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Heavy Impact (8/5/15): See You Down the Road

Hi! Marie here, guiding you through this week’s Impact Wrestling.

This week’s show is a special one. It’s No Surrender, originally a TNA pay-per-view event, now a TV special.  First up is the anticipated fight between the tough Mr. Anderson and the chaotic Bram.

Mr. Anderson vs Bram

The match is primarily a brawl, and jabs, elbows, kicks, and slams are the order of the day. There is no finesse in Bram or Ken Anderson’s movements, only feats of brutality. Pope notes that because he is younger, Bram has the cardiovascular advantage. I would reiterate that that might be so, but Mr. Anderson has experience on his side, as the old fighter who had seen too much battle. While Mr. Anderson got himself a pin and a win, it’s clear that today’s battle was won by Bram, with an after-match beat down to Anderson. Yes, this feud is just beginning, and I’m excited to see these warriors’ next clash.

Won the match, but not the battle
James Storm and Khoya Mahabali Shera

Following last week’s defeat, James Storm is livid. He says that Khoya cost him that match and he’ll damn make sure he is going to pay. He calls Khoya up on the ring and proceeds to verbally and physically slap him around, saying that he had got him out of his crap country and he is absolutely nothing without him. It’s so racist that it’s so wonderful (in a twisted kind of way, of course). Here is a white man literally slapping his Indian servant around the ring, all for an honest mistake. And the crowd knows it too, with the loudest boo in the entire show.

Finally, Khoya snaps!  He bellows (with such fury and intensity that you know may pinaghuhugutan), “I Mahabali Shera, not Khoya, and I from India and proud of who I am, my people and heritage. And YOU, not touch me again, no slap me AGAIN!” So okay, I’m cringing on the bad grammar because it’s such a stereotype, but honestly I wasn’t laughing when Shera was saying that in the ring. It was pretty effective then, as an emphasis that Shera really is from India (and not say, an American-born Indian). Why is it important? Because it taps into the psyche of Asian overseas workers and immigrants and weaves their frustrations into a freakin’ pro wrestling storyline. Because if pro wrestling is a reflection of the struggles of its audience, then a storyline about the struggles (and I hope, the eventual triumph) of the marginalized Asian workers against the racism they encounter is awesomely brilliant. And because we might finally see get an Indian babyface (one that is not reduced into a cheap laugh), something we haven’t seen in very long time (I’m not really sure, but I think never?).

You NO slap me AGAIN! #hugot 
Gail Kim and the Dollhouse (Taryn Tarrell, Marti Bell, and Jade) in a Handicap Match

While this is the weakest of all the matches in tonight’s card, it’s actually not bad. Marti Bell and Jade did most of the work (with Taryn tagging in only for pin attempts), and that is great, since that means we seldom get to hear Taryn’s shrieks. Taryn ditches the match in the last quarter of the match, when she notices that Gail Kim is winning against all odds. It’s funny to note that once Taryn was out, the Dollhouse were, for a few seconds, were capably handling Gail by their own jobber selves. But in the end Kim hits Eat Defeat, and gets the win.

With great moves like this, the Dollhouse don't really need Taryn
Drew Galloway vs Eli Drake

Hey, first mention of MVP and the Beat Down Clan in a long while by Drew Galloway. I wonder now if they are going to revive the BDC in some way or another. I’m not opposed to the idea. With the impending Revolution explosion, there are now no stables left in TNA.  Not only that—with the death of the Dirty Heels, all we have now are the Wolves and the Hardy Boyz (and that last one is still uncertain, considering we don’t know when Jeff Hardy will be back to active roster).

Wow, Eli Drake sure is drawing the X Pac heat, even from the commentators. Good for him. The way I see it, any heat is good, X Pac heat or not, as it’s still some form of interaction with the audience (what would be terrible is if there’s no reaction at all from the crowd). Drew Galloway is his intense self and dominated most of the match. While I like Drew Galloway as a wrestler, the only problem I have is that his character is too intense and serious—in short, not fun at all. But I guess the bookers (who are surprisingly brilliant in today’s show) realize that too. Drew, distracted by the referee, who was bugging him with count warnings, was successfully rolled up by Eli Drake (with some help via one hand on the rope and the other on Drew’s tights). In the end, the loss is a subtle way of pointing out Drew Galloway will keep on losing his matches if he does not get a grip on his emotions. (Oh my God, did I just write about TNA booking being subtle? Amazing!)

Selective blindness by head referee Earl Hebner
Austin Aries vs Rockstar Spud in a Career versus Name Match

The match I’ve been waiting for tonight—Austin Aries’s last TNA match. While the in-ring story is unsurprising (Aries is the arrogant bastard who underestimates his less experienced opponent, Spud is, as usual, the underdog who “rockies up” (to use Pope’s term) at the last few minutes of the match), the quick and agile movesets from both Aries and Spud definitely makes up for the lack of story depth. The finale was an awesome twist neckbreaker from the top rope. A pin by Spud, and he gets the win. That means a teary (seriously, I watched this match twice and got legit teary eyed both times) goodbye to the Greatest Man That Ever Lived.

Austin Aries passing the torch, Rockstar Spud trying (I think legitimately) not to cry
Bobby Roode sees his tag team partner for the last time and asks where do he and Aries go from here. A calm Austin Aries answered that they will just keep on doing what they do, and that “it’s not goodbye, it’s see you down the road.” Well then, good luck, and see you down the road, Austin Aries.

James Storm vs Mahabali Shera

James Storm demanded for this impromptu match. It’s a short but brutal one. Most of it has James Storm attacking Shera, ending with a cow bell hit on Shera’s head, earning the now-unconscious Shera the win via DQ. More of James Storm and Mahabali Shera (and most likely, the rest of The Revolution) in the next few weeks.

Bully Ray Attacked!

We see Bully Ray unconscious on the floor. Cut to a worried Dixie Carter, who just received the news on her phone. Jeff Jarrett conveniently shows up on her doorstep, probably just passing by on his way to get some milk or something. Definitely nothing suspicious. He says he heard about the news regarding Bully Ray, which really sucks. But hey, since they are good old friends, he’d like to help Dixie in some way or another. So why not make him the guy in charge of Impact Wrestling, oh, for just one week or so? Out of the goodness of his heart, he clarifies. As befitting the female stereotype, poor helpless Dixie nods in reply. To which I say, dum, dum, dummmm....

Dixie is not impressed with Jeff's index finger 
Matt Hardy vs Ethan Carter III in a Full Metal Mayhem Match for the TNA Heavyweight Championship

On to a very exciting main event. We have the title hanging on the rafters on top of the ring. As per Bully Ray’s mandate last week, both Jeff Hardy and Tyrus grudgingly escort their respective buddies only up to the top of the ramp.

It was an even match. Both EC3 and Hardy dished out punishment to each other one after another, including low blows (Matt’s low blow is a creative one, which involved a ladder).  While Matt did most of the most hardcore stunts (a flying legdrop from the apron, through the table at the outside, on to EC3 (!), which garnered the biggest pop of the match), EC3 was shown as the craftier one, with a strategy that involved focusing on Matt Hardy’s knee for most of the match. Sneaky strategy eventually trumps over brash impudence, when both competitor were, in the last minute of the match, hanging on the ladder and reaching for the belt. EC3 kicks Matt Hardy on the targeted knee, and Hardy folded up almost immediately, crashing to the ground. EC3 grabs the title and cleanly retains the championship!

A grab for the title
After weeks of middling to blatantly terrible episodes, this week’s Impact Wrestling is so good that it has somewhat restored my faith in TNA. See, if they put their minds and hearts to it, they CAN make a good show, with compelling booking, and solid matches. What they need to do really is to be consistent, to aim that every Impact Wrestling episode is a damn good one. All the matches in the card were pretty good, and I’m divided between Austin Aries’s last match (sob) and the main event for the best match of the night.

The best promo is definitely the one when Mahabali Shera finally had enough of James Storm. The anger was so palpable that you know Shera is drawing from something that had probably happened to him or someone close to him in real life. Oh, and we finally get to see the opening refrains of the now infamous GFW invasion storyline. Weeks before, I thought that this storyline will be the one to “save” Impact Wrestling. But with all the different but equally compelling storylines around it, maybe TNA will, after all, be able to save itself, without Jeff Jarrett, GFW, or any outsider’s help.

Did you see this week's Impact Wrestling? What did you think of the episode? What do you think about the all brawl that is the Full Metal Mayhem EC3 versus Matt Hardy main event? How did you feel about Austin Aries leaving TNA once and for all? Let us know in the comments!


Marie Ricana (@cris_ricana) is an IT specialist and a network/system administrator. While an engineer by profession, she dreams of becoming the next Roland Barthes or The Masked Man. One of these days, she’ll publish the most insightful book on pro wrestling in the Philippines. But for now, she is mostly writing reviews of TNA Impact Wrestling for Smark Henry.

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