Air Date: 5/1/16
This is TNA’s debut on PopTV and the first new taping since Bound for Glory. I’ve never hated TNA as much as other people but equally besides some of the Hogan years I’ve never watched them super closely so this will be an interesting experience. We start the show with a video package hyping the finals of the World Title series. The show starts proper with an awful Dixie Carter promo talking about the move to a new network and the World Title series, what a dumb way to start your first show on a new network. Why not start with one of the World Title series matches and start things of hot. Things got a little more interesting when the participants of the tournament came out and I guess the idea of catching new viewers up was good on paper but this was a case of telling too much and not showing, which lead to a boring opening segment on your debut show. Poor way to start.
Bobby Lashley vs. EC3 (w/Tyrus) (World Title Series Semi Final)
We finally start with a match. In the last year Lashley has had a few matches in TNA with guys like Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode that have had a lot of hype so there was a lot of interest from me going into this to see if he lives up to the hype. This match wasn’t really the best showcase for either man however, it felt overly long and bloated, even though the match only went like 10 minutes, with the crowd either not being miced up properly or just not into the match at all. EC3 wins with a roll up off of the distraction from Tyrus **
Kurt Angle is shown backstage, after which Bobby Roode cut a solid promo on his open challenge later tonight. He all but says that James Storm is going to return tonight, which is fine since it at least gives people a reason to stick around.
Kurt Angle comes out next and cuts a pretty good promo about his farewell tour and how he’s going to face Drew Galloway as part of his farewell tour next week. This was an alright segment but it was weirdly placed, two fairly long talking segments on your debut show isn’t the best idea in my opinion. You want to have as much action as possible to hook people on the product instead of a lot of boring talking segments. Things got a lot worse when Jessie Godderz and Eli Drake came out, although Jessie mugging for the camera while Eli talked was great, and what could’ve been an alright short segment became a super boring overly long talking segment that ended with a shitty brawl.
Jeremy Borash is backstage talking to Jeff Hardy about Matt’s condition and he cut a great 2 minute long promo. That’s the kind of thing this show needs if they are adamant on having talking segments.
Eric Young vs. Matt Hardy (World Title Series Semi Final)
Eric Young is working a deranged mad man gimmick, this guy has so much talent and makes every gimmick he’s had so far work but like a lot of TNA guys from his generation he only gets pushed so far for some reason. These two had a really fun match, Matt Hardy is a very underrated babyface wrestler and his selling of the effects of the earlier beat down was awesome. Hardy took the single safest piledriver to the outside I’ve ever seen, but comes back for the win. Fun stuff. Matt Hardy wins with a Twist of Fate ** ¾
Eric Young is shown backstage super pissed about his loss, that’s a good a quick way to get a character over that I appreciate.
Jeff Hardy and EC3 talk about the finals of the World Title Series. This wasn’t either man’s best work but it was short so it’s not worth complaining about.
Bobby Roode© vs. Bram (King of the Mountain Championship Open Challenge)
It was a bit of a let-down to see Bram come out an answer this challenge. Bram cut a bad promo before the match saying that “2006” was his year, and the crowd didn’t let him forget his mistake. This was a really good match, if a little short. There’s not a lot to say here, just a solid match. Bobby Roode wins with a Roode Bomb ***
Post-match Eric Young comes out and double teams Roode with the help of Bram. James Storm makes his “return” to help Roode. He cuts a promo about why he left 6 months ago and why he’s back now, Storm is a great promo and I loved this but it highlighted a major problem with TNA taping so many episodes recently considering Storm was never off TV. I am excited to see Beer Money reunited though since they had a lot of great matches and TNA needs more tag teams. Plus both men have grown a hell of a lot in their singles run so this second run should in theory should be better.
Backstage The Beautiful People talk about their upcoming match with The Dollhouse, Angelina obviously can’t compete since she’s pregnant so they have got a replacement. Madison Rayne said maybe three sentences in this segment and was easily the highlight.
Beer Money cut an awesome promo on Bram and EY and challenge them to a match at the payperview this Friday. These guys have been back together for like 5 minutes and I am already all in on them again.
The Dollhouse vs. The Beautiful People (Velvet Sky and Angelina Love) & Gail Kim
Gail is a great replacement for Angelina, I don’t know anything about The Dollhouse or their feud with The Beautiful People so I had no idea what to expect coming into this. What we got was a short little match with some great stuff, mostly featuring Jade and Gail Kim, and then a lot of bad stuff featuring everyone else. Gail Kim pins Jade with a body scissors ** ½
Post-match Awesome Kong came out and teased going after The Dollhouse but instead went after The Beautiful People. Considering how long they spent in this show setting up the World Title Series it’s surprising they didn’t spend any time at all explaining the significance of Kong joining up with The Dollhouse. Without knowing anything it just felt really flat to me.
Mike Bennett made his debut next as The Miracle alongside Maria. I’ve always thought Bennett was a future star and Maria has grown into a really great valet, but most of their more recent work with The Kingdom has been pretty bad. Bennett cut a very good promo here, although I am not sure about this gimmick.
We get a backstage segment setting up a triple threat tag match for the payperview featuring The Wolves, Galloway and Angle, and Drake and Godderz.
Matt Hardy vs. EC3 (World Title Series Final)
Jeff and Tyrus decide to leave ringside so we get a straight up singles. These guys just kept hitting each other with finishers and the crowd just looked bored, with a smattering of chants here and there. The crowd seemed to pop for the finish but then almost immediately stopped caring. EC3 wins the title with a top rope One Percenter *
As the debut show on a new network this was bad, as an average episode of Impact this was just alright. The show is just boring, even with the two big angles of Beer Money returning and Mike Bennett debuting or even the crowning of a new champion just felt inconsequential once they were over. EC3 winning back the title makes the last few months of TV even more pointless than they were originally but there’s no one else on the roster that is a bigger star than him right now. Bennett might be the next big challenger for EC3, or even Jeff Hardy, but after that I don’t have any idea what they are going to do.