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TNA Impact Wrestling Report
March 1, 2016
Taped in Birmingham, U.K. at Barclaycard Arena
Aired on Pop TV
Report by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonPW), PWTorch correspondent
Impact opens with a video package highlighting what happened last week, including Matt Hardy retaining the TNA World Title after Rockstar Spud slammed the door on ECIII.
Backstage: Matt Hardy hugs Rockstar Spud and thanks him for last week.
In-arena: Josh Mathews welcomes us to the show and says that they’ll kick things off with Bobby Roode and Kurt Angle as part of Angle’s farewell tour. Roode makes his full ring entrance, followed by Angle.
1 — KURT ANGLE vs. BOBBY ROODE
Roode and Angle start things with a collar-and-elbow tie up. Mathews says that this is how you start a wrestling show, with action.
Angle ducks a tackle and hits a hip toss, followed by an armdrag. Roode hits a boot on a running Angle into the corner, but Angle tosses Roode to the mat with another armdrag.
Roode lifts his knee on a running Angle to take back control. Quick covers and two quick kick-outs from Angle. The Pope notes that it’s way too early for the match to come to a close, and Roode knows he wouldn’t win there, but he wanted to make Angle use energy to kick out.
Roode grabs a rear chinlock on the mat. Angle gets to his feet and frees himself with elbows to Roode’s gut. Both men go down after Angle tangles Roode in a double clothesline.
Angle hits a series of five German Suplexes and then plays to the crowd. Pope says that Angle is looking in rare form. Angle is able to snatch a quick anklelock, but Roode rolls out and throws Angle into the corner shoulder-first. Roode then drags Angle to the middle of the ring and snaps on a crossface. Mathews lets us know the match is not over by screaming, “Is Bobby Roode going to beat Kurt Angle?!”
Angle reverses into an anklelock. Pope notes that Angle has good torque on the hold. Roode rolls through the hold and locks in another crossface. Angle is teasing that he’s going to tap out, holding his hand in the air. But, Angle turns Roode over for a pin, but Roode kicks out.
Both wrestlers get to their feet, but Roode almost immediately grabs an arm and takes him back down with a crossface. “Will Kurt Angle tap out?!?!” Mathews yells. Angle turns out and both get to their feet. Angle hits an Angle Slam and Roode kicks out at two, as Mathews exclaims victory for Angle.
Angle drops his shoulder straps and again goes for an anklelock, but Roode twists into an enziguri. Roode picks up Angle for a Roode Bomb, but Angle kicks out. Roode says “I’m sorry” to Angle as he goes for another Roode Bomb, but Angle ducks it and snatches another anklelock. Roode taps out.
After the match, Angle gets to his feet and celebrates. He goes over and picks Roode up off the mat and they embrace. Roode gets to his feet, selling his ankle, and raises Angle’s hand. Roode asks for a microphone as the show goes to a break.
WINNER: Kurt Angle via submission at 8:39.
[Reax: The only problem with this match is that it was only about eight minutes long. Roode and Angle didn’t over do it, they just had a very good wrestling match, especially considering Angle’s age and limitations at this point in his career. Pope was really good in this match as well, explaining why Roode was going for early pins. He provided some really good insight.]
[Commercial Break at 9:13]
[Q2] Back from the break, Roode has the microphone in the ring. “You know what, there’s no shame in losing to the best professional wrestler of all-time,” he said. “Kurt, on behalf of myself, everybody in the back, every one of these fans and every fan all over the world, we want to thank you for what you have done for us, for this company, and for me. I love you.”
As Angle and Roode hug, James Storm is shown walking to the ring. The crowd cheers, “Thank you Angle!” Storm grabs the microphone.
“Kurt, I just came out here to say, on behalf of two TNA originals, we want to say thank you to a true TNA legend,” he said. “Kurt, we spent a lot of time on the road together, and people in every organization in pro wrestling will tell you that the knowledge of Kurt Angle is worth millions of dollars, but to me your friendship has been priceless and I love you, amigo.”
Storm says that Angle isn’t leaving without a good celebration. Storm grabs a few beers out of his bag and it looks like Angle says, “I don’t drink.” So, Storm goes into the bag and pulls out a gallon of milk. “I have to do that,” Angle says, laughing. Angle then chugs the milk while Beer Money chugs the beers.
“Speaking of what we just saw, I have one match left with Lashley,” Angle said. “But the one match I want to see more than that is Beer Money vs. The Wolves. I want to see it.”
That brought out Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards. The Wolves enter the ring and shake hands with Angle and Beer Money.
“The one constant thing I’ve had in my life has been wrestling,” Richards said. “One guy who has inspired me, one guy who has motivated me, one guy who has told me I could always push through and be the best, and that man inspired me then and now. Kurt Angle. So, if you fans want to see The Wolves take on Beer Money for the TNA World Tag Team Titles, I say … I say let’s do it.”
“But guys,” Edwards adds, “I think it would be a good idea for you to keep (that briefcase), because we’re going to beat you. We’re going to show you that we’re the greatest tag team today, and we’re the greatest tag team in TNA history.”
Storm says that they’re not here to prove they’re the best tag team in wrestling today, they’re here to reinforce it. Storm tells The Wolves to shine up the belts, because next week Beer Money will be the new tag team champions.
Next: Rockstar Spud speaks out on costing ECIII the World Title.
[Commercial Break at 9:25]
Back from the break, Matt Hardy and Reby come to the ring holding hands with Tyrus behind them. Hardy has the TNA World Hvt. Title draped over his shoulder.
“I went into that cage with one mission, to win,” Hardy said. “I’ve beaten Ethan Carter so many times, it’s becoming boring. I am done with ECIII. He is no longer the No. 1 contender, he has had his mandatory rematch, I will never wrestle ECIII again, and Ethan Carter will never get a shot at this World Title again. He’s on the outside, forever. Because Matt Hardy owns ECIII.” Reby is in the background, clapping for everything Hardy says.
Hardy says that he needs to give a shout-out to someone who ECIII abused and took advantage of. Hardy said that he needed to thank Rockstar Spud, who he calls his “great friend.” Spud’s music hits and he comes to the ring not in one of his colorful suits, but instead in full black. Spud is wearing black pants with a black shirt and a black leather jacket.
Spud gets into the ring and gives Hardy a huge hug. “And you would have sold out too if you were living in this dump your entire life,” Spud says to the crowd, who was chanting he sold out.
“One year ago, in this ring, I was left bloody and disheveled by Ethan Carter III. And that’s just like you, the British public, to jump on the latest flavor of the month, because now you stand here and disrespect one of your own.”
Spud asks for a show of hands, asking who was there for him when he needed them. He tells the crowd that the entire crowd is jealous of his success. Spud says he is a national treasure and the people at home wish they could be a star like him.
“I’m Rockstar Spud, shut up!” Spud yells. “Ethan, what I did to you was good, old-fashioned revenge. And I did the right thing. The right thing is to take from you what you always wanted, and that’s the TNA World Hvt. Championship, and it eats you alive, you piece of garbage, that the TNA World Hvt. Champion is Matt Hardy.”
Spud said that he dedicated his life to the family and Matt Hardy brand. “His beautiful wife Reby, and his adorable son Maxel,” Spud said, “because Matt Hardy is the greatest TNA World Hvt. Champion of all time. A champion this company needs and has always deserved. Matt, we’ve done it. We got rid of the cancer …”
In the middle of that sentence, the arena goes dark and ECIII’s music hits.
[Q3] ECIII rushes the ring with a chair and takes out Tyrus, while Hardy and Spud bail out of the ring. After ECIII nails Tyrus, Hardy comes in from behind for a blindsided attack. ECIII runs off Hardy and Spud comes in, but ECIII slowly turns around. He rushes Spud and Spud runs off. Spud, Hardy and Tyrus bail up the ramp.
“Spud,” ECIII said. “Tonight, no match. No referee. Tonight, Rockstar Spud, I challenge you to a fight. And I’m sure as hell happy to be right here in Birmingham, because there are enough people who have seen your ugly face enough times that they’ll have no trouble helping the coroner identify the body.”
Backstage: The roving reporting catches up with Gail Kim. She said she needs to talk to Maria. Gail said that last week Maria showed she was selfish and only about herself. Gail said that tonight she’s going to the ring to call Maria out for a fight.
Video: A music video featuring The Decay airs, with their theme song by Marilyn Manson playing.
[Commercial Break at 9:40]
Backstage: Hardy is yelling at Dixie Carter that he’s the World champion, and she should have fired ECIII like he told her to. Spud starts screaming at Dixie that ECIII should be fired. Dixie said that Spud is right, she can’t sanction the fight between Spud and ECIII. “You’re right,” she said. “I can’t sanction this. So your fight with Ethan, will be unsanctioned.”
[Reax: Well, TNA made up for opening the show with a match by running almost 40 straight minutes of talking segments.]
In-arena: Abyss makes his ring entrance, along with the rest of Decay, followed by Jimmy Havoc.
2 — ABYSS (w/Crazzy Steve & Rosemary) vs. JIMMY HAVOC — Street Fight
Havoc rushes the ring and starts throwing crazy right hands. Abyss rolls to the outside and as Havoc goes for a dive through the ropes, Abyss throws a garbage can at his head.
Crazzy Steve and Rosemary setup a table at ringside. Abyss grabs Havoc for a chokeslam, but Havoc elbows his way out of Abyss’s grip. Havoc tries to approach Rosemary, but Abyss attacks him from behind and throws Havoc into the stairs. Steve and Abyss push the table into the ring, along with a bunch of other weapons.
Abyss has a cheese grater and tries to hit Havoc with it, but Havoc blocks it. Abyss sets up a table in the corner. Abyss signals for a chokeslam but Havoc hits Abyss in the crotch with the cheese grater and then slams the garbage can into Abyss’ skull three times before Abyss goes to the canvas. Abyss kicks out of a pin at two.
[Q4] Havoc goes to the top rope but Rosemary distracts him. Steve tries to hit Havoc with a kendo stick but Havoc catches it. Abyss then throws a char at Havoc, which hits him and sends him off the top rope and through a table on the outside of the ring.
Abyss gets Janice from Rosemary. Havoc is getting up slowly on the table setup in the corner. Abyss goes for a wild baseball swing but Havoc ducks it. Havoc hits a missile dropkick, which sends Abyss through the table in the corner.
Abyss kicks out of a pin at two. Havoc goes under the ring and grabs a barbed-wire board. The crowd chants, “ECW!” Havoc grabs Janice and goes to hit Abyss, but Abyss grabs Havoc for a chokeslam. Havoc squirms out and his two kendo stick shots before he gets scooped up and hit with a Blackhole Slam through the barbed-wire board.
After the match, Decay stands over the body of Havoc, celebrating their win.
WINNER: Abyss at 5:58.
Video: A video package airs on Mike Bennett and his new feud with Drew Galloway.
Still to come: Drew Galloway vs. Mike Bennett.
[Commercial Break at 9:55]
Backstage: The roving reporting finds ECIII.
[Q5 — second hour] “I give Spud credit for finding revenge on what I did to him in London,” ECIII said. “But Spud, you’re a coward. You’re on the road for a slaughter, but tonight that slaughter won’t be merciful. Tonight, I’ll take from you your very last breath.”
[Reax: That’s the second time within an hour that ECIII has literally promised to murder Rockstar Spud.]
In-arena: Gail Kim comes to the ring and grabs a mic. “I came out here tonight to take this opportunity to talk about something that has been really bothering me. Actually, someone who has been really bothering me, and that’s you Maria.
“Maria, the Knockouts have always been about excellence and being the best at what they do, and that’s wrestling. I didn’t get into this business to be famous, I got into this business because I love wrestling.
“I’m willing to raise the bar. I’m willing to sacrifice my body to set that bar and at Lethal Lockdown you had the opportunity to do the same, but you showed your true colors. No one wants to hear you talk Maria, they want to see you fight. So come out here, right now.”
Maria’s music hits and she walks onto the stage and down to the ring with a smile on her face. “Do you want to see me fight?” she asks. “No. I’m going to stand right here until I’m finished talking. Gail you’re proud of being a wrestler. Well I’m proud of the lesson I taught you. At Lethal Lockdown, when you wanted me to enter that brutal match, I couldn’t cross the line or step into that ring, because then I would be just like you, and I’m nothing like you. But sadly, you want to be just like me.”
Maria says that Gail didn’t want to be famous, but she married a celebrity chef and televised her wedding. “It screamed, ‘look at me!’” Maria said. “I was on Celebrity Apprentice. I’m happy to be a celebrity. With the great entertainer, Donald Trump. I was in Playboy, and most of all, I’m the first lady of professional wrestling. And as for me, getting in the ring, right now … that will never, ever happen. Because I’m a lady.”
Gail says that these people came for a fight and she chases Maria. But Jade comes out of nowhere and cuts her off. Jade hits a spin kick on Gail Kim and then picks up the Knockouts Title, smashing Gail in the face with it.
Jade grabs the mic. “Gail, you want to fight?” she said. “Well, you found one. I am coming for what’s mine.” The Dollhouse’s music plays as Jade lifts the title belt over her head. Jade then lays the title over Gail’s face.
Still to come: ECIII vs. Rockstar Spud in an unsanctioned fight.
In-arena: Eric Young is introduced for the next match, accompanied by Bram.
[Commercial Break at 10:08]
Back from the break, E.Y. and Bram have a microphone before Young’s match. “This place makes me sick,” Bram said. “None of you are tough, none of you can fight. You people ain’t real men like me and E.Y.”
Young added, “You’re looking at the king of wrestling. You’re looking at God. There isn’t a man on this side of the pond that can beat me. Anyone, bring a referee down here, let’s do it.”
That sparks someone’s music, and Big Damo, an Irish wrestler, comes to the ring. “So you’re looking for the toughest guy this side of the pond?” Damo asked. “Well he’s standing right here in front of you.”
3 — TNA King of the Mountain champion ERIC YOUNG (w/Bram) vs. BIG DAMO — King of the Mountain Title match
Right at the bell, E.Y. gets hit with a running dropkick. E.Y. rolls out of the ring and then shortly thereafter, climbs back in to trade shots with Damo.
[Q6] Damo stands on E.Y.’s chest with two feet for a cover, but E.Y. gets out from under it at two. E.Y. hits a neckbreaker on Big Damo. Damo hits a right forearm on Young, then Damo charges E.Y. in the corner and then gets hit with a right hand. E.Y. off the ropes and Damo drops his weight on Eric. Damo hits a powerbomb, followed up with an elbow, but E.Y. kicks out at two.
Mathews says that Damo, E.Y., and Bram could be friends, because they have “strong beard games.” Damo hits a cross-body on E.Y., but E.Y. kicks out at two.
Damo tries to scoop up Young for another bodyslam of some kind, but Bram climbs on the apron. He gets knocked off, but it’s enough to distract Damo for E.Y. to hit a piledriver for the win.
WINNER: Eric Young in 3:35 to retain the KOTM Title.
[Reax: This has not been a particularly strong night from Josh Mathews, who has been extra-cheesy on the play-by-play tonight. He’s tipping off false finishes by screaming that someone is going to win a match — just like Michael Cole — and some of his comments, such as the “good beard game” one in this match, are eye-rolling.
On the flip side, the Pope has been very good on color commentary, providing some good insight into why wrestlers are doing what they’re doing over the course of a match, very much like Joe Rogan in the UFC telling the viewer what someone is doing and why they’re doing it.]
Backstage: Drew Galloway is addressing Mike Bennett. He says that Bennett picked the wrong guy to jump. Tonight, he’s going to hurt Bennett. “Tonight, you will need a miracle, because I am going to make an example out of you, and make you tap out,” he said.
[Commercial Break at 10:21]
Back from the break, Mike Bennett is making his entrance with Maria. “United Kingdom, you are broken,” Maria says. “Do you believe in The Miracle?”
4 — “The Miracle” MIKE BENNETT (w/Maria) vs. DREW GALLOWAY
The match starts with a pace through the roof, as Bennett charges Galloway and Galloway fights back, stomping Bennett in the corner before things slow down a bit.
Galloway and Bennett take the fight to the outside. Galloway throws Bennett into the guardrail on the outside and then sets him up on the railing for chops. Galloway picks up Bennett and drops him on the guardrail. Bennett grabs Galloway from behind and throws his face onto the ring apron. Bennett charges Galloway, but Galloway lifts him up and drops him, face-first, onto the ring post.
Bennett tries to get back to his feet and he trips up Galloway, who had climbed onto the apron. Bennett tosses Galloway into the side of the ring. Bennett lands a series of running kicks to Galloway. Bennett whips Galloway to the corner and splashes him, twice. Bennett goes for a cover, but Galloway kicks out at two.
Off the ropes, Bennett lands another running boot to Galloway. After Galloway gets back to his feet, he fires up, Ultimate Warrior style, and then hits flying clothesline off the top. Galloway and Bennett trade forearms off the jaw and Galloway hits a spinebuster, but Bennett kicks out at two.
Galloway charges Bennett in the corner, but Bennett gets a boot up. Galloway and Bennett again trade shots in the middle of the ring before Galloway gets shot off the ropes. Bennett lands a cutter for a two count. Pope says that this is the toughest test Bennett has had.
Galloway reveres a powerbomb attempt into a Celtic Cross. Galloway hits a Claymore kick on Bennett. Galloway locks in an Iron Maiden on Bennett, but Maria drags Bennett’s foot to the rope.
As Galloway is looking down at Maria, Bennett rolls Galloway up from behind and schoolboys him, grabbing tights in the process for the win. After the match, Maria and Bennett celebrate on the ramp.
WINNER: Mike Bennett at 7:53.
Backstage: Matt Hardy asks Spud if he’s ready. Hardy said that tonight Spud needs to make ECIII pay for his sins against him. Hardy said tonight, Spud needs to finish the job. Spud said that he’s going to do it for Hardy tonight.
[Reax: How can Dixie Carter book a non-sanctioned fight? If she’s not sanctioning it, she couldn’t actually book it, right? Meaning that Rockstar Spud, who clearly didn’t want to fight ECIII earlier in the show, has no real reason to still fight him now. There would be no consequences. TNA isn’t even sanctioning the match, according to TNA’s storyline. That’s a hole someone forgot to fill in with spackle.]
[Commercial Break at 10:37]
Back from the break, Grado is outside talking to the camera. He said that when he signed with TNA, his dream came true. He was living the dream until Feast or Fired, and he knew there was something fishy. He said that next week, he’ll show the world why he was screwed.
[Q8] Video: TNA aired a video package highlighting the last match between Kurt Angle and Bobby Lashley, from last year.
Mathews throws to another promo highlighting what will happen next week, including Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Lashley, The Wolves vs. Beer Money, and E.Y. defending his King of the Mountain Title.
In-arena: Prior to the match, Rockstar Spud as being “formerly from Birmingham, England.”
As ECIII is walking to the ring backstage, Tyrus jumps ECIII. ECIII fights him off and tosses Tyrus into the back of a truck. Then, out of nowhere, Hardy jumps ECIII, but ECIII throws him in the back of the truck, locking it. In the arena, Spud has no idea what just happened and looks nervous as ECIII’s music hits.
[Commercial Break at 10:46]
5 — ROCKSTAR SPUD vs. ETHAN CARTER III — non-sanctioned street fight
Back from the break, Spud is on the run, but ECIII catches him and throws him down the ramp. ECIII with a huge right hand sends Spud flying down the ramp near the ring. ECIII tosses Spud into the guardrail twice. At the other end of the arena, Spud gets tossed over the guardrail by ECIII.
Mathews says that no one feels sorry for Spud. ECIII asks which side of the crowd wants Spud, and then tosses him back over the guardrail.
ECIII now throws Spud back into the ring. Spud runs over and lands a boot. Spud takes off his shirt and tries to choke ECIII with it, then gives ECIII the boots in the corner. ECIII with a clothesline out of the corner.
It should be noted, there is no referee. At least they’re sticking to the “non-sanctioned” feel. Spud gets tossed to the outside. ECIII is in pursuit and scoops up Spud on his shoulder. Spud gets away after raking ECIII’s eyes. Spud grabs a chair and sprints towards ECIII, but ECIII gets his boot up and the chair slams into Spud’s own face.
ECIII tosses Spud back into the ring and ECIII takes the chair in with him. He goes to hit Spud with the chair, but Spud kicks him in the knee. Spud throws the chair at ECIII. Spud climbs the corner and throws right hands at ECIII, but ECIII gets Spud on his shoulders and then drops him on the canvas.
Pope wonders if ECIII will pin him, but Mathews points out there will be no pinning, because it’s just a fight. He then adds, “I’ll call this thing until tomorrow. Tell your DVR you may need to extend by 30 or 40 minutes!” More cheese from Mathews. He’s been extra-cheesy tonight.
Spud dives at ECIII from the apron, but ECIII catches him and presses him over his head, slamming Spud to the mats on the outside. Back in the ring, ECIII grabs a table and sets it up. The crowd is chanting for the table.
Meanwhile, Spud is crawling up the ramp, trying to get away. “He’s trying to crawl out of here, like the vermin that he is,” Mathews exclaims. Spud kicks ECIII with a low blow. ECIII is having trouble getting to his feet. Spud begins to slap ECIII and then throws some quick right jabs. Spud goes for another right hand, but ECIII catches his fist. ECIII powerbombs Spud through the table.
ECIII picks up Spud and begins to choke him out as referees run to the ring to break up the fight. ECIII is screaming at Spud that he cost him everything, as he continues to tighten up on the choke. Spud is selling the choke out as ECIII’s music hits and he paces in the ring like a caged animal as the show goes off the air.
WINNER: There was never an official winner, but ECIII stopped attacking at about 8:45.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This show had its ups and downs. Opening with the Angle-Roode match was a nice change of pace for a wrestling show in 2016, but TNA followed that up with two straight talking segments that lasted about half-an-hour.
Pope had one of his better nights on commentary, but it was balanced by Mathews, for some reason, being extra cheesy on commentary tonight. He telegraphed a lot of false finishes as well, like a pitcher tipping pitches. There was something about the pitch in his voice, and how he got excited for nearfalls, that just tipped off to the viewer the finish wasn’t actually coming.
As far as creatively, the show was paced well and on the whole, did feature some good matches, despite the heavy-talking in the middle of the first hour. Angle-Roode and Bennett-Galloway were both very strong, and the Abyss-Havoc match delivered some good action, for the weapon-filled spotfest that it was.
The ending was a tad anti-climactic. ECIII needed to get some of his steam back after losing last week, but beating up Spud just didn’t feel like it was enough.]