By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Mike Bennett and Maria Called Out Ethan Carter III
This reminded me of when each of the WWE Championship match competitors at WrestleMania 24 ran Raw in the weeks leading up to the event. Sorry, totally random side note. Anyway, it was fun to see EC3 give Bennett his comeuppance after all this time, but not in a way where fans aren't anticipating seeing him avenge his loss at Slammiversary. This was a pretty standard segment that set the tone for the rest of the show with EC3 in charge, though I will note EC3 is much better on the mic when he's in serious mode. That's not to say he isn't funny, but his humor can be very hit or miss more often than not.
King of the Mountain Champion Bram def. Lashley by Disqualification (Non-title)
It's a shame the apparent friendship between Drew Galloway and Bram hadn't been established on TV prior to this point. In fact, I don't think it had ever been acknowledged until now. Perhaps Creative thinks all Europeans are friends. The match wasn't anything of note and Lashley walked out unscathed as he should have, though his attack on Bram set up the subsequent match nicely without making Bram get beaten.
Eli Drake def. Bram to Win the King of the Mountain Championship
The Feast or Fired concept wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't repeated multiple times within the course of a year. As I've mentioned in the past, Drake has plenty of potential to be a breakout star at some point with the right push, but he hasn't had any momentum lately, and thus the fans couldn't have cared less about the title change. Not that they should have, however, since the belt he won is absolutely worthless. I'd like to think this will get Bram out of the King of the Mountain title picture, but the feud will likely continue.
The BroMans def. Rockstar Spud and Tyrus in a No. 1 Contender's Match For the World Tag Team Championship (Mike Bennett Served as Special Guest Referee)
As if it wasn't already evident, The BroMans just aren't clicking as a babyface act. I'm not suggesting they turn heel. Rather, I'm suggesting they go back to being singles competitors. It's too late for that since they're now the new No. 1 contenders to the titles, so all I can hope for is that they don't win the straps at Slammiversary. Meanwhile, Bennett served zero purpose as referee because he didn't factor into the finish at all.
Ethan Carter III Made Gail Kim vs. Maria Official For Slammiversary
Part of me held out hope their initial singles match would be saved for Bound For Glory, but it's possible their feud continues beyond Slammiversary. At any rate, they had a good verbal exchange here and I was glad EC3 didn't take away from the segment too much. I also appreciated how this match was added to the pay-per-view during the week where he was in charge since he wanted to get back at Bennet's girlfriend by putting her in a match.
Knockouts Champion Jade and Gail Kim def. Sienna and Alley
I honestly forgot Jade was in possession of the Knockouts Championship until she was announced as Kim's partner. She was on TV not too long ago, but that just made it clear the entire division has centered around the ongoing angle between Kim and Maria. Hey, no complaints from me because it's been very well booked thus far. The match was fine for what it was, but Alley hasn't been in TNA long enough for it to feel like a big deal when Jade executed her finisher on her. As for Sienna, she's starting to feel less and less special by the week.
Mike Bennett def. James Storm
Where the hell has Storm been in recent weeks? I hoped he would branch out on his own after Bobby Roode left and fulfill his full potential as a singles star, but that has yet to the case. I didn't expect him to win here nor should he have, but at least he was somewhat protected in defeat and got the upper hand afterward. Obviously, Bennett needed the victory more to get his undefeated streak alive.
Al Snow and The Tribunal Attacked Grado and Mahabali Shera
This storyline still isn't doing anything for me, but I give them credit for at least trying to make it matter with this segment. Snow is playing his role well and The Tribunal can add to the depleted tag team division in TNA, but Grado and Shera are way too goofy to be taken seriously. Can TNA please blow off this awful angle at Slammiversary and move on already? Would that be too much to ask?
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Drew Galloway def. World Tag Team Champions The Decay in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match
A Handicap match was the last thing I wanted to see because it was predictable Galloway would win and make the tag champs look weak. On the bright side, Decay was on offense for a majority of the match and they only lost because Lashley inadvertently cost them the contest. Still, they don't come across as much of a threat going into their title defense at Slammiversary in a few weeks.
EC3 running the show was a unique concept, but he was definitely overexposed in the first hour. There weren't any matches that stood out in a good way, but none of them were terrible, either. This was an average edition of Impact Wrestling filled with too much talking, and although it didn't have many redeemable qualities, at least it did an effective job of building up the stacked Slammiversary card which I'm excited for.