By Jeremy Peeples, WrestlingObserver.com
Last week, Jeff Jarrett was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. It was one of his greatest promos ever, and would’ve been a nice sendoff to TNA if need be. Eric Young beat Chris Melendez quickly, while Brooke defended her title against Marti. Jeff Hardy returned and helped Matt grab weapons before setting up tonight’s Full Metal Mayhem title match between Matt and EC3. Mickie James also wrestled possibly her final match in TNA with Magnus and won with the jumping DDT. Tonight, Matt Hardy faces EC3 for the title, Drew battles Eli Drake, Spud faces Aries in a “Rockstar vs. Career” match, Bram battles Mr. Anderson, and Gial faces the Dollhouse.
The show starts off with a quick tribute video to Roddy Piper. They did an awesome one for Dusty, but this was too short to really mean much. A hype video sets up tonight’s card and Bram walks down the aisle to start the event. Bram is shown beating Anderson down before they brawl in the aisle.
Ken Anderson vs. Bram
Josh talks about this being a match between “two rivals” which is generally a good reason for a match to occur. They brawl for a bit on the floor before coming back in and Anderson sends him to the floor with a clothesline over the top. Josh begs for #nosurrender to trend while using more WWE Speak about what the story of the match is. Pope calls Bram the reincarnation of Brody, and he smashes Ken’s face on the apron and clubs his neck. Bram hits a back elbow while Pope talks about a knockout being like being hit by a tornado to oddly quote Matt Hardy’s WWE theme. Ken gets a handful of jabs and gets 2.
Ken goes up top for the Kenton, but eats a punch – hopefully Bram didn’t hurt his contract-signing hand. Bram doing superplexes is apparently another day in the park – I can’t imagine him being welcomed at many parks with behavior like that. Ken rushes out of the corner and eats a spinning heel kick, which looked quite good. That’s a new move from Bram, and it looked great. Bram gets a series of shortarm clotheslines, but refuses to release the arm before another clothesline gets a 2 count. Bram grabs the mic to hit Ken, but he eats a small package for the loss. Anderson wins, but eats a mic shot and Bram does his intro – so this feud is basically right where it was a week ago. Josh and Pope talk about this feud has clearly started, which would make sense if this was before the first match. They talk about the Rockstar Spud vs. Austin Aries match and Eli Drake vs. Drew Galloway.
JB is backstage with Matt Hardy to do a wacky early ’90s Mean Gene promo. Matt talks about he and Jeff defied the odds in wrestling, and boy did they ever. You’ve got two guys who were undersized, largely self-taught, but hard workers. They wound up, like Foley, working from the jobber role to being main eventers to some degree nationally. In a cute bit, Matt gives a shoutout to Pat Patterson by saying the crowd will be going banana. This was a super-fun little promo.
They plug the TNA Youtube channel shows while EC3 says “why should I care?” in his clip – which is pretty valid. James Storm comes out looking more pissed off than usual, and his blue jeans and red shirt mesh nicely with the red and blue background. He rants about Khoya failing him and wants him out here next. Storm slaps him around and insults his homeland, resulting in him eating a Sky High. Khoya renounces Storm’s name and goes back to his given name and says he’s proud of his people and tells Storm to never touch him again. Taryn narrates a recap video of her destroying Gail leading to a “Playtime is Over” video hyping up Gail. The Dollhouse walks backstage and after a break, Storm tells Khoya to put his boots on to dance with the devil.
Gail Kim vs. The Dollhouse
The Dollhouse comes out followed by Gail getting a new slightly more epic intro. Gail rolls through Marti’s shots before kicking her down. Gail gets 2 off a schoolgirl cradle. Marti gets some damage and Taryn screams to come in and gets 2. Taryn has some fantastic disgusted faces on the apron – it’s glorious. Josh, who talks about Twitter constantly, buries Pope for talking about Twitter during this match. During an upskirt shot of Jade, he says he won’t be degrading the women tonight like Pope is, and then Gail gets kicked in the ass. Gail hits forearms and kicks against the Dolls and gets 2 off a crossbody onto Marti. Gail gets Eat Defeat while Josh talks about how unfair this match was to Gail, so Josh was a face for this match.
We get a very yellow video package for Drew Galloway talking about his #StandUp movement and his Rising group. Eli Drake was his brother and they fought side by side, but it was just a way for Drake to make himself famous. Drew says that he stands up tonight to see Eli Drake fall – Drew in soundbyte form is a damn fine promo.
Drew Galloway vs. Eli Drake
Drew comes down and Drake is out in a hand-made #SitDown shirt while Josh says that Eli is easily hateable instantly and buries him for carrying a gallon of water with him at all times. What does Josh have against staying properly hydrated? Drake and Drew fight on the floor while fans hold Drake for a chop. Drew gets a flying lariat off the steps. Eli has ED on his gear – does he #standup for erectile dysfunction? The bell rings to signal either the match ending or beginning – neither announcers knows or cares. They’re now fighting in the ring, so I guess the match has officially begun. Eli posts Drew’s shoulder, but he eats some lariats and a big suplex. Drew hits a German suplex into the buckle, which Brock needs to steal. Eli gets an eye poke and an O’Connor roll before both grabbing the rope and using the trunks. Josh buries this as a hollow victory and then immediately goes on to talk about Aries-Spud having more to it than meets the eye.
We get a recap video of it literally being one conversation about Aries wanting the name “Rockstar” – does he not remember Austin Starr? Bully Ray is in his formal sportscoat in his “office” meeting with Brian Hebner telling him that he could one day be TNA’s senior referee before Roode comes in. Roode says that Aries losing would end his team and that takes money out of his pocket and he vows to ensure an Aries victory. Okay then. Bully appears to have just given up all hope in just this one vignette.
“The Former Austin Starr” Austin Aries vs. Rockstar Spud in a Career vs. Rockstar Match
Aries comes out while Josh talks about him being a World champion while Josh talks about Spud losing his underdog nickname. Pope says that there’s no such thing as overachieving in wrestling, here on a show with Matt Hardy main eventing in a World Title match. Spud and his horrible spray tan get taken down early for a Last Chancery, but he gets to the ropes quickly. Josh literally just compared Rockstar Spud vs. Austin Aries to a Flair vs. Rogers match for the rights to the Nature Boy name. It’s perhaps a step above Booker vs. Big T for the rights to the letter T. Aries gets the outside-in tope con hilo, but Spud fires back with punches, so Aries responds with a weak-looking STO to the back and a pendulum elbow.
Pope talks about a period in TNA history where the Rockstar name would’ve fit Aries well – that’s literally the first time they’ve so much as implied the Austin Starr moniker as being important in this match. Missile dropkick by Aries is buried by Josh because Pope called him Rockstar in the process. Spud goes for the multiple elbows, but Aries figures things out. The key to a Spud match seems to be to just not kneel in his general direction and you’re fine. Aries avoids The Underdog and gets a kneebreaker>back suplex facebuster for 2. The Last Chancery is locked on while Pope talks about Rocky. Given that I had a cat named Rocky and currently have one named Spud, I’m all for that. Corner dropkick by Aries. A small package gets 2 for Spud, but he eats two rolling elbows and then a third. Corner dropkick leads to Aries looking pissed off, hitting the move, and getting a 2.9. Pope yells about this in a very annoying way.
Josh talks about how Spud, two time former X Title holder has never beaten the greats like EC3 and Angle. Spud fires up and gets some punches, but a shining wizard is met with a lariat. Aries eats a bolo punch that sends him to the floor to eat a dive. Spud gets a frog splash for 2.5 and goes for the Underdog, but gets sent to the apron. Aries does a top rope ear box, which I love, but it’s countered into a Super Underdog/Cutter for the win! This was Spud’s best match since the EC3 match and well worth watching. A second after the count is tolled, Josh talks about how this is now sinking in for Aries. Aries has his TNA career ended, but he hands him his bow tie and Josh thanks Aries for what he’s done in TNA.
Aries talks to Roode backstage and Aries says he hates leaving this locker room, but he’ll be okay. It’s not goodbye – just see you down the road. This was a pretty underwhelming end for Aries in TNA – it’s a shame too since TNA really did save his career in 2011. He was set to retire due to Tough Enough – not because he was in it, but because he was rejected by it. TNA brought him back for Destination X and he had a career-best set of matches over the next year and a half and even won the World Title. Now, Storm’s out to face Sheera.
James Storm vs. Sheera
Sheera has GenericIndianMusic.wav as his theme and eats a ton of overhand chops from Storm. They’re not quite on par with Wahoo’s on the NWAClassics site, but they’re good. Storm slaps him a bunch, but eats a series of clotheslines. Corner shoulder charges buckle Storm, so he grabs the cowbell and smacks him in the end. I enjoyed this a lot – it was really simple, but it told the story that was needed. Storm creepily stalks him and spits on him. Backstage, Bully has been taken out and since Roode promised vengeance if Aries lost, it would make sense for it to be him – or is he just an off the chain red herring?
Dixie is dressed like an orange talking on the phone before Jeff comes in and asks to help Dixie out. Dixie doesn’t know how long Bully will be out – he asks to run the show for one week. About a month of storylines has seemingly gone on in about ten minutes. Josh and Pope talk about “the authority figure” being taken out. What other kind of narrative fiction does that? Where else do you hear characters being referred to just by the name of their character type? Tyrus and EC3 talk smack to Matt Hardy backstage about their main event tonight. Matt comes down and Jeff leaves him as per Bully’s order about no one being at ringside. Amusingly, an ROH plug is put over Matt Hardy’s intro, which seems fitting since Corino still puts Hardy over huge on commentary. EC3 comes down in slick blue, white, and black gear.
EC3 vs. Matt Hardy – World Title TLC Match
JB, easily the best modern-day ring announcer out there, gives this a big match intro. Boy should Matt just work in a shirt now. He did it as V1 – so there’s no good reason to avoid doing it now when it would help his look. Matt gets a corner bulldog, but EC3 elbows his way out of a Side Effect. EC3 hits him with a chair to the back before sitting in it to talk smack – that’s great, and new. Matt’s head gets bonked into the chair, but he fires back with a Side Effect. Matt hiptosses EC3 into the ladder in the corner. Matt gets a suplex while they talk about Matt possibly going into BFG in North Carolina as a World Champion. Matt climbs the ladder, but EC3 clips the knee.
We come back from a break with EC3 stomping away at Matt under the steps. He’s apparently been using a kendo stick during the break. EC3 gets taken down and Matt gives him the old 7/10 split to the crotch in the corner with the ladder. Matt gets a swinging neckbreaker and then the Twist of Fate. Matt goes for a moonsault through a table, but EC3 counters with a powerbomb through it. EC3 climbs up, but gets powerbombed down. Matt sets up the steps as a wall on the floor before making a ladder bridge. Matt sets up some sort of move onto the ladder, but eats a low blow and a shove onto the bridge. Matt gets a Side Effect on the apron to counter an EC3 shot on the apron. Matt gets a legdrop off the top to the floor through the table, which is quite terrifying given Matt’s age, injuries, and personal problems in the past. The medical staff checks on EC3 while a sliced-up Matt climbs the ladder. EC3 hits a chairshot to the knee, but we get a race up to the top anyway. EC3 kicks his knee out from under him to send Matt to the mat and retain his title.
EC3 and Matt had a very good match here. While Lucha Underground and Ultima Lucha had tonight’s biggest showcase, TNA still delivered an excellent show overall that just flew by. Both Matt Hardy vs. EC3 and Aries vs. Rockstar Spud were outstanding matches deserving of your time, and while TNA is clearly in rough shape, tonight was a reminder of how good they can be even with less than ideal circumstances.
To see every screenshot taken for the show, just click here.