Episode 18, Season 13: “Live”
Welcome to my first attempt at live blogging Impact Wrestling. This is TNA’s first attempt at a live special on Destination America. Of course live for TNA means a couple hours before airtime, but hey, at least I wasn’t able to find out what happened beforehand. This will be the first show in the “Billy Corgan Era” since he is on hand for all tapings this weekend. I’ll share my thoughts on him being brought into the company at the end of this recap. I want to see how the show goes first and see if there are any noticeable changes to the show format that we may be able to attribute to him. So with no further ado, let’s see what they have in store for us tonight.
No video package or entrances, the show starts with Eric Young already in the ring, and demanding to know who the special ref for their title match is. He tells Angle that he can beat Angle and has waited for this one on one match…. and then Bully Ray’s music hits! Wow, I actually feel bad that Bully Ray had to come back to TNA. He’s wearing a ref’s shirt, and announces himself as the special ref for the title match tonight. We then go to the promo video hyping tonight’s show.
K-Tank’s Take: I guess Bully Ray got tired of waiting for WWE to call back. I’m a big Dudleys fan, but how does it make Bully Ray look to talk about returning to WWE after the Rumble and how “that’s really the only place that’s home for The Dudley’s” and then come back to TNA? Nice surprise I suppose for TNA, but it feels underwhelming when everyone watching knows that the only reason he’s there is cause WWE obviously didn’t want him full-time.
Fan’s Choice Match: EC3 vs. Mr. Anderson
Quite a few EC3 fans in the crowd. Not surprising because of how charismatic he is. It was bound to happen. EC3 cuts a short promo before the match, not really saying much. Mr. Anderson comes out & wants to see the voting result, and no surprise it’s 85% in favor of Falls Count Anywhere. Somewhere, the creative team for WWE is smiling. Anderson starts out the fight having to go against EC3 and Tyrus. Anderson tries to low bridge Tyrus, but it apparently wasn’t low enough as Tyrus basically gets stuck on the top rope and Anderson has to push him over. Tyrus then gets a Mic Check into the ring post for his efforts. Anderson introduces a bunch of chairs ringside, but then ends up getting dumped hard on the ramp with a back body drop. EC3 spits directly in Anderson’s face after that, and Anderson grabs EC3 and hits him with the Green Bay Plunge onto the pile of chairs. Nice spot there that got a 2 count. They get back in the ring and Tyrus is back up and works over Anderson while EC3 is down. Tyrus hits Anderson with his version of the Samoan Spike, and EC3 crawls into the cover and wins the match.
K-Tank’s Take: I’m torn on the result of this match. It was obvious EC3 would stay undefeated, but on one hand I wanted him to have a showcase win. On the other hand, I’m happy that Tyrus actually did something that warranted him being the muscle behind EC3. I wouldn’t be surprised if EC3 ends up in the title match at Slammiversary now.
We go backstage and Bully Ray and Kurt Angle are exchanging pleasantries. Angle asks Bully if he’s gonna call the match down the middle. Bully just asks Kurt if he knows who he is.
K-Tank’s Take: As for Bully Ray & Angle, the question now is, do they keep Bully babyface as he was when he left, or do they turn him back heel where he was most effective?
Backstage again, and Gail Kim finds Kong and wants to know if she’s in for tonight against The Dollhouse. Kong shakes her head yes.
The BDC/Rising Continue Their Feud
Back to the ring, and The BDC have a new touch to their entrance, and all wear samurai looking masks that match their logo on the shirt. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s an improvement, but whatever makes you stand out I suppose. MVP produces a 4th mask in honor for Homicide. Homicide apparently isn’t here tonight due to having shoulder surgery. MVP implies that Homicide was blindsided back in Brooklyn by The Rising and they’re to blame for him not being here. MVP goes off about people feeling The BDC are a bunch of thugs, and then drops a bomb by saying, “we all know that thug is just another code word for n—er.” WOW. They bleeped out the N word, but wow. I didn’t even like typing that, let alone hearing him say that. MVP then calls out The Rising, saying that they act like the thugs. Galloway makes a joke that Homicide’s name is Homicide, so anyone could’ve jumped him since he’s not exactly the most endearing person. Then Galloway implicates Kenny King for being responsible. MVP talks about how he doesn’t care about Pro Wrestling, he cares about the money, and all the luxury that comes with being rich and famous. He and Galloway go back and forth about having a one on one match right now. The Rising rush the ring and we have a brawl.
MVP vs. Drew Galloway
When we come back, MVP and Galloway start their match. Josh Matthews is apparently back to doing this show solo, we hardly knew ye Al Snow. There’s an on screen promo for Dixie Carter being on The Steve Austin Show this past Tuesday and again this coming Tuesday. It just looks really bad to see Stone Cold on TNA’s show. That was a desperate attempt to look relevant. Meanwhile, MVP is in control of this match thus far, working very aggressively on Galloway. After MVP dominates the whole match, Galloway manages to reverse a back body slide and turn it into a Future Shock DDT and gets the win out of nowhere.
Before he has time to celebrate though, Eric Young makes his way to the ring with a Chair and takes out Galloway. Then he hits the other two members of The Rising as The BDC jump in the ring to continue the onslaught. Eric Young gets in MVP’s face, and body language implies that MVP now needs to hold up his end of the deal as EY did what he was asked to do.
Winner: Drew Galloway
K-Tank’s Take: That was a long double segment devoted to The BDC/Rising storyline. I guess if Homicide is already out hurt, that eliminates my argument about how The Rising needed to add a fourth member. I’m still surprised MVP went on camera with what he said. I don’t know if that was for shock value or a legitimate shoot opinion, but wow. I don’t think Eric Young is a full fledged member of The BDC, but maybe he wanted reinforcements for tonight’s match since he doesn’t think he can trust Bully Ray as ref. There’s now a lot of moving pieces to the main event tonight.
We then see James Storm entering the building with a gift. He tells the mystery cameraman that this is a special gift for a special friend. We will unwrap them very soon according to Storm.
James Storm Delivers a Gift
Storm has one giant gift and then a black bag with him. Maybe he’s got a snake in there like Jake Roberts used to have. Storm says he wants to shine the spotlight on someone that deserves it and brings out Mickie James. Mickie is all smiles, not the least bit suspicious. Storm talks about how Mickie is transitioning to motherhood, and God Bless Mothers. He mentions that Mickie has promised him one more match, but just as important as wrestling is to her, her music is just as important. Storm tells Mickie she’s an amazing friend and has her open the big gift. It’s a custom Mickie James guitar. Storm then gets with Mickie to take some photos with her and the guitar.
Magnus walks out without any music. Storm tells Magnus not to ruin the party and says he has a gift for him too. He pulls out Magnus’ old gladiator helmet he used to wear to the ring. That’s really funny actually. Storm makes a joke that it was a great gimmick, and of course Magnus isn’t happy about it. Storm wants him to put it on, but of course Magnus won’t and pushes Storm. Storm says he’s just trying to have fun, but Magnus grabs Mickie and they walk away. Storm tells them that he has one more gift, and it’s a onesie for their son Donovan. He says they can tell him it’s from Uncle James. Magnus goes back into the ring and as Storm goes to put the gift back, Magnus lays him out with the custom guitar. Mickie looks confused by Magnus’ actions and Storm as he recovers has a very evil smile on his face.
K-Tank’s Take: What a segment. What an angle. Dave Meltzer wrote in this week’s Observer Newsletter that it was “the best written and acted storyline in wrestling today.” I completely agree. The layers to this storyline are fantastic. All three participants are fantastic in their roles. I loved this and I’ll say it again, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
The BDC find Eric Young and MVP asks EY why he did what he did. EY says they owe him one. They’re not friends, but they’re good business partners. The last time they were partners, they took the title off of Bobby Roode. Tonight when EY wins the title, THEY win the title.
We then go to Josh Matthews who talks about Gail Kim being married to Chef Robert Irvine. We then go to video of a show Robert had in Nashville recently. Backstage after the show and Gail is talking to Jeremy Borash who spots Taryn Terrell. Taryn is taking selfies with Robert’s two daughters. Gail doesn’t want to cause a scene, but she tells Taryn to leave immediately. Taryn leaves without issue.
The Dollhouse vs. Gail Kim & Awesome Kong
Back live, and The Dollhouse already has new music. It’s an upgrade, I can say that at least. No skipping either. Shoutout to the guy wearing the Dean Ambrose shirt front row. Gail and Kong don’t exactly work well together as they keep tagging themselves in. They finally double team Jade and Marti, but then Taryn attacks Gail when the ref is getting Kong out. Taryn really is quite attractive. But she’s no Velvet Sky. We miss you Velvet! Hey maybe she’s coming back tonight since Bully is here! I’ll continue to wish that as The Dollhouse continue to work over Gail. When Gail seems to catch a break, Taryn again interferes with the ref not looking. Marti tries to take Kong off the apron, and that doesn’t work, which leads to Kong and Taryn both getting the hot tag. This match is ridiculously sloppy. Gail gets back in the match and gets a two count after a missile dropkick. Kong hits an Implant Buster on Jade, but Taryn was still legal and rolls up Gail with a handful of tights and gets the win.
Winners: The Dollhouse
Gail and Kong manage to trap Marti Bell after the match and each hit their finishers on her as Taryn flips out again at ringside.
Josh then sends us to the video of Jeff Hardy getting hurt on his motorbike, and then we see Matt Hardy with the TNA Tag Team Titles and it looks like he’s coming out next.
K-Tank’s Take: That was not The Knockouts best showing. They all seemed to be a step behind. It sure looked like they were scaling back some of the theatrics of The Dollhouse, so I wonder what that’s about. I would expect a triple threat match at Slammiversary for the Knockouts title.
Backstage first, Mickie asks Magnus about his actions. Magnus says that he loves his family and that Storm disrespected him. Mickie says that’s fine, but Magnus disrespected her. She walks away from him.
Matt Hardy Speaks
Back to the ring and Matt Hardy comes out with both tag titles and Jeremy Borash is in the ring with him. Matt talks about the tough week they’ve had and how they went from winning the titles recently, to Jeff now being seriously hurt. Jeff is in real life, who he is on TV. Matt’s learned to live with that. It’s out of his hands now though, and it’s been decided that The Hardys have to relinquish the titles. Matt leaves the titles in the ring and tells JB it’s time for him to go home and see what’s next for himself. He walks off, and runs into The Dirty Heels as their music hits. Both men give Matt props as they walk past him. Just go ahead and give them the belts. They’re the best team in TNA by a country mile now.
Aries makes mention immediately that he has not forgotten what Eric Young did to him. The only reason he’s not already gotten revenge on EY is because he promised Kurt Angle he would wait until their title match tonight. But he will get his revenge after. Aries talks about the opportunity that’s presented itself with the tag titles. Both men talk about how good they are and how the titles deserve to be with them. This cues The Wolves music and here comes Davey Richards.
Davey gives a passionate speech about The Wolves and how good they’ve been over the last two years. Aries makes the point that The Wolves are singular right now, but Davey cuts him off and introduces his partner, welcome back Eddie Edwards! Eddie comes out with no crutches or no limp and looks great! The crowd, who has royally sucked for the most part, gives Eddie a huge Welcome Back chant. Eddie says that as of noon today, he was cleared to wrestle. Eddie says both teams wants to claim stake to being the best and want the belts. So they should fight each other and see who’s the best. Eddie says that one match isn’t enough. They need to leave no doubt, so it should be a best of five series. Roode says it’s on!
K Tank’s Take: SIGN ME UP!! A best of 5 series with The Wolves and The Dirty Heels. This has OUTSTANDING written all over it. Beer Money & Motor City Machine Guns had a Best Of series back in the day that was simply phenomenal. I cannot wait to see this get started and hopefully get to see five classic tag team matches. I obviously spoke too soon when I said The Dirty Heels were the best team by a country mile. Now that Eddie’s back, we officially have 1A and 1B. Add this to the Storm/Magnus storyline and these are two things TNA has gotten very right tonight.
Matt Hardy goes to leave the arena but is stopped by Drew Galloway. Drew says that he and Matt are a lot alike, and although he understands that Matt has to go home and figure things out, he also knows that Matt is the the type that wouldn’t walk away from a fight. Galloway pats Matt on the shoulder as he walks away.
Angelina Love Promo & A Knockout Returns
Now in the ring is the newly engaged Angelina Love who is proudly wearing her engagement ring, although I don’t think they’re going to acknowledge it’s Davey Richards she’s engaged to. Angelina says people ask her about The BroMans and The Dollhouse, but she’s here to talk about herself. She calls herself the best knockout ever and OH MY GOD IT’S VELVET SKY!!!!!!!!!!! My prayers have been answered!!!!! Velvet is sporting a new look, more grunge look with some dark pink in her hair. She has a look like someone that lost everything, which plays into the storyline of her getting fired due to her allegiance with Angelina and The BroMans. Make no mistake though, she looks hot as ever. Angelina tries to suck up to Velvet & then flips and says Velvet is nothing without her, but Velvet no sells it all. Angelina finally tells Velvet to say something, and Velvet hits her with a Spear and starts beating on Angelina.
K-Tank’s Take: Oh happy days, Velvet Sky is back!! I guess with her and Bully Ray, where one goes, the other follows. I liked the continuation of Velvet showing up the way she did, and not just ignoring she was fired. To my knowledge, Angelina and Velvet have never feuded in TNA, so this should be a really fun storyline. I just love Velvet so much. Sorry for the Angelina fans out there in the coming weeks.
We go to a really good promo video on Eric Young and his quest for the title. We then find him going after Bully Ray and asking him if he’s gonna screw EY like everyone else has lately. Bully says he’s here strictly to ref a match, and EY and Angle can do whatever they want to each other.
As for Galloway addressing Matt as he leaves, just when I think The Rising doesn’t need a new member, that happens. Will be interesting to see if Matt joins them, or if he really will go away for awhile.
TNA World Title Match: Kurt Angle (c) vs. Eric Young (Bully Ray as Special Referee)
The match starts with a little under 20 minutes left in the show. So we should finally get to see this one on one match, although I fully expect shenanigans at the end. The story of the match early as both men trade blows, is that Bully Ray does nothing to get in the way of them and lets them at it. EY works over Angle on the outside as The BDC show up and watch over the match.
We come back from the last commercial and EY is in full advantage of the match. Angle escapes EY’s attacks and both men trade numerous left and rights until finally Angle gets the upper hand. Angle sends EY up for five German Suplexes. EY tries to reverse an Angle Slam but ends up in the Ankle Lock instead. MVP pushes the ropes towards EY so he can grab the ropes. Bully Ray admonishes The BDC, when EY comes from behind and low blows Bully Ray. The BDC then go on the 3 on 1 attack on Angle. Chris Melendez, who hasn’t been seen in months I believe, shows up and tries to help out Angle. He starts to get beat down, but then here comes The Rising. All outside participants end up fighting towards the back, while back in the ring Ey goes to give Bully Ray the Piledriver. Bully Ray escapes and Angle hits a messy Angle Slam for a two count. EY then manages to hit a Piledriver on Angle, and Bully makes the count but only a long two count. EY goes for a top rope cross body, but Angle rolls through and hooks on an Ankle Lock, grapevines the leg and EY has no choice but to tap out.
Bully Ray hands Angle the title and raises his hand. Angle leaves the ring, with Bully behind him. Bully raises Angle’s arm one more time and that’s our show.
Winner: Still TNA World Champ, Kurt Angle
K-Tank’s Take & Wrap-Up: So apparently Bully Ray is going to stay a babyface and I would assume this will lead to a EY/Bully storyline, ala Edge & Mick Foley when Edge felt Foley cost him the title as special ref to a match between Edge & John Cena. I have no problem with that angle, as both guys are good on the mic and can go.
For Slammiversary it looks like we can pencil in Kurt Angle defending the title against EC3, Bully Ray vs. Eric Young, The Wolves & Dirty Heels completing their Best of 5, Kong/Gail/Taryn in a three way for the Knockouts Title, perhaps a 2nd Knockouts match with Velvet vs. Angelina, The BDC vs The Rising in perhaps something like Lethal Lockdown, and then James Storm vs. Magnus. Of course Mickie has promised Storm one more match, so would Storm be sadistic enough to make her final match again him? Would TNA go that route? Although I’ve been critical of TNA trying to do a PPV right now, they’re at least giving it their best effort and have some really solid storylines that are deserving of a big stage like that.
There were some sloppy moments tonight, but as much as TNA could hope for, I’d have to consider this show a success. Billy Corgan in the two interviews I’ve heard him do since joining TNA, really is in this for the long haul and sounds quite determined to erase the negative stigma attached to TNA. Can one man accomplish that? Doubtful. But he’s saying all the right things, and the first show with his handprint on it, was a step in the right direction. We’ll see how they follow up next week. Until then, thanks for reading as always, find me on Twitter @FriscoKTank, and we’ll see you here for another edition of the Impact Wrestling review!