Thursday, 03 July 2014 21:11
7.3 Impact Wrestling
In case you missed last week's review, the summary of the show has been moved to the bottom of the column.
The show was billed as Kurt Angle's Red, White and Blue Throwdown. Angle came out as the new Director of Wrestling Operations and brought down Earl Hebner, who was fired by MVP two weeks ago. Angle reinstated Hebner and called him the greatest referee ever. Tommy Young may disagree. So would Bret Hart. Angle announced Ethan Carter the Third would face Bully Ray in a tables match tonight. He also announced a tag team title three-way match with The Wolves defending against The Freak & Knux of the Menagerie and DJ Zema & Jessie Godderz. Angelina Love would face Gail Kim in a Knockouts title match. In the main event, Bobby Lashley vs. Eric Young for the TNA World Title. Samoa Joe came out and acted like a heel towards Angle, saying he was no different than MVP because he covets the world title just like everyone else. Joe asked him how long it would be before he puts himself in the world title match. Well, at least Joe studies wrestling history because I could spend the rest of this review writing down names of authority figures (legit and storyline) who also held the top belt. Not sure why Joe felt the need to bring it up now since the last time we saw him with Angle, they were all chummy. Angle shot down Joe's accusations because he's put up with the same crap that Joe has dealt with for the past eight years. Joe said when Angle came to TNA in 2006, Angle was brought in and groomed for the top spot, while he had to fight his way to the top. Angle said Joe's problem was one night, he would come in the ring and kick ass and the next night, he would come in half-assed. Joe brought up his indy days in Pennsylvania and even brought back his old "I am Pro Wrestling" catchphrase from Ring of Honor. Angle said that was exactly the type of Samoa Joe he wanted to see. Joe told him to be careful what he wished for. Good segment, but it felt forced since Joe doesn't have anything else going on except to feud with Angle, which has been done to death.
MVP found Bobby Roode backstage and challenged him to a fight, but of course Kenny King was lurking and jumped Roode from behind. MVP choked Roode with his crutch.
Roode was being checked out backstage when Angle walked up to him wondering what happened. Roode was a total babyface saying Angle doesn't owe him an apology and he wouldn't be back in the company if Angle hadn't been named to his new position. It led to Roode asking for a match against MVP.
The Wolves defeated DJ Zema and Jessie Godderz to retain the TNA Tag Team titles in a three way that also included Knux and the Freak in 4:11. The Freak had a new mask on this week which made him look more generic. At least he isn't dancing anymore. The guys on stilts were dressed as Uncle Sam. Early on, Zema took his monthly hip toss over the top rope bump to the floor onto Godderz and Eddie Edwards. The absence of Robbie E. is being sold as getting treatment for his fear of clowns. Naturally, Crazy Steve wasn't at ringside so that made plenty of sense. Davey Richards got the hot tag and set up the Pop-Up on Godderz for the pin. *1/2
Backstage, King and Roode were in a yelling match. At first, Angle ordered MVP to face Roode, but MVP said he had a knee injury. After King mouthed off again, Angle ordered King to face Roode in a street fight.
King and MVP came out for the match against Roode. King wanted MVP to join him in breaking Roode's neck, but Angle came out and ordered MVP to the back. If you have a choice of someone on your side in a fight, would you choose someone who has a torn ACL and is on crutches?
2. Bobby Roode defeated Kenny King in a street fight. Since they were in ECW country, King and Roode brawled around the arena for about five minutes. It was smart to bring back Roode in a brawl to start his new babyface run. King went so far as to do a tribute to one of the early ECW insane spots by getting thrown off a small balcony. That reminded me of the guy who was hung off the balcony with his feet tied together, which aired on the ECW TV Opening for years, yet I could never figure out who that was. They fought through the fans to a guard rail, where King got a running start but Roode backdropped him over the rail. Roode picked up a char, but King leveled him with a spin kick and the chair caught Roode in the face. King teased the Royal Flush on a chair, but Roode landed on his feet and gave King the Roode Bomb on the chair for the pin. A good brawl and a good job by King taking bumps all over the place. ***
EC3 said he couldn't figure out why Ray still wants to face him in tables match when he's already beaten Ray in a Texas Death match. He now proclaims himself the Hardcore American Icon.
Roode did a promo putting over Angle, despite their history against each other, and said MVP would be next on his hit list. Then he would go after Lashley because he was destined to be the TNA World Champion.
Austin Aries found Angle backstage. Aries said he's the Common Denominator of Greatness and asked for an X Division rematch with Sanada since MVP never gave him a rematch. Angle suspected that Aries was trying to take advantage of Plan C again, where the X Division champion cashes in the belt for a shot at the World title, but granted Aries the rematch for next week. Angle also teased a match with Aries for down the line.
Brittany was in the ring and called down Madison Rayne. Mike Tenay said we've seen some awkward moments with Brittany in recent weeks. I'll say. Not to mention the time she hit on Madison. Rayne thought the only way she could end the situation with Brittany was by fighting her. Brittany said there was no reason to fight and apologized to Madison. Brittany said she was naive when she entered TNA who thought she could do anything and everything, but she wouldn't listen to Madison's warnings. Brittany said she wanted to be just like Madison when she first arrived, and said she was sorry. She said she's learned a lesson from all of this. Madsion stopped her and said that Brittany was right, the Knockouts locker room could be a tough place to navigate. She told Brittany that if she was genuinely sorry, then she would be there for her from now on. They hugged and raised each other's arms. Then Brittany grabbed the mic and said the real lesson she learned was never meet your heroes. Brittany then turned on Rayne and clotheslined her to a noticeable babyface pop, and said heroes only disappoint. Brittany threw Rayne into the post and gave her a reverse DDT on the floor. Brittany showed much more promise as a heel with her body language.
Ray walked down the stairs of the building repeating "over my dead body" to EC3. He swore that Dixie Carter would go through a table, but tonight EC3 would go through one first.
MVP did an interview saying Lashley would be the most dominant champion in TNA history. He said he couldn't figure out why Angle would feet a gazelle like Young to a lion like Lashley. MVP, Roode and Ray have stood out with their promos lately.
3. Ethan Carter the Third defeated Bully Ray in a tables match im 6:58. Another good brawl where Ray sent EC3 around the ring and threw him into the ring steps. After Ray gave EC3 the Flip, Flop and Fly, he pulled out a table. EC3 gave Ray a clothesline and clotheslined him with Ray's chain. EC3 went to give Ray punches in the corner, but Ray was about to power bomb him through the table until Rockstar Spud ran in and gave him a low blow. Spud wore a matching red blazer and red pants with white polka dots. I don't have a joke there, I just always wanted to type that. Then Rhino's old music hit and Rhino immediately ran down to make the save. He teased going after EC3 and giving Spud the gore, but instead gored Ray for another turn. EC3 made gestures like Dixie had bought Rhino, and choke slammed Ray through the table. Rhino left the company in 2011, but since they were in ECW territory, he got a big pop. ***1/4
In the back, Roode gave Young a pep talk for his rematch with Lashley. Young was concerned because he was 0-3 against him. Roode said that was a fact, but asked Young for facts about Young. EY said he would the naysayers wrong again. Roode said he would be in Young's corner tonight.
Rhino did an interview saying he didn't owe anyone an explanation for turning on Ray because sometimes he does things just because he wants to. Well, that explains it.
Samuel Shaw was backstage with Gunner, who encouraged Shaw to start apologizing to people. Just then, Mr. Anderson walked around the corner and couldn't believe his eyes. He called Shaw a creepy bastard. Gunner reminded Anderson of one of his combat friends who suffered from PTSD and had a leg blown off. Anderson said if Shwa has changed he would have no problem talking to a friend of his. They knocked on Christy Hemme's door, who was upset. Shaw apologized at length to Hemme, saying he's now a changed man and he did some terrible things to her. Gunner looked convinced that Shaw was now normal, but Anderson and Hemme weren't as convinced. Earlier in the day, Shaw did storyline apologizes on Twitter to Dewey Barnes, Anderson and various backstage personnel he assaulted during his push. This program is going to kill Gunner's momentum so fast, he'll change his ring name to Pope D'Angelo Dinero. I wish they would cut bait on the Shaw character, but I know this company well enough to understand that's not happening.
Referee Brian Stiffler was in the Beautiful People's locker room. Stiffler helped Love win over Kim at Slammiversary, which got heat with Earl Hebner. Then Stiffler said he asked Hebner if he could officiate Love's match tonight with Kim and he didn't have a problem with it. Well, then Hebner couldn't have really been all that mad in the first place, could he? Love and Sky put the moves on Stiffler to make sure he would get her to win.
Angle came to Stiffler and told him he wasn't going to referee the Knockouts title match tonight and Brian Hebner would replace him.
The Menagerie met backstage with Knux saying they weren't bringing in enough money to keep the circus back home viable financially. What the hell kind of financial shape does he think TNA is in when he's wrestling in front of 200 people at a house show?
4. Gail Kim defeated Angelina Love to win the TNA Knockouts title in 6:02. It's Kim's fourth time with the Knockouts title. Velvet Sky interfered so much, so was invited to join the Bullet Club. Within the first minute Sky pushed Kim into the turnpost while Hebner's back was turned. After Love dropkicked Kim out of the ring, Love clotheslined her on the floor. What was the point of having Hebner referee the match if he was going to miss so much interference? Then Sky gave Kim a neck snap off the ropes, which led to Hebner ordering her away from ringside. Kim made a comeback with an inside cradle and a missile dropkick for near falls. Kim went to the top rope again, but Love gave her the Botox Injection and Kim fell to the floor. Hebner was set to count Kim out, but Love said she wanted to pin her. But Kim kicked out. Love went for another Botox Injection, but Kim blocked it and hit Eat Defeat for the title switch. Last few minutes were strong. **1/4
Angle announced that next week's show would have every title on the line except the TNA World Title. There would be a 20-man battle royal to determine the new number one contender to the TNA World Title.
5. Bobby Lashley defeated Eric Young to retain the TNA World Title. Lashley is now being called "The Destroyer." MVP and Roode interfered in the opening seconds, and for the second consecutive match a Hebner threw both men out. Young got knocked off the second rope and started selling his left knee. Lashley worked the leg until Young hit a dropkick off the middle rope. They started exchanging punches while standing on the second rope until Young scored a knockdown, then followed with the Randy Savage elbow for a two count. Young tried a piledriver, but his knee gave way and Lashley hit a powerslam. Lashley followed with the spear, which he used to win the title two weeks ago, to get the pin. Good basic match. **1/2
The Big News: A solid set of tapings in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania concluded with another good show, better than last week. Gail Kim recaptured the Knockouts title by beating Angelina Love. Rhino made his return after 3 years away, turning on Bully Ray and helping Ethan Carter the Third win a tables match against the master of the tables match. Brittany turned heel against Madison Rayne in a segment that actually wasn't awful. Samuel Shaw made his first appearance since leaving the sanitarium...and that segment was awful.
SUMMARY: I liked the show. I can see why some may have felt there was too much material with Rhino returning, Brittany turning, and two matches where there were people ordered to the back for interference. But there wasn't a bad match on the show, and the only thing that was really bad was the Shaw segment.