A Good Alternative: Impact Wrestling 7-1-15

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Impact’s been on shaky ground with me for the last couple of weeks. What started with such potential to be different has quickly evaporated into WWE-lite. There’s definitely some talent on the roster but when they’re booked in pointless skits where they push each other in front of trains it’s kind of hard to want to keep watching. The Destination America switch really brought me back to the product and I remember vividly the opening segment with everyone making their way to the arena. It looked cool, it looked fresh and for a while it was real interesting matched next to the tedium of being shit on as fans by WWE creative. I feel like I say this each week but I WANT Impact to be great. I do. I’d also probably be much more forgiving on the current shows had the ones earlier in the year not been so excellent.

IMPACT WRESTLING  7-1-2015  DESTINATION AMERICA

The more I talk to people, the more people I find that simply hate TNA wrestling with all the blind rage of Stevie Wonder trying to thread a needle. It takes a funny kind of person to despise something one company does and then praise another when they do the same thing. Also people are simply furious that TNA is behind on paying talent. Not that I condone talent not being paid; to the contrary, I feel if they’re not getting their just due they should leave the company and never come back. It’s the certainty of the commentariat that no one in that company is getting paid that gets to me. On its own that sentiment would be fine, I guess… but it’s usually tag-teamed with a mystifying glee that the company may go out of business. Look, I’m no Impact apologist, when the show sucks I try my best to meticulously mock and ridicule it, but do we really want the WWE’s biggest competitor of the last thirteen years to go out of business? Competition breeds creativity, and unless you’re completely satisfied with the WWE on a creative level… oh. You are? Maybe this column isn’t for you then. Looking back on what I just wrote it seems like it would make a decent conclusion rather than an introduction. WHELP! The column might as well be backwards since we’re talking about TNA booking!!! Hey-O! Ok on with the show.

I HATE VINCE RUSSO!
I HATE VINCE RUSSO!

Also for my own sanity I’m going to pretend that this week’s Impact was actually Slammiversary. I know it’s crazy to imagine that people would have to pay for all the important matches they’ve been building for weeks and months. Bear with me though, I feel like it will all make sense in the end.

BELL TO BELL! Very typical of this show to throw out that catchphrase without bothering to tell us what it means. I’m guessing more match time and less murders in a train station. Sure you could say I’m harping on that segment too much but before you do keep in mind it’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever seen! The opening package builds up EC3’s streak at the same time as declaring that champion Kurt Angle is the greatest of all time. I won’t lie; he has a decent argument. The main event has been very well built up and I genuinely excited to see it. I may have even paid for it if it were on PPV. I guess they don’t want my money.

Match # 1 – The BDC vs. The Rising

The losing team must disband in this battle of the most irrelevant factions in wrestling. The BDC can barely keep their membership up week to week and no one has bothered to even explain who the other two guys in the rising are. I mean one of them is Haku’s son for fuck’s sake! If this were WWE Michael Cole would be screaming, “Leonardo Gretzky son of legendary double u double u eeee superstar Haku!” Why can’t the BDC keep a team together? Is their mission statement not enticing enough? Do people not want to beat others up any more? I’m giving this waaaaay too much thought. Speaking of giving waaaaaay too much thought to stuff: the BDC’s masks and flags are very, very strange. What are they? Are they worshippers of Baphomet? Perhaps this is why no one wants to stay in the clan.

So it’s four on three here. The Rising are Drew Galloway, Eli Drake, Mica (the guy who sang “Grace Kelly”) and the BDC are MVP, Low-Ki, Kenny King and the returning Hernandez. Drew starts with MVP and punches him in the face a lot. MVP has clearly never seen a wrestling match before as he backs into a corner and demands a time out. Instead he tags Low Ki who takes turns with Galloway to see who can obliterate the other’s chest with chops. It’s amazing that they can hype this is an ultra important match and yet haven’t bothered to even tell us anything about the guys who want to “stand up for wrestling.” Also who cares if they have to disband? Does that mean they can’t hang out backstage anymore? Josh Matthews is as bored as I am and starts talking about the Illuminati of all things. Jesus maybe I wasn’t far off with my Baphomet comment.

Are THESE men secretly ruling the world?
Are THESE men secretly ruling the world?

OUT OF NOWHERE! Low Ki kicks Mica to eliminate him. I guess it’s an elimination match. Thanks Josh! Maybe instead of talking about secret societies you could be bothered to tell us the rules of the match? We take a break and come back to Low Ki working on Galloway’s leg. This is like a fast-paced Survivor Series match except with two teams that no one cares about. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the woman (I hope it’s a woman) in the audience who’s doing a seemingly non-stop scream throughout the match. Can someone explain to her that she hasn’t stumbled onto a ride and to please, please, PLEASE take a god damn breath at some point.

Eli Drake does something to his ankle on the outside and the ref throws up the “X” sign to let us know that this is a serious injury. If Josh and Pope start using the hushed “Owen Hart” voice I’m going to hurl ice cream through my TV. What?? It’s summer! While Eli Drake is helped to the back we get a great shot of the BDC guys looking like a pack of wolves in the corner. Josh actually picks up on them but then instead calls them sharks. Fine. But then he clarifies that sharks are always in the water. Thanks. Like was someone screaming in his ear to clarify that before someone got confused? You don’t care about confusing the audience TNA you don’t even bother to explain your matches.

HOLY SHIT!!!
HOLY SHIT!!!

I’m getting angry and we’re like ten minutes into the show. It’s down to Galloway versus the entire BDC. They send Hernandez in to murder him. A shame he hasn’t had time (or perhaps the desire) to get with the red and black motif the BDC was famous for BEFORE they became a performance art group. Hernandez has lost some mass but that doesn’t stop he and Galloway from stiffing the shit out of each other. OUT OF NOWHERE!!! Low Ki kicks Kenny king by accident and gets rolled up by Galloway. It’s now one versus three. Galloway then decides to destroy Ki’s shoulder on the outside of the ring. I guess that’s how they’re getting him off TV. Farewell Low Ki, you will be missed.

Shut Up mark!
Shut up mark!

Galloway then casually slides in the ring and pins the still unconscious King. I like that spot a lot. Why would he suddenly be able to jump back up if the kick was so devastating? Now it’s one on two. Hernandez decides enough is enough thus and gives Drew the awesome looking “border toss” before MVP tags himself in and hits him with the “playmaker”. A word on the playmaker: it’s one of the worst wrestling moves I’ve ever seen. Keep in mind I lived though a “people’s elbow,” and Scotty Too Hotty doing the worm. It looks hard to set up and doesn’t seem to have any impact to it. Instead of trying to pin Galloway MVP screams at him to “stay down!” I never got that spot. Just pin him and be done with it. Galloway fights back up and sort of flips him off before eating a “drive by” kick for the pin. The Rising is done. No one cares. Also is MVP a basketball player or a gangster? The match was technically fine, but you can’t put seven guys out there that no one cares about and expect it to be good. Such a shame. I LOVED MVP at the start of the year.

More BDC! They’re talking in the back about how the Rising is dead. They get some bad news though, Vince can’t do the movie… I mean… Low-Ki is injured. Add an “Oh Yeah!” and imagine every Entourage episode to get the feel for this one.

BELL TO BELL! Magnus is in the ring for an interview referencing a match he’s not allowed to spoil because they planned their PPV poorly. James Storm is a slimy son of a bitch who learned, “The greatest force of nature is the human spirit of a man who’s family is in jeopardy!” When you get into trouble a few words into a sentence it’s probably not wise to just keep talking and hope for the best. Magnus declares that Storm made them stronger before calling out the “Missus!”

BELL TO BELL! Hardcore Country plays and immediately I’m curious about the conversation Mickie James and Magnus had about her porn career. I mean is it something you bring up on a first date? After intercourse the first time when you realize “wow, this chick’s a professional?” Or does it become the deep dark secret that you both know but refuse the acknowledge for the health of the marriage? James looks so happy! I would be too if I was pushed in front of a train and had absolutely no ill effects at all.

I googled "Train Accident" and got depressed so here's a happy bear!
I googled “Train Accident” and got depressed, so here’s a happy bear!

The crowd is happy to see her and she thanks them for the cards and gifts they sent her. Fucking celebrities. All the money in the world and they still get gifts from people. She thanks Magnus for staying by her side and not saying he was right about James Storm.

BELL TO BELL! James Storm is here to retort. Oh come on! Is Kohya all that’s left of the Revolution? What’s with these groups whose members don’t bother to show up for the fights they pick. WHERE’S HOMICIDE??? Storm gloats that he never wanted Mickie in the Revolution, he just wanted to show the world how easy it was to manipulate a woman. He can have any woman he wants because in the Revolution there’s always room for one more. So…does he want followers or not. Dude there’s no way I can believe your claim about getting women when you can’t even get fucking Abyss to stand next to you most weeks.

Mickie calls Storm sad. BELL TO BELL. She challenges him to find a woman and she will fight her… Oh, this must be the return match she hinted at all those weeks back, you know, when she was still friends with James Storm. I’m glad she referenced having a comeback match before setting up the feud that sets up the match… You know I’m being too hard on this show. Mickie James actually cuts a pretty good promo here and James Storm could as well if he’d just stop being Bray Wyatt. I guess it wouldn’t be TNA without a little ripping off of the Kings. I swear if they drop an abeyance though I’m tossing a cat through my TV. What??? It’s summer!

Get out of here!!!
Get out of here!!!

Match #2- The Wolves vs. The Dirty Heels – TNA Tag Titles 30 Minute Iron Man Match

Finally we come to the final match of the best of five series. Shockingly we’re tied at two wins apiece. The tag belts are actually at ringside tonight so maybe they’re actually being handed out tonight! There’s no clock on the screen but a giant clock on their Dixietron that comes into frame every now and then. Honestly I’m running out of things to say about these teams. I feel like they’re ALL I talk about. A couple of Impacts back I remarked that I could watch these two forever. Forever is apparently four straight weeks until I lose my patience and get bored. Also I feel like these titles have been vacant forever.

Did you... Did you not like abeyance?
Did you… Did you not like abeyance?

Sorry. The action is as good as we’ve come to expect for these two. The Heels are great, the Wolves are greater and just like that we’re ten minutes into the match. The heels worked over Edwards’ leg until Richards comes in and cleans house. He hits a very contrived spot where he forces the heels to DDT one another. I have a new appreciation for the Young Bucks, who manage to pull off these spots a little more seamlessly. We take a five minute commercial break (that’s one sixth of the match) and we’re still tied at zero to zero. I think one of the problems with the Iron Man format for these two teams is that we’ve already seen them kick out of everything under the sun in their previous four matches. Am I really to believe they’re suddenly going to start getting multiple falls on each other OUT OF NOWHERE! BELL TO BELL!!! IMPACT WRESTLING!

The match starts to pick up a bit as the heels absolutely crush Davey Richards with a power bomb. Aries attempts to pin him with his feet in the air for leverage in a nice touch. Edwards eventually gets the hot tag and kills Roode for a close near fall. Wolves with a great kick/German suplex/roll through pin combo for two. That prompts Josh to scream, “It doesn’t get any closer than that!!!” Except when it did, not thirty seconds before. Pope then nails an “Un Beee Lievable” that would make 1990’s Vince McMahon masturbate furiously into the headset.

The Heels scoop up Edwards and nail him with a spine buster before following up with an Aries 450 splash to go up one to nothing. Josh states that, “now they can go on the offensive,” before adding, “Now they can lay back.” I hate Josh Matthews. Both of the teams are best at fast-paced stuff and this match is not allowing them to play to that strength at all. They keep on fighting very slowly as time winds down. The Wolves eventually bore Aries into sleep until they pin him to tie the match up. Of course that’s not what happened, but if you’re still reading this it’s not for my AWESOME play-by-play.

BELL TO BELL! One minute left in the match and we are tied one to one. As the minute nearly ends Edwards rolls up Roode to go up two to one. Roode gets the weak-ass cross face on with about three seconds left and Edwards somehow is able to hold on to give the Wolves the win and the tag team titles. It was a solid contest for the most part but a little hurt by the Iron Man stipulation. I think going forward anyone hoping to do one of these things should study a little more Rude/Steamboat instead of Bret/Shawn.

This guy. Take after him.
This guy. Take after him.

Match #3 – Taryn Terrell vs. Awesome Kong vs. Brooke – Knockouts Title

Brooke’s ass shake is actually disturbing during her entrance. You have this genuinely beautiful woman come out and you make her bend over and shake her ass almost saying, “Look! I’m slutty too!” Also I really preferred bubbly happy Taryn Terrell to this weirdo we have now. She’s good in the role, it just feels a bit forced for me. Kong and Brooke start off by both going after Taryn. Fascists. Kong really seems to be having trouble trouble trouble trouble trouble trouble trouble moving around the ring. There’s a lot of screaming in this one. I kind of wish it was just Taryn vs. Brooke. The Dollhouse look like spiders crawling all over the ring. I’m not sure if that’s what they’re going for, but it juts screams sex spiders. You know deep down too that if you could have sex with a spider there would be some group out there fighting for your god given right to do so. Jade hot shots Kong on the ropes and Taryn hits a cutter for a three count. Yay! Taryn heads to the back and is interrupted by a Gail Kim video that looks like a beer commercial. When the lights come back up Gail’s not there so I guess we can file this one under “mid games Maggle!” This was fine.

Ew.
Ew.

Throughout the night they’ve been heavily pimping this Jeff Jarrett sit down interview. When we finally get to it, it’s no joke sixty seconds of Jeff saying it was surreal to be at Slammiversary and that he’s excited about a POSSIBLE partnership with TNA and Global Force wrestling. And that’s it. All that promo for two sentences! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? Don’t make it out to be the most important thing in the world if you’re going to give up a minute of it. Next week is part two and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he just looked into the camera and only said “Ain’t I great?” BELL TO BELL!

Match #4 – Kurt Angle (c) vs. EC3 – TNA World Heavyweight Title

Carter is undefeated in 620 days and Angle may be the best of all time. Whether he’s the best of all time is questionable, but what’s not is how bad ass Angle looks as hit hits the ring. Borash gives us the big match intros and we head to break!

We’re back and thankfully the two men opted to stand there for three minutes instead of starting the match. Phew! The crowd chants that Carter can’t wrestle as Carter and Angle work a serviceable hammerlock sequence. Interesting that all the chants so far are about EC3, which if nothing else proves that he’s over to the loyal Impact audience. Angle with the rolling Germans but Carter grabs the rope so Kurt just tosses him to the outside before chasing him out and giving him a belly to belly on the floor. Back in and Carter takes control. He hits a “stinger” splash, the move he took from Sting and a “Samoan drop cutter,” the move he took from Marc Mero? Why is Josh such an EC3 shill? Of all the ideas they could steal from WWE they take Cole’s affection for Miz?

Josh's mentor...
Josh’s mentor…

EC3 nails Angle with a DDT to the apron and we take a break. I’m relieved that as soon as we get back we get to see that DDT again. Phew! I would have forgotten in three minutes because apparently I’m a stupid fucking moron. Angle then nails Carter with three more German suplexes. That’s six now I believe. Then he hits three more. Nine total concussions! Angle slam gets two and I question if that’s even a finishing maneuver any more. Ankle lock, but no grapevine so I stop paying attention. Kurt finds his way to the outside where he gets jumped by Brodus Clay as a great evil smile spreads across Carter’s face.

Angle back in. He counters the one-percenter into an ankle lock that Carter rolls out of. Carter then eats four more concussion suplexes, and another Angle slam for another close two count. Can’t say they’re not making EC3 look difficult to beat. Ref bump sees Brodus getting involved and Carter hitting Angle with the one-percenter for a very close two count. Almost Nakamura-like in its last-minuteness. Carter cannot believe he didn’t get the three. It should be noted that as the match is building in intensity the emotion has completely dropped out of Josh Matthews’ voice. He sounds like he could care less about the outcome. Does he just get tired?

Brodus attempts to bring a chair in the ring but gets ejected for his trouble. Angle then counters another one-percenter with an ankle lock and this time finally locks in the grapevine. Carter sells the shit out of this. Even going as far as to remove his wrist band to bite down on. Carter almost gets to the ropes but gets pulled back to the center of the ring. He wiggles lose though and gets picked up for an Angle slam, which he slides out of and OUT OF NOWHERE rolls up Angle for the three count. EC3 is your NEW TNA world heavyweight champion. Josh has no emotion in his voice again as his “favorite guy” just won the biggest title in the company. Seriously, what’s wrong with this guy? A very good match to end the night and I love the roll up finish. Carter celebrates as we close for this week.

Well Deserved.
Well Deserved.

Best Match: Kurt Angle Vs. EC3
Worst Match: The BDC vs. The Rising.
Best Promo/Skit: Mickie being good on the mic.
Worst Promo/Skit: MVP on the god damn phone…again.
MVP: Ec3

What Worked Really Well

– The rollup finish is great because we’ve been so conditioned to only expect a win off of someone’s finishing move. The roll up doesn’t make EC3 look weak, it looks like he out-wrestled Kurt in that moment. Wrestling has too often become about only knocking the other guy out long enough to get the win. I like the idea of someone getting caught by a pin instead. If it were done more often you’d have a lot more heat in matches as fans wouldn’t be waiting for the big moves to happen to buy into a finish.

– EC3 winning is great. They’ve built the guy up for almost two years and he’s improved almost every single time he’s been out there. Again, too often companies are afraid to take chances on new main-eventers and I’m glad TNA took the risk here with Carter. He was wasted in WWE and I actually think him being on NXT hurt him more than it did him any favors. If he had come straight to TNA we’d see him as a guy who worked his way up the ladder instead of a castoff who never got the chance.

– The Wolves/Heels match was very good.

– The Knockouts match was good.

What Sort Of Works

– The Jeff Jarrett promo is completely mystifying. Why build that thing up to go one minute. What was the point?

– The BDC/Rising match was as pointless as it was heatless.

What Didn’t Work

– Josh Matthews is the worst. Worse than Michael Cole.

So Why Should I Watch This Instead Of Raw?

The show was decent this week. Big things happened in that we have new champions, and the bullshit was kept to a minimum. Honestly with Impact’s decline in recent weeks it really depends if you’d rather watch two hours of mediocre wrestling or three. I’d always go with the two. Cool that EC3 won though and I’m somewhat optimistic for the future of him as champ.

Thanks for reading, see ya next week!

Author: Aaron George

Aaron is a classically trained Shakespearean actor by day who fulfils his culture quotient by watching wrestling by night. He has two sons a great wife and once explored the sewers in his hometown.