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TNA impact TV report - Angle vs. Lashley title rematch

4.3 Impact Wrestling
by Jeff Hamlin (Twitter@hamlin37)

Eric Young, now dressed in battle fatigue and looking very similar to Travis Bickle's character in "Taxi Driver," came out and said tonight would be the final chapter of Bobby Roode's career. Then Josh Matthews compared Roode-Young to Mayweather-Pacquiao. That might be the biggest stretch in the history of wrestling, and this is an industry built on exaggerations and lies. Roode came out and said Young would go down, then Young challenged him to a submission match. Roode accepted.

1. Eric Young defeated Bobby Roode in a submission match in 16:53. Not much heat from the fans, most of whom appeared to be tourists who watched this match with the intensity of a Price is Right taping. And this was the blowoff match. Roode clamped on a crossface on the ramp, but referee Brian Hebner told Roode the submission had to take place in the ring. Young concentrated on Roode's left knee with various leglocks, then gave him a chop block. After Young missed a dropkick where he didn't jump until Roode had already held the ropes, Roode clamped on a crossface, then tried a Boston Crab, both resulting in rope breaks. Young sent Roode out of the ring and rammed his left kneecap on the ring steps. Young attempted an Irish Whip, but Roode sold his knee so well he collapsed. So Young put Roode in the Figure Four Leglock, which Roode reversed. Young went for another Figure Four, but Roode kicked Young into Hebner. Roode immediately put Young into a crossface and Young tapped, but Hebner wasn't looking. Roode went to tell Hebner what happened, but Young gave Roode a leg lariat. Then Young did the old Greg Valentine gimmick where he adjusted a shinpad that would add more pressure to the Figure Four, and put the Figure Four on Roode, who mouthed "Fuck you" to Young very audibly. It was bleeped out. Roode then tapped. The way Matthews phrased the finish of Roode being screwed by the system, it seems he's going back heel. Very good match.

Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards came out. Edwards was on crutches. They showed Edwards suffering a broken heel at a One Night Only taping. Jeremy Borash did an in-ring interview. Edwards said he and Davey like to push the limit, and this time it caught up to them. Edwards, who appeared to be near tears, admitted he would be out for a long time and they would have to forfeit the tag team championships. Richards said there was no thought about a replacement partner because they endured the dojos in England and dirty mats in Mexico without breaking up. It was done in a way that made the tag team belts important. Richards cut a promo on whoever the next tag team champions will be, saying they will hunt down the next champions and tear them to shreds. In the past, this segment would have received 1 minute before the next pull-apart brawl or tag team breaking up. This was given almost ten minutes and it was a big deal with two good interviews, particularly by Richards. 

Bobby Lashley did an interview with the returning Christy Hemme about his rematch Kurt Angle tonight. Makes me wonder why they even turned Lashley face when they had MVP for him as a mouthpiece. His promos just don't add to his character at all.

They continue to try to capitalize off Sting's Wrestlemania appearance by marketing a Best of Sting DVD. I knew that Sting was no more in TNA, and DVDs may soon follow suit. There were ads all over the place for this on the show.

Angelina Love told Gail Kim that she looks the way she does because she has been blessed and is a great wrestler, a 6-time Knockouts champion, and that Kim isn't. Love said she was free from the constraints that held her back for the past year. Wasn't it Love that wanted to reform the Beautiful People in the first place?

2. Gail Kim defeated Angelina Love in 6:49. Ever wonder if Stephanie McMahon can tweet about equal opportunity for women, then watch Kim wrestle in matches like this one and wonder why she was never able to look nearly as good in a WWE ring than she does now? Kim holds a patent in carrying Love to good matches. Love stayed on offense the entire match, including sending Kim to the ring steps. Kim made her comeback with a side Russian leg sweep into the ring apron and followed with several stiff kicks to the body. Matthews and Taz talked about everything under the sun except the match. I mean, this was a 1995 Steve McMichael-caliber performance on commentary. Kim appeared to try a springboard huracanrana but landed badly on the back of her head. It appeared Love was supposed to catch and power bomb her, but she didn't and Kim took her own bump. She was clearly shaken up. Love hit a Botox Injection for a two count, then tried for another. Kim moved and hit Eat Defeat for the pin.

Members of the cast of Destination America show "Ghost Asylum" did a skit with James Storm, Khoya and Abyss. Storm explained to the cast that a group of friends that were in these woods when a gun went off, wounding one of the friends to death in a barn. Storm said every time he goes in that barn, he feels the spirit of that friend. He asked the cast to go inside the barn to see if the spirit of the friend is still inside. Storm pulled Khoya and Abyss aside and told them his grandfather told him that no one should ever go inside that barn. The Ghost Asylum guys acted like there was something to Storm's claims. This will all be concluded next week. At least it was an idea that fits with Storm's new heel character that also carries over into a new Destination America show.

3. Magnus defeated Bram in a Falls Count Anywhere match in 18:48. Nowadays, the main complaint about wrestling is grudge matches aren't staged to look like real fights. That wasn't a problem here. Not that this was Steve Regal vs. Dave Finley in 1996 or anything like that, but they had a match that stuck to basics without a over reliance on weapons. Both me tried to give each other pile drivers on the ramp early, but each countered out. Bram gave Magnus a low blow. Magnus backdropped Bram on the ramp. After Magnus gave Bram a Tornado DDT, Mickie James ran down to ringside. Magnus didn't want her there. While Magnus talked with James, Bram hit Magnus from behind with a chair, then wrapped the chair around Magnus' head and rammed it into the post twice. Bram put Magnus over the ring steps and teased giving Magnus a chair shot, but instead went after James. At this point, Storm ran in. Storm told him not to hit a woman and pulled James to safety and led her away from ringside. The match continued with Magnus getting a near fall after a series of lariats. Bram hit Magnus over the head with a chair and gave him the Brighter Side of Suffering DDT on the chair, but Magnus again kicked out. James was back at ringside at this point. Magnus fought back with punches and two power bombs and finished him with a uranage. Another blowoff match and it looks like Magnus will be in a program with Storm next.

Angle did an interview where he claimed he trained for his first match with Lashley harder than any match in his life, including the Olympics. It was wild claims ahoy tonight.

Magnus and James walked to the back. Magnus walked up to Storm and wanted to know why he saved James. Storm looked at James with a smirk and said he was just looking out for an old friend, teasing the two had a past fling.

When it comes to making a wrestling match feel like an actual sporting event, this program has been the best thing TNA has had since the Angle-Samoa Joe program. Angle still has serious game and Lashley was very good in telling a simple story: using his power to curtail Angle's explosiveness. Plus, Matthews and Taz were night and day in commentary compared to just an hour ago. In particular, Taz was excellent in explaining the correct grip used by Lashley to apply more pressure on bearhugs and waist locks. After Angle backdropped Lashley over the top rope, Angle tried his usual Rolling German Suplexes, only to have Lashley cross up the spot with a spinebuster. Lashley hit a spinning powerslam for a two count, then set up for the Spear, but Angle moved and hit a belly-to-belly suplex, followed by three Rolling German Suplexes. Angle caught the Olympic Slam for a two count. Angle clamped on the ankle lock, which is how Lashley tapped out two weeks ago. Angle kept puling Lashley back to the center of the ring, but Lashley rolled through and Angle went out of the ring. Lashley sent Angle into the steps at ringside several times, then gave Angle a Hot Shot on the barricade. Lashley had a smile on his face thinking he had the match won, the delivered a hanging vertical suplex. He again set up for the spear, and hit it, but Angle kicked out of the finisher. Angle bled from the back of his head. Lashley went to the top rope, but Angle caught him and gave him an Olympic Slam off the top rope, but Lashley kicked out. Then Angle tried a moonsault but missed. Lashley clamped on the ankle lock on Angle, who teased tapping, but Angle sent Lashley into the turnbuckle. Angle immediately rolled up Lashley for a schoolboy cradle and Brian Hebner counted three. But it was clear that Lashley had his outside shoulder up at one. The two shook hands afterwards, but replays showed Lashley had his shoulder off the mat. So it's a tease for another rematch, which would be welcomed. Another excellent match and an excellent show.

The Big News: Kurt Angle defeated Bobby Lashley in a disputed finish to retain the TNA World Heavyweight title in another stellar match. It was a night of feud blowoffs as Eric Young surprisingly defeated Bobby Roode in a submission match. And Magnus pinned Bram in a Falls Count Anywhere match, also setting up a program with James Storm in the process.

SUMMARY: An interesting show not just because it was comprised of four lengthy matches (by modern standards). There was a lack of high spots, which was refreshing. It felt like four matches designed as fights as opposed to being choreographed. Another solid show from a company that's been surprisingly consistent through the course of the 2015 so far.

And with that, I've written enough about Impact. I've agreed to become the new Raw writer starting this Monday, which means I'll be ending my run as Impact reporter after eight years. If there's anything I'd like to say to anyone, in or out of TNA, is that I've never written to provoke or get myself over. I've simply tried to judge the shows from one wrestling fan's perspective. The wrestling landscape is better with TNA in it, particularly after shows like this one. I hope it stays that way. I thank you all and on to Mondays.