Wednesday, 2 March 2016

TV Review: TNA IMPACT Wrestling #607 (Angle vs. Roode)

*DISCLAIMER - This review contains spoilers for the 607th episode of the Impact Wrestling that will air on 6th March 2016 on Challenge TV in the UK and other international territories. Parts of this review are taken from our Live Event Review of the TV Taping that this show was a part of, which can be found here and here also contains spoilers for Impact Wrestling #608, Xplosion episodes and One Night Only: Joker's Wild*

Broadcast on 1st March 2016 (taped 30th/31st January 2016) the 607th episode of TNA's Impact Wrestling aired from the SSE Arena, Wembley, London and the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, both England. Kurt Angle faced Bobby Roode in the former 4 time WWE World Heavyweight Champion's penultimate match with TNA and Ethan Carter III attempted to gain some revenge on Rockstar Spud in an Unsanctioned Street Fight...but was it any good? Let's find out.  





impact wrestling #607 match card



Match 1 - Singles - Bobby Roode vs. Kurt Angle


Match 2 - No Disqualification - Abyss w/The Decay vs. Jimmy Havoc

Match 3 - TNA King of the Mountain Championship - Big Damo vs. Eric Young (C) w/Bram

Match 4 - Singles - Mike Bennett vs. Drew Galloway

Match 5 - Unsanctioned Street Fight - Ethan Carter III vs. Rockstar Spud






kurt angle defeats bobby roode



For me, this was the best match of the night, as Kurt Angle faced Bobby Roode for the ninth and final time. The two have a clear chemistry in the ring and exchanged holds with ease in the first half of the match. I enjoyed the pacing of things here, especially in the earlier portion of the bout as they kept things slow and allowing Roode to slip into a tweener role as he attempted to put Angle away. In a similar sequence to the one Angle used with Drew Galloway on Impact Wrestling #604, there was some strong submission based wrestling with the duo trading Ankle Locks and Crossfaces. Roode did an especially good job of selling his injured ankle towards the end of the match. Both men got decent near falls off the Angle Slam and Roode Bomb respectively, although I'm not sure how much I bought into them after previous matches on Angle's Farewell Tour. With Angle recording his 4th victory in a row over Roode, the match felt like it finished way too early, as there was potential to grow into a very special match, in front of a London crowd who were hyped. The duo have had better encounters with each other on Impact Wrestling in 2013 and 2014, as well as the 2013 edition of Bound For Glory, but this was still a high quality opener for a TV show, that the rest of the episode struggled to follow. 

The after match festivities were a lot of fun, as James Storm headed down to the ring to celebrate with Angle and commiserate Roode, as Beer Money held a bit of a beer bash for the TNA Hall of Famer. Obviously, with Angle not drinking, there was a wonderful moment when Storm pulled a 4 litre bottle of milk from his bag and the crowd chanted "Chug, Chug, Chug" Utter silliness ensued as Angle spilled more milk down him than he got in mouth! Angle then made sure that we had another quality match scheduled for the next week, as he called out The Wolves and set them up for a match with Beer Money with the TNA World Tag Team Championships on the line! Fun, fun, fun. 


ethan carter iii challenges rockstar spud to a fight


A superb segment here as Rockstar Spud gave his explanation for siding with Matt Hardy in last week's Steel Cage TNA World Heavyweight Championship match and turning on Ethan Carter III. Considering that the majority of the Birmingham crowd wouldn't have seen Spud turn on EC3, I thought all involved did a great job in getting Spud heat. Matt Hardy was out before Spud in another clever piece of booking. Having Spud side with The Iconic One who has proved to be a hated TNA World Heavyweight Champion across the entire UK tour, allowed the former 2 time TNA X Division Champion a great platform on which to portray his new heel character, with the Barclaycard Arena happy to shower their hometown boy with boos and "Who Are Ya?" chants. Spud's promo was glorious as he called back to losing his hair to EC3 a year ago, and how he felt the fans didn't have his back, going as far to call himself a "National Treasure". The segment closed with EC3 heading down to the ring and taking Hardy and Tyrus, with Spud escaping up the entrance ramp, before EC3 cut a fiery promo challenging Spud to a "fight" later tonight. 


abyss defeats jimmy havoc in a no disqualification match


IPW:UK regular Jimmy Havoc made his in-ring TNA debut, against the man most would have booked him against if given the chance, Abyss (accompanied by The Decay). A rematch from SWE Great Expectations in Stevenage last July, this was a fun bout, full of weapons and big highspots, but felt very short for what it needed to be. Havoc took most of the big bumps in the match, crashing through a table at ringside and taking a Black Hole Slam onto a barbed wire board for the finish, as the former NWA World Heavyweight Champion dominated and controlled the pace with ease. This was probably the best the two could do with the time they were given, and just a week worth of build. It's a shame that this storyline was so rushed, and that Havoc is seemingly done with TNA, for now, as there was a lot more potential here than what was eventually realised.


gail kim calls out maria



The Women's segment of the evening, started with TNA Knockout's Gail Kim cutting a promo about being a wrestler. Despite having the upmost respect for Gail as a performer, after seeing her cringe-worthy mixed tag bout teaming with Lashley against Tyrus and Jade at the London TV taping back in January, I found it hard to buy into a lot of what she was saying. However, I did think that Maria's reply was superb. The meat of promo consisted of ripping on Gail and pulling apart pieces of promo, questioning why Gail married a celebrity chef and aired their wedding on TV, if she only wanted to be a wrestler and not a celebrity. Finishing off by name dropping Donald Trump and you had another entertaining promo from one of TNA's best signings in recent memory. There was of the most heat I've heard for a very long time, Maria had the Barclaycard Arena worked up into an absolute frenzy. The segment concluded with Gail chasing Maria up the entrance ramp, only for Jade to attack the Knockout's Champion and challenge her to a match later on in the night. Great stuff. 


eric young defeats big damo to retain the tna king of the mountain championship


After Eric Young (with Bram) had issued a challenge to any Brit in the back to come and face him for the TNA King of the Mountain strap, out came ICW regular Big Damo to make his TNA debut. It seemed like Damo wasn't quite as over as Jimmy Havoc was earlier in the evening, with the crowd reluctant to get behind him, over the villainous, but familiar Young. Having said that, the crowd did warm to him by the end of clash, as once he managed to string a few big moves together, many began to realise that he wasn't your generic big man. Unfortunately, the match didn't produce anything that made me think that Young wouldn't be returning his title, and I was proved right when he hit a truly spectacular piledriver and a near 300lb Irishman. Way too short once again to truly explore what the two could've done together, but it does however continue to rise the prestige of the King of the Mountain Championship and solidify Young as one of the top heels in the company.


mike bennett defeats drew galloway via submission


After defeating Mandrews, Robbie E and Pepper Parks since his TNA debut in January, this was almost certainly the biggest win of Mike Bennett's TNA career. Made even more special by the fact that Galloway had defeated Kurt Angle on Impact Wrestling #604. The two wrestled a reasonable contest, working well for their first match with each other. Galloway bought a real fire to the contest, going straight after Bennett from the first bell, this made it much easier to buy into the idea of his hate for his opponent. The partnership of Bennett and Maria was spotlighted again as The First Lady of Wrestling helped her husband to stay in the match, putting his foot on the ropes when The Voice of the People had locked on his new Iron Maiden submission hold. There's more to come in this rivalry that is steadily heating up, with both guys having potential to put on a great match in the future, if they get the mix just right.

fast-forward...A recap of Kurt Angle and Lashley's TNA World Heavyweight Championship match from IMPACT Wrestling #557 (aired March 2015)...


ethan carter III "defeats" rockstar spud in an unsantioned street fight



This was a bit of a weird one and didn't quite hit the mark for me. Firstly, I couldn't get my head around their not being a referee for the bout...well, I understand the concept, but don't think it really paid off here. EC3 battered Rockstar Spud for 8 minutes or so, with Spud getting in minimal offence throughout (Mainly underhanded stuff like eyes rakes and low blows). There was some cool spots here, like Spud getting powerbombed through a table, but nothing that managed to trump anything that happened in the recent tag team Monster's Ball from IMPACT Wrestling #605 or Jimmy Havoc vs. Abyss that aired earlier in the night. For a feud that has so much depth I was a little disappointed with what was presented here and even more so with how rushed this was, with Spud only turning on EC3 last week, after the pair had reconciled just a few weeks prior. The finish of the match that saw EC3 have to be pulled off Spud after locking in a Chicken Wing submission, was another strange piece of booking, with the crowd having no idea how to react to their new hero refusing to let go off a hold on someone they hadn't actually seen turn heel.


finally...
atpw scale rating - 5.66/10


After last week's IMPACT Wrestling managed to score the highest mark of 2016 so far, this week's edition has managed to top it. Two fine promo segments were the highlight of the show for me, with Rockstar Spud and Maria both shining in their respective segments. Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode also put forward a quality TV, Jimmy Havoc and Abyss did the best they could in an entertaining No Disqualification match and Mike Bennett got a big victory over Drew Galloway in a match that showed signs of real potential in the pair's current rivalry.

That being said, there was still the case of some of the content needing a little bit more time to breath and tell a more satisfying story. This couldn't have been seen clearer in one of the marquee bouts between Rockstar Spud and Ethan Carter III. Rushed from last week's heel turn from Spud, it felt like with a few extra week's to tell their particular story then this would have been a much more satisfying close to the show. 

Next week has a lot of promise, as the final show from the UK tour will see Kurt Angle wrestle his final TNA match, opposite Lashley, as well as Beer Money challenging The Wolves for the TNA World Tag Team Championship! See you next week.



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