3/15 TNA Impact Report – TNA Title match highlights semi-live Impact back in Orlando


TNA Impact Wrestling Report
March 15, 2016
Semi-Live in Orlando, Fla. from Universal Studios
Aired on Pop TV
Report by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonPW), PWTorch contributor

Impact opens with an arena shot inside the building in Orlando as Jeff Hardy’s music plays and he makes his way to the ring.

Backstage, Eric Young is shown walking around backstage. He approaches Dixie Carter at the Gorilla position and asks her if she likes this? E.Y. said that Hardy is the golden boy and gets what he wants, and tonight, he gets Eric Young. “You’re going to remember this forever,” he screamed. “Deal with it forever. This on you!” E.Y. then made his way to the ring as his music played.

1 — JEFF HARDY vs. ERIC YOUNG

E.Y. charges Hardy as soon as he gets into the ring and they begin to brawl. Mathews says that “this is how you start a wrestling show,” which the last time he said that a few weeks ago, the opening match was followed by back-to-back talking segments that lasted almost a half-hour.

As E.Y. and Hardy brawl, Dixie Carter’s music hits and she interrupts the match to cut a promo. She says that E.Y. says opportunity to finish what he started with Jeff Hardy. She said that tonight, whoever wins this match, will be added to the World Title match later tonight.

Hardy goes for a cover and E.Y. kicks out. Hardy and E.Y. brawl on the outside. Hardy goes for a slingshot dive using the ropes, but E.Y. got his legs up. E.Y. picks up Hardy and throws a right hand before rolling Hardy back into the ring.

E.Y. goes to charge Hardy in the corner but Jeff lands a back elbow. Hardy goes to the top but E.Y. drops him on the turnbuckle and ties him up in a tree of woe. What seems like a very good and energetic crowd begins a “Let’s Go Jeff!” chant. E.Y. lands a swinging neckbreaker for a two count.

E.Y. goes for a diving headbutt but Hardy moves and throws a punch to counter it. Both men are down and slow to get up after that sequence. E.Y. misses a clothesline and Hardy throws a right hand. Now E.Y. and Hardy trade right hands in the middle of the ring before Hardy throws a kick to the midsection.

Hardy sweeps E.Y. to the mat for a two count. Hardy tries for a Twist of Fate but E.Y. blocks it and sets up Hardy on the top rope. E.Y. tries for a superplex but Hardy blocks it with some punches. He knocks E.Y. off the turnbuckle and lands a Swanton Bomb for the win.

WINNER: Jeff Hardy at 9:43.

After the match, Hardy gets up and celebrates while E.Y. sells his ribs. Mathews notes that Hardy has been added to the main event, and it will now be a three-way dance between Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, and Ethan Carter III. Matt Hardy’s music hits, and he begins to walk to the ring along with Reby and his son.

[Reax: Think about the logic here. Jeff Hardy never had his title shot, because Eric Young attacked him prior to the match and gave him a piledriver on the steps. Hardy’s first match back is a grudge match against Young, which is fine, but the owner of the company decides that the man who attacked him also gets an opportunity to essentially steal Hardy’s title shot?

In the end, it didn’t matter because Hardy won the match, but why exactly did E.Y. deserve a title shot? Because he attacked Hardy? If that’s the logic, why aren’t heels taking out babyfaces left and right in order to get title shots? TNA also cut away from Hardy’s ring entrance — he was making his much-hyped return to the company — in order to air the E.Y. argument with Dixie backstage.

Solid match, but there were a lot of production elements of that opening segment that left huge holes in logic. Pulling the camera away from the big returning babyface, interrupting the match for a promo seconds after Mathews gloated that their wrestling show was starting with wrestling, and then giving someone a No. 1 contender’s match whose only real reason for “earning” a title shot was attacking his opponent weeks earlier.]

[Commercial Break at 9:13]

[Q2] Back from the break, Matt Hardy has a mic and he’s telling Jeff that he’s so happy he’s back. “I want to apologize for not being there when Eric Young hurt you,” he said.

“The night you were piledriven was rough on all of us,” added Reby. “I know it’s hard to hear, but Matt is a sweet and sensitive guy when it comes to family, and Jeff you are our family.” She then told Jeff that he’s Maxel’s second-favorite wrestler and forced him to hold the baby.

“I just don’t want you to be selfish tonight, Uncle Jeff,” said Matt. “I want you to give up your spot in tonight’s main event. Tonight was supposed to be the night I pin ECIII. I promise you, I’ll give you that match. Maybe Bound For Glory 2017? It would be that big!”

Hardy hands the baby back to Reby. “You expect me to believe you?” he asked. “You’re telling me you really care? … Uh, no. Simply, no. I’m in the main event tonight.” Jeff hands the mic back to Matt.

“Look Jeff, we’ve never seen eye-to-eye,” Matt said. “But look, I’m going to stick out my hand and I want you to take the deal. I promise I’ll give you an opportunity down the line, so take the deal.” Jeff fakes shaking his hand. Matt tries for a Twist of Fate but Jeff blocks it and hits a Twist of Fate of his own to lay out Matt. Jeff’s music plays as Reby looks disgusted from ringside. Jeff works his way around ringside celebrating with fans.

Ringside, Mathews asks Pope who wins tonight. Pope says that he’s going with Jeff Hardy.

Backstage: Eddie Edwards says that last week, Davey Richards got hurt, and it sucks. Edwards says that he’s here representing Wolves Nation as he always does. Out of nowhere, Rosemary appears and then Decay comes into the screen and lays out Edwards in a backstage attack.

Backstage: Maria says the first time she was on live TV on January 5, The Miracle happened. Bennett said that tonight, it happens again. Because tonight, Drew and Gail will get their wish, because tonight they’re coming and Maria isn’t afraid. Bennett said that tonight, the Miracle happens.

[Commercial Break at 9:24]

Back from the break, Beer Money approaches Edwards, asking if he’s all right. Edwards says he’s a lone wolf. Storm says that he doesn’t have to go at it alone, because Beer Money has their back.

[Q3] Roode grabs the camera and says that it’s obvious Decay is out for blood. Storm says that social media is big now, so if they don’t know what he’s saying, check Twitter. He then appears to tweet something live on the air.

In-arena: Maria is on the stage. She asks the crowd if they believe? Because she believes in The Miracle. Mike Bennett arrives from backstage, and Bennett and Maria make their way to the ring. Gail Kim is out next. Mathews notes that today marks 180 days for Kim as Knockouts champion. She waits on the ramp for Drew Galloway to join her.

2 – MIKE BENNETT & MARIA vs. DREW GALLOWAY & KO champion GAIL KIM

Maria and Gail Kim will begin the match. They circle for a few seconds before Maria tags Bennett without making contact with Gail. Bennett comes in and so does Galloway.

Galloway hits Bennett with a boot and a back body drop. Galloway then tags in Gail. Galloway whips Gail into Bennett in the corner. Gail begins to yell at Maria. Bennett approaches and Gail starts to land kicks on Bennett. Gail goes to hit the ropes, but Maria pulls down them, sending Gail crashing to the outside.

Back in the ring, Maria misses a legdrop, but she runs and tags Bennett before Gail could get her hands on her. Bennett with two boots to Galloway’s face and a cover for a two count.

Galloway and Bennett throw chops in the corner before Galloway charges Bennett. Galloway goes to the top but Bennett catches him, grabbing his arms and sending him flying off the top rope.

Galloway tags Gail. She rushes in after kicking Bennett and grabs Maria. Bennett comes back in and hits Eat Defeat on Bennett. Galloway charges with a Claymore kick on Bennett, but Maria sneaks in to roll-up Gail from behind for the win.

WINNER: Maria and Mike Bennett at 5:23.

Mathews throws to a video recap of Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Lashley last week.

Up Next: Mathews will interview Lashley.

[Commercial Break at 9:41]

In-ring: Mathews and Lashley are ready for their interview. Mathews says let’s start with why Lashley did what he did following the match?

[Q4] Lashley, reacting to the boos, said if he could have a minute to explain, he would. He said that he’s a fighter. He’s not worried about being a hero, he’s doing a job, which is to fight.

“Right now, I am the most dominating and toughest person in the entire wrestling business,” he said. “So why don’t get I get the recognition? Why do I get overlooked by the Matt Hardy? Jeff Hardy? ECIII?

“I wanted to make sure I was one of those people Kurt picked for his farewell tour. I confronted him, and he chose me. I told him I wasn’t going to only beat him up, I’d beat him down, and that’s what happened.”

Mathews said that Angle mentored Lashley. That Angle was his friend. “I don’t have any friends,” Lashley said. “Especially not in this business. If you step in the ring with me, I’m going to hurt you.” A loud “Lashley Sucks!” chant begins.

Mathews asked Lashley for a response. “It seems to me you don’t like what I did to Kurt Angle,” Lashley said. “If you don’t like it, say something.” Lashley grabbed Mathews and tossed him across the ring. Pope slides to step between them. Pope checks on Mathews and then gets up, only for Lashley to delivery a huge spear, that sends Pope head over heels.

Lashley’s music hits and he raises his arms in the ring while commentary is silent, because both Mathews and Pope are laid out.

[Reax: Lashley’s strength is not his promos. If TNA wanted to get him over as their Brock Lesnar, which appears to be the road they’re trying to go down here, not speaking should be a big component. Lesnar has Heyman to talk for him, which adds to his mystique. That, added with him taking about just about anyone in his path.

In this segment, Lashley sounded like his normal self during the promo, which was okay but nothing special, and then took out the announcers. He can be a big monster, legitimate fighting heel, but he needs to be produced better than that, with his strengths — size, strength, and butt-kicking ability — more appropriately highlighted.]

Backstage: Decay is walking. Abyss says that for some, Decay comes over time. Abyss says that tonight, the decay for Beer Money and Eddie Edwards comes tonight.

Abyss said that they dared them to find a third person to fight. Rosemary said that tonight is a good night for Decay, as the show went to break.

[Commercial Break at 9:53]

Back from the break, Mathews is recapping his own beat down from Lashley. Mathews thanks Pope for defending him, as Jeremy Borash is on color for the rest of the show. Borash said that they’ve seen devastation from Lashley. Mathews recaps the opening match between Eric Young and Jeff Hardy.

[Q5 — second hour] Backstage, ECIII approaches Jeff Hardy and welcomes him back. He said that the old him would be upset he was in the main event. Jeff said that he likes to see that ECIII has changed his ways.

ECIII said that every time he’s wrestled Matt Hardy, there was something he didn’t see coming. “And you think I’m that something tonight?” Hardy asked?” ECIII said he was prepared for anything. Hardy said he’s here to win the World Title for himself tonight before walking off.

In-arena: Decay is making their ring entrance. Eddie Edwards was out next before being joined by Beer Money.

3 — DECAY (Abyss & Crazzy Steve & Rosemary) vs. EDDIE EDWARDS & JAMES STORM & BOBBY ROODE — six-man tag match

Crazzy Steve blindsides Eddie Edwards to start the match. Edwards tags in Roode after snatching a wristlock. During the match, Mathews hypes the Best of A.J. Styles DVD.

Abyss tags in and chokes Roode on the middle rope. Abyss hits a sidewalk slam for a two. Crazzy Steve tags in. Abyss chokeslams Crazzy Steve on top of Roode for a two count after Storm breaks it up.

Steve tags in Rosemary. She jumps on top of Roode and throws forearms. Roode tosses her off and begins to get up, so Rosemary tags in Abyss. After a splash, Abyss tags in Steve. Roode ducks a splash by Steve and needs to make a tag. He tries to crawl over to his corner but Steve grabs his ankle. Roode rolls through it and tags Storm.

Mathews and Borash talk about Storm being in the best shape of his career, noting that he’s down 40 pounds. Edwards tags in and get a two count on Crazzy Steve. Off the ropes, Edwards ducks a Crazzy Steve clothesline and dives to the outside on Abyss.

In the ring, Beer Money takes out Crazzy Steve. Rosemary tries to make the save but Beer Money grabs her and tries for a double suplex but Crazzy Steve pulls her out of the ring. For his troubles, Steve gets the double suplex.

Storm dives on the outside to take out Abyss. Back in the ring, Rosemary sprays her mist into Roode’s face while the referee is on the outside checking on Storm. Steve then rolls up Edwards for the win.

WINNERS: Decay at 7:39.

Backstage: Billy Corgan tells Grado that TNA has looked over all the evidence, and they decided to make a ruling on Feast or Fired in the ring. He told Grado that they were going to address this in the ring right now.

[Commercial Break at 10:12]

[Q6] Backstage: Reby and Matt Hardy are questioning Dixie Carter’s decision to add Jeff Hardy to the main event. Dixie said that she makes decisions for the fans, not for Matt Hardy.

Hardy said that adding Jeff to the World Title match is absurd. Hardy said that he’s going to walk to the ring and punch the referee in the face to get DQ’ed, and that’s the position she put him in. Dixie said, in that case, there are no count-outs and no disqualifications. Matt looks scared as Reby is reacting in disgust.

Video: A recap of the Feast or Fired match airs, including Eli Drake kind of looking in his case backstage and Grado being fired.

In-arena: Eli Drake comes to the ring. He grabs a microphone.

“Let me talk to you. Quiet down, dummies. Billy Corgan told me to dress for a fight, so that’s what I did. But before I wrestle any matches for you, Billy, I need you to bring out my briefcase that was stolen by Grado. Whether you need to bring it, or whether Dixie does, can you bring it to me and put it back in the hands of Eli Drake.”

Corgan walks to the ring with Grado, who is holding the briefcase. Mathews shows video of Eli Drake stealing Grado’s briefcase while he was taking a picture with a fan and switching it with his. Corgan says that, as an executive, he hears him. He tells Grado to give Drake the case. Grado looks shocked.

Corgan said that, upon reviewing the evidence, he’s not sure what he did, but he did something. He said he has a resolution. Corgan pulls out a new TNA contract with Grado’s name on it. Corgan said that they’re hanging the contract from the ceiling, and he’s going to fight Drake in a ladder match for the contract.

[Reax: TNA executives “aren’t sure” what Drake did, despite them showing a video that shows exactly what Drake did seconds before. Granted, you don’t see Drake switch the contracts inside the cases, but there could have been better ways to do this. Maybe show Drake grabbing the briefcase and then leaving view of the “security camera” so that you literally don’t see anything, rather than showing Drake fiddling with the cases. That would seem to give Drake more plausible deniability than this scenario.]

4 — GRADO vs. ELI DRAKE — ladder match for Grado’s contract

Both men try for the ladder quickly. Drake kicks Grado, grabs the ladder on the outside, and delivers a ladder shot to Grado’s head. Drake then clotheslines Grado with the ladder and slams it on top of him.

[Q7] Grado begins to fire back in the corner with some punches before Drake catches him with a neckbreaker. Drake climbs the ladder but Grado catches him.

Grado gets caught with a powerslam. Grado grabs Drake’s shoulders and drives his chin into his shoulder. Grado whips Drake into the ladder, which was set up in the corner. Grado pulls down his straps and dives on Drake in the corner. Grado climbs the ladder, but Jessie Godderz runs down to ringside to toss Grado off the ladder.

Mahabali Shera runs down and takes out Godderz. Shera stays on Godderz on the outside. Drake hits Shera with the briefcase on the outside. Grado sets up the ladder near the ropes and dives onto Shera, Godderz and Drake on the outside.

Grado climbs back into the ring and sets up the ladder in the middle of the ring. He tries for the contract but Drake rolls in and grabs his ankle. Drake climbs over Grado on the ladder. Grado moves up a rung, placing Drake on his shoulders and drops off the ladder, taking out Drake but himself as well.

Grado gets back to his feet and heads up the ladder. He reaches for the contract, but Drake climbs the other side of the ladder and rakes Grado’s eyes. Grado and Drake trade punches on top of the ladder. Grado knocks Drake off with an elbow and grabs his contract for the win.

WINNER: Grado at 7:21.

[Commercial Break at 10:39]

Backstage: Eric Young and Bram are yelling at each other. In the background, Willow can be seen walking through the shot. E.Y. screams that it was Willow, and that everyone is out to get them. He tells Bram that they need to stick together now more than ever.

Mathews said that next week, Beer Money offered an open challenge to any former TNA Tag Team Champion.

[Q8] In-arena: Jeremy Borash is shown introducing tonight’s main event. Jeff Hardy walks to the ring first.

5 — TNA World Hvt. champion MATT HARDY vs. ETHAN CARTER III vs. JEFF HARDY — three-way, no disqualification match for the TNA World Hvt. Title

Jeff and ECIII begin the match working together on Matt Hardy. After he’s down, ECIII and Matt begin to wrestle one another. Matt comes back into the picture and whips ECIII into the corner. All three men fighting near the middle of the ring. Matt and Jeff both go down after a double-clothesline from ECIII.

In the corner, ECIII chops Matt Hardy twice before Matt comes back with a poke to ECIII’s eyes. ECIII lands a right hand on Matt, which sends him reeling and Jeff clotheslines him. ECIII then dumps Jeff Hardy to the outside.

With Matt Hardy down, ECIII goes to the top rope but Jeff Hardy cuts him off. Hardy climbs up the turnbuckle with ECIII but ECIII hits a powerslam off the top. Matt Hardy charges ECIII and ECIII hits a dropkick. Matt rolls to the outside heading to break.

[Commercial Break at 10:52]

Back from the break, Matt goes for a pin on Jeff, but he kicks out at two. Mathews shows clips during the break, where Matt went back in control of the match. In the ring, Matt and Jeff trade punches. Hardy hits a dropkick and covers for a two count. Borash notes that Matt’s neck is not 100 percent.

Jeff Hardy hits a Twist of Fate. Jeff hits Swanton Bomb on Matt Hardy, but E.Y. and Bram suddenly run in to take out Jeff Hardy. Bram pulls back the mat on the outside and E.Y. lands a piledriver Jeff Hardy on the concrete outside the ring.

Security comes running out from the back — conveniently just a split-second late to stop the piledriver — and forces Young and Bram to the back. Back in the ring, ECIII takes down Matt Hardy with a tackle and throws punches. Hardy grabs a sleeper hold, however, as Jeff Hardy is helped to the back by TNA officials.

ECIII converts a back suplex to break the sleeperhold. Hardy rushes ECIII, but ECIII hits a clothesline. Carter hits the “ECIII Splash” in the corner. All of a sudden, in runs Rockstar Spud and Tyrus to break up ECIII’s offense. Tyrus misses a splash in the corner as ECIII ducks out of the way.

[Q9 — over-run] ECIII then takes out Tyrus and Spud. Hardy back in the ring tries for a Twist of Fate but ECIII reverses into a One-Percenter. Before ECIII could cover, Mike Bennett runs down with a chair and hits ECIII across the back. Borash notes that he has nothing to do with it, but Bennett knows this is his chance to make an impact.

Hardy hits a Twist of Fate on ECIII, but ECIII kicks out at two. Bennett runs back in the ring and tosses ECIII to the outside. He then tosses ECIII into the crowd, grabs his chair, and begins to chase ECIII. Bennett smashes the chair across ECIII’s back in the crowd. Bennett hits ECIII with the chair again.

Security is back out, trying to force Bennett to the back. TNA officials try to help ECIII to his feet. In the ring, Hardy is laughing that ECIII needs help. Hardy goes to the outside as Mathews wonders if this is a no-contest? Hardy is looking for his title. He grabs it and wants a microphone.

Hardy is laughing and said he told everyone, including Dixie Carter, that he would walk out of Impact as the TNA World Hvt. Champion.

That brought out Drew Galloway with his Feast or Fired briefcase. He knocks Hardy down on the ramp and throws Hardy into the ring. Galloway cashes in his Feast or Fired briefcase.

6 — TNA World Hvt. champion MATT HARDY vs. DREW GALLOWAY – TNA world Title match

Hardy tries for a Twist of Fate, but Galloway twists out of hit. Galloway then lands a Claymore Kick and a DDT for the win.

WINNER: Drew Galloway at 0:23 to become the New TNA World Hvt. Champion.

After the match, Galloway gets his hand raised and he celebrates in the ring. Borash said that Hardy had all of his bases covered tonight, expect for Galloway. Galloway climbs into the crowd and celebrates with the people as the show goes off the air, and Mathews said that Hardy’s reign of terror is over.

Final Thoughts: This felt a little rushed. It’s smart of TNA to keep the big surprises, like Galloway winning the World Title, for the live episodes, but Matt Hardy was just scratching the surface with his persona as the heel champion. The timing felt off with Galloway’s win.

That being said, TNA could have been just trying to put the World Title on a babyface. TNA hasn’t had a babyface World Champion since Kurt Angle lost to ECIII last July, almost nine months ago. Of course, that’s if you exclude Matt Hardy’s three-day run with the title in October.

This episode of Impact really felt more like a pay-per-view. The focus was on the matches that last several weeks of shows, some heavy on the promos, were building up to.

We’ll see how TNA follows up on Galloway’s World Title win, but at least initially, it felt rushed. Building it a bit slower, with a match and pay-off for Galloway sometime in the summer or even at October’s Bound For Glory would have been more impactful. Waiting until October may have seemed too long, but it also would have the natural tie-in of that show being where Galloway was basically screwed out of his one-on-one match with ECIII last year, and the one-year journey for him finally coming to fruition. Instead, he got his win rather cheaply, cashing in on a tired heel champion and winning in 23 seconds. It’s the same debate we could have when babyfaces use Money in the Bank to win a World Title. With Galloway, you could even have him pull a Daniel Bryan, and announce ahead of time that he’s cashing in at Bound For Glory to finish what he started.

With the whole situation feeling like it has moved too fast, the follow-up is going to be very important. But how does TNA explain that the righteous, genuine and “man of the people” Drew Galloway would be okay with essentially stealing the World Title, even if it’s from a heel?

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