Before the show began the live crowd were treated to dark match, with current NWA Southern Television Champion Shawn Shultz going over PWX Heavyweight Champion, John Skyler.
Things kicked off with an opening package that was focused around the entire show, with a voice over saying random words and then a different wrestler saying something...it was a bit shit and I would have preferred a focus on one or two matches.
X Division Championship Ultimate X
Tiger Uno (C) vs. Andrew Everrett vs. Manik vs. DJ Z
A lamented the state of TNA's X Division in the preview for this show, but these four guys went out there and put on a hell of an opening match. Exactly what it needed to be and what we came to expect from an X Division contest over the years. Full of flips, tricks and high spots the Four Way was a lot of fun to watch, especially in the second half of the bout. Whilst the quartet struggled to keep things as slick as they could have been in the opening exchanges, there was a lot of clever ideas in there, and the later sections picked things up as all four guys took to the skies. Andrew Everrett was the most impressive of the four for me, taking his TNA debut by the horns, hitting a spectacular Springboard 630 Senton, as well as stunning shooting star press to the outside. It was Everrett who played a major part in the finish as well, taking huge bump of the top of the structure that allowed Tigre Uno to retrieve the title and continue his now 103 day reign at the X Division. Big shoutout to colour commentator D'Angelo Dinero for his call "shades of Elijah Burke" which had me in pieces.
Tigre Uno in 8 minutes, 59 seconds *STILL CHAMPION*
Gregory Shane Helms (as play-by-play commentator Josh Matthews called him, he's best know as The Hurricane in WWE) turned up for a stare down with Tigre Uno after the match, before raising his hand...I imagine just because TNA was in the Carolina's, rather than a set-up for a future feud.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Ethan Carter III coming out to cut a promo on The Hardy Boyz and Drew Galloway was absolutely fine...but I'm not sure it was particularly called for...it wouldn't be the last of EC3 we'd see before the main event either.
Bound For Gold Gauntlet
"The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero vs. "The Monster" Abyss vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. Chris Melendez vs. Tyrus vs. Mahabali Shera vs. Robbie E vs. Aiden O'Shea vs. Al Snow vs. Eli Drake vs. "The Man" Jessie Godderz vs. Mr. Anderson
This was way way too long for a match that was choc-full of guys that no one cared about and that TNA couldn't be bothered to give a storyline heading into the biggest PPV of the year. The first third of the bout especially dragged like hell as we waited for anyone of significance to make their way into the match. I suppose, Mr. Anderson was supposed to be able to carry this part of the match, but even the commentary team pointed out that he's sort of been floating around TNA for the last few months (try years). Without any early eliminations or interesting spots, the first ten minutes were enough to send even the strongest insomniac too sleep after downing a Red Bull. TNA's desperation to get the "Shera Shuffle" over is almost painful to watch...it is not "catching fire" no matter how hard you try...just fucking stop it.
Having the final two come down to Mr. Anderson and Tyrus was a bit of anti-climax, especially once Tyrus picked up the win with the ICU spike. There was a real opportunity to make a new star using this match, had it been crafted correctly, however what we are left with now is Brodus Clay as the Number Contender to the World Heavyweight Championship at 42 years old. The crowd hadn't really warmed to Anderson (having him eliminate the popular Tommy Dreamer was a head-scratching piece of booking) for most of the match, but they were certainly behind him in the closing stretch, whilst they gave Tyrus' victory the silent treatment. Just about says it all really.
Order of Elimination
1 - Eli Drake (by Al Snow)
2 - Aiden O'Shea (by Mr. Anderson)
3 - Al Snow (by Tyrus)
4 - Chris Melendez (by Tyrus)
5 - Mahabli Shera (by Tyrus)
6 - D'Angelo Dinero (by himself)
7 - Abyss (by Tyrus)
8 - Robbie E (by Jessie Godderz)
9 - Tommy Dreamer (by Mr. Anderson)
10 - Jessie Godderz (by Mr. Anderson)
11 - Mr. Anderson (by Tyrus)
Tyrus via pinfall (ICU) in 24 minutes, 30 seconds
Ethan Carter III risked over-exposure coming out to chat with Tyrus about winning the match, with the former Funkasaurus cutting a terrible promo, in which he claimed he would be fighting for the "Heavyweight World Championship of the World". State of you Tyrus, state of you.
World Tag Team Championship
Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards, The Wolves (C) vs. Trevor Lee & Brian Meyers
Whilst the action was quite as clean as it should have been at points, this was still an enjoyable tag outing. Whilst the earlier part of the bout struggled to find it's feet, with The Wolves clearly a lot more over than their opposite numbers, as soon as Eddie Edwards made it across the ring for a hot tag (following a well-done double hurracanrana to Lee and Meyers) business picked up, along with the fans, and we were treated to some great action. With Trevor Lee looking to more promising of his team, there were a number of quality near falls as the pace continued to be raised heading towards the bouts conclusion, including a nice Double Stomp from Richards, a victory roll and a sweet German suplex from Lee. The conclusion of the bout with Edwards taking out Meyers with a hurracanrana off the top rope and Richards hitting a superplex, followed by The Wolves version of Chasing the Dragon got the victory on Lee, was a fine end to proceedings, with the champs looking superb in victory.
The Wolves via pinfall (Richards on Lee (Chasing the Dragon)) in 14 minutes, 3 seconds *STILL CHAMPIONS*
Backstage, Drew Galloway's interview with Jeremy Borash was going so well, until Galloway said "I'm willing to kill myself" in reference to his want to win the World Heavyweight Championship...just no.
King of the Mountain Champion
"The It Factor" Bobby Roode (C) vs. "The Destroyer" Bobby Lashley
I'm not sure whether this was a good match or a parody of a good match. Pretty much taking the same shape of their previous bout, both men kicked out of each other finishers, then hit the other man's finisher, which was kicked out of, then both locked on submission holds, before Roode hit his second Roode Bomb of the match, to pick up the win. The crowd was into it and there was some nice transitions by the two, especially Roode getting into finish, but it all felt a little bit paint by numbers and very very predictable. Completely fine to watch, and probably on the level with duo's series earlier in the year, but no real tension or drama here. I don't think it was helped by having the King of the Mountain title on it, either.
Bobby Roode via pinfall (Roode Bomb) in 14 minutes, 17 seconds *STILL CHAMPION*
Matt Hardy was up next with Borash backstage, and with the best promo of the night no less, focused on his family connections and full of emotion...it was pretty clear that Hardy would be walking out with the title...unless a family member stood in his way.
Earl Hebner's Hall of Fame package, featuring numerous TNA talent saying what a great referee he was, played, before Billy Corgan came out to welcome Hebner to the ring. It was all very weird and the package even included grainy footage of Hebner holding up Shawn Michaels hand during the Montreal Screwjob...what's up with that?
Gail Kim (C) vs. Awesome Kong
Awesome Kong looked absolutely knackered about five minutes into this one. Like ovaltine and slippers, ready to curl up and have nice long nap knackered. The bout centred around a couple of big moments, that were done quite well, like Gail's husband celebrity (and by celebrity I mean, I have no fucking clue who this guy is) chef Robert Irvine taking a chair away from Kong, and while arguing with Earl Hebner, Irvine simultaneously allowed Kong to hit the Implant Buster onto his wife on the outside onto a pile of chairs. I thought the finish was pretty confusing as Gail awkwardly worked her way into hitting Eat Defeat on Kong in the corner, but it also looked like the latter was hitting a chokeslam at the same time. This was a decent match, but with women's wrestling taking strides elsewhere, this wasn't as good as it should have been.
Gail Kim via pinfall (Eat Defeat) in 10 minutes, 5 seconds
Jeff Hardy was the final interviewee of the night for Jeremy Borash, and I have literally no idea what Hardy said...there was some words and he shut his eyes at various points.
Eric Young vs. Kurt Angle
This was a shower shit. Firstly, if a doctor tells a referee that a performer can't continue then surely the match is over? Clearly it was all part of the show, but how am I supposed to suspend my disbelief if a doctor says to a referee points blank (and audibly) that a wrestler's neck is so badly hurt (after surgery month's earlier) that he can't continue the match and then the same performer wins the match after the other wrestler has fought off the doctors and continued the fight? No one of this made any sense. I didn't feel any kind of reaction with Kurt Angle other than pity, because it was a stupid piece of creative that harmed everything Angle could do in the ring and hurt the entire match. How does Angle going over help anyone in the long run? Eric Young tapped out to a man who was deemed medically unable to compete just minutes before. If this was Angle's last match and TNA want him to win, why fill it with all this over-booked shit, instead of letting Angle and Young wrestle a decent back and forth 10 minute encounter? This is why people have stopped watching TNA, bullshit.
Kurt Angle via submission (Ankle Lock) in 13 minutes, 10 seconds
World Heavyweight Championship Three Way
Ethan Carter III with Tyrus vs. Matt Hardy vs. Drew Galloway
(Special Referee: Jeff Hardy)
With the exception of a weak finish, this was a solid three way encounter to close the show. Focusing on a number of high spots that made a good use of the three participants, like a suplex of the apron through a table and a sweet tower of doom spot, the match raced through it's over twenty minutes of action, keeping a solid pace throughout. There were perhaps elements of the dynamic between the three characters that could have been explored more, but with the fragile build-up that the match received on Impact Wrestling, the performers weren't left with a whole lot to play with inside the ring. Matt Hardy and Drew Galloway's relationship was the thing that stood out as particularly underdeveloped.
The problem with special referee's is that, you know that until the referee has had some sort of involvement in the match that the match isn't going to finish. Whilst Jeff Hardy saw action early when he ejected EC3's manager Tyrus for the banter and he took a ref bump off his brother, he really didn't do a lot until the finish. EC3 attempting to get himself disqualified (despite it being made clear in promos earlier in the evening that the match would have no disqualifications) was a weird creative choice and having Jeff basically give his brother the World Championship victory felt very flat indeed. Matt Hardy is simply no World title material. If you want to argue that he is a draw, just remember that in the main event of the companies biggest PPV of the year, Matt Hardy drew 280 fans in his hometown.
Addition: Matt Hardy vacated the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in a Youtube video two days later. This was explained as Ethan Carter III having an injunction against him. I don't know anymore. If you knew Matt Hardy wouldn't be able to continue as Champion, because you'd taped so much television with him not as Champion, why the fuck would you put the title on him in the first place? Why would he even be in the title match? Who is charge of the booking here? Awful, just fucking awful.
ATPW Scale Rating - 5.33/10
When you only produce two live PPV's a year, they better be bloody good and this...well...it wasn't THAT good. It was alright, The X Division, Tag Team and King of the Mountain Championship matches were all quality bouts and even the main event was decent, even if I marked it down for having a piss poor finish. But what really let this show down, even past Matt Hardy winning the World Heavyweight Championship, was a 25 minute Gauntlet bout full of guys that one gave a shit about (expect Tommy Dreamer) and a Kurt Angle vs. Eric Young bout that had booked that made it hard to suspend your disbelief throughout.
This was another case of TNA's numerous young and talented performers (The Wolves, Tigre Uno, Mandrews, Ethan Carter III, Drew Galloway, Manik etc.) being let down by a creative which seemingly doesn't know it's arse from it's elbow, let alone what it's audience (or lack of it) wants to see in 2015.