By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Lashley def. Mahabli Shera to Advance to the World Title Series Semifinals
I was skeptical regarding how good this match would be considering neither Lashley nor Shera are the strongest workers. Granted, Lashley has come a long way since his return to TNA, but I wasn't sure whether he could carry the green Shera to a passable match. It wasn't an instant classic by any means, but at least it wasn't a total trainwreck. Granted, it had its fair share of sloppy spots, but it could have been far worse. I feared Shera might advance to the semifinals (or worse yet, win the title), so I was glad to see Lashley score the win here.
Eric Young def. X-Division Champion Tigre Uno to Advance to the World Title Series Semifinals (Non-title)
Well, this was a weird match. First off, I'm glad Uno made it as far as he did in the series, but this lopsided loss to Young didn't do him any favors. I wasn't expecting him to win, of course, but he barely scored any offense against Young before he lost. I thought he'd have at least one hot comeback, but nothing. Young hit his finisher and that was it. I was fine with result, but the match itself could have been better.
Matt Hardy def. Jessie Godderz to Advance to the World Title Series Semifinals
Was there a reason why Godderz got to this point in the series? It made the ending outcome of this match extremely predictable, despite it being a relatively solid match. I don't know how Awesome Kong would have fit into the equation had she advanced over Godderz, but I would have had Robbie E get this far instead. I see more potential in him as a singles star if he can just get rid of his outdated gimmick. Anyway, I was surprised this match went as long as they did, but it made Godderz look credible in defeat for whatever that's worth.
Ethan Carter III def. World Tag Team Champion Davey Richards to Advance to the World Title Series Semifinals
This was far and away the best of the four quarterfinal matches on this show. It was the perfect combination of excellent action and stellar storytelling. Richards has really come into his own as a singles competitor and as I've said before, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing him fly solo down the line. He nearly had the match won on countless occasions down the stretch and it made for a fantastic final few minutes. EC3 was the easy pick to win, but Richards had a phenomenal showing here.
It's been confirmed that both the semifinals and the finals of the World Title Series will culminate on TNA's debut on Pop TV on January 5th. In the meantime, it appears they'll be airing random matches they have sitting in the can, which will likely be more meaningless than the first half of the World Title Series. This episode in particular was nothing special, but the main event is well worth a watch.
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