By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Knockouts Champion Taryn Terrell def. Gail Kim in a Six Sides of Steel Cage Match
I loved each of the encounters these two had in 2013 and 2014. This match? Not so much. The roles being reversed this time around put a fresh spin on it, but what hindered my enjoyment of the bout more than anything else was the excessive interference from The Dollhouse on the outside. I guess I should have seen that coming, but nothing bothers me more in Steel Cage match because that's what the match is designed to do: keep others out, not invite them in! Thus, it wasn't the match it should have been, but not terribly by any means. Terrell's attack on Kim afterward put extra heat on her and it looks like Awesome Kong will be her next program over the title.
James Storm Made an Exclusive Offer to Mickie James
I'm not sure what to think about this storyline so far. It's obvious that Storm is manipulating Mickie, but I don't think the fans at the Impact Zone see that (i.e. they seem to be cheering Storm more often than not). It also struck me after Storm informed Mickie of all the music business meetings he set up for her that this strongly resembles the storyline with Jimmy Uso, Naomi and The Miz from only a few months ago. I don't think it's a case of TNA ripping off WWE as much as it is TNA getting lazy with a rehashed angle.
Rockstar Spud def. Kenny King, Manik, DJ Z, Tigre Uno, Argos, Mandrews and Crazzy Steve in a Gauntlet Battle Royal to Win the X-Division Championship
You'd think this match would have been extremely exciting considering the amount of talent involved. Instead, it felt like something you'd see on one of those One Night Only specials (and that's not a good thing for those who haven't seen them). It didn't help that more than half of the match participants are rarely seen on TV and viewers have no reason to care about them. There wasn't anything out of the ordinary about the match and Spud's chase for the championship wasn't long enough for the title win to mean anything. I haven't cared about the X-Division title forever because how frequently the belt changes hands, but it's gotten to the point of being flat-out ridiculous.
The Wolves def. The Dirty Heels in Match #2 of the Best of 5 Series
I was expecting a great match from the two teams, but not too good of match with three more matches to go in the series. That said, I was blown away by the awesome action in this match. They ripped it up in the middle of the ring from start to finish and all the near-falls had me on the edge of my seat. The in-ring chemistry The Wolves have with The Dirty Heels is incredibly and makes me only more excited for their upcoming encounters. Needless to say, they'll have their work cut out for them going forward.
Velvet Sky Attacked Angelina Love
Sky has been nothing but angry since returning to TNA and while I appreciate the change in character, she seems out of her element. She's not the badass her boyfriend (Bully Ray) is, but I'm glad she's going straight after Love instead of acting like nothing happened when she was fired a few months ago. We've seen the Beautiful People members feud before and I don't know if the matches will be anything decent, but so far so good with the feud itself.
Ethan Carter III def. Mr. Anderson
What kind of match was this that Tyrus had to be locked in the cage? What not just lock him in the cage to begin with or ban him from ringside all together? That felt very gimmicky and unnecessary, but other than that, this was a good match. There were points down the stretch where I legitimately thought EC3 was on the verge of losing his first singles match, so I really liked the clean him for win and Anderson was made to look good in defeat. EC3 is undoubtedly ready for the main event scene and I hope to see him involved in the TNA World Heavyweight Championship match at Slammiversary.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle def. Eric Young in an "I Quit" Match
Although I'm typically not a fan of "I Quit" matches because of their tendency to drag, this was a solid matchup. I thought the Stretcher match they had a few weeks ago was slightly better, but this was still a good way of blowing off the feud between the two. It might have been because the outcome wasn't that much in doubt, but at least Young was made to look credible and extremely aggressive in defeat. I'm ready for Angle to move on to new challengers, and as noted earlier, I have my fingers crossed that EC3 will be the next contender.
With no actual episode last week, there wasn't any momentum going into show because if there was, they could have hyped this show up better. There were plenty of matches that seemed to serve as the blow-off to feuds, so that was refreshing to see, but it also leaves me wonder what's on tap for Slammiversary next month. Nevertheless, while not everything was perfect, I'd give this edition of Impact Wrestling a thumbs up for some above average action, specifically the match between The Wolves and The Dirty Heels.