Date: May 17, 2016
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Josh Matthews, D’Angelo Dinero
We’re getting closer to Slammiversary and one of the big questions coming out of last week is who is behind the Willow mask. Someone attacked Jeff Hardy last week while dressed as Jeff’s old alter ego in an attempt to take him out for good. Presumably this is the same person who sent Decay after Jeff two weeks ago. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Lashley attacking Drew Galloway a few weeks back. They fight for the World Title tonight but a fight broke out in the empty arena as they arrived earlier.
Here’s Willow to get things going. Josh: “The creation of the imagination of the mind of Jeff Hardy.” After the announcers talk about how Willow has come to life, he cackles about how he’s finally free. Cue Jeff Hardy to ask if Willow loves or hates before hammering away on him.
Jeff Hardy vs. Willow
Some right hands stagger Willow but he comes back with a Twist of Hate. The Twist of Fate puts Willow away at 39 seconds.
Jeff goes for the mask but here’s a bigger (though only average size) Willow to attack Jeff with the umbrella. A third Willow, clearly bigger than the other two, comes down the ramp to say something about giving Jeff his worst nightmare (the audio was very hard to understand).
Post break, Willow takes his mask off to reveal Matt Hardy. Matt talks about how Nero (Jeff’s middle name) got over because of Matt’s genius. A few weeks back, Jeff didn’t finish the job when he took Matt out so now it’s time to put Matt through his own personal nightmare. Matt chokes him out again and we’re finally done. If Matt being Willow surprised you in any way, shape or form, you haven’t been paying attention.
Velvet Sky is in the back where she was supposed to meet Maria. Instead there’s a newcomer named Allie, who is Maria’s bubbly new personal assistant (played by indy wrestler Cherry Bomb). Apparently Velvet is facing Sienna tonight and if she loses she’s fired.
Dixie Carter makes the World Title match a lumberjack match.
Velvet Sky vs. Sienna
Sienna rolls her up for a quick near fall before beating her into the corner. Velvet gets the same result off the same move before a running neckbreaker gives her another near fall. Not that it matters as Sienna puts Velvet on her shoulders for the spinning faceplant and the pin at 3:22.
Rating: D. Well uh, see you Velvet. That was quite the unceremonial ending to her TNA run as this was nothing more than a squash. Sienna is a good monster heel for Maria to hide behind and we’ve already gotten to the point of her character, which is about as simple of an idea as it needs to be. Nothing match here.
Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis are sitting by their pool with Maria getting up and diving in for a swim. After the very gratuitous shots of her, she sits back down with Mike talking about how he wants to be the best of all time in TNA. Maria is going to get some sun and then they’re going to head to the Impact Zone.
Here are Mike and Maria in the ring for a chat. Mike talks about how Ethan Carter III needs his road to redemption and if he loses once, there’s no rematch. Tonight, Ethan has an opponent who has been around the world and is very well known for his black and white. Therefore, get out here EARL HEBNER! Earl comes out and Mike wants to fight him tonight, Hall of Famer vs. future Hall of Famer. Another referee comes out and Mike begs Earl to fight him, eventually getting himself a punch to the face. The bell rings.
Mike Bennett vs. Earl Hebner
One punch drops Earl and Mike takes his shirt off…..for a two count. Yes Earl actually kicked out and for some reason it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen on TNA in months. Earl hits the worst low blow in years but Maria goes after him. Earl actually takes his shirt off, earning himself a boot to the face for the pin at 1:49. I really shouldn’t be laughing at this but it was HILARIOUS.
Post match Ethan Carter III runs out for the save but Mike has an opponent for him. That would be Tyrus, who attacks Ethan from behind, kicking off a last man standing match.
Ethan Carter III vs. Tyrus
Last man standing and joined in progress with Tyrus holding a nerve hold. Tyrus goes outside to get a chair but makes the mistake of wedging it in the corner, which means he goes head first into it instead. A trio of Stinger Splashes in the corner don’t do much damage to Tyrus so Ethan avoids a splash in the corner, setting up a high cross body. Carter hits him in the back with a chair for a nine so it’s time to set up two chairs.
Tyrus suplexes him through them for a close call and it’s table time. Tyrus misses a Vader Bomb and only hits table but still gets up. Ethan grabs a chair but gets sent flying off a suplex. A spike to the neck sends Carter to the floor for an eight and a Big Ending on the ramp gets nine. With nothing else working, Ethan grabs a piece of the barricade but Carter elbows him in the head and drops Tyrus onto the barricade. Ethan puts the steps on him and then beats the steps with a chair for the win at 10:48.
Rating: B-. This was more entertaining than I was expecting as they didn’t bother wasting time with wrestling and just started beating on each other with metal objects. Carter winning was the obvious way to go but hopefully this ends things with him and Tyrus. I know there’s some value in Tyrus as a heavy but he’s really not working as a wrestler, which to be fair is almost always the case with him.
Mike Bennett comes out and looks at Ethan.
Lashley training video.
Jeff Hardy says Matt took his own creation and promises to finish this at Slammiversary.
Eddie Edwards/DJZ vs. Andrew Everett/Trevor Lee
It’s all over the place to start until we settle down to DJZ sending Everett into the corner. A chase on the floor ends with Lee kicking DJZ in the face to take over with a near fall inside. It’s off to Edwards as things break down with Eddie’s Backpack Stunner getting two on Everett. Andrew’s moonsault hits a raised boot and Eddie takes the champ down on the floor, leaving DJZ to hit a jumping DDT for the pin on Everett at 5:13.
Rating: C. The match was fine, albeit completely meaningless. That’s the problem with this division: it’s here one week and then back a few weeks later with one vague story of Helms creating a stable and Edwards fighting against it but there’s very little to care about. The champion has taken a big backseat to Helms and if Helms never wrestles, it’s a big waste of time.
Galloway training video.
It’s time for Fact of Life with Eli Drake. After calling some people dummies, Drake says he can change the world with this Feast or Fired briefcase. This brings him to his guest tonight, the future former King of the Mountain Champion, Bram. The champ says the briefcase may be dangerous but Drake himself isn’t. That earns him a DUMMY, YEAH as Drake talks about how he’s going to win the title one way or another so Bram could just hand him the title right now. Bram thinks he should just rip out Drake’s throat so Eli leaves. Bram questions Drake’s manhood and a fight breaks out with Bram standing tall.
Ethan wants his match with Bennett tonight but Bennett says there’s one more match for Ethan first. That would be against Matt Hardy next week and Matt is a lot more nuts than when he took the title from Carter in the first place.
TNA World Title: Drew Galloway vs. Lashley
Lashley is challenging and this is a lumberjack match. They lock up to start with Lashley taking him into the corner until a big boot puts Lashley down. The spear out of nowhere sends Drew outside though and we take a break. Back with Galloway being sent out to the floor before Lashley suplexes him again.
We hit a quickly broken chinlock before Drew starts slugging away, followed by a neckbreaker for a breather. A top rope clothesline drops Lashley but the Future Shock is broken up. Something like a chokeslam gets two for Lashley but Drew grabs the Celtic Cross. The Claymore is loaded up but the lumberjacks pull Drew outside for the DQ at 11:53.
Rating: C+. The match was fun while it lasted but it was clearly just a way to set up a rematch at Slammiversary. You could tell they were going for something screwy as soon as they put the lumberjacks out there and that makes for a less than thrilling main event. Drew vs. Lashley is a good enough match but the story is only hit or miss.
Post match the lumberjacks fight with DJZ hitting a dive to take out a bunch of them. Trevor Lee does the same thing before Eddie Edwards superplexes Everett onto the pile. Bram knees Lashley but Drake hits him in the back with the briefcase. Cue Jeff Hardy to take Eli down but Matt breaks up the Swanton. Bennett throws Drake to the floor but here’s Carter to chase him off, only to eat a spear. Drew gives Lashley the Claymore and flips onto the lumberjacks to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. The ending was good but so much of this show felt like it was just sitting around waiting on the Hardys to do more stuff. Matt vs. Jeff is really dragging down what is an otherwise rapidly improving show with some feuds that make me want to see more of the show. The problem is Matt vs. Jeff is by far the biggest story going on and it wouldn’t shock me if they main evented the pay per view. There’s good stuff here but TNA’s standard problems keep holding it back.
Jeff Hardy b. Willow – Twist of Fate
Sienna b. Velvet Sky – Spinning faceplant
Mike Bennett b. Earl Hebner – Big boot
Ethan Carter III b. Tyrus when Tyrus couldn’t answer the ten count
DJZ/Eddie Edwards b. Trevor Lee/Andrew Everett – Jumping DDT to Everett
Drew Galloway b. Lashley via DQ when the lumberjacks interfered
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