By Jeremy Peeples, WrestlingObserver.com
Last week was an eventful one for TNA Wrestling. Jeff Jarrett returned on the live-to-tape edition of the show, Tigre Uno won the X Title, EC3 beat Lashley, The Dirty Heels tied up the tag title series via cheating, and Vader faced Bram. The company also had what could be its final PPV event ever in Slammiversary, which saw Jarrett win the newly-created King of the Mountain title. It’s the former Legends/Global/World Television Title and Josh wondered just what this meant. If history is any indicator, it will be quickly abandoned and/or won by Devon. The PPV wasn’t all that good, but did feature the final appearances (for now) of James Storm, Magnus, and Austin Aries. Tonight, we get the Angle vs. EC3 match that has been built up for a good portion of the year, and EC3’s campaign trail ends tonight.
The show begins with a Kurt Angle hype video while we see EC3 beat every TNA hall of famer to this point, including Kurt Angle himself. Josh runs the card down and we’ll get the first part of a Mike Tenay sit-down interview with Jeff Jarrett. Josh announces that the BDC vs. The Rising will force the losing team to disband, which wasn’t announced before. It’s also an elimination match. Hernandez’s return is shown. The Rising comes down with Drew in black while his partners are in yellow and black.
Match One – BDC vs. The Rising – Losing Team Disbands
Drew and MVP start things off with punches. Drew wins this war and MVP goes to his corner and tags in Low-Ki. Ki charges away and gets some nasty corner chops before landing some on Ki too. Mica comes in and gets a big legdrop for 2. King comes in and talks smack for a bit. He gets 2 off a snap suplex and tags MVP in. Josh says that if the BDC loses, he’ll just make a new group called something else. Well, that’s certainly a new way to kill a stipulation. King and Ki come in and double-team Mica to take him out. Josh points out that it’s now 2-on-4, so The Rising agreed to this match with high stakes despite having the odds greatly stacked against them. What morons. An EC3 hype video airs made by DA.
Ki and MVP attack Drew, who eats a back suplex from Ki for 2. Ki locks on an abdominal stretch and we get a Dixie Carter Twitter plug. Drew escapes and gets a backdrop. Eli gets some punches in on MVP, who tags in and also eats a flying lariat. He hits a smooth pop-up superplex while Drew takes out Hernandez. Eli dives out and says he can’t go – he heard a pop. The BDC is overjoyed by this and Drew goes in to the battle and manages to come off like a badass in the process.
Hernandez and Drew exchange slaps and chops in the corner. Hernandez tags King in, who lands a corner dropkick. Ki misses a kick and hits King, and Drew pins Ki off a schoolboy. King is out from Ki’s kick and gets beaten 2. Ki and Drew brawl on the floor. Hernandez comes back in and eats forearms. Sick kick hits hard, but MVP attacks him. Hernandez gets the Border Toss while MVP comes in to pick the scraps. MVP lands the Play of the Day and tells Drew to stay down. Drew tells him “up yours” and eats a Drive By kick for the loss. Josh says the Rising must disband and then they just “to the back” it for match and interview graphics.
BDC talks backstage while King says that Ki might’ve separated his shoulder. King and MVP argue for a bit over Hernandez being brought in. Magnus comes out and the show’s video and audio go weird for a few seconds. Magnus tells Storm he’s sorry his parents didn’t love him as a kid, but that the human spirit is the biggest driving force in the world. He introduces Mickie, who looks fantastic after being tossed onto train tracks. Luckily, Magnus got revenge on Storm for this at the PPV. This wasn’t brought up at all. Mickie says that they have real love and then Storm’s theme hits while Mickie is overjoyed and wants him to bring his “coward ass” down there.
Storm comes down looking like a disco cowboy while Khoya is in a bland white and red shirt that says “I took the pledge”. Storm says if he pushed her harder, she’d be able to hold her son in a wheelchair. Storm says he didn’t want Mickie – he just wanted to manipulate a woman. Mickie mocks him for trying to get followers – maybe he should try paying for some on Twitter. Mickie thanks him for bringing the crazy out of her and promising one more match. She wants him to find “one woman” and she’ll kick her ass. Mickie was awesome here. A graphic for the iron man match is up next. But first, EC3 and Tyrus train a bit backstage with a “Win EC3 Win” shirt on EC3. Josh says that Full Metal Mayhem is still a trending topic on Twitter. Josh says this match came about due to Aries winning at Slammiversary – so nearly 40 minutes into the show, and we know one match result from that show. The Heels sadly don’t attack Davey while he does his goofy pose on the ropes.
Match Two – The Wolves vs. The Dirty Heels – Iron Man Tag Title Match
Aries and Davey get a collar and elbow and Davey kicks out quickly from a cradle. Roode tags in for a cheapshot to the ribs. Davey comes back and tags Eddie in. Back and forth babyface tags lead to more arm wringers. Aries comes in for a cradle and gets 2. Roode gets a second rope axehandle to the arm and we get a dueling bearhug/front chancery from Aries and Davey. Davey runs wild with kicks and gets 1. Inverted atomic drop leads to a kick and double stomp to Aries and double leg stretcher to Roode mid-ring. Aries cheapshots Eddie and sets up a brainbuster, but Eddie counters with a suplex.
Davey runs wild and gets a dragon screw and a modified Indian deathlock. Wolves attack in the corner. Aries stops a backpack stunner with an eye rake. Heels run wild and get a fake tag to get an edge. Aries destroys the knee with holds and Eddie gets the rope. Eddie gets some chops and eats a boot to the gut from Roode. Roode elbow drops the knee to keep the momentum rolling there. After 10 minutes, we get a clock on-screen with no falls at this point. Josh corrects Christy for saying there were 10 minutes left since only 10 had gone by.
Eddie gets a double rana to both Heels and tags in Davey. He dropkicks Roode to force a DDT to Aries. Davey t-bones Roode, but Aries comes in for a 2. Roode eats a flying headbutt from Eddie for 2. Everyone’s down at the 14 minute mark, with 16 minutes left in the match. After the break, we have 11:50 left and Aries gets 2 off a cover. Aries gets the axehandle to the floor for 2. Dirty Heels got a powerbomb>missile dropkick combo, but Eddie comes in for a save at 2.9.
Davey gets a double stomp to Roode as the commentators once again ponder this match either having no falls or it just getting one late in the game. I love this because logically, world-class guys shouldn’t be beaten in an iron man match any faster in this match than any other. Backpack stunner hits for Eddie and only get 2.9 – Roode just barely got his shoulder up in time. Eddie chops away in the corner, so Aries slaps his shoulder. Davey gets a big dropkick for 2.
Aries prevents the powerbomb>backstabber and they get their own backbreaker>pendulum elbow for 2. Roode gets a gourbuster setting up an Aries somersault senton and the Last Chancery, but Davey gets a sliding dropkick to break it up. Aries eats a two-man Alarm Clock and a pair of double stomps for a 2.9 thanks to Roode breaking it up. There are five minutes left with a 0-0 fall count. Aries gets a rana and a corner dropkick. Spinebuster hits and sets up a 450 for a 3 count. The Heels get the first win here with 4 minutes remaining. Aries goes for quick pins on the weakened Eddie, but only gets 2. Aries tries to keep them on the floor to run the clock down.
They tag in and out to keep a fresh man in. This is an excellent strategy and it makes for a compelling match even on a wrestling-heavy night like this where it can be easy to lose focus. This is a far better overall match than Mundo vs. Puma was, and isn’t nearly as gimmick-heavy. Eddie gets some chops and punches while Christy says there are two minutes left, so the Wolves need two wins to get the gold. Aries slugs away in the corner, but he eats a powerbomb>backstabber, so it’s now tied up 1-1.
Roode hits a belt shot to Eddie, but Eddie kicks out with 30 seconds to go. Roode’s in and goes for the DVD, but Eddie rolls him up and gets the third fall! Roode gets the crossface, but he can’t get the tap – the Wolves regain the titles. This was a stellar match overall, and this was a great tag team title series. While the tag title turmoil has really hurt the tag division in TNA, things like this do remind you of what makes TNA work when it does, which is why it’s sad to see the company in the state it’s in. Josh plugs EC3 vs. Angle tonight.
The “athletic, sexy, and powerful” knockouts ad airs, and is completely different than WWE’s old “smart, sexy, and powerful” ads for the divas. Kong comes out to face Brooke and Taryn in a three way for the title. It sure looks odd for the Dollhouse to have this fairly big setup with props and yet no time elapses for the intros. Taryn wrestling in lingerie strangely works for her.
Match Three – Taryn’s Got a Belt vs. Brooke’s Got a Booty vs. Kong’s Got an Implant Buster
Josh talks about how the heel is outnumbered here with WWE math. Kong gets tired of missing stomps, so she just grabs Taryn to attack her. Kong charges into Taryn and Brooke X factors Taryn. Brooke and Kong go at it with Taryn on the floor. Kong gets a spinning sleeper to Brooke, but eats a missile dropkick. Taryn gets a clunky shortarm clothesline and rubs Brooke’s face in the mat for 2. Pope says that Josh should have his face rubbed in the mat for basically talking too much smack. Taryn gets a snap suplex. Kong gets punches and a palm strike to Taryn. Chokeslam hits, but the Dolls trip her up to the floor. Brooke elbows away at Taryn mid-ring and spears her down. Dolls prevent a flying elbow from Brooke, who takes a nasty bump on her hip on the apron. Kong goes to splash Taryn, but Jade kicks her back and Taryn cutters her for the win. Taryn has now made history as the longest-reining knockouts champion ever. Does that really mean much with the company going dark for three months? The fire-filled video packages were all for Gail, who has a revamped theme and fire-themed graphics. Jarrett’s interview is next and then it’s title match time.
Mike meets with Jeff and Karen for their interview. He asks about what this all means for TNA and GFW. Jeff says that coming back was surreal and the win and the buzz says that there’s definitely a future with TNA and GFW. Well, that was it – it took maybe three minutes. EC3 comes out with a big intro, as does Kurt. TNA really does get the big match intro right – this feels like a huge deal with them going backstage for each guy and using expanded themes they never use otherwise.
Main Event – Kurt Angle vs. EC3 for the TNA World Title
Mid-ring, we get a tie-up and a dueling EC3/SUCKS chant. EC3 wins out and bows amid a “you can’t wrestle/yes he can” chant. Kurt starts working on the arm, but EC3 gets some punches. Kurt gets an overhead belly to belly and the rolling Germans, but EC3 blocks a third, so Kurt just tosses him to the floor – nice. EC3 elbows out of a German on the floor, but he eats a belly to belly. EC3 gets covered for less than 1. Rolling Germans once again, and EC3 avoids a third and gets a running lariat for less than 1. EC3 gets a chinlock as Josh talks about him having the Carter genes on his side. EC3 lands a belly to back suplex and gets a Stinger splash and a TKO for 2.5.
Pope says he can take the moves because he retired Sting. EC3 chops away in the corner, so Kurt just punches him. Kurt misses a shoulder charge and eats a DDT on the apron. That was scary in 2003 and much scarier in 2015. After an ad break, EC3 gets a mid-ring kneeling full nelson. Kurt powers out while Pope talks about the power of Kurt’s neck after working on it to protect it after surgeries. Kurt gets a corner charge boot and a lariat. Kurt goes for the rolling Germans once again and lands them all. Kurt’s readying the Angle slam, but EC3 avoids that and takes more Germans!
After a trifecta, Kurt gets 2.5. EC3 misses the Stinger splash and eats an Angle slam for 2.5. Kurt gets the ankle lock on, but EC3 rolls Kurt to the floor. Tyrus clotheslines Kurt down on the floor, resulting in a big Pope rant. Josh buries Pope for making a valid point. Kurt ducks out of the headlock driver and gets the ankle lock again. He counters and eats more Germans. Kurt tosses EC3 into Tyrus and gets one more Angle slam for 2.5!
A “that was 3” chant breaks out. EC3 is in the ankle lock again, but a roll through doesn’t hit the ref. Instead, an overhead belly to belly does with a boot. Tyrus attacks Kurt again. EC3 does the Taker situp and goes for the headlock driver again. It hits and gets 2.9! EC3 is shocked, which puts that move over nicely. Tyrus gets a chair and nudges the ref with it. Brian Hebner kicks Tyrus out, resulting in a yes chant from Pope. EC3 is absolutely terrified now, and Josh is now against Tyrus.
EC3’s finisher is countered into an ankle lock mid-ring. He grapevines the leg, which has been a deathknell in TNA in 2015. EC3 puts his wristband in his mouth to avoid submitting, but gets near the ropes. Kurt goes for it again, but EC3 kicks away. EC3 gets a cradle out of the Angle slam and wins the title. This was a good finish for doing a rematch – EC3 won reasonably clean by the end there, and EC3’s rise is one thing that TNA has done perfectly since 2013. EC3 closes out the show holding the title above his head. This was a must-watch show with a lot of really fun matches.
To see every screen taken for the show, just click here.