It’s Monday! And that means your weekly McImpact Review is here. Actually, it’s Tuesday. Yes, thanks to BT’s horrendous TV service, my DVR’d episode of Impact Wrestling was CORRUPTED. So I had to resort to alternative means of acquiring the show, and thanks to BT’s horrendous broadband service, I’ve only just been able to. In conclusion, I’m switching to Virgin.
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The show opens with a HYPE VIDEO for tonight’s TNA World Title match, Kurt Angle versus Bobby Ashley. I am looking forward to this; I reckon it’ll be a good ’un.
We’re live (taped) from Wembley Arena, London, and Josh Matthews hypes up the main event some more, as well as hyping an Ultimate X tag team title match and a three-way for the Knockouts title. “A night that truly feels special,” says Matthews.
Your first match is the Ultimate X match for the tag titles and The Wolves make their way out first. Production values seem a little better, somehow, from last week and the crowd seem to be mic’d a little better, as well. PROGRESS. Next out it’s The BroMans, accompanied by Angelina Love.
Josh Matthews talks a bit about what happened last week, when Robbie E was beaten by Brooke. They show us some clips of that – I hadn’t forgotten, mind you. Then we cut to some footage from earlier tonight where The BroMans are geeing themselves up for their match, but Robbie E isn’t feeling it. He’s still sad about his loss last week and tells the other two that they should be the ones in the tag title match. It seems weird that he wouldn’t want in on that, but alright.
Next out, representing The Revolution, it’s Manik and The Great Sanada. The commentators discuss James Storm’s strategy in sending these two out for this match, given their X Division history.
The commentators briefly run down the Ultimate X rules. You already know the rules, right? Right.
The bell rings and they have a good match, with a number of high spots, as you’d expect in an Ultimate X. At one point Sanada & Manik and The BroMans sit on the shoulders of their partners and fight a bit, like in a swimming pool, but The Wolves come off the top with dropkicks to each. It was pretty cool and gets a “This Is Awesome!” chant from the London crowd.
The one problem I have with the Ultimate X match is that a lot of the spots come across very contrived, much more so than in, say, a ladder match. That can be detrimental to my enjoyment of it, but I guess there isn’t much you can do about that. Anyway, the match ends when Eddie Edwards hits Sanada with a top-rope huracánrana, Davey Richards hits him with a big stomp from the top, and The Wolves retain their titles after they both climb up and grab the belts. Lot of fun, this match.
We cut to the “commentary booth” where Matthews and Tazz hype up the rest of the show, especially the main event – first time ever, Lashley and Angle. They big up the “MMA/submission style” match we’re likely to see. Tazz picks Angle for the win.
Backstage, earlier today, Kurt Angle arrives at the arena, followed by Lashley. I’m liking this build! They’re not laying it on too thick, and it’s got a bit of a “real sports” build to it.
Oh. I spoke to soon about them not laying it on too thick. Josh Matthews says the main event is, “one of the most anticipated matches ever.” Alright.
Austin Aries makes his way down the ramp. Matthews talks about how the Beat Down Clan have taken Aries’s Money In The… uh, his title shot briefcase. The crowd love Austin Aries. Aries gets on the mic’ and says that there’s something that’s been missing recently on Impact Wrestling – the greatest fans that ever lived, chanting the name of the greatest man who ever lived. He talks about having been out of commission since the BDC put him through a table. He says something else is also missing – the briefcase. He says he wants his property back, and he’s not leaving until that happens, and calls the BDC out.
They don’t dilly-dally – out comes the BDC. Well, Joe & Low-Ki. Low-Ki has got the briefcase and a microphone. He asks if Aries really believes that the BDC has something that belongs to him. Aries says that it’s a fact, jack! Low-Ki says that possession is nine tenths of the law (I haven’t looked into this, it could be.)
Aries says, first of all, Low-Ki isn’t Austin Aries, the man who makes history, the man who cashes in opportunities for world championships. Two, legally the briefcase has no value to Low-Ki. (They need attorneys out here.) Aries has a proposition for Low-Ki: winner takes all – right here, right now – for the X Division title and the briefcase. Low-Ki says sure, but then Joe attacks Aries and Low-Ki says Aries will have to go through Joe first. The bells rings, which doesn’t make a lot of sense since Aries didn’t agree to this bit. Alright.
So they have a match. Joe is on top for a lot of it, and Low-Ki taunts Aries every time he goes near him. The crowd chant, “briefcase wanker” at Low-Ki. I LOL’d. Looking at Joe throughout this match, I just don’t see him on WWE’s main roster at any point, even if he does go to NXT for a bit. It’d be an odd sight.
There were one or two cool spots in this, but it was a pretty by-the-numbers sort of match. One thing I’d like to note is that Tazz has been impressing me on commentary, especially during this show. He really talked about the moves that were taking place in the ring, didn’t talk a lot about anything other than the actual match and surrounding angle, and him and Matthews didn’t bicker like schoolchildren. It was quite a refreshing change from another commentary team I could mention.
The match ends when Low-Ki, predictably, interferes, giving Aries the DQ win. After the match, Low-Ki tries to nail Aries with the briefcase but he ends up twatting Joe and Aries takes Low-Ki out, getting his briefcase back in the process.
As Aries walks up the ramp, Spud runs down with his briefcase, his head all bandaged up from the blade job during his match with ECIII on the last episode, and cashes it in and pins Low-Ki for the X Division Championship. The crowd loved it, of course. Spud gets his belt and bails before Joe or anyone else can get their revenge, and celebrates with the fans. Pretty cool.
The commentators hype up the Knockouts match, and Angle versus Lashley again, and we cut backstage to some more shots of Lashley warming up.
Next, Bram and Magnus are going at each other somewhere backstage. Lots of shaky cam here – REALITY, son. Magnus beats the crap out of Bram for a while, getting his revenge for having to kiss Bram’s boot last week. They end up fighting down to the ring, Magnus mostly having the better of things. It goes on like this for a while before Magnus goes outside for a chair, and uses it. He hits Bram on the back a number of times and makes to nail him in the throat, but a bunch of referees stop him. They break things up for a minute, but it isn’t long before they’re back to brawling and the refs have to break it up again.
Magnus gets on the mic and tells Bram that he just took a match and burned his hopes and dreams to the ground. I didn’t really get that, but alright. They brawl some more before Mickie James runs down to the ring and kicks Bram in the balls, sending him down and she lays into him. In the end, Bram rolls to the outside and crawls up the ramp, trying to make an escape. But he’s closely followed by Magnus, who hits Bram with a (vicious sounding) powerbomb on the ramp. That probably stung a bit.
Next up there is MORE HYPE for the main event between Lashley and Angle. They had a bunch of wrestlers and other guys talking about this “dream match,” including Al Snow, Tommy Dreamer and Mike Tenay.
Back to the show and we’re treated to some footage from two weeks ago, when Awesome Kong took on Taryn Terrell for the Knockouts belt. Actually, they showed almost that entire match, building up the Knockouts three-way that’s upcoming. Kind of weird, maybe they had to fill some time. I don’t know. Anyway, if you don’t remember, Terrell retained via DQ and Gail Kim came down and ended up fighting with Awesome Kong, which leads to this week…
Here comes Awesome Kong, walking down to the ring. Strutting, actually. She means business, for real. She’s followed down by Gail Kim. By the way, in the first McImpact Review, I said that Awesome Kong was the only women’s wrestler I really ever had any interest in. I lied. I always liked Gail Kim, as well. Gail is wearing a shirt that says “LONDON” on it, in case we didn’t know where we are. Next up, the Knockouts Champion, Taryn Terrell. The commentators talk briefly about Terrell being a referee in the past. I didn’t know that.
Off they go. Speaking of refereeing, is Earl Hebner the only referee they have in TNA these days? He’s refereed at least two matches already on this show. I feel sort of sorry for him when I see him in TNA. ANYWAY, there’s a match. And it was actually quite good, certainly above the level of a WWE main roster women’s match – although, that wouldn’t be very difficult.
Remember how I said I was impressed with the commentary during the previous match, about how they don’t bicker and actually talked about what was happening in the ring? I TAKE IT ALL BACK. They spent a bunch of time discussing the main event and having a little bicker. Eventually, they refocused on the action in the ring, just in time for a cool little double sunset flip spot that I was sure was going to be the finish, but wasn’t.
So, they have a fun, decent match, and it ends when Terrell pins Gail Kim with a roll-up and retains her title. Yeah, decent.
James Storm is backstage and he says that nobody is going to help Matt Hardy in their no-DQ match. He says he’s going to give Hardy an option with a coin. Heads, he beats Matt to within an inch of his life and tails, he should think of his brother. But he doesn’t tell us which way the coin toss went! Now the commentators hype the no-DQ match. Hang on a second; I don’t recall them mentioning this at any point during the show. Not once. Maybe I missed it…
Well, anyway, now we’ve got a weird hype video for the main event, containing wild animals and cityscapes and DEEP VOICE MAN. OK, they have laid it on pretty thick as the show has progressed, but aside from the “most anticipated match ever” tag, it’s been good.
Kurt Angle is interviewed backstage and asked for his feelings on his upcoming match. Kurt says it’s been over a year since he last competed for the World Title but that, if he beats Lashley tonight, he’ll prove to everyone that he’s still one of the best in the business.
Ringside, here comes James Storm, accompanied by The Revolution. They show some footage from Lock Down in the Manhattan Centre where Storm hit Jeff Hardy with a cow bell. Tazz says we live in a great time, where matches are made via Twitter. I don’t know about that. Next out it’s Matt Hardy. Storm meets him on the way down and they go at it.
It wasn’t a great match. Since when did no-DQ mean hardcore? Garbage cans and that kind of nonsense throughout. If you’re into those sorts of garbage matches, you’d hate this because it’s tame as hell compared to ones you might see in other promotions and if you don’t like them, you won’t like this because it’s still a garbage match. No-DQ should be more about brawling around the arena, hard hitting, what have you.
Any road, there’s a thumbtack spot, and a superplex into some chairs, and Hardy hitting Storm with a big elbow onto the tacks. Hardy then hits Storm with the Twist of Fate, into the tacks, and goes for the pin. The ref messes up a little trying to get into position to be pulled out by Abyss, which he is, breaking the count. The match ended when Sanada mists Hardy and Storm hits him with the cowbell and the Last Call for the win. A cowbell is HOLLOW, what kind of weapon is this supposed to be?!
Post-match, The Revolution have Hardy held back while Storm talks at him, saying Matt is going to join his brother in the hospital and hits him in the back of the head with the HOLLOW COWBELL OF DEATH.
They showed some more shots of Lashley and Angle backstage, warming up.
Next up, it’s your MAIN EVENT OF THE EVENING. I miss Michael Buffer.
They’ve built to this match really well and they continue to do so, showing Kurt making the long walk from his dressing room out to the ring. I noted that Josh Matthews mentioned all the World Titles that Angle has held, including the WWE Championship, which was cool, in a way.
Next, Lashley, the champ, makes his way from his dressing room out to the ring.
They had a match! It was a very good match. I urge you to go watch it somewhere, if you can. It wasn’t spectacular by any means but it was a fitting main event, and it ended with Kurt Angle tapping Bobby Lashley out with the Ankle Lock, which kind of seemed to me like the obvious finish.
Angle wins his sixth TNA World Championship here and, afterwards, he and Lashley embraced in respect. I could see them topping this match by building to a PPV re-match and really pulling it out of the bag. If, you know, TNA really did PPV’s anymore and if anybody would bother watching a TNA PPV. Shame.
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I’ve given TNA a bit of a hard time in my last two reviews for missing something. This show was brilliantly paced. It had some very good matches and storyline progression. The hype for the main event that was threaded through the show was excellent, and the match itself didn’t disappoint. The only real negative on the show was Hardy versus Storm, not a match I’d really bother with unless you are invested in the angle and the HOLLOW COWBELL OF DEATH. But, yeah, TNA impressed me this week and I’m looking forward to next week. Thumbs up.
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.