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Heavy Impact (11/4/15): Your Foe Sounds Familiar

Hello! Michael Bueza here, taking a shot at reviewing TNA's flagship show, Impact Wrestling.

Full disclosure: This was the first TNA show I've watched in years!

Although I've been writing the results of Impact Wrestling and WWE TV shows every week (thanks, Internet), I haven't actually seen the show in its entirety. That's partly because it's not on cable TV here in the Philippines anymore.

And partly because TNA had been saddled in the past with poorly-written storylines and endings with little to no resolution.

Fortunately, TNA looks to turn things around with its World Title Series, which I'm already a big fan of. It features interesting match-ups, high-stakes bouts... and storyline continuity.

Bobby Roode versus Eric Young in a Group TNA Originals match was one example.

EY looks to send Roode to the ER.

Team Canada was on fire when I started tuning in to TNA. Seeing the evolution of Roode and Young into top superstars over the years and witnessing their bitter feud in 2015 were amazing. They resume that rivalry in this Group Play match.

It was all Roode early on, but the World-Class Maniac got the advantage minutes later. Trash-talking, crowd-hating EY then ate an enziguiri from the It Factor, causing Young to flop in a hilarious way, a callback to his comedic EY persona.

Yay!-Boo! punches, counter after counter... then Young pulls referee Earl Hebner into the crossfire. Roode slams the breaks, EY hits the piledriver, and he gets 3 points! All Group TNA Originals competitors now have 3 points each! (This also means James Storm, who is now on WWE NXT, will appear once again on TNA TV. And I could only assume he'd lose to EY in the next Group Play. #spoiler)

Brilliant move by Young, but I felt the matched lacked so-called shenanigans, given that EY claimed to have "gotten into Roode's head" earlier in the night. I also thought Roode would be chasing EY after what he did, but EY walked out unscathed post-match.

The Wolves: Feelin' crabby.

Meanwhile, who is the better Wolf? We still don't have the answer, as their Group Tag Team Specialists match ended in a time-limit draw, with both of them earning 1 point apiece.

A friendly competitive match right here, with the TNA World Tag Team Champions telegraphing one another, and even performing the same moves. Davey and Eddie went back and forth, but nobody was in full control until the buzzer sounded.

With one point each, both could only hope to win their matches next week Davey against Robbie E, and Eddie versus Matt Hardy) to advance to the Round of 16.

It was a nice touch that both headed to the ring together, and had contrasting ring gear (with Davey wearing black and Eddie wearing white). But is this match a preview for when they break up? If you ask me, though, let them be tag partners forever. Rarely does pro wrestling have an enduring tag team.

The Hardy Sideshow

Ah, Jeff Hardy... I Hardy missed ya. No, really.

His run in TNA this year was one rollercoaster ride, from that wicked yet needless fall off the steel cage in January, to winning the TNA Tag Team Titles with his brother Matt, to sustaining an injury yet again in a motocross stunt, to being in his brother's side for his World Title pursuit, to forcing to help EC3 as his personal assistant, to getting out of that predicament.

Falling off cages head-first. Never a good idea. Ever.

The pair of Jeff Hardy promos were not remarkable, but it served its purpose of reiterating that this World Title Series is important for Matt. We were reminded that Jeff is banned for the entire series, so it's a way to keep him on screen, while repushing the narrative that Matt would have to go through this tournament to reclaim the title he never lost.

It's sad, though, that Matt is somehow "taking the hit" and had to give up championships twice: first the tag titles after Jeff's motocross accident, then the World Title to avoid a ridiculous lawsuit when Jeff aided Matt in winning TNA's top prize at Bound for Glory.

Another brother-vs brother-match, anyone?

Group Play: All For Three!

** Madison Rayne vs. Brooke (I'll type in Tessmacher, just because her last name sounds cool) was a typical Knockouts match, but with that, I mean fast-paced, hard-hitting, and treated equally as men's matches. If there's one thing that keeps TNA afloat and interesting, it's their Knockouts Division.

Brooke's hand injury apparently came back to haunt her, allowing Madison Rayne to earn 3 points, tying with everybody else in Group Knockouts.

** As if Rockstar Spud had a chance against the brutal Bram in a Group UK match. He matched Bram's strength with speed and a flurry of quick offenses, but it was not enough, as Bram takes home 3 points. But hey, at least Mr. Bowtie-wearing Not-a-Potato tried.

Though that's not how you chop down a big guy, Spud.

** Woohoo! Our homeboy/Amboy Manik now has 6 points! It's matches like these that I missed: innovative moves and counters that are breathtaking, figuratively and literally. But I would have to agree with Pope D'Angelo on commentary: that all these cool spots to outwrestle the other might not be the best strategy in this World Title Series.

If Manik would advance to the Round of 16, he would have to step up his game and combine flips and power moves.

Nevertheless, a classic X Division match right here! A twistedly awesome backflip by Mandrews got countered with Manik's sick Detonation Kick for the win!

Meanwhile, damn that skateboard entrance! Why hadn't anybody thought of that before? But having Mandrews as an in-ring name cancels out the cool factor, dude!

And may I just say that I dig Manik's attire so much? And them yellow Nike kicks, too! #SGQ #PinoyPride But it's weird wrestling with a hoodie.

** Mahabali Shera vs. Kenny King was this episode's... for the lack of a better term, "downtime." Pretty basic match, saved by King's high-flying antics. Shera wins for 3 points after a Sky High.

But I gotta say: Weird-ass Shera Shuffle. I won't ever get what that means.

Other Notes:
  • "So people say there's a Revolution happening right now in women's wrestling, it's been happening for nearly a decade." - Madison Rayne, in a vignette. Word. And the WWE can't even get it right.

  • Crazy EY is crazy! Though I can't shake the idea that he's now mirroring Dean Ambrose's gimmick. Remember, he and his beard were once compared to Daniel Bryan, who was at the time also on the road to the World Title.

    But I like this version of EY. Very intense, pretty engaging and annoying on the mic, and need I mention crazzzzzzy again? (Oh wait, that's for another weird dude.)

  • Bobby and EY looking for each other backstage was funny and headscratching as heck. In the end, it was revealed that EY was just playing mind games with his former Team Canada cohort. No fistfight, just a face-off. After all that drama to build up the main event? Haha.

So, how do I grade Day 5 of the TNA World Title Series? It was action-packed, no doubt. Two highly-anticipated matches, three points all around, and Jeff Hardy's promos make this an A- episode of Impact Wrestling.

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