(Apologies for no Steelchair review of last week’s show: our reviewer went down with a serious case of TNA-fatigue, the latest in a long line of victims for that pernicious disease. But fear not! We’ve found an ample replacement in the form of Nicholas Tasca. He’ll be reviewing the show every week and – what’s more! – he likes it!)
Kurt Angle is out at the top of the show to address his controversial title win last week. Before he deals with the issue, Lashley comes out and says he knows Angle won’t take a cheap win. Angle responds by saying he’s a fighting champion, that he’s beaten Lashley before and he’ll do it again. Out to spoil the fun is Eric Young, who says he’s the number one contender after beating James Storm in a grueling Submission match last week, and Lashley’s at the bottom of the list. After some back and forth banter, EY pokes Lashley in the eyes, then ducks away from a spear that hits Angle. After a return from the commercial break, Angle says he’s fighting someone tonight, even if it’s both Lashley AND Eric Young.
#1 Contender’s Match: Awesome Kong versus Gail Kim
A brief match between two deservedly-showcased women of the Knockout’s division. Kim hit a fair amount of offense including an Eat Defeat, but Kong dominated the majority of the match, pinning Kim after a sit-out powerbomb.
Winner: Awesome Kong
James Storm and Mickie James are seen backstage discussing Storm’s interference in the Bram versus Magnus match last week. Ever the gentleman, Storm tells Mickie he’d never let a man hit a woman, and Mickie hugs him. After a brief exchange with Manik, Storm tells him to grab the others, because he’s ready for a fight.
Triple Threat Match: Abyss versus Manik versus Khoya
Storm vows a change in The Revolution, and says he needs a partner for the tag team tournament. Manik, Abyss and Khoya face off in a No-Disqualification Triple Threat match, with Khoya winning after hitting Manik and Abyss with Storm’s walking stick, and pinning Manik after a sit-out spinebuster. I was surprised to see Khoya win, as he’s been on Impact the least of the three, but I appreciate the decision for the same reason.
The Rising enters the ring and Drew Galloway discusses his calling to be a wrestler. He discusses his desire to fight the Beat Down Clan, which is why he started his #StandUp campaign. He says the fans are just as much a part of The Rising as the wrestlers in the group, and they’re here for a war against the BDC. After MVP and the BDC come out to mock The Rising, both teams start brawling on the ramp.
The Rising versus The Beat Down Clan
Not much to speak of in terms of a match, but this brief in-ring action did see some serious progression in terms of story. A masked man ran to the ring and assaulted Galloway with a night-stick, revealing himself to be Homicide. After assaulting the rest of The Rising, the newest member of the BDC celebrates with the group.
A brief backstage promo sees EY assault Kurt Angle and vow to take his title.
DJ Zema Ion versus Davey Richards
A quick match showcasing Davey Richards, who won after a pop-up kick and Creeping Death. I’m interested to see where the company goes with Davey Richards. Though The Wolves are incredibly talented, he’s no slouch on his own.
Winner: Davey Richards
Speaking of tag teams, The Hardy’s come out and express their desire and destiny to win the titles, which they’ve never won before. EC3 comes out to complain about his undefeated streak not resulting in a title shot, and he’s found a partner to help him win tag team gold and legitimize himself as a future champion. Bram is revealed as his partner. Ken Anderson comes out and announces his partner as Rockstar Spud and the two psych each other up until Austin Aries comes out and reveals his partner as Bobby Roode.
So the tag-team tournament will be between The Hardys, EC3 & Bram, Ken Anderson & Rockstar Spud, and Austin Aries & Bobby Roode. What an incredible crop of talent battling for tag team gold. This will be a great tournament.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Kurt Angle (c) versus Bobby Roode versus Lashley
For the third week in a row fans were treated to another incredible World Title match to close the show. Lashley played a leg injury well, EY was a crafty heel, and Angle remains the ever resilient champion that will do anything to retain his title. Each man had their own chance to shine at one point or another, and Angle hit a beautiful moonsault to the injured legs of Lashley to win the match. With the presumptive end to the Angle/Lashley feud I eagerly anticipate Angle’s future title defenses. At 47 years old, the guy can still go.
After Angle leaves the ring EY assaults Lashley, spinning his metal shin guard around and locking in a Figure Four until he’s pulled off by referees to end the show.
Overall this was another excellent show. Since moving to Destination America Impact Wrestling has stepped up its game with both writing and performing, and the wrestlers and knockouts have put forth some memorable matches. Though the tag team promo dragged on a bit the action was phenomenal, specifically the main event.
(Review by Nicholas Tasca. Impact Wrestling airs in the US on Destination America on Fridays at 9pm ET, and in the UK on Challenge on Sundays at 9pm)