WKPWP - Mailbag - Keller & Fann talk WrestleMania line-up
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TNA Impact Wrestling Results
May 24, 2016
Aired on Pop TV
Taped in Orlando, Fla.
Report by Mike McMahon, PWTorch contributor (@MikeMcMahonPW)
Impact opened with a replay from last week’s main event as Josh Mathews welcomes us to “May Mahem.” Mathews runs down the matches on the card for tonight, including Matt Hardy vs. ECIII, Al Snow vs. Grado, and The Ultimate X match.
In-arena: Mathews welcomes us inside the Impact Zone as Matt Hardy makes his way to the ring. Hardy looks disheveled. He’s walking to the ring slowly and by himself as Mathews shows a replay of Matt Hardy dressed as Willow last week.
Hardy said that he has evolved and has gotten more dangerous. Hardy said that last week, Jeff Hardy challenged him and tonight he has brought with him a contract for a match at Slammiversary. Matt said that, at Slammiversary, it will be Matt vs. Jeff in a Full Metal Mayhem match. Matt says at Slammiversary, he will get rid of “brother Nero” once and for all.
Hardy is talking with almost an accent. His cadence is very slow and more poetic. Hardy said that signing this contract is signing Jeff’s death certificate.
At that point, Rockstar Spud and Tyrus come to the ring. Spud has the mic and said that he believed in Matt Hardy. Spud said that he dedicated his life to the brand. Spud said that the fans don’t respect Matt like he does. Spud says that this isn’t Matt. Matt responded that he must “delete” his brother, once and for all.
Matt asks Hardy how he feels. Tyrus said that he does what’s best for Tyrus. Spud said that if Matt wrestles Jeff at Slammiversary, this will only get worse for Matt.
Matt said that his brother needed to be destroyed. Matt said that if Spud doesn’t want Matt to face Jeff, he needs to take out Jeff. Matt proposed a 2-on-1 ladder match, with the Slammiversary contract hanging above the ring. If Tyrus and Spud take out Jeff, Matt won’t need to. But if Jeff wins, they’ll fight at Slammiversary and Spud and Tyrus will no longer be allowed to associate with Matt.
Suddenly, Ethan Carter III’s music hits and he’s on his way to the ring for his match against Hardy.
[MM’s Reax: Matt Hardy was doing some of the best work of his career as “The Brand” earlier this year on Impact. This sudden change or “evolution,” as he put it, in his character wasn’t really needed. It’s hard to tell if it’s someone’s influence in particular, but there seem to be more and more cryptic gimmicks in TNA lately, in particular The Decay and now this evolution in Hardy’s character.]
[Commercial Break at 9:08]
1 — MATT HARDY vs. ETHAN CARTER III
Back from the break, Mathews reminds us that ECIII needs to win via pinfall or submission in order to get his match with Mike Bennett at Slammiversary. Hardy and ECIII engage quickly and ECIII chops Hardy in the corner before taking him down with a clothesline. Hardy hits a vertical suplex and whips Hardy to the corner, but Matt meets ECIII with a boot to go on offense.
Meanwhile, Mathews says that tonight’s main event will be Jeff Hardy vs. Rockstar Spud & Tyrus in a ladder match. Mathews then plugs Slammiversary. TNA began the promotion for that show last week and have really hit on it hard tonight in the opening 15 minutes.
[Q2] Hardy goes for a cover, but only gets a two count. Hardy hits a running bulldog after a few punches in the corner. Hardy throws ECIII to the outside of the ring and then gives chase.
On the outside, Hardy slams ECIII’s face into the mat. Hardy goes to slam him into the apron a second time but ECIII reverses it and begins to chop Hardy. Both men then roll back into the ring.
Hardy whips ECIII into the corner and ECIII goes down hard, face-first. Mathews and Pope are analyzing ECIII’s game since he lost to Mike Bennett.
ECIII hits a clothesline. The camera then cuts to show Mike Bennett walking down the aisle to watch the match from ringside. ECIII hasn’t realized Bennett is there as he gets up from the mat. Matt tries a Twist of Fate, but ECIII counters.
ECIII tries for a One-Percenter, but Hardy reverses it. Hardy again goes for a Twist of Fate, but ECIII reverses into a Cobra Clutch. Mike Bennett then storms the ring to cause the disqualification.
WINNER: ECIII via disqualification at 6:47. Solid opening match. The DQ finish adds a storyline layer to ECIII-Bennett and it also saves Hardy from having to take a fall before he’s in a big pay-per-view match in just a few weeks. Despite the evolution in Hardy’s character, there was no big difference in his match. Perhaps he was a bit more methodical, but his moveset remained the same.
Post-match, Bennett continued the assault on ECIII after the match as Mathews reminds us that ECIII needed to pin or submit Hardy in order to earn the re-match at Slammiversary.
“And just like that, your road to redemption came to a screeching halt,” Bennett said on the mic. “You see Ethan, I made it clear. In order to face me, you needed to follow every single rule I laid out. You accomplished your first two tasks, but this one? You needed to pin or submit Matt Hardy, and you did neither. So Ethan, while I hate to be the bearer of bad news, you will not get your re-match at Slammiversary.” Bennett’s music plays as he walks out of the ring.
Up Next: Maria is headed to the ring.
[Commercial Break at 9:23]
Maria-Gail Kim promo
Back from the break, the roving reporting catches Bennett, who said that what he just did with ECIII was create art. Bennett said that Ethan needed to follow the rules exactly to get his re-match. He told ECIII that he wanted him to look in the mirror tomorrow morning and realize that he will never wrestle Bennett again.
In-ring: Allie, Maria’s apprentice, is trying to settle down the crowd. She’s having a tough time doing it. After a few seconds, she is able to calm down the crowd enough to introduce Maria, who comes to the ring.
[Q3] “I am the leader of the Knockouts Division,” Maria said. “I need to make sure my vision is getting out to you people. So sometimes, I will check social media …”
The crowd chants, “We want Velvet!”
“… And when I check social media, I realize that you all love Velvet Sky!”
“The crowd chants, “Yes we do!”
“… Well, I fired her. She’s gone. Done for. Fired. Because she is part of the Knockouts’s past, and I am building a brighter future.”
Gail Kim comes to the ring, interrupting Maria. Mathews reminds us that Gail Kim was close to defeating Jade to reclaim the Knockouts Title before Sienna interfered. Gail said that she’s starting to sound like a broken record, but she’s fed up of Maria and her manipulative ways.
Maria said that Gail does sound like a broken record … a broken record that should have been thrown out a long time ago. Maria said Gail is just upset about Velvet, and Gail became upset, saying she was upset about Velvet. Gail asked what gave Maria the right? Maria reminds her that she won a match. Gail said that it might be Maria’s world in that division, but Gail doesn’t need to live by her rules.
Gail threatens to attack Maria, and Maria eggs her on. Gail said they can fight if it were in a match. Maria said that they should do the same thing with Gail as they did with Velvet. Maria said that she would book a match, and if Gail wins she can stay, but if Gail loses, she’s fired.
Gail said she has no problem with that … and she hopes Maria is her opponent. Maria said she is a lady and doesn’t get her hands dirty. Sienna then jumped Gail from behind. Mathews said that Sienna-Gail will happen later tonight, with Gail Kim’s career on the line.
Backstage: Mahabali Shera thanks Grado for helping him, and Grado thanks not Shera for being his friend. Grado said that tonight, against Al Snow, he’s fighting for himself and for guys like Shera. Grado then pulls a chain out of his tights and wraps up high fist, calling it the great equalizer,
Up Next: Grado vs. Al Snow.
[Commercial Break at 9:38]
Back from the break, Robbie E. and Jessie Godderz are talking on the phone, but they’re only separated by a screen. Robbie wants him and Jessie to go to a guru in order to bring their team to the next level.
Backstage: Gail Kim tells the roving reporting that she hash fought way too long and way too hard to have what happened to Velvet happen to her.
Video: The feud between Al Snow and Grado/Mahabali Shera is featured, including some clips of Snow’s promos as well as highlights of Snow vs. Shera.
[Q4] In-ring: As Al Snow makes his way to the ring, he says that Grado is stupid for asking for a street fight. He called himself the prince of hardcore. Snow asked the crowd if they wanted weapons? Chairs? Tables? Well he said they weren’t going to get it, because he’s a wrestler, and the only weapon he needed was his mind.
Snow then tucked behind a video board and attacked Grado on his entrance, starting the assault on the aisle, choking out Grado. The match has yet to officially begin, as Snow plants Grado on the steps.
Mathews compared Grado to Dusty Rhodes (seriously), saying that Dusty “wasn’t supposed to make it.” Snow rolls Grado into the ring and the match officially begins.
2 — AL SNOW vs. GRADO — Street Fight
Grado is on the mat as the bell rings. Al Snow goes for a moonsault on Grado, but misses as Grado moved. Back on their feet, Snow goes into his tights and comes out with a handful of powder. Grado kicks the powder back into Snow’s face.
Shera runs down the aisle with a trash can full of weapons and throws them into Grado, who uses a cookie sheet on Snow. Shera then throws in a turkey leg. Grado takes a bite and hits Snow with a low blow, using the turkey leg. He pulls the turkey leg out and chops it off the top of Snow’s head.
Shera then hands Grado the chain and Grado wraps his fist, landing a right hand. Snow is down as Grado goes for a cover, but two men from the back run down and take out Shera (Sylvester Lefort and Marcus Louis). Snow hits Grado in the back with a trash can lid while he’s distracted and then Snow hits a Snow Plow for the win.
WINNER: Al Snow via pin at 3:41. Basic comedy match featuring Grado. It will be interesting to see what TNA does with Lefort and Louis. They seem to be aligned with Snow, obviously. Snow is in a nice role as the old-school heel.
After the match, the two men who Mathews can’t identify jump into the ring to celebrate with Snow.
[Commercial Break at 9:54]
Backstage: Reby Sky tells Matt Hardy that he needs to knock this off, and he needs to worry about his family. She said that Tyrus and Spud were only trying to help. She said that she’s Matt’s family, and Maxel is his family. Matt said he needs to eradicate Jeff, and then walks off.
Dixie sets up Slammiversary main event
In-ring: Jeremy Borash recaps last week’s main event, and he’s about to make an announcement about the TNA World Hvt. Title, but he’s interrupted by Lashley’s music.
[Q5 — second hour] Mathews and Pope recap with some replays of last week’s main event as Lashley’s comes to the ring. “Get out of the ring,” Lashley tells Borash.
Interestingly, Lashley’s is wearing a Bellator MMA shirt. He said the only rationale decision is to give him the TNA World Title right now.
“I’ve been in a lot of fights,” he said. “Never have I had 20 idiots break into a fight and get my match thrown out.” Lashley again says he’s the only legitimate fighter on the roster, which brings out Drew Galloway.
“You keep that legitimate fighter title, because I prefer this one,” Galloway said, looking at the World Title on his shoulder. Galloway said that Lashley has a certain instinct. But last week, Galloway said he saw fear in Lashley. Not fear because he’s scared of Galloway, but fear because he has never been in the ring with someone like Drew Galloway.
Lashley said that he knew what would have happened if the brawl didn’t break out. Lashley said that he would have either knocked out Galloway or choked him unconscious. Galloway said that he’s an impatient man, and he’s never been accused of making smart decisions.
“Third of all, there’s nothing between us right now than rope and air,” Galloway said. “I say, why wait?” Lashley tells him to bring it as Dixie Carter’s music hits.
Dixie said TNA management has been discussing this situation all week. Dixie said there will be one more match, and it will be on June 12 at Slammiversary. Dixie said that night, one of them will walk away the undisputed champion, but it will only happen by knockout or tap-out.
Lashley said to Galloway that he’s going to knock him out. Galloway makes his way back up the ramp. “Go ahead, walk away like a b—-,” Lashley said.
That, of course, sparked Galloway to run down and attack Lashley, hitting a Claymore kick and then getting to the mount position and throwing several punches before security breaks them apart. Galloway then started to beat up the security and throw them from the ring. Once he was done with that, Lashley hit a spear and started to punch Galloway, looking for an arm breaker but more security pulls Lashley off of him. Lashley beat up security and then speared a referee who was out there trying to break up brawl as well.
Lashley then took a cord and choked out Galloway. It was an intense visual, as Galloway wasn’t grabbing his neck the way we normally see it, but was turning purple as Lashley pulled tighter on what he was using to choke out Galloway.
Video: Mathews throws to a video that highlights some previous Ultimate X matches.
[Commercial Break at 10:10]
Back from the break, TNA ran a spot for “Best of the Asylum Vol. 2,” including highlight names like C.M. Punk and A.J. Styles.
3 — TNA X Division champion TREVOR LEE vs. EDDIE EDWARDS vs. D.J. Z vs. ANDREW EVERETT — Ultimate X match for the X Division Title
After being highlighted last week in his match with Eddie Edwards and then with some big spots in the main-event brawl, D.J. Z’s new entrance was spotlighted before this match.
[Q6] The match begins as Lee and Everett, who were entering together, were climbing up on the apron and Edwards and D.J. Z dove at them on the outside.
In the ring, D.J. Z and Edwards started 1-on-1. Edwards hit the ropes, but Everett dragged him down. Meanwhile, Mathews plugged tickets for the June 12-15 television tapings in Orlando.
In the ring, D.J. Z goes for the belt, but Lee drags him off the rope and hits a German suplex. Everett now climbs the corner and goes for the belt but Lee pulls him down and starts screaming at Everett. Helms jumps up on the apron and tells them to stay together. Everett them helps Lee climb to the cable and walk across, but D.J. Z cuts them off and breaks it up.
On commentary, Pope compares D.J. Z to a young Ricky Steamboat. D.J. climbs the corner, but Edwards shoves him into the metal structure at the corner. Edwards kicks Lee, who is on the top rope. Edwards and Lee are sitting on the same turnbuckle and Edwards executes a double huracanrana off the top.
Mathews said the crowd was behind Edwards as he climbed the corner and then began to climb over to the middle but Lee cut him off, pulled him down and landed a huge knee to Edwards’s face. Lee tried to climb the corner, but D.J. Z slowed him down and then hit a DDT from the top rope.
D.J. went for the belt and Lee knocked him off the rope with a springboard dropkick. Everett tried to hit a springboard move on Edwards as he was going for the title, but Edwards kicked him.
Edwards takes the belt down but the referee doesn’t see it because Helms has the referee distracted. Lee runs past Edwards and pulls the belt out of Edwards’s hands, and the referee awards the match to Lee.
WINNER: Trevor Lee retains at 6:46. Considering the match, there was good psychology here. It wasn’t a spot fest and it was probably helped by TV time limits. Most of the match centered on the wrestlers going after the belt. The finish was different, with Lee swooping in and stealing the belt out of Edwards’s hands. However, along with the the ECIII-Hardy and Grado-Snow matches, there have now been screwy finishes to every match on this show thus far.
Backstage: Maria asks if Sienna believes in her vision? Maria said she has a particular job to do tonight. Sienna said that Gail has been the face of this division for far too long. Maria said that’s the reason she chose Sienna, because she’s bigger and stronger.
[Commercial Break at 10:24]
Backstage: The roving reporter asks ECIII, “What’s next?” ECIII said that he has been kicking Matt Hardy’s ass since before he was born. ECIII said that Bennett rigged the game, but ECIII said that he’s been playing a rigged game his whole life. ECIII said that he’s about to make a phone call, and it’s a phone call he doesn’t want to make, but this is a game he won’t fail. ECIII said that by the time he’s done with Bennett, Bennett won’t have a life.
4 — SIENNA (w/Maria & Allie) vs. GAIL KIM
[Q7] The match begins as Sienna tries to attack Gail from behind, but Gail was ready for it. After some back-and-forth, Gail hits a clothesline for a two count.
Mathews notes that Gail is trying to win this match quickly, which he says is good strategy. Maria is shown watching the match from ringside.
Gail charges Sienna in the corner, but Sienna gets her knee up. Sienna charges Gail but she flips her to the outside. Gail chases Sienna to the outside and breaks up a short confab between Maria and Sienna.
Gail goes after Maria, but Sienna attacks her from behind. Sienna drops Gail on the guardrail. Maria tells Earl Hebner that “Gail just fell down.” Sienna rolls Gail back into the ring and throws a right forearm and then chokes Gail in the corner. Sienna whips Gail into the corner.
After fighting for an opening, Gail hits a reverse DDT. Maria looks concerned at ringside. Gail goes to the top rope but she’s pulled down by Maria. Hebner didn’t see it, he was tending to Sienna. Maria rolled Gail back in the ring. Sienna sets up Gail but Gail finds a way to roll through and pin Sienna.
WINNER: Gail Kim via pin at 4:21. This match still had interference on the finish, but at least the babyface won to give the crowd something to cheer about. That said – like in the opening bout – the babyface was attacked immediately after. A lot of this show feels like they’re setting the heat for Slammiversary.
After the match, Maria and Sienna attack Gail Kim. Maria chokes out Gail on the mat and throws a barrage of punches before grabbing Gail’s hair and smashing the back of her head on the mat. Maria slaps Gail as Sienna tries to calm her down.
Backstage: Spud and Tyrus are talking about the ladder match. Spud said that they’re two and Hardy is only one. Tyrus tells Spud to let him handle this. Spud said that if they lose this match, they lose everything. Reby walks into the screen and said that they need to do it for her. She said that Matt is a mess even at home and won’t hold his son. Reby yells that they need to fix this. Tyrus looks totally disinterested.
Up Next: Jeff Hardy vs. Tyrus and Rockstar Spud in a ladder match.
[Commercial Break at 10:39]
Back from the break, Robbie E. and Jessie are looking for the guru at some sportswear store. A woman sneaks up behind them. It’s Raquel, and she said that she’s the guru they’re looking for. She said she heard that they want to win the Tag Team Titles, and she can help them. … The scene cuts to the work-out being over and both Robbie E. and Jessie say it was a good work-out. Raquel says that they need to work on focus next.
[Q8] In-ring: Rockstar Spud and Tyrus are introduced for the ladder match, followed by Jeff Hardy. Spud and Tyrus come to the ring alone.
5 — JEFF HARDY vs. ROCKSTAR SPUD & TYRUS — ladder match where if Hardy wins, he faces Matt in a full metal mayhem match at Slammiversary
Spud attacks Hardy on the outside as he greets fans during his entrance. Tyrus cheered on Spud at ringside before punching Hardy as he gained the upper hand on Spud. Hardy gets some early momentum and rolls a ladder into the ring…
[Commercial Break at 10:48]
Back from the break, Hardy has control on Spud while Tyrus is recovering on the outside. Hardy goes for a ladder but Tyrus pulls it away from the outside of the ring. Tyrus floors Hardy in the ring, taking out his legs. Tyrus drops a leg on Hardy’s midsection.
Tyrus slams Hardy and Spud immediately drops an elbow from the top rope. Tyrus points Spud to the ladder and he runs to the outside to grab one. Spud shoves a ladder into the ring as Tyrus chokes out Hardy in the corner. Spud is in the ring and kicks Hardy. Spud then tries to choke Hardy on the rope while Tyrus walks around the ring.
Spud sets up Hardy in the corner for a Tyrus splash, but at the last moment Hardy pulls Spud in to take the splash. Hardy then goes on the offense on Tyrus. After some punches, Tyrus scoops up Hardy and drops him on his shoulder.
Tyrus grabbed the ladder and set it up. Spud is out of the ring. Hardy is trying to recover as Tyrus sets up the ladder. Tyrus begins to climb the ladder, but it breaks under his weight, as the rung snapped off.
Tyrus is looking for Spud. Hardy climbs up in the corner and hits a Twist of Fate. Spud crawls back in the ring and, with speed, climbs the ladder. Hardy climbs the other side and takes Spud down with forearms. Hardy and Spud trade punches on top of the ladder before Hardy drops Spud off the ladder with a Twist of Fate. Hardy sets the ladder back up again and grabs the contract.
WINNER: Jeff Hardy at 10:48. Good match with the babyface finally standing tall at the end. Just like the Ultimate X match, there weren’t any crazy spots here. That could be a byproduct of wrestlers just being safer, or it could be that they were saving the big things for the big matches at Slammiversary.
After the match, Jeff immediately grabs a pen and signs the contract. Tyrus looks unfazed by the loss, while Spud is freaking out. Matt Hardy walks out on the ramp and watches as Jeff celebrates his win as the show goes off the air.
Final Thoughts: As a television company, TNA really has no other choice other than to book re-matches at the pay-per-view. They can’t afford to give away big first-time matches on a show that, given their history, not many people will buy.
But, with that said, they’re doing a nice job giving the audience a reason to see these re-matches. Matt Hardy’s “evolution,” is strange, but also unpredictable (at least for now). Galloway-Lashley has a unique stipulation, although TNA could go without burying the rest of its roster by having Lashley refer to himself as “the only legitimate fighter” in TNA.
Overall, this show was getting a lot of the heat in place for the heels as the company heads toward Slammiversary in a few weeks. Aside from Hardy, there weren’t many babyfaces getting the upper hand on this episode, and that’s fine. It felt like that heat had purpose and is going to lead to something at the pay-per-view. It wasn’t just a throwaway show; there was a purpose behind every segment making it seem like things are leading to the logical next step in the storylines progressing to the pay-per-view.