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Heavy Impact (10/14/15): Injunction Junction


Hi folks, Marie here to give to my thoughts on this week’s Impact Wrestling.

Despite convoluted pro wrestling storylines, there are clich├ęs that suit wrestling stories well. Among them: when the heel threatens to take legal action against the babyface and the company.

At this year’s WrestleMania, Seth Rollins became the WWE World Heavyweight Champion made history by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract in the middle of the main-event match between the number one contender Roman Reigns, and the former champion Brock Lesnar. The match became a Triple Threat match, where Rollins pinned Reigns for the win. The next night on Raw, Paul Heyman threatened the company with an injunction. The threat never came to pass, as Lesnar chose to invoke his rematch clause instead. But Lesnar snapped, wreaked havoc, and got himself suspended indefinitely. Four months later, Lesnar returned, to the delight of smarks everywhere.

This year at Bound for Glory, Matt Hardy became the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. It was supposed to be a match between the number one contender, Drew Galloway, and then-champion Ethan Carter III. Just four days before the pay-per-view, however, Dixie Carter unexpectedly entered Matt Hardy into the fray, making it a Triple Threat match, and made Jeff Hardy the special guest referee. During the match, Jeff Hardy hits EC3 with a steel chair and a Twist of Fate. Matt Hardy hits his own Twist of Fate on Drew Galloway and pins him successfully, getting Matt the victory. The next day, EC3 files an injunction against TNA, Dixie Carter Jeff Hardy, and Matt Hardy. The injunction prevents Matt Hardy from appearing on Impact Wrestling indefinitely, holding up TNA’s use of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for any match. In the end, Matt Hardy willingly relinquished the title: a move that was booed by smarks everywhere. 


What can we learn from these examples? Maybe the legal storylines in pro wrestling are getting too convoluted (unless you’re in Chikara). Heels can threaten legal action—even bring along lawyers into the ring—but fans don’t really expect them to settle the score in court. As wrestling fans, we’re used to the idea that legal actions are just plot devices that build up to the big match on pay-per-view.

What we didn’t like is that the way TNA dropped Matt Hardy’s championship is just too close to real-life logic than wrestling logic. To TNA’s point, maybe they thought that the fans would be pleased to see the hometown hero win, but they needed the title vacated for the World Title Series. That wrestling sites initially reported it like it was not kayfabe didn’t help things: smarks jumped on it immediately and dismissed it as another proof of #LOLTNA. Personally, I don’t think it was a terrible ending: however, I disagree with TNA’s decision to follow through completely with the legal drama. Wrestling companies need to be careful with embracing that idea fully, because wrestling fans still expect wrestling logic in wrestling shows.

World Title Series Updates

This week, we had the first round of preliminaries for the World Title Series:
  • Group Tag Team Specialists: Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Robbie E, and ex-champ Matt Hardy
  • Group TNA Originals: Abyss, Eric Young, Bobby Roode, and James Storm (in his last taped match for TNA)
  • Group Wildcard: Mahabali Shera, Crazzy Steve, Aiden O’Shea, and Kenny King (who’s bound for ROH)


Group Tag Team Specialists

The show started with Matt Hardy and Davey Richards on their first 15-minute preliminary match. It was a good, fast and intense match. Outside of their tag teams, Hardy and Richards are very versatile wrestlers. This match showcased that, having roughly equal amounts of power moves, submissions, and aerial maneuvers. Matt Hardy had more experience with singles matches, and that helped him pick up the victory. 


The same can be said for the Eddie Edwards-Robbie E match. Like his tag team partner, Edwards used the same arsenal that he uses in a tag team match. Robbie E, however, surprised everyone by showing alertness and ring awareness, which few people recognized during his stint with the BroMans. Robbie E picked up the victory here. Despite being the Tag Team Champions, the Wolves need to step up their singles game to earn them much-needed points.


Group Wildcard

I think Crazzy Steve is here more as filler to round up preliminaries. Other than that, I can’t think of a good reason why he’s in the tournament at all. He’s not funny, I’m not impressed with his wrestling, and he comes across as a nuisance in the ring.

Meanwhile, as much as I like Mahabali Shera during the destruction of The Revolution storyline, this tournament is showing how green he really is. He looked a little lost during his match with Steve: he cannot give a good match without the guidance of a capable oppoinent. His mic skills are also terrible: he may want to avoid being the token funny Indian (like how The Great Khali was presented in the WWE towards the end of his run). He desperately needs to brush up on his English skills, and perhaps develop character dimensions outside the comedy role.


After his match with Kenny King this week, I am warming up to Aiden O’Shea. Some critics are saying that the character is TNA’s version of Sheamus, but that isn’t entirely true. For one, O’Shea is billed as from Chicago, and is an American of Irish descent. He’s also not a proud Celtic warrior, but a lowlife scoundrel that enjoys beating the snot out of his opponent with his fists than fancy wrestling moves. He’s a lot like an Irish-American version of Kevin Owens, I think.

Which is exactly what happened to ROH-bound Kenny King. O’Shea dominated King for most of the match: the latter took a good lickin’ from the Chicago scoundrel. In the end, however, King manages to steal a surprise victory, but not without looking like he’d been put through the wringer.


Group TNA Originals

For me, Abyss’s win over Eric Young is the biggest upset of the night. Abyss almost never wins (as he seems to be TNA’s Kane right now), and EY was dominant for most of the match (even managing to pull off a low blow on Abyss). It just goes to show that EY’s still seeming like a victim of really bad karma. With EY’s next matches against James Storm and Bobby Roode, I can’t help but feel a little bit of pity for the crazy dude, but I do enjoy watching EY get his just desserts from the TNA roster.


I also watched the Beer Money “reunion” with a bittersweet feeling of enjoyment. The match is probably the last we’ll see of both Storm and Roode in a TNA ring for a long time. The action was fast and intense, and it was pretty obvious that they knew each other very well. Despite some heel tactics from Storm, Roode hit the Payoff for the win. 


All in all, this was a pretty solid Impact Wrestling show. Today’s matches varied: some passable ones (Shera vs. Steve), to awesome ones (like Roode vs. Storm). Like I said before, the World Title Series basically put everyone on one big storyline. If you’re looking for multiple storylines, you may want to stay away from Impact Wrestling right now. But if you’re looking for talented wrestlers putting on amazing wrestling matches, you may want to check out the World Title Series tournament.

Did you see this week's Impact Wrestling? What did you think of the episode? How do you feel about EC3’s injunction and Matt Hardy’s title drop? What do you think about the winners of this week’s preliminary matches? Which wrestlers in this week’s group will end up in the finals? 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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