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TNA Impact Wrestling results (10/7): World Title Series begins with Bobby Lashley vs. Mr. Anderson, Austin Aries vs. EC3

Last week, TNA delivered a fairly dreadful TV show and an okay PPV. Matt Hardy won the world title by beating Drew Galloway, but vacated it the next day due to an "injunction" by EC3. Today, TNA announced the TNA World Title Series - a tournament to determine a new champion. A BFG recap video starts the show. The story of this match is that Drew did all the work, but thanks to his brother's cheapshot, Matt got the win. Josh and Pope are in front of a green screen.

We see EC3 push Big John and then him announcing the injunction, and then Matt vacating the title. Matt's living room at least has better lighting than Impact. Matt, the babyface, complains a lot and says that he proved EC3 is scared of him because he beat him. Actually no, you beat Drew. Matt says that he'll win the title again, and we see Dixie and William Corgan announce the World Title Series. Corgan says that since he's come on board, they have clarified their titles. So what does the King of the Mountain Title accomplish again? Josh says "Thanks Dixie" as if she was speaking to him, which was weird. Josh describes it as a 32 man tournament spread across four groups, and Pope tells fans to go to Twitter and brag about it. Josh says that #MattForChamp has been a thing for nearly a year. A year, a couple of months - same thing. We then get a series of graphics explaining this whole thing. This is so confusing.  Group UK, Group Wildcard, Group Knockouts, Group Champions will go at it. Drew faces Bram, and we hear from Drew about this match and says that title shots come and go, but he'll get his destiny - the TNA World Title. This got the show 14 minutes closer to the grave.

Bram is mid-ring before Drew comes down. Josh says that Drew should be happy for this series, and if you missed BFG, you can get it via your PPV provider now. Why would anyone do that? They already showed you the highlights of the main event and made the main event's result meaningless. Bram and Drew butt heads and Josh agrees with Pope that lawyers belong in an office after just saying that EC3 did the right thing by getting lawyers involved.

We get some weird cut-in with Bram and Drew engaging in a full conversation while this action is going on. Bram hates him for getting to the U.S. before him. Drew eats a steel steps shot. Bram gets a chinlock, but Drew chops away. Drew bumps beautifully into the corner. Drew lands some nice punches and gets a slam. Bram goes to the floor and two fans hold Bram so he can chop Bram. Drew bounces his head off the steps a bunch and back suplexes him onto the apron. Sick kick hits for the win. A graphic shows that Drew has three points now and we see a graphical breakdown of the point totals. Grado faces Spud later. Gail says that TNA has always been a place that women can succeed, and she can now be World Heavyweight Champion. She faces Brooke next.

Recap of the Sick kick to Bram. Drew says that he won because he had a strategy, and he calls it a war. I like them doing post-match interviews - between that and the pre-match stuff, it should in theory make matches seem more important. Brooke comes out to face Gail. Gail doesn't have her title, stated by Pope because this isn't a Knockouts title match. Josh says Christmas is three months away, so if you're shopping for Josh, you've got some extra time to get him something. Gail cuts a heelish promo on Brooke about creating this division while Brooke says she's a three time champ. Brooke takes a scary bump off a monkey flip from Gail. A cradle exchange gets 2.

Brooke gets a pop-up lariat and she sends Gail to the floor. Brooke drop toeholds her down and gets a bizarre version of the Cattle Mutilation. Gail locks on a weird leglock and breaks it up. Brooke shoves Gail on her face during Eat Defeat. They exchange forearms, but Brooke gets the upper hand with a lariat. Super X factor hits and Brooke goes up top for the flying elbow. Brooke misses and Gail sweeps the leg and gets a ringpost figure four. Gail goes for Eat Defeat, but Brooke counters it, so Gail goes for a figure four and she gets small packaged for the loss! Brooke advances in a very good match. EC3 talks about the World Title Series and says it's the EC3 Screwjob Series. EC3 says that Aries is back just because the title is on the line, and the story is now that Aries voluntarily left and didn't leave due to a loss. Josh talks about the knockouts match and we see Spud coming to the ring while they talk over his intro. They do it for Grado too, and it's really weird to see. 

Grado hits a belly bump to gain an early advantage. We get match audio while they play Grado's promo on Spud, which is nearly impossible to understand because there's so much noise going on. Grado misses the corner cannonball while Josh plugs the company's next UK events. Spud gets his corner forearm series and a dropkick to the face. Grado hits possibly the worst Pedigree in recorded history for 2. Grado pulls the straps and gets an ankle lock, but Spud escapes. Spud hits a Stinger splash and a bulldog before hitting the world's worst worm for 2. Grado goes for a People's Elbow, but he blows up hitting the ropes too much. He hits it and gets 2. Grado goes for a Styles Clash, but Spud backdrops him. Spud does Taker's throat slit, hits a chokeslam and crosses the arms for 2. Spud goes for an AA, but Grado counters with an elbow and goes for sweet chin music. Spud grabs the foot and hits a stunner ala WM XIV and the Dudley Dog for the win. This was bizarre and made TNA look so second-rate. It would be bad enough for a joke title tournament like the Beer Drinking Title, but this is for the World Title.

Pope and Josh talk about Group Champions, resulting in more shilling of EC3 by Josh. Josh hypes up Tyrus winning the Bound For Gold match and we hear from him for a second. He appears to have aged a decade since BFG and says that if EC3 wins, things will get interesting. EC3 is out to face Aries. Josh says that EC3 is still unpinned, which is true. Aries comes out with Thea Trinidad and Josh mocks nerds who point out that Aries lost a loser leaves town match. He's back because he's the smartest wrestler in the world and Josh says that Thea was once known as Rosita in TNA.

Aries and EC3 go to a stalemate while Josh talks about how brilliant EC3 was to get lawyers involved. EC3 says in his "roundtable" that he is the greatest living wrestler alive, and Aries says that EC3 will just hide behind Tyrus. Aries ducks down and gets a slick armdrag. Aries does a handstand into a dropkick, but EC3 avoids a pendulum elbow. Aries gets a big running elbow and sends EC3 to the steps, where he gets a series of punches almost like he's in the corner with him. Tyrus looks at Thea, and Aries dives onto Tyrus and EC3 sends him to the floor for an ad break.

EC3 has Aries in a chinlock and sends him down to the mat for 2. Aries and EC3 are down to 5 minutes, and if they go to a draw, they'll have one point each. Aries smashes EC3's head on the buckles and hits a neckbreaker on the apron. A suicide dive hits EC3. Aries gets a missile dropkick, but EC3 gets the boot up before he can take a dropkick. Aries gets a discus elbow for 2. EC3 gets a TKO for 2. EC3 misses a Stinger splash and eats the corner dropkick. EC3 lands a pair of shoulder blocks and goes up for a superplex, but he gets his ears boxed and eats a 450 for 2.5. Boo/yay punch exchange leads to a Tyrus trip. EC3 gets a Rampage powerbomb for 2. Thea trips EC3 up and Aries gets a schoolboy into a Last Chancery. With under a minute to go, EC3 gets to the rope. Aries avoids the One Percenter, but eats an elbow and Aries goes for some PRIDE-style knees right as the time limit expires. This was much better than the BFG main event and a fantastic showcase for Aries. It's a draw, so each man gets 1 point. EC3 jumps Aries, but still eats a brainbuster - they really made Aries look strong here. Pope says that each man getting one point is like them getting zero. No, by definition, it isn't.

Anderson says that he's part of the toughest group since they're all former World Champions - I like that he's putting the title over a lot here. He cut a nice serious promo here and didn't come off like a goofball. Madison Rayne faces Awesome Kong next. Josh plugs every house show without taking a breath. Aries talks smack about EC3 - he beat legends, icons, and Hall of Famers - but he couldn't beat Austin Aries. Aries just put himself over their former world champion marvelously. Kong goes for a powerbomb right away, which Pope calls the Implant Buster. He says that Kong is both Awesome and Amazing. shocked he didn't say she has great karma too. 

Madison says she's a bit underutilized, but she will win. Kong says the seas boil with her rage and the tide is coming. Kong rams Rayne into the corner and clubs away. Kong goes a torture rack and turns it into a facebuster before missing a splash and Rayne gets an Oklahoma roll for 2. Rayne gets an enzuiguri and Kong goes down off a missile dropkick for 2. Kong gets a spinning backfist and an Implant Buster for the win. Lashley says he's used to going against the unknown and it makes this even special. Okay then. Matt Hardy has an exclusive interview next.

JB interviews Matt backstage and he says that his goal was to be the World Champion. His wife, his son, and 82 year old dad were in the ring with him. It was a happy fairy tale ending, but because Jeff hit EC3, EC3 handcuffed TNA and Matt. Matt says that the only thing he could do to keep wrestling in TNA was forfeit the title. Matt has thrown his name into the hat for this. So to recap, the World Title Series was created due to Matt vs. EC3, and now we'll get a scenario for another Matt vs. EC3 match. We get a recap of who is in the lead for each division.

Anderson gets a partial intro while Lashley gets a full entrance. We see a recap of Lashley's first World title win against EY - back when TNA had a well-lit building with some excitement in it back in the salad days of 2014. Lashley gets a rolling front facelock and we get an ad break when it's broken up. After a very long break, Lashley gets a double overhook suplex and hits a lariat. Lashley and Ken put each other over very briefly in their roundtable. We actually see the table for the first time, and it is indeed round. Lashley gets a delayed suplex, but misses a corner charge and Ken gets 2.

Pope says he fully expects Ken Anderson to cheat based on his past. I like Pope using logic in all this to tell a story that could be told, but doesn't really need to be told. Anderson stops short while Lashley goes for a leapfrog and he gets a dropkick before going back to the arm that Lashley smacked into the post. Ken gets a couple of kicks and a divorce court for 2. Pope puts over that Anderson has "ruthless aggression", a phrase that no one in wrestling outside of WWE has ever used. Lashley gets a lariat and hits another in the corner. Anderosn punches his way out of a torture rack, but eats a spinebuster. Anderson leaps over the spear and gets a couple of lariats. Anderson gets the Finlay Roll, a second, and gets a TKO for 2. Lashley charges in and eats a boot, but he gets the spear and the win.

Well, this show started off about as poorly as possible. However, after that point, it was a rock solid show in the ring outside of the Spud-Grado match. Every single match was worth watching and several of them were quite good. Match-wise, it was a better show than the PPV, and it wound up turning what seemed like an awful idea into a great one so far in terms of delivering great matches. Week one shows the concept can work, but the real key is the follow-up - if TNA can keep this up, then they can at least have the illusion of having momentum before shopping around for a new network deal in 2016.