By Graham "GSM" Matthews
X-Division Champion Tigre Uno def. Manik, DJ Z and Andrew Everett in an Ultimate X Match
I wish we would have known more about Everett or at the very least heard from him before this bout so viewers would have been given a reason to care about him winning, but I'd like to see more of him in the future after the performance he had in this match. The DJ Z gimmick continues to be bothersome, but at least Manik has finally unmasked. Hopefully they soon take the next step have him go by TJ Perkins. It was your typical spot fest with no real story told, but everyone worked hard and produced a fun opener. Tigre Uno can be a strong leader of the X-Division if TNA bothered to take it seriously.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Ethan Carter III Addressed the Audience
This seemed like a cheap way of killing time in between matches. He cut a decent promo and hyped the main event title match well, but I don't think it was necessary to have him appear in front of the live audience before the big match. Then again, given that the match received very little storyline support, at least this promo was successful in building toward it.
Tyrus Won a No. 1 Contender's Gauntlet Battle Royal for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Essentially, this was TNA's version of the Royal Rumble and Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, except everyone involved were mostly scrubs and the surprise appearances of Al Snow, Tommy Snow and D'Angelo Dinero didn't do much for me. Mahabali Shera dancing in the middle of the ring with the rest of the competitors was one of the stupidest things I've seen in a while. As much of a mess as this match was, Tyrus was made to look like a monster by eliminating a handful of people before ultimately winning. He sparks interest in the TNA title picture and it's good to see him finally getting his due. As previously mentioned, it was unnecessary to have EC3 appear afterward. I understand him wanting to congratulate Tyrus and tease a future title match between them, but the promo risked overexposing him on the mic. It's too much of a good thing like with Seth Rollins.
TNA World Tag Team Champions The Wolves def. Brian Meyers and Trevor Lee
Despite Meyers and Lee being a part of the Global Force Wrestling roster, it was explained that they still had their automatic championship rematch clause, so other than that, there wasn't anything out of the ordinary about the match. It was the best wrestled contest up to this point in the show, but I wasn't all that invested in it to be honest. Can you believe that The Wolves haven't even been in TNA for two full years and they're already five-time World Tag Team Champions?
King of the Mountain Champion Bobby Roode def. Lashley
Similar to the previous match, I couldn't have cared less about the King of the Mountain Championship being defended because how heavily damaged the belt has been since its inception years ago, but I thoroughly enjoyed the match itself. These two never cease to have excellent encounters with each other and this was no exception. It would have helped it was built better past last Wednesday, along with both guys having clearly defined characters.
Earl Hebner Was Inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame
The actual introduction took place at Saturday's live event and Billy Corgan came out to the ring on this show to congratulate Hebner. It was kept short and sweet and the video package for Hebner was very well done. You may still have hard feelings toward him for his involvement in the Montreal Screwjob (hey, Bret Hart forgave him, so you should, too), but there's no denying the impact (no pun intended) he's had in TNA over the past decade as a referee.
Knockouts Champion Gail Kim def. Awesome Kong
While it wasn't on the level of their classic matches from years back, this was still very good and easily the best women's match in recent TNA history. They just work so well together that they're incapable of producing anything less than average. This was another match that deserved better build, but the video package highlighting their decorated history was well done. Kim beating Kong clean was slightly surprising, but hopefully we see more from them as the feud begins to redevelop.
Kurt Angle def. Eric Young in a No Disqualification Match
I was hoping Angle would go against a fresh face upon his return to the ring and not someone he had a million matches with earlier in the year, but I liked the story they told with Young targeting Angle's injured neck throughout. It was far better than Angle coming back and beating Young in a standard singles match. This was one of the few matches on the card that was not only entertaining from an in-ring standpoint but they also told a solid story. Angle winning was predictable, but I'm glad he's back in the ring and he didn't show any worse for wear.
Matt Hardy def. Ethan Carter III and Drew Galloway in a Triple Threat Match to Win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Although I really wanted to see a straightforward main event, I knew the shenanigans were only inevitable, so they didn't bother me too much. Besides, I was glad they waited until the end to have Jeff Hardy get physically involved, as everything else before that was good. The only part I didn't get was how the story being told was between Hardy and EC3 yet Galloway was the one who was pinned. It kept EC3 undefeated, so there's that, but it was slightly strange. That aside, I was ecstatic to see Hardy win his first world title. It may be a few years late, but it's well-deserved and there wasn't anywhere better for it to happen than in his home state of North Carolina.
I might have to grade this show on a curve because of how forgettable Slammiversary was back in June, but I enjoyed this event on the whole. TNA didn't hit a home run and they definitely suffered from a lack of proper build-up for a majority of the matches, but the wrestling was relatively solid and I was satisfied with the conclusion to the main event. It's just a shame they can't follow up properly because there aren't any fresh tapings scheduled for a while.