SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
TNA Impact Report
June 21, 2016
Taped in Orlando, Fla.
Report by Mike McMahon, PWTorch contributor (@MikeMcMahonPW)
Impact opened with a video package on Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy, with both brothers cutting a promo about their six sides of steel match tonight. Jeff said that Matt is facing pain tonight, while Matt said Jeff is facing injury.
In-arena: Josh Mathews and Pope welcome us to the show from ringside.
Drew Galloway’s music hits as the camera pans back and shows a crowd shot of the Impact Zone. Galloway walks briskly to the ring and looks for a microphone. “All right,” Galloway said. “I should be standing here World Hvt. Champion and I’m not because of one man. ECIII, get your ass out here now.”
ECIII’s music hits and he comes to the ring. Pope says that ECIII was trying to help Galloway last week, when he accidentally hit him with a chair. ECIII said he had no intention of costing Galloway his title match, and he then apologized. He said he knew that Galloway was looking for someone to blame.
Galloway said he wasn’t looking to blame ECIII, he was looking to fight ECIII. “I think you think that you should have been in the title match,” ECIII said.
ECIII said he did think that, because Galloway was injured and was in no condition to compete. ECIII said that Galloway was exhausted and he lost at Slammiversary. Galloway said that ECIII should be thanking him, because he traveled for every week defending the title to honor and build up TNA.
ECIII rescinded his apology, telling Galloway that he put himself in an un-winnable situation. Galloway said there is no one as talented with words as ECIII. Galloway said that ECIII isn’t an ass-kicking machine, he’s an ass-kissing machine, and that’s how he got to where he is.
“You think Bobby Lashley made you his b—-?” ECIII asked, “I’ll make you my b—- right now!” They were ready to fight when Lashley came to the stage.
“Easy children,” he said. “It’s amazing. It’s funny to me. You guys are throwing blame around like I was throwing Drew around last week.” Lashley said he blamed ECIII, if there was blame to go around, because he hit Galloway with a chair. Lashley called both guys “cute” and said he doesn’t want to miss out on the fun if ECIII and Galloway fight for a title shot.
Lashley said he talked to TNA management, and it’s settled. It’s going to be a tag team match. ECIII & Galloway will tag and if they win, they both earn title shots. However, if they lose, they go to the back of the line. ECIII and Galloway accepted.
“Whoever I pick as my tag partner, if you guys lose, my partner gets the title shot, because I am a fighting champion,” Lashley said. Eli Drake comes to the stage and addresses Lashley.
“You’re talking about giving these dummies a shot at the title? But if I’m you’re partner, and we win, I get a shot at the title? Well sign me up,” he said. Drake said he wants to become the first simultaneous KOTM and World Champion. Lashley said he liked it. “Let’s do it,” he said.
Earl Hebner came to the stage and that match is going to happen right after the break.
[Commercial Break at 9:10]
1 — ECIII & DREW GALLOWAY vs. TNA World Hvt. Champion LASHLEY & ELI DRAKE — If ECIII/Galloway win, they earn title shots; if Lashley/Drake win, Drake earns a title shot
ECIII and Lashley begin the match, but Galloway and Drake tag in early on. Galloway chops Drake in the corner and tags in ECIII, who chops Drake and tags Galloway back in. Galloway goes right back to chopping Drake in the corner.
[Q2] ECIII back body drops Drake. ECIII tries to tie up Drake’s legs but he uses the referee as a shield. Drake shoves ECIII into Lashley and then comes from behind to tag in Lashley. Lashley goes for a rear-naked choke but then tags Drake, who comes in and kicks ECIII while he’s in the hold.
Drake hits a powerslam for a two count. Lashley tags back in and works ECIII in the corner, throwing shoulders to ECIII’s midsection. Galloway is screaming for a tag and Lashley runs over to knock him off the apron. Drake back in and applies a rear chinlock. Meanwhile, Mathews plugs ProWrestlingTees.com.
ECIII has an opening for a tag after he whips Drake into the corner. Drake prevents him from getting to the corner with quick boots while on the ground. Lashley tags back in at the 5:00 mark. Lashley whips ECIII into the ropes but ECIII gets his arm up for a double clothesline.
Both men are down. Drake tags in and ECIII nearly tags Galloway but Drake tripped him off the apron. Lashley begins to work over ECIII again in the corner, going back to the shoulders to the mid-section.
Out of nowhere, ECIII hits a TK3 on Lashley and then is able to make the tag to Galloway. Lashley tagged in Drake. Galloway hit a flying clothesline off the top on Drake. Lashley rolled to the outside and he’s shown on the aisle.
Galloway signals for Claymore, but Lashley broke it up with a spear in the corner. ECIII tries for a One Percenter but it’s countered. He tries for a second One-Percenter on Drake and hits it. Lashley spears ECIII after Galloway kind of threw ECIII into it, but Galloway then throws Lashley out of the ring with a clothesline, covering Drake for the win.
WINNERS: ECIII & Drew Galloway in about seven minutes. Good match that had a different dynamic to it with the team vying for separate title shots. Galloway also got some revenge on ECIII by throwing him into the spear at the end of the match, although that was subtle and not really played up much. For what was a babyface-babyface promo at the beginning of the show, both guys showed a lot of fire. Good opening segment and good opening match.
Mathews shows a replay of Jeff Hardy hitting the Swanton Bomb on Matt from the top of the Impact Zone earlier this year.
Backstage: Abyss asks Rosemary if the person she has been talking to is beautiful? Rosemary asks when she ever gave them reason to not trust her? She said that the person is beautiful and deranged, and Abyss and Crazzy Steve need to trust them.
[Commercial Break at 9:24]
Back from the break, Mathews narrated highlights of the night’s opening tag match.
Backstage: Galloway is drinking water backstage when Lashley approaches. “So you’re smiling?” Lashley asked.
[Q3] Galloway said that Lashley’s plan backfired. Lashley said he still holds all the cards, though. Lashley said he controlled Galloway’s destiny. Galloway said he doesn’t need an audience to fight, and asked Lashley to “step outside,” right now. Lashley said this was a small victory for Galloway.
In-arena: Decay is in the middle of their ring entrance. “The three of us stand before you difference but the same,” Rosemary said. “We want the same things, and we all crave the same things.”
Rosemary then asked Bram to join them in the ring, saying Decay can breathe life into him. Bram looked confused, but walked to the ring.
Rosemary said this comes as a surprise, as she seems to be talking Abyss and Steve into this. They look confused. Bram said he’s confused why he’s even out there. He asks if Rosemary has any questions for him?
Rosemary said so many people have tried to fix Bram. Rosemary said that Decay feels the pain in Bram’s heart. She said he lost the KOTM Title because he’s alone, and Decay doesn’t want him to be alone anymore. Rosemary is getting very close to Bram and then backs away, saying that Decay is the answer.
Bram said he had a proposal. “I guess you’re kind of hot,” Bram said. “I’m not really sure. I guess you’re kind of sexy. I can be wild, I can. But sorry darling, I ain’t no freak. I’m Bram and I don’t need anybody.” Bram said he doesn’t do make-up, and he’d leave it to the two muppets behind him. That upset Abyss and Steve.
Rosemary said that’s not the answer she wanted. Steve then runs in and spits green mist into Bram’s face and he beats up Bram along with Abyss.
On commentary, Mathews narrates highlights of Marti Bell taking out Jade last week. Up next, it will be Jade vs. Marti Bell.
[Commercial Break at 9:37]
Backstage: ECIII approaches Lashley and says, “good game,” but he earned himself a title shot. Lashley said that ECIII thinks he’s in control, but he’s not. ECIII called Lashley “kind of a coward,” and then said he’s coming for Lashley’s championship. Lashley said that the title shot will come on his terms, and he’ll let them know by the end of the night who he’ll fight next week.
In-arena: Marti Bell makes her ring entrance, carrying with her that nightstick she used on Jade last week. Jade runs to the ring during her entrance and chases her around ringside.
2 — JADE vs. MARTI BELL
[Q4] Marti slides in the ring and Jade follows. Marti gets the upper hand early with punches as Jade enters the ring but Jade fires back with a kick.
The match again spills to the outside. Jade throws forearms at Marti Bell. TNA cut to a different – and better – camera angle, that looked like the hard camera showing a wideshot of the outside brawl. Jade whips Marti into the ring steps and then flies in with a baseball slide dropkick.
Jade grabs Marti Bell’s baton and bangs it on the ring steps. Earl Hebner screams that if she uses it, she’s DQ’ed, so she drops it. Jade slides Marti back into the ring and lands a gut-wrench suplex. Jade drops Marti with a German Suplex for a two count.
Jade hits another dropkick. Marti slaps Jade and threatens to slap Hebner, it would appear. Jade answers back with a slap of her own and charges her near the ropes, but Marti pulled the rope and Jade went flying to the outside. Jade catches a boot from Marti on the apron and props her up on her shoulders, then dropping Marti on the ring apron face first.
Jade goes back in the ring and tries for a suicide dive, but Mari Bell grabbed her baton at ringside and nailed Jade with it for the win.
WINNER: Marti Bell at 5:43. Good aggression in this match. The way they talked about it on social media, Jade needed to show some aggressiveness here and she did. Marti looked like smart, cunning heel using the baton to her advantage. Well-put-together match.
Mathews plugged the main event of Hardy vs. Hardy in a cage later tonight.
Backstage: Mike Bennett and Maria are arriving. Bennett said that Maria was assaulted by Dixie Carter, and they’re going back to the scene of the crime. Bennett said Dixie better meet them there.
[Commercial Break at 9:51]
Backstage: Lashley is approached by Dixie Carter. She said that TNA will make the decision on the main event next week, not Lashley. Dixie said that Lashley will defend the TNA World Title against Galloway and ECIII in a triple threat match. Lashley smirked and said, “No problem.”
In-arena: Mike Bennett and Maria come to the ring. Bennett said the people there would never understand what it would feel like to be in love. He called the fans pathetic, telling them that they will never find a true soulmate. Bennett said he found someone who completes him, so he was heartbroken after watching Maria get slapped by Dixie Carter.
Bennett called with Dixie did “assault,” as Maria looked on in approval. Maria said she hasn’t slept in a week. She said she was assaulted and it was unprovoked. Maria said she doesn’t understand why it happened, and she wanted Dixie to come out right now and explain herself.
Dixie Carter and Billy Corgan head to the ring, answering Maria’s call-out. Pope called Maria’s assault accusation “ridiculous.”
“Dixie, I want you to look into her eyes, and now that you looked into her eyes, what do you have to say for yourself?” Bennett asked.
“Honestly,” Dixie replied,” anyone who would have been in my shoes would have done the exact same thing.” Maria asked what she did? Maria said that Dixie should have been the boss. Maria said she’s been to three doctors and none of them have an answer for what’s wrong with her.
[Q5 — second hour] Dixie said that she regrets letting Maria get to her, and for that, she apologized. Maria said Dixie’s apology wasn’t enough. Maria said when she apologized, she had to get in a ring and it caused her injury. Maria then said Dixie needed to step down as president of TNA.
Bennett said that Dixie is looking at a $1 million lawsuit. Bennett said his dad is even a lawyer, so they wouldn’t have any legal fees. Corgan said that they have some good points. Dixie gets offended and asks what he’s trying to say? Corgan said that Dixie put them in a really difficult situation.
“Are you seriously siding with them?” Dixie asked Corgan. “No,” said Corgan. “What I’m trying to do is to get you to diffuse the situation. My personal opinion, friend to friend, is you need to take a leave of absence from TNA for about a week. I’m siding with the company. I’m trying to do what’s right for everyone involved.”
Dixie admitted she made an error in judgment, but she told Billy to realize that this changes everything. Dixie then dropped her mic and walked to the back. Maria thanked Billy and told him she feels so much safer in her place of work.
Bennett said they needed to talk about him, the most important thing in the world. Bennett called himself star, and said he won 99.99 percent of his matches. Bennett said he is owed a title shot. “Miracle, we already have a main event next week,” Corgan said.
Bennett agreed, but said he wanted that World Hvt. Title and Destination-X is coming up. Bennett called himself the best wrestler on the planet. Bennett said he wants the X Division Title, because at Destination X there is Option C, and he wants to cash it in for a World Title shot.
Corgan replied that, if Bennett wanted to make real headlines, he had it. Mike Bennett vs. Eddie Edwards. Even better, the match can happen right now. Corgan booked it, and said the championship is on the line. Edwards music hits and he shakes hands with Corgan as he comes down the aisle.
[Commercial Break at 10:07]
3 — TNA X Division champion EDDIE EDWARDS vs. MIKE BENNETT (w/Maria) — X Division Title match
Back from the break, the match is underway and Edwards has Bennett’s arm locked up. Bennet powered out and applied a side headlock. Bennett tackles Edwards and Edwards comes back with a hurricanrana and grabs Bennett’s arm. Bennett forces Edwards to the corner and the referee breaks them apart. Bennett kicks Edwards in the corner.
Bennett throws Edwards into the corner. Bennett tried for a springboard move, but tripped on the top rope. Mathews said he crashed and burned trying to prove he can wrestle an X Division style. Edwards then kicks Bennett on the top rope and its another hurricanrana.
Edwards is signaling for Bennett to get up. Bennett rakes Edwards eyes while Maria has the referee distracted for a two count. Bennett hits a huge spinebuster for another two count. Pope and Mathews commented on what a good move it was.
Edwards tries to get back up. He whips Bennett off the ropes but Bennett catches himself. Edwards takes out Bennett with a suicide dive through the middle ropes.
[Q6] Back in the ring, Edwards charges Bennett but Bennett gets a boot up. Edwards climbs the turnbuckle but Bennett cuts him off. Bennett sets up Edwards for a superplex but Mathews fights back. Edwards drops Bennett off the top.
Bennett pins Edwards as Edwards tries to roll up Bennett, but instead, Bennett falls and receives some help from Maria to score the win. Pope said that Bennett’s win just guarantees him a shot at the World Title.
WINNER: Mike Bennett won the X Division Title at 7:50. This was a very entertaining match. Bennett continues to show new layers as a character every week on Impact, and as a heel persona, this is a big win for him to becomes braggadocios about.
[Commercial Break at 10:20]
Backstage: Robbie E. is going through Jessie Godderz’s bag. He finds an iPad and sees a video of Raquel and Jesse talking backstage. Jessie said he feels bad that Robbie can’t know, but he’s doesn’t say what Robbie can’t know. … As Robbie finishes the video, Jessie walks back into the room and Robbie gets upset and walks out. Jessie is unsure why.
In-arena: Braxton Sutter gets introduced for his match, but before his match begins, Rockstar Spud comes to the ring and says that Impact is not the Braxton Sutter show. Spud said he is injecting himself in this match, telling Sutter’s original opponent, some guy under a mask, to go back to the independents for $50.
Spud said that he is what a professional wrestler should look like. Spud said he’s the man who beat Kurt Angle all over the Impact Zone, and he’s a future World Champion.
4 — BRAXTON SUTTER vs. ROCKSTAR SPUD
Sutter punches Sutter as the match begins. Sutter charges Spud in the corner but Spud moves. Spud chokes Sutter in the corner with a boot.
[Q7] Spud gets forced into the corner and kicks Sutter as he tried to follow him into the corner. Spud hits a tornado DDT for a two count. Spud locks on a rear chinlock. Sutter gets to his feet and breaks the hold. Sutter clotheslines Spud and Sutter follows up with a powerslam.
Sutter puts Spud on his shoulders but Spud rakes the eyes. Sutter kicks Spud in the corner and hits a Flatliner for the win.
After the match, Sutter gets to his feet and offers Spud a handshake. Spud that Sutter belongs here and shakes his hand before kicking him in the groin. Sutter writhes in pain as Spud takes off his studded belt and whips Sutter across the back. Spud spits at Sutter before leaving the ring and walking up the aisle.
WINNER: Braxton Sutter at 2:39. There are weeks where it looks like TNA is going to turn Sutter heel, and then there are weeks where they look like they’re going to keep playing him straight. Either way, it’s interesting and Sutter has looked good in his first few weeks.
[Commercial Break at 10:35]
Back from the break, a video package airs on new Knockouts champion Sienna, highlighting her training and competition as a multi-sport athlete, including in MMA. Sienna called herself the “new breed” of Knockouts.
Mathews plugs next week’s show, including Lashley vs. ECIII vs. Galloway for the World Title.
In-arena: Jeff Hardy is introduced for tonight’s Impact main event. Hardy gets to the ring and throws a ladder, tables, and some chairs into the ring.
Reby Hardy comes to the stage next with Maxel strapped to her back. She introduces “Broken” Matt Hardy, who comes to the ring to piano music. Matt walks to the ring with a chair.
5 — MATT HARDY vs. JEFF HARDY — six sides of steel cage match
Jeff attacks Matt as soon as he enters the ring. Matt hits a running powerbomb into the cage seconds into the match to gain the upper hand.
[Commercial Break at 10:45] [Q8 …]
[… Q8] back from the break, Matt is still in control, throwing Jeff into a ladder that’s perched in the corner for a two count.
Jeff throws a chair into Matt’s face and then runs Matt into the cage. Jeff throws another chair at Matt’s head. Jeff sets up the chair and tries to dive off of it but Matt moves. Matt goes to the ground and bites Jeff’s knee.
Matt picks up Jeff and hits a side effect through a steel chair for a two count. Matt throws headbutts over and over at Jeff’s head. Jeff breaks Matt’s momentum with a jawbreaker.
Both men are down after a Whisper in the Wind by Jeff. On commentary, Pope compares this rivalry to Eli Manning vs. Peyton Manning.
Matt kicks Jeff in the gut, but Jeff hits a pair of low blows to break out of the hold and then Jeff connects with a Twist of Fate. Matt stands right up and Jeff hits a second Twist of Fate. Jeff begins to scale the cage and hits a Swanton off the top rope but Matt kicks out at two.
Jeff smashes a chair over Matt’s back. Matt again stands up, which is amazing Mathews. He wonders what is driving Matt Hardy. Matt is prone on the table as Jeff smashes two chairs across Matt, who is laying on the table.
Jeff then grabs another table and sets that up on top of Matt. … Hardy is laying on a table, and Jeff has set up another table on top of that table, creating a Matt Hardy sandwich, in a sense.
Jeff then sets up the ladder on the top rope, in the corner of the cage and climbs it, diving off with a splash through the table. Jeff then leaps on top of Matt for the win.
WINNER: Jeff Hardy in 14:50. That was an impressive move by Hardy to end the match, and now we wonder again if this ends the Hardy feud, or does this just continue to fuel “Broken” Matt Hardy.
Post-match, Mathews says he has never witnessed anything like that before and throws to replays of several parts of the match. Jeff Hardy looked like he landed hard on his shoulder during that final bump through the table. Hardy appears to be fine, as the show goes off the air with him celebrating on top of the cage.
Final Thoughts: This was a strong show with some really good matches. This is the type of show TNA has been delivering on Pop fairly consistently since debuting on the network in January.
TNA seems to have found its groove with the format as well. The show has remained fairly consistent, usually alternating between matches and promo segments, but the formula is working.
One of the things that has plagued TNA for years is that it never really found its identity. Dixie Carter was constantly changing directions creatively and it seemed like TNA, the brand, was always changing its purpose and its vision. Things finally seem stable in that regard, countering the behind-the-scenes turmoil, and it’s helping the overall product stay consistent.
Getting Bennett involved in the X Division spices up that section of the card and adds some more star power to it, along with Edwards. It’s also the tool they seem to be using to get Bennett into the World Title picture, where he’ll join Lashley, Galloway, and ECIII. Those four are the cornerstones for TNA at the moment, with Matt and Jeff Hardy also helping form TNA’s foundation.
Missed last night’s show but you always have the best anlysis on the market especially with TNA. Great job.