TNA Impact Wrestling Report
March 8, 2016
Taped in Birmingham, U.K. at Barclaycard Arena
Aired on Pop TV
Report by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonPW), PWTorch contributor
TNA opened with a video highlighting Kurt Angle’s TNA career. The narrator called tonight a “moment in time that can’t be missed,” as Kurt Angle wrestles Bobby Lashley in his final TNA match.
Josh Mathews welcomed us to the show as crowd shots were shown.
In-ring: Dixie Carter was set to address the fans. She says she wants to thank everyone for being here, because it’s going to be a very special and emotional evening. The camera pans back, and at least a good portion of the TNA roster is surrounding the ring.
“We’re here to celebrate an incredible man,” Carter said. Carter than introduces Angle to the crowd, calling him “the best wrestler in the history of our sport.”
As Angle comes to the ring, Mathews notes that Angle was the first TNA World Champion, when the NWA was removed from the belt. Angle greets Gail Kim, Bobby Roode, James Storm, and Drew Galloway as he enters the ring.
“Tonight marks the end of the Kurt Angle farewell tour,” Dixie said, choking back tears. “I speak for every fan, everyone who has ever worked for you, no one has wanted to see this day come. I’ll never forget what you did for this company 10 years ago, when we shocked the wrestling world, and kept it a secret, believe it or not.”
Dixie said that Angle has set the bar high for the company, and the industry. “I am eternally grateful to you, for what you have done for us,” Dixie said, crying. “I speak for everyone when I say, thank you Angle.” The crowd sheered “Thank you Angle!” as Dixie gave Angle a long hug.
Drew Galloway stepped in the ring and grabbed a microphone. He said that he came to Impact to compete with the best wrestlers on the planet. But he said the main reason was to wrestle the best wrestler of all-time, Kurt Angle. “I mean that,” he said.
“All of us wanted to be pro wrestlers our whole life,” Galloway said, “and 100 percent of us wanted to be Kurt Angle. I just wanted to say, thank you so much.”
Now Kurt has the mic. “Thank you for the warm reception, I’m a little overwhelmed right now,” he said. “I came to TNA about 10 years ago because I needed to find myself. They say when a wrestler retires he becomes a shell of himself, but not me. I’m a better man, a better husband, and a better father.” Kurt began crying when he said that last line.
“I’m a better friend and a better wrestler, and Dixie I want to thank you for that,” he said. “Most of all, most importantly, I want to thank each and every one of you for being such gracious fans. I love you all. I can honestly say right now that I am the luckiest man on this planet. Thank you.”
At this point, Lashley’s music hits and he begins to walk to the ring with a microphone. “Thank you Kurt,” he said. “Thank you Kurt. What a truly amazing experience we have here today. It’s a truly amazing experience for everyone here on the roster. Today’s going to be a rough day.
“But at the same time, it’s a great time for everyone in the arena to be here for Kurt Angle’s last wrestling match. And lastly, it’s truly an amazing honor to have an opportunity to not only wrestle the man who got me into this business, the amazing Kurt Angle. And for that, I say thank you. The only sad thing is, as I look in your eyes Kurt, you’re just not ready to wrestle. You’re just not ready, Kurt.”
Lashley drops his mic and walks out, as the camera zooms in on Angle’s eyes. Lashley is shown walking back up the ramp, clapping his hands.
[Reax: Just two weeks ago, Lashley was playing a big heel in a promo opposite Angle. He did a little bit here as well, at least at the end, but he was a little too respectful at the start of this promo. I’m sure that Angle is a big role model for Lashley, but if they are really trying to build heat for this match, then Lashley should have followed up his previous promo more strongly. The audience doesn’t need to see Lashley’s admiration for Angle. That doesn’t do anything but douse the little friction they created with his promo a few weeks ago. If Lashley wanted to show respect for Angle, do it after the match, not an hour before it.]
Tonight: The Wolves vs. Beer Money and Eric Young defends the KOTM Title right now.
In-arena: Jeremy Borash announces Eric Young to the ring for his King of the Mountain Title defense.
[Commercial break at 9:12]
1 — TNA King of the Mountain champion ERIC YOUNG vs. BRAM vs. BIG DAMO vs. JIMMY HAVOC vs. WILL OSPREAY — King of the Mountain Title match
About one minute into the match, Ospreay pinned Havoc to earn the right to hang the belt. After one minute, Havoc got out of the penalty box as most of the group wrestled on the outside. After Havoc got out of the penalty box, he climbed to the top and took out Damo and Bram.
In the ring, E.Y. whips Ospreay into the turnbuckle and hits a running clothesline. Meanwhile, Mathews says that next week, Jeff Hardy will return on Impact. E.Y. hits Jimmy Havoc with a piledriver on the ring steps, which makes him eligible to hang the title.
[Q2] In the ring, Bram hits a Brighter Side of Suffering on Big Damo to become eligible. E.Y. comes in and, as Mathews calls it, there is an implosion as they begin to trade right hands. Bram drops E.Y. and grabs a ladder, climbing with the title in an attempt to hang it, but E.Y. gets back up in time and pushes the ladder over. Pope says that this is what he likes about Impact – titles matter.
Ospreay springboards into the ring and takes out E.Y. Ospreay begins to climb the ladder with the title, but E.Y. hits a flying neckbreaker off the rope. After a replay, E.Y. climbs the ladder and hangs the belt to retain the title.
WINNER: Eric Young retains the KOTM Title at 6:48.
After the match, E.Y. grabs the title and runs back up the ramp. Mathews announces that next week, on a live edition of Impact, E.Y. will go one-on-one with a returning Jeff Hardy.
Video: Mathews throws to a video highlighting Kurt Angle’s TNA career, beginning with his 2006 Genesis match against Samoa Joe, when Angle became the first person to beat Joe in TNA.
Backstage: Maria thanks Dixie Carter for having her and The Miracle there. Maria says it was an inspiring move, on her part. Maria says that tonight, Mike Bennett wants to call out Dixie and ask her a question, and that tonight Dixie can be part of making a Miracle happen. Maria also says that she could be an asset in the Knockouts Division. She tells Dixie to give her assistant a call and they can have a formal chit-chat. “As it relates to the Knockouts,” Dixie said, “I saw what happened between you and Gail. And like Gail, I believe in actions more than words.” Maria just stares off into the distance as the show goes to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:26]
Back from the break, Maria and Mike Bennett are in the ring. Maria says that before they call out Dixie, Bennett should tell them who and what the Miracle is?
[Q3] “Do you people want to know what the miracle is that’s happening tonight?” Bennett asks. The crowd boos. “That’s a resounding yes.” Bennet continues: “Arguably the greatest pro wrestler alive, Kurt Angle, who ducked me and cheap-shotted me by the way, he’s on his way out the door. So the miracle that’s happening tonight is that I will be named the No. 1 contender for the TNA World Hvt. Championship. And once I become the No. 1 contender, I will go on and win the TNA World Title and complete my mission of saving this company, and saving all of pro wrestling. So Dixie, come on down and let’s make this miracle happen.”
Instead of Dixie Carter, out comes Drew Galloway, who still holds a TNA World Title match in his Feast or Fired briefcase. “You don’t get it,” Galloway said. “You think everything is going to get handed to you. I have a news flash for you, this is a wrestling company, not a charity. If you want that title shot, I have some advice. I suggest you do a little more fighting, and a lot less running your mouth like a little b—-.”
Bennett said that Galloway knows about charities, because he begged Kurt Angle for a second match because he didn’t get the job done the first time. He said that Galloway won some game show for his World Title shot. “Let the adults talk, Drew,” Bennett said. “You go back there where you belong. Go get Dixie for me.”
Galloway said he could do that, or he could also … And Galloway gives Bennett a shot and he’s all over him. But Bennett fires back. Galloway rolls over and throws double fists. Galloway hits a clothesline. “That was my moment!” Bennett yelled as he retreated up the ramp. “You ruined my moment!”
Angle Video: Highlights of Angle’s first TNA World Hvt. Title win were shown, when Angle won a King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary.
Backstage: The Wolves told Angle how much they respect him. Davey says he’s been looking up to Angle since he was a kid. Angle said he appreciates it, and that they have no idea how good they really are. Angle ribs Richards for using the anklelock, and then said that he’s allowed to use it. “Ken Shamrock passed it on to me, and I’m passing it on to you,” he said. Angle told the Wolves to go out and defend their tag titles, and when it was over, he’d show Richards some pointers on the anklelock.
Up next: Gail Kim vs. Jade for the Knockouts Title.
[Commercial Break at 9:39]
Back from the break, Jade is already in the ring and Gail Kim is making her ring entrance.
2 — TNA Knockouts champion GAIL KIM vs. JADE
Gail whips Jade into the corner. Back in the middle, Jade drops Gail on her knee. Jade then walks over Gail’s rib cage and connects with kicks to her face as she tries to stand up.
Gail starts to get some offense back and brings Jade to the corner, wrapping Jade in a figure-four around the ringpost. The referee breaks it at a four count and Gail goes back into the ring. She drags Jade to the middle, but Jade kicks her off, sending Jade to the mat.
[Q4] Jade goes for a submission but Gail gets out and reverses into a modified arm bar. Jade lands a kick as they get up off the mat. As both get to their feet, Gail blocks two right hands from Jade and whips her into the turnbuckle. Jade misses a clothesline.
Jade tries for package piledriver, but Gail blocks it. Gail goes to the top and hits a crossbody, but Jade rolls through it for a two count. Gail turns over that pin attempt and lands a pin for the win. After the match, Gail grabs her title and celebrates as she walks back up the ramp.
WINNER: Gail Kim retains at 6:31.
Backstage: Beer Money is approaching the ring for their Tag Title match against The Wolves.
Back from the break, Mathews announces that ECIII will have one more World Title shot next week against Matt Hardy.
Mathews then throws to Matt Hardy in a pre-taped interview. “This is an injustice,” Hardy said. “What did you pull, ECIII, to get this done? One more shot at my World Title? I told everyone there was a conspiracy against me!” Hardy then calms down and says he doesn’t know why he was getting worked up, because ECIII can’t beat him.
3 — TNA Tag Team champions THE WOLVES (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. BEER MONEY (James Storm & Bobby Roode) – TNA Tag Title match
Storm and Edwards start out the match. Edwards wraps up Storm’s arm and Richards tags in.
[Q5 — second hour] Storm works his way to his corner and tags in Roode, who grabs a side headlock. Good teamwork by the Wolves, as Edwards drops Roode with a drop toehold and Richards flies in with a dropkick. Similar double-team on Storm, only Richards dropped an elbow.
Back to their feet, Richards helps Edwards fly through a double suplex. The Wolves hit a double dive on Beer Money. Edwards rolls Roode back into the ring, drops a leg, and goes for a cover but Roode kicks out. Roode then hits Edwards with an atomic drop and Storm tags in, taking him out from behind.
Roode tags back in and gets a two count on Edwards. Roode snaps Edwards over and locks him in a chin lock and then brings him to the mat with a front facelock. Edwards hits a double huracanrana on Beer Money. Edwards dives and makes a tag to Richards. The Wolves are in control after Richards hits dual dropkicks.
[Commercial Break at 10:05]
Back from the break, Richards has Roode in the anklelock, but Storm is the legal man. Roode gets to the rope for a break. Storm climbs to the top where he grabs Richards but Richards slips free and drops Storm on the turnbuckle. Storm is on the tree of woe as Richards climbs the opposite turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Storm kicks out at two, though.
Richards tags in Edwards. After some back-and-forth, Storm hits Edwards with a huracanrana off the top. Roode then lands a top-rope splash, but Edwards kicks out. After a backstabber, Storm tags in Roode. Beer Money follows that with their signature “Beer! Money!” spot. But, Edwards counters out of the DWI.
Storm charges Edwards, but Richards hits him with a kick. Richards flies off the top at Storm but Storm lifts his knees. Roode hits a spinebuster on Edwards and Storm catches him in a DDT, but Edwards kicks out at two.
Roode sets up Edwards on the top rope. Edwards fights his way out and drops Roode to the mat. Edwards goes up on the ropes, but Storm takes out Edwards and drops him on the turnbuckle. Beer Money hits DWI for the win.
WINNERS: Beer Money wins the TNA World Tag Team Titles at 16:15.
[Q6] After the match, Storm and Roode celebrate, as Mathews points out that this is their fifth title win. On the outside, TNA officials appear to be helping one of the Wolves to their feet, but it’s hard to tell who it is. The camera doesn’t focus on them. The camera does finally show The Wolves walking back up the ramp, as Edwards is helping Richards walk after he blew out his knee.
[Reax: What a match. WWE’s tag team division is so much better now than it was four or five years ago, but there isn’t a team in WWE that can touch what Beer Money and The Wolves did here. The teamwork and double-team moves, the fast-paced action, it’s just not WWE’s style. TNA also gave these four plenty of time. It was a little more than 16 minutes of television time, but who knows how long that match actually was? It could have been edited down from 20-plus minutes. There wasn’t a dull second for the entire match.]
Angle Video: Highlights of Angle’s TNA Hall of Fame induction are shown.
Backstage: Lashley is shown walking backstage and he sees Drew Galloway. “After tonight, there will be a new top dog in town, and it’s not you,” Lashley tells Galloway.
Still to come: Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Lashley.
[Commercial Break at 10:17]
Back from the break, Mathews threw to fan-submitted videos for Kurt Angle, where fans thanked Angle for his TNA tenure.
Backstage: Angle is warming up as Mike Bennett approaches. “Kurt, I am a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason, and everything (Lashley) does out there tonight, you deserve. But you could have wrestled me. You’re done, and that’s fine. Hall of Famer vs. future Hall of Famer. If you ever get that wrestling itch and want to scratch it, I’ll be here to beat you, Kurt.” Angle says that Bennett better hope he never decides to come back, or it would get real.
[Reax: Could this be building up to something? There doesn’t seem to be a reason to have Bennett and Angle keep interacting if it’s not going to lead to a match. Building up this Lashley match as Angle’s last, only to go back on that so quickly is not the best move, but down the road if Angle does decide to come back for one match, there is a built-in opponent with Bennett. If nothing else, he at least got to interact with him.]
In-ring: Grado runs to the ring and says that he has video proof he was screwed in Feast or Fired. He tells “his friend” Kenny Smith to play the video, and Eli Drake comes to the ramp along with Jessie Godderz.
“Look at you, you’re pathetic,” Drake said. “Here you are, begging for your job back.” The crowd is chanting for Grado. Drake says that security has taken out Grado for two weeks in a row. Now this week, he says that he’s going to walk to the ring with his Feast or Fired briefcase and smash it over Grado’s head so many times, he’ll never come back.
Godderz says that they are two people who “don’t have to pump up in the back” in order to take him out. Godderz and Drake them jump Grado, laying boots to him in the corner. That brings out Mahabali Shera, who runs in to help Grado. He goes to work on Godderz in the corner, but Drake lays out Grado with the briefcase. He then slams the briefcase over Shera’s back. Grado then emerges, taking out Godderz and Drake and stealing the briefcase.
Backstage: Lashley and Angle are shown walking to the ring.
[Commercial Break at 10:28]
Back from the break, Mathews says that Jeff Hardy returns and there is a World Title match between Matt Hardy and ECIII.
Video: Mathews throws to a music video tribute dedicated to Kurt Angle’s career. As clips are shown of Angle’s career, cuts from his promo a few weeks ago on Impact air, where he thanks the fans.
Comments from Pat Kenney, his agent, Al Snow, Shane Helms, and Earl Hebner, are shown as part of the video as well. As the video closes, a graphic reading “Thank You Kurt” is shown as the crowd chants “Thank you Angle!” in the background.
In-arena: Lashley makes his entrance. He’s followed by Angle, as Mathews runs down Angle’s resume, including his multiple World Titles and Olympic gold medal. Jeremy Borash handles ring introductions for Angle’s final match. Brian Hebner will be tonight’s referee.
[Reax: This was obviously a huge match, but TNA did a really great job making it feel like a huge match. Between the ring walks and introductions, it felt more than a typical TNA main event, including World Title matches.]
[Commercial Break at 10:40]
4 — BOBBY LASHLEY vs. KURT ANGLE
The bell rings as Angle and Lashley circle each other in the ring. Of note, Lashley is wearing a bright white headband. Good mat wrestling to begin the match. Angle has a headlock, but Lashley begins to power out. Angle resets the side headlock and Lashley resorts to throwing fists at his mid-section.
[Q8] Angle hits a German Suplex, and then another. Angle whips Lashley into the corner but he backs out with an elbow to Angle. Lashley mounts little offense as Lashley gets back in control with right hands in the corner.
Lashley hurdles Angle as he goes off the ropes and then catches Angle, tossing him across the ring before getting a two count. Lashley is now in control and jams his boot into Angle’s throat for a count of four before he breaks it.
Lashley drapes Angle’s neck on the rope and begins to choke him with his knee. Lashley throws elbows in the corner but Angle begins to fight back. Lashley comes right back, driving his shoulder into Angle’s gut in the corner. Angle goes off the rope and is able to kick Lashley, but Lashley comes right back with a spinning elbow to remain in control of the pace. Lashley covers Angle for a two count at 4:57.
As Angle begins to get to his feet, Lashley grabs a side headlock. Angle tries to power out with elbows but Lashley stands toe-to-toe as both trade right hands. Angle ducks a punch and hits two straight German suplexes without releasing. Lashley gets out of the grip with an elbow and then a power slam.
Angle drops Lashley with an Angle Slam after avoiding the spear, but Lashley kicks out at two. Angle is bleeding from his mouth. Pope says it came from the back elbow. Angle locks up Lashley for three more German suplexes and then grabs the anklelock at 6:50. Lashley reverses into a cross-arm breaker, but Angle somehow rolls out of it and again locks in an anklelock. Lashley is in the middle of the ring. He powers Angle to the corner and then hits a spinebuster as Angle charges him.
Lashley is stalking Angle as he lays on the ground. Lashley hits Angle with a second spear for another two count. Lashley stalks Angle again looking for a third spear but Angle side-steps it, throwing Lashley into the corner post and then snatching an anklelock at 9:37. Mathews says that Lashley has nowhere to go. Angle drops to the mat and wraps his legs around Lashley’s, still cranking his ankle. Mathews says that Lashley is going to tap out, giving Angle a storybook ending.
However, Lashley breaks the hold with a kick as Angle tried to reposition himself. Angle misses a spear and Lashley hits a spear out of nowhere for the win.
WINNER: Bobby Lashley at 10:57.
After the match, they show a close-up of Angle on the mat bleeding from his mouth. Pope says that Lashley did it through his own merit. Lashley picks up Angle for a hug as Brian Hebner is applauding. Lashley has a huge smile on his face as he raises Angle’s hand.
Then, Lashley drops Angle with a huge clothesline before sitting in the corner. Angle gets back up and Lashley smashes Angle with another spear before throwing Brian Hebner outside the ring.
Drew Galloway charges the ring. Galloway is screaming at Lashley, as Lashley throws his hands up. Galloway checks on Angle and Lashley spears Galloway. Eddie Edwards runs in to help but he gets a spear.
Lashley then picks up Angle for another spear. Suddenly, ECIII’s music hits. He walks into the ring and goes face-to-face with Lashley, who backs down and walks out of the ring as ECIII stares him down. ECIII stands in the ring, noticing all of the carnage and he goes to check on Angle. Mathews says that Lashley has rocked Impact Wrestling to its very core.
Next week: Eric Young vs. Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy vs. ECIII as Impact will be live next week.
[FINAL THOUGHTS: Lashley works better as a heel. He had the storyline a few weeks back of the mystery woman flirting with him, and that could be part of the explanation for his change in attitude here. Although TNA runs the risk of that mirroring the Matt Hardy/Reby story currently being told.
They seemed intent on getting Lashley over as a heel after this match, destroying everyone that came to Ange’s aid, including the man of the hour, twice.
It was good booking to have ECIII come out and make the save, with Lashley retreating. Again, TNA saved the blows for a future episode like they did with Spud and ECIII two weeks ago.]