TNA IMPACT WRESTLING
SEASON 14 EPISODE 37
TAPED AT THE IMPACT ZONE IN ORLANDO FLORIDA
Technically, The header for this show lists it as being taped in Orlando but as recent Impacts have shown. Parts of each show have taken place on rooftops, The Hardy estate in North Carolina, An undisclosed Decay location in the backwoods and tonight an empty arena match between Rockstar Spud and Braxton Sutter. So these shows have not all been Impact zone related tapings. Even though the empty arena match is.
Tonight's Impact begins with a post Delete or Decay video. Matt Hardy going over the fallout of their battle with The Decay. Matt Hardy is on a mission to rebuild The Hardy House. He is now wheeling Brother Nero in a wheelchair and brings him to the "lake of reincarnation" to "heel and regenerate his mortal flesh". Matt speaks in tongues and chants regenerate. He puts Nero into the Lake and out comes Jeff Hardy in a suit wearing his old TNA world title. Jeff says that the champ is back and he starts smoking a cigarette. Jeff also uses the "you can't see me" line. Matt says that this isn't the regeneration that he was looking for. So he dunks Jeff into the lake again. Jeff emerges as The "Nefarious Nero" that Matt was hoping for. Nero says he is going after The Decay and starts chanting obsolete. Matt is pleased. Next order of business for him is finding his old friend, Senor Benjamin.
We are now in The Impact Zone. World Champ, Bobby Lashley is making his way to the ring. Highlights are shown of last week's championship press conference where Lashley left EC3 laying and transported into an ambulance. Jeremy Borash is in the ring and asks Bobby how he feels about potentially ruining The Bound For Glory main event. Lashley says that at the start of the year, He promised that 2016 would be the year that he took over the wrestling industry. Lashley says no one in any company is as dominant as he is and he showed that by taking out EC3. Lashley is once again asked by Borash if he has ruined the Bound For Glory main event. Lashley says that EC3 made the claim that he was the face of TNA and Lashley smashed that face. EC3 claimed that he was carrying TNA on his back and thanks to Lashley, EC3 can't carry anything any more.
Lashley sees that the fans are upset because he crushed their hero. Lashley says that now that EC3 won't be able to wrestle him at The Bound for Glory pay per view. He offers Jeremy Borash the opportunity to face him instead. Lashley says it's just a joke and Borash dismisses the idea. Bobby says that anyone in the TNA locker room that faces him is a joke. Out comes TNA jokester himself, Grado. Grado dances into the ring and puts his fanny pack over his shoulder as if it were a title. Lashley says what the hell are you doing. Lashley calls Grado a joke and says he can't tell if facing Grado instead of Borash would be a bigger joke. Grado says that he has known Borash for years and that Jeremy is a bigger joke than him. Grado says that he is friends with EC3 and he wants to get revenge against Lashley and prove that he is no joke. Lashley says that he is going to hurt anyone that gets in his way. Grado stands up to Lashley and says that even though, he is the world champ. Even he can be beaten. Lashley strikes Grado down in response. Beats him down and then hits a spear to lay him out. Lashley says that people need to stop pissing him off. He states that he can kill anyone on the entire roster and that he can't be beaten.
Moose's music hits and he heads to the ring to confront Lashley. They both get into a staredown in the middle of the ring and then start trading punches. Moose hits a lariat on Lashley. Who goes down and rolls out of the ring. Moose is on the mic. He promises to beat Lashley. He says everyone in the arena wants to see Lashley vs Moose and that if Bobby doesn't come out later to face him. He is going to drag him into the ring from the locker room and beat him down.
A Grand Championship Tournament video airs narrated by Jeremy Borash. It goes over the rules and last week's results. It caps off by hyping more tournament action for tonight.
Aron Rex is backstage. He says he came here to Impact wrestling to be apart of something special. He is finding his love again for the business here in TNA. Says that The Grand Championship is unlike anything he or the business has ever seen. Rex says that the difference between he and his rival, Drew Galloway, is the fact that Drew has been given opportunities while he has had to take whatever hasn't been given to him. Rex promises to see Drew down the road in the tournament as the show goes to break.
Bobby Lashley is backstage now as we return to the show. Lashley teases accepting Moose's challenge for tonight but ends up saying no. He says that fighting him is bad for Moose's health as he walks away.
GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT 1ST ROUND
ARON REX VS TREVOR LEE
Aron Rex heads to the ring dressed in attire that is not familiar to him or audiences that have followed his career. A White Impact throw over type shirt if you want to call it that. White tights and white boots. Black elbow pads and his signature Damien Sandow styled knee pads except these are pink. Not really Aron's best in ring attire.
In case you missed it last week. This is a single elimination tournament. 3 rounds, 3 minutes each with 10 point scoring system after each round. Pinfalls and submissions can end the match. No definitive word yet on dq's. This is treated as a sporting type contest so I suppose any interference is not tolerated. Or any illegal tactic. Also a wrestler's aggressiveness during any given round helps determine how high he scores.
The clock begins as does the match. Two quick pin fall attempts by Rex on Lee to start off. Rex takes Lee down to the mat with a side headlock. Hits a shoulder block and attempts another pin fall. Lee eventually fights back and we are under 2 minutes in round #1. Rex wins a battle of striking with Lee. The action spills to the outside momentarily. Lee hits a big spinning kick on Rex and throws him into the ring and attempts a pinfall. Just under a minute left, Lee still on the offensive. Tries to apply a submission hold on Rex. The clock is ticking away as Lee has a chinlock on Rex. Rex escapes and hits two clotheslines as round one ends.
Some counters and reversals in the early going of the round. Rex gets an inside cradle for a 2 count on Lee. 2 minutes remaining in the round. Rex gets a Russian leg sweep on Lee and then follows that with an elbow drop. Rex tries to apply a submission hold but Lee gets to the ropes. Breaks it up, rises to his feet and hits a high knee to Rex's jaw. This gets Trevor a 2 count. Both men on their feet. Rex hits a clothesline and a nice looking spinning forearm on Lee. This results in Aron Rex pinning and defeating Trevor Lee.
ARON REX DEFEATS TREVOR LEE BY PINFALL IN ROUND TWO TO ADVANCE IN THE GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
Post match. Aron Rex celebrates and has his hand raised and is announced as the winner of the match by Jeremy Borash.
Backstage, Jeremy Borash magically appears in front of The Impact monitors and introduces TNA Knockout champion Maria. Maria calls herself the greatest Knockouts champ and tonight, she will found out, who she will be defending her Knockouts title against at Bound For Glory. Maria mockingly says that she doesn't want to ruin Gail Kim's hall of fame induction. Borash says that the induction is scheduled for Bound For Glory. Maria corrects Jeremy and says that it is actually tonight. Maria instructs Jeremy to go and tell Gail that her induction is taking place tonight.
Back from the break. Matt Hardy is at his estate in North Carolina. Continuing his search. He finds a destroyed Vanguard One. Broken Matt starts crying when he holds the damaged Vanguard One in his hands. As somber piano music plays in the background. Matt says "don't you dare do this to me" to Vanguard One. Matt falls and screams with Vanguard clutched into his arms. Very touching moment...... Matt rises to his knees with Vanguard One laid before him. He looks to the heavens and begs the seven deities to install the power and essence of life that he stole from Brother Nero and put it into the vessel of Vanguard One. Vanguard One begins to come to life.... It initiates a memory sequence. Footage is shown on Vanguard One of Senor Benjamin sweeping the grounds of the estate. Vanguard is assisting Benjamin in the landscaping and plays chess with Senor Benjamin. Benjamin beats Vanguard in a game of chess and tells him in Spanish "I beat you idiot".... Matt Hardy rises from his sleep on the ground and sees that Vanguard One has been restored. Matt is overjoyed and summons Vanguard One to go find Senor Benjamin.
Back in the impact zone. Maria Kanellis Bennett is in the ring with her assistant Allie. She brags about being married to The Miracle and being the greatest knockouts champion. Maria says that unfortunately everyone wants to keep talking about someone else. The crowd cheers for Allie. Maria belittles Allie in the ring but says that she is talking about Gail Kim not Allie. She calls out Gail and says that it is time for her hall of fame induction. Gail Kim arrives and heads to the ring. Maria yells and screams at Gail and says that she has created a video package of Gail's career highlights. The highlight package shows Maria beating down Gail on several occasions. When the video ends, Maria gloats. Maria says she also wrote an induction speech for Gail. Basically a one sentence speech that states that Maria is better than Gail. Maria then gives Gail an induction gift. A framed picture of herself with The Knockouts Title. Allie says that she got Gail Kim a gift too because she thinks Gail is the best women's wrestler ever. Maria snatches the gift away from Allie and stomps on it. Dixie Carter's music hits and she heads to the ring. She announces that Gail Kim will be in a knockouts gauntlet match tonight and if she wins, She will face Maria for the knockouts title at Bound For Glory.
EMPTY IMPACT ZONE MATCH
ROCKSTAR SPUD VS BRAXTON SUTTER
Both men are dressed in "street gear". Jeremy Borash handles the introductions. Matthews and Pope are at ringside doing commentary. Josh says that they had to remove the fans from the arena for this match.
Both men attack each other in the aisle and brawl throughout the stands. The trash talking between the two is very audible due to the setting. A lot of screaming and selling by both men after each move. Spud's volume level is extremely high when he is getting beat down by Sutter. Some bleeped expletives are thrown into the brawl for extra measure. After battling in the stands, Both men eventually get into the ring. Spud gets the advantage briefly before Sutter gets back in control. He exposes the turnbuckle and throws Spud into it. Targeting Spud's mouth. Rockstar is spitting up blood. Sutter pins him and the match is over.
BRAXTON SUTTER DEFEATS ROCKSTAR SPUD
We are now back to The Hardy estate and Vanguard One is in search mode for Senor Benjamin. Vanguard One locates Senor Benjamin. Benjamin appears to be in some type of barn maybe and he is tied up. Vanguard One addresses Senor and tells him that it is going to get the aid of Mr. Hardy. With V1's help, Matt Hardy locates Senor Benjamin and unties him. Benjamin has a DECAY headband on. Matt asks Senor how he is and Benjamin calmly responds that he is fine. Matt tells Senor that he needs him to go home and rest and that once he has done that. He can go round up all the weapons he can find to defend House Hardy. Matt declares that a great war is coming at Bound For Glory.
Back from the break. Moose is backstage and asked how he feels about Lashley refusing his challenge. Moose says that on his first night in TNA, He knocked out Lashley. He demands that Lashley accept his challenge.
Highlights are shown from last week's Delete or Decay battle.
We are now back in the Impact Zone. Broken Matt Hardy is in the ring with his Brother Nero and Wife Reby Sky. Matt mentions the "apocalyptic" war that they were in last week with The Decay. Matt says that both sides survived but that the war has become more massive. Matt expresses his anger in the fact that The Decay abducted Senor Benjamin and tried to abduct his son "King Maxel". Matt says for those reasons. The Decay must now be sentenced to the "darkness of deletion". The crowd starts chanting Delete. Matt says that not only will they take Decay's tag titles but that he will delete them. The Decay's music hits. As the crowd waits for their entrance. All 3 Decay members show up separately in different locations in the Impact Zone. Rosemary is up first on a soundstage, She says that Maxel is in the wrong hands with The Hardy family. How the Hardy's will not be able to take their titles. Rosemary mentions that Bram didn't go along with The Decay and he is now gone. Abyss is on the ramp, He says that their titles are beautiful and that they will never lose them. Crazzy Steve is next in the crowd, He says that The Decay will destroy The Hardy's. Broken Matt and Brother Nero tell the decay that they are going to be stronger and that The Decay failed to destroy them. Nero promises to render all 3 members of the Decay as Obsolete. Matt challenges The Decay to a "Great War" rather than a standard tag match at Bound For Glory. The Decay accepts. The Decay then surround the ring and start a Decay chant towards The Hardy's. They start to enter the ring. Rosemary insults The Hardy's, says that Maxel will belong to the Decay and that Reby is an unfit mother. The Decay and Hardy's start brawling after these words. The Hardy's win this battle and it ends with Reby hitting a cutter on Rosemary and The Decay fleeing. As the fans chant Delete to end the segment.
Back from the break. Bobby Lashley is backstage and is approached by Mike Bennett. The Miracle warns Lashley about Moose's threat. Tells Lashley to attack Moose . Lashley is not fooled by Bennett's words and knows that he is trying to instigate him to beat up Moose for him. Lashley promises to beat up Moose and may return later to beat up Bennett.
KNOCKOUTS GAUNTLET MATCH
The winner of this match gets a knockouts title match at Bound For Glory. The match is won when an opponent is thrown over the top rope and both feet touch the floor.
Introduced first is Jade. Followed by Allie, as she is introduced. Maria comes out and dismisses Allie from the match because she says she is not a wrestler. Maria has found a replacement that she claims is better than Allie and "taller". Maria introduces Laurel Van Ness as Allie's replacement. "Laurel" is the former Chelsea Green of WWE Tough Enough fame.
Laurel and Jade start off the match as the crowd chants "Allie's Better". Both women exchange some chops and stiff shots. The next entrant is Sienna. She comes in and goes after Jade. Van Ness and Sienna team up on Jade and beat her down. The next entrant is Gail Kim. He flies off the top rope with a forearm on Van Ness. She goes after Sienna but Sienna wins the battle with a clothesline. The heels now have the advantage. The next entrant is Marti Bell. She runs in and starts trading blows with Kim. No eliminations yet. Van Ness tries to team up with Marti Bell but Bell refuses to and wants to attack Jade by herself. Next entrant is Racquel. She runs in and hits a tilt a whirl head scissors on Sienna. Racquel surprisingly gets in more offense than one would expect. The next entrant is Madison Rayne. She comes in on fire and goes after everyone in the ring as the show goes to break.
Back from the break. Chaotic action with all the knockouts taking turns hitting their finishers on each other. The fans are chanting for Allie to get involved. Laurel Van Ness eliminates Madison Rayne. We are down to 6 knockouts. Marti Bell eliminates Jade with a kick off of the apron. Van Ness sneaks up behind Marti and eliminates her. Down to 4, Sienna powers Racquel over the top rope and eliminates her. Final 3, Gail Kim, Sienna and Laurel Van Ness. Maria gets on the apron and tries to direct Sienna and Allie. Allie gets on the apron and tries to pull herself up by the top rope. By doing so, She accidentally helps Gail Kim eliminate Laurel Van Ness. Who is thrown over the top rope that Allie is hanging on to. Maria and Laurel Van Ness start yelling at Allie at ringside and berating her for the mistake. Meanwhile in the ring, Sienna gets Gail in a power bomb position and tries to eliminate her. Gail escapes... The final 2 left in the gauntlet can now have the match decided by pinfall or submission as well.
Finishing sequence sees Sienna attempt a spear, Gail counters and hits the "eat defeat" to win the match.
GAIL KIM WINS THE KNOCKOUTS GAUNTLET MATCH TO BECOME THE NEW #1 CONTENDER TO THE TNA KNOCKOUTS TITLE
Post match sees Gail Kim celebrate while a distraught Maria clutches her knockouts title as the show goes to break.
GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND MATCH
EDDIE EDWARDS VS MAHABALI SHERA
There are actually judges seated at ringside for these matches but they aren't anyone of significant note. Perhaps that will change in the future. Some chain wrestling early between Edwards and Shera. This leads to a clothesline by Shera and a 2 count. Some sloppy exchanges here between Shera and Edwards. Shera is greener than the claw print logos on Edwards tights. Less than a minute left in the round. Edwards hits a suicide dive on Shera on the outside. Edwards hits his ribs on the dive and sells the injury. Inside the ring, Edwards hits a boston knee party on Shera for a close fall. The clock runs out on round one as Edwards is applying a submission on Shera.
ROUND ONE SCORECARD: All 3 judges score the round 10-9 for Edwards. He is up 30 to 27 over Mahabali Shera.
Shera gets the early advantage and starts targeting Edwards ribs with some knee shots. Shera then then hits a rib breaker type move from a power slam position. Edwards tries to fight back but gets hit with a shoulder smash to the ribs. Less than a minute left, Shera is giving Edwards a reverse bear hug. Edwards attempts to escape but gets floored by Shera. Time running out. An awkward end to the round where Shera delays attempting a suplex. Edwards counters to a leg lock as time runs out.
ROUND TWO SCORECARD: Split decision for Shera. Judges 1 and 2 score 10-9 for Shera. Judge 3 has Edwards winning the round 10-9.
Shera power slams Edwards and gets a 2 count. Shera hesitates to follow up. He charges at Edwards. Edwards counters and puts Shera into a single leg boston crab and Shera submits.
EDDIE EDWARDS DEFEATS MAHABALI SHERA BY SUBMISSION IN ROUND 3 TO ADVANCE IN THE GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
BOBBY LASHLEY/MOOSE "FIGHT"
Bobby Lashley comes out with a microphone and is still in his "street gear" from the opening segment. Lashley says that he knows that everyone wants to see him and Moose fight but it's not going to happen. Lashley says he has already proven himself and that he is a businessman and he only fights for big money and at big events. Lashley makes Moose a proposition. He tells Moose to face him at Bound For Glory instead for The world title as a replacement for EC3. Moose likes the idea of facing Lashley for the title at TNA's biggest event of the year but he can't wait till October 2nd. Moose strikes Lashley and knocks him out of the ring. Both men start brawling on the outside. Moose throws Lashley into the ring post. Lashley rallies and throws Moose into the ring steps. Both men are trading heavy blows. Lashley throws Moose into the ring. When he goes into the ring after Moose. Moose hits him with a standing drop kick. Lashley rebounds and hits a spinebuster on Moose. He then spears Moose into the corner twice. He attempts it a 3rd time. Moose counters and then lifts Lashley up and sets him on the top turnbuckle. Mike Bennett runs in and hits Moose from behind.
Moose turns his attention to Bennett and punches him. Moose grabs Bennett by the neck, Bennett rakes him in the eyes and as he turns, Lashley spears Moose. "The Miracle" starts kicking a fallen Moose. Lashley joins in on the stomping. EC3's music hits and he heads to the ring, knocks down Bennett and goes after Lashley. Bennett is back up and in the ring. Lashley and Bennett try double teaming EC3 but he powers out and hits a double clothesline to end the show.
SHOW CLOSING THOUGHTS
Decent show. It had it's moments. Nothing that really stood out but in the big picture. It helped set the company up for the final two Impact shows before The Bound For Glory PPV on October 2nd. Speaking of the big picture.
AJ Styles is the new WWE World Champion. T.J. Perkins just won the highly acclaimed CWC tournament and is the brand new WWE Cruiserweight Champion. Samoa Joe is a former NXT World Champ and is on the verge of a major WWE roster run somewhere down the line. Austin Aries has impressed and could soon follow Joe's path. Bobby Roode is well... Glorious!
These talents, among many other TNA stars from the past have risen to high prominence recently. All deservingly so. There are others like Jay Lethal, The Addiction etc etc etc..... Who have had success since leaving TNA. For the longest time, being associated with TNA seemed to leave a negative perception on some talent. For years, the likes of Joe and Styles who are big league talents were treated like minor leaguers because of their TNA background. The WWE in the mid to late 2000's ignored them. The times have changed.
So why bring up old wounds?... Or in this case, TNA's Old Guard. It's simple. Identity. It's taken quite some time and adversity but it finally appears that TNA has carved out their own identity. For years it seemed like they were trying to be the WWE, Trying to recreate ECW, The nWo, monday nitro, the attitude era etc etc etc
The focus was mainly on retread ideas and stars from the wrestling boom period in the late 90's and early 2000's. Trying to recapture something that wasn't theirs to begin with. All the while, the company had the young promising talent right under their noses with the likes of Lethal, Joe, Styles, Roode and others.
Matt Hardy and Bobby Lashley are considered WWE castoffs. Truth is that they have never been better. Matt has developed into one of the best original creations in the wrestling business. Bobby Lashley has always been an elite athlete but he has put it all together as a worker and as a personality. The WWE castoffs and hidden gems like EC3 and Drew Galloway have been given the spotlight and have delivered.
TNA's production and pacing of their shows has never been better. The product has been original and has taken chances. Some good, Some bad but fresh and unique. Credit to Billy Corgan, The TNA staff and the unheralded Jeremy Borash, who is one of the best and hardest working people in the industry. Borash has been a jack of all trades behind the scenes.
The key now for TNA is to find and develop new stars. The next generation of superb talents like Joe, Styles, Lethal and Roode. The next generation of elite performers. TNA or Impact Wrestling, One day that will be settled..... Impact Wrestling has carved out it's own identity. It's time for it to find the talents of the future to lead the way. While it's nice to see a talent like Aron Rex get a new lease on life and the rumored debut of Cody Rhodes is promising. The company needs to have it's talent be as fresh and new as their current direction.