By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Jeff Hardy def. Shadow Willow
It was obvious from the get-go that the lead Willow was Matt Hardy because, well, who the hell else would it be? I'm glad they got the reveal over with on this show and didn't drag it out at the risk of making Jeff look stupid for not knowing who it was (and insulting our intelligence as viewers). Matt's revamped appearance is badass and I love how he's sticking with this demented persona we've seen from him in recent weeks. Oh, and the match was kept extremely brief as it should have been with Hardy squashing Shadow Willow in the matter of a minute.
Sienna def. Velvet Sky to End Sky's Career
Sky has never been the strongest in-ring wrestler and Sienna is still a work in progress, so needless to say, this was a pretty abysmal match. Thankfully, it was on the short side and Sienna went over in dominant fashion. Sky has been "fired" from TNA before, so it's always possible she resurfaces down the road, but with her contract legitimately expiring, I don't expect her to return any time soon, especially if she wants to get her foot in the door at WWE.
Mike Bennett def. Earl Hebner
I'm glad Bennett's promos have become a weekly fixture on the program. He has quickly grown into one of the company's most talented talkers and this was another excellent promo from him. He did a very effective job of recapping his recent rivalry with Ethan Carter III and what lies ahead for the former world champ without resorting to using the same material he's discussed in the past. When I heard this match took place at the tapings, I rolled my eyes, but it was actually executed better than I thought it would be with Bennett trying to prove his superiority over a "commoner" such as Hebner. It should be noted EC3 did something similar early on in his TNA run a few years back. I could have done without Hebner ripping his shirt off, though.
Ethan Carter III def. Tyrus in a Last Man Standing Match
I'm slightly disappointed this was never a full-fledged program at any point. I know EC3 has been busy with Matt Hardy and Bennett since turning babyface, but these two have history dating back to late 2014, so a feud between them was only inevitable, but apparently not. It's also a shame Tyrus hasn't been better protected during his TNA run because he wasn't a legitimate threat to EC3 here, but they contested a great Last Man Standing match regardless and he looked credible in defeat. Given this was a gimmick match, this really should have been advertised in advance and not going into a commercial break.
Eddie Edwards and DJ Z def. The Helms Dynasty
I like the Helms Dynasty name for Trevor Lee and Andrew Everett and the group on the whole. Here's hoping Gregory Helms doesn't serve as a distraction as their manager and instead adds to the act. It's refreshing to have a semblance of a real rivalry over the X-Division Championship for a change and this was a fun match, but it's going to take more than matches every few weeks featuring these four men to get something going in the division.
Eli Drake Hosted 'Fact of Life' with King of the Mountain Champion Bram
I've praised the promo abilities of Drake's before and he continues to entertain me. He reminds me quite a bit of Chris Jericho in the way he insults the audience, but instead of calling them "stupid idiots," he refers to them as "dummies." It's funny as long as he doesn't rely on the line too often. I always enjoyed Mr. Anderson, but Drake is a much less annoying host of a talk show than he would have been had he not been released. The back-and-forth he had with Bram on the mic was solid and nicely established that Drake can take the title whenever he wishes thanks to the Feast or Fired briefcase (which is still a poor man's Money in the Bank).
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Drew Galloway def. Lashley by Disqualification in a Lumberjack Match
This match had been so well hyped over the last few weeks and especially over the course of the evening that the added Lumberjack match stipulation made me groan because it guaranteed interference. That ultimately ended up being the case, but I assume it was done to keep the feud alive and instead blow off the feud at Slammiversary, which I'm all in favor of. I didn't understand why the focus was on everyone else but Galloway and Lashley after the bell rang, but it came full circle and several other feuds that are set to culminate at Slammiversary were furthered as well.
The on-air product has been strong on the whole since the start of the year, but this was one of the more all-around enjoyable editions of Impact Wrestling in a while. The non-finish to a heavily hyped main event title match was a letdown, but I understand it was done to build toward Slammiversary. Speaking of which, the pay-per-view feels special for the first time in years given the current card and I surely hope they make the most of the opportunity by trying to convince viewers who have given up on them that the storylines have improved immensely.
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