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SOUCEK’S IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT
JANUARY 5, 2017
ORLANDO, FLA. — UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
AIRED ON POPTV
Announcers: Josh Mathews, “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero.
Hey everyone, Mike McMahon has a prior commitment, so I’m reviewing Impact tonight. This is the newest “new era” in TNA, so let’s hope they’re headed in a positive direction. Overall, 2016 may have been their strongest year ever from a creative standpoint, but without Corgan’s influence behind-the-scenes, things could get a bit sketchy. Let’s find out together!
-A video package of Eddie Edwards winning the Heavyweight Title opened the show. They showed clips of him taking out various TNA talent over the past few months. They focused on Total Nonstop Deletion, and showed footage of their match leading to outside of the ring and into the Carolina wild. No footage of the volcano was shown.
-Josh Matthews and The Pope opened the show standing at ringside, and announced that Impact was presented by Anthem. Pope said they’re going to make “TNA great again.” The crowd sounded more enthused than usual.
-Eddie Edwards made his way out to the ring, and took a microphone. An “Eddie” chant broke out from the crowd. He said he was honored to usher in the new year as the champion, and that he knows he has a target on his back. He then said he had a little surprise for the Wolves Nation. Lashley’s music then interrupted.
Lashley said he does “not want to hear that crap”, and said he’s done playing with Eddie. He vowed that “2017 is going to be the year of me.” Lashley said he deserved his title back and demanded a rematch. EC III’s music then played, and he came out to the ring. He stopped and pointed out an “Anthem” logo that was on the ring apron. He said Eddie was acting so white bread that if he ate carbs it would make him sick.
EC III said he felt a fight was brewing then demanded his rematch tonight. There was a bit of an awkward pause before Lashley reiterated that 2017 is his year. Eddie suggested that they have a triple threat match tonight. The crowd popped, and Eddie vowed he still had a surprise.
-They cut to a shot of Moose backstage, and Josh Matthews said he has a match with Michael Bennett coming up next. Josh then had to cut a long, rambling Schitt’s Creek promo while the wrestlers were preparing. Poor guy.
(Andrew’s Analysis: Cool to see the Impact crowd so enthused. Often at the end of the marathon tapings, they sit on their hands, and it all feels a bit awkward. You kind of feel bad for the wrestlers! Edwards also did a better job of cutting a promo than he usually does. However, TNA booked themselves into a strange place, as neither man mentioned a freaking volcano nearly killing them a few weeks ago!)
-Maria Kanellis came out and introduced Mike Bennett. The Pope said that Bennett has put everyone on notice. Moose’s music began to play, and he Moose hand-pumped his way to the ring. Josh Matthews laid out what the judges are looking for in the Grand Championship match.
(1) MOOSE vs. MIKE BENNETT
The two former friends locked up, and Moose quickly took advantage with a shoulder tackle. He attempted his clothesline finisher, but Bennett connected with a kick to the stomach. Moose quickly regained his composure and hit a shoulder tackle of his own, followed up by some chest chops. The two then ran into each other, and were both injured. Bennett took control and landed a series of punches and locked in a headlock to end the round.
Score: Mike Bennett 29-28.
The bell sounded, and Moose hit a quick powerbomb. He followed it up with a clothesline, another powerbomb, a splash and a moonsault off the second rope. Impressive. Moose once again went for his finisher, and Bennett countered with a pair of superkicks. He then hit the Total Miracle (an RKO) for a nearfall. Bennett brought his opponent back to his feet, and delivered a discus forearm shot. He repeated the spot a couple more times, then attempted the Miracle in Progress before Moose fought out of it and hit his discus clothesline finisher. The bell rang before he could go for a pin.
Back live they showed some highlights from the prior round. Jeremy Borash announced the score.
Score: Moose 29-28. All tied up.
The bell rang for the third round, and Moose charged and connected with a corner splash. He hit a big spinebuster off the top rope for a close nearfall. Moose attempted another moonsault, but missed and was greeted with a piledriver. Josh Matthews exclaimed we had a new champion, so of course, Moose kicked out. The two got back to their feet and exchanged a series of punches. “A slugfest” as Matthews called it. Bennett climbed the rope, and Moose hit a nice looking top rope dropkick, which was then greeted by a dropkick in return from Bennet. Moose quickly got up and hit his discus finisher once more. With 10 seconds left, they slowly crawled to each other, but the time ran out.
It appeared that the production crew screwed up, as a graphic was displayed on the screen multiple times giving the final score of Moose 29-28. Jeremy Borash then confirmed that shortly after. Ooops!
WINNER: Moose to retain the Impact Grand Championship.
-Backstage Hornswoggle was walking around, and took a look at Vanguard 1. The Hardy Brothers confronted him. Matt asked him about his father “MeekMahon” and Hornswoggle (now “Swoggle”) said it wasn’t real, and that Vince McMahon isn’t his real father. Matt appeared thrilled by that revelation.
(Andrew’s Analysis: That was on the higher end of Grand Championship matches so far. The crowd was into it throughout, and the two had a couple of believable nearfalls. Not sure how thrilled I am to see Swoggle again, but maybe they’ll come up with something fun for him to do. Maybe.)
-After the commercial break Rockstar Spud’s music played. There was another technical glitch at first as his microphone wasn’t on. He called out Swoggle and said that “nobody turns their back on me!” Spud claimed he’s a future heavyweight champion, and said 2016 was a bit rough for him, but 2017 was his year. He informed the audience that “the streak starts now!”
(2) ROCKSTAR SPUD vs. SWOGGLE
Spud initially pushed Swoggle down, and played to the camera. Swoggle quickly recovred, hit a spear and German suplexed Spud. Swoggle then hit a Celtic Cross and won.
WINNER: Swoggle at :37.
Spud threw a tantrum, and said he lost to a one year old boy, and lost to a man who looked like a one year old boy. He said that the company sucks, and that he quit. He threw down the microphone. Josh Matthews celebrated the declaration.
-Backstage Mike Bennett found Moose. He was upset about their match, and challenged him to another match tomorrow night on the pay-per-view. Moose accepted.
-Backstage Eli Drake held up some signs saying he was about to talk again.
(Andrew’s Analysis: Yeah, forget what I said about Swoggle. That was pretty bad comedy. Maybe it will lead to something interesting with Rockstar Spud, but he’s been defined as so ineffective for so long that it will be hard to ever take him seriously again. A bit of a shame, as he once had quite a bit of potential.)
-Eli Drake was in the middle of the ring hosting The Fact of Life, and talking once again. He vowed to EC III that “it’s not over”. He called out The Hardy Brothers, and we saw Reby on stage playing the piano with Maxel on her back. Jeff began singing the “Obsolete” song. Eli praised them for Total Nonstop Deletion, but complained that he wasn’t invited. Matt Hardy took a shot at “MeekMahon’s Day of New” for not showing up, as well as the “Bucks of Youth.”
Eli said he needed a personal invitation. Jeff asked him if he needed to fall in love. Matt asked him if he needed to be held. Eli continued running them down for not inviting him. Matt said Eli was committing blasphemy against him. Eli said they need to look to One Night Only tomorrow night. He challenged them to put the titles on the line against him, and an opponent of his choosing. Matt accepted, and vowed to “Delete!” Eli did his “Yeah!” chant to counter the crowd’s “Delete!”. Jeff then joined in with an “obsolete” chant. Eli went for a punch, and was knocked down.
-Backstage Eddie Edwards explained why he decided to put his title on the line. He acted like he had literally just been asked the question by the cameraman, which we didn’t see. He said he’ll prove that “anything is possible”, and that he’ll leave with his championship. Bobby Lashley then interrupted, and told Eddie to hand over the title. He refused. Lashley said he’d see him out in the ring.
-Josh Matthews then had to set up another Schitt’s Creek promo.
(Andrew’s Analysis: Not the strongest work the Hardys have done so far, but if you’re still into the act, then it was probably a bit of fun. No word on who Drake’s tag partner is, but hopefully they have someone good in mind.)
-Back from break, they went back to highlights of Total Nonstop Deletion, and showed footage of Matt’s boat coming to life, Hurricane flying, the news reports of the town being in danger, and the volcano exploding.
(Andrew’s Analysis: It’s just so bizarre to see all that supernatural nonsense, and then go back to the “real world” of wrestling with people fighting over titles. It’s a strange fit to say the least. I’m not sure if they’ll ever be able to make it work.)
-Matthews welcomed us back to the arena. Trevor Lee, Andrew Everett and Shane Helms came out to the ring. They cut to a brief backstage promo of the three from before, which is one of the few times we’ve ever heard Lee talk. Decay’s music played, and they soon emerged.
(3) TREVOR LEE AND ANDREW EVERETT (w/Shame Helms) vs. CRAZY STEVE AND ABYSS (w/Rosemary)
Both teams went at it as soon as the bell rang. Everett and Lee took down Abyss with a pair of dropkicks. Crazzy Steve went after them both, until they double teamed him for a bit. Everett connected with a standing Shooting Star Press on Crazzy Steve for a two count. Everett and Lee continued double teaming, until Steve broke out for a quick hot tag. Abyss cleaned house, and knocked his opponents down with double clotheslines. Shane Helms got in the ring, and went for a chokeslam of his own (a call back to his Hurricane days). Rosemary then sprayed him with mist. Abyss regained his composure and chokeslammed Everett off the top rope for the pin.
WINNERS: Crazzy Steve and Abyss in 3:16.
As the crazy clown and his friends celebrated, the DCC music played and the lights went out. When the came back up, the DCC was in the ring. They attacked Crazy Steve and Abyss with beer bottles, and then unmasked. Eddie Kingston taunted Rosemary with a beer bottle, which James Storm grabbed and drank out of.
(Andrew’s Analysis. Nope. Not good. Lee is criminally underused, and there really aren’t that many tag teams going in the entire company to justify such a quick, forgettable match that made the young heels look so foolish. Also, who is going to be the faces in the Decay/DCC feud? This new era seems just as messy as the last era…and the one before that..and the one before that).
-Backstage Maria showed Allie footage on her iPad of when Allie beat Laurel Van Ness a few weeks back. Maria challenged Allie to meet her in the ring, because she had “something special” for her.
-Inside the ring, Maria had a microphone and stood with Laurel Van Ness and Sienna. She claimed that along with her husband Mike Bennett, they saved the TNA brand. She said there was a “gnat” that she needed to take care of, and called Allie out to the ring.
Allie tried to put on a serious face, then started to get giddy and gave the fans at ringside some high fives. Then she went back to serious mode. Maria taunted her with an “Allie! Allie!” chant. Maria said that everything Allie has done has messed up her life. The crowd chanted for Allie. Maria said she’s smarter than Allie and that she owns her. She challenged Allie to face Sienna in a match. Allie snatched the microphone from her and accepted.
(4) SIENNA vs. ALLIE
Madison Rayne joined in on commentary for the match. Allie and Sienna faced off, and Allie pushed Sienna into the corner. Sienna was shocked, but quickly recovered and hit a big boot. She went for a cover, but Allie kicked out. Braxton Sutter came out to ringside, and Allie hit a dropkick on her opponent. Allie then attempted a bodyslam, but couldn’t lift up her opponent, and Sienna reversed it into a fall away slam. Sienna went for a legdrop, but Allie got out of the way, and rolled up Sienna for a near pinfall. Laurel Van Ness went over to Sutter, and this distracted Allie. Sienna took control once more, but couldn’t put Allie away. Allie hit a second rope crossbody block, and finally connected with a bodyslam to the delight of the crowd. On the outside of the ring, Van Ness was groping Sutter, and Allie became distracted again. She turned around into Sienna’s Silencer finisher for the pinfall.
WINNER: Sienna via pinfall in 4:55.
(Andrew’s Analysis: Fine, but predictable. Allie continues to be one of the most over acts on the show, but her relationship with Braxton isn’t really clicking. They just don’t seem like they would be together! The company is doing a nice job of keeping Maria and Allie apart, which could be one of the biggest matches they’ve had in some time if they book it correctly.)
-Josh Matthews thanked fans in England and Ireland watching Impact on their new app. He hyped the One Night Only pay-per-view tomorrow. Introductions started for the main event.
(5) EDDIE EDWARDS vs. EC III vs. LASHLEY – TNA World Heavyweight Title Match
Lashley attacked Eddie to start the match, then he picked up EC III and threw him into the corner as well. Lashley knocked down Eddie with a shoulder tackle, but missed an attack on EC III. The faces went to work on Lashley, and they tried to double suplex him, but they were reversed and suplexed in return. They quickly recovered, and Lashley was tossed to ringside. They took turns chopping away at him. Lashley got back into the ring, and they went to break at 3:17 into the match.
Back from commercial, EC III and Eddie were in the ring. Lashley was back out at ringside. EC III knocked Lashley out of the ring as soon as he tried to get back in. Edwards took control with an arm drag. Josh Matthews told us this was an extra long episode of Impact, and hoped that we set our DVRs an “extra 10 minutes” (huh, how did he know when the match would end?). Lashley finally snuck in the ring and hit an impressive double German Suplex. He worked over the babyfaces, and hit a delayed suplex on Eddie at 11:00. He took off one of the turnbuckle pads, and fought off a charging EC III. Lashley then removed a second turnbuckle pad. Brian Hebner scolded him. Eddie and EC III got back into things, and finally connected with a double suplex at 12:30. A mild “TNA” chant broke out.
At 13:00, Edwards and EC III finally went at it, and they exchanged a series of knife edge chops. Lashley tried to interfere, but was knocked down. Eddie took control, and slapped at EC III’s chest some more. Lashley once again inserted himself into the fold, and hit a Dominator on Eddie. At 16:15, EC III was firmly in control, and hit an overhead suplex on Lashley. He attempted the One Percenter, but Eddie broke it up.
At 17:20, EC III went for a Stinger Splash (compete with the “Wooo!”), but missed. He was still able to lock in a sleeper, but Lashley speared Edwards,and the faces went into the exposed turnbuckle. Lashley took to ringside, and laid out EC III once more with a Spear. Eddie shot through the middle ropes with a dive, but missed a double foot stomp back in the ring. Lashley responded with a Spear, which knocked Eddie out of the ring once more. Lashley grabbed the Title Belt, and was about to use it when Davey Richards came out at 19:30 to stop him. Eddie connected with The Boston Knee Party and pinned Lashley.
WINNER: Eddie Edwards at 19:47 via pinfall.
Eddie celebrated with Davey Richards, and they very quickly cut to the TNA Logo, which now has an Anthem logo next to it, to signify the end of the show.
(Andrew’s Analysis: A good match by the three men, but hopefully they can now move away from each other. Eddie needs some new opponents, but it’s not quite clear who that will be. Perhaps a Richards heel turn?
Overall, the show was decent, but actually quite a bit of a downer. While the “new era” was shouted out many times during the show, it felt exactly like the shows from the past few months. No sign of Jeff Jarrett or Dutch Mantell. No sign of any new signings except for Hornswoggle. For those hoping for something newsworthy from the show, they’re destined to be let down. Even The Hardy Brothers didn’t to anything particularly of note. A bit of a strange and uneventful way to kick off 2017, and their 114th new era.)