SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
TNA Impact Wrestling Report
July 5, 2016
Taped in Orlando, Fla. at Universal Studios/Cameron, N.C.
Aired on Pop TV
Report by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonPW), PWTorch contributor
Impact opened with Matt Hardy’s landscaper giving us a warning to not try what we’re about to see at home.
Overhead shots of the Hardy compound are shown. Inside, Matt, Reby, and Maxel are celebrating Maxel’s first birthday. The landscaper brings in a present for Matt. Reby says that tonight is for Maxel.
Matt says his gift for Maxel is that he will rid Jeff Hardy of the family tree. Matt said this deletion must be documented. Matt said the candle on Maxel’s birthday cake will burn until Jeff Hardy is extinguished.
Matt tells Senior Benjamin to prepare the battlefield for massacre…
In-arena: Maria Kanellis Bennett comes to the stage in order to introduce TNA X Division champion Mike Bennett.
As Bennett makes his way to the ring, Josh Mathews shows highlights of Bennett’s win over Braxton Sutter last week.
Mathews and Pope talk about Bennett using Option C next week at Destination X, where Mike Bennett will challenge for the TNA World Title by cashing in his X Division Title.
Bennett grabs a mic and said that everyone needs to stand up and take notice of the greatest X Division champion of all-time, ever. “I said that I would not wait to cash this in. I would not wait to take Option C, my golden ticket to the World Title. I want to do it tonight.”
Bennett told the crowd that they need a hero, and he is that hero. Bennett said he has been near perfect since he’s been in TNA, and it’s time to cash that in for gold. Bennett said he was cashing in the X Division Title tonight.
But that brought out TNA president Dixie Carter. Mathews reminds us that Dixie hasn’t been on TV since Billy Corgan basically threw her out of the ring and told her to take a leave of absence two weeks ago.
Bennett told Dixie that he hasn’t seen her since she assaulted Maria. Bennett said that Dixie must have been out there to give him a World Title shot. Dixie said that Bennett has been disrespecting everyone who has won the X Division Title before him. Dixie said that Option C will be in effect later tonight, but Bennett would need to defend the title one more time.
Bennett said he doesn’t have to, because Billy said he wouldn’t have to defend the title again. Dixie said that Billy Corgan was in charge last week, but this is still her company.
Dixie said that the best people for Bennett to face tonight would be the best X Division roster. Dixie said the Ultimate X match defines that division and an Ultimate X match for the X Division Title would happen right now!
[Commercial Break at 9:09]
1 — TNA X Division champion MIKE BENNETT vs. TREVOR LEE vs. ANDREW EVERETT vs. BRAXTON SUTTER vs. ROCKSTAR SPUD vs. MANDREWS vs. D.J. Z vs. EDDIE EDWARDS – Ultimate X match for the X Division Championship
As you might imagine, there is chaos everywhere to begin this match. Lee and Mandrews have some spots inside the ring. D.J. Z goes flying high over the top rope after Mandrews pulled it down and lands on wrestlers outside the ring.
Spud is trying to climb the ropes, but Sutter catches him and pulls him down. Sutter kicks Spud in the face and it looks like he legitimately may have been busted open or lost a tooth.
Sutter tries to climb the X rope, but Bennett catches him and hits a cutter. Edwards takes Bennett out and then Lee takes out Edwards.
Andrew Everett kicks D.J. Z and then gets taken out by Mandrews. Bennett is back in and he takes out Mandrews with a clothesline to end a rapid pace of spots in the ring.
Mandrews, Edwards, Sutter, and D.J. Z are all climbing the X rope for the belt. They all get taken out by various wrestlers running back in the ring.
[Q2] Pope said this makes the X Division so great. Everett helps Lee climb the rope but Bennett comes in and tosses Everett out of the ring and Lee loses his grip on the rope. Bennett hits a spinebuster on Lee. Bennett is alone in the ring and he’s trying to jump to grab the title but he can’t reach it.
Bennett finally climbs the rope but he loses his grip and falls. Bennett, frustrated, tries again, but Edwards flies in and kicks him in the head. Bennett is now stuck on the turnbuckle. Edwards climbs over him and tries going after the belt but instead he flips Bennett off the turnbuckle with a moonsault.
Everett is back in the ring and kicks Edwards. Edwards then dives to the outside to take out more opponents and Everett hits a twisting springboard dive on the floor. Sutter, now along in the ring, takes out more opponents with another dive (instead of going for the belt).
Now D.J. Z, also alone in the ring, hits another dive to the outside instead of going for the belt. Mandrews gets in the ring and tries for the belt but Lee interrupts him. Mandrews is now climbing the structure, not the X rope itself. Mandrews dives off the top of the structure with a moonsault to take out everyone at ringside.
In the ring, Mandrews tries to climb the structure again, but Bennett catches him and knocks him to the outside. Bennett is now alone in the ring and he rolls to the outside and grabs a ladder. He tries to put it in the ring, but Edwards his a baseball slide.
Edwards now climbs the rope and is going to try for the title. He begins to climb across, but Bennett runs in with the ladder. Bennett and Edwards are fighting to see who gets there first. Edwards kicks Bennett off the ladder. Edwards reaches the title and becomes the new champion.
After the match, Maria looks shocked at ringside as Bennett is licking his wounds. Edwards celebrates in the ring as Mathews wonders whether or not Edwards will take Option C. On the outside, Bennett is fuming.
WINNER: Eddie Edwards becomes the new X Division champion at 10:04. This match had you on the edge of your seat. It was a spotfest, as most Ultimate X matches are, but the dives here were really impressive and a little terrifying. That said, there were enough wrestlers on the receiving end that they all appeared to be very safe. Still, the visual of Mandrews dive in particular was awesome.
Last week: Mathews shows highlights of Lashley retaining the TNA World Title over ECIII and Drew Galloway in a three-way match.
Mathews then shows video of Galloway and ECIII getting in an altercation backstage after the match last week. Mathews said that Galloway and ECIII have been suspended for brawling backstage after the title match last week, but he didn’t say for how long. Mathews said that ECIII and Galloway, even though they’re suspended, will face-off in an interview later.
[Reax: Are they suspended or aren’t they? Either you’re suspended and not on the program or you’re not suspended and you are on the program. Am I wrong here? How often do you see suspended athletes, in any sport, show up for interviews?]
[Commercial Break at 9:26]
[Q3] Back from the break, James Storm makes his ring entrance followed by Eli Drake.
2 — TNA King of Mountain champion ELI DRAKE vs. JAMES STORM — King of the Mountain Title match
Storm and Drake brawl from the opening bell. Storm hits a back drop and then gets Drake set up in the corner for ten fists to the head.
Drake goes to the outside and grabs his title. Brian Hebner tries to tell him he will be disqualified if he uses it. Drake, it sounded like, was calling Hebner a dummy as he threw the belt out of the ring.
Drake was wasting time, allowing Storm to recover. Storm hits an elbow off the rope and then an atomic drop.
Storm tries to set up for a Last Call and he connects, but he forces Drake to fall outside of the ring, which Mathews says saved him from losing the title.
Storm goes to the outside and tries to roll Drake into the ring. Storm rolls in to break the 10 count and then rolls out again, only to be met by Drake hitting Storm with the KOTM Title belt which forces the disqualification. Drake then brings Storm in the ring for a Blunt Force Trauma.
WINNER: James Storm via disqualification at 5:27; Drake retains the KOTM Title. Good match that likely is a prequel to something more down the line.
Later: A preview of the Final Deletion match airs.
Backstage: Marti Bell has a baton and she’s telling Jade to “come out and play.”
[Commercial Break at 9:39]
Back from the break, Mathews shows highlights of Edwards’s X Division Title win earlier tonight.
Backstage: Eddie Edwards is cutting a promo. He said Bennett stole the title from him and he has it back. Edwards is asked about Option C and said he has a lot to think about.
[Q4] Marti Bell is headed to the ring for a street fight against Jade. She’s bringing a baton to the ring with her.
3 — MARTI BELL vs. JADE — Street Fight
Jade and Marti start this match on the outside. Marti throws Jade into the ring post and then slams her on the apron. Marti grabs a trashcan full of weapons and begins to throw them into the ring. Jade takes Marti down with a double leg as she enters the ring and throws punches but Marti Bell snaps a baking sheet over Jade’s back.
Mathews asks Pope about wearing jeans in a street fight and whether or not there is strategy to that. Pope basically says ring gear costs money and they don’t want to make it messy.
Back in the ring, Marti slams Jade with the trashcan lid. Marti goes to the outside and brings more weapons in the ring, including a chair. Marti hits Jade with a kendo stick. Jade yells back for her to hit her harder. Jade then grabs the stick and snaps a few on Marti. Jade puts the trashcan over Marti’s head and starts beating it with a kendo stick.
Jade sets up Marti in the corner and connects with a running dropkick. Jade suplexes Marti. Jade gets backdropped onto a trashcan after trying to setup for what looked like a powerbomb.
Marti comes back into the ring with the baton. Jade pulls out nunchucks and scares off Marti. Jade sets up Marti for a package piledriver on the steel chair in the ring and gets the win.
After the match, Jade gets her arm raised and then stares down at Marti Bell.
WINNER: Jade at 5:53. Different hardcore match with the ladies involved. Jade’s package piledriver on Marti looked good and impactful. This match didn’t do anything for Marti, though, and I’m not sure it was a long enough feud to have it mean much for Jade, either.
— Overhead shots of Senor Benjamin setting up the Hardy compound for the Final Deletion match tonight.
[Commercial Break at 9:52]
Back from the break, we go inside Jeff Hardy’s house. With background music playing, Hardy sits in a chair and grabs a guitar. A drone flies up to Jeff’s window. He opens the door and it’s a recording of Matt repeating “Brother Nero.”
More drones fly into Jeff’s house and he begins to take them out with his guitar. Another drone flies in the house and a hologram of Matt Hardy appears. Matt said that Jeff has met his fleet and he demands that Jeff meet him on the property line tonight.
As the drones try to attack Jeff, he gets on a dirt bike and chases it around the property. Jeff’s lawn has artistic symbols cut into it. Matt is shown on a riding mower saying that his beloved lawn is about to be broken, and Matt is shown riding the mower around the lawn cutting it up.
— In-arena: Mike Bennett is back in the ring. He says that the fans don’t deserve him and no one appreciates him. Bennett said he is the hero TNA needs to survive.
[Q5 — second hour] Bennett said he is better than Lashley and Edwards and he deserves to get a TNA Title shot. Billy Corgan comes to the ring. Maria says that she knows he will do the right thing. Maria said she deserves to be heard and she deserves to be president of TNA.
Maria said that Dixie’s one-week vacation was not enough. Maria said it’s either Dixie or her. Corgan still hasn’t said a word and Dixie Carter is coming back to the ring.
Maria hides behind Bennett and said she doesn’t trust Dixie. Maria asks, over and over, who it will be. Maria looks crazy. Dixie said she had an answer, and she’s calling her bluff. Dixie said she isn’t going anywhere.
Dixie said Maria manipulates rules and she manipulates Billy. Bennett said they have made the biggest difference ever for TNA. Bennett said if he’s not in the main event next week of Destination X … he then pauses and said Dixie will put him in the main event for the World Title. He demands it. Bennett said if he doesn’t get that title shot, he walks with Maria.
Billy Corgan then gets in the middle and screams for everyone to shut up. He tells Maria to take a deep breath. Billy said he’s fond of both of them, but right now Maria and Bennett are acting like two spoiled children who are entitled.
Corgan said Bennett had what he wanted, but he blew it and lost. Corgan said as far as Dixie goes, she has been more than fair. Corgan said he won’t watch them take advantage of Dixie like others have. Corgan said if Bennett wants to quit, there’s the door, and he’ll hold it for them.
Bennett asked if they wanted him to quit? Bennett said he’s not going to quit and then began smiling. But, Bennett said that Dixie and Billy made their bed, and now next week, Bennett said he is going to ruin that entire show next week.
[Commercial Break at 10:07]
Back from the break, Matt’s landscaper, Senor Benjamin, is preparing the battlegrounds. Matt brings him a gas can and tells him to make sure he prepares the battleground. He said it will take a lot to delete a Brother Nero.
Backstage: Lashley said that Edwards win was “quite the spectacle.” Lashley said he has never been in a fight before where he has done a bunch of circus tricks. He fights with his hands. Lashley said that Edwards’s decision should be to keep his title, because if he takes Option C, he’s not ready for it.
[Q6] The BroMans and Raquel are making their ring entrance.
4 — THE BROMANS (Robbie E & Jessie Godderz) & RAQUEL vs. DECAY (Abyss, Crazzy Steve & Rosemary)
[Reax: So at this point, I lost power thanks to a thunderstorm.]
The power came back on just as The BroMans were celebrating a win. No clue how it happened.
WINNERS: The BroMans & Raquel
Backstage: Eddie Edwards has the X Division Title and Mathews said his decision is up next.
[Commercial Break at 10:22]
Back from the break, Edwards is in the ring with Jeremy Borash. Borash introduces Edwards and asks if he will use Option C? Edwards said that when he woke up this morning, he wasn’t the X Division champion, but a lot has changed in a short amount of time.
Edwards said that while he is once again the X Division champion, he has a decision to make. Edwards was about to announce his choice when Lashley’s music hit and he walks out on the stage and heads to the ring.
Lashley said he is the most dominating wrestler in the business today and he destroys people. Lashley said that Edwards is a great tag-team wrestler, but he can’t make a mistake by challenging for the World Title.
[Q7] Lashley said that Edwards doesn’t want to do this, because his career will end. Lashley said he retired Kurt Angle. Lashley said no X Division wrestler has what he has.
Lashley gets so fired up, he said that they should make history. Lashley told Edwards not to vacate his X Division Title. Lashley proposes Title vs. Title, and when he wins, he can rip the heart out of the X Division.
Edwards told Lashley “let’s do this.”
Next week, it will be Title vs. Title.
Lashley shoves Edwards away by his face. Edwards goes down in the corner but gets up on one knee. Edwards runs back but he’s caught with a belly-to-belly suplex. Lashley tries for a spear but Edwards hits a Boston Knee Party.
[Commercial Break at 10:35]
Back from the break, ECIII and Drew Galloway are being interviewed at the same time, via satellite. (This is kind of strange since they’re on the same team in EVOLVE/WWNLive storylines.)
ECIII says that Galloway is a hothead. Galloway said that ECIII is not the wrestler he is. Galloway said his opponents know they are in for a war. Galloway said ECIII’s opponents think that he’s entertaining and he’s in shape, but that’s it.
ECIII thanks Drew for the compliment. ECIII said he has beaten every wrestler in TNA. ECIII said that last week, Galloway didn’t win his match. Galloway said that ECIII didn’t either.
ECIII said that next week, they’ll be in the same building again. ECIII said that he’ll put on his nicest street-fighting jeans next week, and he’s going to walk to the ring and wait for Drew Galloway.
— A referee is driving up on the Hardy compound. He asks “what is this?”
Hardy said that this is the referee he saw in his premonition. Hardy said the referee’s only job is to count a pin or look for a submission. Matt said, under no circumstances, does the referee revive Brother Nero.
Matt then summons Brother Nero by playing violin.
Jeff rides up on a dirt bike.
There is a ring set up outside. It’s lit with some candles and car headlights.
Matt said that Jeff needed to prepare for his deletion.
[Commercial Break at 10:45] [Q8…]
5 — JEFF HARDY vs. MATT HARDY — “Final Deletion” match at the Hardy property
Matt and Jeff trade punches to open the “match.” Matt hits a clothesline in the corner. Jeff hits a suplex off the top rope and a dive for a two count. Jeff goes under the ring and pulls out a what looks like a section of fence wrapped in vines and throws Matt through it for a two count.
There are no commentators for this match. Just music in the background. Matt hits a Twist of Fate for a two count. All of this is happening in the ring. Matt has a kendo stick and he beats Jeff on the back and on the knees.
Matt goes under the ring and pulls out a ladder. Matt hits Jeff with the ladder and then begins to choke him with it in the corner while screaming “delete!”
Matt bites Jeff’s fingers and then bites him in the back. Jeff hits a Twist of Fate and takes off his shirt, going to the turnbuckle and hits a Swanton Bomb for a two count. Jeff looks stunned that Matt kicked out.
Jeff sets up the ladder between the ropes. He places Matt on the ladder and climbs a nearby tree, just over the turnbuckle. He dives from what looks like 15-20 feet out of a tree and onto Matt, who was on the ladder. Somehow, Matt kicks out.
Matt hits Jeff with a chair. Jeff is down in the ring and Matt lights fireworks, shooting them at Matt who is down in the ring. Jeff can be heard screaming but you can’t see him. There is smoke everywhere as the fireworks stop.
Matt has a rake as he screams for Brother Nero. He turns the corner and Jeff is on the ground with more fireworks. He’s shooting them at Matt. Matt dives behind a metal boat.
The fireworks stop and Matt and Jeff are are brawling on the lawn. Matt and Jeff then fall into a pond. Matt throws Jeff under the water. Jeff comes out of the water as Willow and he starts choking Matt with an umbrella.
Senor Benjamin has a taser and he takes out Jeff/Willow. Matt covers Willow for a three count on the lawn, but after the three count Matt removes the Willow mask to show Senor Benjamin there, not Jeff.
Jeff comes out of nowhere and jumps Matt. Jeff is choking Matt in a pile of dirt. Matt screams that his neck is broken as Jeff lets go. Jeff climbs a giant Hardy symbol. He tries for a Swanton, but Matt lights it on fire with Maxel’s birthday candle as Jeff jumps off to avoid getting burned. Matt then covers Jeff for a three count.
The match ends with Matt standing over Jeff’s lifeless body as the symbol burns in the background.
WINNER: Matt Hardy at 10:03.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow. Okay, so you can’t do things like The Final Deletion very often. You just can’t. But once in a while, on a night like tonight, it worked and it worked very well.
That doesn’t even mean the match. Think what you want about the match itself. At the end of the day, The Final Deletion was supposed to bring eyeballs – lots of them – to TNA. We’ll see what the viewership numbers look like, but social media was buzzing all day about The Final Deletion, so it’s a safe assumption that this match will result in a big audience for Impact and Pop.
The thoughts after the match, at least on my Twitter timeline was that people either loved the match or they hated it. There wasn’t much in between. But, I thought it worked. People watched. A lot of people who were complaining about how much they disliked the match were ignoring the fact that they were watching Impact for the first time in quite a while.
If this match “pops” a rating, pun intended, it’s on the rest of the roster and the rest of the show to keep people coming back. Overall, this was a good show with several hooks that TNA will be hoping keeps a good number of its newer viewers coming back next week for Destination X.
Lashley vs. Eddie Edwards is a new match, and Mike Bennett threatening to “ruin” the show next week is also a good teaser.
As for some thoughts on The Final Deletion itself … the production value was excellent. The lighting, the camera shots, the music, it all fit very well. It was a festival of stunts and absolutely campy, but that’s what they were going for.
You can’t do something like this every week or even every six months, but once in a while, and especially this being the first one, is going to attract viewers to TNA and that’s ultimately what TNA needs right now. #TheFinalDeletion was legitimately trending, worldwide, on Twitter. That’s a great sign for TNA.