Friday, 22 April 2016

TV Review: IMPACT Wrestling #613 (Hardy & Tyrus vs. Hardy & Galloway)

On 12th April 2016, TNA aired the 613th episode on IMPACT Wrestling on POP TV, having taped the action on 18th March 2016 at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, USA. Matt Hardy teamed with fellow Matt Hardy Brand member Tyrus to fight Jeff Hardy and TNA World Heavyweight Champion Drew Galloway with the winning side being able to choose a stipulation for IMPACT Wrestling #614's Hardy vs. Hardy clash and Ethan Carter III went one on one with "The Miracle" Mike Bennett...but was it any good? Let's take a look.

impact wrestling #613 match card

Match 1 - TNA World Tag Team Championship Four Corners - Beer Money Inc.: Bobby Roode & James Storm (C) vs. The Bro-Mans: Jessie Godderz & Robbie E vs. The Decay: Abyss & Crazzy Steve w/Rosemary vs. Bram and TNA King of the Mountain Champion Eric Young

Match 2 - Men's Singles - TNA X-Division Champion Trevor Lee with Gregory Shane Helms vs. DJ Z

Match 3 - Men's Singles - "The Miracle" Mike Bennett vs. Ethan Carter III "EC3"

Match 4 - TNA Knockout's Championship - Madison Rayne vs. Jade (C)

Match 5 - Men's Tag Team – The Matt Hardy Brand: Tyrus & Matt Hardy vs. “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy & TNA World Heavyweight Champion Drew Galloway (Winner selects stipulation for Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy match on IMPACT Wrestling #614)

hardy vs. hardy confirmed for next week

Matt Hardy kicked the show off surrounded by the Matt Hardy Brand, and continued to develop elements of his character, following being unsuccessful in regain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on IMPACT Wrestling #612. Matt blamed Jeff Hardy for the loss and ripped into his brother in a passionate and slightly over-the-top promo. With Jeff quickly interrupting Matt, this segment boiled down to the pair agreeing to a match where the name "Hardy" would be on the line. Whilst parts of the segment bordered on ridiculous, both Hardy's put in entertaining performances and came out with some cracking lines throughout the segment. Jeff throwing barbs at his sister-in-law Reby Sky is always fun to watch, so I got a big kick out him saying “The only thing I'm scared of is your crazy bitch genes inside my family tree”.

beer money defeat the bro-mans, the decay and young & bram to retain the tna world tag team championships

Booked as an Invitational contest, Josh Matthews was for some reason surprised when the three teams advertised on TNA's website as being apart of the match actually accepted the challenge, but that's not surprising considering this is Josh Matthews.  The bout boiled down to mostly a ringside brawl before the contest fully got started, followed up by some fun stuff from the two babyface teams before some heel miscommunication from Bram and Eric Young, allowed James Storm to hit the later with the Last Call Superkick to pick up the victory. There was enough talent, enough variety in styles and enough on-going and past storylines to produce a world class opening match here. Unfortunately whilst most of the action was of a high quality, it was way too short to fully showcase the division fully and a big missed opportunity.

fast-forward...Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy collide backstage and agree to a Tag Team bout later on with next week's stipulation on the line...

corgan steps in to control the knockout's division

I fucking hated this segment. For everything other companies have done to change how they present their female performers, this was a major step back for TNA in my opinion. The segment started fine, I suppose, with Jade refusing to give Maria her TNA Knockout's Championship, before Gail Kim interrupted and things quickly went down hill. I cringed when Gail said that her problems with Maria were "a little more important" than the title. Just no, Gail. No. The segment soon became an omnishambles, with The Dollhouses' Marti Belle and Rebel coming out and seemingly having some issues with Jade, whilst Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky of the Beautiful People also arrived to say something, probably. The women bickered about who was the "leader" of the Knockout's Division and all in all were made to look like silly little girls. I felt embarrassed for everyone involved. Billy Corgan then turned up to cool things down, because he's a man and randomly booked Jade to defend her title against Madison Rayne later on in the show for no reason and then made a match to crown a new Leader of the Knockout's for next week. Shit. 

fast-forward...Ethan Carter III cut a hot promo on his upcoming match with Mike Bennett tonight, backstage...

dj z defeats lee 

This was originally announced as Trevor Lee defending the TNA X Division Championship against Eddie Edwards, however the continuing Gregory Shane Helms sage saw Edwards taken out backstage and then Helms issuing the second open challenge of the show. Of course, DJ Z made his return to TNA after a two and a half month absence to answer the challenge. Lee and DJ Z did the best they probably could inside three minutes and both men worked hard to fit as much as possible into the contest. It should be obvious to anyone that three minutes of action is ridiculous, even more so when you consider this is the only ring-time that Lee has received since the end of February. After DJ Z had grabbed a surprise victory by turning Lee's Small Package Driver into a regular small package, Edwards was then perfectly fit to save DJ Z from a post-match attack from Helms in a confusing piece of booking. 

bennett defeats ec3 via disqualification

After some strong build-up over the last few weeks, I couldn't help but feel a little bit disappointing by the first meeting between Mike Bennett and Ethan Carter III. Things started well, with EC3 attacking Bennett before the bell rang which showcased EC3's frustration with his rival and an early spot that saw EC3 reverse Bennett's suplex attempt to hit one of his own on the ramp also stood out. I just wish that Bennett had sold the move a bit more in the latter portions of the bout, to really make the moment matter. For me, pretty much everything here felt very rushed, both in terms of the layout of the bout (EC3's comeback seemed to come way too soon) and in the flow and transitions of the action. Things certainly weren't as smooth as you'd want for a marquee contest. I did like the idea of EC3 getting more and more frustrated with Maria's involvement in the match, which would eventually climax with EC3 nailed his adversary with a steel chair to cause the disqualification. There's certainly more to come from the Bennett vs. EC3 feud and I'm hoping that the pair produce a much better effort next time round, as they're definitely capable of much better than what they showed here. 

fast-forward...Al Snow speaks directly to camera and says he was wrong to attack Grado and Mahabali Shera on IMPACT Wrestling #611 and that he's heading to the ring to call them out...

snow attacks shera again for reasons

If I could have cared any less about this segment, I probably would have imploded or something. It seems that the crowd felt the same way, as they were completely silent throughout the whole sorry affair. Al Snow was out to apologise to Mahabali Shera and Grado, with the former WWF Tag Team Champion calling out Shera. Grado was apparently still in hospital two weeks after Snow's attack and couldn't be there. With most of the audience on the brink of entering a coma, Shera agreed to be coached by Snow. Snow then snapped an beat the shit into Shera whilst the crowd chanted "You Still Got It", which probably summed up the entire shitty affair. 

fast-forward...Tyrus confronted TNA World Heavyweight Champion Drew Galloway backstage, with another reminder that Tyrus has a title shot and such...

jade defeats rayne to retain the tna knockout's championship 

This was a decent match that was torn apart by some of the worst commentary that has ever been broadcast on television. Josh Matthews and "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero are the shits. Here's a couple of example of their arseholery. Matthews "Jade reminds me of Ronda Rousey" Dinero "She's like a hybrid of Ronda Rousey and Gail Kim". Any follow up on that guys? Nah, fuck it. Here's some more. Matthews "You can learn all about your favourite stars and knockout's on social media". Thanks Josh, you fucking prick salad. Jade would pick up a fairly swift victory with her weak looking STO to give her her first title defense. I was too busy noting down the piss-poor commentary to notice anything that made the bout stand out.

hardy and tyrus defeat hardy and galloway, lashley attacks galloway

The main event managed to rescue the show just a little, as Matt Hardy and Tyrus overcame Jeff Hardy and TNA World Heavyweight Champion Drew Galloway in tag team action to allow Matt to select an "I Quit" Match as his stipulation for next week's Hardy vs. Hardy contest. A sound tag bout, that was well structured to make the most out of the four performers and played out in front of a crowd who were hot for the action throughout. The build towards both Hardy's clashing in the ring was the main narrative of the contest, with Galloway being worked over in the World Champ in peril role. Jeff was all over his brother, hitting a number of Twist of Fate's and when Galloway managed to take out Tyrus with a Claymore Kick it seemed like Jeff would finally have the contest won. However, there was finally twist in the story as Reby Sky turned up to hand Matt a hammer behind the refs back, with Matt taking full advantage of the situation. The visual of Matt lifting a prone Jeff off the mat to hit a Twist of Fate was the strongest moment of the show for me and capped a solid main event off well. After the match, Lashley turned up and ripped apart Galloway with a series of Spears, making it clear that The Destroyer has his sights once again set on the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

atpw scale rating - 2.78/10

The worst episode of IMPACT Wrestling for a very long time, certainly the worst episode of the show that's aired in 2016 so far. The main event tag bout was the shining light through the show and even that was perhaps only above average. The other marquee bout on the show between Ethan Carter III and Mike Bennett was another decent clash, but failed to live up to the hype. The under-card was highlighted by an fun opening segment with The Matt Hardy Brand and Jeff Hardy that would set up the main event's for this show and the next, but unfortunately pretty much the every other supporting moment on the episode was pure shite. The Knockout's segment, Al Snow trying to be relevant in 2016 and some of the worst commentary that has ever aired worked towards making this the shit-fest that it was.

Hopefully, with the Hardy vs. Hardy "I Quit" bout next week, TNA will be able to get back onto the level that they have been for the best part of 2016 so far.

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