Date: December 2, 2015
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: D’Angelo Dinero, Josh Matthews
We’re in week nine of the World Title tournament and it’s finally time to get to the round of sixteen, meaning single elimination matches. The brackets were revealed last week and we’ve been promised to have this round done tonight. In theory the finals will be held at the live Impact on January 5 but that hasn’t been confirmed. Let’s get to it.
Quick preview of the round of sixteen starts things off.
TNA World Title Tournament First Round: DJZ vs. Ethan Carter III
DJZ goes right after him with some rollups for early near falls but DJZ knees him in the ribs to stop that cold. Carter gets sent to the floor for a suicide dive though with Tyrus not giving him much of a heads up. Back in and DJZ gets sent outside as well, allowing Tyrus to run him over with a headbutt to the chest. Dinero: “Josh I don’t know if you’ve ever been hit in the head with a coconut before.” A chinlock doesn’t get Carter very far so DJZ comes back with his fast paced offense, capped off by the tornado DDT for two. DJZ’s hurricanrana is countered into a sitout powerbomb, followed by the 1%er to give Carter the pin at 6:28.
Rating: D+. Watchable match here with the ending never in doubt. It’s nice to finally get through some of these matches so we can get rid of the lower level names and get down to the bigger matches. I’m glad they kept this one short as the match wasn’t good enough to make me care about seeing it go any longer but it didn’t overstay its welcome.
Gail Kim is ready for Tigre Uno because she’s so proud to be one of the sixteen WRESTLERS in this tournament. Gail, you’re great in the ring, beautiful and very talented, but SWEET GOODNESS you are so boring.
TNA World Title Tournament First Round: Gail Kim vs. Tigre Uno
Tigre isn’t sure what to do to start so Gail kicks him in the ribs. Thankfully Pope mentions that these two are both champions, even though there are no belts in sight. Tigre goes with some basic wrestling including a front facelock but Gail comes right back with a spinning cross body. Eat Defeat is broken up so Gail settles for a Black Widow. Tigre powers her out to the floor for a plancha but Gail snaps off a hurricanrana back inside. Gail’s normal offense including the Figure Four around the post has him in trouble, only to have Tigre sit down on a sunset flip for the pin at 5:32.
Rating: C-. Well that happened. Gail was built up as a potential star throughout the last two months but then she just loses here in five minutes. I’m glad that Tigre won because he’s been a solid X-Division Champion and it would suck to see him lose really early on, but did they really need to build Gail up as something only to have her lose that easily?
TNA World Title Tournament First Round: Bram vs. Davey Richards
The winner gets Carter. Bram shoves him down to start and Davey might need to change strategy. With the arm work not getting him anywhere, Davey takes it to the floor for some kicks to the chest. They look good but don’t seem to have a lot of effect as Bram takes him up into a fireman’s carry to drop him face first onto the steps. Davey comes back with a drop toehold to send Bram into the steps as most of this match has been on the floor.
A double stomp from the steps keeps Bram in trouble and Davey takes him back inside for a northern lights suplex. Josh thinks Davey winning would be an upset as the top rope double stomp gets two on Bram. An F5 plants Davey and Bram yells a lot. The Brighter Side of Suffering is countered into a small package to give Davey the pin at 7:00.
Rating: C. This wasn’t too bad but Richards still doesn’t do anything for me as a singles guy. His passive aggressive promos probably have a lot to do with it as he seems like he’s going out of his way to be nice, which really makes him more boring than anything else. The same problem that the tournament has had throughout is still here though: these guys are just doing moves to each other and there’s no personal issue, making it a lot harder to get invested.
Eli Drake isn’t worried about Mahabali Shera.
Video on Shera’s success so far.
TNA World Title Tournament First Round: Mahabali Shera vs. Eli Drake
Josh talks about Shera wanting to make it to the semifinals but the part where he says “in Mumbai, India” is edited out. An early clothesline puts Drake on the floor and it’s time to dance. Back in and Shera shrugs off some kicks to the chest and scores with more clotheslines. Sky High eliminates Drake at 3:12.
Rating: D. Well that was quick and thankfully they kept the dancing to a minimum, but good night I’m not getting behind this dancing schnook. He’s gotten better but at the end of the day he’s a guy who pops his shoulders and does one good move. For some reason that makes him one of the top eight wrestlers in the company? Really? It’s clear that they were putting him in this spot because of the India tour but like so many other things TNA plans, they couldn’t get it to work. Oh wait there were “security concerns”. Right. Maybe they can get the Los Angeles Coliseum. I hear Wrestlemania VII is over now.
Matt Hardy says he’ll win.
Pope and Josh pick the remaining matches.
TNA World Title Tournament First Round: Bobby Roode vs. Matt Hardy
Feeling out process to start with both guys getting in some low level offense. They head outside with Matt clotheslining the post to give Roode a target back inside. Roode cranks on the arm and grabs a Hennig necksnap but stops to yell at the fans. Is he a heel again? The Crossface doesn’t stay on long and Matt comes back with a Side Effect for two. It’s back to the Crossface but Matt is up again, setting up the Twist of Fate to advance at 6:36.
Rating: C. How am I supposed to feel anything about this? Roode worked on the arm for a few minutes and then Matt did his finisher to advance. That’s this tournament in a nutshell: two people have a match and one of them wins. There’s nothing more or less than that because we don’t have time to fit in any emotion or stories so this is what you’re getting, like it or not.
Drew Galloway is ready.
TNA World Title Tournament First Round: Awesome Kong vs. Jesse Godderz
The winner gets Matt Hardy. Before the match, Jesse implies that Kong wants to do a different kind of wrestling with him. As stupid as this is, it’s the first time all night where we’ve had anything more than “I want the title and I’ll win.” Jesse puckers up and gets punched in the mouth as Kong starts in a hurry.
A splash in the corner crushes Jesse and three straight slams send him to the floor. Godderz says Kong’s one night in Heaven is off so Kong throws him into the steps. Josh isn’t sure if this would be an upset as Kong throws Jesse back inside. Kong misses a splash though and gets rolled up with a handful of trunks for the pin at 3:12.
Rating: D. You knew this was coming didn’t you? I mean, the Knockouts advancing might have been interesting and something worth seeing so that had to be crushed in the first round at the hands of Tigre Uno (not as bad) and a comedy goof in Jesse Godderz. To be fair though, Kong wasn’t going to be able to do much due to all her injuries anyway but this was another option that could have been interesting going nowhere in this way too long tournament.
The announcers recap the night so far.
TNA World Title Tournament First Round: Kenny King vs. Eric Young
The winner gets Tigre Uno. King grabs the arm to start before grabbing a headlock to keep Young in trouble. Back up and Eric sends him to the floor for an attempt at a countout, only to have King do a handstand into a kick to the head from the apron. That earns him a forearm to put him outside again. King realizes that going toe to toe isn’t working so he comes back in with a springboard clothesline and a bad looking spinebuster for two. Not that it matters as the piledriver sends Young to the next round at 6:22.
Rating: D. Well they didn’t have much of a choice here as Young is the only one that actually still works for the company. Run of the mill match for the night so far with the limited action and almost nothing interesting until the ending. Young winning was the obvious ending and he’s got a good looking piledriver but this was another predictable match, which wasn’t what this show needed.
Videos on Lashley and Galloway to set up the main event.
Eric Young yells about being on a crazy tidal wave.
TNA World Title Tournament First Round: Drew Galloway vs. Lashley
The winner gets Shera. Lashley powers him into the corner to start and chokes with his boot as we take an early break. Back with Lashley missing a charge in the corner and getting dropped with a top rope clothesline. Drew sends him shoulder first into the post to weaken the spear, which is the most common strategy used against a power wrestler, even though it almost never works. Back in and Lashley rolls some Germans before a powerslam gets two. Galloway comes back with White Noise and loads up the Claymore, only to run into the spear for the pin at 13:53.
Rating: C-. Well that happened. Galloway could have been an interesting way to go here but instead let’s go one step closer to being right back where we were a year ago. Lashley still has a lot in him and is a good option on top, but I was pulling for Galloway here to give us something fresh instead.
Here are the updated brackets:
Ethan Carter III
A long preview of next week’s round of eight takes us out.
Overall Rating: D+. I’m not going to bother re-listing all the issues I have with this show and tournament as I managed to squeeze them in during all the short matches that were just like the first eight weeks of short matches this tournament has offered. This was a step forward for the show but they’re dragging this out as long as they possibly can and it’s just not working. Want proof that it’s not working? The Impact after Bound For Glory 2011 drew just over two million fans. Last week drew 234,000 fans, which was up over the previous week. That’s a loss of 88% of the audience in four years.
Let me repeat that: in four years, nearly nine out of every ten people that had been watching TNA have stopped. A big reason why would probably be the same people in the main events over and over. Of the people still in this tournament with a realistic chance of winning (Lashley, Hardy, Carter and maybe Young and Shera), four of them are former World Champions. Galloway was a good option for something fresh but let’s make sure to get rid of him in the first round before he makes a splash in this thing. As I’ve said so many times over the years: they never learn.
Ethan Carter III b. DJZ – 1%er
Tigre Uno b. Gail Kim – Rollup
Davey Richards b. Bram – Small package
Mahabali Shera b. Eli Drake – Sky High
Matt Hardy b. Bobby Roode – Twist of Fate
Jesse Godderz b. Awesome Kong – Rollup with a handful of trunks
Eric Young b. Kenny King – Piledriver
Lashley b. Drew Galloway – Spear
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