By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bobby Roode, TNA World Heavyweight Champion Lashley, Austin Aries and MVP Kicked Off the Show
This was your basic, formulaic segment with everyone making a claim for why they should be champion (or in Lashley's case, putting the title on the line). All that was missing was an authority figure making the match official for the main event. Speaking of such, who is the new authority figure now that Kurt Angle has stepped down? Anyway, with the exception of Lashley, everyone's mic work here was solid but nothing noteworthy. Lashley has been ruining any momentum he had going as a heel with his recent promos and putting his title on the line in a Fatal 4-Way made him look stupid. All babyface champions do it and it makes them look dumb more than it does courageous.
Knockouts Champion Taryn Terrell def. Gail Kim and Madison Rayne in a Triple Threat Match
From a storyline standpoint, it made zero sense for Kim and Rayne to be getting a title shot, but that aside, this was a great match from the ladies. The Knockouts title has been overshadowed in all the craziness with Awesome Kong and Havok, so I was glad to see it spotlighted here. The crowd was into everything the ladies did, but everything they chanted, was "Better than the Divas" really necessary? Yes, the Knockouts' matches are better than the Divas' more often than not, but it's not because of in-ring talent; it's because of the brief time they're allotted. Nevertheless, this was probably one of the best matches on the entire show and Terrell got a good win out of it.
Tommy Dreamer Called Out Eric Young
As much as I like Dreamer, I really don't see the point of bringing back into the storylines. He always plays his part well, but I have no desire seeing him compete as a regular going forward. Yes, Young attacking him put more heel heat on him, but I hope that's all this was intended to be: a one-off. Young is already feuding with Roode anyway, so I don't see the point of Dreamer feuding with him as well.
Bram Attacked Magnus
It looked like Bram was the one who was turning face after last week's exchange, but apparently not. Didn't we see this exact same story with James Storm and Gunner last year? Their talk in the bar actually convinced me they were on the same page, and in retrospect, maybe they should have waited until they got their tag team title match before Bram turned on him, but perhaps they have another plan in mind. It became obvious once Magnus left the way where this was headed, but Bram's attack on Magnus was still ruthless. I don't know if they've been teaming long enough for people to care about their split, but them emphasizing their back history made up for it. I really liked Magnus in the role of a babyface in 2013 and am glad that's the role he's going back to in this feud which could be good.
Jeff Hardy def. Abyss in a Monster's Ball Match
Hardy and Abyss have a lot of history in this type of match and they took each other to the limit here. I hate to see Hardy putting his body through so much at this stage of his career, but the crowd ate it all up. I'm usually not a fan of most of Abyss' matches, but he held his own and shined given it was a glorified hardcore brawl. These hardcore matches would stand out more if they weren't done every week, so I hope TNA tones it down a bit after Lockdown. The end of the bout was a bit of a mess with interference from... well, everyone, but they recovered nicely for a fun finish. I could have done without the thumbtacks as those tend to make me cringe, but they've become a staple (no pun intended) in Monster's Ball matches over the years so I wasn't surprised.
Rockstar Spud and Mandrews def. The BroMans
The BroMans were the perfect opponents for Spud and Mandrews because they can sell their asses off, they can take a loss, and they have some (and I stress some) credibility as former tag team champions. This was a nice little match that showcased the talents of both Spud and the debuting Mandrews. Mandrews' Shooting Star Press is impressive and it's crucial to start building up Spud as a serious competitor now that he has a future shot at the X-Division Championship. Ethan Carter III showed good aggression after the match and managed to hype a Handicap Steel Cage match for next week's show as well.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Lashley def. Bobby Roode, MVP and Austin Aries in a Fatal 4-Way Match
Although I don't agree with the way the match was set up, all four guys have issues with each other from a storyline standpoint, so that made the match more meaningful as opposed to random. The action was very entertaining and all four competitors were able to get their shining moment at one point or another. Aries sold Lashley's offense like a champ and it made him look even stronger in the process. It was strange seeing Roode, Aries and Lashley stand alongside together after the match they just contested against each other, and you'd think Lashley would join Team Angle to cement his babyface turn. I guess there's still time to do that next week and the way it was handled here was odd.
This was a very enjoyable show on the show, featuring two great championship matches that are alone worth going out of your way to see as well as a fun hardcore brawl between Hardy and Abyss. Everything else served a purpose and there was a lot of solid build for next week's Lockdown-themed show. It feels desperate of them to bring in Lockdown at such a random time and they could have used some more time building to it, but they made the most of it and I find myself looking forward to many of the announced matches.
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