impact wrestling #612 match card
Match 1 - Six Sides of Steel - TNA King of the Mountain Champion Eric Young w/Bram vs. "The Charismatic Enigma" Jeff Hardy
Match 2 - Street Fight - "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero vs. Lashley
Match 3 - TNA Knockout's Championship Three Way - Jade vs. Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim (C)
Match 4 - TNA World Heavyweight Championship - Matt Hardy w/Matt Hardy Brand: Rockstar Spud & Tyrus vs. Drew Galloway (C)
Commentary: Jeremy Borash & Josh Matthews
fast-forward...A recap of Drew Galloway's TNA World Heavyweight Championship defense against Jeff Hardy from IMPACT Wrestling #611 and the aftermath involving Matt Hardy, Bram and Eric Young aired...
hardy defeats young inside six sides of steel
It was great to see the show start with a big match that was full of plenty of action again. This has been a format that TNA has been using a lot over the past couple of months and it's a refreshing change to the usual TV format. The action started well before the bell had rung as Jeff Hardy charged to the ring with a table, after Eric Young had begun berating the crowd. The pre-cage match brawl has never been one of my favourite cliches and it's one that TNA has used a number of times over the years, with Young and Bram using similar tactics a few weeks ago at Lockdown. I think that it actually distracts from the potential big match feeling of that any potential contest could have and whilst we did see Young attempt to piledrive Hardy on the floor, there was no real reason for this start and we didn't see it built upon once Hardy and Young were finally alone inside the cage.
The rest of the bout was built around two major spots. The first saw Young halt Hardy's Twist of Fate attempt, before delivering a piledriver onto a handful of seated chairs. The spot looked fantastic and probably should have ended the match, but, of course, Hardy kicked out. The second spot however was the match-ender as Hardy hit a spectacular Swantom Bomb off the top of the cage with Young placed on a Table to take the victory. A huge moment and a great visual, however I wish that the match had built to it a bit better, with more near falls and just a bit more story it all. For a feud that has been bubbling for quite some time in TNA the two never truly made me believe that they had any real animosity towards each other, beyond the two moments mentioned. A case of a bout not meeting it's full potential more than anything else here and still a cracking opener to a TV show and the best match all evening.
fast-forward...Dixie Carter spoke to TNA Knockout's Champion Gail Kim and Maria to discuss their on-going feud, with Dixie placing Gail in a title match with Madison Rayne and Jade later in the evening...
tyrus threatens to throw a spanner into the tna world heavyweight championship picture
This was marketed as Drew Galloway and Matt Hardy's last face to face before their World Heavyweight Championship match later in the show in another case of TNA rushing stories and giving weeks of booking in one go. Whilst Hardy's heel character continued to tread proverbial water going over similar ground, Galloway impressed me here the most as he held himself well with the title and delivered his promo confidently. Whilst the two clearly do have issues with each other, it was clear that this segment was created with the next few weeks in mind as their was a strong focus on Matt's brother Jeff, which meant that the two never really connected over the microphone. The swerve that Tyrus still has his #1 Contendership that he won back at Bound For Glory in October was an odd one. Perhaps it was an attempt to add some intrigue to the main event later on? Whether that intrigue was actually added too, I'm not so sure.
lashley defeats dinero in a street fight
A fun Street Fight here that told a simple but effective story and allowed Lashley to continue to look like a beast in the process. Lashley spent most of the match in control, just dominating D'Angelo Dinero in "The Pope"'s first singles bout on TNA programming since July 2012. There were a lot of similarities between this match and Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose's match at WrestleMania 32, with both matches having the same basic storyline, as Dinero used the weapons available to take control and to get some level of revenge on the Lashley. I'd have liked to have seen this go a little bit longer, but as a way of continuing to build up Lashley as The Destroyer and simultaneously keep him away from the TNA World Heavyweight Championship picture it more than did it's job. We moved closer to a huge contest between Lashley and Ethan Carter III, as EC3 made the post-match save for Dinero, however the two were kept apart once again as Mike Bennett attacked EC3 with a steel chair. This would lead into the next segment.
ec3 and bennett's issues heighten
This was the highlight of the show for me. After Mike Bennett had attacked Ethan Carter III, EC3 called Bennett back to the ring and the two had a brilliant verbal joust. I thought both men were on top form on the microphone here, and made me sit up and take notice as the duo bought a passion to their delivery that made it feel like they genuinelly hated each other. Whilst I've been pleasantly surprised with the quality of EC3's babyface run, Bennett produced the stronger material here as he ripped on the crowd and talked about what's changed for EC3 since he (Bennett) debuted at start of the year. Bennett makes it easy to hate him, EC3 has been on fire since his babyface turn, I want to see what they can do together inside the ring! The backstage brawl that lead to Bennett escaping in parked car gave us just a tease of what it could be like and although I'd have preferred to have seen this next week to prolonge the story, it did top of the segment nicely.
jade defeats gail and madison to win the tna knockout's championship
With Women's wrestling taking a major stage this past weekend, it would have been nice to have seen TNA come out and remind us why their Women's division was once thought to be the strongest in television wrestling. With the match being a three way, comparisons to another bout that took place on Sunday evening would surely be running through every fans mind as they watched. Unfortunately, this bout was sloppier than a soup sandwich and uglier than a barrel full of hairy arseholes. Credit to the women for trying to do a handful of three person spots, but pretty much all of them failed to work, mainly due to poor timing. The finish was a shambles also, as Maria got involved and clobbering Gail Kim off the top rope with the flimsy looking TNA Knockout's belt, before Jade hit a weak looking STO for the win. A disappointing start to Jade's first title reign, I'm unsure why she stopped using the Package Piledriver as her finish. However after seeing some of the miscues in this match, it's probably as good thing she stopped!
fast-forward...Backstage, TNA Senior Producer of Creative and Talent Development Billy Corgan suspended Al Snow for a week without pay for his attack on Grado last week and demanded a public apology...
edwards refuses to team with helms, beer money brawl with the decay
LOTS OF THINGS ARE HAPPENING! I wasn't interested in the Eddie Edwards and Gregory Shane Helms storyline last week and I was less interested this week. Basically, Helms wanted to team with Edwards and it was clear that Edwards was never going to team with him, but they dragged it out over a week. I mean, if there was one storyline that didn't need more time it was this one! Why doesn't Helms want to team with his protege Trevor Lee? The TNA X Division Champion has stood their for two weeks and hasn't had a match in over a month. At the moment the X Division is pretty much defunct anyway. After Beer Money had made the save for Edwards (Helms got all uppity about something or another and took off his horrible green jacket), the madness continued as The Decay interrupted their promo and they brawled around the ring. I've got a lot of time for The Decay and it was pleasing to see them booked strongly, but this segment was complete clusterfuck at best.
fast-forward...Backstage, Matt Hardy cut a promo on his upcoming TNA World Heavyweight Championship shot, with Tyrus slowly walking towards him...
galloway defeats hardy to retain the tna world heavyweight championship
Not the greatest match technically that you'll ever see, but I had a lot of time for this TNA World Heavyweight Championship match. This bout was full of sports-entertainment frills and tricks, as Matt Hardy and his Matt Hardy Brand faction played their role well. The ridiculous amounts of shenanigans from Hardy got the crowd well behind Drew Galloway and drove the contest. A particular favourite of mine was Rockstar Spud crawling underneath the ring and attacking Galloway whenever he had the opportunity. I also had a lot of time for Hardy pretending to have an ankle injury, distracting the referee to remove his boot, therefore allowing Spud to jump off the top at Galloway and then with the refs attention on Spud, Galloway ended up taking Hardy's boot to the head! All these antics from Hardy meant that when Galloway forced "The Icon" to tap to Iron Maiden it meant a whole lot more. After defeating Jeff Hardy last week and Matt Hardy this week, Galloway closed the show holding the TNA World Heavyweight Championship looking like one of the strongest champions the company has had for a long time.
atpw scale rating - 4.66
A strong opener with some major spots and an entertaining story based contest to close the show. So how did this show end up getting a below average rating on the ATPW Scale Rating? Well it certainly wasn't anything to do with Mike Bennet and Ethan Carter III's brilliant tete a tete which I thought was the strongest part of the entire show. It wasn't Lashley and D'Angelo Dinero's Street Fight either, which was a stellar effort and raised the stakes of Lashley's heel run. So what lead this show to have such a dissapointing rating? It was, of course, the dreadful Women's three way bout. Take that match away (and probably the weird clusterfuck segment with Eddie Edwards, Gregory Shane Helms, Trevor Lee, Beer Money and The Decay) and you've got a really good television show. With that contest I just can't give the show a higher rating for a two hour piece of TV. If there was ever a time to have a bad women's three way bout, it most definitely wasn't this week!
There's promise in key areas of the product at the moment, but I'm hoping to see improvements in the Women's, Tag Team and X Divsions over the next few weeks.