By Graham "GSM" Matthews
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle Enlisted the Help of Chris Melendez and The Rising
Where the hell did "Hardcore War" come from? I don't remember hearing that hyped at all last week, and feels like the blow-off to a feud when it's only just getting started between Angle and Young as well as between The Rising and the Beat Down Clan. While the quality of their program has been consistently good for a few months now, TNA still depends on themed-shows on a near weekly basis and as a result, these big time stipulations lose meaning. If nothing else, it was a solid segment that built toward the main event, but it felt like I missed a week of programming where this was set up in advance.
The Dollhouse def. Brooke and Rebel
It was strange that they didn't even bother explain the absence of The Menagerie despite Rebel's return, though I can't say I care too much. She hasn't progressed much in the ring since we last saw her as she's still very green, but she was passable here. The tag team format protected her while her opponents and partner carried her to a mediocre match. It was another nice win for Jade and Martie Belle, but it merely served as a set-up for Taryn Terrell's tease announcement later in the night.
Mr. Anderson def. Tyrus
Ethan Carter III is highly entertaining and I like Tyrus in the role he's currently in as his bodyguard, but at the same time, he should be protected more and not always taking the falls for EC3 (that's what killed him when he was paired with Alberto Del Rio all those years ago). It was a decent enough match, but the ending outcome was fairly predictable because you had to know Anderson and EC3 were headed for a rematch. I didn't get why they gave away the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation last week if they were going to continue the rivalry, anyway. That should have been saved for the blow-off instead.
The Revolution Attacked Magnus
Remember when Abyss served as Magnus' bodyguard last year? You would have never known or remembered had I not reminded you because there was (unsurprisingly) no mention of it during this brawl. I thought this was an actual match at one point, but after Abyss started using the weapons that were randomly at ringside for that one segment and the bell wasn't called for, I realized it was only a brawl. If that was the case, this didn't need to be dragged on for as long as it did, and why didn't fellow Revolution members Manik and Khoya come out as the same time as Abyss? Also, they need to hurry and get to the part where James Storm reveals his evil intentions. Most of the audience understands that, but apparently some people in the crowd don't because they were booing Magnus during his promo.
The Wolves def. The Dirty Heels in Match #1 in the Best of 5 Series for the World Tag Team Championship
As expected, The Wolves, Bobby Roode and Austin Aries contested a very good enough, but not too great that they can't top it in their upcoming encounters. It's great to see Aries and Roode back together and chasing the straps because they work so well together and their in-ring chemistry with The Wolves is excellent. Watching this gave me flashbacks to the Best of 5 series between the Motor City Machine Guns and Beer Money from 2010, and if this series of matches is half as good as that one, then fans are in for a treat.
Gail Kim Interrupted The Dollhouse
I'm not going to pretend that I didn't enjoy this segment (did you see what Terrell was wearing? Hot damn!) like every other male viewer, but it was certainly a step back for the Knockouts division. It's been built on women's wrestling and them being on the same level as the men in recent years, but relying on sexual teases and inuendo feels like a callback to the Attitude Era and early 2000s. It's nice to see the ladies get some storyline support, but they're handling The Dollhouse the wrong way from what it seems as they come off as The Beautiful People 2.0.
Robbie E def. Jesse Godderz (x3)
As happy as I was to see The BroMans split up last month, I completely forgot about the two feuding. Oh joy. All three matches combined lasted all of a minute, so it was a total waste of time. I assume it was done to set up Jesse's post-match attack on Robbie and establish him as the heel, but who in the hell is going to take him seriously after he just lost three consecutive matches? It might have been more effective if he lost one competitive bout against Robbie and still done the ambush. Now time for the million dollar question: What are DJ Z's thoughts on all of this? Where will he stand? Tune in to next week's episode to find out! Ugh.
Team Young (Eric Young, MVP, X-Division Champion Kenny King, Low Ki and Bram) def. Team Angle (TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle, Lashley, Drew Galloway, Mica and Chris Melendez) in Hardcore War
Other than it not being held inside a cage, I don't understand how this was much different than a Lethal Lockdown, which we got only two or three months ago. Additionally, why not hold this match at the Hardcore Justice-themed show two weeks ago? Holding matches like this one at random times lessens the importance of those kind of shows. It was a pretty paint-by-numbers match for the most part and it might be just me, but I'm beyond numb to hardcore wrestling in TNA. I hate to sound like a broken record, but we see it every week and I stopped caring a long time ago. At the very least, the finishing sequence was fun and Young pinning Melendez helped him build more momentum going into his eventual title match with Angle.
This show was all over place. The only match/segment I thoroughly enjoyed was The Wolves vs. The Dirty Heels, but everything else was either meandering or left me confused. The Hardcore War (which I don't believe they even bothered explaining the rules for beforehand) main event came out of nowhere, but at least it left me looking forward to the title match between Angle and Young. The Knockouts stuff was what it was, and the rest of the episode felt like filler. Hopefully they get back on track next week with a good show because the quality of the program has been solid for the most part since the move to the new network.