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TNA Impact Wrestling Report
March 29, 2016
Taped in Orlando, Fla. from Universal Studios
Aired on Pop TV
Report by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonPW), PWTorch contributor
Impact Wrestling opened with a recap of last week’s episode, including the gauntlet match to determine the No. 1 contender for the TNA World Title.
In-arena: Matt Hardy’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring as Josh Mathews welcomes us to the show. Hardy is accompanied by Reby, Rockstar Spud, and Tyrus.
Hardy says that this is a protest. He says the entire Hardy family is in the ring with the exception of one member of the family, the traitor, Jeffrey Nero Hardy. Hardy said that Jeff isn’t going to get his TNA Title shot tonight, because he’s the only one who deserves a shot. Matt says he wants a re-match. He calls himself the greatest TNA World Hvt. Champion in history.
“Matt Hardy is demanding that Dixie Carter and Impact officials reward and give me that re-match now! Now! Now! Now! Now!” That brings out Maria, who introduces “The Miracle” Mike Bennett.
Bennett walks to the ring in his gear, holding hands with Maria. As Bennett enters the ring, Spud darts at him, but Tyrus grabs him. Bennett said that Matt needs to relax. He says that Matt is getting old and he doesn’t need to be doing this. Bennett said that Jeff has a title match, and no one wants to see that. Bennett says that TNA needs a miracle, and when he becomes TNA World Hvt. Champion he’ll be giving the people a miracle.
Reby cuts off Maria, who was about to claim she believed in Miracles, but Reby cuts her off. They tease a fight between Reby and Maria but the guys cool them down. Bennett said that he used to have a lot of respect for Matt. “You’re going to be a future Hall of Famer, but right now, you’re just old and washed up,” Bennett said, to the delight of the live crowd.
Hardy responds by calling Bennett a “little, insignificant nobody.” Hardy said that he came out looking for a fight, and if Bennett would question his greatness, he’ll fight him. Bennett dares him to throw the first punch, but the lights go out.
Ethan Carter III’s music plays and he comes out to the entrance ramp. Bennett and Hardy each turn their attention to the ramp. ECIII compares Hardy, Tyrus, and Spud to the Three Stooges, only calling them ECIII’s “three b——” then calling Bennett Schemp. ECIII says he is tight with the “man upstairs” and then pretends to play.
“Dear Lord of Professional Wrestling, please find a place in the afterlife for the career of Mike Bennett. For Mike Bennett has tried to spite me and make name off me, but he has only angered me. When I do get my hands on Mike Bennett, I will put him through hell and end his career, so amen? Amen,” he says.
Bennett said that ECIII thinks he is funny. Bennett said that he didn’t need TNA, TNA needed him, so he decides when and where he’s going to fight. Bennett said that tonight, he’s not going to fight.
ECIII said that’s his prerogative. ECIII said he is going to fight tonight, and he’s not leaving the aisle until he has a fight. Matt says that ECIII wants to fight, so how about ECIII vs. Spud, Tyrus, Reby, and Matt Hardy. “I’m sorry, Matt Hardy, Tyrus, Spud, and Reby? Well at least one of you has some balls. Challenge accepted,” Carter replies.
[Commercial Break at 9:11]
[Q2] Coming out of the break, TNA plugs the A.J. Styles DVD they are pushing, “The Essential A.J. Styles Collection.”
1 — ECIII vs. THE MATT HARDY BRAND (Matt Hardy & Tyrus & Rockstar Spud & Reby) – handicap match
Tyrus begins the match against ECIII. After tying up with Tyrus, ECIII charges the corner and knocks Hardy and Spud off the apron. Tyrus responds with a fallaway slam. Bennett and Maria are shown at ringside watching the match.
Tyrus scoops up ECIII and slams him in the middle of the ring before dropping an elbow for a two count. ECIII rolls onto his stomach and Tyrus does push-ups off his back. Tyrus tags in Spud, who fires off quick right hands. ECIII catches Spud’s foot off a kick attempt and Spud falls into a tag with Tyrus.
ECIII climbs the turnbuckle on Tyrus for 10 punches, but Tyrus low-blows him in the corner. Tyrus tags in Spud, picking him up and slamming him on top of ECIII for a two count. Spud tags Tyrus back in. Tyrus leans on Hardy and tags in Matt Hardy.
Hardy fires right hands in the corner, but ECIII fights back in the corner. He tries to throw punches at Spud and Tyrus as well, but the three attack and get ECIII back down in the corner. Hardy holds ECIII up so that Reby can slap him a few times.
Spud tags in and drives elbows into the back of ECIII’s head. He then tags in Tyrus, who again comes in and leans on ECIII’s shoulders. ECIII tries a chinbreaker, but Tyrus pops up and tags Spud back in. Spud grabs a side headlock, but ECIII counters into back suplex. Hardy tags in and gets caught with a clothesline by ECIII.
ECIII splashes Hardy in the corner. ECIII goes for the One-Percenter, but Tyrus charges. ECIII drops Hardy and pulls the top rope down, sending Tyrus crashing to the outside.
Spud climbs to the top rope, but ECIII catches him. He goes for a gorilla press, but Spud rakes his eyes. ECIII locks a cobra clutch on Spud and Mike Bennett charges in, causing the disqualification.
WINNER: ECIII via disqualification at 6:17.
After the match, Hardy, Tyrus, Spud, and Bennett all continue the beat down on Carter. Beer Money run down to chase away the assault. James Storm grabs a mic.
“Oh hell no,” he said. “We were sitting in the back, counting some money and drinking some beer, when we heard some big fight going on. Well, everybody knows us, we like to fight.”
Roode said that the fight didn’t need to stop. “I say, let’s keep this fight going. These three guys right here, we’re ready for a fight. I’m going to play matchmaker. Tonight, we’re going to have ourselves a little six-man tag. ECIII and Beer Money against you three, and you’re going to do it … right now!”
[Reax: Is Teddy Long the new GM of Impact Wrestling? It feels like this “turning matches into six-man matches” thing is a booking crutch, and it’s certainly something WWE does all too regularly. But, I can’t recall when the last time TNA did something like this? So it’s not the end of the world. Hopefully it doesn’t become a habit, though.]
[Commercial Break at 9:25]
2 — ECIII & BOBBY ROODE & JAMES STORM vs. MATT HARDY & TYRUS & MIKE BENNETT – six-man tag match
Back from the break, the six-man tag is ongoing. Tyrus slams James Storm outside of the ring.
[Q3] Tyrus is the legal man in the ring. Storm tries to climb back in the ring. Tyrus pulls him up and drops him back to the outside. Storm again tries to climb back into the ring. He does and gets met with a Tyrus elbow. Tyrus does pushups off the back of Storm. Cover by Tyrus, but only a two count.
Tyrus goes to grab Storm to bring him back up, but Storm bites his hand. Tyrus snatches Storm for a fallaway slam to get the offense back. He then goes to the corner and tags in Matt Hardy.
Storm manages to tag in Roode, who comes in like a house of fire with clotheslines on Hardy. Roode charges the corner and tries to take out Bennett and Tyrus. Roode hits a spinebuster on Hardy for a two count after Bennett breaks it up. ECIII then goes after Bennett and chases him to the back. Bennett uses Maria as a shield as they get to the top of the ramp.
In the ring, Tyrus trips Roode off the top rope. Tyrus then tags Hardy to make himself the legal man, but gets caught immediately by a superkick from Storm. Roode is then back up and they hit a Beer Money suplex on Tyrus. Storm and Roode grab Hardy for another Beer Money suplex.
Roode sets up a DWI, but Tyrus takes out James Storm without Roode knowing, and then hits a heart punch on Roode setting up Hardy for the pinfall win. After the match, Hardy and Tyrus walk back up the ramp.
WINNERS: Hardy & Tyrus & Bennett in about 10:35, including TV commercial time.
Still to come: Drew Galloway vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA World Title.
Backstage: Gail Kim is with Jeremy Borash. Gail says that for the past two months, she has been dying to get her hands on Maria, and instead, last week she did what she does best, she talked her way out of the match and convinced TNA management to give her title shot to Jade. Gail said she did talk of her own, and tonight she convinced TNA to make another No. 1 contender’s match, bringing in Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky.
[Commercial Break at 9:37]
Back from the break, the Bro-Mans are in the locker room. Jessie said he never thought the reunion would happen, but it felt good. Eli Drake walks in and says he’s so excited. Eli tells Jessie that he was riding the Eli Drake gravy train and now he’s walking with Robbie E.? Drake said that he has more important things to do than talk to the Bro-Mans. Robbie E. said he hates that guy as Drake walked away. Jessie says that the Bro-Mans need to go dark, and Robbie seems confused.
In-arena: Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne make their ring entrances.
3 — VELVET SKY vs. MADISON RAYNE — No. 1 contender’s match for the TNA Knockouts Title
Mathews wonders who the real No. 1 contender will be, the winner of this match? Or Jade, who won last week?
Madison and Velvet start with a lock-up. Velvet grabs a side headlock. Madison tries to maneuver her way out but Velvet has a good grip. Madison reverses into a side headlock of her own. Off the ropes, Velvet hits a tackle. Velvet with a two count out of a leg sweep.
Velvet and Madison shake hands, but Velvet pulls her in and they begin to argue. The match then gets more aggressive, as they trade punches and chops in the corner. Madison hits a clothesline for a two count. Madison with a dropkick for another two count.
[Q4] Northern Lights suplex into a bridge by Madison for another two count. Back to their feet, Velvet hits three clotheslines and then a cutter, following by a running bulldog for a two count.
Madison misses a charge in the corner, sending her own shoulder into the post. Madison catches Velvet with a jackknife cover out of the corner for the win. After the match, Velvet rips Madison’s hand away from the referee and raises it herself.
WINNER: Madison Rayne at 4:44.
Backstage: Drew Galloway says he remembers as a kid his brother imitating Jeff Hardy. Galloway said if he wants to cement his legacy as one of the best, he needs to wrestle the best, and tonight Galloway says he will win.
In-arena: Mathews asks Pope for a prediction in the World Title match. Pope said that he can’t make a prediction because he has a lot of stuff on his mind, and he needs to get something off his chest, so he’s going to the ring.
[Commercial Break at 9:51]
Back from the break, Pope is in the ring with a microphone.
“You know,” he said, as the crowd chanted “Pope! Pope! Pope!” loudly. “We all know that when Pope is good, Pope is great. But when Pope is bad, Pope is better. So it’s that reason, that Pope stood up and did what he felt was right for his partner, because Pope has to be Pope, and it’s time for Pope to be the man that you all know Pope to be.”
That brings out Bobby Lashley. Mathews reminds us that last week, Pope eliminated Lashley in the gauntlet match. “Did you just say to let a man be a man?” Lashley asks. “You’re not a man, you’re an announcer. But you stuck your nose in my business twice. I want you to apologize, and then I want you to go sit behind that table and do what you’re supposed to do before I get in this ring and I hurt you really bad.”
Pope tells Lashley to pay attention to him when he’s talking to him. “My man, we go way back,” Pope said. “We started in this industry together. Our friendship and our bond I thought was strong … Somewhere along the way, all of you didn’t come. If you think for one second Pope is going to apologize, you’re wrong.”
Pope said he has no regrets. Lashley asks Pope what he is saying? Pope says that as much as he loves the announcers chair, if he went back over to that chair right now, he would regret it for a lifetime. Pope said that he is in the ring to be the bad Pope that all the people know he is. Pope says he’s calling out Lashley for a fight.
Lashley laughs at ringside and says he’s not sure he even wants to entertain this. He said that Kurt Angle wanted to fight him, and you don’t see Angle anymore.
[Q5 — second hour] “If you want to fight me, I’m going to hurt you really bad,” Lashley said. “I’m going to give you one chance to get out of this ring, or I’ll do to you what I did to your little friend over there,” meaning Mathews. Pope stares down Lashley as he tells him to get out of his ring.
Pope tells Lashley to get out of the ring, as he attacks Lashley. However, Lashley quickly gets in control with some MMA-looking ground-and-pound attack. TNA referees and security rush the ring to break it up, but it’s a brawl. Pope jumps over the security to continue the fight.
Lashley tries to finish Pope with a spear, but Pope sidesteps him and Lashley goes through the ropes. Pope takes out the referees and jumps off the top rope to the outside on top of Lashley, continuing the brawl. Finally, security is able to separate Pope and Lashley as Mathews throws to a video.
[Reax: Again, TNA is letting the color commentator, who hasn’t wrestling on their television show in forever, get the upper hand on the man they’re trying to push as this MMA monster. It’s just not smart. Pope was good, and he has some fire with his promos, but it’s completely devaluing Lashley when he gets outsmarted by the color commentator, missing the spear and flying through the ropes. The brawl was very good, and it looked legitimate. Lashley had the upper hand for most of it, which is also the right way to do it. The segment, in a vacuum, was good. But the color commentator shouldn’t be Lashley’s first opponent coming out of his heel turn against Kurt Angle.]
Video: TNA highlighted the gauntlet match from last week.
Backstage: Jeff Hardy says that he has always been the underdog He says that Drew is Drew Goliath, and he is David Hardy, but he’s not going to need a slingshot to beat him.
VIdeo: A short music video featuring Marilyn Manson and Decay airs heading into the commercial break.
[Commercial Break at 10:05]
Backstage: Matt Hardy calls tonight’s main event an injustice. Hardy said that his prediction is that when he is involved in the equation, he always wins.
Announcers: Mathews says that Hardy isn’t part of the equation, though. Mathews then recaps what happened moments ago, highlighting the Pope-Lashley brawl. Jeremy Borash is filling in for Pope for the rest of the show as Mathews said Lashley is in the back.
In-arena: Bram and Eric Young are entering the ring as they recap what happened last week, when Bram accidentally eliminated E.Y.
E.Y. said that he has never been this serious in his life. He calls himself the most dangerous man in pro wrestling. He calls himself the king. He says that the people are looking at God when they look at him.
E.Y. says he has everything going for him, and then he hit a bmp in the road. He called it a speed bump. E.Y. said he gets it, and tells Bram that it was every man for himself.
“Everyone wants to be me,” E.Y. said. “Everyone wants to be world champion. So what I’m going to do now is sit back and watch Jeff Hardy win the World Title … My World Title … and then I’m going to take it from him. I’m going to take his title, his career, and maybe even his life.”
[Q6]In the middle of this eloquent speech, the Bro-Mans come out. Robbie E. tells “angry beards” that they’re back. Jessie says that they are out for blood and guts, and he knows that they’re crazy, but the Bro-Mans can be crazy, too.
4 — KOTM champion ERIC YOUNG & BRAM vs. The BRO-MANS (Robbie E & Jessie Godderz)
Robbie E and E.Y. begin the match after all four men brawl for about the opening 30 seconds. E.Y. tags Bram, and he connects with a clothesline on the outside on Robbie and rolls him back into the ring.
Bram takes down Robbie E with a right hand and tags E.Y. back in. Mathews speculates that everything isn’t great between E.Y. and Bram after last week when Bram eliminated E.Y. Bram picks up Robbie and isolates him in the corner near E.Y.
E.Y. tags in and lays the boots to Robbie in the corner, but Robbie tries to fight back with some punches to the gut. Therefore, E.Y. tags Bram back in. Robbie tags in Jessie Godderz and he hits a springboard clothesline on Bram. Jessie with a dropkick on Bram and a powerslam on E.Y. for a two count. E.Y. is still the legal man, despite all of this action on Bram.
Bram cuts off Jessie from attacking Young in the corner. Bram ties up Jessie and E.Y. goes for a right hand, but Jessie gets out of it and E.Y. hits Bram. The Bro-Mans then hit the Bro Down for the win.
WINNERS: BroMans at 4:33.
Still to come: Jeff Hardy vs. Drew Galloway for the TNA World Title, but up next, Grado celebrates his return to Impact.
[Commercial Break at 10:19]
Mathews recaps Grado winning back his TNA contract.
Backstage: Grado and Mahabali Shera are pumped about this celebration. Grado says that he spent $10,000 on it. Al Snow comes into the shot and says that he’s there for both of them, but Snow attacks Grado and Shera in the back. Snow smashes Grado into some trunks that carry equipment backstage. Snow grabs a steel pipe and smashes Grado’s arm. Grado is screaming in pain. Snow grabs Grado and yells that he doesn’t belong here.
In-ring: Shane Helms says that he came to Impact Wrestling with an agenda. He said that the company was built around the X Division Championship, and he came to TNA to make people talk about the X Division again, as he introduces Trevor Lee.
Helms said that his agenda is much bigger than that. Helms invites Eddie Edwards out for a public conversation. Edwards comes to the ring as Mathews says that Davey Richards is out injured.
Helms says he doesn’t care what company or era they’re talking about, he believes the The Wolves are one of the greatest tag teams ever. Edwards thanks him for that, saying it means a lot.
“But as you know,” Edwards said, ”I came here with my brother, Davey Richards. And since that moment, we have come out here night after night to prove not only to Wolves Nation, not just to the bosses, but to prove to ourselves that we are indeed the greatest tag team in professional wrestling. But, hey … unfortunately injuries are part of the game, you know this. Things happen. Just like last year when I broke my heel, Davey carried on as a singles wrestler. So I figured, with Davey hurt now, I should do the the same thing.”
[Q7] Helms said that Edwards is due a re-match for the Tag Team Titles. Helms said that his in-ring debut in TNA wrestling in imminent, and he plans on making it special. Helms says he understands Edwards’s trepidation teaming with anyone other than Davey. Helms said that he has been a World Tag Team Champion multiple times, with multiple partners. He said he’s been in the ring with some of the greatest and he’s beaten some of the greatest.
Helms asks what if Shane Helms and Eddie Edwards beat Beer Money and become the TNA World Tag Team Champions? Helms said he is dead serious. “I’m going to give you a week to think about it,” Helms said, “but next week I expect you to make the smart decision.” Trevor Lee looks not-too-thrilled with this, but he always sort of looks not-too-thrilled. Edwards and Helms shake hands.
[Reax: Obviously, TNA has been on the losing end of some top talent. Samoa Joe is gone, so is A.J. Styles and Austin Aries. Bobby Roode and Eric Young will be soon as well. But, TNA’s answer is plugging in agents and announcers? In back-to-back-to-back segments, we had a color commentator taking out a monster heel, an agent taking out a comedy babyface, and an agent proposing a tag team with one of the company’s top young stars.]
Backstage: Pope is caught after brawling with Lashley. Pope said that he wants Bobby Lashley one-on-one. No referees, no security guards, but one-on-one next week. Pope said he’s not as big or as strong, but Pope is bad.
In-arena: Jeff Hardy makes his ring entrance for the main event.
[Commercial Break at 10:33]
Back from the break, Hardy is playing to the crowd finishing his entrance. Galloway is out next.
5 — TNA World Hvt.cChampion DREW GALLOWAY vs. JEFF HARDY – TNA Hvt. Title match
Hardy and Galloway begin the match with a handshake and a lock-up. Hardy has a side headlock as Mathews points out that Hardy needs to keep Galloway off his feet.
Galloway hits a belly-to-belly suplex for a two count. Galloway begins to chop Hardy in the corner and then lands a vertical suplex for another two count. Hardy gets Galloway to the outside with a head scissor. Hardy hits a slingshot dive to Galloway on the outside.
[Commercial Break at 10:43]
[Q8] Back from the break, Galloway kicks out at two after Whisper in the Wind. Meanwhile, Borash shows a highlight of Galloway hitting the Celtic Cross on Hardy during the break. Back to real-time, Hardy hits a Twist of Fate. Hardy goes up top for a Swanton Bomb, but Galloway grabs his ankle to send him down on the turnbuckle.
Galloway climbs to the second rope and suplexes Hardy for a two count. Galloway hits a Claymore Kick out of the corner and covers Hardy for a two count. Galloway is asking the referee if he was sure that was only a two count.
Galloway sets up Hardy on the top rope, but Hardy counters in mid-air and snaps Galloway off the top rope. That was impressive. Hardy nails another Twist of Fate and lands the Swanton Bomb this time, but Galloway kicks out at two.
Galloway goes to the outside, but Hardy hits a slingshot Swanton Bomb on the outside. Hardy rolls Galloway back into the ring and covers for a two count. On the outside, Hardy is moving the ring steps. He rolls into the ring and tosses Galloway to the outside. Hardy smashes Galloway’s face off the steps and then clotheslines him on top of the steps.
With Galloway prone on the steps, Hardy goes to the top rope and tries for a Swanton Bomb, but Galloway gets his knees up and they hit Hardy right on the spine. Galloway is selling a lot of pain in his back as the referee is making his 10 count.
Galloway picks up Hardy and rolls him into the ring. Borash said, at this point, it has come down to instinct. Out of nowhere, Galloway hits a Future Shock DDT for the win.
WINNER: Drew Galloway at 14:37 to retain the TNA World Title.
[Reax: Somewhere, Steve Austin is smiling, because a DDT finished a match and wasn’t a transition move!]
After the match, Galloway is helped to his feet and he raises his arms with the TNA World Title. Hardy shakes his hand in the ring, congratulating him on the win. Hardy is playing up Galloway in the ring as Matt Hardy’s music hits.
“I promise you all, I’ll get exactly what I deserve,” Matt said. “I’ll be honest, I wished you would win tonight because I wanted to beat you for my world title. But instead, I am left with you Drew Galloway. Next week’s show is called Revenge, and I get what I deserve. I get my rematch for the TNA Title, and I cannot wait to stand over your motionless body and hold up my World Hvt. Title.”
Galloway said that Matt is really good at pissing him off. Galloway said that if Hardy wants his shot, he’ll get it to him right now. Galloway jumps Hardy as E.Y. and Bram take out Jeff Hardy on the outside.
Hardy is now all over Jeff Hardy in the corner while Galloway hits a double Claymore kick on Bram and Eric Young. Jeff hits Matt with a Twist of Fate.
Jeff and Galloway clear the ring. “Matt, you’re time is coming,” Jeff said. “But next week, six sides of steel, Eric Young, we end this.” As the show goes off the air, Hardy and Galloway play to the crowd in the ring.
Final Thoughts: Without pay-per-views, TNA has to use World Title matches on Impact. That’s not the issue, but the number of World Title matches they present could become one. It seems like every other week the main event is a World Title match. It’s making the TNA World Hvt. Title feel more like a television title. It’s not like these World Title matches are popping huge ratings, either. One per month, or even one per set of tapings, during a live episode, would work fine and build some anticipation. Title matches every other week water down the concept and make this big title matches seem less important. By running so many of them, TNA will also quickly run through the fresh matches with a real lack of depth on the roster.
Speaking of which, TNA also needs to be concerned with the state of the roster. When you have your color commentator and two agents, it would appear, filling three spots on the show, you’re showing a real lack of depth. Fortunately, they’re heavy at the top of the card, with Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Bennett, E.Y., Galloway, and ECIII all involved, and that doesn’t even include Beer Money, which is a top act for now until Roode leaves TNA at the end of this set of tapings.
There’s no question that TNA needs to work on including some of that young talent into the undercard. It’s possible they’re going to use some of those veteran agents to do so, but guys like D.J. Z, Aiden O’Shea, Eli Drake, and even Trevor Lee need to be utilized more in the mid-card.
The new signings TNA announced last week, which were not a part of these tapings, should help as well. Moving forward, when Roode’s shows run out at the next set of TVs, they can work James Storm into a singles spot, which should help, but again that’s an act near the top of the card and TNA will lose its top tag team at a time where it’s next best act, The Wolves, is still on the shelf with Richards hurt.
TNA has a chance to build itself as the tag team company. That’s one area WWE regularly forgets about. They push the tag team division every once in a while, and are doing so now with a hot New Day act, but it’s only a matter of time before Vince McMahon loses interest again.
As for this show on its own, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. The main event was very good, but there was also a lot of convoluted storytelling. The Knockouts segment didn’t make much sense, not where Jade just became No. 1 contender last week.
But, TNA does continue to do some things really well. While it’s worrisome that they book title matches so frequently, TNA still does a very good job of hyping these matches throughout the week through their social media platforms, and then again during the show. Mathews asks Pope to make a prediction, there are vignettes with other wrestlers making predictions, plus short soundbite interviews with Hardy and Galloway. By the time we got to the main event, it felt important. It’s also important that the main even was booked before the start of the show, which is a concept WWE can’t seem to grasp.