By Graham "GSM" Matthews
X-Division Champion Tigre Uno def. DJ Z and Manik in a Triple Threat Match to Advance to the Round of 16 in the World Title Series (Non-title)
I guess there was never any doubt who was going over since it would have been silly not to include the X-Division Champion in the Round of 16, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment of the action. As is usually the case with X-Division matches, there wasn't a story to the match and it was more of a train wreck than anything else. That said, it was fun while it lasted, it made for an enjoyable opener and it was a nice change of pace from the standard singles matches we've been getting throughout the entirety of the World Title Series.
Drew Galloway def. Rockstar Spud to Advance to the Round of 16 in the World Title Series
On paper, this was a total mismatch, but they somehow managed to make me buy into Spud as a threat in the second half of the bout with his nearfalls on Galloway. It's not a reflection of his booking as a character because he's had one hell of a year in TNA, but after Galloway was involved in the main event of Bound for Glory, I never thought for a second he wouldn't go far in this Series. Nevertheless, Spud looked good in defeat and their contest certainly exceeded my expectations.
Bram def. Grado to Advance to the Round of 16 in the World Title Series
Well, if there was any match in the Series that deserved to get cut short, it was this one. As entertaining of a performer as Grado is, TNA hasn't done him any favors since his arrival. He's come off like a complete comedy act, more so than Santino Marella used to. It's a shame because he's actually a half-decent wrestler and he isn't allowed to showcase his skills in the ring. Bram undoubtedly needed to be among the Round of 16, so this was a quick and painless way of getting him to advance.
Jessie Godderz def. Micah to Advance to the Round of 16 in the World Title Series
I honestly forgot Micah was a part of the Series much less still with the company. Have any of his tournament matches been broadcast up to this point? This wasn't exactly the most memorable match of the night, but it was fine for what it was. I just honestly couldn't care less about either of these guys. Godderz has tried hard to reinvent himself, but he comes off as too generic. As for Micah, he did nothing for me in WWE as Camacho and he hasn't done anything for me in TNA, either.
World Tag Team Champion Davey Richards def. Robbie E to Advance to the Round of 16 in the World Title Series
I've been happy with how well Robbie E has done in the Series so far. His win-loss record may not reflect it, but he's ten times more tolerable as a babyface than as a heel, a role that was too tiresome for him toward the end. He still needs to strip away every element of his old character, but at least as a babyface he can exhibit his wrestling ability. Richards was great here as well and he was the right wrestler to go over.
Kenny King def. Crazzy Steve to Advance to the Round of 16 in the World Title Series
I've never been the biggest Crazzy Steve fan and it has nothing to do with what he can do in the ring. Rather, his gimmick is extremely outdated and as a result it's difficult for me to get invested in his matches. It doesn't help that King has been long gone from TNA for months and while he would have been great for the Round of 16 before he left, his departure makes his involvement in the title picture embarrassing for the company.
Lashley def. Austin Aries to Advance to the Round of 16 in the World Title Series
As seen in the replays, these two faced off earlier in the Series and this was an even better bout from them. They produced an excellent matchup filled with awesome in-ring chemistry and a strong effort from both men. Too bad the crowd was burned out by this point as a hotter crowd could have made this match feel even more special. Aries has also since left TNA, so Lashley was a more logical fit for the Round of 16.
With the Round of 16 beginning next week, TNA needed to cram as many matches into this show as possible to finish off the first round of matches in the World Title Series. Due to that, it didn't make for the most must-see edition of Impact Wrestling, but at least there were a few well-wrestled matchups. Of everything on the episode, I'd check out the main event between Lashley and Aries, Richards vs. Robbie E, and Galloway vs. Spud. With TNA cancelling their tour of India as of today, I have no idea what they'll do for their next set of tapings, but I assume time will tell.