By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Kurt Angle def. Bobby Roode
I loved the series of matches these two had in 2011 and 2013, so I was happy to see them clash one last time prior to Angle's pending retirement. It also worked well in the opening slot and they kicked off the night on a high note with entertaining action and solid storytelling. The post-match promo with Beer Money and The Wolves praising Angle before turning their focus to their inevitable title encounter was great. It was a clever segue from one segment to another that didn't feel random or forced, so two thumbs up all around for the starting portion of the show.
Rockstar Star Explained His Actions
Spud's logic for turning on Ethan Carter III was what I assumed it would be given their ruthless rivalry from last year, but he did an exceptional job of turning the crowd against him by bashing his fellow countrymen and saying they only jump on the latest "flavor of the month." This isn't the same heel Spud we saw a few years ago. The change in clothing was a welcomed and necessary change and this was a good first step in the direction they're headed in with him.
Abyss def. Jimmy Havoc in a No Disqualification Match
We still don't know much about Havoc other than he is a former flame of Rosemary, but I guess the purpose of this match was for Abyss to exact revenge on Havoc after what we've seen recently from them backstage. Holding a hardcore match every week doesn't do TNA any favors, or at least for me, but this was your typical train wreck style matchup. I didn't hate it and I definitely commend their effort, but it might have packed more of a punch had that Monster's Ball match not been held a mere two weeks ago. Nevertheless, Havoc had an impressive performance and I'm interested what's next for him.
Knockouts Champion Gail Kim Called Out Maria
I didn't see too much of Maria's in-ring work in Ring of Honor, so I don't know how much she has improved in that department, but she has a hell of a presence and her ability on the mic has come a long way since her WWE days. Her back-and-forth with Kim made me want to see them square off at some point, and if TNA was smart, they would save that encounter for down the line and not rush into it in the near future. As for Jade, I'm glad she's finally getting the singles push she deserves and has been made out to look like a threat to the title.
King of the Mountain Champion Eric Young def. Damo
If Young and Bram are done feuding with Beer Money, is there really a reason for them to continue teaming? I like both of them on their own and they're not doing anything for each other as partners. Perhaps Bram is there solely to help Young retain his title, but other than that, he serves no purpose at ringside. The commentators made mention of Damo's experience on the United Kingdom independent scene, but the average viewer (such as myself) likely couldn't have cared less about him or his chances of winning.
Michael Bennett def. Drew Galloway
The feud between Bennett and Galloway has been very well handled so far and I liked what I saw from them in their first match against each other. They found a fun chemistry and the best part was that the ending outcome wasn't predictable in the slightest. Galloway is due a world title opportunity at some point, so I was preparing for him to score the win, but I was pleasantly surprised by Bennett's victory. That keeps the feud alive a while longer, thankfully.
Ethan Carter III Fought Rockstar Spud
As soon as Dixie Carter said this would be an unsanctioned street fight, did anyone else have flashbacks to Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho from Unforgiven 2008? It might as well have been considering the bad blood between them dating back years. I liked this much more than I would have a standard match, but since EC3 beat the holy hell out of Spud, it left me wondering whether the rekindling of their rivalry is already over. Could we be in for another EC3 vs. Matt Hardy title match? I hoped we saw the end of that feud last week, but we'll see.
There was an excess amount of talking on this show, but on the bright side, most of those promos were excellently executed and effectively furthered several feuds. I'm intrigued by the main event scene, the tag title match, Angle vs. Lashley next week and more going on in TNA right now. This was a very solid show on the whole and it's just disappointing there's not as much buzz about the product as there should be.