Impact Wrestling – July 21, 2016

Impact Wrestling
Date: July 21, 2016
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: D’Angelo Dinero, Josh Matthews

Tonight is a special show as they’re moving (again) to Thursday nights (again). There’s also a big rematch with Eddie Edwards vs. Lashley with both titles on the line inside a cage. It’s been a long time since there was a cage match in TNA (like a full three weeks or so) and that means it’s fresh enough. Let’s get to it.

We open with Jeff Hardy standing on a hill thinking about his motorcycle crash. Matt comes up to tell him he’s broken Brother Nero’s spirit. He eggs Jeff on until he gets on the motorcycle again, which Matt says he saw Jeff doing in a premonition. Jeff goes to jump and we cut to the arena. This would be the latest example of TNA running an idea into the ground.

Here’s Lashley to the ring to talk about how he should be the X-Division Champion after what happened last week. He’s not cool with someone like Moose coming to his ring and messing up his match because he doesn’t put on a helmet when he gets in a ring or in a cage. Moose needs to get out here right now and have a fight. Instead he gets Mike Bennett, who says Lashley has something he wants.

Bennett is going to go through the entire Bound For Glory Playoff until he gets what he wants because of this big man right here. Lashley wants to fight so Moose slowly comes down to the ring, only to have Eddie Edwards jump Moose from behind. The brawl erupts until Dixie Carter comes out to say cut it out because Mike and Moose are barred from ringside in the main event.

Matt Hardy and Reby come out (second segment with them in ten minutes) to show us clips of Jeff crashing his motorcycle. That means it’s BROKEN, just like Jeff will be. Back in the arena, Matt and Reby have Vanguard 1 play Jeff’s new music, which keeps calling him OBSOLETE in a computerized version of Matt’s singing voice. Also Jeff’s name graphic now says Brother Nero and his Twitter handle is obsoletemule.

Bound For Glory Playoff First Round: Jeff Hardy vs. Mike Bennett

This is a tournament for the World Title shot at Bound For Glory, which TNA only kind of explained. Jeff is banged up from the motorcycle accident earlier today and can barely move. Mike takes him to the mat with a Fujiwara Armbar as the announcers talk about Jeff being fined $5000 every time he uses his own name since it’s Matt’s intellectual property. A cutter puts Jeff away at 2:08. This was barely a match.

Matt insults him a lot and starts to sound less like a British person and more like Mr. Burns.

Bound For Glory Playoff First Round: Matt Hardy vs. James Storm

Josh: “It’s like Matt is torturing his brother Jeff.” Thank you for clearing that up buddy. Storm punches him out to the floor to start and whips Matt into the steps. Storm drives the Boozer Cruiser into him and we take a break. Back with James sitting on the steps with Matt in the crowd and biting Storm’s hand. Storm fights back and hits a quick Closing Time inside, only to have Reby hit him in the leg with a hammer. The Twist of Fate advances Matt at 9:30.

Rating: D+. You knew Matt was going to advance here as they kind of have to push him towards the main event at this point. Unfortunately Matt’s character is far much stronger than his in ring work and that’s going to catch up with him in the long run. At the very least though it’s a good change to have Matt and Jeff in the arena and doing something other than fighting each other or being in wacky segments. The match wasn’t great but it’s better than seeing Matt be all nuts again.

Eddie says tonight is about second chances because he gets a second chance.

Video on Ethan Carter III.

Moose implies he’ll interfere but Mike tries to keep him backstage so they don’t get fired.

Here’s Ethan Carter III with something to say before his match. He goes to the steps (“Ethan’s Corner”) to say we’re talking about playoffs (complete with a Jim Mora impression for you NFL fans) where he can get to the top of the mountain for a third time. This brings out Drew Galloway who says (in some bad audio) that the real question is which of them are better.

Ethan may be great but his last name is Carter. He came here because his aunt runs this place. It wasn’t the same for Drew because TNA came to him. It turns out that they can meet in the finals and Ethan likes the sound of that. Drew wants to fight now but Eli Drake cuts them off. Drake says he’s looking at dummies and wants to hear YEAH when he says dummy. Eli: “Dummy!” Fans: “YEAH!” Eli: “I WASN’T TALKING TO YOU!”

Bound For Glory Playoff First Round: Ethan Carter III vs. Eli Drake

Non-title. Carter grabs an armdrag into an armbar before dropping an elbow with a shout of EC3. Drake comes back with a jumping neckbreaker and we hit the neck crank. Carter fights back and hits a quick backdrop. Josh says Carter wants to be a modern day LeBron James. So… LeBron James? The TK3 gets two and Ethan heads up but Drake rolls through a high cross body for two. Blunt Force Trauma is countered into a rollup to send Carter to the semi-finals at 7:47.

Rating: C. I’m not wild on having a champion get pinned clean but Carter is a much bigger name than Drake in the first place. Also there’s only a handful of people that could actually win the tournament so just have Carter go over here and don’t waste time trying to make us believe that Drake has a chance.

Matt and Jeff are in the back with Vanguard 1, who Matt has catch him up on the tournament. Apparently Matt will be facing Ethan next week but he doesn’t want us to see the keys to victory that Vanguard 1 has produced so he has the camera feed taken down. Related note: is there a reason Jeff is following Matt around? The stipulation was that he loses the Hardy name, not that be becomes Matt’s property.

Allie tries to get Maria to meditate before Maria’s state of the Knockouts address.

Ad for Brodus Clay’s fixing services.

The Knockouts division (including Allie to get us to seven) is in the ring as Allie introduces Maria for the address. The boss says they can air their grievances so everyone raises their hand. Allie starts by asking how you can be more like Maria. Apparently it’s just believe in her vision so Jade cuts Maria off to ask why she hasn’t gotten a one on one rematch for the title.

Gail wants to know the same thing but also wants to face Maria one on one. That broken hand looked just fine last week so what’s the next excuse? Sienna gets in Gail’s face and tells her to stop being so selfish and making it all about her. Maria makes Gail vs. the entire division with the person taking her out being handsomely rewarded. Jade says she’s out and gets in a fight with Marti. Madison jumps Gail from behind, saying she’s looking out for herself.

Bram is getting ready when Rosemary comes up. She offers her help to win tonight and they kiss.

The Tribunal beats Mahabali Shera down.

Bound For Glory Playoff First Round: Drew Galloway vs. Bram

No Rosemary. They slug it out to start and Bram bails from the threat of a Futureshock. Drew sends him outside but eats a spinning kick to the head. Back in and Drew still can’t get Futureshock so Bram punches him into the corner and gets two off a good looking powerbomb. Drew fights back up and avoids a charge, setting up the Futureshock to advance at 6:55.

Rating: D+. I wasn’t feeling this one but that might be because they’ve fought multiple times in the last few months. Bram losing is a bit annoying but again, Galloway is one of the few serious options to win the whole thing. I’m kind of disappointed they didn’t go anywhere with Rosemary in this match but I’m sure that’ll be a story going forward.

We see a preview for next week’s show but the graphic says “tonight”. That’s the second time in three weeks they’ve screwed up something like that.

Mike tries to intimidate Drew about their match next week but Drew doesn’t bite.

X-Division Title/TNA World Title: Eddie Edwards vs. Lashley

Pinfall or submission only. Title for title inside Six Sides of Steel and there’s no Davey Richards here. Also if Bennett or Moose interfere, Bennett is fired. Eddie dives through the cage door to take Lashley out before the bell. Lashley throws him into the barricade and then into the cage for the opening bell. A neckbreaker puts Eddie down and his hurricanrana attempt is countered with a powerbomb into the cage as we take a break.

Back with Lashley getting two off a suplex and grabbing a chinlock. A torture rack doesn’t work as well but Lashley cuts off the comeback with a spinebuster. Eddie finally realizes they’re in a cage and whips Lashley into the steel a few times. Edwards tries to get to the top but has to hurricanrana Lashley down to break up a powerbomb attempt. The Boston Knee Party gets two so Lashley just throws him into the cage door.

The spear drives Edwards onto the floor (remember it’s pin or submission only) and Lashley follows him to grab the World Title. Eddie is back up for another Boston Knee Party to send the belt into Lashley’s face but it’s only good for two. So much for that finisher meaning anything. Eddie goes up again but Lashley shakes the cage to set up a superplex and a big crash. Two spears make Lashley a double champion at 19:11.

Rating: B+. Aside from basically destroying the running knee as a finisher, this was a really good showcase for Eddie who now looks like a threat to Lashley and most other main eventers. Now I highly doubt he does anything other than restarting the Wolves because they basically are the tag division but at least he had a quick singles run. One other thing: why was this in a cage? The point was to keep Bennett and Moose out of the match but they were banned earlier tonight. Either don’t ban them or have this be a regular match. It didn’t need to be both.

Lashley shoves Eddie away post match so Ethan comes out for the save. That brings out Matt (who we hadn’t seen in a long time) followed by Mike and Moose for the big brawl to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. It’s amazing what happens when your show has an actual focus and gets stuff done instead of just being the Matt Hardy Does Odd Shenanigans Hour. This blazed through more than half of a tournament, set up stuff for the future and changed a title in the span of a little over two hours. If TNA can keep doing stuff like this while limiting the Hardy stuff to a segment a show (Matt showed up in four different segments tonight and dominated the almost the first forty minutes), things will be looking way up. As it was, this show worked quite well and I like where things are going for a change.


Mike Bennett b. Jeff Hardy – Cutter

Matt Hardy b. James Storm – Twist of Fate

Ethan Carter III b. Eli Drake – Sunset flip

Drew Galloway b. Bram – Futureshock

Lashley b. Eddie Edwards – Spear

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