By Jeremy Peeples, WrestlingObserver.com
Last week, TNA presented a largely dreadful program under the guise of it being due to EC3. We got a couple of bad handicap matches, a fairly decent street fight between Robbie E and Jessie, and EC3 being a joke as champion facing jobbers and then getting tapped out by Kurt, but he retains due to a DQ because he punched the ref. Dixie Carter returned and said that Ethan would have to defend the title without her help, and that it was time for a new authority figure. There may also need to be a new faction out to get the TNA Title and all of the power that comes with it, but the jury's out on that one.
The show begins with a recap of EC3 defending his title three times, and then Dixie's return. Josh talks about all the speculation about the new leader of TNA and Dixie is mid-ring. She says that the last time she was in the ring, she went through a table and had the fans cheering it. The building looks absolutely packed - but that's because of the roster being outside the ring. She says she let the fans down, the roster down, and that she's sorry to the roster and to the fans. Breaking her back gave her newfound respect for the industry. She says the future is bright for TNA, and while that's easy to doubt, and when she makes promises, it's easy to fear that she'll break them. She'll do everything she can to never let anyone in TNA down again, and she means that. Well, this is just a bizarre mix of storyline and reality.
She's sorry for lying, so if that's the case, then how do we know she isn't lying now? She introduces The Law - Bully Ray. He shows up in a shiny pleather suit jacket, jeans, and an oversized T-shirt. He shakes everyone on the roster's hands while Josh says that big changes are in store for this week and every other week. So just like every other week, every week of Impact is special. Bully says Dixie called her to say that she was sorry for what she'd done to the fans, to the roster, and he believes her. Bully says that he thinks she's finally telling the truth for the first time in her life, and he's glad to be in a company with the best roster in the world. He's coming back for the fans and for the roster. Bully doesn't want the roster on the floor - he wants them on the apron. Could it be time for an impromptu reverse battle royal?
Bully says that the roster, the crew, the travel team, and everyone in TNA cares about TNA despite what Dixie has put them through. It's good enough for Bully, but he's leaving the decision up to the fans. He wants to bring TNA back to the promised land and says he won't hug or kiss Dixie, but he'll shake her hand. Bully says it's time for them to have what TNA does best - have a great wrestling show, and EC3 will defend the title tonight against the winner of a 20 man battle royal that begins now. Well, this is fairly organic and logical - I dig it.
20 Man No. 1 Contender's Battle Royal
Jessie attacks EY in the corner while Norv Fernum has been eliminated. Manik gets rid of Crazzy Steve. Magnus and Bram brawl a bit and Khoya eliminates Mandrews. Josh says that Bully Ray is trending on Twitter and that you should follow Dixie. Shark Boy is eliminated amid a Shark Week plug. Manik is eliminated and Robbie punches Abyss. Magnus clotheslines Abyss over the top and Josh tells him to go get some more catering. Drew backdrops Storm out and Magnus goes out too.
We're down to MVP, EY, and Drew. We get clips of eliminations, with Jessie taking out Robbie and Micah taking out Kenny King. MVP hits the corner kick on Drew allowing the one-time allies of EY and MVP to attack Drew more. EY's newly-expanded tattoo looks pretty good - not sure why he'd suddenly decide to get a lot of ink in his late '30s, but it works for him. Drew fights back with punches. EY dumps MVP. Drew Galloway avoids a charge and hits a Sick Kick in the corner to send EY to the floor. This was pretty much every nothing battle royal ever, but with some storyline continuity.
We get clips of Sting being inducted in the TNA hall of fame. Next week, Dixie will announce the 2015 Hall of Famer. Pope and Josh talk about the battle royal and the Bram vs. Anderson match last week. Mike Tenay conducts an interview with him. Ken says he's 39 and feels great, but if his career ended tomorrow, he'd be happy with what happened in his career. Does he need another injury though? We get clips of Bram destroying people, and he honestly comes off like a bit of a badass here. Ken says he'll "go there" if needed, which is odd since he's never really been a badass outside of the Angle feud. Bully is backstage asking "Seven letter word for obese? DREAMER!" Ha. Spud says he and Bully didn't get along, but Bully wants him to believe in himself. Bully says he took Kurt to the limit, and tonight, he's giving Spud a shot to be a three-time X Division champion. Bully and Spud have tremendous chemistry - Spud should be the Tajiri to his Regal.
We get clips of Kurt Angle's 2013 Hall of Fame induction video. For at least the second time in the show, Josh said that they've had a fast and furious start to the show. We go backstage to Drew for an interview talking about how tiring battle royals are and his destiny is to be World Heavyweight Champion. Eli tells him to go make history - didn't they break up? Shouldn't that end their friendship using wrestling logic. We get clips of Trump's bad PR, which makes no sense in theory, but TNA has been advertising a Tigre Uno promo on him on their site throughout the day. TNA didn't mention this though, which is a bit daft. Speaking of not mentioning things, Grado is out for some reason as is DJZ. Is this is a multi-man match for the X Title or is it a one on one match for the title with Spud and Uno? Spud's out, and Uno finishes this, so it's a four-way match for the title.
Tigre Uno vs. Rockstar Spud vs. Grado vs. DJZ - X Title
Josh finally explains that next week, Uno will talk about the Trump issue. Grado avoids a go-behind lift by DJZ via deadweighting him and then attacking with his ass before slapping it. Grado tells Spud to hit him in the belly, which doesn't work, so Spud tries a slam but Grado falls on him for 2. Uno gets a running Pele on DJZ leads to an inverted atomic drop and both Spud and Grado punching DJZ. Pope says that Spud and Grado are countrymen, while Josh corrects him. Spud and Grado argue, but eat a double dropkick from Uno. Tigre gets the Phoenix splash to maybe one knee of Grado after overshooting and gets the win. Finish aside, this was a lot of fun. Next, Taryn defends against Brooke.
Taryn and the Dollhouse talk about Brooke, while we get the hourglass video because Gail is seemingly going to ensure that reign ends tonight. Brooke comes out shaking her ass, while Taryn comes out with the Dollhouse and their dollhouse. Taryn comes out to wrestle this title match in lingerie while Pope instructs Josh to please be quiet during her intro.
Taryn Terrell vs. Brooke - Knockouts Title
The Dolls distract leading to a sneak attack. Taryn hits a bizarre rana headstand without a rana in the corner for 2. Josh, for this match, is a face as he is opposed to the Dolls attacking Brooke. Brooke counters a pair of Irish whips with a Russian legsweeps. Taryn gets a back elbow and a missile dropkick, but her cutter is countered by a bad dropkick. Brooke gets jumped on the apron and Taryn smacks her face on the steps and says "that looks like it hurt".
Taryn as a heel is so great. Taryn gets 2 off a crossbody. Brooke gets 2 off a bad cradle and Taryn misses a missile dropkick. Brooke gets a series of elbows, forearms, and lariats. Taryn laughs and eats a horrendous spear from Brooke. Brooke goes up and gets tossed off by Jade. The lights went out. Did Dixie lie to the power company? Nope - it's ninja Gail Kim kicking ass! Gail's gone, but Brooke gets the worst X Factor ever for the win. Everything not involving Gail here sucked. In an amusing bit, she jumps into Earl's arms and he's overjoyed. Kurt meets with Bully for an announcement.
Kurt comes out and says that Bully told him the rematch didn't happen, so Kurt gets a rematch whenever he wants. But Kurt has a tumor in his neck, so he'll be out a while. When he gets back, he'll get his rematch. EY comes out and Josh says he's the most deranged man he has ever known. EY attacks him with the mic and says that it's time for Kurt to go. EY rakes the eyes on the floor and Melendez prevents a piledriver on the floor, leading to EY hitting one on him on the floor while Pope yells about it and turns this into near-comedy. Next, we'll see Magnus vs. James Storm from Slammiversary - presumably due to the Hernandez-Lucha Underground issues that are apparently preventing TNA from legally airing his match footage now.
We see Team 3D's Hall of Fame induction video. Pope has his action figure next to his pimp shades in the announcing room in the office. They air clips of the Magnus vs. Storm match from Slammiversary, which had one of the best event recaps in the site's history from Bryan Alvarez, but with some new graphics for the announcers - so if TNA's Greatest Matches gets renewed, they've got it ready to go. This was great in the sense that it made you want to see the whole match, and then we get a recap of what's happened between them since that show with Mickie having one more match against a woman of Storm's choosing. Storm says he started a revolution and he's got a partner - it's someone very close to Mickie James.
Storm accepts her call and comes off as such a great slimeball. In two weeks, Magnus and Mickie face Storm and the mystery woman. Bully meets with EC3 and says he really needs a door and that EC3 is probably pissed about something. EC3 says they should really hype the rematch with Kurt up more though, and while it's not as great as Bobby Heenan wanting a match with "Cowboy" Bob Ellis delayed for "only a mere six or eight months" due to a knee injury from the first Wrestling Gold DVD set, it was amusing. EC3 vs. Drew Galloway is up next.
Drew comes out to his kick-ass theme looking like a top star with that and his swank ring jacket. Josh hypes up EC3 and his new merch on ShopTNA. For the record, Josh was a face for the knockouts title match, and a heel here.
EC3 vs. Drew Galloway - TNA World Title
Drew shoves him into the corner while Josh talks about Drew wanting clean finishes. Josh talks about how exhausted Drew could be after the battle royal. Why? He did basically one move. EC3 goes to the floor to avoid Drew, but he chops away and the fans hold him in place for one of them. Eli is down to counter Tyrus as we go to a break.
EC3 gets a seated full nelson and a lariat. A dueling Ethan's awesome/no he's not chant breaks out. EC3 gets him in a kneeling camel clutch, which Josh points out was done improperly since Drew was on his knees in a vertical position. EC3 chants his name while smashing Drew's head into the mat - nice spot. Drew gets him up in a fireman's carry and punts his stomach on the top rope. Drew gets a powerslam for 2. Tyrus pulls a leg to prevent another pinfall. Another leg grab leads to a Stinger splash and Tyrus telling the camera guy to get out of his face. Drew gets a Kobashi machine gun chop in the corner. Drew accidentally elbows the ref and EC3 low blows him. Eli Drake prevents a Tyrus attack, but Eli attacks Drew with the crutch. Oh no - it's the breakup of Drew and a guy named Eli Drake who he was affiliated with who we know nothing about, or their alliance. EC3 hits the headlock driver for the win. Eli isn't going to #standup, but will he #showhisimpact or #jointheforce?
To see every screenshot for the show, just click here.