Impact Wrestling – December 22, 2016 (Best of 2016): This is TNA’s New Low

Impact Wrestling
Date: December 22, 2016
Host: Josh Matthews

This is a special show as it’s the Best of 2016. That means a lot of copying and pasting from me as I’m not about to rewatch a lot of these matches, especially when they’re likely going to be clipped to death. I’ll be posting the full versions of the matches instead of whatever hacked up versions that air on the broadcast, assuming we get more than just a few clips. Let’s get to it.

We open with about two minutes of the main event of Slammiversary 2016 with Lashley winning the World Title from Drew Galloway, five minutes of Lashley vs. Eddie Edwards from Impact, July 21 and four minutes of Lashley vs. James Storm from August 11. Lashley won all three matches.

Now we’ll go to January 5 for a few seconds of Kurt Angle’s retirement speech. Angle wants to go out on a high note, including a match against Drew Galloway.

Here’s a clip from that match, which aired on January 12. Angle won by submission and again we only get about a minute and a half.

On March 1, Angle beat Bobby Roode. I know it sounds like I’m flying through this but it’s really just the beginning and ending of each match. We’re twenty minutes into the show and we’ve covered five matches with a commercial in the middle.

On March 8, Angle gave his farewell speech where he talked about how much better of a person he is because of TNA.

On March 15, Drew Galloway cashed in his Feast or Fired briefcase to win the World Title from Matt Hardy in 18 seconds.

On March 28, Drew defended the title against Jeff Hardy. This actually gets more than two minutes so I’ll throw in the full match.

TNA World Title: Drew Galloway vs. Jeff Hardy

Hardy is challenging and gets a headlock takeover out of the corner to take over early. Drew comes back with an overhead belly to belly and Hardy is already in trouble. The champ is sent outside for a dive from Hardy and we take a break. Back with Jeff getting two off a Twist of Fate but taking too much time going up and getting superplexed down.

The Claymore gets two and they head up top for what looked to be a super powerslam from Drew but Jeff reverses into something like a hiptoss. That looked to be a bit botched but it was good enough. Another Twist and the Swanton get two on Drew so Jeff sends it outside and puts Drew on the steps. The Swanton hits knees though and it’s a quick Futureshock to give Drew the pin at 14:18.

Rating: B-. Another pretty good main event here with Jeff being a good first victory for Drew, but they certainly didn’t hit a special level. It’s good that they’re getting Jeff out of the way early though as he’s one of those guys who is always going to be near the top of the roster so thankfully Drew can focus on someone new.

On April 5, Drew successfully defended the title against Matt Hardy.

We get the full Gail Kim Hall of Fame video. Somehow they STILL have the error in there about her holding the title for five reigns (when it was produced) for 232 days. In reality the fifth reign alone was 232 days and she’s held the title over 700 days combined.

We see some of her acceptance speech and about 45 seconds of her winning the Knockouts Title for s sixth time at Bound For Glory.

Since giving them their own show next week (and last week), it’s time to look at the Hardys. We’ll start with Matt vs. Ethan Carter III at Lockdown with Matt defending the World Title.

TNA World Title: Ethan Carter III vs. Matt Hardy

Hardy is defending. Ethan draws a line on the mat and it’s time to slug it out. Matt’s chops don’t have much effect but Ethan’s splash hits the cage. It’s time for a chair with Matt getting in some good shots, only to have the Twist of Fate broken up as Matt is sent head first into the chair in the corner. Another Twist is broken up so Matt settles for the Side Effect and a two count.

The champ grabs a chain but walks into a TK3 (TKO) to give Ethan a chance. Tyrus blocks the way so Ethan flips him off, drawing the big man in. Ethan runs the ropes and has a free chance to get out but opts to clothesline Tyrus instead. A Big Ending drops Carter but he’s still able to reverse an attempt at being chained to the cage. Instead it’s Tyrus being chained up but Matt grabs a Twist of Fate for two.

Carter is back up in time to pull Matt off the cage to put both guys down. Matt is up first and hits a low blow, setting up a Twist of Fate with Ethan’s neck in a chair. Of course that’s not enough to finish it so Ethan kicks Matt low to even things up. A slow double crawl towards the door draws out Reby with a hammer but Spud comes out for the save. Then, in the swerve that isn’t a swerve, Spud slams the door on Carter’s head to turn heel and help Matt get out to retain at 11:39.

Rating: C-. The match was fine but it’s ANOTHER heel turn as Matt has to get another minion because he’s this iconic power or whatever line TNA is pushing this week. I do however like the fact that Spud didn’t just align with Carter again because Ethan turned. That’s some nice continuity, but sweet goodness I’m tired of these big heel turns when there are already about four faces on the roster as it is.

With no transition from normal Matt to Broken Matt, here’s the Final Deletion.

Next up, it’s the Great War from Bound For Glory.

Now we look at some debuts, including Mike Bennett/Maria, Aron Rex, Moose, Cody and Brandi Rhodes. We see clips of Bennett defeating Ethan Carter III and the fairly bad mixed tag with Cody/Rhodes vs. Mike/Maria.

Off to the tag teams now as we see Decay beat Beer Money to win the Tag Team Titles on April 26.

We’ll keep up the Decay theme as Rosemary beats Jade to win the vacant Knockouts Title on December 1.

Due to Lashley vacating the X-Division Title, there was an Ultimate X gauntlet held on September 1 and we actually see a good chunk of it.

X-Division Title: Trevor Lee vs. DJZ vs. Andrew Everett vs. Mandrews vs. Braxton Sutter vs. Rockstar Spud

The title is vacant coming in and this is a gauntlet match, meaning people are added at fixed intervals but you can pull the title down at any time. Trevor Lee and DJZ start things off and they slug it out for a bit before pulling each other down. Andrew Everett is in third and the time intervals seem to be two and a half minutes. DJZ gets double teamed so the Helms Dynasty (minus Helms showing up lately) goes up at the same time.

A knee to DJZ’s head knocks him silly but here’s Mandrews to break up the title grab attempt. Mandrews gets thrown off the top though and we take a break. Back with a replay package of what we saw before the commercial instead of what we missed. Braxton Sutter entered during the break and here’s Rockstar Spud to complete the field but it’s still too early to get the title with Sutter making the save.

We hit the big streak of dives before people get back in, only to be thrown out or knocked down seconds later. There’s nothing to talk about here as it’s just one move or spot after another with nothing in between. Spud uses a chair to knock Sutter off the cables but it’s the Helms Dynasty going up and grabbing the title at at the same time. No one comes down with it though so DJZ springboards in and pulls the title down to win at 16:23.

Rating: C+. I’m sure this is the revitalization that the X-Division has been needing for years now and that this will be different than the other half dozen times they’ve promised it’s not going to be left by the wayside again. The same problems they always have still apply here: no characters, no storylines other than they all want the title and get thrown together into one match and nothing we haven’t seen before. Fix some of those things and give us an actual story and the division might go somewhere.

On October 6, Lashley chose Eddie Edwards for a World Title shot and we’re graced with the last eight seconds.

We wrap it up with clips from Lashley vs. Edwards II on November 3. I’ll throw this one in even though we get less than a third of the match.

TNA World Title: Eddie Edwards vs. Lashley

Lashley is challenging. We get the Big Match Intros with JB calling this the super fight. I’ll give TNA this: they do a solid job of making the big matches feel important. Or maybe it’s that JB is really good at his job(s). The bell rings after the break (thank goodness) and Lashley throws the champ around before elbowing him in the face.

They head outside with Eddie chopping him up against the barricade but getting dropped throat first across the steel. Some choking with a wristband takes us to the last break. Back with Lashley in full control with a chinlock and a knee to the face. The champ fights back and sends Lashley outside for a suicide dive.

A Shining Wizard gets two on Lashley, who comes right back with a Dominator for the same. They head outside for a few moments before Eddie misses a top rope double stomp. Lashley pulls the referee in the way and then hits the spear for two, earning the second referee a right hand to the face. The first referee goes to call for the DQ but the Boston Knee Party gives Eddie the fast counted pin at 18:53.

Rating: B. This was more long than good and really illustrated the problem with a lot of TNA: I like Eddie but he’s really just a person who happens to be champion. Lashley is a big dragon for Eddie to slay and that’s what he’s done twice now. I don’t feel any connection to either of them and it’s much more like I’m just on the outside watching something happen.

Overall Rating: D. TNA just managed to screw up a Best Of show. Based off this, I have almost no idea what’s going on in TNA but I know I need a chart to keep track of it all. This felt like taking a guided tour in a bus that was driving 80 miles an hour with the guide shouting various things you can see.

We didn’t see a single match in full and most of the clips showed the opening and the last few seconds. I’d much rather see some full matches (or promos) than cover so much stuff and get nothing out of it. Also, did we really need the Hardys section when two out of three FULL SHOWS will be about them? I can’t even be surprised by this but it was somehow one of the worst executed things TNA has done all year. Just air a Top Ten list or something like that instead of trying to cram in every single thing into two hours. Total mess here.

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1 comment

  1. NightShiftLoser says:

    I laughed like a hyena at the tour guide comparison. Glad I didn’t need to watch this trainwreck!

    [Reply]

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