Thursday, 7 January 2016

TV Review: TNA Impact Wrestling #599 (Hardy vs. EC3)

The first Impact Wrestling of 2016, the first episode on their brand new channel, Pop TV, the finals of the World Title Series, this was going to be bloody awesome...wasn't it?


*For some reason, TNA is yet to put up a photo gallery from this event, so we've had to make do with the head shot photos we'd use for a Retro Review...sort it out TNA. 






Fast-Forward...Get hyped it's the finals of the World Title series...Brand new intro video with some terrible instrumental beat played underneath it...






I was hoping we'd kick off with some wrestling, just for once. Begin things with some action from the World Title series and get straight into things. But nah, we get Dixie Carter in the ring to open things up, with a fairly plastic promo about their new home and fans and the World title. Everything else that came felt like it should have closed last week's show, with Ethan Carter III (the shining light of the segment), Matt Hardy, Eric Young and Bobby Lashley coming out one by one and then brawling and what have you. There was nothing particularly wrong with the segment, at least once that talking had stopped, but I'm not sure it belonged here. 






After that we're straight into the first Semi-Final of the World Title series with Ethan Carter III  (with Tyrus) and "The Destroyer" Bobby Lashley. The two seemed to struggle to find a connection in the ring, and seemed to go through the motions just a little. To their credit, Carter and Lashley did manage to get the crowd on board, after they started wrestling to crickets, with Bethlehem getting behind Lashley towards the tail end of the bout. The finish worked for the characters with EC3 managing to get the roll up victory after Tyrus had caused the distraction, to send Carter through to the final. Not a bad bout, but nothing to shout about either.





Because more wrestling would have been silly, Kurt Angle was out next to do some talking. Angle officially announced his "Farewell Tour" to TNA, putting over past opponents and TNA's current roster. An announcement that he'll face Drew Galloway on next week's show made me smile as I expect the two will put on a solid contest. For me, the segment should have ended there, with Galloway putting over Angle and building their bout for next week. However, this is TNA, so out came Jessie Godderz and then Eli Drake to spout. To be fair, to Drake he handled himself well on the microphone and managed to get some decent heat because of it. With Teddy Long nowhere to be seen, the four guys brawling with Angle and Galloway coming out on top, was pretty much surplus to requirement by this point.


Fast-Forward...Eric Young wanted to win his bout with Matt Hardy by forfeit, obviously Hardy hobbled down to the ring...




Another underwhelming Semi-Final here. There were parts of the bout that work well, such as the narrative of Eric Young doing everything he could to pull out the victory, with a Piledriver on the outside looking particularly good. The problem here for me, is that I can't buy into Matt Hardy as a top babyface in 2016, and things weren't helped by Hardy forgetting the major sell job that he did walking down to the ring. With Young battering the former WWE United States Champion for most of the clash, I quickly found myself switching off from the action, whereas if there had been someone I cared about in Hardy's role I don't think I would have. The finish looked flashy, but was ultimately more sizzle than steak, as Hardy managed to catch Young come off the top rope, into what the commentators called a Twist of Fate but was much more of a Cutter. 


Fast-Forward...Ethan Carter III had a word with Jeff Hardy backstage...Bram was revealed as Bobby Roode's King of the Mountain Championship opponent and managed to refer to the current year as 2006, twice...Roode squashed Bram, picking up the win with a Roode Bomb in a poor brawl...






Ah, TNA. Instead of playing Bobby Roode's music to celebrate him retaining his title, they played the sting of Beer Money's theme and completely botched James Storm's surprise. I hope someone got fired for this, as I'd be fuming if this happened at a local Indy show, never mind on an international television product! That being said, James Storm's return was pretty cool as he made the save for his former partner as Bram and Eric Young (back again!) laid in the boots for what seemed like an age. The former TNA World Heavyweight Champion cut a personal promo about his return to the company, after a short spell in WWE NXT. The prospect of Beer Money reforming full time is sweet, but would be much more exciting if TNA had a healthy tag division.


Fast-Forward...Jeremy Borash interviewed the Beautiful People, Angelina Love is pregnant, the interview was shite...Gail Kim was revealed as Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky's replacement for Angelina...Kim and the Beautiful People squash The Dollhouse (Jade, Marti Belle & Rebel) in a sloppy bout, Kim and Jade's section was the highlight...For the banter, Awesome Kong turned heel and joined the Dolls House, finishing off Gail with an Implant Buster...





It's a miracle! Former ROH World Tag Team Champion, Mike Bennett and former WWE Diva, Maria made their debuts for TNA, with a lengthy promo. The tone of Maria's announcement for Bennett was spot on and made Bennett feel like a star straight off the bat. Whilst, the Prodigy's suit was questionable, he handled his mic-time nicely, quickly getting over the Bethlehem crowd, putting himself over as the Saviour of TNA. Whilst the gimmick might need some tweaking and clarity, and calling one half of the shows main event "washed up" might not have been the smartest thing to do, this was a decent debut that set the pairing up for big things in the next few weeks. Personally, I'd have liked to have seen Bennett wrestle a short squash bout to get over his in-ring skills to the new audience, and shaved a little time out of what was another long in-ring segment.


Fast-Forward...The Wolves challenged Kurt Angle and Drew Galloway to a bout on Sunday's PPV (Yes, there's a PPV on Sunday), and a promising match was then destroyed when Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz made it a three way...Jeff Hardy and Tyrus made the decision to leave ringside for the main event bout, with Matt Hardy once again putting on a massive limp on his way to the ring...










Matt Hardy and Ethan Carter III's main event needed to be the best match of the World Title series, after the two Semi-Finals failed to produce anything memorable. Unfortunately that didn't happen, and Hardy and Carter put on the weakest of the three contests. From Hardy not selling the injury that caused him so much trouble walking to the ring once the bell rang, to a botched Side Effect on the steel steps and pace slower than old people fuck, this was not a good bout by any stretch of the imagination. There were some decent ideas in there, and the bout was structured quite well, with both kicking out of each other's finishes and attempting top rope version before EC3 hit the One Percent to get the win, but with the pair struggling to find any kind of flow and plenty of sloppy action throughout, this was not the start to 2016 that TNA needed. 


Fast-Forward...With EC3 celebrating his title victory, Matt Hardy's wife and baby were at ringside as well, which was weird...



Finally...








ATPW Scale Rating - 3.5/10 (Poor-Average TV) 


I was willing TNA to hit it out of the park here, I really was. The card wasn't particularly inspiring to start with, but I was really hoping that the World Title series would provide three quality bouts that would get the world talking about TNA in 2016. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be as none of the three bouts managed to stand out as anything more than average fare. The main event was the biggest disappointment of the lot, as what should have been a huge climactic finish to a three month long tournament fell flat. After taking the title off of EC3, they put the title back on EC3...the tournament created no new stars or new feuds or elevated anyone. That's quite impressive...James Storm's return was the highlight of the two hour show for me. 



Let's not forget that the company has a live PPV on Sunday as well...although I'm sure most of you already have.

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