Welcome everybody for another edition of Bracing for Impact on Culture Crossfire. A few news updates, notes, and observations before we get to the recap of this week’s episode.
Kurt Angle did an interesting interview with SI.com where he addressed his contract negotiations with TNA at the end of last year. Angle mentioned that WWE had zero interest in signing him and he never even got a meeting in Stamford. WWE having no interest in Angle is not surprising given his extensive mileage and past substance abuse problems but I am surprised with Angle admitting that WWE had no interest in him given his ego. It was refreshing honesty from a guy who’s usually as boastful and moon eyed as an pro wrestler. Hopefully, WWE’s spurn continues to motivate him to maintain his sobriety and his good health.
TNA will be touring India, China, and Australia in the Fall of this year. Could we be getting Bound For Glory 2015 in Mumbai, Beijing or Sydney? Perhaps but hopefully not. I think Bound for Glory 2014 in Tokyo was kind of a misstep. I know they’re lessening their focus on live pay per views but I don’t think that pay per view helped TNA’s international brand at all. Now if it were Bound for Glory in the UK? I could get behind that.
Note; I watched the 11 P.M. replay of this show which was markedly different than the 9 P.M. show. Apparently, during the earlier telecast, live tweets popped up on the screen during the show. This, fortunately, did not happen during the replay. They also cut out Part 2 of James Storm’s “adventures” with the cast of Ghost Asylum. So it sounds like I missed absolutely nothing of note.
April 10th, 2015 (Taped March 15th, 2015)
Taped from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida
Announcers: Josh Matthews & Tazz
Our show opens up with a video package hyping the feud between the Beatdown Clan & The Rising. Samoa Joe, we hardly knew ye. Is it just me or does The Beatdown Clan’s new logo have kind of a resemblance to The Bullet Club’s logo? I doubt this is a coincidence.
We see a replay of last week’s finish with Kurt Angle pinning Lashley with Lashley’s shoulders obviously off the mat the entire time. Kurt Angle wants to address the controversy so he invites Lashley out. Lashley is in his old smiling babyface mode, slapping hands along the aisles with a big grin on his face as he walks to the ring. Probably could have done a better job selling being pissed that he got screwed out of winning the title back last week. Angle’s a fair man and he wants to give Lashley another shot.
That wacko Eric Young charges out, channeling heel Daniel Bryan and yelling “NO! NO! NO!” repeatedly. He’s the #1 Contender for the TNA World Title after beating Bobby Roode last week and he deserves the title shot. I got to say I think EY has found his groove as an angry weirdo heel. A skirmish breaks out. EY gouges Lashley’s eyes. Lashley goes for the spear but accidentally bowls over Angle. AND TAZZ, WE GOTTA GO TO BREAK!
Alright, we’re back! Angle’s still in the ring and he’s pissed. Angle wants to give Lashley his rematch to settle the controversy and he wants to give Eric Young a rematch since he’s the #1 Contender. Angle wants to make it a damn triple threat match cause he’s the greatest wrestler in the world!
Very good video package hyping the history of Gail Kim and Awesome Kong, not only one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the Knockouts division but one of the greatest rivalries in TNA history.
Winner Becomes #1 Contender for TNA Knockouts Title: Awesome Kong Vs Gail Kim
This was another good match from these two. Maybe a half step slower than their matches from almost a decade ago but they’re still very capable in the ring. The buildup to this match kind of undersold Taryn Terrell and made the current champ seem kind of like an afterthought. They were in kind of a Catch 22. Kim & Kong are older than Terrell but not so old that you can play up “The two old vets trying to have one last run” storyline. Terrell’s not established enough to compete with Kong & Kim on a star power level. I probably would have Taryn sit in on commentary with Tazz & Josh just to remind us she’s the champ and put herself over a bit. As it was, this match felt bigger than an actual title match as it seemed like whoever won this will just beat the Knockouts Champ. That’s probably true but you should save the drama for the title match itself. Anyway, Kong got the win with a powerbomb after powering out of a Kim triangle choke against turnbuckle. B
MEANWHILE at the catering table (I guess they can afford one again), Mickie James thanks James Storm for saving her last week. Storm wants a hug and gets one. Manik walks over after Mickie leaves and asks Storm what’s up with him and her. Storm responds by angrily shoving a muffin down Manik’s pie hole and telling him to mind his own business. Storm wants The Revolution in the ring.
After a commercial break, The Revolution are in the ring. James Storm says all of the members of The Revolution have disappointed them, each in their own individual way. Storm was so disappointed in The Great Sanada that they’re not even gonna mention his name again! He’s added to the Revolution and he can subtract from the Revolution. Storm wants to see which member is man enough to team with him next week in the Tag Team Titles tournament and he wants the other three members of the Revolution to fight each other for the chance in a No DQ Triple Threat match.
Triple Threat Match to Determine James Storm’s Partner in the TNA Tag Team Titles Tournament: Khoya Vs Abyss Vs Manik
This is a short styles clash. Only thing I took away from this is Manik is surprisingly over with the Impact Zone crowd, given his lack of solo TV time. The crowd this week was definitely the loudest of the Orlando crowds since they’ve returned stateside. Seemed like a lot of the old regulars showed up plus a good amount of over-caffeinated kids. Khoya won after he snapped and beat down everybody with Storm’s wooden walking stick and pinned Manik. C It seems like TNA has big plans for Khoya even though he’s very, very raw and hasn’t displayed a lot of charisma or in-ring ability. Khoya eventually turning on James Storm and fighting him, I predict, will be one of the big undercard storylines for Impact Wrestling in the second half of 2015.
Drew Galloway & The Rising cut a promo. I like Galloway, I think he’s got boatloads of potential but I’m still not sure if I’m buying him as a fired up, inspirational babyface. The dude to me just seems like a natural born heel. Galloway formally introduces the other two members of The Rising. First up is the son of Haku, Micah (formerly known as Camacho in WWE). Micah cuts a short, fairly nondescript promo. Next is Eli Drake (formerly known as Shaun Ricker, who was briefly in NXT). Drake does some veiled but not really veiled digs at WWE saying that the Rising are not “Superstars” but professional wrestlers. Drake is the most interesting promo of the three but like Galloway, he just looks & sounds naturally like a heel so it’s hard for me to buy into him as a good guy.
The BDC interrupts and talks trash for a bit. See. I don’t know if I really like dueling promos between these two stables because MVP & Kenny King obviously way outclass anybody in The Rising. The Rising would probably be best off as strong, silent vigilante babyfaces. The two teams brawl and security and some referees rush out to break it up. WE GOTTA GO TO COMMERCIAL, TAZZ!
The Rising Vs The BDC
After some commiserating, we have a six man tag here. I’m surprised that when they’re trying to explain who Haku is to the audience members under the age of 25, Tazz & Josh Matthews explain that he’s one of the strongest men in wrestling history rather than one of the toughest. Overall, fine show for the commentary team. I didn’t notice them much…which I think is generally a good thing. This match was sloppy at times but energetic and overall, pretty decent. Again, I think Drake looked more impressive than Micah. Finish came when a mysterious masked man ran into to attack The Rising and revealed himself to be Homicide! Josh Matthews is baffled! He hasn’t been in TNA for years! Matthews must’ve forgot that Homicide showed up last summer at the first set of New York City tapings (and was briefly signed with the roster). The BDC has added a fourth member to fight The Rising. B-
We get a replay of the opening segment with Kurt Angle accidentally getting speared.
Kurt Angle begins cutting a fired up promo backstage about how he’s going to beat Lashley & Eric Young but gets jumped mid promo by EY. EY strangles Kurt Angle with Angle’s World Title strap and tells the Olympic Gold Medalist that the World Title will be his permanently soon.
After the break, a doctor checks on Kurt Angle but Angle waves him off and tells him he’s gonna wrestle the damn match no matter what the doc says. Vintage Angle!
Davey Richards Vs DJ Z
Davey Richards is beginning his quest to go for the X-Division Title since his tag team partner Eddie Edwards is out injured. This match was surprisingly impressive. I thought it would be a quick squash for Richards but it was a nice, little back and forth match. I guess they gotta show now and then that the BroMans guys aren’t total incompetent doofs. Richards is obviously a very, very good worker and I’m glad that he’s getting a chance to shine as a singles guy even if it’s under not very good circumstances. One thing I noticed here is how tight the area around ringside is in this new, smaller Impact Zone. I kind of held my breath when Richards did a suicide dive onto Z, half expecting he’d overshoot it and clobber one of the yokels in the front row. Anyway, Richards got the win here with the Creeping Death. B+
Beatdown Clan cut a promo backstage, introducing Homicide to the group and badmouthing The Rising. Kenny King gets the line of the night, parodying “Deep Cover” and saying it’s gonna be “187 on a long haired Scot”.
We see a vignette for a new Knockouts tag team named The Dollhouse.
The Hardy Boys come out to massive pop from the crowd. Matt & Jeff officially throw their hats into the tournament to become TNA Tag Team Champions. The Hardys have won every tag team titles there are to win in pro wrestling except the TNA Tag Team titles and nothing will stop them! Nothing except perhaps for EC3, who saunters out with his bodyguard Tyrus. EC3 says he’s been undefeated since he showed up in TNA 19 months ago. He hasn’t been able to get a TNA World Title shot so he’s going to win the TNA Tag Team Titles! And his partner will be…Bram? Bram says he hates everyone in TNA but he hates EC3 the least. He loves beating people up! EC3’s reaction during all of this is great.
Ugh, “The Dane Cook of Professional Wrestling” Mr. Anderson interrupts and makes a lame joke about EC3 having a small penis. Anderson’s tag team partner is EC3’s former friend Rockstar Spud. I got to say as much as I hate one of least favorite TNA wrestlers (Anderson) teaming with one of my favorites (Spud), the two of them do have some good chemistry. Anderson’s a pretty good straight-man but “Funny” Anderson makes “Funny” John Cena look like George Carlin. This whole party is interrupted by Austin Aries, even though he has the World Title “Feast or Fired” briefcase, he loves a good fight and is always up for another title. He’s gonna be joined by a man who is another former World Champion and won the Tag Team titles once already with Aries, Bobby Roode!
This segment was a cluster and probably could have been split into several segments but it hyped up next week’s show pretty well and it really emphasized how much the TNA Tag Team titles mean with several former (and maybe one or two future) World Champions wanting the straps.
Triple Threat Match for the TNA World Heavyweight Title: Kurt Angle (c) Vs Lashley Vs Eric Young
This match gets off to a good start with Angle & Lashley having the start of an epic showdown, trading blows before they notice that Eric Young is outside of the ring (barking orders in comical fashion) and they decide to kick his ass. I like the story of Angle & Lashley trying to prove who’s the best with weirdo EY swooping in intermittently like an annoying gnat but they kind of abandon it midway through the match and just do a regular triple threat match. It’s a solid triple threat match but not up to the standards of recent Angle-Lashley matches (or recent Lashley-Eric Young matches). Angle gets the win with the Anglesault onto Lashley’s injured leg. Been a while since we’ve seen the Anglesault. B After the match, Eric Young attacks Bobby Lashley’s injured leg with a steel chair and then puts him into the Figure Four while wearing his shin guard (Hammer Jammer!). Looks like they’re moving from the Angle-Lashley feud to Lashley-EY Feud II (this time with Lashley as the face and EY as the heel). Hopefully, we’ll get Angle Vs Lashley III somewhere down the road.
A lot of this show were matches or interviews setting up future matches & angles. Nothing wrong with that. Especially after a show last week where several major feuds got blown off. This show did seem very promo heavy by TNA standards. Honestly, I’d rather have had them shave a bit of time off of each of the long promos (the opening segment with Angle, EY, and Lashley, the Rising/BDC promo off, and the Tag Team Titles tournament hype segment) and just had another quick 5-6 minute match. Hell, for all of the hype that the Tag Team Titles show got, would it have hurt for them to have one actual tag team match? Anyway, overall, the action we did see was pretty good. B-
Next Week on Impact! Eight teams battle it out for the TNA World Tag Team Titles! It all culminates with a Four Team Ultimate X Match for the belts!