It’s Impact Wrestling on Fridays. Well, I’m watching it on Sunday. I’m taking a break from re-watching Breaking Bad and robbing banks on GTA: Online to subject myself to two hours of Carter-brand pro-wrestling, LIVE (taped) from London, England. And I’m doing it for you. Ah, it’s not as bad as all that. Two decent sounding matches at the top of card in ECIII versus Spud in a hair vs hair match, and Eric Young versus Bobby Lashley in a Last Man Standing Match, and I’d expect lots of hype for next week’s TNA World Title match between Lashley and our new number one contender, Kurt Angle.
So let’s do this…
This is the fifth of six episodes taped on TNA’s European tour before they return to Orlando and the Impact Zone (I can’t believe it’s still called that).
We open the show with a video about friendships that have turned into rivalries – ECIII and Spud, and Bobby Roode and EY, hyping our two main events tonight.
They’re also hyping Magnus and Bram. I’d forgotten about that. “Tonight,” the voiceover proclaims, “there will be blood!”
We’re at Wembley Arena. The fans look excited but you can’t hear shit. They’ve got the crowd really badly mic’d and the commentary too loud, or something.
To start things off, here comes Eric Young for his Last Man Standing match. We’re opening with this?! Tazz says that Last Man Standing is a test of your fortitude. The crowd chant “You Sold Out” at EY.
Next out it’s Bobby Roode, who gets a really good reaction in spite of TNA’s shitty crowd mic’ing. Roode slides straight into the ring and they go at it as the bell rings.
They have a pretty even-stevens match that ends when EY attempts to piledrive Roode through a table but Roode counters and puts EY through the table with the Roode Bomb and EY can’t answer the count.
A decent match, although it did feel like it was missing something. It had a few fun little spots, but I do have to question the placement on the card. And the match was massively let down not by the crowd reaction but by TNA’s horrendous production values that meant the crowd sounded like they weren’t there half the time. They have to sort that out.
Next we see Magnus and Mickie James entering the arena as Tazz and Josh hype Magnus versus Bram for later. Then they recap ECIII and Spud’s interaction last week. Backstage, Jeremy Borash is talking to Spud, telling him it’s not his fault that Borash got his head shaved. Spud says he has to do this, who else is it going to be? He says ECIII thinks, because he has money, he can trample over people. He says standing up to people like ECIII is bigger than any victory. Spud doesn’t care if he gets beat up or loses his hair. He says ECIII is getting his head shaved tonight.
We now go to Mike Tenay in a continuation of his American Wolves interview from last week. Following through on that threat last week that this was to be continued, they talk a little about Japan, 1000 squats a day and chores and stuff. They talk about NJPW and Wrestle 1. Funny how they talk about the NJPW Dojo “breaking people” with recent stories about Bill DeMott. They talk about matches in which the Wolves have fought each other one-on-one but they say in a lot of ways that made them a better team. They talk about their first year in TNA, that when they came in they decided to take over, that it was their time to shine. They say that it’s the tip of the iceberg and more is to come. Thankfully, not to be continued.
Back in the arena, the commentators hype Lashley versus Angle for next week and recap Drew Galloway against the BDC recently.
Drew walks out in his wrestling gear, so I guess he’s having a match. He’s holding a mic’, though, so I suppose he’s going to talk some more about STANDING UP FOR WRESTLING.
Drew gets in the ring. He says he feels the passion from the fans of pro-wrestling. He says he used to come to Wembley Arena for shows when he was a kid. He says he’s a fan first and foremost. Then he decides to get into the crowd to continue his promo. He says he used to try and see himself in the crowd when he watched the shows backs. He tells everyone to gather round for Story Time with Drew. Once upon a time in wrestling, it used to matter what the fans thought. Once upon a time, the fans decided who’d be on the TV, dictated by what happened in the ring. Suddenly, he says, people started shoving things down our throats that we didn’t want to watch. Drew says it’s SURVEY TIME (by a show of hands). Who wants to take back pro-wrestling? Everyone agrees. Drew says we’re on the right course and that this brings him to MVP. He says MVP thinks he can play God, that MVP thinks he can manipulate the system, screw Bobby Roode, try to screw Bobby Lashley, and try to shove the BDC down our throats. He says MVP has challenged him to a match tonight. That brings out MVP.
And here comes MVP, accompanied by his BDC buddies. MVP says Drew is pandering to the fans. He says he is God because he literally holds Drew’s life in his hands. MVP keeps using the term, “flat scans” in a derogatory way about the fans. I’m not sure what this means, but Urban Dictionary tells me it’s, “One who does not understand computers or who harbours a deep-rooted dislike for computers or the internet.” So I guess MVP is a big computer guy.
The fans ask MVP who he is. MVP says he’s the baddest man in the building. He says Drew was chosen, once upon a time, because he has the looks, the skill, everything it takes to be a champion except a brain. He says Drew is too stupid to realise what he’s done and who he’s doing it to. He says Drew is in luck as he’s been chosen again – chosen by the BDC to get the beat down of his life. He says he used to like Drew, that they used to be drinking buddies. But MVP gets cut off as the crowd chant at him and Drew tells him to speak out. MVP says, because he used to like Drew, he’s going to do him a favour and send his boys to the back so he can beat Drew all by himself.
After the ad break, we’re in the ring and bell dings as the match starts. Lots of brawling back and forth. Not much happens before the BDC run down as Drew is about to hit his finish. So Drew wins via DQ, but that’s not going to make him feel better as he gets beaten down by the BDC. MVP stops Low-Ki from hitting Drew from up top as he has bigger plans for Drew on the outside. Just as Low-Ki is about to take Drew out on the outside, Samoa Joe hands him a pipe. Low-Ki hits Drew with the pipe – well, actually he completely missed, but whatever – and Drew is busted open with the BDC talking trash at him.
Backstage, Mickie James asks Magnus if he’s sure he’s ready and Magnus says that, after everything that’s happened, he’s not going to wait anymore. Mickie tells him she’ll be out there with him but Magnus says no. Mickie doesn’t seem pleased with that.
After the ad break, the commentators hype up ECIII and Spud, hair versus hair, and they throw to a hype video for the match.
Backstage, ECIII is asked for his thoughts. He says he’s gone 16 months undefeated. He namedrops Sting, Angle, Bully Ray – names synonymous with greatness in the wrestling world. He asks what Spud’s name is synonymous with? Failure, he says. He says Spud wanted this so bad, they had to come to his own home to do it. He tells Spud to remember when he’s lying in a pool of his own blood, he wanted this. He says tonight will not be Spud’s night.
Next up, another hype video – this time for Bram/Magnus. They have a ton of these videos on these shows.
Back in the arena, here comes Bram down to the ring for the match. Josh says on commentary that many believe Bram is a future world champion, but that Bram needs to harness his rage. Tazz disagrees, and says Bram needs to unleash his rage.
Now it’s Magnus, who doesn’t make it to the ring as Bram runs down to meet him and they begin brawling on the outside. They have a match, loads of brawling in this one – actually, it’s been that kind of show. It’s another back and forth affair, as well, and it ends with Bram low-blowing Magnus and giving Magnus the DQ win (that’s two DQs out of three matches, so far, if you’re keeping count.)
After the match, Bram decides he’s going to mess Magnus up. He nails Magnus with a chair a few times and goes outside, under the ring, and gets some zip ties and ties Magnus to the ropes. He’s got the dreaded SNOOKER BALL as Mickie James begs Bram not to do it. She throws herself on Magnus to protect him, which Bram doesn’t like. He picks Mickie up, who slaps him. Bad move. Bram has Mickie and a microphone and tells Magnus that he used to look up to him, but now Magnus looks up to Bram. He says he will let Mickie go if Magnus kisses his boot. Mickie says Magnus shouldn’t, but he does to save Mickie. Bram says Magnus is pathetic and walks out.
They show Brooke walking backstage as we go to a break.
When we come back, they show some highlights of Drew Galloway getting beaten down by the BDC earlier tonight. We cut to the BDC backstage, bigging themselves up. MVP says the blood has just begun to flow.
Here comes Robbie E for his match against Brooke. He’s accompanied by Jessie and Angelina Love. They’re, like, his corner guys. He’s wearing a hoodie and stuff, like this will be the fight of his life.
Next up comes Brooke. She skips down to the ring, really putting across the importance of this match.
They have a match. It’s really not very good. Brooke wins when DJ Z distracts the ref and Jessie accidently dropkicks Robbie E, allowing Brooke to get the win. It was kind of bad.
Next up, the main event. Spud versus ECIII, hair versus hair, as we go to a break.
When we come back, the commentators hype next week’s TNA Championship match between Lashley and Angle and they show a Kurt Angle HYPE VIDEO. YES, ANOTHER HYPE VIDEO. I’ve got a headache with these. Now we have a Bobby Lashley hype video. I’m going to kill myself.
FINALLY, main event time and Spud makes his way down to the ring. The crowd goes mild. Or they might have gone wild, it’s hard to tell – have I mentioned how badly mic’d this crowd is?
ECIII makes his way down and off we go. They have a decent match, as it goes, with run-ins from Tyrus, who hits Spud with a powerbomb on the floor, and Ken Anderson, who runs down to level things up. Spud ends up busted open at one point by an arm brace that ECIII is using for his “injured” arm. In a lot of ways, it’s another back-and-forth’er, but it ends when ECIII hits Spud with the One Percenter for the win.
After that match, ECIII acts like Spud has earned his respect. He says he’s done some horrible things in the past but wants to end things on good terms, says he’s not going to shave Spud’s hair and offers his hands. Of course, it’s all a ruse as ECIII betrays Spud, beats him down and shaves his head, telling him it’s time to pay.
Putting aside the production values and sound issues that I’ve banged on about in this review (and my last one), this wasn’t a bad show. It was plodding at points, and I question the sense in having so many gimmick matches on one episode of television – three, if you include the Brooke vs Robbie match, which I do. Not to mention that, out of five matches, two ended in a DQ and all of them had some kind of interference or other nonsense. And this company lacks star power. They don’t have Sting or Bully Ray anymore, Angle and Lashley weren’t on the show, and it hurts. Next week, we’ve got that World Championship match to look forward to, and I’m sure it will be a good match, but as I’ve said before – you’ve got to have something else. Nothing about this TV show grabs me and holds my attention for any length of time.
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.