By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Billy Corgan Suspended James Storm
Say what you will about Storm making the wrong decision in going back to TNA (I do agree he should have stayed with NXT), but he has been delivering some of the best work of his career in 2016 and this was his strongest promo to date. When Storm is serious and motivated, he is exceptional on the mic, as seen here. I'm not exactly sure whether Corgan is supposed to be babyface or heel onscreen, but he is definitely a heel after that exchange. I don't believe the reports that Storm might be on his way out of TNA (I wish!), but at least they have an intriguing storyline in mind for him for the time being.
Moose def. Eddie Edwards
I have really liked how this mini-feud between Edwards and Moose has played out over the past month. It isn't worthy of being blown off at Bound for Glory or anything, but it has been fun for the meantime and this was a well-wrestled match. Simultaneously, tension has been teased between Mike Bennett and Moose i.e. with Moose coming out to Bennett's entrance music and not his own. That should likely lead to a match between the two at BFG, which I am fully in favor of.
Gail Kim def. Jade by Disqualification
Kim and Jade are probably the best all-around workers in the division in the moment, so I really wish this match between them had meant more. Sure, they both had something to fight for, but the focus seemed to be on Maria, Sienna and essentially everyone else. Parts of the match were good, other parts were not-so-good and came off as sloppy. And Maria saying Kim "failed" despite winning the match by disqualification made no sense, though the commentators did acknowledge that and I assume that will be explained eventually.
DJ Z def. Braxton Sutter, Mandrews and Rockstar Spud in a Fatal 4-Way Match
Nothing has changed in that no one in the division has a real character at the moment. It looked like someone would be built up to unseat Lashley as X-Division Champion, but he vacated the belt later in the night, so that probably won't be happening. DJ Z would have a great upside if he didn't have such a stupid gimmick. This was a classic X-Division match that featured fun wrestling but I ultimately had zero incentive to care about it.
Ethan Cater III Called Out Drew Galloway
Well, EC3 is the latest babyface to come off like a complete idiot for putting the world title shot at Bound for Glory he earned on the line in a match. I suppose I get it from a storyline standpoint that if EC3 can't beat Galloway's "lame ass," then he has no chance of beating Lashley, but still. We see this in wrestling far more than we should. I'm not sure what Aron Rex's fascination with this feud is, but here's hoping his involvement in the match as the special guest referee means we won't get a fluky finish.
Eli Drake def. Mahabli Shera
I said months ago that Drake had all the tools necessary to evolve into a tremendous talker over time and he has improved immensely. His pre-match promo about losing the King of the Mountain Championship and his imitation of Storm were hysterical. My heart sunk a little when Shera was announced as his opponent, making me fear Drake would lose to him, but thankfully that wasn't the case. Drake tried his hardest, but Shera is absolutely awful.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Lashley Disrespected the X-Division and King of the Mountain Championships
Firstly, Lashley is by far the best thing going in TNA right now, and I'm not just saying that because he has three titles. He has come a long way as a wrestler as well as a character, and his occasional snide remarks are hilarious as well. Secondly, one might argue that a wrestler should never disrespect a title, but Lashley made an excellent point: why does the King of the Mountain Championship still exist?! I hated when it was brought back to begin with, and from what I've heard, it will be retired soon. I don't know what the future holds for the X-Division Championship and who will hold it, but Lashley was right again: that belt hasn't had the slightest bit of credibility in ages.
Matt Hardy and Brother Nero def. The Helms Dynasty, The Tribunal, and The BroMans in a No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Ladder Match For the World Tag Team Championship
The match was exciting when it came down to the Hardys and The Helms Dynasty, but otherwise, it was a total train wreck. The BroMans had a handful of botched spots and The Tribunal just flat-out suck. And were the ladders really necessary? Save them for a marquee match, not a randomly put together main event on Impact Wrestling. Either way, the Hardys were the highlight of the match and I'm looking forward to their pursuit of the tag titles. The Brother Nero get-up looks phenomenal, too, and I hope they don't pull the plug on it too soon.
There are still a few things about the product I could do without, but by and large, it has maintained the momentum it has had going throughout most of 2016. The Hardys continue to be extremely entertaining, but I'm also digging Drake, Lashley, Rex and a few others, too. Bound for Glory is just around the corner, and if TNA can keep this up, they might be able to make up for the disappointment that was Slammiversary.