SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
TNA Impact Report
June 14, 2016
Taped in Orlando, Fla.
Report by Mike McMahon, PWTorch contributor (@MikeMcMahonPW)
Impact tried to begin at 9:00 p.m. EST, but they were experiencing technical difficulties. It looked like a highlight package from Slammiversary was airing. However, the screen kept cutting in and out and remained black for several seconds before Pop TV cut to a break.
[Commercial Break at 9:01]
During the outage, Pop TV aired the same three show promos over and over (That 70’s Show, Celebrity Name Game, and Impact Wrestling). At the 14-minute mark, Pop finally kicked out of that loop and into a Dominos Pizza commercial, followed by a few more regular commercials.
TNA tweeted that Pop was experiencing technical difficulties at its master control. Pop followed that up with a tweet confirming the issues were on their end.
At 9:17, Pop began airing the same three original show promos again.
[Q2] The show finally kicked off 9:18 and we appear to be joining the show in progress. Jeff Hardy is in the ring when the show goes on the air and Eli Drake is headed to the ring.
However, at 9:19, Pop again was abruptly booted out of the show and back to the same show promos … again.
At 9:22, Impact was back on the air and Bobby Lashley was heading to the ring. It felt like this was the start of the show, so perhaps Drake and Hardy coming to the ring was joining the feed in progress and they backed it up?
Anyway, Lashley said that he is the most dominant heavyweight champion that TNA has ever had. The feed became very choppy and difficult to understand. Lashley, I think, said he is the best wrestler in the wrestling business today.
Lashley said that the people wanted Kurt Angle and he destroyed him. He said that the people love Drew Galloway and he broke Galloway.
At 9:25, with the feed quality getting worse, the show again cut to promos. At 9:32, we saw ECIII and Drew Galloway talking for about 10 seconds only for it to again kick back to the show promos. At 9:40, we again joined a regular commercial break. The feed cut back into the same three show promos again around 9:44.
At 10:02, it was the same three promos for “That 70’s Show,” “Celebrity Name Game,” and, ironically, Impact.
At 10:01, TNA tweeted: “We understand your frustration. Pop TV ensures us that they are working to fix the technical issues. We will update you as we are updated.”
Dixie Carter also tweeted that Pop will air the full episode tonight, with limited commercial interruption. At 10:08, Bob Ryder tweeted that Impact, “should be up in a few minutes.”
At 10:18, a crawler appeared at the bottom of the screen announcing: “We apologize for the technical difficulty. Please stay with us. We will be airing the Impact event in its entirety from the beginning.”
At 10:20, Dixie Carter tweeted that the show will be airing in its entirety “shortly.” She again apologized for the technical issues.
At 10:30, a test screen appeared with the word, “ENCOMPASS” across it. After a few seconds, Pop again went back to show promos. Only this time, the crawler was gone. At 10:41, Impact still had not started. Bubba Ray Dudley tweeted, “Karma.”
Many members of TNA’s roster took to their Twitter accounts asking viewers to stay tuned, and apologized for the delay, including Jessie Godderz and ECIII.
At 10:50, Impact finally got started. A delay of 110 minutes.
Impact began with a recap of Slammiversary, including some highlights and mostly still shots of Lashley beating Drew Galloway to win the TNA World Title.
Josh Mathews welcomed us to Impact, where tonight we would see the fall-out from Slammiversary.
In-ring: Mathews again welcomed us to the show hyping that four titles will be decided tonight as crowd shots of the Impact Zone were shown.
— Lashley is introduced by Jeremy Borash and heads to the ring to open the show with a promo. Lashley gave the crowd a few minutes to get out their frustration and then told them to zip it. Lashley said he told everyone he would be the TNA World Hvt. Champion, and here he is.
Lashley called himself the most dominant champion TNA has ever had. He said he’s better than everyone in the back and every wrestler in the wrestling business today.
Lashley said he destroyed Kurt Angle and he destroyed Drew Galloway. Lashley said everyone is rushing to get out of the building tonight, because no one wants to face him.
ECIII’s music hits and he walks onto the stage and heads to the ring. Mathews said ECIII feels great after a win over Mike Bennett on Sunday, calling it vindication.
ECIII played to the crowd as he entered the ring. Lashley said he almost caught himself dancing to ECIII’s “cute little music.” ECIII said he’s not here to be cute. He said he’s there to stand face-to-face, nose-to-nose and he then challenged Lashley for the TNA Title tonight.
Lashley said it’s nice that ECIII has cute little music and has a cute little nickname. But he said nothing about him is real. Lashley said only he is real, and as tough as ECIII thinks he is, he’s not even close to being ready for him. Lashley said ECIII was the last hero standing, and after he beats him, there will be no one left.
That brought out Drew Galloway. He walked to the stage and told Lashley to shut up. Galloway said his job was difficult right now, but he was still standing.
Galloway told ECIII that he has to wait, because Galloway wants his title back. Lashley said Galloway looks terrible, coming out limping. Lashley told Galloway he looks like garbage.
Galloway agreed, saying he looked and felt like “absolute hell” right now. Galloway said Lashley beat him, but he didn’t break him. Lashley said he did break him. Lashley said he’s better than Galloway, and everyone knows it. Lashley said that Galloway will never beat him.
Galloway said that never was a strong word, and anything could happen, and anything would happen tonight. Galloway said he was invoking his rematch clause, and tonight it would be Bobby Lashley vs. Drew Galloway for the World Title. Galloway’s music hit as Lashley smirked in the ring.
[Reax: This was a strong promo by Lashley, especially considering his known verbal limitations. He seemed totally comfortable as the cocky heel, gloating about his title win. He was really good.]
Mathews ran down the rest of tonight’s lineup, including:
- KOTM Title: Eli Drake vs. Jeff Hardy
- X Title: Eddie Edwards vs. Trevor Lee
- Tag Titles: The Decay vs. The Tribunal vs. Shera & Grado vs. The Bro-Mans
Mathews threw to a Facebook Live video from Monday that set up Eli Drake vs. Jeff Hardy. Hardy said he wanted to be KOTM Champion, and Drake should give him a shot. Drake said the only gold rush that would happen is him rushing in with gold, and then him rushing out with gold.
In-ring: Jeff Hardy was introduced for tonight’s opening contest as Mathews threw to a break.
[Commercial Break at 11:03]
Only one commercial aired as Hardy finished his ring entrance and Drake was introduced.
1 — JEFF HARDY vs. TNA KOTM champion ELI DRAKE — KOTM Title match
Hardy plays to the crowd as the match begins and Drake looks unamused by the crowd cheering for Hardy. Hardy takes a shoulder tackle to start the match and appears shaken up by it. Drake delivers another shoulder tackle. Mathews says that Hardy being affected by that tackle goes to show you how Hardy is feeling after Full Metal Mayhem on Sunday.
On the outside, Drake delivers a huge clothesline to Hardy, who is down on the outside. Drake picks up Hardy and throws him into the guardrail. Drake climbs back in the ring and signals the match is over as Earl Hebner is counting out Hardy.
Hardy barely makes it back in the ring as Mathews and Pope said Hardy was out on his feet. Drake immediately jumps on Hardy, putting the boots to him on the mat. Drake hits a swinging neckbreaker for a two count. Drake powerslams Hardy for another two count.
Hardy tries to gain momentum jumping to the top rope but Drake rushes him and knocks him off the turnbuckle. Drake climbs up, looking for a superplex, but Hardy fights him off with elbows and then hits Whisper in the Wind.
Both men get back up and Drake tries a springboard dropkick, but Hardy catches him. Hardy tries for a Twist of Fate but Drake reverses it into a powerslam.
Drake tried for a Blunt Force Trauma but Hardy reversed it into a Twist of Fate. Hardy then hits Swanton Bomb and has Drake beaten but Matt Hardy runs into the ring and bites Earl Hebner’s hand for a DQ.
After the match, Jeff chases down Matt around ringside and throws a chair at him before the show abruptly cut to a break.
WINNER: Jeff Hardy via DQ at 7:38; Drake retained the KOTM Title. This match didn’t seem like it was going to be anything special on paper, but it played out well and Drake looked good against the more established babyface. This elevated Drake.
[Commercial Break at 11:13]
One commercial and Impact returns.
Backstage: ECIII asked Galloway if it was too soon for a re-match and if he was okay? Galloway said he knows Lashley’s weakness and tonight is his night. ECIII said he’s hurt, and he could push this back a week, maybe two. Galloway said that ECIII is like him, they go straight ahead. Galloway said that ECIII would have his title shot, but it would be against Galloway.
In-ring: Jeff Hardy is standing in the ring with a microphone as his music continues to play. Hardy said he is beat up after Slammiversary. Jeff called Matt still deranged, and he wanted to end this nightmare tonight.
Jeff called out Matt to end this thing tonight. Matt appeared from the top of the steps, where Jeff hit the Swanton on Matt several months ago. “Brother Nero!” he said. Jeff said that he can’t stand Matt right now.
“You will never awaken from this nightmare,” Matt said. “This is the origin for Broken Matt Hardy. You ascended from the heavens onto me, attempting to end me. The doctor said I would never return, but I came back stronger, more powerful! And you had zero! Zero remorse! Zero remorse for my lovely wife and you had zero remorse for my newborn son. For those sins, you must be deleted!”
Jeff said he loves Maxel. Everyone does. Matt said that at Slammiversary, Jeff merely won a battle but the war is far from over. Jeff said he’s taking this as an invite to where the madness began? He said he’s not afraid to climb those stairs and do it again. Matt said if Jeff doesn’t do it, he will continue to fulfill his revenge.
Jeff said he was going to end Matt right now. Jeff then sprint through the crowd and on his way over to Matt, he grabbed a table. Matt told him to put the table down and fight him with honor.
Jeff puts the table aside and runs up the stairs. Matt and Jeff start brawling at the top of the steps. Reby then appears out of nowhere and blasts Jeff in the face with a fire extinguisher. Matt slams Jeff off the railing twice. Matt said now Jeff ends, as he again slammed Jeff into the railing.
Matt said, “farewell, Brother Nero!” before sliding Jeff down the railing from the top of the steps, and through a table at the bottom of the stairs. Reby then embraces Matt as they look down on Jeff.
— Still to come: Drew Galloway vs. Lashley for the TNA World Title.
— Next: Eddie Edwards vs. Trevor Lee for the X-Division Title.
Backstage: Matt Hardy says that he told Brother Nero it was not over. Matt said that the deletion is a journey, and next week, he will have his truest revenge. Matt said that next week, he will erase Jeff’s existence forever … in six sides of steel.
[Reax: Matt Hardy is all-in on this “Broken Matt Hardy” character. He’s playing it up on social media and he doesn’t break away from it on television.]
2 — TNA X Division champion EDDIE EDWARDS vs. TREVOR LEE (w/Gregory Helms) — X Division Title match
Prior to the bell ringing, Edwards gets in a shouting match with Gregory Helms and Lee delivers a huge kick from the ring apron on Edwards. Lee rolls Edwards into the ring and the bell rings.
The Pope notes that tonight, Lee has Helms back at ringside, which was not the case Sunday at Slammiversary. Lee has a rear chinlock on Edwards early. Edwards hits a back elbow and then lands two running forearms before dropping Lee with an atomic drop.
Edwards charges Lee in the corner, but Lee gets his knee up. Lee was looking for a German Suplex but Edwards gets out of it. Edwards goes to the ring apron and Helms grabs his foot. Edwards kicks Helms off him, but it allows Lee to get back in control for a two count.
Edwards rolls up Lee in a small package for a two count. Helms begins to recover, so Edwards kicks him again. Edwards flew to the outside to take out Helms and then ran back in the ring to hit Lee with the Boston Knee Party.
WINNER: Eddie Edwards retains at 4:03. There was some weird booking in this match. Trevor Lee wasn’t protected very well at all. It will be interesting – and important – to see what they have for him next.
Josh Mathews then ran down who has been inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame to this point.
Backstage: Jessie Godderz tells Robbie E he was the master of Big Brother, and then also reaffirmed that “Big Brother After Dark” starts airing on Pop soon. Jessie had cameras set up all around the Impact Zone, sort of like Big Brother. Jessie said they can take some lessons from Big Brother. The segment ends as Robbie E. tries to steal Jessie’s iPad after they see that the cameras caught Raquel, their guru, changing clothes in her dressing room.
Backstage: Lashley tells ECIII he’s getting good at this game. ECIII said he’s done playing games, but Lashley said everything still sounds like a of chess play. ECIII said it’s not about games, it’s about the TNA World Title, and he’s coming for it. Lashley said that he’s the master of the game, and that ECIII should sit and watch a monitor tonight.
— In-arena: The locker room is on the stage as Dixie Carter walks to the ring to announce the next TNA Hall of Famer.
Dixie said that at times like this, she likes to reflect on those who came before. She thanked everyone who has been with TNA, for sacrificing everything for the company. She calls TNA’s roster “crazy talented,” and thanks them as well.
Dixie said that this year’s Hall of Fame inductee came to TNA looking for an opportunity, and found a family. She said that this year’s inductee defined a division. Dixie then announced Gail Kim as the 2016 inductee.
Gail walked down the aisle choking back some tears as Mathews points out she’ll be the first Knockout in the Hall of Fame. TNA then ran a graphic on Gail Kim’s career, including more than 2,500 wins and a five-time Knockout Champion as several highlights were shown.
Mathews called Gail Kim “one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time.” In the arena, Gail is reacting to the video as the crowd chants, “Thank you, Gail!”
Dixie said that Gail has taken the Knockouts and have created the best women’s division in the world. Dixie said that Gail will be celebrated at Bound for Glory when the official induction will take place.
Gail thanked the fans first and foremost, and said she was humbled and appreciative. Gail said she got into this business because she loves wrestling, and she has been fortunate to be here for 16 years. Gail said it’s because of TNA that she has been here so long, and she thanked Dixie Carter again.
Dixie raised Gail Kim’s hand as the rest of the roster applauded from the stage. Gail went back to the top of the stage and was congratulated by the entire roster.
Backstage: Decay is preparing for tonight’s Tag Title match. Abyss says their victory will be beautiful tonight. Rosemary said that Abyss and Steve believe in Decay and they are better for it.
Backstage earlier today: Jeremy Borash interviewed Marti Belle. Borash showed Belle costing Jade the Knockouts Title at Slammiversary. Belle said that she and Jade were The Dollhouse. Belle said they had too many leaders and the Dollhouse was about a nine-year friendship between her and Jade. Belle said that they had a pact never to leave each other’s side, but as soon as Jade won the title, the title became her best friend. Suddenly, Jade ran in and attacked Belle. Jade threw a chair at Belle and said that she has messed with the wrong person.
In-arena: Shera & Grado and the Bro-Mans are already in the ring for tonight’s TNA Tag Team Title match.
3 — TNA Tag Team champions THE DECAY (Abyss & Crazzy Steve w/Rosemary) vs. THE BRO-MANS (Robbie E & Jessie Godderz w/Raquel) vs. MAHABALI SHERA & GRADO vs. THE TRIBUNAL (Baron Dax & Basille Baracca w/Al Snow) — four-team TNA Tag Title match
Shera and Dax begin the match. Shera hits clotheslines and then a body slam for a two count. Shera tags in Grado and they hit double back elbows.
Grado goes for a pin, but Baracca breaks it up. Robbie E. is tagged in by Dax. Robbie E. gives Grado a knee, but Grado fires back with rapid jabs. Grado chops Robbie E.
Crazzy Steve tags in as Grado hits the rope. Robbie E. misses a charge in the corner and Abyss splashes him immediately afterward. Baracca tags-in on Steve and goes for a cover but it gets broken up. Dax tags in and bodyslams Robbie E for a two count. Baracca tags back in for another bodyslam and another two count. Dax back in and does the same thing, again.
Baracca tags in and they double-team Robbie E. with boots but again only get a two count. Robbie E. comes back with a jawbreaker and a Boom Drop. Robbie makes a hot tag to Jessie Godderz, though the crowd reaction wasn’t really there. Godderz press-slams Baracca into Jessie.
Godderz hits a top-rope huracanrana on Steve, but Abyss jumps Godderz from behind. Godderz comes back with a springboard forearm to Abyss.
Crazzy Steve jumps off the top, but Godderz catches him. Godderz locks in a Boston Crab but Abyss makes the save with a chokeslam. Shera comes off the top on Abyss. The match then spills to the outside.
In the ring, Grado chops Crazzy Steve and then delivers rapid jabs and pulls down his straps. Grado goes up top, but Al Snow pushes him off. Raquel pulls Snow off the apron while Abyss chokeslams Crazzy Steve on top of Grado for the win.
WINNERS: Decay at 6:34. Decay is in desperate need of a quality and credible opponent. The Bro-Mans have been too much of a comedy act to be taken seriously, Grado and Shera is a low-level comedy act, and The Tribunal is too new, and they’re heels. The Wolves should slide into that spot as soon as Davey Richards is healthy.
Backstage: Allie and Maria are talking while Mike Bennett is just looking on. Maria kicks Allie out of the room. Bennett looks unhappy as Maria said she can’t believe Gail Kim is going into the Hall of Fame. Maria said no one here appreciates them. Bennett said that he has packed the bags and they should leave, but Maria said she has a better idea. They’re going to the ring to get everything they want.
Backstage: Jeff Hardy said that next week, he’ll end this. Hardy is fired up, and promises Matt that he’ll see him next week inside the cage.
In-arena: Mike Bennett and Maria are headed to the ring.
Bennett said that the people don’t get it. TNA needed a hero, and he was that hero. Bennett said he was never appreciated and the people need to appreciate him. Bennett said that’s not an opinion, it’s just the way it is.
Maria said that Bennett’s loss was a conspiracy by TNA management. Maria said that TNA doesn’t want to see Bennett and Maria to succeed. Bennett demanded that TNA management come to the ring to strip the loss from his record.
Dixie did not come to the ring … but Billy Corgan did. Maria commented that she liked Corgan’s suit. Corgan called Maria “MKB” and said that he’s a big fan. Corgan said that this is not how they do business, and if they want to tell him their grievances, call his assistant and they would set up a meeting.
Bennett said he doesn’t do meetings, he conducts his business in the ring. Maria said that Dixie sent him out there to do her dirty work. Maria said that Dixie should come out right now and solve her problem.
Now Dixie is coming to the ring. “And finally the president arrives,” Maria said. “What took you so long? Was everyone back there just kissing your butt?” Maria said she was not there to kiss Dixie’s butt. She was there to be the first lady of pro wrestling.
Dixie told Maria to “please, shut up.” She told Maria that she was wasting valuable time tonight. Dixie said that they could be wrestling right now. Dixie said that she was counting the number of matches Maria has had since before her arm injury, and that number was zero. She asked Maria if she remembered what wrestling was, because that’s why they brought her in.
Maria said that Dixie needs to stop pointing fingers at everyone else, and start pointing them at herself. Maria called Dixie the problem and said she could run Impact better than Dixie.
Maria said that she talks to Billy Corgan all the time and the three of them have great ideas for TNA. Maria said that she’s not the problem, Dixie is. Maria said that she should be in the TNA Hall of Fame with Bennett.
Dixie laughed and asked if she was serious? She called Maria self-absorbed and said Maria should be in no position of authority. Dixie wondered if Maria should even be running the Knockouts anymore.
Maria said she has done more in this business than Dixie ever will. Maria said that Dixie is just second-best, as she began shoving Dixie, and Dixie then slapped Maria, who fell to the mat. Maria looked stunned in the ring as Dixie went to the back.
[Reax: There are some chapters that need to play out before we get a real sense of where they’re going with this, but a Maria/Bennett vs. Dixie power struggle is not a good idea. TNA has transitioned away from the authority angles since moving to Pop, and that’s been a move for the better.]
Backstage: Lashley and Galloway are warming up for the main event.
In-arena: Mathews recaps what just happened between Maria and Dixie and he welcomes ECIII to commentary for tonight’s main event. Drew Galloway then makes his ring entrance, followed by Lashley.
4 — TNA World Hvt. champion LASHLEY vs. DREW GALLOWAY — TNA World Title match
Galloway rushes Lashley at the bell, but Lashley takes a quick shot to the ribs and Galloway goes down. Lashley pulls off Galloway’s shirt and we see that Galloway’s ribs are taped.
Pope speculates that Galloway was trying for a Claymore, like at the start of their Slammiversary match. Galloway finds a way to suplex Lashley into the ropes.
The match jumps ahead to what would have been after a commercial break. Galloway chops Lashley on the outside. Galloway chops Lashley again. Several times on commentary, ECIII says that he believes Galloway invoking this re-match clause tonight is not a smart decision.
Back in the ring, Lashley is in control again. Galloway is down on the outside as the referee counts and Lashley is hoping for a count-out. Lashley mocks ECIII while Galloway is on the outside.
Galloway tries for a sunset flip back in the ring, but Lashley again goes after Galloway’s ribs. Lashley throws Galloway to the outside. Lashley follows and confronts ECIII at the announce table, throwing some mock punches.
Galloway sneaks up on Lashley and chops him again. Galloway goes for a whip but Lashley reverses and sends Galloway crashing into the ringpost. Lashley drops Galloway with a standing vertical suplex.
Lashley pulls off the tape around Galloway’s ribs and sets up for a spear, but Galloway sidesteps, looking for an arm bar. Lashley makes it to the rope to break it up. ECIII said that was Galloway’s last big chance.
Lashley trips Galloway into the corner. Lashley again sets up for a spear but instead tries for another suplex. Galloway reversed it into a neckbreaker.
Lashley charges Galloway in the corner, but Galloway moves. Galloway comes off the top but Lashley catches him in a cross armbreaker. Galloway tried to reverse into a Tombstone. They grapple on the mat and Galloway somehow drops Lashley with a piledriver out of nowhere.
Galloway follows that up with a Celtic Cross from the second rope for a nearfall. Galloway goes for a Claymore, but Lashley moves and Galloway hits referee Brian Hebner.
Lashley hit a spear, but there was no referee. Lashley smiled and speared Galloway again. Lashley said it’s time for one more thing … he goes to the outside and grabs a chair. Lashley went to use the chair on Galloway, but ECIII entered the ring and stopped him.
Lashley misses with a right hand on ECIII, who responded with a clothesline and then a brief brawl before ECIII spills to the outside. ECIII rushes back into the ring with a chair and tries to hit Lashley, but Lashley moves and ECIII hits Galloway in the back. Lashley then applied the same submission he used at the end of Slammiversary as a new referee ran down to call for the bell.
WINNER: Lashley via ref stoppage to retain the TNA Hvt. Title. Good match that set up two matches for ECIII – a title match against Lashley and presumably a match against Galloway as well.
Final Thoughts: This was another solid episode of Impact, continuing a trend for them since starting their Pop run this year. There were several new directions after Slammiversary. Adding ECIII back into the title mix makes sense after his win over Bennett, and ECIII vs. Lashley for the World Title seems like the logical main event for Bound for Glory in four months on pay-per-view.
There was no Braxton Sutter on this show (or James Storm), so the next chapter of their story appears to be coming in the next few weeks. TNA’s top few feuds are going to continue to be really strong with the wrestlers they have in the main-event picture. TNA just needs to keep the focus on them, and not some nonsense power struggle.
TNA said it would replay the show tomorrow night on Pop at 9:00 p.m.