By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Tyrus Interrupted The Hardy Boyz
As I've mentioned in the past, Jeff Hardy has never been the strongest mic worker, but he played his role well here, as did Matt and Tyrus. Keeping the interaction between The Hardy Boyz brief was smart as their next face-off should be even more interesting. There was plenty of foreshadowing for what would happen later on in the main event, which I liked. There will those who say it was made to be too obvious, but some of the best things in wrestling and storytelling in general have seeds planted ahead of time.
Jeff Hardy def. Tyrus by Disqualification
I noted last week that Hardy looked to be 100 percent coming off his recent layoff, but this match barely went more than a few minutes before it abruptly ended. At first, I thought the match ended with Hardy falling off the top rope was an accident, but it appeared to be angle based off the backstage segment we got later on with Jeff, Matt and Reby Sky. In that case, Tyrus targeting the leg of Jeff was well done. It's a shame he hasn't been built up to mean more prior to this (his Bound for Glory win notwithstanding), but this was a step in the right direction.
Knockouts Champion Gail Kim def. Awesome Kong
These two have so much history dating back to 2007 and I was glad that was touched upon before the bout. However, what was the rush in giving away this match on TV so soon? Kong became the No. 1 contender a little less than two weeks ago, and unless there's a plan to push someone else toward title contention (and I have zero idea who since the Knockouts roster is limited at the moment), it was a head-scratching decision. That aside, Kim and Kong contested one of their better matches in some time (definitely more enjoyable than their Bound for Glory outing) and the interference from The Dollhouse and The Beautiful People only added to it. I wouldn't have had Kim beat Kong so decisively because I'm not sure how they get to a rematch now.
Beer Money def. Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz
Drake and Godderz were hardly a threat to Beer Money, but I'm invested in whatever Beer Money is involved in because they're such a fun tandem. Drake and Godderz weren't completely squashed and at least they scored some offense before ultimately doing the job. The Wolves vs. Beer Money is a, pardon the pun, a money match and I can't wait for when that eventually comes to fruition. Hopefully they build to it properly.
Lashley Challenged Kurt Angle
There really weren't many people on the current TNA roster that jumped out at me as obvious final opponents for Angle other than maybe Jeff Hardy, but Lashley is a fitting adversary. I really liked how Lashley brought up their series of title matches from last year and even how Angle played a factor in him breaking into the business when he did. He also addressed how he has yet to beat Angle and that has eaten away at him, so that will make their match all the more meaningful. Needless to say, this was one of Lashley's best promos in recent memory.
Mike Bennett def. Pepper Parks
I became a big fan of Bennett's during his time in Ring of Honor and was excited to see him make the jump to TNA. This was a fine first match for him, but I can't say I'm enthralled with the new "miracle" gimmick. I just don't see how fans can get behind it, or boo him, rather. It's very Chris Jericho 2007-esque, and I'm not saying it's a ripoff gimmick, but I don't how well it will work as a heel. Why not go the simple route and have him use Maria, his hot wife, to garner heat? That's what worked for him in the past.
Matt Hardy def. Ethan Carter III in a Title vs. Career Last Man Standing Match to Win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
I'd have to go back and watch their matches from last summer to compare whether it was the best of the bunch of not, but as a standalone matchup, this was excellent. Not only was the in-ring action entertaining, but the character development and even the commentary were exceptionally executed. EC3 didn't do anything up until the end that made him look sympathetic, but Hardy's minor mannerisms such as getting increasingly more violent and delivering a low blow to EC3 were superb. Could the heel turn have been seen coming? Sure, but that's why I think it was so great (it reminded me of Christian in 2011). I don't know how Hardy paid Tyrus more money than EC3 could have considering the latter is loaded, but maybe that will become clearer in the weeks to come, along with when Tyrus' title shot comes now. Technically, this marked EC3's first singles defeat, but he remains unpinned, so that was a very nice touch. Finally, Hardy's post-match promo was fantastic. It was actually his heel run back in 2009 that endeared him to me as a fan, so I'm excited for what's in store for his reign and will certainly withhold further judgement as to whether it was the right move to make until we see how it plays out.
I had heard overly negative feedback regarding the main event when it was taped two weeks ago, but it was better than I expected it to be and I'm a fan of the new direction. That said, it's all about the aftermath and only time will tell what will come of it. Meanwhile, the rest of the show held up fairly well with a well-wrestled women's match, a opening match that at first disappointed me but later made sense, a fun tag team squash and a strong talking segment. This was undoubtedly TNA's best show by far since coming to Pop TV, so here's hoping they can keep the momentum going.