Date: January 5, 2016
Location: Sands Bethlehem Events Center, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Josh Matthews, D’Angelo Dinero
This is a new beginning for TNA as they’re making their debut on Pop TV and crowning a new World Champion to wrap up their three month long tournament. This is in addition to all of their new stories and potentially new talents debuting. In other words, this is their restart point after all that time off. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the tournament in case you haven’t heard about it in the last three months.
The new opening sequence has a slower instrumental theme by Billy Corgan. I’m not wild on it as it’s not really doing much to fire me up.
There’s a new entrance with a big screen and an entrance in the middle. It’s very similar to Raw if you lowered the video screen.
Dixie Carter is in the ring with the World Title to open things up. She talks about being on Pop because of several reasons, though she leaves out the fact that they didn’t have many other options. This leads to a discussion of the final four but here are Ethan and Titus to interrupt. Ethan thinks this is a new beginning so we should have a Carter family reunion and an official airing of the grievances.
Ethan goes on a rant about how Dixie can’t handle his success but Dixie cuts him off to say that Ethan needs to take a long look in the mirror. Back at Bound For Glory, Matt Hardy beat him to win the title and now Ethan is using lawyers to rob Matt of his title. This brings out Matt to mock Ethan’s whining but Eric Young runs in to jump him from behind. Lashley comes out for the save but has to deal with Tyrus. They all fight to the floor and it’s Matt diving off the top to take down Carter, Tyrus and Lashley as we go to a break.
We’re about thirteen minutes into the show and I’m really not feeling this show so far. It’s not bad but it feels like almost every wrestling show I’ve seen in a long time: talking leading to brawling to the end of the first segment. None of these four guys are doing anything for me as champion either and that’s not a good thing.
During the break, Young attacked Matt with a chair and tried to piledrive him on a chair until security stopped him.
TNA World Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Eric Young vs. Lashley
Lashley lost to Carter back in the group stage. Carter hides at ringside to start before getting inside, only to be run over by a hard shoulder. Back in and Carter stops a charge with two boots in the corner and Tyrus adds a slam on the floor to earn his paycheck. Ethan slaps on a chinlock as the fans argue over whether or not he can wrestle.
Carter mixes it up with a standing guillotine choke until Lashley suplexes him down with pure power. A TKO drops Lashley for two but he powers out of the 1%er and grabs a powerslam. Tyrus breaks up the spear but Lashley powers Carter onto his shoulder, only to have to deck Tyrus again. The spear misses and Carter grabs a rollup for the pin to advance at 9:28.
Rating: C+. Much like this show as a whole so far, this was just kind of there. I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse, but it’s nothing I’m really going to remember after tonight. Well at least not until TNA shows us five recap videos of it a week for the next two months. It’s a fine enough match, but Lashley keeps looking like a choker in these big matches.
Bobby Roode misquotes Kid Rock by saying it’s not cocky if you can back it up (the line is “it’s not bragging if you do it and you back it up”). Tonight there’s a challenge to anyone in any promotion to face him for the King of the Mountain Title.
Here’s Kurt Angle with something to say. He thanks the fans for always having his back throughout his career and all of his accomplishments. Angle talks about what a thrill it is to come out here every single week but now it’s time for him to step aside. After listing off some of the great opponents he’s fought over the years, Angle says his farewell tour needs to have some top talent involved. There is so much talent right behind the screen with guys like Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, plus his handpicked opponent for next week: Drew Galloway.
Drew comes out to say what an honor this is and how the wrestling fan inside him is freaking out right now. However, here’s Jesse Godderz of all people to interrupt. Jesse brags about his success on Big Brother and how appropriate it is for him to be the star on this new network. Cue Eli Drake to talk about how the fossil in the ring needs to leave wrestling alone. Angle was talking about the Wolves but Drake could team up with anyone, even Jesse, and beat them. Angle considers this a challenge and asks for a fight, resulting in the heels quickly being cleared out.
Jeff Hardy promises that Matt will win the title tonight.
Eric Young comes out and says Matt won’t be fighting tonight. Cue a limping Matt for their match.
TNA World Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Matt Hardy vs. Eric Young
Young goes after him on the ramp and is almost immediately backdropped before the opening bell. They get inside and Matt decks him in the jaw a few times. The limp is fine enough that Matt can run the ropes but an early Twist of Fate attempt is easily broken up. Eric takes it back to the floor and pulls back the floor mats. That goes nowhere so Eric throws him back inside and it’s time for a slugout.
A bulldog and Twist of Fate get two each for Matt before they spill back to the floor. Young actually pulls off the piledriver on the exposed concrete and Matt is done. Cue Jeff to check on his brother but Eric baseball slides him down. Despite being dropped on his head on concrete, Matt is still able to catch Eric diving off the top in a cutter (called a Twist of Fate) for the pin at 8:05.
Rating: C. Same reaction as the first match: it’s ok and that’s about it. I don’t think there was any surprise that Matt was winning here, though that doesn’t make Ethan vs. Matt for the title all over again mean any less. Of course there’s always the chance that there could be a swerve, but at least it might be more entertaining than the two just ok matches we’ve seen so far.
Someone whose face we can’t see is walking through the back.
Back from a break, Ethan accuses Jeff of keeping Matt in his shadow. Jeff says no way and promises that Matt wins tonight.
King of the Mountain Title: Bobby Roode vs. ???
Roode is defending against…..Bram. It’s a brawl to start and they’re quickly on the ramp with Roode running him over with a clothesline to the back of the head. Bram gets sent hard into the barricade as this is one sided so far. The Roode Bomb and Blockbuster both miss and Bram gets two off a spinwheel kick. Not that it matters as the Roode Bomb retains the title at 4:45.
Rating: D. This was nothing more than a way to add another title match to a card. The name of the title really isn’t working for me but at least they’re giving Roode something to do. Bram continues to be the same guy which isn’t the most interesting thing in the world. Not the worst match ever here but it didn’t have time to go anywhere.
Post match James Storm’s music starts up before Eric Young runs in to attack Roode. Bram and Young beat him down but here’s James Storm (shock and awe) to clean house. Storm says he’s been asked why he left Impact Wrestling a few months back. Once he left he realized that he didn’t like who he was becoming because that’s not him.
Then he traveled the world (or at least other parts of Florida) and started flipping through the channels when he saw himself winning the Biggest Disappointment Award. That’s not how he rolls because people like him made this company. That brings him to Roode, who he’s drank a lot of beer with and made a lot of money with. Now it’s time to have a little fun so Storm offers him a beer. Roode: “Money.”
Given that this show is taped and not airing live, the fact that a production error like that aired is inexcusable. Like really, find someone to cut that thing out and make this look professional.
The Beautiful People are ready for the Doghouse because they’re the originals.
Beer Money issues a challenge to Bram and Eric Young for this Friday’s live One Night Only pay per view.
Dollhouse vs. Beautiful People
Taryn is out of the company so it’s Marti Bell/Jade/Rebel vs. Velvet Sky/Madison Rayne and a mystery partner due to Angelina Love being pregnant. Now since this is TNA, I’d bet on the partner being Gail Kim. The mystery partner is…..oh of course it’s Gail Kim. Jade and Gail get things going with Kim taking over, meaning it’s off to Velvet vs. Marti.
Velvet starts cleaning house and it’s Madison coming in off a blind tag for a dropkick. Rebel comes in as well and drops Gail with a faceplant before holding Madison in place for a dropkick from Jade. Everything breaks down and we get the parade of finishers, capped off by Jade kicking Gail in the head for two. Since this is TNA though, a quick bodyscissors into a rollup gives Gail the pin at 4:14.
Rating: D+. The girls looked good but there’s nothing here we haven’t seen before. I had Gail Kim written down before her entrance because this division is the same group of women doing almost the same story every single time because it’s all they know how to do. If I had to guess, Kong is next.
Post match the Beautiful People and Gail get beaten down until Kong comes out to make it even worse. Apparently Kong is now the new leader of the Dollhouse. Riveting.
It’s time for the debut of the Miracle. This brings out Maria Kanellis, fresh over from Ring of Honor. Maria talks about how everyone has false hope of getting a promotion or losing that seventy five pounds. Or maybe they keep hoping that someone will come along and save professional wrestling. Tonight, that miracle is coming true and its name is Mike Bennett.
Cue Bennett in a suit and Bray Wyatt style hat to declare himself our new hero. Pro wrestling needs a miracle because it used to be fun and exciting. When Mike was a kid, wrestling was mainstream but now it’s full of a bunch of wannabes who call themselves pro wrestlers. Later tonight, the washed up Matt Hardy is facing Ethan Carter III for the World Title but that’s not the miracle that wrestling needs. The miracle will be when Mike Bennett wins the World Title and the commentators are all asking if we believe in miracles. Good debut here, but as usual Maria outshines her husband.
Matt Hardy tells his wife and son that this is all for them.
The Wolves challenge Kurt Angle and Drew Galloway for Friday. Eli Drake and Jesse Godderz come in so they’ll make it a three way.
TNA World Title: Matt Hardy vs. Ethan Carter III
The title is vacant coming in. Jeff and Tyrus agree to leave them alone, the latter of which isn’t cool with Ethan. It’s a brawl to start with Matt taking over on the floor to start and throwing Carter over the announcers’ table. Back in and neither finisher can hit but Carter gets two off a dropkick. A running neckbreaker sends Matt out to the apron and Ethan kicks him head first into the post for good measure.
Matt comes right back with a Side Effect for two though because his head will not die. Two more Side Effects get two more near fall but Ethan comes back with some TKO’s. A third TKO is countered into the Twist of Fate for two and the 1%er gets the same. There’s almost nothing between these big moves. Another Twist gets another two so Matt tries a super Twist of Fate, only to be countered into a super 1%er to give Carter the title back at 10:20.
Rating: C+. After three months, thirty two participants and a ton of hype, the final match isn’t even eleven minutes long. It’s not a bad match or anything and they were doing well with the drama, but after all the time and effort they put into this thing, there’s really no way you can have a ten minute match for the big blowoff. Way too short for what it needed to be here.
Ethan poses as Matt’s wife is more upset than her husband.
Overall Rating: D+. Well that happened. This was a totally middle of the road show with very little interesting. We’re right back where we were before Bound For Glory with Carter as champion and no one interesting to fight him. Are we supposed to care about Tyrus getting a shot? If that’s their big story, they’re in a lot more trouble than they thought. The show certainly wasn’t bad or anything but for their big premiere after all that time off, I was expecting WAY more than what we got here.
Ethan Carter III b. Lashley – Rollup
Matt Hardy b. Eric Young – Twist of Fate
Bobby Roode b. Bram – Roode Bomb
Beautiful People/Gail Kim b. Dollhouse – Rollup to Jade
Ethan Carter III b. Matt Hardy – Super 1%er
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