By Graham "GSM" Matthews
X-Division Champion Samoa Joe def. Austin Aries
The biggest issue with these "challenge for any title" matches is that when the people choose anything other than the world title, they come off as stupid. I liked that Aries chose Joe since he already contended for the world title against Lashley, and at least they tried to make sense of it with Joe's challenge. This match brought back memories of their stellar Slammiversary match from 2012 and this was equally entertaining. Joe has had a successful reign as champion, but the lack of story behind each of his defenses isn't helping matters.
Ethan Carter III Scolded Rockstar Spud; EC3 def. Eric Young
Spud has thrived in the role he's been cast in since the start of this year while EC3 has grown into one of the best heels at TNA's disposals. The two have such good chemistry together that it's sad to see them split (or at least tease it), but the entire pre-match segment was well done and made fans rally behind Spud to turn on EC3. The actual match was nothing special, but it was another nice win for EC3 against a former World Heavyweight Champion. Is it just me or have they really toned down his undefeated streak as of late?
Havoc Attacked Knockouts Champion Gail Kim
The feud between these two so far has been very well booked and this was an effective way of furthering their feud. Havok has been perfectly cast as the monster heel of the division, but Lei'D Tapa was booked the same way for a while and we all know how that turned out. Granted, Havok is much better in the ring than Tapa ever was and her rivalry with Kim has potential. They didn't wait long to deliver the match (see: the main event), but it was great to see the match prolonged until later on in the night instead of being given away here.
Kurt Angle Announced a Full Metal Mayhem Match for the World Tag Team Championships
Team 3D, The Hardys and The Wolves all had great mic work here, or at least the person who did the talking for their respective team did. Each of them came off like heels at some points, but as Bully Ray pointed out, they're not supposed to like each other despite being babyfaces and this was miles better than them praising one another like they have in the past. It was obvious where this was all headed, but the Full Metal Mayhem match should be spectacular.
Manik def. Shark Boy
I'm still not sold on Manik's new look, but it's a major improvement over his old one, so I'll say that much. Was it just me or has Shark Boy put on some weight since we saw him last? This was a glorified squash match that was necessary in establishing Manik's credibility on his own. It doesn't look like he'll be a part of the big tag team match with James Storm at Bound for Glory (then again, several of TNA's top stars won't even be on the show), but Storm's stable is getting more intriguing by the week.
MVP def. Mr. Anderson
Did this feel like a match straight off of an episode of SmackDown from 2007 to anyone else? That aside, it was a well wrestled match, but the story behind it is not good. I understand the relationship between Anderson and Chris Melednez given their similar backgrounds, but we saw the same thing with Anderson and Gunner not too long ago. Why will this be any better? The fact Melendez keeps harping on his patriotic background isn't doing him any favors, either.
Bobby Roode Addressed His Future
Per usual, Roode cut a nice promo regarding his desire to become World Heavyweight Champion again. The "one more match" shtick was very Christian-esque (and yes, I realize many people did it before him) and it would've worked better if he was a heel, not a babyface. It felt out of place in this scenario, but even still, I'm glad to see Roode still in title contention and I anticipate their eventual rematch.
Havok def. Gail Kim to Win the Knockouts Championship
From a storyline standpoint, it was illogical to put Kim in a match after getting attacked earlier, but at least she had an out for losing this match. She fought valiantly and therefore looked strong in defeat. They told a solid story and while I believe they're capable of having better, longer matches, I'm sure that's coming down the pike. Above all else, I was ecstatic to see this close the show. It isn't often TNA has their women compete in the main event and the title change definitely warranted it.
This was a very enjoyable edition of Impact Wrestling from start to finish. Granted, it wasn't flawless, but nothing was offensively bad and there were many things about the show that I liked including the Knockouts angle, the tag team talking segment and the opening X-Division title champion. However, this episode was a colossal failure in terms of hyping up Bound for Glory in less than two weeks. It's quite clear TNA doesn't care about making their biggest show of the year mean anything, but at least have the decency to promote it properly. That's all I ask.