EC3 Build Gains Steam
After Scott and I discussed the strange separation between EC3 and his Slammiversary opponent Kurt Angle on this week’s Going Over podcast, TNA made up for that lack of build in a big way. EC3 was at the center of the show in several segments, wrestled in the main event, and did some great promo work. Once again, he was the highlight of the show and proved that he has the potential to be the flag-bearer for the company as an obnoxious heel champion.
The show started with a barbershop quintet singing EC3’s “Trouble” theme song as part of a hilariously elaborate celebration he threw for himself as the new #1 contender. Angle was not a fan of the celebration and he interrupted it and sent EC3 away. Naturally, he attacked the member of the quintet that did not have his own microphone and hit him with an Angle Slam.
Later in the show, EC3 offered Rockstar Spud a lifetime job on his staff if he opted not to trade in his X Division Title for a shot at Angle’s World Title. Spud aggressively rejected the overture and called EC3 a “self-entitled prick.” EC3’s concern for others jumping him in line for a title shot was not very reasonable since he would still get a title match against the winner of that match.
Spud later teamed with Angle in the main event against EC3 and Tyrus. They cornered Tyrus and Angle hit him with an impressive Angle slam to allow Spud to get the cover and the win. After the match ended, Austin Aries announced that he would use his Feast or Fired contract to challenge the winner of Spud vs. Angle for the World Title, all at Destination X. Although I am not a fan of Spud, that should make for an entertaining faux-PPV before Slammiversary. At the same time, I’m glad to see EC3 finally wedged into the title program and doing such good work.
James Storm Murders Mickie James
The storyline in which Storm has tried to insert himself in the personal relationship between Mickie James and her finance Magnus has stretched the boundaries of believability at times. Storm seemingly abandoned the cult he led in order to flirt with a platonic friend with no obvious motivation. This week, he invited Mickie to join his cult, but did not overreact when she declined and said that he had misread her friendship for something more.
He did not overreact, that is, until he saw her off. He walked her to a train station and shoved her off of the platform onto the train tracks. It was not clear whether she was hit by a train, but after he threw her from the platform, he muttered, “it’s a long way down.” Even though I have wanted Storm to return to the deranged cult leader character, this was not the way to do it. In fact, the stunt was so remarkably stupid that it fits in the pantheon of eye-rolling gimmicks alongside Road Warrior Hawk drunkenly tumbling from the Titantron and Torrie Wilson’s dad’s heart attack. There was a significant amount of online backlash to the stupidity of the segment. Hopefully, TNA notices that feedback, calls an audible, and simply pulls the plug on the whole story.
-Lashley needed a distraction from Chris Melendez to escape a powerbomb and hit Eric Young with a spear to win. The precipitous fall has been precipitous for Young. He went from working with Bobby Roode and Kurt Angle to apparently starting a program with the Sarge. I think he was due for a course correction, but not to this degree.
-The Dirty Heels lived up to their names to get their first win in the best-of-five series with the Wolves for the Tag Team Titles. Austin Aries tried to get Bobby Roode to hit Davey Richards with a chair, but Roode resisted. When the referee turned his back to Roode to lecture Aries, Roode hit Richards with a low blow and a chair shot to get the pin. The dirty finish made this match the least compelling of the three so far, but I think it was worth it to establish one team as the villains in the program.
-At one point, it seemed that the Beat Down Clan and The Rising were set for a main-event caliber program. Their rivalry has receded to the lower-midcard due to a lack of stakes and poor matches. This week, they got back on track with a fun six-man tag. Drew Galloway looked especially good in the match and got the pin with a belly-to-belly suplex while stuck in the tree of woe and a Future Shock DDT on Low Ki to win.
-The Dollhouse got more heat and reinforced how dangerous they can be after a loss to Brooke. Jade suffered the pin after Brooke took out Marti Belle at ringside and hit her with a side suplex. When Rebel tried to congratulate Brooke backstage, the pair beat her senseless- a much more thorough beating than usually seen in women’s wrestling- and left a jawbreaker in her mouth. It would be a mistake to assume that the good mic work by Taryn Terrell coats her teammates in Teflon. They need to prove themselves, and this beating helps them in that direction.
-Angelina Love once again had her security force detain Velvet Sky. She slapped her around and had her hauled away as Velvet laughed at her. Real security guards came out from backstage and handcuffed Angelina for assaulting a “fan” since Velvet is not technically a wrestler in the storyline at this point. I’m not sure when private security guards gained the ability to arrest people. It’s also disappointing to see TNA recycle the Stephanie McMahon-Brie Bella storyline, especially since the original was not very good.
-D’angelo Dinero took Al Snow’s place next to Josh Mathews on commentary this week. Snow needed to be replaced, but Dinero was only marginally better. He limited the number of embarrassing factual errors by not saying much at all. I think it’s a good idea for TNA to continue rotating color commentators until they find one who works.