By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Hardys def. The Revolution in an Ultimate X Qualifying Match
After what went down last week, you had to know that the only reason Khoya was picked to be James Storm's partner is because they plan for him to be the breakout star of the group. The only issue is that he hasn't been around very long and his level of progression isn't where it should be yet, so his split from the group feels premature. The match was good for the most part, but the ending outcome with The Hardys advancing to the main event was never in doubt. The focus was more on the teased tension between Storm and Khoya than it was about the World Tag Team Championship being at stake.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle Confronted Eric Young
I wasn't a fan of Young turning heel several months ago, but to his credit, he has really honed his character and channels his crazy, chaotic persona nicely. It comes across well in his promos as seen here in his back-and-forth with Angle. It was a solid segment used to hype up next week's title match between the two, but at the same time, it seemed to plant the seeds for a Young face turn. Hopefully it's simply a red herring as it's way too soon to be turning him back babyface.
The Beat Down Clan def. Mr. Anderson and X-Division Champion Rockstar Spud in an Ultimate X Qualifying Match
I enjoy Anderson and Spud on their own, and they have some fun chemistry together, but not as a team. They had an odd dynamic with the Beat Down Clan members, and while the match wasn't half bad, it was hard to get invested in anything they did. Spud shouldn't be an afterthought in some random tandem while X-Division Champion and Anderson was just... Anderson, I guess. Again, I didn't have any issue with the matchup, but it wasn't memorable in the slightest. At the very least, the right team went over.
Ethan Carter III and Bram def. Tigre Uno and Jay Rios in an Ultimate X Qualifying Match
Speaking of oddball tag teams, the pairing of EC3 and Bram struck me as very strange. Both guys are bright singles stars, but why were they put together? Why couldn't EC3 have teamed with Tyrus in the tournament instead? It didn't help that their opponents consisted of an enhancement talent and a guy viewers know nothing about. Seriously, where did Jay Rios come from? He and Uno would be a pretty good team if we were given a reason to care about them, and it still annoys me how much TNA has wasted Uno since bringing him in about a year ago. This was exactly what it needed to be: a glorified squash.
A Major Knockouts Division Announcement Was Made
Are there really only six women's wrestlers in the Knockouts division? That was rather sad to see, but at least there's some great talent among those few individuals. Furthermore, it's great that they're dedicating next week's show to the women as they deserve to be showcased. Two matches (a No. 1 Contender's match and a Knockouts title match) have already been announced, but how will the rest of the two hours be filled? Still, it's a step in the right direction in terms of making the division feel more special.
Bobby Roode and Austin Aries def. The BroMans in an Ultimate X Qualifying Match
Roode and Aries teaming up brought back some fun memories of their time as a team two years back and they showed in this match why they made such a great pairing. Their chemistry is so natural and they ended up getting a fun match out of The BroMans. From an in-ring standpoint, The BroMans are excellent athletes and held their own here, but I was worried the gimmickry would get in the way and thankfully it didn't. Based off the post-match meltdown, it looks like The BroMans are on the brink of breaking up which is great to see. They've more than ran their course and it's time for them to go their separate ways.
The Beat Down Clan Attacked TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle
I would have been fine with this happening at the start of the show, but the attack on Angle from the Beat Down Clan was still well done. They looked dominant in their assault, Angle looked sympathetic, and in making the save Young looked... respectable? As I noted earlier, I really hope this isn't a tell-tale sign that he'll be going babyface following the title match next week. It makes the title match more interesting, but it leaves me wondering what direction they'll be taking with this program.
The Hardys def. The Beat Down Clan, Bobby Roode Roode & Austin Aries, and Ethan Carter III & Bram in an Ultimate X Match to Win the World Tag Team Championship
This didn't match the Ultimate X bouts of old, but it didn't need to because most of those were reckless. This was safe for the most part, but it was still entertaining and every team had their shining moment. The interference from Homocide was annoying yet expected but Tyrus shaking the structure to get everyone off the ropes was innovative. Doesn't using ladders defeat the purpose of an Ultimate X match? That aside, The Hardys were the clear-cut team to win and them winning the belts for the first time felt special. Hopefully TNA can build a strong set of heel challengers for them to defend against in the next few weeks.
The showcasing of tag team wrestling was refreshing and a nice change of pace from what we're used to. It's cool that they'll be doing something similar next week with the women and I hope they can continue to take chances and switch up the format like this every so often. Most of the matches were inconsequential, but it made the crowning of new tag team champions feel important and spotlighted the tag division. There was also solid build for next week's world title match between Angle and Young, so this was a successful show in my opinion.