Once friends are enemies.
The cultivation of comprehensive character development and well crafted writing came to a head on this past weekend’s broadcast of Impact Wrestling. Under the flag of Destination America, a new evolution of TNA’s Impact Wrestling is making itself apparent. We saw signs of progress in 2014, maneuvering from the 2010-2013 Hogan-Bischoff Era of TNA to greener pastures through original programming and concrete development of stars. EC3 has a bright future ahead of him in TNA and it’s not too presumptuous to say that the newly recruited Drew Galloway will likely also lead the charge of TNA’s new direction.
Ethan Carter III proves time and time again that he’s good on the mic, knows how to work a crowd and knows how to be a good damn heel. Heels that get themselves over like EC3 are too few and far between, and his next move onward from the Rock Star Spud feud could very well lead to a position in the world title scene.
On the card for this edition of IMPACT! this week we had:
- “Showtime” Eric Young vs “The IT Factor” Bobby Roode in a Last Man Standing Match
- “The Chosen One” Drew Galloway vs MVP
- Magnus vs Bram
- Robbie E w/Bro-Mans & Angelina Love vs Brooke Tessmacher
- Main Event: Rockstar Spud vs Ethan Carter III. in a Hair vs Hair Match
Starting with a Bang: Showtime Eric Young vs The IT Factor Bobby Roode
The Wemberley Arena in London England was alive throughout the entirety of the broadcast. The night kicked off with a Last Man Standing Match between E.Y and Bobby Roode. This match was an absolute all out brawl. With forearms traded and pile-drivers narrowly avoided, the consistency of intensity in the match fueled the crowd to a level of involvement rarely found in the recent givings of one other particular wrestling promotion. There were some great spots in this Last Man Standing match starting with EY’s attempted piledriver on the stairs. Eric Young’s piledriver is one of the greatest going around at the moment, but when that failed he sought out the services of the trusty steel chair. Roode had the same thing in mind, and they took out each other’s chair and each other with a following clothesline. At each spot, the crowd were continuing to show their appreciation, evident when EY ruined Roode’s plans for a back body drop after he was whipped into the ropes by nailing a piledriver, which was sold with authenticity by The IT Factor. EY’s threatening of a fan with a steel chair was a classic heel move, which led Showtime Eric Young to be on the receiving end of chants from the fans.
“You Sold Out!”
– Impact Audience
After Roode’s awesome Roode Bomb onto the table from the apron, chants echo through the arena as Roode stands up in time to break count that would see him win over Showtime Eric Young.
“This Is Awesome!”
– Impact Audience
Highlight of the match: Roode Bomb from the apron onto a table on the outside by The IT Factor onto Showtime Eric Young.
Roode picks up a win in this astounding first match for this TNA IMPACT broadcast. Josh Matthews paid attention to detail of the rules of the match by confirming the stipulations of a Last Man Standing Match in mentioning the referee was counting to 10 not to count out the wrestlers but to count down time. The crowd were loud and excited, and not muted. One move of note was EY’s Flying Neckbreaker, an equivalent of a reverse RKO. Throughout this broadcast we got more of a look around the new TNA IMPACT arena format. There’s a lot of space for the wrestlers to work with, and the minimalist display really suits their new look. It saves on budget, but it is an established theme that still holds up to a certain professional standard.
A segment between JB and Rockstar Spud followed suit, where spud nailed down the basics of being a face by cutting a promo on standing up to the bullies with power. A teaser of what would be a contender for match of the year across any wrestling promotion on air. Angle vs Lashley is announced for next week, and with the news of Destination America’s interest in holding Angle at the forefront of Impact Wrestling, the prevailing probability is that Angle will have another run as world champion. The Olympic Gold Medalist no longer has a full tank, let’s hope that he finishes off on high note, and not with injury.
The chosen (by the people) savior of professional wrestling: Drew Galloway vs MVP
A package on Drew Galloway segues us to his entrance with mic in hand. IMPACT! Wrestling commentators Josh Matthews and Taz emphasize the point of Drew Galloway being here to save wrestling and to be the voice of the people.Galloway begins his promo relating to the crowd from the ring. He then jumps INTO the crowd!
Here’s a few of his shots at WWE in this promo:
“once upon a time in professional wrestling, it used to matter what the fans thought”
“once upon a time we decided who would be on the TV show dictated by what a man can do in that ring”
“and then something happened, people started shoving things down our throat, that we didn’t want to watch”
“now let’s have a serving by show of hands, who wants to take back professional wrestling”
“trust me we’re on the right course”
– Drew Galloway
Now, there is a case to be made that the many attempts of ex WWE Superstars come off as cheap ramblings of a disgruntled ex-employee. Drew Galloway is the exception to this typically well-founded perception, so long as he doesn’t do it frequently.
The quotes need no interpretation to understand the reference being made to the WWE and Roman Reigns, but his last comments of being on “the right course” is an assurance of sorts from TNA that they will not operate their talent in the manner that WWE do, and that they will embrace professional wrestling with the crowd as opposed to the well-critiqued Vince McMahon approach of dictating what’s turning into mostly a variety show (the recent broadcast of Raw had 4 matches in 3 hours). Galloway now targets MVP and the BDC, with whom he organizes a one on one match with MVP.
“Once upon a time, you were the chosen!”
– MVP to Drew Galloway
The broadcast returned with Galloway vs MVP. Galloway has some good fire in this match, and both wrestlers put on a good performance. Galloway looks for a future shock DDT, but then Lowki, Kenny king and The Samoan Submission Machine Samoa Joe from the BDC come in and rip Galloway apart.MVP and Kenny King hold Galloway against the ring pole outside, Low Ki prepares to run and take him about but Joe stops him. For a brief moment, the crowd erupts at a possible face turn, only for Joe to reveal a pipe that he gives to Low Ki who runs up and smashes Galloway with it, busting him open.
Highlight of the match: The promo by Galloway. As with Ethan Carter III, it looks like TNA is turning discarded Superstars into Impact Wrestling Stars.
When Friends Become Monsters: Magnus vs Bram
Magnus vs Bram is next. Bram brings a lot of energy in the ring, so this one should be intense. Mickie James and Magnus are backstage, Mickie’s worried about Magnus, Magnus tells her to
wait out the back. This usually means she won’t wait out the back. A promo package reminds us of how brutal and intense Bram has been in TNA. There was a good intensity to this match, and the story has developed well enough to be invested in the characters. An Iriwsh whip from Bram sends Magnus into the steel steps. The crowd is split.
“let’s go Magnus!”
“let’s go Bram!”
– Impact Audience
Both wrestlers have brought their all to each other in this personal showdown. Mickie James runs out to the ring to give Magnus some support. Bram and Magnus both get up and exchange blows, as Magnus pulls out a couple of clotheslines allowing him to get to the top rope and deliver his textbook elbow drop. Magnus fires up the crowd but is taken down by a low blow from Bram, leading to a Disqualification. When was the last time a low blow was caught by a ref and the match was actually disqualified? Far from over, Bram pulls out steel chair and smashes Magnus a few times with it. The ref, with no immediate-vicinity awareness, is blissful to the onslaught of chair shots from Bram to Magnus, and is fixated on keeping Mickie James out of the ring. Bram follows up by zip tying Magnus to the ropes, as he pulls out the infamous cue-ball which sent Magnus to the shelf in prior months. After Mickie tries to run in for the save, Bram grabs Mickie in a display of power and dominance, as Magnus is unable to hold back his anger.
“Look what I’ve got now!”
“I’ll f****** kill you!”
“I will take away everything that you love!”
“I will let her go if you kiss my boot!”
Dragging a face into levels of depravity as seen by Bram is monster heel work. Magnus swallowed his pride having been humiliated enough and kissed the boot of Bram. How degrading! Between Eric Young’s visceral heel performance, the work of Bram and what’s to come in the Hair vs Hair match with EC3, TNA is doing a solid job at developing some heels worth the label to its further extents.
Highlight of the match: The heel work of Bram. He is really starting to come out of his shell in this feud, here’s hoping 2015 has something big in store for Bram.
A BDC promo is followed by DJZ’s announcement.
“Let’s get ready to R-R-R-Robbiee!”
“If he said another word we’d owe somebody a lot of money!”
– Josh Matthews
Inter-gender Broman’s Bender: Robbie E w/Bro-Mans & Angelina Love vs Brooke Tessmacher
Brooke defeated Robbie E in this lighthearted inter-gender match. Robbie E brought in a chair to put in the corner for DJ Jesse and Angelina to provide Robbie with a towel and water, akin to rounds in a typical boxing / MMA fight. After Angelina interrupts the match, Jesse goes for a dropkick but Brooke dodges and it hits Robbie. Brooke rolls up for the win.
We’re reminded of Kurt Angle vs Lashley for the world heavyweight championship next week
Hair vs Hair: Rock Star Spud vs Ethan Carter III
The match starts with Spud getting the upper hand on EC3. EC3 turns the momentum early on. The crowd is on fire.
“You can’t wrestle!”
“Yes he can!”
– Impact Audience
EC3 drops Spud with a clothesline. We take a break. We come back to the action as EC3 gets thrown to the outside. Rockstar Spud uses a Front Senton (Nice call Taz)
from the top rope to take EC3 out from the outside. As they get back in,Tyrus comes running out and powerbombs Spud on the outside. Tyrus throws Spud back in and walks off.
The Ref, as is custom, did not see the interference. With Spud laid out EC3 taunts the crowd. Eventually he goes for the cover, but Spud kicks out at 2.
A remarkable start to the main event and it only got better.
Mr Anderson comes to the aid of spud and takes it to Tyrus. Mic check on the outside of the ring takes Tyrus out. EC3 jumps out and lays out Mr Anderson with a brace on his arm. Spud joins them as EC3 hits him with the same brace he hit Anderson with. Spud has been busted open. Bad.
EC3’s face has some of Spud’s blood on him. A fair few forearms more and it’s not looking good for spud. Stinger Splash. Spuds been thrown outside.
“You can’t wrestle!”
– Impact Audience
JB runs in the ring, low blows EC3 and Rock Star Spud with a Stunner and nearly picks up the win.
“We’re going to be taking some steps to help with the graphic of what we’re watching”
– Josh Matthews
This was interesting, and a talking point for the IWC in the following days from the broadcast. It appears as though the network tried to lessen the Impact! of the graphic content occurring in the match. There were sporadic moments where the broadcast was altered from color to black and white. The smark in me’s interpretation is that either this was a work by the network to show that they could alter the product to be family friendly but won’t (as the color adjusting only occurred for a few moments) or it was to emphasize that everything was out of control. Spud’s forehead is covered in blood. EC3 continues to smash Spud’s face into the mat. Spud hulks up, stands up, gets some good love from the crowd.
– Rock Star Spud Hulking It Up
Rock Star Spud hits EC3 with some forearms in Hogan fashion and then takes EC3 down with a shining wizard. Spud looks for the Underdog, EC3 takes out Spud, who kicks out from a pin attempt at 2. Spud climbs EC3 to try get back up, who takes out Spud with his finisher “The One Percenter” and picks up the 3 count for the win.
Time to shave Spud’s hair!
EC3 says some face things about how Spud deserves to be in TNA and how he proved he was a man and that he wasn’t going to shave him anymore. These nice words resonate with the crowd, but as EC3 goes to help Spud out of the ring, he grabs Spud and smashes him down. Ethan Carter III just pulled off the first prank from Book of Pranks. And it was wonderful.
EC3 grabs the razor and shaves Spud’s hair off and has the closing line.
“Take Notice! This ring, this company, this industry, this world…it’s mine now!”
– EC3, end of Impact! Broadcast.
Tags: Destination America, EC3, professional wrestling, TNA Wrestling, Wrestling