By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Jeff Hardy vs. Mike Bennett Ended in a No Contest
Bennett has quickly become one of the most talented talkers in TNA. He just seems so natural on the mic and this was another gem of a promo from him. Of course, Jeff has never been the strongest mic worker, but he held his own here very well and it set up the subsequent match nicely. Of course, it wasn't much of a match since it was over in under two minutes due Lashley's interference, so I was happy they didn't give too much away because they would clash again in the Triple Threat main event. Lashley has been more badass than ever since turning heel and the silent but deadly approach has been working perfectly for him.
World Tag Team Champion Abyss def. James Storm
Abyss' new look is a vast improvement over his old one, but I find it difficult to buy into his "resurrection" because, honestly, how many times have we seen this before? He's been around for so long that he has that TNA stench from when the product was at its worst, but hey, at least he's making an attempt to reinvent himself. The match was all right, but I really hope Storm doesn't spend too much time feuding with Decay. Bobby Roode is officially gone from the company, so he won't get a title rematch. Besides, he has plenty of untapped potential as a singles star.
Sienna Attacked TNA Knockouts Champion Jade
With Velvet Sky and several others having left TNA, the Knockouts division was in desperate need of fresh blood (Gail Kim is great but she can't carry the division on her own), so Sienna is a welcome arrival to the roster. I'm not at all familiar with her work from the independent scene, but she had an impressive showing in her attack on Jade, so I'm looking forward to seeing what else she's capable of in the ring. Having her do Maria's dirty work makes sense, but I hope she isn't pushed aggressively from the get-go live Havok only to fade off into obscurity.
King of the Mountain Champion Bram def. Eli Drake, Jessie Godderz, Eddie Edwards and Andrew Everett in a King of the Mountain Match
All five men deserve credit for putting forth a strong effort and attempting to make the most of this silly stipulation, but I'm sorry, the King of the Mountain match is one of the stupidest match gimmicks in all of wrestling. It's such a train wreck and hard to follow that it's not worth the investment. Why was Drake involved in the match if he has the briefcase for a title shot anyway? At least he teased cashing it in afterward and that logic gap didn't go unnoticed.
Lashley def. Jeff Hardy and Mike Bennett in a No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat Match For the TNA World Heavyweight Championship (TNA World Heavyweight Champion Drew Galloway Served as Special Guest Referee)
To address Ethan Carter III's pre-match promo, when I said earlier that Bennett was among the company's best talkers at the moment, EC3 is right up there with him. He can be too cute sometimes with his comedy as a babyface, but when in serious mode, he is almost untouchable. I loved how he took pride in suffering his first loss and mentioned how he is now stronger than ever as a result, so I'm excited for their eventual rematch. The main event itself was well put together and all three wrestlers shined. I'm not sure why Decay targeted Hardy, but I assume we'll find out the connection soon enough. Additionally, it gave Hardy an out for losing, and Lashley's spear off the steps to Hardy looked fantastic. Lashley has been built up extremely well over the past few months, so his championship clash with Galloway should be something special.
I believe this was the first show in the fresh set of tapings (hence why Eric Young and Bobby Roode were nowhere to be seen), but even if not, it certainly felt like it was. We witnessed the debut of a new Knockout, a new No. 1 contender to the world title crowned, and Abyss' "rebirth," so it was a newsworthy night and an enjoyable episode all things considered. Say what you will about the sad state of the company behind the scenes, but the televised product has been a treat more often than not since the start of the year.