By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Matt Hardy Interrupted TNA World Heavyweight Champion Ethan Carter III; The Dirty Heels def. Matt Hardy in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
EC3's championship celebration was tamer than what I expected, but it was still fun for what it was. It was refreshing to see Hardy interrupt because he's a fresh face in the title picture, but how closes he comes to contending for the title remains to be seen. I figured the Iron Man match from last week was Aries' final match in TNA, but I guess he worked the rest of the tapings that week. It was a nice little match while it lasted and the underhanded tactics established The Dirty Heels as... well, heels, but there's no point in investing in them if it's already well-known that Aries is gone from the company.
Drew Galloway def. The Revolution in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match
As I mentioned in last week's review, I couldn't be happier that The Rising has been broken up because I see much more more in Galloway as a singles star than in a throwaway stable. This told a similar "up against the odds" match as the previous match, so it wasn't anything new and the fact The Revolution was involved didn't help matters. In fact, Galloway's win did more to make Hardy look weak than make him look strong because Hardy failed to put two men away when Galloway could beat three with ease.
Mr. Anderson def. Bram by Disqualification
So, is Bram done facing TNA alumni now that Slammiversary is over with? This was more of an angle than a match because it didn't last long before Bram caused the disqualification, but I liked it. He showed plenty of aggression in his brutal beating on Anderson and this feud could be exactly what both men need right now. I'm high on both competitors, but it's good to see Bram a part of something worthwhile for once.
Jesse Godderz def. Robbie E in a Street Fight
For a feud I couldn't have cared less about, this was a pleasantly surprising match. I give props to Robbie and Jesse for putting forth a commendable effort and making this feel like a very personal matchup. They also made good use of the extreme environment, though the stipulation would have packed more of a punch if we didn't see already see no disqualification-esque matches every week. Jesse came out of this match looking dominant, so it will be interesting to see if TNA will continue to book him accordingly going forward.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Ethan Carter III def. Norv Fernum; EC3 def. Shark Boy
Okay, I'll admit: I got a kick out of this. I hated when EC3 was facing the same names every week back in late 2013, but "going full circle" as he mentioned in his pre-match promo and facing his very first TNA opponent was a nice touch. Shark Boy being his second point was also fitting since as how it's Shark Week this week on Discovery Channel, the parent channel of Destination America. What synergy! Anyway, I liked how Kurt Angle challenging EC3 in a championship rematch was saved for the main event and not given away here, but why not advertise it a week out instead of rushing into it?
Lashley def. Tyrus
I continue to be amazed by how far Lashley has come in the ring and what he's capable of (i.e. the electric chair to Tyrus was incredible). It was a fun showcase for Lashley and a nice win for him to get his momentum back on track, but I hate how Tyrus is always the fall guy. It's better than having him serve as a standard enhancement talent, but I wish they did more to protect him in the bodyguard role. It appears Lashley will be next in line to challenge for the title and feud with EC3.
Velvet Sky def. Madison Rayne
It's encouraging to see Sky show some signs of character development by changing up her look and persona, but we haven't heard from her at all since her return to TNA two months ago. This was a half-decent match and there wasn't anything from it, but I'm ready for Sky to explain her recent actions as well as her motives for being back.
Kurt Angle def. TNA World Heavyweight Champion Ethan Cart III by Disqualification; Dixie Carter Returned
While this wasn't nearly as good as their encounter from last week, it wasn't designed to be, so I was fine with it. They should save the grand rematch for later down the line, so it was okay for this match to get cut short (and it played in to what happened afterward). Plus, Angle is dealing with health issues at the moment, so that might have played a factor in the finish as well. Heel or babyface, I honestly couldn't care less for the return of Dixie Carter to TV. She adds absolutely nothing to the product, so fingers crossed she isn't back as a regular and this was only a one-off. That said, they ended the show on an intriguing note by leaving viewers questioning who the new authority figure is.
Most of the matches didn't intrigue me much on paper, but I was entertained by this show more than I thought I would be going in. EC3 was all over this show, but they told a solid story throughout the night with a logical pay-off (as much as I disdain Dixie being back). Many of the recent feuds have been blown off recently, so I'm hoping for fresh content in the weeks to come. TNA may be struggling on the business side of things, but the quality of the product tends to be enjoyable more than most people give it credit for.