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Impact Wrestling - January 7, 2015

by Samoa Rowe

-Okay, TNA, this might be your last chance. Impress me.

-From New York, NY. Our hosts are Josh Mathews and Taz. This is the premiere episode of Impact Wrestling on Destination America, though I’m watching two weeks later on Youtube.

-Things kick off with the entire roster brawling into the Manhattan Center. Everyone hates everyone, it seems. TNA GM/Commissioner/Emperor/Whatever Kurt Angle shows up and is happy to let the chaos continue while he makes a bunch of title matches for later tonight. MVP gets into the ring to interrupt and I can barely understand him because the censors are working overtime due to a “Shut the f*ck up” chant. MVP verbally tears apart Kurt, prompting Angle to announce that he’s returning to the ring, right now in fact, to face MVP! Also, it’s a Street Fight, because LOLTNA. Angle dumps MVP from the ring and it’s commercial time.

Street Fight:
MVP vs. Kurt Angle

Match started during the break, and MVP is in the driver’s seat. Angle counters with a German Suplex, but MVP counters back with an armbar. Angle fires back with rolling Germans. MVP somersaults Angle into a leg scissors. MVP wraps Kurt’s leg around the ring post for a chair shot. The fans chant “MVPenis” and Kurt counters with the Ankle Lock. MVP counters again with a side choke, but Angle punches his way to freedom. MVP escapes another Ankle Lock, but misses a Yakuza kick. The Angle Slam ends it at 5:58 (shown). They tried hard, but this was short and clunky. I think Angle would be better off retired, **.
Winner: Kurt Angle

-The roving camera catches glimpses of the numerous TNA titleholders anticipating their championship matches later.

-MVP grills Kenny King for not being there to help him against Angle.

-Ethan Carter III grabs one of the roving cameras and forces a promo. ECIII accuses the fans of already breaking their New Year’s Resolutions, but he is a man who keeps his promises. He orders Tyrus (Brodus Clay) to secure his target.

-Mike Tenay announces that he will be hosting TNA Impact Unlocked, which sounds like a fluff show. He shows a teaser for an interview with Revolution member, James Storm, who has gone full blown heel and is sick of the broken promises from TNA management (him and the rest of the roster, AMIRIGHT?). Okay, so it’s not so much a teaser for an interview, as a full blown interview, but I guess you can watch this again if you tune in later. Storm seems to have been studying his Bray Wyatt promo tapes and this feels like a retread.

TNA World Tag Team Championship:
James Storm and Abyss © (with Sanada and Manik) vs. The Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards)

This Revolution group is one of the more random stables to come around in a while: a cowboy, monster, painted Japanese guy, and luchador. Why not? The Wolves have added scratch mark paint to their attire, which is a nice touch. Before the match can begin, Matt and Jeff Hardy show up at ringside to scout the competition. Match starts with the Wolves dumping Abyss and Storm to set up four consecutive stereo suicide dives. The Wolves’ momentum ends when Abyss choke slams Edwards onto the apron. Davey briefly plays Face in Peril before getting what is supposed to be a hot tag to freshly healed Edwards. Eddie hits Storm with a backpack chin breaker, but Abyss breaks the cover. The Wolves drop-kick the knees of Abyss and stiffly kick his head. Storm suffers an Edwards backbreaker to set up flying knees from Richards. Abyss rolls Richards into Storm’s DDT for 2. Torture Rack backbreaker by Abyss on Davey, but Eddie cuts down the Monster. The Hardy Boyz rush the ring to cut off Sanada and Manik’s interference, but Jeff accidentally backs into Eddie. Storm super kicks Edwards for the win at 6:11. Complete spot-fest that tried to cram as much action into a relatively short time frame, **½.
Winners and still TNA World Tag Team Champions: James Storm and Abyss

-Hype video for Roode vs. Lashley III. They do their damndest to give this a “big fight” feel and it works.

-Ethan Carter III orders the camera to follow him to the ring.

-The camera catches MVP telling Lashley off in their dressing room. Lashley snaps and shoves MVP into the corner. MVP’s feelings are hurt and tells Lashley he’s on his own tonight.

-Jeremy Borash puts over how proud he is to have been with TNA from the first show to this premier on Destination America. He’s interrupted by Ethan Carter III, who is now proclaiming to be the Lord of Wrestling. ECIII rips off Tyson Kidd’s “Fact” promo style, which makes him look like a lesser star in my eyes. The audience has to be censored again as Carter encourage the fans to banter back and forth. He calls out Rockstar Spud, who gets dragged into the building by Tyrus. Carter pulls out a razor and prepares to shave Spud bald, but Borash stands up for his little buddy. The cameras miss Borash clocking ECIII with his microphone, prompting Tyrus to beat him up. Spud tries to save, but Tyrus holds him in place to watch Ethan shave Borash. This segment was a bit long winded, but I didn’t hate it.

-MVP and Kenny King are STILL arguing. They are going so out of their way to convince us that there’s friction in their faction that you just know a SHOCKING SWERVE!!!!~ is coming.

-Video recap of Bobby Roode defeating Lashley for the TNA title back in the Spike TV days. I didn’t see it, but looks like it was a good match, and it makes me happy to be seeing a rematch later tonight.

-Video package highlighting the complete history of the X Division, all the way back to 2002. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like ever since 2009 or so, the X Division is always being set up for a resurgence that never quite happens.

TNA X Division Championship:
Low Ki © vs. Austin Aries

The crowd is jazzed for this clash of two longtime independent legends. They exchange holds while Josh Mathews acknowledges that Low Ki was the first ROH Champion. Aries counters into a drop-kick to the face for 2. Low Ki throws some nasty chops, but Aries ducks and returns the favor. Aries backdrops Ki onto the apron and knocks him down for a suicide dive, but Low Ki counters with a head kick. Low Ki misses a springboard attempt and Aries finally connects with a dive into the guard rail! Missile drop-kick by Aries but Low Ki counters into the Bite of the Dragon (modified Dragon Sleeper). They jockey for position on the turnbuckle, resulting in Aries dishing out a Brainbuster for the win at 7:06. Aries is now a 63 time X Champion, or something along those lines. This was about as good as seven minute matches can be, **¾.
Winner and new X Division Champion: Austin Aries

-The entire Knockouts division are in the ring for a battle royal. Angelina Love and Velvet Sky are accompanied by DJ Z and Jesse Godderz. DJ Z introduces recent Amazing Race contestant, and fellow Bro-man, Robbie E. The ladies stand around and listen to Robbie E cut a promo about his breakup with Race partner, Brooke Tessmacher. Terrell cuts him off with her entrance, ready to defend her title in really unfair circumstances.

Knockouts Championship Battle Royal:
Taryn Terrell © vs. Angelina Love vs. Velvet Sky vs. Gail Kim vs. Havok vs. Madison Rayne vs. Rebel

The Beautiful People work together to get rid of Rebel at the one minute mark. Havok dumps out Madison Rayne after a scuffle with Gail Kim. Jesse G distracts Taryn on the apron, but she manages to eliminate Angelina anyway. Gail and Taryn work together against Havok, but she nearly tosses them both out. Gail drops Havok with a missile drop-kick, but Sky ambushes with a clothesline. Brooke Tessmacher runs in to attack Robbie E at ringside (and the crowd couldn’t care less). Meanwhile, Gail and Taryn dump Sky over the ropes. Gail counters Havok’s choke slam and tries to dump her with a head scissors, but Terrell tips them both over to retain the title at 4:51. This was bad, even by battle royal standards.
Winner and still TNA Knockouts Champion: Taryn Terrell

-Havok is a sore loser and attacks Terrell from behind. The beat down continues until the lights go out and AWESOME KONG makes her return! This gets over huge with the live crowd as Kong and Havok stand nose to nose. Referees break it up before anything can happen and Havok agrees to back off. Great moment, but it would have been more effective if Kong could have clotheslined Havok out. Kong settles for beating up a referee, which I suppose is good enough.

-Bobby Roode and Lashley can be seen heading towards the ring. I continue to appreciate this “big fight” presentation.

TNA World Championship:
Bobby Roode © vs. Bobby Lashley

No time for introductions as a brawl immediately breaks out. Lashley tackles Roode into the corner for shoulder blocks. Delayed vertical suplex gets a 2 count for Lashley in the early going. Roode dodges an elbow drop but eats a shoulder block. Roode counters with an arm drag, and Lashley looks scary pissed. Roode applies a crossface, prompting Lashley to escape to ringside. Roode scores a cross body to the floor. Lashley manages an Irish whip into the guard rail, but Roode pops back with a clothesline. Meanwhile, MVP and Kenny King try to get past security and into the arena with two masked men. Cue the commercial. After the break, Lashley is firmly in the driver’s seat. Roode powers out of a prolonged (and surprisingly exciting) waist lock sequence and builds some momentum. Spinebuster by Roode gets a 2 count. Lashley fires back with a jackhammer for a very close near fall. Roode counters with a sunset flip sit-out power bomb! Lashley no-sells and fires back with a Roode Bomb for another 2 count. Lashley misses a spear and eats one from Roode but still kicks out. At this time, MVP, Kenny King, and the two masked guys make their way to ringside. Roode reapplies the crossface and transitions with the Roode Bomb. Lashley is trapped in the crossface again when MVP pulls referee Brian Hebner to ringside and knocks him out. Kurt Angle runs in for the save but gets overwhelmed. The masked men reveal themselves to be Low Ki and Samoa Joe. Eric Young runs in with a chair for the apparent save, but makes the even more apparent heel turn by attacking Roode. Seriously, Ray Charles could have seen that coming. Lashley finishes Roode with the spear for the title at 15:07 (shown). Lashley and Roode have a surprisingly strong chemistry together, so this was quite good up until things went off the rails with the interference and swerves upon swerves, ***.
Winner and new TNA World Champion: Bobby Lashley Final Thoughts: This was almost a good show, but it’s kind of amazing what TNA creative considers to be compelling angles. Robbie E feuding with Brooke over what happened on the Amazing Race? That can’t possibly end well. ECIII feuding with Rockstar Spud over shaving Jeremy Borash? That’s totally out of left field. James Storm doing his best Bray Wyatt impression? That needs to end ASAP. The good news is that this show continues to have a talented roster that are still hungry, despite everything that’s happened to them. I’m giving this a thumbs in the middle, on the condition that the Joe and Young heel turns be the last big “swerves” for a long while and set the foundation for the remainder of the year.

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