7/1/15 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
EC3 def. Kurt Angle to Become TNA World Champion
After a seemingly interminable wait, EC3 finally got his shot at the TNA World Title and the “Bell to Bell” episode of Impact did a good job of elevating that event to a level of high importance. Between the focus on commentary throughout the show, the various promos leading up to the main event, and the special introductions, the match felt like something truly special by them time it started.
The opening of the match belonged to Angle. He hit two Germans Suplexes before EC3 shoved him to the floor. Once outside, Angle hit a belly-to-belly on the floor and brought EC3 back in the ring to resume the German onslaught. EC3 finally swung the match in his favor with a Stinger Splash in the corner and a fireman’s carry slam. It looked like he had taken control with a DDT on the apron, but Angle quickly fought back.
Angle hit a clothesline and three more Germans. When EC3 ducked out of an Angle Slam, it earned him another series of three Germans. He kicked out of an Angle Slam and fought his way out of an Ankle Lock to get to the outside where Tyrus hit Angle with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Angle blocked the One Percenter and followed it with four Germans and another Angle Slam for a near fall.
Angle’s belly-to-belly sent EC3 into the referee, which allowed Tyrus to get involved again with an attack on Angle. EC3 hit the One Percenter as the referee started to stir and Angle kicked out to become the first man to avoid losing to the move. When Tyrus tried to get involved again, the referee ejected him. Angle promptly locked EC3 in the Ankle Lock and grape-vined the leg. After a long stretch, EC3 fought out. He countered the Angle Slam into a roll up where he stacked Angle up for the pin and the victory.
It was high time for EC3 to take the reins for the company, but I did not love the way the match finished. It felt like the bookers were stuck between him cheating to win (which would get him heat as the champion) and winning cleanly (which would validate him as a true victor). This result was in between and doesn’t get him either form of heat; it simply makes him look lucky. Nonetheless, the win was the right call at the right time. EC3 has the charisma, presence, and mic skills to help the company enter a new ear. He even managed a solid match here to reach the mountain top.
The Wolves def. The Dirty Heels to Become TNA Tag Team Champions
The finals of the best-of-five series was a 30-minute Iron Team match in which the team with the most falls would be the winner. It was a fun stipulation for the conclusion of a good series of matches and the wrestlers did a good job building anticipation to a hot finish. Despite several near falls (on a flying headbutt by Davey Richards and a Last Chancery by Austin Aries). With about four minutes left on the clock, Aries hit a springboard 450 splash to get the first fall. They tried to play defense from there by keeping the Wolves out of the ring. They eventually recovered enough to attack and hit a powerbomb into a back cracker to tie the match with a minute to go.
Bobby Roode tried to get the tie-breaking pin by hitting Eddie Edwards with a belt, but Edwards kicked out. Roode lifted him for a Roode Bomb, and Edwards countered into a schoolboy to get the second pin and secure the win. It was a unique and enjoyable finish over the last few minutes. The whole series of matches was strong. The only way it could have been better on the whole is if Roode and Aries had actual heel heat. As rule-breaking fan favorites, they were only able to give the Wolves a fraction of the possible benefit.
-The show opened with an elimination tag match between The Rising and the Beat Down Clan in which the losing team would be forced to disband. The BDC took out Mica early and Eli Drake was eliminated when he fell to the floor and hurt his knee. That left Drew Galloway against the four members of the BDC, and after he eliminated Low Ki and Kenny King, Heranndez and MVP took him out with a Border Toss and Playmaker. The Rising group never made sense because their stated motivation (to have all clean finishes) was silly. Galloway will be better on his own and I’m glad TNA pulled the plug here before too long.
-Taryn Terrell used distractions from The Dollhouse and a cutter to pin Awesome Kong in a Title defense that also featured Brooke. It was a lackluster match, mainly built around transitioning to continue her feud with Gail Kim.
-Mickie James called James Storm manipulative, which was an insult he embraced. He said that he wanted to prove how easy it would be to manipulate her. She responded with a challenge for a mixed tag match pitting herself and Magnus against Storm and a partner of his choosing.
-Mike Tenay sat down with Jeff and Karen Jarrett for an interview. Jarrett discussed his pride over winning King of the Mountain and hyped the debut of GFW. As long as Jarrett remains at the center of this angle, I am dreading it very much.