This past Wednesday night, TNA Impact made a return to television as they debuted on their new home, Destination America. It was a live broadcast that many of us TNA fans have been anticipating. In my opinion, it certainly delivered. A lot of people consider this TNA’s second chance, or even their last chance. If this is, in fact, their last chance, then last night’s show demonstrates their willingness to go down with a fight.
Last night’s episode of Impact was great television. It had everything you could possibly want in a 2 hour wrestling show. There wasn’t a lot of time wasted on promos. Every title was on the line. There were returns, surprises, and they built angles that really look like they have a legitimate direction to them. Finally, the show closed with a major swerve and cliff hanger that makes you want to tune in next week. They also introduced a few new things like, the extra cameras to capture everything that happens, a new announcer in Josh Matthews, and a strange lighting set up that had the crowd darkened. I wasn’t the biggest fan of that last one but, a very minor detail in what was overall, a great show. Let’s review things.
OPENING SEGMENT/ANGLE VS MVP
I was pleasantly surprised by the opening montage. It was really good and I loved that theme song. This led to a brawl with every wrestler outside the Manhattan Center and it all spilled out into the arena and into the crowd, prompting “This is Awesome” chants at the very beginning. Angle came out and restored order. He said every title would be on the line tonight before ultimately resigning as Director of Wrestling Operations and rejoining the active roster. His last order of business, a Street Fight vs MVP.
It was a decent match that went to the outside a lot and the crowd was into it. Angle picked up the win with the Angle Slam.
TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Revolution (Storm & Abyss) vs The Wolves
This was the first match of the run of title matches for the night. The Wolves are awesome. At one point early in the match, they did a 4-pack of suicide dives to Abyss and Storm on the outside. The Hardys were at ringside to watch for some reason. At one point, Sanada and Manik started to get involved and the Hardys stopped them. Abyss pushed Jeff Hardy into Eddie Edwards and they both went down. When Edwards got up, he walked right into The Last Call. Storm and Abyss retain in a very good match.
X DIVISION TITLE MATCH: Low Ki vs Austin Aries
This was a great back and forth match between two great X Division stars. Aries seems to flip flop between X Division Title and World Title contention which was odd. There were good high spots and counters in this one. The crowd broke out into “This is Wrestling” chants along with “This is Awesome”. The end came when Aries counted Low Ki, who was on the top rope, and got him with the Brain Buster. New x Division Champ is Austin Aries.
BACKSTAGE SEGMENTS/JOSH MATTHEWS ANNOUNCING
I’m probably not going in any kind of order with these but there was a backstage segment where MVP got in Kenny King’s face for not having his back in the Street Fight. Then he got in Lashley’s face and Lashley gripped him up, causing MVP and King to storm out of the room.
There was also a segment where EC3 talked about New Year’s Resolutions and taking Spudd apart, piece by piece. He had Tyrus with him.
Josh Matthews was sitting with Taz and is the new play by play guy. I thought he did really well throughout the night. He seemed to lose a bit of steam near the end but I liked his delivery. He and Taz worked well together. They didn’t talk over each other like Taz and Tenay did a lot. I don’t know much about Josh Matthews but I personally thought he was better than Tenay. And speaking of Tenay, Josh introduced him and Tenay talked about his new job hosting the Impact Behind the Scenes Whatever show they’re doing on Saturdays. Then a clip of Tenay interviewing James Storm was shown.
They also have cameras all over the place to capture anything that happens anywhere in the arena during the show. A clip of Bro Mans and Samoa Joe talking and laughing was shown. I found that oddly interesting, like they’re kayfabing, breaking kayfabe, sorta.
KNOCKOUTS TITLE BATTLE ROYAL
In what could easily be described as the most exciting part of the night, The Knockouts had a battle royal for the title. DJZ and Jesse introduced Robbie E who made his return. The crowd did chant for him a little here. He cut his usual promo and then revealed that he didn’t win the Amazing Race because of his Amazing Loser partner and ex-girlfriend, Brooke. After that, the battle royal started. Havok stood out as a monster above the rest. Brooke came out and attacked Robbie E which caused distractions and led the eliminations of The Beautiful People. The end showed Gail and Taryn trying to eliminate Havok. Havok got Gail out before Taryn dumped Havok out to retain the title.
And now the exciting part. Havok came back in and laid waste to Taryn. The lights go dark. The crowd starts going nuts and when the lights come on, AWESOME KONG was in the ring and her and Havok were face to face, nose to nose, forehead to forehead. Refs and security broke things up and the crowd was raucus with “Holy Shit” chants. YES..a female wrestler got the “Holy Shit” chant. Incredible segment.
JB was in the ring to talk about something. He never really got started because EC3’s music hit and out he came. He talked for a bit about taking Spudd apart and then called him out to no avail. Finally, Spudd crawled out, Tyrus behind him. Tyrus tossed him into the ring and EC3 threatened to cut his hair. JB intervened asking him if he’s done enough. EC3 yelled at him but JB slapped him across the face. I will note here that if there was a negative part of this show, this was it as the camera missed the slap because it was focused on Spudd on the ground. Tyrus attacked JB and splashed him in the corner. Spudd tried to make the save but the duo was too much and the end saw EC3 shave JB’s head. It was sort of a feel bad for JB segment. Well done and EC3 is a great heel.