By Graham "GSM" Matthews
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Matt Hardy Addressed Ethan Carter III
I'm hoping Hardy, Reby Sky and Tyrus (and Maxel?) don't kick off every episode of Impact Wrestling like The Authority do with Raw, but on the bright side, at least they're entertaining, especially Hardy. As I have noted in recent weeks, he has really settled in his new heel role and is believable as the over-the-top villainous world champion. I thought he did some of his best WWE work when he was a heel in 2009, so it shouldn't be too surprising. They set the stage for the night very well by calling out EC3 with the commentary team advertising his return throughout the evening.
Lashley def. Bram
I guess Bram and Eric Young make for a good "crazy" tag team, but don't Decay already have that covered? At any rate, I like them better on their own as Bram should be a bigger star than he is. Then again, they haven't had the slightest idea what to do with him for over a year. His match with Lashley was solid, but it was all about Lashley for the most part. Is Lashley looking to go after the King of the Mountain Championship? Raquel didn't appear here, leaving me to wonder whether that angle has been dropped already.
Mike Bennett Interrupted Kurt Angle
Bennett undoubtedly has the look of a star, but his "miracle" gimmick remains questionable. It was nice to see him mix it up with Angle here and he benefited from simply being in the ring with him. The segment came off like a one-off, but I'm assuming they will face off some time soon considering Angle wrestled in the main event and he didn't need to get physical here. Thus, this served a purpose in (hopefully) planting the seeds for a future encounter.
X-Division Champion Trevor Lee def. Tigre Uno
I would have waited to do the rematch between the two instead of giving it away the very next week, but perhaps they want to move away from this program as quickly as possible so they can build up Lee as a credible champion. The crowd wasn't too engaged in the action and it's hard to blame them because of how neglected the X-Division has been for so long, but this was a step in the right direction as they start to establish characters for guys like Lee, Uno and even Shane Helms.
Beer Money def. Decay by Disqualification
As someone who didn't care for Abyss or Crazzy Steve much before, this pairing is the best thing for both of them right now. They found a nice chemistry with Beer Money and had a decent match, but the non-finish was essential in protecting them as they contend for the World Tag Team Championship next week. I like the narrative that Decay have possession of the physical title belts and they refused to give them back unless they were granted a title shot. In the end, The Wolves should hold on to the titles long enough to build to the money (no pun intended) match with Beer Money.
Eli Drake Interrupted Grado
Based on what we saw last week, it looks like Drake switched out his Feast or Fired briefcase for Grado's, and honestly, I couldn't care less. I enjoy Grado's enthusiasm and I feel TNA has largely wasted him, but by this point, he isn't that valuable of an asset to the roster and it's difficult to invest in anything he is involved in. Drake has some potential, but how much good will a program with Grado do him?
Jade def. Madison Rayne
Although the match wasn't much of note, they made the most of the small window of time they were allotted, but it definitely could have been better with more time considering Jade and Rayne are equally excellent workers. Furthermore, Gail Kim wiping out the entire Dollhouse afterward didn't do anything for me. She has mostly dominated the group during her feud with them, so there's no reason to buy into them as challengers with a chance. With Awesome Kong now gone from the company, I think The Dollhouse might be coming to an end sooner rather than later.
Drew Galloway def. Kurt Angle
I assumed we would be getting the same match these two had last month. Don't get me wrong, it was a very well-wrestled matchup, but it was filled with finishers and predictable near-falls, which I know is the norm for Angle matches nowadays. This rematch was formulaic in that respect as well, but beyond that, it did a better job of solidifying Galloway as a star. I had the feeling Angle would win, but I couldn't have been happier Galloway went over clean. If TNA can build him up the right way, he can be a main event player in no time.
Rockstar Spud Confronted TNA World Heavyweight Champion Matt Hardy; Ethan Carter III Returned
Hardy was even more golden in this segment than he was earlier on. He simply comes off so slimy that you can't help but boo him. I'm never high on Dixie Carter appearing on TNA TV as a regular, but I was glad her role here was limited. Rockstar Spud showed with his promo just why he is one of the best babyfaces in the business, and it was certainly interesting to see him, Carter and EC3 reunited as faces. EC3 running rampant on everyone yet not making contact with Hardy was brilliant, and even though it's a match we've seen countless times before, I'm looking forward to their rematch with the roles reversed this time around.
The quality of the on-air product has only improved since their move to Pop TV and it's great to see. This was another entertaining episode with a superb main event match and an excellent talking segment to close it out. Not everything was amazing, but the positives outweighed the negatives, and the England crowds are always a treat. These next few weeks of TNA TV should be fun at the very least.