Date: March 9, 2017
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: D’Angelo Dinero, Josh Matthews
It’s a major, major show this week as TNA completely relaunches (again), this time with Jeff Jarrett back at the helm for the first time in a long time. That means almost everything changes and it’s really hard to tell what’s coming. Lashley is still World Champion and it’s going to be interesting to see what else is still around. Let’s get to it.
We open with a package of the company’s history, including stuff all the way back from the weekly PPV days. Nearly everything gets a look and it’s actually quite the history package. Unfortunately it’s also a good example of how much potential TNA has had, only to squander so much of it.
There’s also a new opening sequence, featuring a closeup of an owl. Anthem, I know you put in some serious money but no one cares about the parent company.
Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards (in street clothes) are brawling in the crowd to start and agents have some issues breaking it up.
Josh Matthews isn’t happy with a third headset at the booth. Matthews: “THIS ISN’T SMACKDOWN!” Jeremy Borash comes out to join commentary and Josh goes into full on heel mode as he tries to throw Jeremy out. Borash talks about how we need a change so he’s here to join the lineup. He goes on about Mike Tenay handing him the torch (Matthews throws his feet on the desk and looks annoyed) and then three years ago, someone was fired from WWE.
People here looked at him (Matthews) and said THIS is what a commentator looks like. Matthews talks about broadcasting Wrestlemania from the Georgia Dome but Borash thinks the lead play by play announcer should be someone who respect wrestling. This is going on WAY too long and it’s not a good sign when the second segment is battling announcers.
Cody and Brandi Rhodes interrupt the fight with Cody holding the GFW Nex-Gen Title. We get a poll about seeing Cody vs. Moose tonight and the fans seem interested but no announcement is made.
Here’s the DCC as JB says Cody knows Moose is in Japan, triggering an argument with Matthews.
DCC vs. Reno Scum
Scum are Luster and Adam who come to the ring with their Future Stars of Wrestling Tag Team Titles (not on the line here). It’s Bram and Kingston starting things off as the announcers bicker some more, this time over who is responsible for the new referee’s shirts. Oh but now let’s stop to admire Josh’s suit, as in taking the camera off of the ring.
The match has been going on for about two minutes now and we might have spent ten seconds talking about the action. Luster catches a diving Bram in a spinebuster and a top rope double stomp gives Adam the pin at 2:26. I have no idea who Reno Scum are but I do know about Josh’s fashion sense and that’s what matters the most.
We recap the wedding and Laurel Van Ness’ breakdown as a result.
Sienna yells at the new interviewer and says Maria has suffered a nervous breakdown from the wedding and is gone. Sienna is coming for Maria.
Braxton Sutter vs. Marshe Rockett vs. Caleb Konley vs. DJZ
Only Sutter gets an entrance and it takes about a minute of action to actually name everyone. DJZ hits a big dive, leaving Rockett to powerbomb Sutter into the corner. Marshe goes up but dives into a triple dropkick, leaving everyone else to hit random spots. Konley throws DJZ to the floor for a dive before Saito suplexing Sutter. Now it’s Rockett cleaning house until Allie dives off the middle rope to crossbody him to the floor. That’s rather heelish and it allows Sutter to hit a fisherman’s neckbreaker to put DJZ away at 4:23.
Rating: D+. Same X-Division as always here with no psychology, no flow to the match, no reason to care about most of these people and not even a graphic to say who they are. I know who they are but I’m one of the people who stuck with this promotion. This is your big relaunch. Let us know who these people are and why I should care about them instead of bickering announcers.
Post match, Van Ness stumbles out, still wearing her wedding dress and holding the champagne bottles (How are those not empty?).
Sienna vs. Rachel Ellering
Ellering is Paul Ellering’s daughter and used to be a low level talent in NXT. Rachel forearms Sienna down to start as Josh is now threatening to beat JB Up in between his sitcom plugs. Pope: “For goodness sake.” JB gives Rachel’s background and Josh asks “who gives a Schitt’s Creek?”. A trip to the floor doesn’t go anywhere so Sienna forearms her down for two. Rachel gets two off a springboard spinning legdrop and Josh goes on ANOTHER rant about how great he is and insulting JB and Mike Tenay. Josh: “NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE NAMES OF THE MOVES!” Sienna wins with the Silencer at 4:16.
Rating: D. The commentary is already bringing these matches down and that’s not a good thing forty five minutes into the new era. I know I’ve been harping on it all night but that’s the biggest story of the show. Matthews is like the annoying Michael Cole on steroids and there’s no chance for anyone to even talk about the match because Josh is too busy getting this stupid character over. Turn him into a manager or something but stop having him in every match. The wrestling was nothing special as Sienna is only a slightly above average power wrestler and Ellering isn’t much better.
Here’s Bruce Prichard (formerly known as Brother Love) for a chat. Josh: “THIS IS WORSE THAN JB! WHO DUG THIS GUY UP???” He doesn’t remember Impact Wrestling being this way because he remembers people wanting to be great. They were almost there but for whatever reason, it didn’t all happen. This is not a rib but TNA is DEAD.
There are new owners and management, which means we have a new name: Impact Wrestling. These new owners are looking for people who have achieved greatness in the past, like Prichard himself. He was around when names like Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and John Cena got their start so he knows greatness. Now he brings out Lashley, who talks about beating everyone put in front of him.
Cue Alberto El Patron, who the announcers put over as a big deal. Unfortunately the crowd doesn’t put him over as that big of a deal, though the SI chant is pretty loud. Alberto calls him a perro but here’s Ethan Carter III to cut him off. Carter wants a shot but Del Rio is given a title shot instead as Prichard can just make decisions like that.
JB gets a news break from backstage and apparently a legend, who has never been on the show before, is backstage.
Eddie Edwards is tired of Davey Richards being like this when Angelina Love comes in to say that Eddie forgot about Davey. She married a real man and slaps Eddie. Edwards chuckles and asks why the real man’s wife hits harder than he does.
Josh talks about how no one checked on him when he was injured and that’s about it until Cody comes out again to ask about Moose. JB explains that Moose is in Japan so Cody throws the Nex-Gen Title in the ring and says he’s waiting. Cody gets in the ring but jumps right back out and goes into the crowd. Josh wants to know where Moose is and ignores the Japan stuff.
The new ad campaign is Make Impact Great, with Lashley saying we need to rise together. Ok then.
Here’s Dutch Mantell on his scooter in full Zeb Colter attire. Dutch: “My name is Ze….can’t say that!” He was Zeb Colter in an alternate universe and he’s been in wrestling for over forty years. Colter has been all over the world and wrestling too him there. He’s in love with professional wrestling and he doesn’t know what he would do without it. TNA has been taken over by Impact Wrestling and now he’s going to try to make it great (not great again mind you).
Mantell was here eight years ago and saw names like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Sting, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash and Booker T. but they all slowly drifted away. Dutch talked to all these guys and they left because of a lack of leadership and vision. Then the fans left (he calls them paying customers, which is kind of a stretch) and the new owners knew the people had to come back. Mantell isn’t an authority figure or a boss but rather someone giving advice. The people are his boss and he’s wrapping it up by asking everyone to put their hand over their hearts and pledge to make Impact great (the old WE THE PEOPLE thing).
And now, the Hardys wrestle/box a kangaroo. The rest of the show being more serious really does show how stupid a lot of this seems. After Jeff escapes a headlock, it’s time for an Expedition of Gold. They disappear….and we cut to Decay who now have the titles. Steve says the Hardys are now deleted, which suggests that they beat them off camera. It’s not as good as just filming a quick title change but this is WAY better than stripping the Hardys of the belts and crowning new champions. WAY better.
JB announces Slammiversary on July 2, sending Josh into a rant about how Borash making the announcement will cut down the PPV sales.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Alberto El Patron vs. Lashley
Lashley is defending. Josh asks Pope if El Patron is going to be thrown off by the six sided ring but thankfully JB is there to say the six sided ring was invented in Mexico, meaning El Patron has a ton of experience. Pope gets in a good response by saying all the experience in the world doesn’t matter when you’re facing someone like Lashley. Nice little exchange there but it might be due to how horrible commentary has been all night.
Lashley takes him down in the corner to start and chokes with the boot before they head outside. Patron’s few strikes don’t work as Lashley knocks him outside again. A suplex gets two but it’s too early for the spear as Alberto dropkicks him down. The cross armbreaker over the ropes has Lashley in trouble and here Ethan Carter III to watch. Back from a break with Alberto making his comeback, only to have the ref get bumped.
Del Rio gets the cross armbreaker as a second referee comes in. Lashley powerbombs his way out of the hold (Pope: “HAYSTACKS CALHOUN WHAT A SLAM!”) and gets two off a spinebuster. The second referee is bumped and Lashley hits a second spinebuster. Lashley goes to get the belt but Alberto knocks it into the champ’s face for the pin and the title at 17:41.
Rating: D+. This was basically the WWE main event style and I’m really not wild about seeing that over and over again. It’s not a bad match or anything but having someone show up and win the title the night of their debut isn’t the best idea in the world, especially when it’s someone as uninteresting as Patron. At least the match was watchable though and Patron seems to be a face, which is the more interesting version.
The referees huddle and Lashley is livid as El Patron leaves to end the show. There’s a good chance that’s getting overturned.
Overall Rating: D. Well that was…..that was certainly something. This show was a mess and I think I’m being nice when I say that’s all it was. The wrestling ranged from feeling rushed to bad to overbooked, which is partially due to how much new stuff was thrown at us. There were several new names introduced and it seemed like we were just supposed to know who they were. Most of them weren’t anything special and the big name was someone most fans will be familiar with but a little more time introducing them would have been nice.
That brings us to the big problem I’ve harped on all night: Josh freaking Matthews. Now first of all: THANK GOODNESS they brought JB in and didn’t have this be a two man booth as that would have been nothing short of a disaster. However, Matthews completely took over the show and made it very hard to focus on anything else. Those kind of commentators rarely work and it’s a shame that he seems to just be a Michael Cole knockoff after Cole was so irritating in his heel run. Watch some Paul Heyman or Jerry Lawler and see how to do this properly or don’t do it at all.
Overall, it felt like they were moving too fast and it became a problem. They tried to squeeze in WAY too much in one night and that’s going to catch up with you in a hurry. This isn’t something you can nail in one night so it’s going to take a few weeks to really see if something works. I’ve already lost a lot of my optimism but the best thing on the show: it FLEW by instead of the old TNA shows which felt like they lasted about fourteen hours each. Not a good show here but there’s time to iron out a lot of the kinks.
Reno Scum b. DCC – Top rope double stomp to Bram
Braxton Sutter b. DJZ, Marshe Rockett and Caleb Konley – Fisherman’s neckbreaker to DJZ
Sienna b. Rachel Ellering – Silencer
Alberto El Patron b. Lashley – Belt to the head
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