Another TNA Impact episode, another TNA Impact episode with a gimmick attached. Welcome to the Impact Wrestling review on TJRWrestling, as this week we have Hardcore Justice. While not announced last week, we have Eric Young battling Kurt Angle in a stretcher match, The Hardys and Davey Richards taking on The Revolution in a Street Fight, and Drew Galloway taking on Low Ki in a Steel Pipe on a Pole match. I’m sure there will be more than that as well, so let’s get right to it.
Street Fight: The Hardys and Davey Richards vs. The Revolution
This match cut in at the end of the opening video for the program, as all participants were already fighting down the rampway. Jeff Hardy looks pretty good for a guy who just broke his leg… oh wait. Weapons were conveniently already placed on the rampway for them. Al Snow decides to finally join Josh Matthews as announcers. Davey hit a very long delayed vertical suplex to Manik, so long that it made me think he forgot what he really wanted to do with Manik. A lot of weapon use on the outside by The Hardys. The Hardys hit Poetry In Motion on Abyss while Davey holds a chair in Abyss’ face. Cool spot. Manik crotches Jeff Hardy on a Swanton that turns the momentum to The Revolution. Al Snow sounds like Lee Marshall now. Anyone remember him from WCW? The first Non-WWE weapon used was what looked like a bathroom pipe that Abyss hit Jeff Hardy with. All six men get in the ring finally to set up a big Tower of Doom that looked pretty ugly, quite frankly. It was 2 powerbombs, a double back suplex with a superplex at the top. At least that’s what it was supposed to look like. Davey hits a big dive onto Abyss on the outside. Near fall by Davey after a top rope double foot stomp, but Abyss stops him. Abyss goes for an Earthquake splash on Jeff with a chair on top, but Jeff moves the chair to crotch Abyss. The Hardys hit the Twist of Fate/Swanton combo and pick up the win.
Winner: The Hardys/Davey Richards
K-Tank’s Take: Unfortunately The Revolution can’t be taken seriously in a match that James Storm isn’t a part of. So the result was obvious. Nothing spectacular here, the cameras didn’t really follow all six guys at once, so didn’t seem like there was much action going on. James Storm comes out post match and tells Abyss he’s failed one too many times. Abyss looks like he’s questioning Storm, but Storm has none of it.
After a brief preview of the show from Josh and All, we go backstage to Mr. Anderson. Anderson says he has his own sign to counter “EC3 for Champ” from last week, and although EC3 was boring, he’s bringing excitement this week. EC3 is also invited tonight to see what Anderson has up his sleeve.
Mr. Anderson/EC3 Segment
After a small video package hyping all the media exposure TNA got for Billy Corbin coming into the company, Mr. Anderson makes his way to the ring. There’s a podium in the ring and a sign covered by a black curtain. Anderson says he doesn’t care about campaign promises, he cares about seeing EC3 get his ass whipped. Before Anderson can reveal his sign, EC3’s music hits and here he comes with Tyrus. Anderson holds the ropes open as if a woman was getting in the ring, that was a small thing, but still pretty funny. It’s the little things people. EC3 starts to talk, but the “You Can’t Wrestle” chants start immediately and Anderson makes it a point to tell EC3 the same. EC3 and Anderson go back and forth, with EC3 having a good line, “I do not just win, I collect scalps”. That was in reference to all the TNA Hall of Famer’s he’s defeated. They discuss how EC3’s undefeated streak is the most valuable possession to EC3, which is Anderson’s point, so he reveals his sign to say “Mr. Anderson: Beat the Streak”. Anderson says that they’re going to have a match on the May 8th live special, and as a bonus, the fans will vote on what type of match they will have. EC3 says challenge accepted, but warns Anderson to tread lightly.
K-Tank’s Take: That was a really good promo from both guys, and a nice tie in with the whole political campaign/voting angle, but then I went to TNA’s website, only to find out that the voting is between an Arm-Wrestling match (in favor of EC3) or a Falls Count Anywhere match (in favor of Mr. Anderson). Does WWE run all Pro Wrestling voting systems?? That’s pretty awful. So go ahead and mark it down, next week on Impact during their live special, it’ll be Mr. Anderson vs. EC3 in a Falls Count Anywhere match. I really hope they let this program go longer, as both guys continue to show how good they are on the mic.
Four-Way Ladder Match for X-Division Title: Rockstar Spud (c) vs. Mandrews vs. Kenny King vs. Tigre Uno
Mark Andrews looks like Rockstar’s twin now. Mandrews is also a really dumb nickname. You would think that TNA would’ve promoted an X-Division Title match such as this, but guess that shows what they think of the X-Division now. Rockstar Spud is apparently taped up from the kicks he’s received lately from The BDC. Rockstar Spud hasn’t been on the show in 2 weeks, so that’s the LAMEST excuse i’ve heard for someone being taped up, possibly ever. I would really like to know that that’s about. It’s one small patch on one side too, it’s not wrapped all the way around like wrestlers typically do to sell a rib injury. Andrews (I’m not calling him Mandrews anymore) starts things off with a huge shooting star press to the outside on King and Tigre. King and Andrews fight for a ladder, but Tigre legdrops it on the ropes to catapult it into their faces. Andrews and King have a cool sequence with the ladder in a corner, with Andrews hitting a tornado DDT off the ladder. Andrews gets really close to grabbing the belt, but Tigre stops him and then hits Andrews with a Flux Capacitor off the ladder! Wow, I’ve never seen that spot before. That was ridiculously dangerous. King and Spud are now left to battle up the ladder. King has a free shot at the title after kicking Spud in the ribs, but Tigre springboards from the outside onto the ladder. King then hiptosses him down. Spud fights back and knocks King off. Spud is all by himself, but Homicide now comes out and pulls Spud off the ladder, and Spud crashes onto another ladder that was propped up in the corner. Homicide gets King up and King climbs the ladder, we have a new champion.
Winner: New X-Division Champion: Kenny King
K-Tank’s Take: I’m sorry, but Spud’s unannounced rib injury absolutely took away from the match, as it came from out of nowhere. The story was that Spud was selling it the entire time and King focused on it. They had some creative spots, but I was watching the match with a glass half empty approach, just for that reason. King winning the title at least makes sense, as it gives something more to The BDC/Rising storyline now.
Eric Young Segment
They show a video promo showing the actions of Eric Young lately where he took out Lashley and Kurt Angle last week. EY then comes out for a promo with a stretcher in tow. EY talks about the list of wrestlers that tried to tell him and show him differently, but he still put them on a stretcher. The likes of Aries, Roode, Lashley, & even Angle. Tonight’s stretcher match with Angle may be a non-title match, but EY says he will still end Angle’s career tonight.
K-Tank’s Take: Short, but effective live promo from EY. I’m such a big fan of his heel turn. If tonight is non-title, one would assume that EY is going to win. He needs it to keep momentum going.
Backstage The BDC are celebrating Kenny King’s victory. MVP talks about how talks of the BDC’s demise are greatly exaggerated. The Rising doesn’t control their future, their future is in their own hands, and later tonight a steel pipe will be in the hands on Low Ki. Low Ki gets the pipe and tells MVP, “Blood in, Blood Out.”
We then then go to Rockstar Spud backstage, who’s asked by the mystery cameraman what he’s feeling now. Spud compares it to having your house or car broken into. Spud talks about how he worked 14 years to get to be on the list of the likes of Styles, Joe, Daniels, as an X-Division Champion. And it was stolen from him by Kenny King. He tells King that he will be X-Division Champion again.
Now we go to a Dollhouse Production vignette, with Taryn Terrell, Marti Bell & Jade. Taryn talks about how they shocked the world last week, and now she’s facing Brooke this week. Everyone will realize that this is their house, The Dollhouse.
K-Tank’s Take: That was quite the sequence of backstage promos, they typically don’t do more than one at a time. The BDC promo was as expected, tying in the title victory towards their storyline with The Rising. I thought Spud showed a lot of fire in his promo, really making a point to show how important the X-Division title is to him, but he’s probably going to be the odd man out now. I still don’t get the premise behind The Dollhouse, but as I said last week, at least now with Taryn at the helm of the group, it gives them some instant credibility.
Knockouts Title Match: Taryn Terrell (c) vs. Brooke
Now seems like as good a time as any to say we still miss you Velvet Sky. Taryn comes out to The Dollhouse’s music now and both Jade and Marti come to ringside with her. Such an odd presentation. All three girls skip around the ring, but Taryn keeps a serious face while the other two laugh. Then she makes the other two take the title off her waist. I can at least say for them, they make me want to learn more. Brooke fires up early in the match, forcing Taryn to the outside to regroup. It doesn’t take long for Marti and Jade to interfere, as Marti distracts the ref while Jade trips Brooke while she’s running the ropes to hit Taryn with a move. Taryn takes over the match and really works over Brooke, hitting a really nice flipping neckbreaker during the attack. Taryn really working well as a heel tonight, even though I do believe this is the first time she’s ever been a heel. Taryn goes for a cross body block off the top rope but Brooke moves out of the way. Al Snow just referenced the Flying Burrito with one of the running forearms Brooke hits, so Al Snow is already better than Josh Matthews. Brooke looks like she wants to do the Stinkface to Taryn, but The Dollhouse pull Taryn out. Brooke won’t be stopped and hits a big cross body block off the top rope to the outside onto all three women. Very nicely done. Brooke goes to the top rope again as they get back in the ring, but once again Marti distracts the ref as Jade pushes her off the top, then Taryn follows up with an RKO and mounts Brooke for the greatest pinfall I’ve ever seen. The champ retains.
Winner: Still Knockouts Champion, Taryn Terrell
Post match, Jade and Marti pick up Brooke by all four limbs and skip around for a second before lifting her up high and letting her crash to the mat. Taryn gets a mic and says Kong couldn’t beat her, Brooke couldn’t beat her, no one can beat her because this is her house, The Dollhouse. Gail Kim’s music now hits and she comes out and says she’s confused by Taryn now. Taryn says she’s tired of living in the Gail Kim shadow. Gail says they were supposed to be in this together, but Taryn says its time for Gail to be in Taryn’s shadow. It’s 3 on 1 now, because Gail is all alone. Gail says she’s actually not alone, and here comes Kong! Kong stares down The Dollhouse as Taryn flips out in the ring.
K-Tank’s Take: That pinfall though… I approve. I really liked Taryn’s work as a heel here and despite still not having much information in the purpose of the group, they showed exactly why it’ll be tough to get the title off Taryn with the other two always around. I really do like the potential in them as a stable. Gail Kim and Kong are obviously an interesting pairing as they’ve feuded for years, but they basically did a double turn last week with Taryn and Kong as no one really wanted to boo Kong. Rightfully so too.
Josh and Al talk about how Slammiversary is officially announced for June 28th, live on PPV in Orlando.
We have another promo from The Rising. I really like the way their promos are shot. Drew Galloway talks about the battle with The BDC and says they will suffer for their cause and pay the ultimate sacrifice. This all started with a pipe and tonight, it’ll end with a pipe.
Steel Pipe on a Pole match: Drew Galloway vs. Low Ki
Any match that includes “on a pole” in the title, typically suck. But at least this match has some legit heat behind it as it was the pipe that busted open Low Ki in England awhile back. Drew has his rips completely taped up, selling the pipe shot from The BDC that he took. At least I can explain this sell job and at least Drew has it taped properly. Drew has the fans hold Low Ki against the rails as he chops Low Ki. Nice touch there as The Rising stand for the fans. Both men trade stiff shots on the outside, bringing a chair into the mix as well. Drew has the advantage until he goes for the pipe first, but Low Ki attacks the ribs and takes advantage. Drew manages to fight back and then sets up an open steel chair in the middle of the ring. Galloway wanted to superplex Low Ki through the chair, but Low Ki stops him and as Galloway uses the chair to get himself up, Low Ki hits the Warrior’s Way onto Galloway, who slams his ribs right into the top of the chair. Very cool spot there. Low Ki goes for the pin, which confused myself and even Al Snow as we both figured the way to win this match was to grab the pipe. Apparently you can win by pinfall or submission without even grabbing the pipe. So then what’s the point of the match?! Good Lord TNA… Both men then get to the corner with the pipe and end up knocking it off the pole while fighting for it. No idea if that was planned or not, considering the whole pinfall fiasco, I have my doubts. Drew ends up getting the pipe off the mat after throwing Low Ki off the top rope. Low Ki ends up with possession of it though, but as he swings, Drew ducks and hits the Future Shock DDT onto the chair and gets the victory.
Winner: Drew Galloway
As soon as the match ends, The BDC hit the ring, with The Rising not far behind. They all brawl as it goes to commercial.
K-Tank’s Take: So literally neither man used the steel pipe in a “Steel Pipe on a Pole” match. I’m literally shaking my head as I type this. That was such a wasted match for what is actually a really good storyline between stables. The Rising are still outnumbered 4-3, so I have to imagine they’ll get a 4th member soon, maybe even at the live special next week.
Mickie James/James Storm Segment
After a video recap of what’s happened with Mickie James and Magnus, along with James Storm convincing Mickie to have one more match, we go to a camera (presumably the one that Magnus asked to follow Mickie last week) and Mickie is getting her baby boy out of the car and they are apparently going grocery shopping. James Storm comes from behind with a cart as well and “runs into” Mickie. James and Mickie exchange pleasantries and James asks if he can hold Donovan. Mickie pauses for just a second, but says of course. James plays with the baby as he and Mickie walk towards the store. James asks where Nick (Magnus) is, and Mickie says he’s back in the room, she just needed diapers.
We then go to the ring where Magnus is in the ring. Magnus barely gets a word out before The Revolution’s music hits and out comes James Storm. Storm wants to bring Mickie out here, but Magnus cuts him off and says Storm doesn’t concern himself with Mickie, he needs to concern himself with Magnus because Storm is starting to piss off Magnus. Magnus says he has said he appreciates Storm getting in between Mickie and Bram a few weeks back, but Storm is now overstepping his boundaries. He’s following Mickie and their son around, and then the stunt he pulled last week, Magnus sees right through it. Clearly it worked on Mickie, but she’s not one of his Revolution members. Storm can’t manipulate her, and all he’s trying to do is put a wedge between he and Mickie, and he won’t let that happen again. Storm says he’s not here to drive a wedge in anything. Storm was just here to help a friend, the same thing Magnus would do, the same thing a man would do. Storm says what he hears is someone with trust issues. Storm heard that Magnus hired a camera crew to follow Mickie. And it was the camera crew that told Magnus that he ran into Mickie in a public parking lot. Storm has known Mickie for a long time. Emphasis on long. A lot longer than Magnus. And if it was such an innocent thing, then why didn’t Mickie tell Magnus about it? So maybe Magnus needs to ask Mickie all these questions. Storm drops the mic and walks off.
K-Tank’s Take: Awesome, awesome stuff from Storm. That’s why he’s the best thing going in the company right now. I love everything about this angle right now. As a funny aside, someone told me who watched Impact as well, Donovan making his debut on Impact as a baby, his career can only go up from here. But seriously, great segment here and can’t wait to see where it goes.
Backstage, Kurt Angle talks about how Eric Young has made this personal. It’s not about pinfalls or submissions, it’s about 100% violence. Angle says he’s going to break EY in half and that EY won’t leave the building unless it’s on a stretcher. EY wants to show Angle the “Real Eric Young”? Well Angle is gonna show him a fire up, pissed off Kurt Angle.
Non-Title Stretcher Match: Kurt Angle vs. Eric Young
Angle is wearing a massive knee brace on his left leg, selling the attack from EY at the end of last week’s episode. Angle rams EY’s head into anything he can as they brawl outside the ring. Angle dominates until EY is able to send Angle shoulder first into the turnpost. This leads to a commercial break. When we return, Angle looks back in advantage and hits a really nice belly to belly suplex. EY goes to the outside and Angle tries to jump down on him from the apron, but EY hits a punch to the gut and goes on the attack. EY stomps Angle’s head into the steel steps, and goes to grab the stretcher from the top of the rampway. I’m not sure if the objective is just to get someone onto the stretcher, or if they then have to drag them to a certain point, ala WWE. Angle ends up trying to German Suplex EY off the apron to the floor, but EY counters. They get back in the ring, and Angle hits the trio of German Suplexes, but during the 3rd one, EY was near a turnbuckle and exposes the top one as he’s getting pulled overhead. Angle won’t let go of the German as they end up on the outside again, but EY hits a low blow kick to escape. EY wants to Piledriver Angle, but Angle counters and ends up catapulting EY into the turnpost and then follows up with an Angle Slam on the outside. They don’t have much room on the outside, so it wasn’t a full slam. Angle takes EY to the stretcher and goes to strap him in. Apparently you win if you strap your opponent in completely. EY manages to fight off and they get back in the ring, where Angle hooks on the Ankle Lock after EY fails to hit the Piledriver again. EY counters and sends Angle into the exposed turnbuckle from earlier, and then finally hits Angle with the Piledriver. Which he then follows up with a second one. EY drags Angle to the stretcher and after putting him on it, gets the straps locked in. Eric Young wins the match.
Winner: Eric Young
Eric Young grabs the World Title and places it on top of Angle on the stretcher as the announcers discuss whether this means EY will finally get his one on one World Title shot now. That ends the show.
K-Tank’s Take & Wrap-Up: The strap-up stipulation is much better than having to drag your opponent to a certain point. At least that’s really the point of a stretcher. Obviously with EY hitting two Piledrivers, they really got across how dangerous that move is. It was a lot of brawling, and not much of a match, but very effective in continuing the storyline. I would assume they’d have Angle sell this attack for a bit, so if I had to guess, they’ll go with Angle vs. Young as the main event of Slammiversary.
Next week is their first ever live special on Destination America and will officially start the road to Slammiversary. I would expect a couple surprises next week, but don’t forget that Jeff Hardy broke his leg this week, so The Hardys will have to give up the tag titles as well.
Even as someone that covers TNA and hopes for their success, I can’t help but think Slammiversary is a bad idea. No one bought their PPV’s while they were on a bigger network in Spike TV, and then your #1 attraction is out injured for it. Beyond that, you’re going to do the PPV in Orlando and not even attempt to film it on the road where at least you can get a different crowd setting. It’s going to look exactly like Impact. They’ve brought Slammiversary to my hometown of Dallas two of the last three years, and drawn very good crowds here. There’s no reason they couldn’t have done that again. I understand being cautious about going back on the road, but as a company, they know what markets they’ve drawn in, and you can go to those cities for a show like this. I just don’t see how this can be a success.
Nonetheless, until next week when I’ll cover the live show live, follow me on Twitter @FriscoKTank, and thanks as always for reading!