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 6-24-2015 DESTINATION AMERICA
I’ve been hard on TNA lately. There’s been a few too many pointless sketches, burials of the X-Division and attempted murders for my liking. Call me old fashioned but in my day the attempted murders happened in the right and not at some “heaven-like” train station. However when I heard Impact was live this week, I was filled with a glimmer of hope that I haven’t had since EC3 beat up Rockstar Spud in one of the best segments on the year. Could they turn it around this week? Were they done with all the nonsense? Will they play to the obvious strengths of their roster? Will I ever stop asking questions and get on with the report? Yes. Yes I will. I’m sorry.
Ethan Carter struts into our frame to start the show. All of the poise as a young Ric Flair and none of the shame of an any-aged Brutus Beefcake. He fought Lashley last week and what did he do? He did what he always does: wins! Now he’s here tonight to test Kurt Angle with a mystery opponent. He wishes Angle luck stating that everyone is counting on him. It’s just condescending enough to probably earn him a beating later in the show. He then wrenches the mic out of Jeremy Borash’s hand and struts off frame. I like the energy of the show already. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that they started with one of my favorite guys.
Angle enters the arena to his terrible music. The signature off the top sounds like the emergency bell from my hometown in Quebec. It only rang once for a very small earthquake instead of being used when we had an ice storm that shut down the whole town for seven weeks. How’s that for a Canadian stereotype? Look I just hate Angle’s music, please stop busting my balls about having to live in a high school for three weeks. THERE WAS NO WOOD FOR FIRES!!! Josh declares Pope the most entertaining commentator in the business after a couple of weeks, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as wrestling has never been known for its retrained use of hyperbole.
Kurt Angle is defending his title against EC3 next week on a taped Impact. Wait. Isn’t that why they took the match off the PPV? To ensure that nothing would be spoiled? I guess it doesn’t matter. I mean why would you want to make money with the title match you’ve been promoting basically since the start of the year? Kurt says that next week he’s going to be able to, ” SHUT CARTER’S ASS UP FOR GOOD!” He then demands EC3 come before him and declare who this “mystery opponent,” is. Carter joins us still carrying all the presence of a young John F Kennedy. He put over Angle as the best…for now. Angle counters with “SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH!” Kurt declares that Carter will tap out which provokes a “Tap Taparoo!,” from our famous one-per center. Tyrus looks completely constipated but that doesn’t deter Carter as he quickly lists all the “Legends” he’s beaten before promising to “Raise your hero from the ashes, and then sacrifice him on my alter of perfection.” I’d say that’s a tad more eloquent than Angle’s barrage of “Shut Ups.” Man why am I being so hard on Angle here, he’s legitimately one of my favorite wrestlers of all time.
Angle retorts by claiming that all he hears out of EC3 is ” I, I, I.” It’s strange that he would complain about this being that he’s the man who brought the three Is into our collective consciousness. Angle’s going to make him tap and end his streak and by the way it’s real, it’s damn real. Could he not have just chosen a completely different catchphrase when he came to TNA? Carter is mad now and Tyrus casually removes his coat. It appears they’re going to fight but instead Carter introduces Angle to his mystery opponent: MATT HARDY!!!! (Where’s the sarcastic caps font on Word?) Hardy is out and he’s actually bending his knees, which makes me happy for the man. Hardy’s a fine choice I guess but if I were in EC3 shoes I’d make Angle fight a bulldozer. That would probably weaken him a little. Good opening segment. I rag on Angle a bit, but his credibility more than makes up for his penchant for telling people to shut up.
Match #1 – Low Ki Vs. Grado Vs. Tigre Uno – X-Division Title Triple Threat
So this is for the vacant title. Low Ki is still wearing the theatre mask on his entrance. I’m not going to make some obscure theatre joke here as I’ve probably alienated enough people with my Ice Storm 1998 story. The BDC has really fallen off the radar here. They were the center piece of the promotion in January and February (I hate when people over pronounce FeBRUary. Also WedNESday.) and now they’re the biggest afterthought since McDonald’s pizza. Tigre Uno is out next and his video is just a sad tiger. I’m a big fan of sad animals so I’m kind of hoping that Uno wins here.
Grado is our final participant and as much as I LOVE his shtick he just isn’t the same without Madonna singing him to the ring. Could they not just get Mickie James to record “Like THE prayer?” Silly me: she died four weeks ago. The fans are overwhelmingly behind Low-Ki and I can’t say I blame them. He makes everything look good, including Grado’s goofy punches. I mean goofy in a good sense, but Ki makes them look like bombs. Low Ki takes a sick rana from Tigre which drives his head into the ground. Tigre takes this time to hit a smooth flipping dropkick on Grado before foolishly attempting to slam him. Grado then dances his way into a plancha on Tigre before getting his head driven into the mat by a Warrior’s Way from Low Ki. He’s pined and eliminated. Eliminated? Did I miss something here or did they just not announce that. Why am I more inclined to believe they just didn’t bother.
Now regardless about how I feel about triple threat eliminations (I love them, I just want to know they’re happening.) I really dig the idea of a Low Ki/Tigre Uno match. They work really well together for a couple of minutes before Tigre hits a twisting moonsault for the win and the title. I could have watched that match for much, much longer. Such a shame that Low Ki is gone now. This was definitely a HUGE step up from the X-Division matches we’ve been getting lately. Not the greatest match in the world or anything, but at least they let two guys who can go just…go. It’s the first time they claim the X-Division to be different and it actually is.
An no it wasn’t lost on me that they constantly referenced the Mysterios when lauding Tigre Uno’s talent. Quite the hard sell there TNA.
JB in the back is with Bram. Bram is making me dizzy by walking Borash in a circle. He hates everyone! Whelp! You can never accuse him of being a racist then. He awaits his challenger tonight. Bram leaves and an all too familiar gloved hand enters the frame and grabs JB. Borash is downright giddy exclaiming, “It’s time???” I hope it’s the Clockmaster. That’d be a great character for TNA.
Coming out of break with Taryn Terrell in the Doll house will always get my attention. Jesus. She wants her problems handled so she chastises Marty and Jade. If you ever read my stuff before you know I would murder a small village to get with Taryn, but this segment feels a little forced. I wish wrestling companies would hire acting coaches sometimes. It’s no fault of the performers, but if you want athletes to say all those lines you may want to get them some help. Taryn declares that playtime is over for everyone this Sunday at Slammiversary. See? Now that last line was great.
Match #2 – Angelina Love Vs. Velvet Sky
I’ve been really critical of this story but I’m more than willing to give these two the benefit of the doubt in the ring. I’m not sure what it was that turned me off… oh there it is, it’s the screeching. Man. Velvet hits the ring as the announcers mock their own ridiculous storyline where Velvet was fired because Robbie E tricked her into claiming responsibility for a briefcase. Wait, I’m still watching wrestling right?
Love carries this one and looks pretty great in doing so. Her offence is crisp and stiff especially when she bounces Velvet’s “Destination America” hair off the mat. Some of Love’s stiffness must have rubbed off on Velvet as she proceeds to lay some big kicks into love before giving her a weak stunner for the win. Really not a bad match. I’ll say this unabashedly: I’d like to see more Angelina Love in the ring. Just maybe no more promos. Actually thinking about it, maybe that shrill voice works seeing as she’s the heel. I don’t know I’m so conflicted. I just want things to be simple. I just want to go to the store and pick out a chocolate bar without having to worry if the corporation is stealing all the water out of California. Anyways…Just put Angelina on TV some more.
Aries and Roode are hanging out in the back like two greasers. Aries is surprised that all the objects in “full metal mayhem” were not in his pro wrestling syllabus. Roode says it is a great word and a class that I’d probably go back to college for. The Wolves have made a mistake making this a no holds barred match because they’re going to get dirty. The dirtier the better. Solid promo from these two.
MVP on the cell phone!!!! I LOVE when they set something up like that. Hey we need something for MVP to be doing in the back. “Why don’t we just interview him?” SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU SWINE FUCK. WHAT IS THIS THE 80s. PEOPLE DON’T JUST TALK TO AN INTERVIEWER ANY MORE. “But what about earlier…” I WILL EAT YOUR CHILDREN AND POOP DRAGONS! Also the BDC is stronger than ever despite losing Joe, Low Ki and Homicide and never being on TV.
Match # 3 The Dirty Heels Vs. The Wolves – Full Metal Mayhem
This is match four of the best of five series for the abeyanced tag titles. Wolves lead two to one. The titles aren’t at ringside so I guess they’re not being handed out tonight. Why put the titles out there for the first two matches and then take them away for all the potential championship matches. What if the Wolves win??? Will we get another situation where the Stanley Cup is lost in Chicago and CM Punk is furious that Hulk Hogan made an offhand joke about supporting the Lightning?
The Wolves are a pleasure to watch. Their double team moves are fun and both guys have a tremendous intensity. Aries’ heel work is pretty solid here too. The fans desperately want tables, so Aries points at the table to pop them before shoving the table to the ground. Great stuff. Also: why do people want tables so badly? I want baseball bats. That’s where the real violence is. There’s a lot of fun spots in the this one, including the Heels sitting in chairs and delivering stereo chin locks to the Wolves. Richards turns the tide with a sweet arm drag into the ladder. The Wolves proceed to nail the Heels with three consecutive suicide dives to the outside. There’s not a moment wasted as the three just flowed together. I will say it was greatly aided by the camera staying on the Heels on the outside the whole time. You got to see the Wolves jump into frame and clobber them. I know the norm is to change camera shots every three seconds (no joke) or to shake the frame to make stuff more violent, but sometimes the violence can just speak for itself. It’s refreshing.
Richards nails a bent over Roode (that sounds awful) with a chair and leaves the chair on his back for Edwards to have sex on his back with. Great spot. Again the Wolves are always doing something different. Richards proceeds to tie a chain to his foot but he misses his kick and eats a stiff spinning forearm from Aries, who rolls him tightly into the Last Chancery. Edwards though is right there to crush Aries’ ribs with a trash can as he laid prone in a bridge. The heels then hit a dropkick/powerbomb through a table on Edwards for a close two. The Wolves fight back a bit but fall prey to a good old inside forearm to the groin to tie the series at two matches a piece. I’m shocked…SHOCKED this best of five series is going the distance. That’s not a problem though as I can watch these guys go every week all year. Fun match.
Matt Hardy promo. He had a son yesterday. Good for him. He doesn’t like EC3 but he wants to use this chance to get another shot at the TNA title. Good honest promo from Matt here. EC3 interrupts though and informs Hardy that “spoiler alert” next week he’s going to be champion. That was not an actual spoiler alert from me, that’s what he said. That being said I’m sure you could check out the spoilers for next week’s show as it’s fucking taped instead of being on the PPV. Carter then suggests that Hardy kiss his ring. What a mighty king that he will make. Again not a spoiler.
We get a long shot on Josh and Pope and they start to feign surprise in the fakest of ways. Jeff and Karen Jarrett are here. They act as though Jesus Christ just walked into the building. Josh then declares that Impact just “broke the internet.” Ugh. Terrible. Why say that nonsense? Why act like you have billions of fans when there’s barely a thousand people in the arena to see the show. Sometimes a little humility can go a long way. It’s a good/great surprise. Don’t cheapen it with your false hyperbole.
Jarrett then proceeds to win me over by cutting a very heartfelt promo about receiving a call to come back for the King of The Mountain match on the PPV Sunday. He stresses that he founded the company with his dad but he had to consider the fact that his whole life is Global Force Wrestling (which he keeps mentioning. Good for them.) and what the boys are going to think. Then he thinks about what his wife will think. He can’t finish though, he’s overcome. In a business that’s sometimes over contrived, this promo is refreshing.
Karen on the mic now. She doesn’t understand why he wouldn’t come back but after talking to Sonjay Dutt (of all people) she realized that Jeff wasn’t able to leave on his own terms. There’s an awful lot of emotion being thrown out there for someone who’s just coming back to wrestle one match. Karen wants him to make things right on Sunday and she’s going to be right there by his side.
Jarrett closes with advice that Toby Keith gave him: “You may not be as good as you once were. But ONCE you’re as good as you EVER were.” This was great. Both Jeff and Karen were just out there and honest. The promo felt important because it clearly WAS important to them. There’s been a lot of mocking of the fact that the big announcement was for Jeff to come back for a match, and that’s fine, but in execution this segment was quite excellent.
Match #4 – Bram Vs. ????
The “Human Hate Machine,” calmly awaits his opponent and it’s… it’s… aw the video screen showed me it was Vader before actually seeing the man. Vader then barks at a little girl at ringside, presumably leading to her peeing her pants, presumably leading to her dad needing to buy her something from the TNA gift shop, presumably leading to therapy as said little girl spent the rest of the night in a pair of Awesome Kong streetwalker pants.
Bram is smiling though. He knows he’s got this. His father in law beat this guy in 1993, he can surely handle him 22 years later. Holy shit I’m old. Vader looks pretty good here, I wish someone would bring him in to show some of the guys how to throw punches. The old man gets waaaay too much offense here before Bram grabs a turnbuckle and blasts Vader for the DQ. The beating continues until MATT MORGAN returns to run Bram off. That should be a fun match at the PPV. I like Bram a lot, and only a small percentage of that is because that despite the beard and all the hate he got Charlotte to marry him. It was great to see Vader, but did he need to be so strong out there? I think they could have accomplished everything they wanted here by having Bram crush Vader and continue to beat him after the match.
Match #5 – Eric Young Vs. Chris Melendez
This is the one match too many. I’m sure I’d be way more receptive to the idea of this thing had it happened in the first half hour of the show. Eric Young pummels the war hero and Josh and Pope liken fighting the war on terror to being in the ring with Eric Young. Yep. Same thing guys. Melendez sells well though, probably because he’s seen actual god damn combat. Young goes for a pin and hooks Melendez’ mechanical leg and it just looks weird. This may be my favorite Eric Young match ever. I’ve always had trouble with his selling so it works really well that he’s just killing this vet. Melendez comes back with some stiff forearms but Young shakes it off and piledrives the shit out of him for the pin. Again, another great sell on the piledriver. He just kind of bounced up and went limp. I’ll say this I’m fine with Melendez sticking around as long as they promise to bring back Sgt Craig Pittman for some sort of boot camp match. Imagine the announcers arguing over which Gulf War was better. It won’t upset anyone at all.
Back from break and the BDC has decided to be relevant again as they fight with the equally irrelevant Rising. This is all a set up for HERNANDEZ to come back. He nails Drew Galloway with a border toss and MVP announces that Hernandez has joined the BDC. Where’s Homicide? Did he just disappear without a trace? Did he go somewhere with James Storm? I’m glad Hernandez is back, I always dug him. He looks a bit smaller now, but I’m interested to see what they do with him. Please may it not be, hang out with the BDC and do Community theatre with their masks. Perhaps a re-Imagining of the Crucible?
They announce the matchups for next week. EC3 vs. Angle for the title, Wolves/Heels match five and a knockout title match. Why are none of these matches on the pay per view? Should I just stop asking these dumb questions? That’s not rhetorical, my sanity would be greatly helped if someone could give me an honest answer.
Match #6 – Kurt Angle Vs. Matt Hardy
Eight minutes left. That’s probably best for all involved. Angle decides to hold the belt upside down at the top of the ramp. We’re LIVE pal. Pope has the balls to call this a main even anywhere in the country. Of course, like every match the Olympic champion is in, it immediately disintegrates into a slugfest. Angle hits the three Germans out of nowhere. Speaking of out of nowhere Josh flippantly announces that Austin Aries will fight Davey Richards at the PPV. Yep, just throw that out as though it’s nothing. It will be the best match on the show but give it no importance at all.
Hardy counters an Angle Slam into a Side Effect, but Angle pops back up, hits the Angle Slam for two then rolls Hardy into the anklelock. He doesn’t grapevine the leg so I guess the design of the match isn’t such that it should end now. Hardy comes back with a sleeper slam, but misses a moonsault. Perhaps they’re both concussed as they repeat the exact same Angle Slam/Side Effect sequence that just happened two minutes ago. Of all the things to be caught in a time loop doing. I’m starting to think that Phil Conners had it easy.
Hardy hits a third Side Effect, then a fourth which Matthews calls five. Hardy then hits him with a Twist of Fate for two. Angle shoves Hardy down and puts him in the anklelock. This time there’s a grapevine so I guess it’s time for the match to end. Which it does. Hardy taps.
Here’s EC3 for the beat down on Angle, but Hardy makes the save only to get beat up by Brodus Clay. Fortunately he’s spared the mid-ring raping given to him by Mabel all those years ago. This leaves EC3 and Angle alone and Carter is quickly put in an anklelock and taps out despite his violent protestations that he never would. With that we’re out.
Best Match: The Wolves Vs. The Dirty Heels
Worst Match: Bram Vs. Vader
Best Promo/Skit: The Jarretts cry on TV.
Worst Promo/Skit: MVP on the god damn phone.
MVP: The Wolves
What Worked Really Well
– The Jarretts’ promo was a breath of fresh air. I loved how genuine it was.
– The show moved quickly and didn’t feel long for the first time in many weeks.
– The Wolves/Heels stuff was great as usual.
– It was nice to see the X-Division as shell of its former self, instead of it just being nothing.
What Sort Of Works
– While none of the matches were bad, none were truly great save the tag match. This is not their fault but the show on right before them had two STELLAR matches. Again not their fault but makes them look weaker by consequence.
– Josh and Pope were listenable for the most part. Josh just tries too hard.
What Didn’t Work
– The planning for the PPV is bush league. Why have all the important stuff happen on a taped show next week instead of on a PPV people would pay for. EC3 vs. Angle is a pretty hot angle, the Wolves and Heels will deliver a great final match. These things need to be on PPV instead of on a show that will undoubtedly be spoiled. I just don’t get it.
– Bram is having sex with Charlotte, he shouldn’t be jobbing to old man Vader.
– I feel my last words about Kurt Angle are needed again: Kurt Angle needs to wrestle to the skill set he has now rather than the skill set he used to have. There’s such a great story here about a veteran guy who’s always been the best at wrestling having to go back to his roots to win matches and be the champion. I can buy wily Kurt Angle outwrestling guys, I have much more trouble watching old Kurt Angle stumbling though his trademark spots. He just can’t hit them with the same intensity any more so why bother? Angle shouldn’t be in slugfests or missing moonsaults, he should be completely mat based. Not only would it look better but it’d be pretty unique and give Impact some of the legitimacy they’re constantly striving for.
So Why Should I Watch This Instead Of Raw?
This is the best Impact in a while. The matches were decent and the stupid shit was kept to a minimum. For the most part they played to everyone’s strengths and nothing overstayed it’s welcome. A solid step in the right direction for the company, now if only they could be a little more organized with their event planning.
Thanks for reading, see ya next week!