SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
TNA Impact Report
August 18, 2016
Taped in Orlando, Fla. on Pop TV
Report by Mike McMahon, PWTorch contributor (@MikeMcMahonPW)
Impact begins with a video package highlighting Bobby Lashley’s recent title wins over Eddie Edwards and James Storm.
Backstage: Lashley is shown walking backstage. The camera is behind him, showing his back as he walks to the interview set. Lashley walks up to Aron Rex (Damien Sandow) and stares him down. Rex glares back and nods before Lashley walks off.
In-arena: Josh Mathews welcomes us to the Impact Zone, running down the line-up for tonight, including the Ascension to Hell #1 contender Ladder match and Eddie Edwards vs. Moose.
In-arena: James Storm’s music plays and he walks to the ring with a beer in hand.
Storm said he was going to cut right to the chase, and asked Brian Hebner to come to the ring. Storm said that he had Lashley pinned, 1-2-3, right after the bell rang. Storm then threw to a highlight. Hebner said he did nothing wrong because the bell rang without him calling for it.
Storm said he should be the World Champion because he pinned Lashley in the middle of the ring. Storm said he was going to give Hebner one opportunity to right the wrong, and that was to give him a re-match.
That brought out Billy Corgan Corgan said a referee’s decision was final, and games were won and lost in the fourth quarter, not the first. Storm said the people want a re-match, and so does he. Storm told Corgan to listen to the people.
Corgan pointed out that Storm was begging. “Buddy, wins and losses,” Corgan said. “And you lost.” Corgan said maybe it’s just not Storm’s luck that he couldn’t win the big one.
Storm then went to the outside and pulled a toolbox out from under the ring. Storm grabbed a hammer and said he helped this company and he would tear TNA apart limb by limb. Storm called Corgan a “stupid rockstar.”
Security then entered the ring. Corgan took a swig of beer. He said that rockstars need security. Storm said Corgan is what they call “office” and “the boys” take care of business themselves. Storm said Corgan knows nothing him.
“A.J. Styles and Bobby Roode left,” he said, “and I stayed because of these people. So don’t tell me about begging, you stupid son of a bitch!” Storm then smashed a beer bottle over one of the security guard’s heads.
Corgan said Storm’s actions are proving his point. Storm said he has beaten up a lot of men, but he’s never beat up a rockstar. And if their paths cross again, he was going to check that off his bucket list, because he would “smash his pumpkin.”
Corgan then told Storm he was suspended indefinitely as he walked up the ramp. At ringside, Mathews and Pope react to what they just saw.
[MM Reax: Is Billy Corgan a heel? It’s hard to tell, but I think he is. The whole “heel authority figure” thing is so tired and so played out. If TNA goes in this direction, it’s a putrid decision. TNA has been really creative this year and has produced some very compelling and original ideas. Recycling a lame storyline, that hasn’t worked in almost 20 years, is not continuing that trend. In fact, I’d argue it’s a big step back.]
Backstage: Mike Bennett is pumping up Moose for his match tonight. He said Edwards was first on the list tonight. Moose said Eddie is good, but he has beaten up stronger men, including Ray Lewis and Vince Wilfork. Bennett told Moose to do what he says, when he says it, which got a glare from Moose.
[Commercial Break at 8:12] [Q2 …]
[… Q2] Back from the break, an ad for Bound for Glory airs.
Backstage: Storm is shown leaving the Impact Zone and he’s walking outside the building. Bob Ryder is chasing Storm, who also yells at a camera crew to get away from him. Storm gets into his car and drives off.
In-arena: Jeremy Borash is introducing Eddie Edwards for his match against Moose. Bennett’s music played during Moose’s entrance, which Moose also looked bothered by.
1 — EDDIE EDWARDS vs. MOOSE (w/Mike Bennett & Maria)
Moose is on control of the match early, chopping Edwards in the corner. On the outside, Moose powerbombed Edwards on the apron and rolls him back into the ring for a two count.
Bennett is barking orders as ringside. Moose has been in control this entire match. Moose is slapping a downed Edwards. Moose ran to the top rope for an incredibly athletic dive, but Edwards caught him with a dropkick to the gut.
Moose charges Edwards in the corner but Edwards moved and started to get some offense back. Edwards drops Moose with a top-rope hurricanrana. Edwards then dove on Bennett on the outside, taking him out. Edwards went back to the top rope on his way back in the ring but Moose caught him and planted him with a Go to Hell for the win.
WINNER: Moose at 6:23
After the match, Moose celebrates inside the ring. Bennett’s music plays as Edwards rolls out of the ring and Bennett rolls inside the ring. Bennett and Moose shake hands.
Backstage: Maria is talking to Allie and Jade. Maria tells them that Gail Kim is about to have the worst night of her life facing Jade. Maria said she knows Jade and Gail have respect for each other, but tonight is about control, not respect. Maria said if Jade loses tonight, she’ll never have another shot at the Knockouts Title again.
[Commercial Break at 8:28] [Q3 …]
[… Q3] In-arena: Gail Kim is making her ring entrance. They cut to an interview backstage where Gail said she has respect for Jade, but tonight she’s in her way of another Knockouts Title. Gail said that even more than a shot at the title, she wanted to get her hands on Maria.
2 — JADE vs. GAIL KIM
Pope said that the styles in this match will be very similar. Kim and Jade lock up to begin the match. Kim and Jade then trade chops in the corner. Jade lands a loud round kick to Kim’s shoulder and then some jabs. Jade lands a flurry of kicks, including a reverse side kick. That drops Kim to the canvas, but she kicked out at two.
On the outside, Jade scoops up Kim and drops to her back, dropping Kim’s weight across her knees. Kim begins a comeback in the ring with a tilt-a-whirl head scissor for a two count. Kim goes to the top rope and missed a cross-body. Jade goes for a springboard moonsault off the second rope, but she misses.
Jade lands another reverse sidekick for a two count. Back to a standing position at 5:05, Gail Kim connects with Eat Defeat, but Sienna interferes to force a disqualification.
After the match, Sienna dropped Gail on the outside with an AK47. Maria emerges and says that Gail Kim will never have another title shot because her quest was incomplete. However, Gail won the match via DQ.
WINNER: Gail Kim via DQ at 5:18
[MM Reax: Good match that could have been better with a little more time, perhaps on a pay-per-view. It’s hard to give any match, outside of a main event, more than five minutes on a two-hour show. But if Gail-Jade were ever on one of TNA’s pay-per-views, it would be an excellent 10-12 minute match.]
Backstage: Lashley walks up on Mandrews, D.J. Z, and Braxton Sutter. He said he owns the X Division. Sutter told Lashley what he did was impressive, but “don’t be a prick about it.” D.J. Z said he’s not afraid of Lashley. D.J. Z told Lashley to keep running his mouth, because one of these days, one of them, an X Division guy, would beat him.
[Commercial Break at 8:42] [Q4 …]
[… Q4] Back from the break, D.J. Z is getting a ring entrance. He’s the only wrestler in the match to get one.
3 — D.J. Z vs. ROCKSTAR SPUD vs. MANDREWS vs. BRAXTON SUTTER
This isn’t an official No. 1 contender match, but the announcers are treating it like it could be one, saying the winner has a real shot at challenging Lashley.
D.J. Z kicks Spud while Mandrews had his arms tied up. Mandrews takes out Sutter with a moonsault. D.J. Z takes out Sutter and Mandrews with a huge swanton over the top rope. Spud then teased diving over the top rope, but he refused to. The crowd booed.
Back in the ring, D.J. Z takes out Spud with a clothesline. Mandrews drops D.J. Z with a northern lights suplex but then went for a standing moonsault and D.J. Z got his knees up. The announcers talk about how Mandrews may be a multi-time champion by now if he didn’t play to the crowd so much.
Spud grabs Sutter by the mouth inside the ring. He props Sutter on the bottom rope and goes for a curb stomp, but D.J. Z breaks it up. D.J. Z lands a springboard back elbow on Spud and Sutter. D.J. Z rolls out of the corner and hits a double ZZT on Sutter and Mandrews for the win.
WINNER: D.J. Z at 4:48
[MM Reax: There was a whole lot of action in this match. D.J. Z was really sharp here, with most of his moves looking really impactful and sharp. There was a good story, in short snippets, told between Sutter and Spud as well. I’d like to see them go one-on-one after this, especially with the backstory of Spud’s teeth getting kicked in. … I did get a chuckle out of the announce team referencing Mandrews as being a “multi-time champion” by now if he didn’t showcase to the crowd so much and try for extra moves. No offense, but he hasn’t been booked in a position to ever really be that close to the X Title. It sounded really forced. TNA can get Mandrews to that point, but they need to build him up.]
Backstage: A roving reporter asks ECIII about Drew Galloway’s challenge from last week. ECIII said he’ll do just that … up next.
[Commercial Break at 8:54]
Backstage: Dixie Carter chases down Billy Corgan and asks what happened with Storm? Dixie said that this deal with Lashley holding the titles has everyone on edge. Corgan rubs his forehead and said she’s right, they need to focus on Lashley.
In-arena: ECIII stands in the ring among his adoring fans. ECIII told Galloway to come out, and he’d give him an answer on his challenge.
[Q5 — second hour] Galloway walks to the ring slowly and seriously. ECIII said his answer may surprise Galloway, but Galloway said he thinks his answer would be no, and that would be no surprise at all.
Galloway said he thinks that ECIII thinks he can’t beat him. Galloway said that more importantly, he believes that ECIII believes he has done nothing to Galloway.
Galloway said he has been cheated, three times, in his rematches for the World Title. Galloway said he only wants what is fair, and that’s a shot to get his TNA Title back. ECIII then looked right at Galloway and accepted the challenge.
The lights immediately go out and Aron Rex’s music plays. He walks to the ring to join ECIII and Galloway. Rex says hello and smiles at ECIII and Galloway. Rex said the “entire universe” has been watching Impact over the last few months, because the show is making waves and changing the game.
Rex said he grew up watching things like this, conflict and competition. Rex said that he has known both of ECIII and Galloway for a long time, and he’s excited to see this match. Rex said that he had an idea, and he talked to Impact management. Rex said he wants to see a clear winner, and because of that, they now have a special referee for their match … himself. Rex’s music plays as Galloway and ECIII look at him.
Backstage: Eli Drake grabs a camera and said that James Storm fumbled at the goal line last week. Drake said that he made the KOTM Title important. Lashley walks in and said he doesn’t need a catchphrase because he’s the champion and he dominates everyone in TNA.
Lashley said he was going to deal with Drake. … Drake said the KOTM Title belongs to him and he was going to take it back. While he was at it, Lashley said he’d take all three titles from him.
Lashley said he had no times for Drake’s games because he was making history tonight. Lashley bumped into Sienna, who was holding the Knockout’s Title. Sienna shot a look at him and told him not to “get cute.”
Video: Jeff Hardy is walking around ringside. He’s wearing white contacts. Matt Hardy asks Jeff what his game plan is for tonight. Jeff said to use his body as a weapon, but Matt said that he had a premonition last night and if Jeff does that, the match will end with Jeff losing.
Matt said the ladders were obsolete and had no business in a wrestling match. Matt told Jeff that tonight, he will embark on this odyssey alone, but Matt said would be at ringside to delete any ladders placed in the ring.
Matt and Jeff then laugh maniacally.
[Commercial Break at 9:09]
Back from the break, Mathews announces that Galloway-ECIII with Rex as the referee will take place next week.
In-arena: Eli Drake makes his ring entrance. Drake said he was hot tonight because he wasn’t on the live Impact last week. Drake called himself the greatest King of the Mountain Champion.
[Q6] Out comes Mahabali Shera to face Drake.
Drake said he didn’t ask for Shera and went to leave the ring. Shera grabbed the mic and said that he was there to tell him to shut up and fight.
4 — ELI DRAKE vs. MAHABALI SHERA
Drake missed a clothesline to start the match and Shera tackled Drake. Shera whips Drake into the corner and splashes him. Drake gets back in control with a kick. Shera launches Drake with a flapjack and lands an elbow.
Back in the corner, Drake is landing kicks and punches on Shera. Drake scoops up Shera and slams him but misses an elbow. Pope raves about how good Shera looks against Drake. Drake lands Blunt Force Trauma for the win.
WINNER: Eli Drake at 2:39
[MM Reax: For a short win going Drake’s way, Shera had a lot of offense in this match. It’s tough to gauge what that means, but with Grado not at ringside, and only mentioned in passing by the announce team, it’s possible they are separating them.]
Backstage: Dixie Carter and Billy Corgan walk up to Lashley. They ask what his announcement is. Corgan said that they wanted to work with their “champ.” Lashley said at this moment, he has done something no one else can do, so he isn’t going to run anything by them.
[Commercial Break at 9:21]
Back from the break at 9:26, Lashley is making his entrance. Lashley grabbed two Impact staffers to hold up his X Division and KOTM Titles while he wore the TNA World Title. Lashley said he has been a pro wrestler for 13 years, and this is a moment. Lashley said he had one mission in mind when he was winning all of this gold. He then called out Corgan and Carter.
Lashley said that they had no idea what he was about to do, but he holds all of the power and all of the gold. He said he wasn’t a dumb wrestler, he was a businessman, and tonight he is making both of them richer. Lashley said that with this announcement, it will change all of Impact.
Carter said that the World Champion is the top guy in stature and position, but Lashley wasn’t that. Corgan asked what else Lashley wanted? Lashley said since he holds all of the gold, he was going to unify them. The X Division Title is going away, and so is the KOTM Title. He said he has declared himself the true, undisputed World Champion of professional wrestling.
[Q7] Dixie said Lashley has no right to make that decision, but Lashley said he does. Corgan said that he calls the shots because he’s TNA president. Lashley asked if that’s how it is? Lashley asked what the hell the KOTM Title is anyway? Lashley said he makes it something, and then he threw it down at Corgan’s feet.
Lashley said the company was built on the X Division. Lashley said he ripped the heart out of that division, and he buried them all. He said no one can beat him in the X Division, so it makes no sense for him to even defend it. He said that title means nothing and he threw it down.
Carter screamed at Lashley: “How dare you?!?” Lashley said that since they wanted to ruin the history he wanted to make, he’ll just see them at Bound for Glory, and Lashley then walked off. Corgan screamed at Lashley as he leaves.
Corgan said that what Lashley did was a turning point. Carter said that Lashley will defend the TNA Title before Bound for Glory. Corgan said that next week, an open invitational battle royal, and the winner will get a title shot.
[MM Reax: Where do we start? If Lashley was going to split on the titles and those titles are going away, then fine. The KOTM Title sounds like it’s being retired. Great. Stomp on it all you want, then. But I didn’t like them trashing the X Division Title as much as they did here. Why would anyone pay to see the X Division again if it means nothing?
We’re also back to not knowing whether or not Corgan is a heel or a babyface. He seemed to be more the latter in this segment after clearly being a heel earlier in the show. Why did we have a Bound for Glory playoff to determine a No. 1 contender, if we’re just going to give away a title shot in a battle royal next week? I’ve been really high on TNA for most of 2016, but so far this episode has really bothered me and this segment continues that trend. They just finished a tournament to determine a title shot and two weeks later, the person who won that tournament is inexplicably putting that title shot on the line, and they’re going to give someone else a title shot out of a battle royal. Okay …]
[Commercial Break at 9:34]
Back from the break at 9:38, Billy Corgan is backstage. Someone asked what would happen to the KOTM and X Division Titles? Corgan said that Lashley just vacated those belts. He called the X Division Title the heart of the company, and they would crown a new champion soon enough.
In-arena: The BroMans are the first team to make their entrance for the Ascension to Hell ladder match.
Matt Hardy makes a ring entrance second to last. He’s followed by “Brother Nero,” and Jeff Hardy certainly appears to be “broken.” He has white contacts in, which makes it impossible to see the pupils in his eyes.
5 — THE BROMANS (Robbie E & Jessie Godderz) (w/Raquel) vs. THE TRIBUNAL (Baron Dax & Basile Baraka) vs. THE HELMS DYNASTY (Trevor Lee & Andrew Everett) vs. THE HARDYS (Matt Hardy & Brother Nero) — winner gets a TNA Tag Team Title shot
Hardy rolls a ladder in the ring and the bell rings. As soon as the match begins, TNA throws to commercial break.
[Commercial Break at 9:44] [Q8 …]
[… Q8] Back from the break, Brother Nero climbs a ladder and The Tribunal kicks him off. Mathews said that Hardy had a premonition about Decay abducting Maxel, so that’s why he’s not there with Reby again this week.
Matt remained on the outside during the match and pulled out a ladder that Tribunal was about to use. The Tribunal go to the outside and attack Matt. Inside the ring, The BroMans take out Trevor Lee by dropkicking a ladder.
Brother Nero climbs to the top rope and takes out Tribunal on the outside with a dive. In the ring, The BroMans drop Lee with a flapjack and then Godderz goes out and grabs a ladder. Hardy immediately grabs the ladder and throws it out while yelling “delete!”
Lee and Everett grab a ladder each. Matt enters and grabs the ladder away from Lee. Everett comes over and Hardy bites his hand. Hardy catches Lee’s foot on a kick and bites his ankle. Hardy takes Godderz and Robbie E and smash their heads together before biting their faces.
Hardy then grabs Raquel by the hair, pulls her up to the apron and Raquel fires back with a slap. That allows the BroMans to attack Hardy from behind. The BroMans double-team Hardy in the ring with a splash. They then go grab a ladder on the outside and climb but Tribunal enter to stop them.
Robbie E. takes out Dax with a BroDown from the ladder. Baraka slides the ladder in the ring and he gets dropkicked by Godderz. On the outside, Hardy is biting Everett.
Hardy is chasing Raquel around ringside with his mouth open. Godderz has Barak in the Adonis Crab but Everett breaks it up, hitting Godderz with the ladder.
Robbie E goes to the top rope but Lee throws him to the outside. Lee and Everett take out Godderez in the ring, with Lee hitting a running powerbomb into the ladder set up in the corner.
Hardy jumps on Baraka on the outside. Broken Matt enters the ring and gets kneed by Lee. Hardy comes back with a side effect, on a ladder that was tilted on its side. Everett flies in with a missile dropkick on Hardy. Everett tries to climb the ladder. But, Brother Nero jumps off the top rope to take out Everett with a ladder.
Hardy then sets up the ladder on top of Brother Nero, who is down, and Hardy grabs the contract to win the match.
WINNERS: Matt Hardy & Brother Nero at 14:11 of television time.
[MM Reax: There’s going to be a whole lot of weird going on when Broken Matt and Brother Nero face Decay for the Tag Titles, but that’s a whole lot of weird that I’m interested in seeing.]
After the match, Hardy celebrates by holding his arms out. Brother Nero gets up and throws down the ladder. Brother Nero points at Hardy and Brother Nero appears to be celebrating with him.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was an episode that felt like it did more damage than good in a number of storylines. Lashley trashing the KOTM Title is fine, because it sounds like that title is going away. In fact, Lashley made a good point when he asked what that title even meant? But they could have come up with a better solution to have him relinquish the X Division Title rather than having him throw it down in disgust.
In fact, looking at how this story played out, I’m not sure why the X Division Title even needed to be involved. They would have just unified the KOTM and World Titles. The visual of Lashley with all three was cool, but they could have said Lashley won all titles he was eligible for, and he was outside of the X Division weight class, or something.
There was a lot of Billy Corgan on this show, and up until tonight, his presence hasn’t bothered me. However, tonight he was somewhere between a heel and a babyface, and I’m so turned off by heel authority figure storylines. Hopefully this isn’t where they go with Corgan and Storm, because that’s not something I’m interested in seeing.
The Knockouts Division is also starting to feel stale. TNA is doing what it can with a limited roster, but it just feels like the same thing every week for about the last month. TNA has done a lot of good, creatively, in 2016, so I’m willing to give them somewhat of a pass every once in a while. But on the whole, this episode felt like it did more harm than good from a number of storyline perspectives.