8/19/15 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
EC3 def. PJ Black to Remain TNA World Champion
In all things wrestling, this week’s episode of Impact was a step in the right direction for TNA, anchored by a strong main event storyline and match. Despite Black’s King of the Mountain Title win last week, EC3 attempted to boycott the match to avoid facing a wrestler from another company for the title. Jeff and Karen Jarrett implied that EC3 was the one who incapacitated Bully Ray and threatened to strip him of the title if he refused to participate in the match. As the show went on, Dixie Carter echoed that decree and backed the champion into a corner.
Rather than forfeit his title, EC3 showed up to face Black in the main event. The match was entertaining because the wrestlers complement each other well- Black’s in-ring ability and EC3’s charismatic personality help mask each other’s shortcomings. As such, Black controlled most of the match with a wide array of high flying moves. He hit a suicide dive, missile dropkick, and topez con giro in quick succession at the start of the match and a springboard splash for a near fall not long after.
EC3 eventually got on track with a superplex for a two count the next time Black tried to go to the top rope. Black quickly recovered and used the ropes for another springboard, this time into a moonsault. EC3 showed his strength with a deadlift, sit-out powerbomb that almost got him the three count. Black answered with a sit-out powerbomb of his own and followed it with a springboard 450 splash for a near fall. When he went back to the top rope, EC3 knocked him off and hit the One Percenter to get the win. While the finish wasn’t outstanding, the match itself was very good and further helped to legitimize EC3 as a developing, dominant champion.
From top to bottom, this week’s episode of Impact was more rational and therefore more entertaining with one notable exception- Jeff Jarrett. The fill-in GM appeared in six (!) separate segments on the show and came off as more of an incompetent businessman than a wrestling character. He ended the show asking Dixie to make him the full-time GM of Impact. He also announced earlier in the show that he remains a major shareholder in the company, which contradicts his statements about his departure from the company.
Jarrett has done a poor job of explaining why GFW matters in TNA. If he is meant to become a heel authority figure, that will only undermine EC3 as a burgeoning heel standard-bearer. If he portrays a babyface invader, the angle will turn the entire TNA roster heel. As an entertainment vacuum, Jarrett is a poor fit in either role.
Mr. Anderson def. Bram in an Open Mic Challenge
The second-best match of the night was a big surprise to me because the stipulation between Anderson and Bram essentially amounted to a Vince Russo special “Mic on a Pole” match. Nonetheless, Anderson and Bram put in a great effort to overcome the stipulation and wrestled a very physical match from the opening bell. Anderson used his Lambeau Leap rolling senton off of the apron to put Bram through a table to set the tone at the start. Both wrestlers recovered slowly and Bram got even with his Brighter Side of Suffering DDT on a chair.
Bram piled chairs in the ring, but neither wrestler was initially able to use them for an offensive purpose. When Anderson started to climb the ladder, Bram powerbombed him off of it and onto the pile of chairs. Bram used the opportunity to climb the ladder and retrieve the microphone. He swung it at Anderson, but Anderson ducked, hit the Mic Check on the pile of chairs, and stole the microphone. He used it to shout his name at Bram and then hit him with it one more time to get the pin. Although Anderson has been dormant for quite some time, he looked very good in this match and would be a viable title challenger in a long-term program with EC3 down the road.
-Matt Hardy stayed in the title picture with a warning to EC3 that their Full Metal Mayhem match was not the end of the road. Hardy used a pair of Twists of Fate to beat Tyrus in a short match and EC3 jumped him at the end. The win was good booking- it was a useful, but not enormous, win for Hardy against an opponent who keeps him on EC3’s radar.
-After The Rising was forced to disband, I wrote that it was the right time for Drew Galloway to move onto bigger and better things. He has not yet done so and has been stuck in a feud with Eli Drake over the breakup of the short-lived group. He beat Drake in a No DQ match this week despite Drake going low repeatedly and using a crutch to beat Galloway. A version of a backbreaker through a table ultimately beat Drake and hopefully allows Galloway to have his first meaningful angle in TNA starting soon.
-Gail Kim beat the mostly useless team of Jade and Marti Belle in a cage match when Marti’s cross-body hit her teammate and Gail delivered Eat Defeat. With no reinforcements Gail and Velvet Skye cornered Taryn Terrell backstage and threatened to break her hand.
-James Storm asked Mahabali Shera to come back to the Revolution, which prompted Shera to tell Storm how much he loves to dance. He compounded that wise strategic decision with an attack on Storm, which quickly turned into a group beating by Storm, Abyss, and Manik. Although I get the storyline of a rebellion against Storm, I don’t see Shera as the wrestler most able to capitalize on the opportunity.
-Chris Melendez asked for a rematch against Eric Young and Young said that the only thing he would want from the Sarge is his prosthetic leg. The storyline is either brilliant, deeply offensive, or both.