2/9 TNA Impact Report – Angle begins farewell tour, Hardy-ECIII feud


TNA Impact Report
February 9, 2016
Taped in Manchester, U.K.
Aired on Pop TV
Report by Mike McMahon, PWTorch contributor (@MikeMcMahonPW)

Impact opened with a video packaging featuring clips of the United Kingdom, as TNA begins a series of episodes from the U.K.

TNA is hyping that Beer Money reunites tonight, new faces like Trevor Lee look to make their mark, as well as “The Miracle” Mike Bennett, and new threats, like Abyss and Crazzy Steve, emerge. TNA also begins to say good-bye to Kurt Angle as well as learning the next chapter of ECIII vs. Matt Hardy.

In-arena: Josh Mathews welcomes us to Manchester, where it appears that TNA has a solid crowd on-hand. Certainly larger than what they had at the Bethlehem tapings.

Matt Hardy heads to the ring, as Mathews calls him a turncoat. Tyrus is again carrying the son of Matt and Reby Hardy. Highlights of Hardy’s win over Kurt Angle are shown as Hardy enters the ring.

“I didn’t need to sell out, I’m already filthy rich,” Hardy yells at the fans. “Boo me all you want, I’m not here for any of you, and I’m not in this awful city to defend my TNA World Hvt. Title.” The crowd begins a chant for Ethan Carter III.

“The Matt Hardy brand is going to teach the TNA brand how to do good business,” Hardy said. “Fact is, the Matt Hardy brand is worth more than the TNA brand.”

Hardy said if everyone in the crowd added up their net worth, it wouldn’t come any close to Hardy’s. Hardy calls himself the “iconic” Matt Hardy, and said he pays no attention to the people who boo him.

“You want to see ECIII?” Tyrus asked. “You have a better chance of Winston Churchill riding his ass down here on a unicorn, because ECIII is a coward.” Tyrus said that ECIII was nothing without him, and that he’s with Hardy because Hardy is family.

Reby added, “You cheer ECIII because he’s a loser, like all of you. Matt is a winner. Matt is a trendsetter. My baby daddy, and most importantly the most sexy man alive. You’re all just jealous.”

Hardy said that he beat ECIII and he did it all on his own. “I didn’t break one single rule in the last man standing match,” Hardy said. “In the last three weeks, ECIII, the charismatic enigma, Jeff Hardy, and Kurt Angle have all became victims of Matt Hardy. And in those three weeks Dixie Carter hasn’t spoken one single word to me, not one!”

The crowd chanted for Jeff and Matt said he wasn’t going to be here, because Eric Young ended his career. Hardy said he wasn’t leaving the arena tonight until Dixie Carter came out to talk to him face to face. He said he was going to teach Dixie how to run a company the right way.

“If Dixie wants to keep her top-guy happy,” Hardy said, “if she wants to keep her megastar world champion happy, at my request she will fire ECIII.”

Hardy’s music then plays as he throws the microphone down and leaves the ring with his wife, bodyguard, and baby.

[Reax: Matt Hardy isn’t just playing a heel Matt Hardy character, he’s evolving and tonight he looked more and more like a 1980s heel Ric Flair. His hair was slicked straight back and Hardy even mimicked some of Flair’s style in his promo, particularly when he got fired up and began to shout. It was very reminiscent of Flair. The one start difference, of course, is that Flair was the “wheeling, dealing, kiss stealing son of a gun,” and Hardy is traveling with his wife and baby. Reby was again very good here as well in her limited speaking role. She’s the straw that stirs the drink when it comes to Hardy and this heel turn.]

Tonight: ECIII returns; Kurt Angle vs. Drew Galloway.

In-arena: Lashley is making his way to the ring. Mathews says that he will face Bram next.

[Commercial Break at 9:09]

Backstage: Back from the break, Dixie Carter was shown arriving to the building as Mathews wondered if she’ll fire ECIII tonight.

[Q2] Backstage: Earlier tonight, Bram said that Eric Young piledriving Jeff Hardy inspired him tonight against Lashley, and Bram said tonight he’ll destroy the destroyer.

1 — BOBBY LASHLEY vs. BRAM (w/Eric Young)

Lashley and Bram start with some fast-paced action. Lashley, sporting a white headband, hits a delayed vertical suplex that Pope called, “classic Lashley.” Lashley charges Bram, but Bram hits a spinning heel kick and Lashley then rolls to the outside. Bram turns his back, and Lashley they charges back into the ring and clotheslines Bram over the top rope.

On the outside, Young throws Lashley into the steps. That allows Bram to gain control and he rolls Lashley back into the ring. Bram goes for a cover a little more than two minutes into the match, but Lashley kicks out at one. Bram grabs a rear chinlock. He begins to crank on it, but Lashley gets to his feet. Bram whips Lashley to the corner and then charges him. Bram goes for another charge but Lashley comes out of the corner and hits a clothesline.

Lashley drives a shoulder into Bram in the corner. Bram hits a right hand. Lashley recovers and hits Bram with a running powerslam. Lashley sizes Bram up and goes for a spear, but Bram moves.

Eric Young climbs into the ring and screams at Bram to “hurt him” despite Bram now almost winning the match. Bram picks up Lashley and holds him as Young charges him with the King of the Mountain Title. Lashley ducks, though, and E.Y. hits Bram. Lashley then tosses E.Y. to the outside and hits a spear on Bram for the win.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley in 5:51.

[Reax: TNA needs to pay attention to the little things. Why, when Eric Young missed Lashley and hit Bram with the KOTM Title, wasn’t Lashley disqualified? Because that wasn’t the finish, of course, but Earl Hebner didn’t even try to prevent E.Y. from getting into the ring. There were better ways to have E.Y. cost Bram the match. Blatantly ignoring rules isn’t something that should be done.]

Backstage: Reby tells Matt Hardy that Dixie will listen to him. “She’s a lay-up,” Hardy said. “It’s the other potential issue.” He means ECIII. Tyrus said he won’t show up, but if he does he has his back, and Tyrus then brings in security that he hired.

Still to come: ECIII returns to Impact Wrestling; Kurt Angle vs. Drew Galloway.

[Commercial Break at 9:22]

Back from the break, Kurt Angle is coming to the ring. Mathews said that he’ll go one-on-one with Drew Galloway later, and he’s here to deliver a message. TNA advertises a Kurt Angle farewell tour t-shirt.

“Thank you,” Angle said as he entered the ring. “Thank you very much.” The crowd chanted, “Angle! Angle! Angle!” as Angle stood in the ring. “You’re making it difficult for me to say farewell,” Angle said. “But I’m Kurt Angle and this is my farewell tour. Now there is a quote I always use when I come out to this ring. Oh it’s real, it’s damn real. I’ve been with TNA for 10 years and I’m so proud of what I have accomplished, and I couldn’t have done it without you and I thank you for that.” “Thank you Kurt!” chant rings throughout the crowd.

“I have to say this,” Angle said, “I have the greatest fans in the world, but none are greater than you right here in Manchester. Everybody knows I’m going to wrestle Bobby Lashley and Bobby Roode, but tonight is very special because my opponent is going to be …” The lights go down and Maria comes to the stage.

“Kurt, the emotion and reality of the situation,” Maria said. “The people here, I see the emotion in their eyes. They feel what you are saying. But all I feel is that what your’e saying is manufactured and fake. What these people really need is The Miracle, Mike Bennett.” Bennett joins Maria on the stage. They’re both coming to the ring as Angle stares at them.

[Q3] Pope says that this is Angle’s farewell tour (thanks, Pope). “Kurt I was listening to you in the back, and I couldn’t help but think that you had a hell of a career,” Bennett said. “When I was growing up in New England, the better, more advanced England, I grew up watching you. I told my mom that I was going to grow up and BEAT that guy.” Angle said he’s warning Bennett to get out of his face.

“Kurt,” Bennett said, “You’re missing my point. Everything you have achieved, it’s almost untouchable. It’s almost untouchable for a normal wrestler. But what it’s going to take to reach that is a miracle, and I am that guy, Kurt. Look at your opponents. Bobby Lashley, Bobby Roode, one of the greatest TNA wrestlers of all-time. But Kurt, then there is me. The Miracle. Think about it, I can see it now. Mike Bennett vs. Kurt Angle, the first time, the only time.”

Angle tells Maria she’s beautiful, but she has horrible taste in men. Angle said that right now, Bennett is going to need a miracle. Angle then attacked Bennett, hitting him with a right hand and Bennett rolled out of the ring.

“I don’t wrestle guys I don’t respect,” Angle said. “Tonight I wrestle someone I do respect, Drew Galloway.” Galloway came to the stage holding his Feast or Fired briefcase, which guaranteed him a shot at the TNA World Title.

Backstage: Beer Money is walking the halls of the building. Roode said he got Storm a present. Storm opened the door and rode out of the room in a “boozer cruiser,” which, if you remember, is a cooler that looks like it’s attached to a scooter. Beer Money then headed to the ring to cash in their briefcases for the TNA World Tag Team Title match.

[Commercial Break at 9:36]

Back from the break, Trevor Lee and Gregory Helms were coming to the ring. Mathews called Lee a 22-year-old prodigy.

2 — TNA X Division champion TREVOR LEE (w/Gregory Helms) vs. TIGRE UNO — TNA X Division Title match

Very fast-paced start to the match. Lee ends up on the outside and Tigre dives over the top onto Lee on the outside.

Now back in the ring, Tigre hits a spinning heel kick. Tigre follows that with a Tornado DDT. Lee gets the momentum back with a huge clothesline that twists Tigre into the air. In the corner, Lee tries to twist Tigre’s arm. Tigre begins to fire back with some elbows to Lee’s gut. Lee then tossed Tigre across the ring into the corner.

Lee locks one of Tigre’s arms behind him on the mat and then tries to twist Tigre’s opposite shoulder. Lee really showcasing a hybrid of styles, flying around early in the match and now locking Tigre Uno in with some wrestling holds.

[Q4] On the outside, Tigre begins to get back some momentum and hits a springboard huracanrana off the steps. Lee smashes Tigre into the steps, however, and Lee is back on the attack. Lee whips Tigre into the ropes, he grabs the ropes to stop himself but Helms grabs Tigre’s ankle to hold him up. That allows Lee to hit a Fisherman Buster for the win.

WINNER: Trevor Lee in 5:38 to retain the X Division Title.

Video graphics hit the screen, hyping Angle vs. Galloway later as well as the ECIII return.

Back in the arena, Beer Money is entering.

[Commercial Break at 9:47]

In-ring: Beer Money appears to be in the middle of a promo. We pick it up when Roode calls out The Wolves and says Beer Money is about to become five-time Tag Team Champions. But, instead of The Wolves, Decay comes to the stage. Remember, they stole The Wolves’s Tag Team Titles.

“Everybody is obsessed with these pretty toys,” said Rosemary, as she’s flanked by Crazzy Steve and Abyss. “But everything pretty eventually rots and dies. That’s how it is in our world. Care to join us on the path to decay?”

Roode said that they aren’t the tag team champions, but since they’re here, and Beer Money is here, he says they fight. A brawl breaks out as Beer Money charges them on the ramp. After brawling around the ring, the bell finally rang.

3 – BEER MONEY (James Storm & Bobby Roode) vs. DECAY (Crazzy Steve & Abyss) (w/Rosemary)

As soon as they hit the ring, Roode applies the Sharpshooter on Crazzy Steve, but Abyss breaks it up. Abyss is now the legal man and he’s throwing punches to Roode’s gut in the corner. Pope wonders if Decay will actually cause Beer Money to rot and “expire,” as he put it. I believe he’s wondering if Decay is actually going to murder Beer Money?

Anyway, Steve is just laying in the corner as Abyss tries to tear off Roode’s face with some sort of claw hold. TNA shows a cool panoramic shot of the full arena. They don’t get to do that much. That’s a nice visual.

Back in the ring, Abyss went for a chokeslam, but Roode moved out of the way and landed a spinebuster. He looks to tag James Storm in the corner. Roode makes the tag, and so does Abyss.

Storm and Steve are flying around the ring. Storm with a boot and a backcracker. Storm gets floored by Abyss, though, and Roode gets whipped into the corner back in the ring. Roode hits a bulldog on Abyss off the top. Beer Money lands a double suplex on Steve and then a double suplex Abyss.

Beer Money went for their DWI finisher on Crazzy Steve, but Abyss pulled out the referee, causing a disqualification.

WINNER: Beer Money via disqualification at 5:40.

Post-match: Abyss tries to choke the referee, but Beer Money makes the save. Rosemary then gets into the ring with the Tag Team Titles and Beer Money approaches her, but Decay attacks.

[Q5 — second hour] Abyss grabs Janice. As he’s about to assault Beer Money, the Wolves run to the ring with steel chairs but Rosemary stands in front of Decay, and the Wolves won’t hit her, so Decay is able to leave the ring.

Davey Richards grabs a mic and said that they can call themselves whatever they want, but they have something that belongs to them and the Wolves Nation. Edwards said that they not only stole their titles, they left them laying twice. But now they are running from the Wolves. “We want our titles back,” Edwards said, “but we are willing to give you guys a match where you can actually win them.” Abyss said they would do it next week … in Monster’s Ball.

Backstage: Kurt Angle is stretching and warming up for his match with Drew Galloway. Galloway is shown doing the same.

Backstage: Reby approaches Dixie Carter. Dixie said she thought they wanted to talk in the ring. Reby said she looks up to Dixie, and Matt is a proud man and just wants to stick up for her. Reby said that every other place they have worked has been so cutthroat backstage. Reby said it’s scary what happened, and ECIII is her blood, but they only want what’s best for the TNA family. Reby rolls her eyes as she walks away.

Up Next: Jade vs. Madison Rayne.

[Commercial Break at 10:06]

Back from the break, Grado is shown hopping the rail and entering the ring to grab the microphone. Remember, he was fired in Feast or Fired. Mathews calls it trespassing.

“Look, I’m sure most of you know that TNA fired me,” said Grado, who is waring his full ring gear. “They screwed me, I was absolutely screwed. But, I’ll tell you this right here and now. I have proof that I am screwed, and I will show you now.”

Eli Drake quickly walks out and says that no one cares. “You got fired,” Drake said. “Now you’re begging for mercy? Drake brings out security and tells them to escort him out of the building.”

Grado, who is still holding his yellow paper that he claims to be proof he got screwed, runs from security and he brawls briefly with Drake before running for the exit.

Backstage: Galloway said the last time he faced Kurt Angle it was about respect. He said tonight its his home. He said he’s been called the future for so long, tonight he needs to become the present and beat Kurt Angle.

3 — MADISON RAYNE vs. JADE (w/Marti Bell & Rebel)

After Rayne gains control early, Jade goes to the outside to regroup. Madison dives off the apron on all three members of the Dollhouse.

Back in the ring, Jade gets back in control with kicks. Jade whips Rayne to the ropes but Madison reverses with an arm drag. Jade clotheslines Madison and then gets back in control. She tries for a cover but Madison kicks out. Now a submission attempt, a modified surfboard, but Madison doesn’t tap out and then flips it into a cover but Jade kicks out.

[Q6] Madison Rayne blocks a punch by Jade. Madison brings some chops to Jade and a forearm to Jade’s chest. Madison goes to the top rope and hits a diving crossbody on Jade for two.

Rebel and Marti Bell climb on the apron to distract Madison. She knocks them out of the ring and Jade rolls her up from behind but only gets two. Jade is able to land a cradle piledriver for the win.

WINNER: Jade in 4:19.

Post-match: The Dollhouse attacks Madison Rayne. Bell grabs a chair and brings it into the ring. They’re about to take out Madison Rayne with the chair, similar to what they did to Velvet Sky, but Gail Kim hits the ring to make the save.

Still to come: ECIII returns; Kurt Angle vs. Drew Galloway.

[Commercial Break at 10:20]

Backstage: Billy Corgan is interviewed by the backstage interviewer. Grado runs up to him and says he was screwed. Corgan said he has no idea what Grado is saying (nor do I) and told him to slow down. Grado said he was screwed and unemployed and Billy needs to help him. Eli Drake comes into the screen and Grado says, “That’s the guy!” Drake knocks him out with a punch and tells security to get him out of the arena.

In-arena: Drew Galloway makes his way to the ring for tonight’s main event. Kurt Angle is out next.

4 — DREW GALLOWAY vs. KURT ANGLE

Angle and Galloway lock up to start the match. That’s the first match on this show that began with a collar-and-elbow tie-up. Galloway has Angle’s arm and throws Angle off the ropes, taking him down with an arm drag.

Angle hits a suplex to get out of the hold, and then shakes out his arm, selling the effects of the hold by Galloway.

[Commercial Break at 10:29]

[Q7] Back from the break, Galloway misses a top-rope dive and Angle goes for an anklelock. Galloway back to his feet but Angle tries for a backslide. Galloway lands on his feet and hits a DDT for a two count.

Galloway clotheslines Angle to the outside. Galloway chops Angle on the outside. Angle hits a sudden Angle Slam on the ring steps. Galloway rolls back into the ring and Angle chases him. Angle hits another Angle Slam in the ring for a two count.

Galloway drops Angle’s chin on his shoulder to get back into control. Galloway whips Angle to the mat, almost like a reverse Alabama Slam. Galloway puts Angle on the top rope. He climbs after him. Angle fires back with punches. Galloway hooks Angle on the top rope and hits a Celtic Cross off the top. Pope says Angle’s farewell might come tonight. Galloway covers and Angle kicks out at two … barely.

Galloway sells the lower back after the Angle Slam on the steps. Angle back to his feet and he hits two German Suplexes. Galloway hits a Claymore out of nowhere. Galloway goes to the corner and hits another Claymore, but Angle kicks out at two again. Mathews said that kick took out Lashley, and Angle just kicked out of two of them.

Galloway goes for a Claymore off the top, but Angle moves. Angle hits a series of four german suplexes. Angle drops down the shoulder straps and hits an Angle Slam. Angle goes to the outside and up to the top rope. He hits a splash off the top but Galloway kicks out at two.Angle grabs an ankle lock and he’s cranking on it. Galloway is screaming, but he rolls through it.

Galloway throws Angle into the ringpost. Another Claymore Kick and Angle kicks out … again! Angle is busted open from the ringpost, or maybe the Claymore kick. It looks like it’s his mouth that is bleeding.

Galloway has a submission on Angle. It looks like a crossface, only Galloway has his neck. Angle somehow reverses it into an anklelock. Galloway is writhing in pain. Galloway rolls over and kicks Angle off of him. Galloway goes back to his submission hold. Angles mouth is gushing blood, and Angle taps.

Post-match: Pope said he was speechless. Angle and Galloway both slowly get back to their feet. Galloway looks genuinely emotional as he bows down in front of Angle, who shakes his hand and gives him a hug, then raising his hand.

WINNER: Drew Galloway via submission in 15:17.

[Reax: This was a very fun match. It seemed like, at first, they were overdoing it with the number of false finishes and kick-outs to finishing moves, but it was nicely set up with Galloway finally abandoning the pinfall attempts, and instead forcing Angle to tap out in a submission. They told a really good story. It also helped that the live crowd was so into the match. TNA often doesn’t have that type of atmosphere.]

Up next: ECIII returns.

[Commercial Break at 10:44]

[Q8] Back from the break, Matt Hardy is in the ring.

“I promised earlier tonight that I would not leave this arena until Dixie Carter met with me face-to-face, and being that I’m a truth teller and Matt Hardy will not lie, Dixie, I’m going to say this nicely but get out here now.”

Mathews said that Matt Hardy has taken Impact hostage and he feels he’s bigger than Impact as Dixie Carter walks to the ring with a big smile on her face.

Dixie grabs a microphone. “Matt, you know as well as anyone else, that my door is always open,” she said. “So I’m not sure why this needs to happen out here.”

Hardy said it’s the perfect place to have the discussion. He said he’s a household name who knows how to make the business work. He said the man who held the World Title before him, refusing to say his name, he said that ECIII did all of the things Hardy has been accused of.

Hardy said that ECIII treated Dixie like trash while he was World Champion. He said he almost put TNA out of business with his injunction. He said ECIII is a cancer and must be cut out.

“Dixie, I want you and I to have a great working relationship,” Hardy said. “What I am going to tell you right now is to cut out the cancer. You need to get rid of the man detrimental to Impact Wrestling. I want you to look in that camera and I want you to fire his ass right now.”

Hardy yelled at Dixie to not be a “flaky bimbo.” Hardy is screaming at her to fire ECIII now. Then out comes Rockstar Spud, who is wearing a red suit with the Pop TV logo on the back. He tells Dixie that he has this.

Spud says that this isn’t the Matt Hardy he looked up to, and Hardy said Spud will always look up to him. “Hey, I’m not disagreeing with anything you’re saying,” Spud said. “He has done some terrible things, and most of them to me.”

Hardy again yelled at Dixie to fire ECIII. “Leave her alone, shut up!” Spud screamed at Hardy. Hardy told Spud to tell Dixie to fire ECIII. “After everything he has done to you and treated you like garbage,” Hardy said to Spud, “do us both a favor and fire his ass.”

Spud walked over to Dixie and then turned back to Hardy, screaming “no!” in his face. “You have to admit, all the terrible things he has done, it seems ironic that the World Hvt. Champion Matt Hardy seems a little jealous,” Spud said. “It seems Matt Hardy is a little scared.”

Tyrus then jumped Spud and kicks him out of the ring after a hard slam. Reby even got a kick in there. “Dixie, I am no longer asking you,” Hardy said. “As of now, I am commanding you to fire ECIII.” Hardy yelled that while Tyrus, Reby and Hardy had her trapped in the corner.

ECIII’s music then hit and he walked to the ring. Matt Hardy’s security runs after ECIII and ECIII takes out each security member one-by-one. ECIII and Tyrus brawl at ringside and ECIII takes him out with a gut punch at ringside.

In the ring, Dixie is cradling Spud in the corner. ECIII hits the ring and Matt Hardy and Reby run out of the ring and through the crowd to get away. Mathews says that ECIII means business. Pope said that this is a different ECIII we a witnessing as the show goes off the air.

FINAL THOUGHTS: TNA’s show is helped dramatically by the live atmosphere in the U.K. Granted, the reason it’s like that is because they are only there once per year, so it’s not like this is something they can do all the time, but these U.K. shows always have a better atmosphere and it’s palpable on television.

The ECIII return came across a little flat, in that he didn’t speak and was really only seen for a few moments before the show signed off the air. It felt like that was more a hook to get the viewer to tune in next week. ECIII has already explained why he’s a babyface now, without using those words obviously, but we’ve yet to see what type of babyface character he’s going to be.

On the flip side, TNA continues to develop its heel roster nicely. Decay is coming along quickly, E.Y. and Bram are starting to gain some traction and Matt Hardy has been very good in his new lead heel role, as is Reby.

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