I haven’t watched any TNA since they announced their move to Destination America and had hundreds of thousands of wrestling fans scrambling to find out if their cable company carried this channel they’d never heard of. From looking at the numbers, somewhere in the region of 500,000 TNA fans were lucky enough to have it, or were willing to get it and have since been treated to a weekly dose of badly produced, badly written, stupid nonsense for their troubles. The more things change, the more things stay the same, I guess…
We open with a recap video, bringing me up to speed with recent events involving Drew Galloway, MVP and The Beat Down Clan.
We’re in Manchester, England for Impact Wrestling! They’ve got a decent crowd, it looks like, but their production levels let everything down, as I’m led to believe has been the case since their move to Destination America.
Next we’ve got HYPE for our main event, which is a three-way for the number one contendership to the TNA World title. Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode and Eric Young – the top three ranked competitors in the company, they say – will battle it out to take on champion Bobby Lashley.
We’ll also be treated to a tag-team title match when the American Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) will take on holders The Revolution (James Storm and – FML – Abyss.)
And there will be Knockouts action when Taryn Terrell defends her title against Awesome Kong.
The Beat Down Clan’s music plays and the boys walk down to the ring. We get Tazz and Josh Mathews in split screen, apparently commentating from home via Skype.
The BDC are in the ring and MVP looks displeased. But it’s Kenny King on the microphone.
King wants to be truthful. He says this; “whole Drew thing” is getting out of control. He says Galloway chose to do this and do that, all stuff that has annoyed the BDC. King says the BDC wants a piece of Galloway’s ass. Kinky. He says in life there are two things you don’t do, you don’t miss with the BDC or their money.
MVP asks Galloway if he has any idea what he’s done or, more importantly, who he’s done it to. He asks Galloway to think about it. Says their previous persecution of Al Snow and Grado was just fun, but that messing with the World Title is business. BDC business that was a year in the making. Crowd chants, “What?” MVP says he came to TNA a year ago to dominate. Says he’s not an unreasonable man, so he’s going to give Galloway a chance to come out and explain himself and say sorry. MVP says Galloway should take advantage of his being calm and collected to come out and explain himself.
Drew doesn’t come out. MVP tells him he’s making it harder on himself. Drew appears in the crowd. MVP tells him he’s made himself Public Enemy No.1 to the BDC.
Drew says that he’s at home right now. Thought he was Scottish? Says he’s not far from where he was when he slipped into the ring and stopped MVP stealing the world title. Drew says he’s surrounded by wrestling fans, not sports-entertainment fans. Ugh. “Professional wrestling fans!” Can we not do this? It’s so small time.
The crowd chants, “Drew!”
Drew says he’s in TNA to speak up for those who have not been listened to. To stand up for wrestling. To give the fans a voice. To be the voice of the voiceless. He didn’t really say that last one.
He says they’re not just screwing with Lashley and Bobby Roode, they’re screwing with the fans. He puts the microphone in front of some people in the crowd. Anna and Ashley and someone else.
The BDC don’t like this. Drew says it’s people like the BDC who disgust him in wrestling. Trying to decide who the champions are, when it’s obvious to the fans who it should be. Pro-wrestling should be decided by the fans, apparently. This doesn’t make any sense. He says he won’t let the BDC decide what happens around here.
King says they didn’t some out to bump gums. Kinky. Says Drew spilled Low-Ki’s blood. They want retribution and satisfaction. Says they’ll get it tonight. If not, they’re going up to Drew’s mum and dad’s house to take it “out of their arse.” Kinky. Is this Kenny King’s gimmick?
Drew puts his hair down, which King thinks is pretty. It must be his gimmick.
Drew asks if King wants to fight him. King says he does. Drew says he didn’t just come here to talk on a microphone. He said he came to stand up for wrestling and to FIGHT. Crowd chants, “Fight! Fight! Fight!” Bunch of children.
Drew tells King to send the rest of the BDC to the back and takes his shirt off in preparation. King says the BDC is a family, but Kenny King Is a one man army. He tells his mates to leave.
King vs Galloway up next, apparently…
We’re back and it is, indeed, King Vs Galloway.
A Wrestle Talk TV advert takes up three quarters of the screen, but I can see that the match has started. King hits Galloway with some chops and few punches. Earl Hebner is your ref, by the way.
Galloway takes control and gives King a snap suplex, who then rolls to the outside. Galloway follows and takes King down, plants him on the barricade. Tazz doesn’t think that Galloway should be coming in making statements like he has, causing trouble. King takes over now, does heel talk to the camera. Galloway hits back with some chops, Kenny King rakes the eye.
Tazz says King sings it and brings it. Galloway hits King with a tilt a whirl slam onto the side of the ring. “The ring circumference” says Tazz. Tazz and Josh spend some time talking about exactly what that part of the ring is called. King takes control again and hits Galloway with a leg drop on the apron. Tazz realises that that’s the word they were looking for a minute ago.
Big boot in the corner from Galloway, tries it again but gets caught and hit with a suplex by King. Tries to cover, doesn’t get it. King slaps Galloway in the face a few times, heeling it up. Tries one more but gets caught and Galloway whales on him with punches and then throws King from one corner to the other. Hits King with a weird looking splash in the corner then takes King down with a flying clothesline off the turnbuckle. Tries to cover again, but no dice.
Galloway tries his Futureshock DDT, King counters. Neck breaker on Galloway, King tries the pin but doesn’t get it.
King lifts Galloway into a fireman’s carry, Galloway counters, King tries to crucifix Galloway, Galloway reverses and hits the Futureshock DDT for the win. Blergh!
The BDC hit the ring, but Galloway makes a quick exit through the crowd. I now realise, thanks to the commentators, that he was talking about being with the fans when he earlier talked about being home.
We go to Tazz and Josh via Skype building the three way later on and Awesome Kong v Taryn Terrel for the Knockouts belt later. We’ve also got Wolves vs Revolution, remember.
Tazz won’t predict winners to tease Josh.
Bobby Roode is walking backstage. We’re going to hear from him soon.
Now we go to Mike Tenay in an empty arena interview ringside with the Wolves. Mike asks them about their history, who they were trained by.
I know what they’re trying to do here, but it wasn’t very interesting.
Mike says Davey Richards leads a double life. Richards says, yes, he’s a full time firefighter. This doesn’t make TNA look good. Your wrestlers are supposed to be bigger than life, not part timers. This company.
They tell a story where they were working in Japan and always wanted to tag but the ROH booker-man didn’t want them to. They then got booked together in Wolverhampton and were able to tag and it clicked. They couldn’t think of a name but realised they were American and in Wolverhampton, and so became the American Wolves. Cool origin story, bro.
I’m bored of this but, unfortunately, a graphic threatens that it’s, “To be continued.”
We’re back “live.” And here comes Bobby Roode, the “penultimate TNA champion.” Apparently Eric Young has been an annoying little bugger recently and the commentators wonder if Roode’s focus will be on the match against Angle and Young or more about getting to Young.
Roode gets on the mic and reminds Eric Young that he cost him the title and tried to end his career. Tells Young to take a look, Booby Roode is still standing. Hypes the match later. Says he’ll become no.1 contender. Apparently there isn’t a man on the planet who’s going to stop him, which of course leads to…
Kurt Angle walks out with a microphone. Tells Roode that Kurt Angle is going to get in his way and be the one who’s going to become the no.1 contender. Tells Roode if he disagrees, they don’t have to wait. In the ring, from behind, Young nails Roode and goes to town. Angle pushes Young off Roode and the two square up.
Young makes like he’s chill but throws at Angle, Angle sees it coming and send Young out of the ring.
The crowd doesn’t care.
More hype for the Knockouts later as we go to a Terrell/Kong hype video.
Mathews doesn’t think Terrell can beat Kong, says we’re almost guaranteed a new Knockout champion.
Commentators hype Bram vs Matt Hardy for later and we go to the back where Bram is talking to James Storm. Storm says he likes Bram, they’ve got a lot on common. Tells Bram that the Revolution wants him to end Matt Hardy. Storm walks away with a smile that indicates he’s not entirely above board.
Back from the break to a Kurt Angle hype video, building up the main event later.
Here comes Bram. All entrance music is indistinguishable from each other on this show.
They talk about Bram hitting Magnus with a snooker ball. They show it. It didn’t look that bad, but it seem to mess Magnus up.
Here comes Matt Hardy, he’s looking a lot better than he did when I last saw him.
Commentators talk about Matt Hardy’s fighting spirit. Tazz says he’s battle tested. Bell rings and Bram runs at Hardy, but Hardy ducks and takes control.
But not for long, Bram on top now. And then Hardy again. Back and forth, here, in the corner.
Eventually, Matt hits Bram with a bulldog and then a clothesline over the top rope.
Matt goes outside but Bram takes over and rolls him back into the ring. Actually, Matt still has an embarrassing belly going on that I missed earlier.
This is bad. It’s just a bunch of slaps and forearms for the most part. Bram hits Matt with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle and then with a spin kick. Tries a cover, no good. Into a sleeper.
Hardy works his way up but gets thrown down again by Bram. Bram tries an elbow drop, but Hardy gets out of the way. Some more stuff in the corner, back and forth. Matt goes to the middle rope and hits Bram with an elbow and then an elbow drop. Tries the cover, nope. From nowhere, Matt hits the Side Effect but can’t get the pin.
Matt goes up top. Moonsault onto the knees of Bram. Bram kicks out.
Matt runs at Bram, Bram puts the ref in between them which distracts Matt long enough to let Bram hit his finish for the win, The Brighter Side of Suffering.
Bram goes outside for a turnbuckle pole and is about to mess Hardy up when Magnus’ music hits. Magnus runs to the ring and beats down Bram. Nobody cares, really. The crowd certainly don’t.
Magnus gets on the mic and tells Bram that when Bram beat him up and left him for dead in an alley, he had two choices. His son could look at him as someone who quit, or as someone who stands up from himself and is made from the same stuff as the fans.
Tells Bram that, when he gets his hands on him, it won’t be about money or titles, it’s personal. Tells Bram he’s going to give him the beating Bram’s dad should have given him a long time ago. Promises Bram that his blood will stain the, “hallowed ground of England.”
Backstage, it’s Ken Kennedy and Spud. Spud tells Ken that he’s going to go out there like a man and end this thing with ECIII.
Back from an ad break, the commentators recap events so far via Skype.
Another massive WTTV advert that takes up most of the screen, someone should look into this.
Backstage, Loki is losing his mind, ranting at Kenny King. But we can’t hear them, he could be singing.
Galloway backstage now, talks about the BDC shoving things down our throats we don’t want. Says he has an army in his corner, an army around the world. He’s standing up for wrestling and that begins tonight. Ugh.
Hype video for ECIII/Spud. Seems ECIII tried to cut Spud’s hair, but Kennedy turned on him and hooked up with Spud.
Spud heads to the ring. Josh makes a correction after receiving Twitter abuse for previously saying Spud was from London, not Birmingham.
Spud is wearing a Union Jack suit. UKIP voter?
Spud gets on the microphone and says that the past few months haven’t been good for him. His friends have been embarrassed, he’s been attacked and the only thing that’s got him through it has been the fans. The fans love Spud. Spud says it’s time for things to come to an end and asks ECIII to come out alone to settle things.
ECIII’s music hits, it’s good. Best music so far. He walks down, suited and booted. The commentators argue about something or other via Skype.
Spud and ECIII have a stare down. Spud says he wants a fight and that this has to end and it ends with them in a fight, man on man. ECIII tells Spud that people like him don’t get to challenge people like ECIII. Says he’s a franchise. Born and bred to carry the company into the future. Spud is just a little boy. Says he’s undefeated, starts self-hyping, but is interrupted by Spud who tells him to shut his mouth. Spud says he knows all this. He was there. He was with him, he helped him. Issues the challenge again, says he wants to be the one to end ECIII’s streak. ECIII asks Spud if he wants to go to London and fight. ECIII says yes, but he wants something in return. When ECIII beats Spud, he gets to shave Spud’s head. Spud agrees, tells ECIII to put his hair on the line too. ECIII agrees. HAIR VS HAIR. Love it. Don’t see enough hair vs hair matches these days. ECIII tells Spud to remember that, in this world, the bad guys win. Spud asks ECIII if he remembers telling him, when he felt down on himself, that he was fierce, a lion, and a gazelle. Spud tells ECIII that he’s none of those things. “I’m a freaking man!” Says he’s going to end the streak and shave him bald.
ECIII leaves while Spud stares him down.
Eric Young hype video now, building up the main event.
Back in the arena. The commentators hype the main event some more, plus the knockout match, via Skype.
Back from an ad break and here comes Awesome Kong. The only women’s wrestler I ever really had any interest in. Commentators hype up that Terrell has never taken Kong off her feet. They don’t seem to have much confidence in Terrell.
Taryn Terrell makes her entrance. Gets in the ring and goes straight for Kong, who throws her down like she’s nothing. Terrell bounces off Kong a bunch of times before Kong goes to town. The bell rings as Kong throws Terrell across the ring a few times by her hair. Terrell tries to get some offence in, but it doesn’t last and Kong knocks her down again. Kong continues to throw Terrell about, but takes her eye off the ball a moment which allows Terrell to go up top and hit Kong, but again, it doesn’t last long before Kong catches and slams Terrell. Kong has Terrell in the corner and clubs away. Tries a big splash but Terrell gets out of the way, gets up high and hits Kong with punches. Bounces off the ropes but Kong throws Terrell over the top. Terrell hits Kong with the hangman on the top rope and then a cross body from the turnbuckle. Pin, but only a one count. Kong takes Terrell down when Terrell goes for her finish. Kong goes for her finish, Terrell counters and tries her own finish once more, but again is thrown off. Kong throws the referee down! You can’t do that! Hebner calls for the bell. Terrell with the DQ win. But Kong continues her assault, throws Terrell into the steps.
Kong goes to give Terrell the Implant Buster on the floor but Gail Kim runs out and stops her. Tries to talk her down, but Kong throws her out of the way. Then Gail whales on Kong and they fight up the ramp and all the way backstage.
We cut to a Revolution/Wolves recap video. Shows Abyss as the newest Pledge in The Revolution.
Up next, a World Tag Title match.
When we come back, we see a Bobby Roode hype video, talking about his grit and determination and him being the longest reigning champ of all time.
Back in the arena, here comes The Revolution, Abyss and James Storm, the world tag team champions. Next up, the Wolves make their way down but are attacked from behind by Khoya, Manik and The Great Sanada, who eventually throw Richards into the ring for the start of the match.
Abyss and Storm beat down Richards but Eddie Edwards comes to the rescue and The Revolution is sent to the outside. Wolves try for a double suicide dive but are tripped by members of The Revolution.
James Storm takes control and then tags in Abyss. Davey Richards tries a few shots but to no avail as Abyss slams him and then goes for the big splash, but Richards gets out of the way and goes for the hot tag to Edwards. But Edwards is pulled off the apron by Sanada, I think, so no tag is made.
James Storm is tagged in and is well in control. Puts Richards down and knocks Edwards off the apron. Hits Richards with a suplex, tries for another, but Richards counters in a nice little sequence which ends with Richards nailing Storm with a kick. Richards gets the tag and Edwards comes in, on fire. Hits Storm with some sort of hybrid neck breaker/backbreaker.
Both Wolves go up top with Storm on the mat, but Abyss interferes, allowing Storm to counter Edwards’ offensive. Storm hits the Eye of the Storm but Edwards kicks out.
Here comes Matt Hardy down to the ring, to even things up. Eddie quickly rolls up James Storm, but Storm kicks out and blocks a clothesline and puts Edwards down. Abyss is tagged in. Abyss grabs Edwards for a choke slam. Richards comes off the top but Abyss catches him, too, and goes for a double choke slam. Bu the Wolves counter and take control. They take out all members of The Revolution with repeated suicide dives around the ring. All looks good until Storm pulls Matt Hardy into the mix and the Wolves end up inadvertently taking him out.
Storm pulls Eddie in the ring. The referee gets distracted and Manik and Sanada grab Eddie and Sanada goes to do the mist thing, but Eddie ducks and he mists Manik. Abyss comes in and punches Edwards. He grabs a cow bell but the referee pulls it off him and turns away. Matt Hardy enters and does a Twist of Fate to him. Eddie does a Double Foot Stomp, pins, and wins.
Not happy, James Storm pushes Khoya and then hits him in the face. The Wolves celebrate with the crowd as we go to a break.
When we come back The Wolves and Matt Hardy are backstage. Matt says Wolves are champs to make the fans proud. They need to make the tag team division proud. Matt says that, when Jeff comes back, The Hardy Boys are back and then leaves. The Wolves say they’re cool with the Hardys.
Next up, our main event, and it begins with Eric Young making his way down to the ring followed by Bobby Roode, who runs straight after EY. But Young, the smarty pants, leaves the ring and waits. Next out is Kurt Angle.
There is a break and when we come back Roode and Young and going at it on the outside and at one point Roode sends Young into the barricade before rolling him into the ring. Only now does the match actually start.
Kurt goes straight for Young and sends him into the corner. Roode helps him out and clothesline Young over and out of the ring. Now Angle and Roode stop working together and after a brief lock up, Angle hits Roode with a German and then a belly to belly suplex. Meanwhile, Young is trying to get back in the ring but Angle sends him off the apron and back outside. Roode takes Angle out and goes for the pin but Young breaks it up. Young then sends Angle into the steel post and Kurt falls outside.
Young now has Roode all to himself and punches him a bit and then hits him with a neck breaker. He goes in for the cover but only gets the two. Young decides he’d better choke Roode, and uses the rope to assist him. He knocks Kurt off the apron for good measure. Young then sends Roode into the corner but Roode turns it around with some kickpunch. Sends Young into the ropes but Young counters with the neck breaker and goes for the cover. Tries to go for the pin but Roode kicks out. Angle gets to the apron but Young kicks his head a few times to stop him in his tracks.
Young tries to give Roode a suplex but Roode counters into an inside cradle but doesn’t beat Young. The EY hits Roode with the clothesline and covers only for Roode to kick out again. EY puts Roode on the top rope and gives him a few shots to the face. He climbs up the corner but Angle gets in the ring and hits Young in his back and gives them a massive power bomb superplex.
They’re all down for a bit before Young and Kurt go at it again and Kurt gets the upper hand, hitting Young with multiple German suplexes’. Like, loads.
Now Roode comes back in and tries to steal a win with his finish. Kurt dodges it, only to get hit with a cross face. Kurt gets out of that and is able to turn it into an Ankle Lock but Roode counters and gets the cross face again. Young comes in to break it up. Grabbing Roode, he goes for a piledriver but Roode avoids it and hits a spine buster. As he stands, Kurt hits the Angle Slam and goes for the win…but Roode kicks out.
Kurt isn’t happy and sticks the Ankle Lock on Young, but Young gets to the rope. Then Roode grabs Kurt and tries for his finish again, but Kurt gets out and puts Roode in an Ankle Lock. Roode counters and makes Kurt hit the referee which allows Young to whack Roode with a chair. Unfortunately for EY, Kurt knocks him off the apron and then hits Roode with an Angle Slam for the win.
Post match, Kurt is happy and him and Roode do a respect thing, but not for long. Bobby Lashley, the champ, comes out to give Kurt a clap.
Kurt and Bobby do a stare down while Roode watches on and that’s your show.
What to make of Impact Wrestling? This show actually featured two very good matches in the main event and the tag title match. But everything else made me want to turn it off. And that’s saying a lot. I sit through three hour episodes of Raw, for Pete’s sake. This company lacks star power, it lacks decent production values, and it lacks decent writing and direction. The only thing it doesn’t lack is decent wrestling, but when decent wrestling is easy to come by (Hey! Check out Lucha Underground!), you need to offer more. Next week we’ve got that hair vs. hair match, and I love a good hair vs. hair match, but this whole promotion just misses the mark on so much. And I’m told this was an average show, so I look forward to watching one of their shows where the general consensus was that it sucked.
Review by David McGuinness. Impact Wrestling airs in the US on Destination America on Fridays at 9pm ET, and in the UK on Challenge on Sundays at 9pm.