IMPACT! In-Depth Analysis Column: Destination America’s Impact! Gold hangs in the balance, and Kurt Angle faces Lashley for the first time.

AngleLashley
Tonight on Destination America’s Impact! Wrestling for the first time and in the six sided ring: Kurt Angle vs Bobby Lashley in a World Title Match.

“I came back for one reason and one reason only, to win the world heavyweight title!”

– Kurt Angle

Gold is hanging in the balance on this past week’s episode of Impact! Wrestling on Destination America. On the stacked cards we have:

  • Ultimate X Match
    The Wolves (Champions) vs. The Revolution (Manik & Great Sanada) vs. Bro-Mans (Jessie & DJ Z)
  • “The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe w/Low-Ki vs. “A-Double” Austin Aries
  • TNA X-Division Championship
    Rockstar Spud vs. Low-Ki (Champion)
  • TNA Knockouts Championship
    Triple Threat Match
    Taryn Terrell (Champion) vs. Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong
  • No Disqualification  Match
    “The Cowboy” James Storm w/The Revolution vs. Matt Hardy
  • Main Event
    TNA World Heavyweight Championship
    “The Destroyer” Lashley (Champion) vs. “The Olympic Hero” Kurt Angle

An ultimate (X) start to a night of solid wrestling. 

First up is an Ultimate X Match for the TNA World Tag Team Championships.

World Tag Team Champions “The Wolves” Eddie Edwards and Davie Richards take on the Bro Mans Jesse and DJ Z. Impact Commentator Josh Matthews takes us backstage where Robbie E was very tormented by what happened last week when he was defeated by his ex-girlfriend Brooke. Moments before, a Bro Meeting took place where Robbie E backs out of coming to the ring. He partners DJ Z with Jesse, and this gives a chance for DJ Z to be a Bro Man instead of just announcing. The Revolution’s Manik and Sanada make their way to the ring. These former X Division champions know how to work in the Ultimate X match, the experience giving them the upper hand. The Tornado Style Tag Team Ultimate X match kicks off with The Wolves getting singled out by the Bro Mans and The Revolution. The Wolves fire back with a spot in which they threw Manik into Sanada and landed a Double Drop-pick on to Sanada, who, while falling from the double dropkick, inadvertently dropped Manik in a DDT. The Wolves have put the TNA Tag Team Division into hyper-drive since their debut, and here they are showing once again why their names come up in discussions about the greatest tag team currently active. It took 5 minutes of the broadcast for a chant to erupt in this Ultimate X match-up.

“TNA! TNA! TNA! TNA”

– Impact Audience

An Irish whip into the corner, a couple of running elbows, a Drop Toe Hold followed by an elbow drop to the back of the head from The Wolves takes Sanada out of the ring. The only ones left standing in the ring, The Wolves get fired up.

“Battle Tested, Battle Ready, Credible, Tremendous Athletes”

– Taz on The Wolves

Angelina stops what would’ve been The Wolves flying through the ropes, and DJ Z takes a lift from The Wolves and flies to the outside of the ring taking out The Revolution. The crowd love it.

“TNA! TNA! TNA! TNA”

– Impact Audience

Sanada forms a temporary alliance with The Bro Mans, who together lay into The Wolves. Manik has Jesse holding The Wolves and sneakily goes from the top rope to the cables above the ring and starts making his way down to the tag team titles. Jesse and DJ Z try to shortcut their way to the titles. Jesse tries to launch DJ Z to the titles, bringing laughs from the crowd. Jesse tries to launch off the back of DJ Z, and just misses the titles. What follows is a sick spot where Jesse and Sanada have DJ Z and Manik on their respective tag team partner’s shoulders to try and reach the titles. The Wolves get back in the game and launch Missile Dropkicks on DJ Z and Manik from the top rope.

“TNA! TNA! TNA! TNA”

– Impact Audience

“This is awesome!”

– Impact Audience

Manik climbs Sanada and Davie Richards and makes his way down the cable. Eddie Edwards grabs Manik, a power-bomb hold from Eddie into a back stabber from Davey puts a halt to Manik. Jesse pulls out an intense double clothesline after The Wolves send DJ Z into the corner X Division post. Sanada and Jesse on the top rope exchanging brutal forearms as Sanada sprays The Mist onto Jesse who goes flying to the ring mat. Sanada is stopped by Eddie, who climbs on top of him to the ropes. His leg is grabbed by Sanada as Manik is holding Davey on the other side. Davey gets out of the hold, and from the top ropes delivers big stomps onto Sanada. The Wolves jump for the cable, Eddie on one side Davey on the other. Scaling with their legs and with speed, they get to the titles and retrieve them in this high quality Ultimate X match. A wrestling broadcast that begins with a 15 minute wrestling match of high intensity and 3 chants of the promotions name, TNA are consistently setting the bar high and have been since their relaunch on Destination America. This match brought out the best of all 3 tag teams, and it really elevated Jesse and DJ Z as credible competitors who can really hold their own. The arena is packed and the audience are red hot.

We see a package of the main event with Kurt Angle arriving earlier today, as well as the TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley.

Are you a gambling man? Winner takes all!

Austin Aries comes out to the ring, and The Greatest Man That Ever Lived has some words to say coming down the ring mic in hand. Josh Matthew’s reminds us that the BDC have stolen the world title briefcase that was in Aries’ possession. The crowd are showing their appreciation to Austin Aries in a thunderous chant.

“Austin Aries!”

– Impact Audience.

Aries calls out the BDC. Joe and Low Ki make their way to the ring. Aries lays out a proposition of “Winner takes all” for the X Division title around Low Ki’s shoulder and the World Title briefcase. Low Ki, however, is not too receptive of the idea.

“You simply don’t deserve a shot at my X Division title.”

“…if you really want it that bad, you’re gonna have to go through Joe.”

– Low Ki to Austin Aries

After an ad break, we return to a match between Austin Aries and Samoa Joe. This was a solid match between the two and unfortunate that it may well have been the last match we see Samoa Joe in under the banner of Impact Wrestling. Aries attempts an early Brain Buster, which Joe counters by throwing Aries onto the mat. Joe throws Aries into the corner, sending him outside the ring. A bear-hug into an overhead belly to belly suplex from Joe and Aries is down. Joe covers Aries and gets a 2. Joe puts a modified cross-face on Aries, and it’s awesome to once again hear the commentators not only calling the correct wrestling moves, but going into detail about their potential modifications.

This is real wrestling broadcasting.

Austin Aries lands a missile dropkick from the top ropes which sends Joe all the way to the opposite turnbuckle. Aries, with speed, lands a dropkick and an attempt of a brain buster follows suit. Joe counters into an arm bar with a wrist lock, and the Impact Audience give The Greatest Man That Ever Lived some support.

“Austin Aries!”

– Impact Audience.

Aries breaks the hold and Joe brings Aries onto the top rope. Joe goes for a Muscle Buster, and Aries counters with a tornado discus elbow, sending Joe outside. Aries runs the ropes and dives out the ring taking Joe out with a suicide dive. Low Ki out of nowhere jumps onto Aries, and Aries wins via Disqualification. With Joe holding Aries in the ring, Low Ki grabs the briefcase and goes to take out Aries, who dodges and Joe is inadvertently on the receiving end of the Briefcase. Aries takes out Low Ki with the case by way of a discus elbow, and Aries grabs what’s his. Aries wins the match and has back his World Title briefcase. A good result for the Greatest Man That Ever Lived. This also seems like an ideal way to quicken the exit of Samoa Joe, who recently left TNA to wrestle in Ring of Honor. Speaking of briefcases, Rock Star Spud comes running out with his briefcase. We’re reminded that Rock Star Spud has the X Division briefcase, and he’s come out to cash it in!

An Opportunistic Rockstar 

Spud runs down and slides into the ring as the ref rings the bell. Rock Star spud has officially cashed in the briefcase, and instantly lands The Underdog on Low Ki. Your new official X Division champion, Rock Star Spud!

We still have 2 title matches to go. Taryn Terrell vs Gail Kim vs Awesome Kong is on the card, with Taryn Terrell defending the title. The second being the main event, the first time ever in seeing Kurt Angle vs Bobby Lashley, and it’s for the World Heavyweight Championship.

We’re shown Bram and Magnus beating each other in the back.

“This rivalry gets more intense by the week”

– Josh Matthews on the rivalry between Bram and Magnus

Bram and Magnus: Intensity Overload 

This all-out brawl goes into other rooms in the back, with every item from a road case to a rubbish bin being used to wear down the other. Magnus is all over Bram, and we can see just how personal this is for Magnus – we haven’t seen him with this intensity before. The brawl eventually makes it out to the arena. This is a fight though, it’s not a sanctioned match as Josh Matthews reminds us. With both wrestlers in the ring, Magnus is laying into Bram. He grabs a steel chair from the outside, Referees Stifler and Brian Hebner along with security try to put a stop to the chaos. Magnus gets loose and attacks Bram. Mickie James comes down to the ring, and takes it to Bram. This personal rivalry is only going to get more intense. As Bram tries to crawl out of the arena, Magnus is in pursuit and pulls off a power-bomb onto the arena entrance floor, leaving Bram knocked out cold. An authentic segment that portrayed Bram and Magnus as two vicious competitors,this rivalry is only going to get more intense, with both wrestler’s elevating the other to the greatest heights in their careers.

A package of various interviews is shown, building up the world title match. The likes of MVP, Tommy Dreamer, “The Professor” Mike Tenay, Ethan Carter III and others are interviewed about who they think will win the world title match.

Who can take down the mighty Kong? 

Awesome Kong comes out to the ring, followed by Gail Kim. Josh Matthews mentions that there has been space made for Gail Kim in the Hall of Fame, and considering her career in TNA it’s well deserved. Taryn Terrell has come a long way, from her days of being an official to being the Women’s Champion. The force of Awesome Kong is destructive in the ring, and Gail Kim’s ring prowess is evidently displayed. Terrell goes for a suplex on Kong, who counters taking control. Gail and Terrell try to take on the monster Awesome Kong, but Kong continues to dominate this match. Taryn Terrell jumps from the top rope targeting Kong, who takes down Terrell with a powerful clothesline. Kong takes off the gloves and climbs the ropes. Kong misses the splash on Terrell, who lands a Taryn Cutter on Kong. Kong kicks out at 2. Terrell drop kicks Kong out of the ring and Gail Kim lands a splash onto Kong from the top rope.

“TNA! TNA! TNA! TNA”

– Impact Audience

A sunset flip into a power-bomb from Gail onto Terrell and a 2 count. Kim recovers, goes for an Eat Defeat. Terrell  counters with a roll out and gets the win to remain TNA Knockouts Champion.
This match was a great highlight of the Women’s Division in TNA Impact! Wrestling, and all stars in the women’s division know how to wrestle a good match.

We cut to a promo from James Storm regarding the No Disqualification Match with Matt Hardy coming up.

“Matt Hardy, the time has come. No disqualification, no one to help you. There is no one that will come to your aid.”

“Heads I beat you to an inch of your life, and tails, well lets just say, you should think of your brother.”

– James Storm

An interesting promo follows, once again a promo regarding the World Heavyweight Title match. They are really building this match, let’s hope it pays off. We cut to a backstage interview with Kurt Angle, who cuts a promo putting over Bobby Lashley and wanting to prove that he’s still the best in the business. Representing The Revolution, “The Cowboy” James Storm makes his way to the ring.

Hardy in the midst of A Revolution 

This match was proposed to Hardy from Storm on Twitter, which is a good way to implement social media into the story. Matt Hardy comes out and the match starts. Hardy goes straight under the ring, and throws in a few chairs and a garbage can to the ring. Storm lays into Hardy and sets a steel chair up in a corner ring-post. Hardy grabs the metal garbage can, and smashes it over Storm’s head. Storm counters with the lid of the can, and they both smash each other with their respective weapons. Hardy throws the garbage can at Storm, which lands him on his back. Hardy goes to the top rope, and is stopped by Manik from the outside. Koya comes out to the action, as James Storm has some tables in the ring, with plans for Matt Hardy who is on the ropes. Storm delivers a superplex to Matt Hardy, makes the cover and gets a 2. “The Monster” Abyss brings out a bag of tacks. Storm has Hardy on the ropes, and empties a bag of tacks on to the mat floor.

“This is going to be violent”

– Josh Matthews, Impact! Commentator

Storm climbs the ropes, as Hardy goes on the defensive. Hardy pushes Storm off the ropes onto the tacks. Matt Hardy drives Storm with an elbow drop from the second rope. Storm goes for the Last Call, Matt Hardy lands a Twist of Fate. Abyss drags the ref out at 2. Hardy catches abyss with a drop kick. Matt Hardy gets Manik with a twist of fate on the outside. Matt Hardy runs into the ring and charges at Storm. Storm dodges making Hardy smash into the chair that Storm had setup previously in the match. Storm rolls up the cover and gets a 2.
Storm picks up Hardy, who counters with another Twist of Fate. Both wrestlers are down. Abyss gives the cowbell to Storm. As Hardy is getting up, Sanada gets him with The Mist. Hardy’s dazed, and turns around and gets smashed by the cowbell from Storm. Storm follows up with 2 Last Calls, and the cover gives James Storm of The Revolution the win, with the assistance of his Revolution group. The match is over, but The Revolution are not done.

“Matt Hardy. I am the reason your brother is out of Professional Wrestling. And now, you can visit your brother in the hospital.”

“Matt Hardy, like we say in The Revolution, there’s always room for one more.”

– “The Cowboy” James Storm, leader of The Revolution following a victory against Matt Hardy in a No Disqualification match.

Angle, Lashley, TNA World Title…next!

A main event like none other. 

The last preparations of Lashley and Angle are shown, followed by a package informing us that Jeff Hardy will return on next week’s episode of Impact! Wrestling.
Angle’s music starts, as Kurt Angle is in the back making his way to the ring in one shot from the back to the arena. A good way to do a main event entrance. This is epic. From locker-room to arena, Angle makes his way to the ring. Lashley comes to the ring in similar fashion, and these drawn out entrances with extended entrance music really elevated the status of this all star showdown in the six sided ring.
The Title match begins with a show of wrestling at it’s finest. It’s amazing that these two have not been booked before, their amateur backgrounds really show in the multiple hold changes that take place. Lashley is in the shape of his career, and Angle is surprisingly agile with haste, showing that there might just still be a good run or two left in Angle.

“Let’s go Angle!”
– Impact Audience

Angle lands a German Suplex on Lashley and keeps the hold locked. He continues and delivers two more suplexes.

“I am shocked that Kurt Angle just popped off those German’s this early in this match.”

“…I think he is sending a message directly to Lashley. ‘I can throw you anytime I want in this match’.”

– Taz, Impact! Commentator

Angle goes for the early win by going for the Ankle Lock. Lashley escapes the ring. Angle chases Lashley around the ring but Lashley throws The Olympic Gold Medalist, who goes shoulder first off the steel guard rail. Back in the ring Lashley rolls Angle, sliding in and getting a 2 count from the pin. With Kurt lying in the corner of the ring Lashley lays into him. A vertical suplex and a 2 count by Lashley. As the match continued, Kurt Angle was able to lock in another set of 3 German suplexes on Lashley. He lines up Lashley and goes for the Angle Slam and Lashley counters with a spine buster. Angle kicks out at 2. Lashley sets up Angle for the spear, who narrowly avoids with a side step and some more German Suplexes. This set had 5 German Suplexes.

“It’s so hard to do what he’s doing. Especially to someone the size of Lashley.”

– Taz, Impact! Commentator

Angle has the Ankle Lock locked in and Lashley fights it off. Lashley pulls off a powerful power-slam, and Angle barely kicks out at 2. We take a commercial break.

We come back to Angle avoiding a spear, and shortly after he puts The Ankle Lock on Lashley again. Lashley rolls through it and limps to the other side of the ring. He’s preparing for a spear. Angle counters with the knee and pulls off an Angle Slam. Lashley kicks out at 2.

“This is awesome!”

– Impact! Audience

A clothesline takes Angle down. He follows up with a vertical suplex and Angle lands hard. Lashley once again prepares for the spear and runs right through Angle and goes for the pin. Angle is still in the match, kicking out at 2.

“Let’s go Angle!”

– Impact! Audience

Lashley, straying from familiar territory, makes his way up the ropes. Angle attempts a run-up suplex but Lashley throws him down. Lashley jumps from the top ropes and Angle rolls and avoids. Now Angle makes his way to the top rope and lands a cross body. Lashley rolls through it and puts the Ankle Lock on Kurt Angle to a chorus of Boos from the Wemberley arena. Angle finds the ropes and lands another Angle Slam. Kurt Angle was one second away from becoming the new World Heavyweight Championship.
Lashley puts a cross arm breaker on Angle, who counters by locking and engaging The Ankle Lock. And after much struggle, Lashley tapped.

Lashley Tapped! Kurt Angle is now 6 time TNA World Heavyweight Champion!

“The Angle Era is Real”

– Josh Matthews, Impact! Commentator.

Kurt Angle celebrates, and shakes the hand of Lashley in a show of tremendous mutual respect. An A-Grade end to a broadcast of quality, consistent professional wrestling.

Next week, Jeff Hardy makes his Impact Wrestling return next Friday on Impact! up against James Storm in the steel cage. It will be interesting to see how that story with The Hardy’s and The Revolution develop and it seems as though Storm is interested in recruiting – will one Hardy turn against the other? Find out next week on Destination America’s Impact! Wrestling.

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