By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Rockstar Spud and Tyrus Confronted Matt Hardy
I'm digging Hardy's new psychotic look and his ability to reinvent himself at this stage of his career, though I'm not sure what to make of the accent he has now. It goes along with his altered image, but we all know he doesn't actually talk like that, so it was a bit of a distraction. Maybe it will grow on me over time. I'm also glad his alliance with Spud and Tyrus wasn't forgotten about and that loose end was tied up with the Handicap Ladder match on this show. But who were those shadow Willows we saw last week? I came away from this segment slightly surprised Hardy didn't acknowledge them at all. Will their identities ever be revealed?
Ethan Carter III def. Matt Hardy by Disqualification
These two feuded with each other for almost eight months, so obviously, they work well together and have very good chemistry. It was weird for this to be a standard singles match after EC3 had to go through Six Sides of Steel and Last Man Standing matches in recent weeks, but I don't know what type of match they would have had anyway since they fought in basically every gimmick match during their rivalry. I liked the loophole with Mike Bennett saying EC3 needed to beat Hardy by pinfall or submission yet he was the reason the match ended by disqualification. It was also a wise way of protecting Hardy. With Slammiversary only a few weeks away, I'm sure EC3 will find another way of getting his rematch with Bennett at the event.
Gail Kim Interrupted Maria
Maria continues to shine in her role as the leader of the Knockouts division. As long as she isn't overexposed, she's golden. I enjoyed her exchange with the extra aggressive Kim here and I'm happy they're sticking with the slow build to their eventual match. Once Kim finally gets her hands on Maria, it will pack a major punch. This segment was also successful in building to Kim vs. Sienna for later in the night. By the way, I had zero clue Allie was Cherry Bomb from the independent scene until recently. She's certainly a sight for sore eyes.
Al Snow def. Grado in a Street Fight
Although I couldn't care less about this feud, I will say that Snow has played his role well and has better mic skills than I've given him credit for. As I've said before, I enjoy Grado, but he's essentially TNA's version of Santino Marella, so this whole feud feels like a waste of time. This was throwaway comedic filler, but the TNA debuts of NXT's Sylvester Lefort and Marcus Louis at the end made the match newsworthy. And no, their involvement doesn't make me care about this rivalry any more than I did before.
Dixie Carter Made TNA World Heavyweight Champion Drew Galloway vs. Lashley Official For Slammiversary
It doesn't cease to amaze me how far the mic skills of both Galloway and Lashley have come in the last year alone. This was another good verbal exchange from them and a logical announcement from Carter (who is much more effective and bearable when used sparingly in segments such as this one). Their match can only be won via submission or knockout, so that sounds like an MMA fight to me. We'll see how it plays out, but I'm intrigued. Lashley destroying everyone in sight afterward, including the referee, made him more of a badass than he already was.
X-Division Champion Trevor Lee def. Eddie Edwards, DJ Z and Andrew Everett in an Ultimate X Match
Remember when Ultimate X matches used to mean something? I realize these four guys have been feuding over the X-Division title as of late, but I don't think it warranted an Ultimate X match at this point in time. The effort was there and there were a handful of cool spots, but it was an underwhelming contest on the whole compared to Ultimate X matches of the past. However, I liked the finish because it put some much-needed heat on Lee, screwed Edwards out of the championship and gives him a reason to go back after the gold. Plus, I don't think I've ever seen that done before. Clever!
Gail Kim def. Sienna to Keep Her Job in TNA
Sienna has barely been around a month, so why have her lose so soon? The match she had with Kim was decent, but I had no doubt Kim was winning here, thus killing any element of suspense for me. I would have rather saved this for Slammiversary and continue to build up Sienna as a dominant monster heel until then. It looks like they're setting up Maria vs. Kim for the event, but honestly, I would hold off on that until Bound For Glory. If possible, I'd settle for a tag match with Maria and Sienna up against Kim and a partner.
Jeff Hardy def. Rockstar Spud and Tyrus in a 2-on-1 Handicap Ladder Match
I hate to sound like a broken record, but Tyrus should be a much bigger threat than he is. Despite having the "odds stacked against him," it was beyond predictable Hardy was going to beat them both. The in-ring action was entertaining while it lasted, but the Ladder match was unnecessary. Save the stipulation for when it actually matters. The Hardy vs. Hardy feud was well furthered and I look forward to their upcoming Full Metal Mayhem matchup.
TNA's televised product has been excellent by and large since the start of the year, but this wasn't their strongest episode. Granted, it was billed May Mayhem, but there were too many gimmick matches for my liking, especially so close to Slammiversary. Most of the matches had outcomes that could be seen coming from a mile away, so that didn't help matters. That said, I'm very much excited for Slammiversary for the first time in years and it's awesome to see the card coming together so nicely.