By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Ethan Carter III Brawled with TNA World Heavyweight Champion Matt Hardy and Tyrus
EC3 was treated like an absolute star throughout the night by the English crowd and it was stellar to see. He may not yet be a household name (by that I mean I don't think he's drawing in audiences on his own), but he can be if TNA can stay the course with him and continue to protect him. The brawl between him, Tyrus and Hardy here was well done as it gave viewers a small taste of what to expect in the night's main event and I was glad EC3 set his sights on Tyrus first given their long history dating back to late 2014. He has been lost in the shuffle a bit since he joined Matt Hardy and I don't think the title shot he won at Bound at Glory has been acknowledged yet.
King of the Mountain Champion Eric Young vs. James Storm Ended in a Double Count-out
Honestly, I couldn't care less whether the King of the Mountain title was on the line or not because it means next to nothing. That said, the match itself was decent while it lasted, but it was over within a few minutes. This has been a solid feud to keep Beer Money busy before they challenge for the World Tag Team Championship sooner rather than later and next week's Steel Cage match should be fun. As for the two teams brawling for the rest of the show, it got to the point where it was simply silly. No brawl lasts that long, no matter how hard I try to suspend my disbelief.
Mike Bennett def. Mandrews
I'm still not exactly sure what Mandrews' gimmick is supposed to be. He switched it up with every appearance he made during the World Title Series and now he's apparently a skateboarder. I don't think any other crowd would have budged when he accepted Bennett's open challenge, but because he's from England, they were behind him. The match wasn't much more than a glorified squash, but if nothing else, it was a nice win for Bennett to further establish his growing credibility.
World Tag Team Champions The Wolves def. Decay in a Monster's Ball Match
Typically, I'm not a fan of Monster's Ball matches because they get unnecessarily hardcore from time to time, but this bout was a blast. Granted, there were a few spots I could have done without, specifically the shots to the head (and the thumb tacks never cease to make me cringe), but by and large, it was highly enjoyable and the crowd was also engaged in the action. With The Wolves going on to face Beer Money in the near future, I'm curious where Decay go from here, but it looks like they will be telling some sort of story with that unnamed person from Rosemary's past.
Knockouts Champion Gail Kim and Madison Rayne def. The Dollhouse
This was a standard tag team match for the most part, and while there wasn't anything wrong with it, the contest barely held my attention. The lack of depth in the Knockouts division is really starting to become apparent and its in desperate need of some fresh faces. Although they had potential at first, The Dollhouse are now a dead act with both Taryn Terrell and Awesome Kong gone from the company and they're booked to look weak on every show, so why should anyone take them seriously in Lethal Lockdown next week?
Odarg the Great and Mahabli Shera def. Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz
I've seen Grado's work on the independent scene and I really want to like him in TNA, but he's been reduced to TNA's version of Santino Marella even when he has glimmers of greatness. Furthermore, having him team with Shera surely won't do him any favors. Drake and Godderz are losers themselves, so this was essentially filler. Perhaps The Great Khali was originally supposed to align with Shera before the India tour got cancelled several months back?
Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud def. TNA World Heavyweight Champion Matt Hardy and Tyrus
There was plenty of great storytelling that took place over the course of the show with Drew Galloway and others asking EC3 if they could team with him and I was happy with Spud ultimately coming to his aid. Their friendship (and subsequent rivalry) dates back years and the English crowd went nuts for Spud when he came out. EC3 pinning Hardy was a logical move for him to build momentum going into next week's title match. I didn't think I would be excited for yet another encounter between EC3 and Hardy, but somehow I am.
It feels too soon in the year for Lockdown to be held (it used to occur in March or April), but at least all the matches that are scheduled for the show are ready to be blown off. As for this edition of Impact Wrestling, it paled in comparison to recent episodes, but that's not to say it was bad, just average. The English crowd was a treat per usual, but they might be saving the better matches and bigger angles for next week's stacked show.