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Heavy Impact (09/16/15): The Last Goodbye




Hi everyone, Marie here to dish out the latest from Impact Wrestling!

If you haven’t heard already, the news is that Destination America is pulling out Impact Wrestling by the end of this year. While Dixie Carter is her usual optimistic self, the possibility is very high that the next three months is the last you’ll ever see of TNA on TV, and perhaps anywhere else, as most of TNA’s biggest stars will most likely be moving along after the TV deal ends.

I am, of course, quite unhappy about this. Yes, the company had its problems, and had been the butt of smarks’ jokes everywhere. But while many of their storylines may be weak, most of the in-ring action is consistently good.  TNA was and still is the stomping ground of some of the best wrestlers in the industry. They take in those that the WWE deemed not worthy (e.g. EC3, Drew Galloway) or past their prime (e.g. Mr. Anderson, Team 3D) and made them shine like the gems that they really are. But the best ones are those that cut their teeth in the Impact Zone, the TNA Originals. Almost all had moved on to better pastures, but not any one of them can deny that TNA was the one where they had their first big break.

A lot of people might argue that the death of TNA is not going to be a big deal, considering there are other non-WWE alternatives such as ROH, NJPW, or even AAA and CMLL. But not all pro wrestling fans are avid pro wrestling fans, and not all care for puroresu, indie, or the lucha libre style of wrestling. TNA had been for them, the nearest alternative to WWE. But much of the loss are on the wrestlers’ side of the equation. Not all pro wrestlers can afford the travel cost of going from venue to venue across the US. For many of those in the roster, TNA was their stable means of income. The loss of the company might mean an uncertain future for these wrestler and their families.

With this in my mind, and because I was on vacation last week, I’m going to review important storylines (hey, TNA is still alive so I don’t know about you, but I’m still going to darn keep watching and reviewing the show until the very end) for the last two episodes of Impact Wrestling.

Last week’s show was basically a bridge, an episode to whet up the appetite for this week’s episode, which is the culmination of the GFW invasion storyline in a Lethal Lockdown match. The rumor was that Jeff Jarrett’s minority stake in the company allowing to be bought out by Dixie’s group was part of the deal for letting them promote GFW on Impact Wrestling, which includes the said invasion angle. That explains the generous leeway given to Jeff Jarrett and the GFW roster for the duration of the invasion storyline. With the Carters finally having all the shares, they will have full control of TNA, which they  sorely need that as they have to be 100% focused on finding a way to keep the company alive beyond the next three months.



But before we go fully into that arc, I’ll start things off with Dixie’s kayfabe nephew, Ethan Carter III.

EC3 and his new personal assistant, Jeff Hardy

So with Matt Hardy losing the championship match two weeks ago, his brother, Jeff, is now EC3’s new personal assistant. Jeff Hardy is doing his silent rage stance while EC3 and Tyrus relish putting him in uncomfortable (and to us, funny) situations such as making him raise a placard with EC3’s face on it, and him wearing a suit stamped with EC3’s face all over. But most of Hardy’s anguish was on EC3 forcing him to help him out against his opponents, culminating with him being forced to punch the lights out of Rockstar Spud.


Not a very engaging storyline, I admit. But it is a useful one, such that TNA will be able to keep using their more expensive wrestlers while they can – which brings me to the next rumours at hand, of the Hardys (more notably, Jeff) and more seriously, EC3, coming back to WWE.

For one, any potential return from these men are not going to happen any time within this year, as their TNA contracts still hold until the end of 2015. I believe that such returns will happen next year. Maybe Jeff Hardy will be one of the obligatory alumni who show up as a surprise entrant for the Royal Rumble. Or maybe we’ll see a three-way tag team match between the Hardy Boyz, Dudley Boyz, and the New Day in Wrestlemania 32. Either way, any Jeff or Matt Hardy return to the WWE would most likely be not as active wrestlers. As for TNA, I don’t think Jeff Hardy will be a big loss for them. They are most likely aiming to cut big expenses (in terms of big name wrestlers) now that the company is in a very precarious situation.

EC3—now that is a different matter altogether. EC3 is a huge asset to TNA. A lot of Impact Wrestling fans tune in to the show mostly to see him in action. It would be disastrous for TNA if EC3 leaves not just right now, but even after the year ends when his contract will be up. As for EC3, any move back to WWE should be dealt with a lot of serious consideration. Setting aside any personal feelings from his first unsuccessful stint as Derrick Bateman, the move would do wonders for his wrestling career ONLY if WWE can assure him that this time around he won’t languish in midcard hell. I envision him going directly to the main roster (no NXT route for this guy), cheekily challenging Seth Rollins for the big kahuna role. And speaking as a fan though, I would totally mark out for a champion vs champion between EC3 and Seth Rollins, which will only happen in WWE (Rollins coming to TNA? I don’t think so).

Odds and Ends

The Mahabali Shera/James Storm feud is going on nicely. We saw Josh Matthews interview Shera, where he tells his story as an overseas worker who migrated to the US to provide for his family back home. He was alone in a strange country until Manik befriended him and introduced him to James Storm and subsequently became a part of The Revolution. This week’s show has him in a match with Abyss. I am amused to see that the Shera dance had caught on with the TNA audience, especially the kids. Despite interference by James Storm, Shera gets the victory. With Abyss accidentally hitting James Storm, The Revolution will definitely turn on their leader in the next few weeks. I will even predict a career vs career match between James Storm and Mahabali Shera at Bound for Glory.


Sgt. Chris Melendez has a chance to get his leg back from the turncoat Eric Young in next week’s Impact Wrestling. I hope this time around, the sergeant will finally get to show that he is more than his patriotic gimmick, and that he really is a legit professional wrestler.



During the last three weeks, TNA had been collecting back the championship titles that were “borrowed” by GFW during the Invasion arc. First was the King of the Mountain championship, brought back to the fold by Bobby Roode, who I was half-expecting to be in the Team TNA vs Team GFW match, given the half-baked hint of a feud between him and Jeff Jarrett in last week’s show. Then The Wolves took back the TNA Tag Team Championship after just a week’s stay with Trevor Lee and Brian Myers. This week, the Knockout Division finally took out their own potential GFW threat in the guise of Lei’d Tapa, with an additional surprise result of Gail Kim getting her fifth Knockout Championship! I wish Lei’d Tapa and Awesome Kong had the chance for a longer feud but I do realize that this is now the time for GFW to go.



Team TNA versus Team GFW in a Lethal Lockdown

A captain versus captain between Drew Galloway and Chris Mordetzky was the main event in last week’s Impact Wrestling as a preview to this week’s Lethal Lockdown main event. It was a pretty solid match between the two heavyweights, spoiled by the traitor Eric Young, who went to side with GFW.

The Lethal Lockdown match was what I was expecting for a culmination match between TNA and GFW: brutal, exciting, and fantastic! On the side of GFW (in the order of appearance), we have Sonjay Dutt, Eric Young, Brian Myers, Chris Mortdetzky, and Jeff Jarrett (who I think can be forgiven for joining in the last TNA match of his career). On the side of TNA, we have Davey Richards, Drew Galloway, Bobby Lashley, Eddie Edwards, and surprise, surprise, Bram! (I think they listened two weeks ago when I complained about Team TNA being comprised of just babyfaces, hahaha.)   Everyone gets to shine in this match, but once the cage top went down, total bedlam ensued! Trash cans were this match’s favourite foreign object. One of the match’s highlight was The Wolves putting a trashcan on Jeff Jarrett and doing stereo dropkicks on him.  It ended with Galloway hitting a DDT on Myers (with a trashcan on his head). One, two three, and Team TNA wins!



There seems to be a sense of an ending with Team TNA’s cathartic win. More than ever, or most likely because I am aware of some of the behind-the-scene events, I sense that this time around, the profuse thanks they had given to their fans, the loyal employees and wrestlers, and their supporters, were truly genuine. This is a real season ender for Impact Wrestling. After this - they probably realize it already - is TNA’s mad scramble for survival. But for just this one magical night, when they are surrounded with loud applause all around from a very appreciative audience both in and outside the Impact Zone , that can probably imagine that a victory against a rival company will also herald a great and long future for the company. And as a fan, I truly hope all the best in the world for TNA.

Did you see this week's Impact Wrestling? What did you think of the episode? What do you think about Team TNA versus Team GFW? What do you think are the chances of TNA’s survival? What do you think Dixie and the TNA gang should do? Let us know in the comments!

Photos taken from ImpactWrestling.com

*****

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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