7/15/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters
This week’s episode of Impact was a great example of how TNA constantly trips up their own momentum. After last week’s highly entertaining show, this week’s episode was packed to the gills with classic “LOLTNA” moments, crushing any forward momentum Impact had gained in the last couple of weeks. This show had literally zero entertaining segments. Zero.
Dixie Carter introduces Bully Ray as new authority figure
Dixie stood in the middle of the ring, surrounded by the entire TNA roster. She said that when Bully Ray put her through a table last year, she heard the fans cheering and wondered how things had gotten so out of hand. Dixie said she realized it was all her own fault, and that her ego had gotten in the way of pleasing the fans.
Dixie apologized, and said that she doesn’t regret being put through the table and breaking her back, because it had made her realize what the wrestlers on her roster do every day. She said that she wants to start a new chapter in TNA, but that when she talks about the future, it’s easy to doubt her. Dixie said that it’s easy to fear that she will break her promises, and to bring the company together, she decided to bring in a new authority figure.
EC3 entered with Tyrus, and Dixie introduced Bully Ray as TNA’s new authority figure. Bully Ray showed up behind EC3 and made his way past him to the ring. Bully Ray took the mic and said that the first thing he heard when Dixie called him was “I’m sorry.” He asked her what she was sorry for, and she told him that she was sorry she let everyone down.
Bully Ray said that for the first time in her life, Dixie realizes what she’s done in her past and how wrong it was. He said that he’s still angry with Dixie, and that if he comes back to TNA he’s not doing it for her or for himself, but for the fans and the wrestlers. Bully Ray invited the entire roster to get up on the apron, because “you’re not below us.”
Bully Ray shook Dixie’s hand and accepted the job. He told EC3 that he would be defending his title later in the night against the winner of a battle royal.
Scott’s Thoughts: This entire segment felt so intensely disingenuous. The look on Bully Ray’s face could best be described as, “Oh god, why am I back here…?,” and his promo was delivered with zero sincerity, probably because he doesn’t truly believe any of the words he’s speaking. The whole segment was just a heavy-handed effort at putting over the TNA product as a whole.
Dixie as a babyface is not getting over, and using Bully Ray to help isn’t going to work. I like the idea of Bully Ray as an authority figure, and think it could be something like Stone Cold’s run as Raw GM, but this was a terrible way to introduce the angle. Bully Ray’s obvious indifference to being back in TNA sure didn’t help.
Drew Galloway last eliminated Eric Young to win a 20-man World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contender’s battle royal
Galloway eliminated James Storm and Magnus in short order to begin the battle royal. The show went to commercial with about 15 wrestlers in the ring, and came back from commercial with just Galloway, MVP and Eric Young left in the ring, as Josh Mathews informed viewers that “almost everyone was eliminated during the commercial break.” Mathews then told viewers that TNA never wants anyone to miss any of the action — right after depriving them of the vast majority of the match’s action — and plugged TNA’s YouTube channel. Great timing, Josh.
MVP and Young teamed up against Galloway, as they took turns hitting Galloway with knee drops. EY tried to get rid of MVP and Galloway at the same time, but only MVP was eliminated. Galloway hit a dropkick that somehow made EY fly over the top rope, despite the fact that he was standing flat-footed in the ring when hit by Galloway’s dropkick.
Scott’s Thoughts: Battle royals are fun. Battle royals are a nice easy way to pump some excitement into a show. TNA chose to show just seven of the 19 eliminations in this match, and the finish was downright hilarious to watch (and not in a good way).
I watched EY’s elimination several times, and it was very unintentionally funny to see him try to sell a dropkick elimination from a standing position. He basically just jumped in the air, got himself tangled up in the top two ropes, and then slumped over onto the floor. Amazing.
Ethan Carter III (w/ Tyrus) def. Drew Galloway by pinfall
EC3 tried to talk his way out of his title match, but Bully Ray wasn’t buying it. Galloway gained the early advantage with a clothesline, following up with a tilt-a-whirl slam onto the apron. Tyrus took advantage of a distracted referee to take cheap shots at Galloway, until Eli Drake evened the odds.
EC3 hit a vertical suplex and a clothesline, followed by a reverse legsweep for a near-fall. Galloway fought back with a flying clothesline, following up with a powerslam for a two-count of his own. Galloway hit an over the shoulder back-to-belly piledriver, but Tyrus put EC3’s foot on the bottom rope and the referee stopped counting.
Tyrus lightly tugged on Galloway’s ankle, giving EC3 enough time to hit a Stinger Splash. Galloway accidentally hit the referee in the head with an elbow, then EC3 kicked Galloway in the groin. Tyrus entered the fray, but Eli Drake threatened him with his crutch.
Suddenly, Eli hit Galloway with his crutch, then smiled and walked away, his knee injury clearly a ruse. EC3 hit the 1 Percenter to finish off Galloway.
Scott’s Thoughts: Boatloads of outside interference, a heel turn that absolutely no one will care about, not just a schmoz finish but an entire schmoz match…yep, this checked all the boxes for “Impact Wrestling main event.”
Brooke def. Taryn Terrell (w/ Jade and Marti Bell) by pinfall to win the Knockouts Championship
On commentary, The Pope said that the fact Brooke wears traditional wrestling gear is disrespectful, because Taryn now wrestles in lingerie. I don’t even know where to begin with that one, so I’m just going to take note of it and move along. Taryn hit a neckbreaker for two, following up with a suplex for another near-fall.
Brooke fought back with a side Russian legsweep for two, but Taryn knocked her down again with a missile dropkick. Brooke hit a dropkick of her own, followed by a flapjack. Taryn took advantage of a distraction from Jade and Marti to knock Brooke from the ring.
Mathews explained that referee Earl Hebner didn’t notice Jade and Marti get physically involved or else they would be in the locker room. This would have made sense if either Jade or Marti had even touched Brooke, which they did not. At any rate, Taryn bounced Brooke’s head off the apron and the ring steps.
Back in the ring, Taryn hit a flying crossbody for a near-fall, but Brooke rolled her up for a two-count of her own. Taryn came up empty on a missile dropkick, and Brooke hit what was maybe supposed to be either a spear or a clothesline, but ended up being an “I’m going to run into you and then we’ll fall down.” Mathews did his best to call the move, referring to it as “a sort of running tackle clothesline.”
Marti took advantage of a distracted Hebner to dump Brooke off the turnbuckle and into the ring. The lights went out and Gail Kim appeared, taking out Marti and Jade. The lights went out again and she was gone. Brooke hit a Butterface Maker to pin Taryn and win the title.
Scott’s Thoughts: Taryn held the title for a record 238 days and it ended like this.
Eric Young targets Kurt Angle yet again
Kurt Angle said he has a problem with EC3 getting himself disqualified from their rematch, and that Bully Ray had come up with a solution. Bully Ray told Angle that he would receive another rematch with EC3, which Angle was unable to accept at the moment because of the tumor in his neck. Angle thanked Bully Ray for the opportunity, and that he couldn’t wait to get back in the ring to reclaim his title.
Eric Young entered the ring, saying that eventually Angle will have to start telling the truth. EY asked him how many piledrivers his old neck still has left, and said that he’d like to take credit for the tumor in Angle’s neck. EY told Angle it’s time to call it a career, and that taking a while off isn’t long enough. EY attacked Angle and tried for a piledriver, but Angle reversed it into a back bodydrop. Chris Melendez entered to help Angle, but EY hit him with a piledriver.
Scott’s Thoughts: I feel like the EY/Angle feud will never ever end, and that is not a good feeling.
Tigre Uno def. Rockstar Spud, DJ Z and Grado in a fatal four-way to retain the X Division Championship
Bully Ray booked Spud into the match, and Spud hugged him as a thank you. Before the match began, Mathews told fans that next week, Tigre Uno will talk about Donald Trump. I’m not joking. That’s an actual segment for next week’s show.
Grado hit his opponents with his gut to start the match, then hit DJ Z with his butt. Grado tried for a senton on Spud, but DJ Z and Tigre hit him with tandem dropkicks. DJ Z hit Tigre with a hurricanrana, but Tigre responded with a dropkick. Grado earned a near-fall with a very clumsy neckbreaker, then hit an inverted atomic drop on DJ Z.
Grado and Spud argued over who got to punch DJ Z, but Tigre dropkicked them both. Tigre took out DJ Z with a dive to the outside, then did a corkscrew moonsault that only kind of grazed Grado’s lower leg, but somehow still mercifully ended the match.
Scott’s Thoughts: The X Division title keeps slipping further and further into insignificance when you’ve got nothing but jobbers competing for it, and the matches are booked as entirely humorless comedy bits. As a side note, I don’t understand how anyone thinks Grado is funny. He is a poor worker whose attempts at comedy make Santino Marella look like George Carlin. This was all just awful.
– Mike Tenay interviewed Mr. Anderson backstage, and Anderson said that at the age of 39, he feels better than he’s felt in a decade. Anderson said that if his career ended tomorrow, he would be pretty happy with the way it turned out, which is a pretty strange sentiment for a TNA midcarder who was once destined to be WWE Champion.
Anderson said that Bram is a dark individual, and that he has his own dark side to combat him. Anderson finished the promo by saying “It’s gonna be…I don’t know…I don’t know…” while Tenay stared at him like Anderson was the most beautiful and fragile puppy he’d ever seen. This episode is incredible.
– At one point, the entire Magnus vs. James Storm match from Slammiversary aired. You read that right. They showed a full match from a 2 1/2 week old pay-per-view to fill time. It was especially ridiculous when you consider that Magnus and Storm were made to look incredibly weak, by being two of the first wrestlers eliminated from the battle royal earlier in this same episode of Impact.