A Good Alternative (NOPE!): Impact Wrestling 7-8-15

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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  7-8-2015  DESTINATION AMERICA

We quickly get a recap of the main event from last week where EC3 dethroned Kurt Angle to become TNA World Heavyweight Champion. The match last week wasn’t bad, but the package makes it look like a much more epic encounter than it was.

From the Impact Zone! Right off the bat Josh irritates me by proclaiming The Pope as the most entertaining commentator in the world. I mean he’s non-offensive at best and utterly useless at worst. To be honest though it would be extremely difficult for anyone to be entertaining next to the black hole of talent that is Josh Matthews. I can’t believe how much I championed this guy at the start of the year. I must have been so burnt out by the endless hours of Michael Cole that I couldn’t see Matthews’ gross inadequacies.

I would pay you ANYTHING to come back.
I would pay you ANYTHING to come back.

EC3 joins us for a promo to start. He’s unbeatable and the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion. As he speaks, Brodus Clay stands behind him holding the belt up like any good entourage member should. Carter declares himself the greatest living wrestler alive today. He should probably pay Christopher Daniels some redundancy royalties but it’s still a great line for the character. Auntie D has given him a gift and put him in charge for the night, so he’s put together a sweet little card and will defend his newly won title three time tonight.

Before he can get any further, Matt Hardy hits the ring. Matt claims he’s did Carter a favor by softening up Angle for him, but he only did it to get in the title picture. He then challenges Carter for the belt. So that’s how we get title shots now according to Version 1, or the guy who can’t die or whatever the fuck he’s calling himself this month. Win some matches and get some rehab on your legs and we’ll talk Matthew. Carter asks the crowd if they like the idea of Matt Hardy as champ and they are ambivalent at best. Carter states that while “You took the wrestling machine to the limit, I took the wrestling machine to the mat for the one, two, three.” With that he politely decline’s Matt’s offer since he’s in charge. Hardy then threatens to kick his ass, which must be the easiest ass kicking to avoid. Just move two steps left or right and Hardy will tumble over in a pile of shame and broken legs.

I literally can't get off the mat.
I literally can’t get off the mat.

Carter settles for mockery instead as he makes fun of Matt for becoming a father and informs him he’s in a tag match. It’s a shame his dumbass brother went out and got hurt though, so tonight he’ll go it alone against a team that’s pissed off about last week.

Match #1 – Matt Hardy vs. The Dirty Heels

Poor, poor Matt Hardy needs to stop wrestling. His legs seriously have ceased to function as human legs. He does a wrestling sequence with Austin Aries that just makes me sad. Like an old dog who can’t get up stairs any more Matt Hardy should be nowhere near a wrestling ring. I should note that EC3 has joined the commentary for the match and Josh gets a really forced, “You’re being disrespectful,” to the Pope for not speaking to Carter. Not every guest commentator sequence needs to go the same way Josh. Especially if you say it with all the conviction of the fur tree in my front lawn.

Less wooden than Josh Matthews.
Less wooden than Josh Matthews.

Carter, of course, is far better on commentary than ether guy whose job it is to do so. Pope breathes for a second then speaks and Josh hits the lamest of jokes with a,” Hey can you lets us talk Pope.” Fucking terrible. This match is nothing, just both heels pummeling Hardy with punches and kicks. Matt gets a double underhook submission on Roode which takes forever to get into because it requires knees that bend to apply.

Carter’s mic goes out and Matthews declares, “Give him yours Pope, no one wants to hear you anyways.” Keep in mind that this is the guy that Josh told us was the most entertaining guy in the business not TEN MINUTES EARLIER. It’s shit like this that makes Josh Matthews the worst commentator in pro wrestling today. TEN MINUTES. YOU CAN’T KEEP A STORY STRAIGHT FOR TEN MINUTES???

Matt Hardy fights back and it’s awkward as hell to watch. He alternates between punching each guy without lifting his feet off the mat. I’m not sure how to describe it, it’s just… it’s just strange. I don’t wish Matt Hardy any ill will, but I want him to be able to play with his son. Just retire already. Please. The Heels then need to cheat to be the one crippled guy they’re fighting. What an awful opener. This is the mood you want to set on a show that’s, “The beginning of a new era?” No wonder Aries left.

Coming up later we have the exciting next part of the Jeff Jarrett sit down interview. Yay! Will it be another thirty seconds of nothing?? I hope so!!!

I told you guys I have nothing to announce.
I told you guys I have nothing to announce.

The Rising is in the ring for their “final message.” Have they even had a message since the very first time they showed up and spoke? They showed up because there was a need for someone to stand up for wrestling . Someone needed to stand up to groups like the BDC. He then informs the BDC that wrestling isn’t going anywhere and will be here well after they’re all retired. Well not TNA wrestling. Wait a second here though, are they implying that the BDC wants to destroy wrestling? How have they done that? The regularly participate in sanctioned wrestling matches and compete for titles. It seems like the BDC rather enjoys wrestling. That’s what happens when you base an angle around such a vague concept. See the BDC were avatars for Vince and company who hate wrestling, but that’s just not a story you can tell within the context of a wrestling ring. See had they made the feud about the BDC’s questionable tactics staining the great sport of… fuck it they don’t care so why should I.

Drew is sorry but the Rising is now disbanded. Eli Drake thanks Drew for giving him a chance and lets him know he will repay the favor. So basically you’re going to turn on him soon? Got it. Drew then grabs the mic and spews a bunch of clichés in a pretty intense fashion. It’s darkest before the light, this is not the end only the beginning, he’s one “110%” away from having all the cognitive functions of a battered NHL player. And Drew, it is the end. You lost the match your crew is done.

Imagine this guy is better in front of a mic than most of this roster.
Imagine this guy is better in front of a mic than most of this roster.

Carter, who apparently is still at ringside, is as fed up as I am with the segment and shuts it down by crying into the microphone. He then informs Galloway that it’s a shame he’s booked in a six man tag match tonight with no partners. Wait why is EC3 mad a Drew Galloway?

Match #2 – Drew Galloway Vs. Abyss/ Manik/ Khoya

Yes! My Favorite faction. Are they contractually never allowed to appear at the same time? Where the hell is James Storm? Wait is James Storm Abyss? Is Joseph Park Manik? They might as well call this faction “clusterfuck” as no one makes any sense paired with the other. Galloway attacks Clusterfuck off the start but they beat him down with punches and kicks. Impact Wrestling: wrestling matters. Hey remember when Abyss was relevant? He was always a second rate Kane but did anyone expect him to be a second rate Kane, in the position that Kane is in now. I’d rather watch Kane than Abyss. Let that sink it, I’d rather watch fucking Kane. This is going to be a long night.

Khoya hits a sky high of Galloway and has him beat until Abyss of all people breaks up the pin stating that he wants some of the action. They start to argue so Galloway, who miraculously has recovered just kicks them out of the ring setting up he a Manik for what I’m sure will be an intoxicating finale. Galloway kicks Manik and pins him. That’s it. Two for two tonight for shitty matches to start this show off.

You've still got it!
You’ve still got it!

Mr. Kennedy interrupts Carter backstage. He has one word for him: congratulations. He doesn’t like Carter but he’s happy he did it on his own. Kennedy wants to be one of his challengers for later in the night. EC3 rightly turns this has-been down and informs him he has a match up next against Bram. He thanks him for the kind words though. And yes I will continue to call him Kennedy until he does one thing… and I mean ANYTHING… to differentiate Mr. Anderson from Mr. Kennedy.

Match #3 – Mr. Kennedy vs. Bram

He’s still doing the mic thing isn’t he? I pray, and I mean pray for Bram to attack him during his tired intro. Josh declares Bram “The most dangerous man on the roster,” which is strange considering he can’t even beat old man Vader on his own. Like shouldn’t a dangerous guy win some fucking wrestling matches?

Bram and Kennedy start off with a nice counter wrestling sequence to give me a little hope for the rest of the night. Did you know Bram is “The Chesterfield Plague”? Boy that’s going to get over. Can’t wait to hear the crowds being forced to chant that one. These over elaborate nicknames have got to stop. I get it, you want to brand Bram, but you can’t brand Bram by using a brand that Bram will be embarrassed to brand himself with, himself being Bram. I hate this show and am fucking bored. I’ll say this for the most dangerous guy in the promotion he sure takes a lot of beatings. Has he ever actually won a feud? Kennedy hits his swanton and takes control but Bram rolls out of the ring and throws a chair at Kennedy’s head for the DQ. FEEL THE FUCKING DANGER!!!

Careful Tommy... He's DANGEROUS
Careful Tommy… He’s DANGEROUS

Joshism time! Earlier in the match Josh made a point to talk about how important this match is for both guys as relates to the top five and title picture. NOT FIVE MINUTES LATER after Bram is disqualified he says, “Bram doesn’t even care.” I’m starting to believe that Josh Matthews may, in fact, be a schizophrenic, and this night might end with a murderous rampage. The Pope then adds that Bram doesn’t care about winning or losing, he just wants to get to a match with EC3. Well Pope, I’m pretty sure he may need to win some matches to do that and…. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Why am I bothering to dissect this shit any more. It’s just trite.

Bram murders Kennedy of the outside and then demands that a PA lower Kennedy’s mic for him. Bram drags his broken body up the ramp and then proceeds to mock his entrance (Yes!) and repeatedly pummel him with the mic. (Yes! Yes!) Kennedy does sell the beating well and the drip of blood coming from over his eye helps immensely. Bram keeps beating him before sitting down on the floor next to him. The end of this segment worked really well and was helped immensely by the announcers shutting the fuck up during it. Letting something speak for itself… what a crazy idea.

Match #4 – Jessie Godderz Vs. Robbie E – Street Fight

Back from break and Jessie Godderz is in the ring. His nick name is “The Man” now, which I’m sure will light the world on fire. Do guys still say, “I’m the man” and does it still get them laid? Who is fucking these guys? Is it other guys? Is the whole thing an argument between two men shouting, “I’m the man at each other” in an attempt to be the penetrator and not the penetratee? These two had a pretty solid little match at the PPV last week, so stupidly I have some hope the show is about to get better. They attack each other as though there’s actual animosity between them as opposed to the boredom that has been in everyone else’s eyes tonight. They fight to the outside where Robbie nails Jessie with a running garbage lid shot before neatly suplexing him in from the middle of the ropes. One kendo stick shot to the… lower body (?) and Jessie is screaming and rolling to the outside of the ring.

Robbie jumps after him but misses and crashes to the ground. He also screams. Jessie goes on the offensive, crunching him with a cane and following up with a pretty sweet buckle bomb. Godderz gets on top and hits him with some stiff forearms and stiffer rakes across his face. Robbie bites him to get him to stop so Jessie just cracks him with the kendo stick. Robbie comes back with a white Russian leg sweep but Jessie counters with a crisp dropkick. Jessie really is quite a bit more athletic than most of the “muscle head” mold. Josh couldn’t care less though as his voice doesn’t change at all in the face of two men beating the shit out of each other. Some would call it stoic, I’d call it fucking lazy.

Robbie takes control by smashing Jessie into a trash can wedged into the corner and following up with a reverse DDT n a chair for a very close two count. Robbie goes up to the top but gets crotched before getting a last ride on two chairs for another close two. Jessie has had enough though and he places a chair over Robbie E’s back, sits on it and applies a Boston crab. Robbie literally has no way out so he passes out Come on! We have to protect Robbie fucking E with that finish??? He can’t tap out to his much stronger opponent as he’s pinned down by a god damned chair. Come on! Good match though. I really find myself liking Jessie Godderz every time I see him out here. He’s not revolutionary or anything but he does what he does very well and has some pretty great heel charisma too.

EC3 in the back promises Tyrus three five star matches tonight but is interrupted by Lashley who wants his shot tonight. Carter refuses considering Lashley’s already booked against Tyrus. Lashley says he’ll be happy to make an example out of Tyrus until he gets HIS title back. It’s crazy but I prefer Lashley’s TNA presentation to his WWE time.

Here's a picture of Lashley.
Here’s a picture of Lashley.

Kurt Angle in the back!!!! Yes!!! He has some legal papers in his hands. I LOVE that! Nothing goes together better than wrestling and litigation! They’re like peanut butter and fire! He promises that Carter’s gauntlet was about to get more interesting. Are you going to be one of his opponents tonight? That actually makes it less interesting.

Here we go with part two of Jeff Jarrett’s sit down interview with Mike Tenay. They ask about the GFW/TNA partnership which Jeff calls a work in progress. Without actually saying anything he mentions that they have business ties with thirteen promotions all over the world. He never thought that he’d be able to make it work with TNA but God’s timing made it happen. I thought maybe it was that every other US promotion wanted nothing to do with you. Silly me. Tenay then asks about the TNA King of The Mountain title and what his plans with that are. Karen jumps in stating that the title has a new home. Silly billy, of course it does. Jeff adds that he wants to make dream matches with it. Silly billy gumdrops, how silly of me to not realize that Jeff Jarrett versus Chris Masters is a dream match. What am I watching here? And why am I watching it. It’s like torture. That was it. That was the whole point of the interview. Part three is coming later though!!!! Can’t wait!!!! If the column suddenly cuts off, assume I’ve killed myself.

Why do we hurt ourselves?
Why do we hurt ourselves?

Ethan Carter is out. He asks if we’re ready to see history. He believes in things coming full circle as well as paying it forward so in that spirit his first defense will be against the person he first beat… Norv Furnam. Furnum comes out and he’s basically a skinny guy with a rubber face.

Match 5- EC3 (c) vs. Norv Furnum – TNA World Heavyweight Title

Carter offers his hand then kicks him and hits him with the one percenter for his first successful defense.

Carter then declares he beats a man from the land but can he beat someone from the rough, rough sea? It’s shark week on Discovery so we get Shark Boy…

Match #6 – EC3 (c) vs. Shark Boy – TNA World Heavyweight Title

I missed the original Stone Cold Shark Boy so this whole…”thing”… is lost on me. Like is this eighth rate rip-off supposed to be funny? Clever? A sick tribute of some kind? I can’t imagine that Steve Austin, a man who’s pissed John Cena uses his move as a transition, would have any patience or mercy for this idiot dressed as a shark. Carter wins after a clothesline and a one percenter for his second defense. Carter gleefully announces himself as the winner and asks Tyrus to “cut him,” in preparation for his final match.

Before he can announce his next opponent Kurt Angle makes his way out. He surprisingly tells EC3 to “shut his damn mouth.” Kurt states that since he’s been champ Carter’s been afraid to face real competition. It’s been a week! Have there really been that many challenges to duck in a week, Kurt? Jesus. There’s no attention to detail in this company. If it’s Kurt that made a mistake in his phrasing, it’s a taped show so they could have just redone it. Everyone looks stupid here including me for not killing myself two paragraphs ago. Kurt has a rematch clause that’s legally binding and he’s using it tonight. It’s real, it’s damn re…. NO! I’m not saying that.

What is freedom?
What is freedom?

See that whole segment with EC3 would be fine as it’s some pretty decent heel work, but it only works if you surround it with great wrestling. It’s pretty safe to say they have not surrounded it with even good wrestling tonight.

Match #7 – Lashley vs. Tyrus

What happened to the third defense? I guess it’s Angle later. Carter is back on commentary saying that Angle’s actions were unfathomable. He then requests that Josh and Pope give him some more adjectives to use. Of course they can’t as they’re vapid mannequins who make much, much more money than I do. How is Tyrus still this bad as a wrestler? How is EC3 better than both commentators? Did Tyrus join the NWO? What’s adjectives? What are words? I can fly! I can fly!!!!…

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIQn8pab8Vc[/youtube]

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.