TNA Wednesday Night Impact – July 29th, 2015
Live, prerecorded from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida its Wednesday Night Impact on Destination America!
Jeff Jarrett is honoured with an induction into the TNA Hall of Fame, which takes centre stage in Impact’s main event. Leading in, the big match of the night sees Magnus teaming for the first time with partner Mickie James in what will be her return to the ring and farewell performance, versus arch rivals and former friends James Storm and his newest Revolution recruit Serena. Also: Matt Hardy reveals his stipulation of choice for his World Heavyweight Championship match with Ethan Carter III, Brooke defends the Knockout Championship against Marti Bell; Chris Melendez takes on Eric Young; and promos, promos, promos!
- Austin Aries opens the show. Bully Ray joins, and Aries demands a title shot. Ray offers a shot at X-Division belt and Aries insults the division. Rockstar Spud confronts. Bully Ray makes match for next week: Aries vs Spud, Career vs Name Match.
- Sgt. Chris Melendez (with Kurt Angle) vs Eric Young: piledriver lands, Young gets the win.
- Knockout Championship Match – Marti Bell (with Dollhouse) vs Brooke (c): Brooke wins with Butterface Maker after Gail Kim distraction.
- Tigre Uno video package, followed by interview where Tigre challenges Donald Trump.
- Ethan Carter III in the ring, cuts promo on Hardy brothers. Jeff Hardy returns, promises wrestling comeback. Matt Hardy comes out, chooses stipulation for next week’s match: Full Metal Mayhem and no one is allowed at ringside during match.
- James Storm & Serena vs Magnus & Mickie James: Mickie hits DDT and gets pin on Serena. Postmatch, she hits Storm with DDT.
- backstage: Ken Anderson talks about Bram and going to dark places.
- Bram calls out Ken Anderson next week, says that it’s personal.
- Jeff Jarrett Hall of Fame Induction: Video package rolls. Dixie Carter gives speech, introduces Jarrett. Jarrett thanks customers, consumers, employees, road crew, production team, executives, talent, Mike Tenay, Dixie Carter, his father, his kids and his wife. The roster comes out to pay respects as he leaves the ring.
- The knowledge, by now spread all over the dirt sheets and social media, that Austin Aries is a free agent took away some of the drama from this segment, but nonetheless it served its purpose. The big take-away is the nod to Spud being the superstar who has the honour of sending a man of Aries’ caliber off from the company.
- The match itself may not hold a candle to the epic battle between Aries and Davey Richards at Slammiversary, but the duo will undoubtedly put on a good show. Despite his excellent heel work, the segment begs the question: why would Aries demand Spud’s name instead of a title shot as his reward for winning the match? That was what he wanted at the beginning of the show. Why did humiliating Spud become the more important motivation?
- Melendez and Angle get over how plucky and determined the vet is in the ring and in life, but once again he appeared the weaker and less experienced amateur. Eric Young was portrayed as unhinged and dangerous, yes, but also competent and accomplished.
- The program between these two is an interesting mix of blood feud and professional rivalry, with Young as the master and Melendez the student of veteran Angle, eager to prove his worth. It should ultimately culminate in Melendez coming out on top, but Young will most likely have a bit more fun first, perhaps raising the stakes to a dangerous degree.
- Marti Bell still has a lot of work to do in the ring, but having an accomplished athlete like Brooke to work against is helping her along. Brooke is also well over with the fans and her enthusiasm and ability to work the crowd kept a solid amount of energy in this match. She is a great baby-faced champion, but there is a light-hearted quality to her which makes her come off as transitional.
- Gail Kim’s presence overshadows Brooke’s reign so far, and she will be the one to send Taryn Terrell off from the company and leave the rest of the Dollhouse to pester Brooke. Until then, the champ continues to look strong.
- Tigre Uno is receiving a great deal of attention, with in-depth interviews, incites into his past and the Mexican culture surrounding lucha libre. It is very nice to see, but it feels like TNA is playing catch up. These video packages feel like something they should have done before Tigre won the X-Division Championship and became a focus. If we, the audience, were more acquainted with the man months ago, perhaps the moment he won the belt we would have been more emotionally invested. Better late than never, I suppose.
- Why Tigre Uno is challenging Donald Trump and what the TNA creative department is hoping it will ultimately yield is thus far a mystery. Do they have connections with Trump? Will he actually take time from his campaign to put in an appearance? Is this supposed to be a plug for Trump or an attack on his character? What happens now?
- The segment with EC3 and the Hardys was far too long and attempted to accomplish too much, combining Jeff’s home-coming and the Heavyweight Championship match at No Surrender in a 15-minute long segment in a show already lacking in-ring action.
- Carter was excellent, as always, and the Hardys played their strength which has always been connection with the crowd. The choice of Full Metal Mayhem promises an action-packed championship contest, and the addition of nobody allowed at ringside guarantees a level playing field.
- James Storm and Magnus work very well together and provided a great wrestling match, although it was largely one-sided so Storm could play up his heat with Mickie James. Mickie was the real focus of the entire match, which is why it’s a shame she and Serena spent the majority of the time on the apron. Even before the match really got underway and the men were brawling on the outside, the ladies patiently and politely waited in their respected corners, on the apron, until the men got back in to start the match. At least Mickie dealt the decisive finisher and scored the winning pin, and then procured a measure of revenge on the man who’s caused her such torment.
- Although it seemed like cheap redemption, the story-line was served and brought a satisfying conclusion to Mickie’s tale in TNA. Serena seemed like an afterthought in the match and only a foot-note in the program, and the inclusion of Koya will no doubt serve to tear apart Storm’s faction before his eventual departure from the ranks of the company. A crowd-pleaser and a solid match, all things considered.
- Jeff Jarrett’s video package, although it was complimentary and dignified, lacked personality. The narration felt impersonal, the disembodied voice-over glossing over Jarrett’s accomplishments instead of citing specific accolades. The vignette would have benefited from testimonies from some of Jarrett’s many peers, past or even present talent attesting to the man’s character and legacy. As it was, the whole video seemed pieced together and written in a rush. Surely, the production team had more time to devote to making it better.
- Dixie’s speech was intimate and endearing. Jarrett himself was emotional and he came off as humble, grateful, and appreciative. He showed real vulnerability when he spoke of a falling out he had with his father over the subject of TNA, and it was touching to know they had only recently reconciled. His intimacy with the TNA team was obvious, referring in an off-hand way to nick-names, first names, dates and times and incidents of which the average fan would have no knowledge. It was an opportunity for Jarrett to speak to and honour those behind the cameras and behind the scenes, and in pro wrestling those opportunities are rare. Jeff Jarrett deserves credit for taking that opportunity.
Endnote / Editorial Rant:
- I don’t know if I’m alone here, but I doubt I am. A part of me was offended by Jarrett’s speech. Any fan would have to take exception to the way in which Jarrett referred to the public, the crowd, the audience. At the beginning of his induction speech, he thanked anyone who ever bought a ticket, a piece of merchandise or a Pay-Per-View. He thanked the “customers and consumers” of TNA. He then went on to thank anyone who ever got a paycheck from TNA – the employees. He came off sounding like a boss giving a speech at a company picnic, like an empty suit. Never once did he thank the “fans”. Is this what Jarrett thinks of the people filling his stands and cheering him? That they are customers and consumers? It might be cheesy, sappy and over-played, like thanking God at the Country Music Awards, but the first and last people you should thank are the “fans who showed love and support over the years” – not the “people who bought a product”. This might be coming from a very selfish place, but nobody feels very endeared to you when you refer to them as a “customer” or a “consumer”.