By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The Beatdown Clan (and Eric Young) Explained Their Actions
The Beatdown Clan? Really? I was hoping for a better name for the faction, but I guess it somewhat makes sense since MVP has been referring to his friendship with Joe and Low Ki as a "clan" for a while now in interviews. In all honesty, as good of a talker as MVP is, this felt like a long, drawn-out promo that you'd see from The Authority at the start of Raw. I was fine with MVP tying together the ending of last week's show, but it would have been more beneficial if they split this segment up by having Young talk later in the night instead of cramming it at the start of the program.
Samoa Joe def. Kurt Angle
Obviously, these two go way back and it's near-impossible for them to have a bad match. They contested a good match here, but nothing as great as some of their past encounters. Angle is still trying to find his groove since returning as a wrestler and Joe was a fitting first opponent for him. I was shocked to not only see Joe go over clean, but doing so by forcing Angle to tap out. I don't know how smart it was to make Angle lose his second match back, but it a lot to lend some credibility to Joe as well as the new stable he's now a part of.
Bobby Roode Addressed Eric Young
We've heard so much about the history between Roode and Young over the last year that it's gotten to the point of being annoying. I'm sick of seeing them team up/feud, and this pending program between them doesn't give me much hope. That said, this was a good promo from Roode where he didn't have to rely too much on yelling in order to elicit a reaction. Roode continues to come off like a star, but I feel like the feud with Young is a step down for him.
The Hardys def. The Wolves in a No. 1 Contender's Match for the World Tag Team Championship
Did you expect any less than a great match from these two teams? It wasn't on the same level as some of their epic encounters from last summer, but it didn't need to be. There wasn't any stipulation attached to it (aside from it being a No. 1 Contender's match), so it didn't need to be anything too special. Both The Hardys and The Wolves had strong showings here and the final few minutes were very fun. I was fine with The Hardys picking up the win since The Wolves beat them in their first match against each other last summer. Even though The Hardys are next in line for a shot at the straps, I expect this to turn into a Triple Threat match for the tag titles also involving The Wolves at some point, but it doesn't take rocket scientist to figure that out.
Eric Young def. Bobby Roode in a No Disqualification Match
I commend TNA for hyping a "big" match one week out, but thinking long term, why blow off the feud so early? I can't say I'm too disappointed because as I've expressed, I don't care to see these two feud yet again. However, if the intention is for the feud to continue past this point, delivering a clean finish was an odd move. Regardless, it gave Young a credible win, despite how goofy his new haircut looks. On a side note, I hope we don't see no disqualification matches every week again. That was a big turn off in TNA for the latter half of 2014 and I'm hoping they don't go back to that well too often.
The Beautiful People def. Knockouts Champion Taryn Terrell and Brooke
None of these Knockouts are the strongest in-ring workers, so it didn't come as a shocker that the match wasn't an instant classic, but they all held their own and put together a fine match. It didn't overstay its welcome and it was long enough to not be completely pointless. The focus of the match was more on Brooke's feud with Robbie E than it was Terrell and her next challenger, so I'm interested to see who's next in line for a title shot. Once again, Awesome Kong received a great ovation from the crowd afterward and they were excited to see her nearly come to blows with Havok. I can't say that's a dream match of mine, but at least they're building it up the right way.
Low Ki def. Austin Aries to Win the X-Division Championship
This rematch had a bit more meaning than their previous encounter did if only because Low Ki was the established heel going in and we heard from Aries earlier in the night. They once again contested an entertaining match, but it was bogged down by all the interference from the Beatdown Clan. That was the recurring theme throughout the night, so I supposed I shouldn't have been too surprised. Low Ki winning back the belt gives him more heat and makes Aries one of the faction's biggest rivals, but it does absolutely nothing for the title. It's worthless by this point with all the times it has changed hands and Aries' reigns are getting more and more forgettable.
The Beatdown Clan Attacked TNA World Heavyweight Champion Lashley
Was it really necessary to close the show with a long talking segment, too? I realize they built the entire show around Lashley showing up, but it just felt repetitive. It was only inevitable before he went babyface, especially after all the heel turns TNA expected last week with a few of their top stars. Lashley was decent on the mic in this segment, but I fear how he'll fare on his own without MVP as his mouthpiece. Nevertheless, him taking on the faction he was once a part of should make for an interesting story.
Needless to say, this show was all about building up The Beatdown Clan. They made them look legitimate first night by having them all win all their matches, but the jury is still out on how they'll do going forward. They all have great chemistry together (though Eric Young's inclusion feels random) and they can make it work, but heel stables in TNA have been done to death over the years and I don't want this faction to meet the same fate as Immortal, Aces and Eights, etc. Hopefully the program won't be so focused on them in coming weeks and this was only a one-night deal.