely.”

Angle said that plenty of people said they would end his career, but he’ll end it on his own terms. “You might outnumber me,” Angle said, “I’m only one man, but I’ll kick every one of your asses any time I choose to.”

Hardy said that there was five of them, and one of Angle. That brought out Beer Money, who walked down the ramp about halfway to meet angle.

“It looks to me like your math is off,” Roode said. “Shut your mouthes and stick that Matt Hardy brand up your ass. Bram, Eric Young, the battle line has been drawn, and tonight there is going to be a fight.”

Storm added, “In our business, we’re all about making money and drinking beer. Newsflash, Beer Money is now also kicking ass. Hey Kurt, we’ll make sure you get your fair shake tonight because we’re about to take care of these two goofs.”

E.Y. and Bram charge Beer Money and a brawl ensues outside the ring. Crazzy Steve and Abyss slowly walk to ringside but then the Wolves run down the ramp and attack them.

The camera cut away to show Matt Hardy hiding behind Tyrus.

“Tonight, not only will Kurt Angle be the new World Hvt. Champion, but tonight it’s going to be a war,” Roode said. “It will be the four of us (Beer Money and The Wolves) agains the four of you (Crazzy Steve, Abyss, E.Y. and Bram) in a hardcore fight!”

Later: Matt Hardy vs. Kurt Angle for the TNA World Title.

[Reax: That felt like a weekly opening to Raw, complete with the schmoz at the end of the segment to set up what was going to happen later in the show.]

[Commercial Break at 9:12]

[Q2] Back from the break, TNA aired a replay of Mike Bennett interrupting the Feast or Fired reveal ceremony last week. The clip then cut ahead to show which wrestler had which case, including Grado being fired.

Backstage: The roving reporter asked Drew Galloway his thoughts on winning the title match in Feast or Fired. “It was a big risk, but it was a risk that paid off in the end,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s on Impact, in the U.K., on Explosion or where …” Tyrus walked in and interrupted. “I suggest you put that briefcase down and walk away, because it’s not a prize, it’s a target on your back.” Galloway said that Tyrus was the No. 1 contender, but instead of advancing his career, he was just “happy being everyone’s bitch.” “That’s real funny Drew,” Tyrus said. “But just remember, you asked for this.” He then walked off.

In-arena: Lashley gets a full entrance. He’s wearing a red bandana on his head. Mathews said that there is no weak link in Lashley’s game or in his arsenal.

1 — LASHLEY vs. AIDEN O’SHEA

Mathews calls this match a “heavyweight collision.” O’Shea attacks Lashley as he goes to remove his t-shirt. O’Shea gave Lashley the boots early and often. Raquel then made her way to the ringside area. She’s at ringside watching the match as O’Shea continues to beat on Lashley.

Lashley gets back to his feet. It looked like O’Shea tried to suplex him, but Lashley blocked it. Raquel is staring at Lashley, according to Mathews (we can’t see her). O’Shea goes to whip Lashley, but Lashley reverses and then clotheslines O’Shea over the top rope to the outside. There’s a shot of Raquel as she’s looking on.

Lashley goes to the outside and Raquel walks in front of him. “Who are you?” Lashley asked. Right then, O’Shea comes flying in with a sucker punch on Lashley and rolls him back into the ring. O’Shea delivers a headbutt. O’Shea has Lashley in a rear-chinlock. Meanwhile, Mathews promos the Asylum Years, which airs a new episode at 7 p.m. on Thursday on Impact’s website.

Lashley gets back up and whips O’Shea into the corner and then splashes him. Another whip into the corner and Lashley drives his shoulder into O’Shea’s gut. Lashley picks up O’Shea for a delayed vertical suplex. Lashley then hits the spear for the victory.

WINNER: Lashley via pinfall in 4:15.

Post-match, Lashley goes to the corner to celebrate his win as Raquel looks on. Now Raquel gets into the ring and grabs a microphone.

“I told you that you would see me again,” she said while rubbing Lashley. “And the message remains the same. I can bring you pain or I can bring you pleasure.” Lashley looks smitten, sending her a smile but also looking a little confused about the whole thing. Raquel leaves the ring and walks back up the ramp.

Up Next: Maria is coming to the ring.

[Commercial Break at 9:25]

Back from the break, ECIII is shown being mic’ed up for an interview. He said the world is going to hear it all tonight.

[Q3] In-arena: Maria is on the stage. “Welcome to my place to worship,” she said. “Normally I come out here to introduce The Miracle, but tonight I want to talk about something I’m incredibly passionate about, and that’s women’s wrestling.

“I don’t think women’s wrestling needs a miracle. I think what women’s wrestling needs is a leader; an arrow to point it in the right direction. My name is Maria Kanellis Bennett, and I am the first lady of professional wrestling. I am that arrow, that leader. See many of you may think that the Knockouts division is just fine, but the Knockouts division is broken and I am the only one who can change it. So out with the old, and in with the new.”

Gail Kim’s music hit, and she walks to the ring with her Knockouts Title. “You’re just a wrestler,” Maria said. “I can make you mainstream.” Gail asked who said she wanted or needed her help. Gail said the TNA Knockouts are about excellence and being strong, powerful women.

“If you want to make your contributions to this division, go ahead and put your boots on,” Gail said. Maria said that a fish rots from its head, and Gail stinks. “People like you don’t tell me what to do,” Maria said. “People like you work for people like me.”

Gail then grabbed her hand and screamed that she doesn’t know who she’s talking to, and then challenged her to a match right now. Maria then left the ring. Mathews said that Maria talked a big game tonight. “Only I can save you,” Maria said as she walked up the ramp.

[Reax: Maria has come a long, long way since winning that silly Divas Search with WWE 10 years ago. This was a good promo and it’s good to see that TNA plans to utilize her in more than just the valet role. Gail Kim was also good in this segment, and TNA let it breathe without the two coming to blows, rather than blow it off too soon by having them brawl.]

Backstage: Beer Money thanked The Wolves for having their backs. Davey Richards said that sooner or later, Beer Money is coming for the Tag Titles, and they know it. James Storm said they weren’t there to prove their legacy, they were there to reinforce it. Richards said any time that they wanted to put their legacy against their titles, they were game for it. Storm and Richards start to argue and Roode settles them down, saying there was time to worry about that another day, and they had more important things to worry about tonight.

Still to come: Beer Money & The Wolves vs. Abyss, Crazzy Steve, Eric Young, and Bram.

[Commercial Break at 9:36]

TNA aired a video hyping “One Night Only: Rivals 2016,” premiering on Friday on pay-per-view.

ECIII was then shown looking out a window, with Mathews noting that his interview will happen later tonight.

2 — BEER MONEY (James Storm & Bobby Roode) & THE WOLVES (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. CRAZZY STEVE & ABYSS & ERIC YOUNG & BRAM — eight-man hardcore war match

Every two minutes, someone else will join the match and it will alternate teams. TNA didn’t explain these rules until just now, so it was a bit confusing when the match started as a singles match.

Richards brought a chair with him and Crazzy Steve had a bat wrapped in a chain. Apparently each wrestler can bring one weapon. Those are the rules. The clock counted down and Bram was next into the match. Bram brought an extra turnbuckle from the ring as his weapon.

[Q4] Richards and Bram fought on the outside while Steve was down in the ring after Richards smashed him in the face with the baseball bat. Mathews presented another rule – there can’t be a winner in this match until everyone is in the ring.

Bram and Steve are now double-teaming Richards in the ring, but they don’t get to for long, as James Storm comes to the ring with a keg of beer as his weapon. Bram charges Storm on the ramp, but Storm sends him down with a right hand. Storm has Bram set up near the ring steps. He puts the keg between Bram’s legs and then grabs a chair and drives the keg into Bram’s groin area.

The crowd is chanting for Storm to do that one more time. In the ring, Steve drives an elbow on Richards. On the outside, James Storm sets the keg up and drives it into Bram’s groin again. Up next in the match is Eric Young, and he brings with him a Singapore Cane.

[Commercial Break at 9:49]

Back from the break, Eddie Edwards has joined the match. We’re not sure which weapon he brought. There’s now brawls happening all over the ring and ringside area. Edwards chops Bram so hard that Bram flies off the ring floor onto the apron.

After the countdown, Abyss walks out with Janice and the Marilyn Manson-looking woman. She’s carrying The Wolves’s Tag Team Titles. As Abyss approaches ringside, Edwards leaps over the top rope and takes him out on the outside. Josh keeps calling the Marilyn Manson woman a “thing.”

More brawling on the outside and the camera cuts to show inside the ring, where Steve tries to hit Richards with the Singapore cane, but he grabs and it starts to beat Steve with it. But, Abyss enters the ring and chokeslams Richards.

Bobby Roode is the last man to join the match and he comes down with a hockey stick … because he’s a Canadian, get it? Roode goes to work on Steve and E.Y. with the hockey stick in the ring. Mathews notes that there can now be a winner with everyone in the ring.

E.Y. hits the ropes and Roode reverses into a spinebuster. Abyss then chokeslams Roode and then Richards hits Abyss with a chair in the ring. Bram enters and tosses Edwards into the corner. Storm clotheslines Bram and Steve comes in and bites Storm’s head because Roode cuts him off.

[Q5 — second hour] After some grappling, Beer Money and The Wolves hit a four-way suplex on all four members and then play to the crowd — all four of them — doing the Beer Money stuff, but Abyss enters the ring and takes all four of them out.

Storm and E.Y. are brawling on the ramp as fights break out everywhere around ringside. In the ring, Steve spits mist in Richards’s eyes and Abyss levels him with the belt for the win. Afterward, Abyss and Steve posed with the mystery woman and the Wolves’s Tag Ttitles.

WINNERS: Crazzy Steve, Abyss, Eric Young & Bram via pinfall at 19:54.

[Reax: TNA has done a very good job switching Crazzy Steve from a character that had no meaning as a comedy bit to a character that has some real believability as a crazy heel. These hardcore matches are hard to digest, though. It was cool to see some of the wrestlers use non-orthodox weapons, such as the keg and hockey stick. At least that was different. But it was hard to understand the rules to this match and with Mathews explaining them in stages throughout the first few minutes, it felt like TNA was making up the rules as it went along.]

Backstage: Drew Galloway walked into Kurt Angle’s room. He said he respects Angle so much and thanked him for being an opponent on his farewell tour. Angle said that Drew is the future of wrestling, and he’ll help TNA for years to come. Drew said he feels like he’s living a dream sometimes, but tonight is Angle’s tonight. “You’re making headlines,” Galloway said.

Galloway held up the briefcase from Feast or Fired and said that he wants to make headlines of his own, and he hopes that after Angle wins the World Title tonight, he’d love one more shot at Angle for the World Title.

Up next: Drew Galloway vs. Tyrus

[Commercial Break at 10:05]

3 — TYRUS vs. DREW GALLOWAY

No ring entrances for either man. Tyrus jumps Galloway to start the match. Pope says that if Tyrus is going to accept paychecks from the World Champion, he’ll never be World Champion himself.

Tyrus whips Galloway into the corner, but he reverses it. Galloway goes up top, but Tyrus catches him with a forearm in mid air. Tyrus grabs Galloway off the mat and Tyrus smashes some elbows into Galloway’s face. Tyrus begins to lean on Galloway’s shoulder.

Tyrus tosses Galloway into the corner, showcasing his strength. Galloway is in trouble on the mat, reaching for the ropes. Galloway begins to crawl up Tyrus and throws a punch of his mid-section. Tyrus responds with a few boots to put Galloway back down. Tyrus tries for a splash in the corner, but Galloway moves. Galloway hits some punches and chops.

[Q6] Galloway goes upstairs and lands a flying clothesline. Galloway goes for a DDT, but Tyrus backs him into the corner and then hits a punch to send Galloway to the ground. Tyrus climbs to the second rope, but Galloway catches him. Galloway then gets underneath Tyrus and hits a powerbomb, taking Tyrus off the second rope.

Galloway tries to set up Tyrus again, but the lights go out. Maria is then on stage when the lights come up and Maria is there. She says that she believes in miracle, and Galloway’s miracle happens now. The lights came back on full and Bennett smashes Galloway’s briefcase off his skull.

WINNER: The match ended in an apparent no-contest at 5:43 when Mike Bennett attacked Drew Galloway.

Bennett grabs the mic. “Do you believe now Drew?” he asked. “Do you believe in the miracle? Because I know what you were thinking. I know that you thought the briefcase was the answer to all of your questions. You thought that this was your miracle, you thought that you were going to win the World Title, Drew. But that is not the miracle that TNA needs, I am the miracle that TNA needs.” Bennett then delivered a few more kicks to Galloway’s head before the segment closed.

[Commercial Break at 10:18]

Backstage: Angle was being interviewed by the invisible reporter. He said he was proud of everything he was able to accomplish in TNA. Lashley walked by and “accidentally” interrupts the interview. Lashley said that it would be fitting if Angle won the World Title and then Lashley beat him for the title in the U.K., after Angle took it from Lashley in the U.K. last year.

In-arena: Both Tigre Uno and Hurricane Helms got full ring intros for an X Division Title match. Helms entered the ring, but he’s not in ring gear. Helms grabs a microphone. “As you can see, I’m not quite dressed for the occasion, but there is a reason for that,” he said. “You agreed to a championship match. I never said it was going to be with me. You ain’t ready for that. Allow me to introduce you to your challenger, someone I am mentored and coached for years. Let’s bring out Trevor Lee.”

4 – X Division champion TIGRE UNO vs. TREVOR LEE (w/Hurricane Helms) – X Division Championship match

Tigre’s shoulder is in a heavy black brace. Lee takes control early with some right hands and right elbows. Tigre his a shoulder on Lee’s mid-section. Tigre then jumps over the rope and Lee hits a huge right elbow.

Tigre tries to get back into the match, but Lee comes out of nowhere and lands a clothesline that turns Tigre inside out. Lee whips Tigre Uno into the corner. Helms is coaching Lee at ringside like an MMA coach yells instructions to a fighter. Lee picks up Tigre Uno and tries to toss him to the side, but Tigre schoolboys him for two. Lee tries to choke Tigre Uno on the rope.

[Q7] On the outside, Tigre Uno hits a huracanrana on Lee. Tigre goes up top and hits a missile dropkick to Lee’s chest. Tigre and Lee go into a sequence of chain wrestling that’s fast paced before Lee hits a double stomp to slow it down. Lee then hits a fisherman’s buster to win the match.

After the match, Helms comes into the ring with the belt and congratulates Lee.

WINNER: Trevor Lee via pinfall to win the TNA X Division Championship at 4:42.

[Reax: It was a good swerve replacing Helms with Lee. I don’t think anyone was clamoring to see Shane Helms wrestle Tigre Uno, no offense to Shane, but Lee is the exciting new young star that TNA fans got a taste of during the Global Force Wrestling invasion storyline last year.

Lee is also very new to this audience and national television, so pairing him with someone more established like Helms should help him gain some credibility from the casual fan, and also I would imagine that Helms is going to be able to guide Lee along the way.]

Up Next: ECIII interview and Kurt Angle vs. Matt Hardy.

[Commercial Break at 10:33]

Back from the break, ECIII is ready for his interview.

“Two-and-a-half years in TNA unpinned and unsubmitted, I thought the party would never stop,” he said. “It all came to a head when I suffered the worst loss of my life. Unbendable, unbeatable, those were just words. I’ve never been unbeatable. I just want to win the most. Winning is an addiction to me, and I wish you could bottle it up and sell it on the black market.

“That culminated when I became TNA World Champion. Congratulations Matt Hardy, you beat me for it. It took everything you have. It took your wife, your son, my bodyguard, tables, ladders, and chairs. It’s almost ironic that what kept me down is what I love the most, the TNA World Hvt. Championship.

“Now what? Do I take some time off? Go out on the yacht? When you have a problem do you run away or do you face it head on? I’m not getting on a boat, I’m getting on an airplane and I’m heading to the U.K. and Matt Hardy, I’m becoming your shadow. … Matt Hardy, I am bringing hell with me. Hell courtesy of E … C … III.”

[Reax: That was a very good interview with ECIII, establishing that he’s now a babyface. It was good that they explained why ECIII acted the way he acted as a heel, and also let ECIII explain why he’s changing. That’s much better than just having him change his ways without any real explanation.]

In-arena: Kurt Angle was in the ring for tonight’s main event. Matt Hardy was out next.

5 – TNA World Hvt. champion MATT HARDY (w/Reby Sky & Tyrus) vs. KURT ANGLE – TNA World Title match

Reby was still on the apron as the bell rang, distracting Angle and allowing Hardy to gain the early advantage. One quick note: Jeremy Borash didn’t do special title match ring introductions, as he usually does. Hardy tries to choke Angle on the rope, and as the referee pulls Hardy off the rope, Tyrus punches Angle.

[Q8] Hardy remains in control with a rear-chinlock as the referee, Brian Hebner, checks for a choke. Angle tries to fire back with elbows but Hardy answers with some more punches. Finally, Angle is out and he lands four German suplexes on Hardy, not letting go of his waistlock. Angle hits an Angle Slam while Tyrus has the referee distracted, but only gets a two count.

[Commercial Break at 10:47]

Back from the break, Angle and Hardy are trading punches in the middle of the ring. Hardy rakes Angle’s eyes, but Angle responds with a German Suplex. Angle hits another and then a third.

Angle goes for the fifth, but Hardy tries to grab the middle rope. He can’t and Angle hits one more. Angle hits a sixth German suplex. Hardy is going to go up for another, but he grabs the official, forcing Angle to get go. Angle then gets hit with a low blow from Hardy. Angle kicks out at two after a Twist of Fate.

Hardy is waiting for Angle to get up off the mat. Hardy goes for another Twist of Fate, but Angle catches it and reverses it into another series of German suplexes. Mathews says that Angle is firing on all cylinders. Angle goes up to the top, but Reby grabs his ankle to slow him down. That allows Hardy to climb up and hit Kurt Angle with a Twist of Fate off the top rope for the win.

WINNER: Matt Hardy retains via pinfall in 14:20.

After the match, Mathews is screaming that Hardy isn’t representing TNA well. He said that Hardy didn’t truly beat Kurt Angle as Tyrus and Reby celebrate with him. Angle walks to the back slowly as Reby mockingly says bye to him. Hardy is beaming in the ring as Angle walks off. Hardy and Reby kiss as the show goes off the air.

Next week: The first U.K. episode airs. Kurt Angle says goodbye to U.K. fans. Matt Hardy will be there and much more.

[Final Thoughts: This was a solid episode. There were some production points that will still drive you crazy — such as not really explaining the eight-man tag rules — but the action was good and TNA made some positive steps in adding layers to some characters like Hardy, Maria, Reby, Tyrus and Crazzy Steve.

The show should be helped by a return to the U.K. next week, where TNA usually draws larger, more lively crowds.

Comparatively speaking, there was much more storyline development and progression on this show than there was on Monday’s Raw. There are still some elements that make Impact feel like a lite version of WWE, including the promo segment to open the show.]

2 Comments on 2/2 TNA Impact Report – Angle challenges for TNA Hvt. Title, more

  1. Great analysis of the episode. As I was unable to watch it until tomorrow, it’s refreshing to see someone without the childish TNA-bias that seems so prevalent. Wrestling is wrestling and good storylines make a good show. Much appreciated.

  2. Starting watching Impact again 2 weeks ago and have to admit its improved greatly. No wrestler is being underused and Hardy/EC3 Feud is being booked perfectly.

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