Eric Young is now the TNA Champion. Yes, you read that right. In a shocking move, Young defeated Magnus last week on iMPACT. This week, he draws Abyss in a Monster's Ball match. Who will come out victorious? Also, two former champions return tonight and more. Coverage kicks off at 9PM EST, right here on Ring-Rap.com.
Show Open, taped in Orlando, FL on April 10.
We get a recap package of Eric Young winning the title last week.
EY comes to the ring to a nice reaction. He says the title represents all the hard work in his life. He says he won the belt for himself but he will be the fans' champion. He says they'll have fun and he will defend the title anywhere and any way the people wanted him to.
Dixie Carter's music hits and she comes out smiling. She puts the moment over as if she had something to do with it and reminds EY how she allowed him to stick around during the "Don't Fire Eric" movement. She claims she invented his bearded look and pulls him around by it, saying she deserved royalty checks for her intellectual property.
EY calls her "toots" and reminds her MVP is in charge. She says that as champion she represented her and he is the new hood ornament on her 2014 Ferrari. EY says he hopes she has barf bags handy because she makes him sick. She says he looks and smells like an unemployed lumberjack and he needs to show her respect. He says he will flush her like he does all crap. She tells him to honor and obey her.
EY says he doesn't honor and obey anyone and he is his own man; the day of paper champions are over. He says he will go get the General Lee and run all over her and her Ferrarri. She mocks his reference and says she will give him a makeover tonight, or she will take it out on ODB. EY backs her into a corner and tells her she gets one warning.
Bully Ray comes out and apologizes for interrupting, then puts EY over and calls Dixie a loser. He says she should be proud that he worked his way to the top. Dixie asks why anyone should listen to Ray seeing as he took her money and broke their deal. Ray cops to it again and tells her she shouldn't piss him off. He threatens to put her through a table and sings the "na-na hey hey goodbye" song. Dixie storms out, then Bully says he doesn't endorse a lot of folks but he likes and respects EY. He gets a chant going.
This was executed pretty well, but it didn't move the story forward. Pretty long talk segment to get very little out of it.
Match #1 - Velvet Sky (w/Angelina Love) vs. Madison Rayne; Street Fight Rules
Velvet gets a kendo stick after her entrance and waits, but Madison jumps her from behind after entering through the crowd. Angelina pulls Velvet out for a break and Madison tries pulling both in. They hit a hangman on Madison though so Velvet has the advantage. Velvet distracts the referee so Angelina can put the boots to Madison.
Velvet throws Madison into the stairs, then grabs a trash can and tries hitting Madison but she kicks it back into Velvet's face. Angelina hits Madison with a kendo stick and tosses it to Velvet. Madison ducks, hits a spear and the official slowly counts to three for the win.
Again, not poorly executed, but the story didn't feel like it needed a street fight yet so it ended up taking away a little.
Backstage, EY thanks Ray for what he said. Ray says he meant it and is off to spend money on strippers. Abyss approaches and says EY made him put the mask back on and it's worse than ever. He issues a challenge for the title, and EY is slow to reply. Abyss says he smells fear.
EY says it sometimes takes a minute to think and says if they're going to do this they will do Monster's Ball. Abyss asks if he's crazy and EY says he is crazy like Abyss, and they will be better friends as a result of it.
EY's gimmick is to not make sense, so I'll give this nonsensical promo a pass.
Backstage, EC3 talks up Rockstar Spud before they fight Willow.
In the ring, MVP puts over EY's win last week. He says Samoa Joe was lost in the fray and says Joe called the office and said he's not available. MVP says Joe has his personal number and won't return calls. He says Joe is disgruntled, but Austin Aries' music cuts him off.
Aries complains about not being booked for the last six weeks and wants to know why. MVP says Aries stabbed him in the back going into Bound for Glory. Aries asks if MVP's feelings are what's screwing with his career. MVP takes the jacket off and offers to fight right now. Aries takes his shirt off and things heat up, but Aries backs down. He says next week - he won't throw hands with a convicted felon, but he will outwrestle him next week.
For those not in the know, it's said that Samoa Joe is dealing with a concussion, so that's a way to "write him off." As for Aries, the "not getting booked" storyline feels pretty recycled since they just did it with Kenny King. A bit much there.
They run a video of Eric Young getting congratulated backstage last week, then Tenay and Taz hype the main event.
Match #2 - BroMans (w/DJ Zema) vs. The Wolves; TNA Tag Team Championship
The Wolves attack BroMans on the apron and throw Robbie E in to get things started. They go on a fast run, hitting a double dive on the floor. Jesse knocks both Wolves off the ropes by shaking the ropes. Eddie gets a hot tag and hits a double huracanrana on both BroMans. Things break down, and the Wolves hit their double stomp. They cover, but DJ Zema runs in and hits Eddie with the laptop for the disqualification.
I guess the end game is to get to Sacrifice where the title change actually happens? You have to be careful with this kind of gimmick because it can get annoying rather than generate the heat on the heels.
Willow cuts a crazy promo.
I chose not to cover this one word by word because it was crazy. That's the gimmick, though.
Match #3 - Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud vs. Willow
EC3 and Spud do some comedy posing after their entrance, then Willow comes out. Spud runs from Willow to start, and Willow takes out EC3. He goes up top and Spud sweeps the legs to allow the heels to control. Carter puts the boots to Willow then tags in Spud. Willow grabs his leg and Spud freaks out, tagging back out. EC3 holds Willow for a slap. Willow comes back and hits a Twist of Fate for the win.
Afterward, EC3 attacks Willow and tries for the leg DDT, but Kurt Angle's music hits. EC3 yells at him and tries to attack, but Angle ducks and hits a German suplex. EC3 rolls to the floor and leaves. Tenay has a hard time even getting Angle's name out of his mouth before going into commercial.
I alluded to the WWE Raw script getting leaked last night on RingRap Audio. In that script, there were notes for the announcers to breathe. That cut-out by TNA is why they do that. They cut out too quickly that you couldn't digest Angle's return. It was effective otherwise.
Angle cuts a promo, saying EC3 might have injured him but he didn't end him. He reminds Carter that he won in the Olympics with a broken neck. Angle says they will soon be in the ring and EC3 will learn why they call him a cyborg. Angle tells Carter he will take him apart, and the match won't be over until they take Carter out in a body bag. It's real, it's damn real.
Good, basic promo. It got to the point and set the tune for a future match, perhaps at Sacrifice.
Backstage, HerveyCam asks Bobby Roode about the tables gimmick lately. Roode says Ray took something from him at Lockdown, so he took tables from Ray. He says he will put someone through a table tonight just like he will to Ray at Sacrifice.
Roode, however, was off his game here. He got Ray one time, and that doesn't compare to losing a share of company control. Odd logic.
They run a hype video for Sanada, talking about the pressure on him to succeed in his best of three series with Tigre Uno.
Kenny King comes out and Tenay is shocked. King says he's back to stay and MVP has no business sense by not using him. The crowd seems disinterested and gives him the "What" treatment but not in synch with what he's saying. He says he'll guest commentate on the X-Division match, and the winner can lay the belt at his feet.
Match #4 - Tigre Uno vs. Sanada; X-Division Championship, best of three match series (match #2 of 3)
Short match here. Sanada misses a moonsault and ends up on the receiving end of an exploder suplex. Tigre Uno follows up with a twisting 450 to grab the win and even the series.
Sanada and Tigre Uno can work and I think that shows. But TNA hasn't really given us much to care about in terms of the characters or any sort of story, so the crowd just kind of died here. They tried with the lead-in video, but it wasn't as effective as they might have hoped. King was pretty missable on commentary for me.
Backstage, Gunner talks to someone off camera, and that person says he wants Gunner to beat Roode tonight. Gunner walks off and adds "Ooohrah!"
Roode stands in the ring and calls out his opponent for tonight. Gunner comes out and Tenay and Taz act shocked.
Match #5 - Bobby Roode vs. Gunner; Tables Match
Roode makes a table play in the first minute but pays for it. The two battle over a table down on the floor then work back into the ring. Both men try for their finish through the table but they each escape. Gunner sets up the table again and puts Roode on it. Gunner gets fired up, slamming his own head into the buckle then climbing up.
James Storm runs out and distracts Gunner. Roode tosses Gunner off the ropes and onto the table, but it doesn't break. Roode hits the Roode Bomb through the table and this time it does break. Afterward, Storm mounts and throws hands at Gunner until Bully Ray runs out for the save.
That was pretty good. They worked through the table botch there at the end - sometimes stuff happens and you work through it, and that's exactly what they did.
They run a video putting over EY's win last week. He's shown backstage studying weapons. He says this is his future and he picked it. He says he's crazy and he will prove that and why he is the world champion.
I'm okay with these videos but it's starting to feel like they're trying too hard. Willow was way over the top by calling Young the greatest TNA champion of all time...good thing "crazy" is a part of his gimmick, I suppose. That's a bit too much.
Backstage, Ray asks Gunner how many tables he has been through. Gunner says that was the first. Ray says he's been through hundreds. He says Gunner will dust himself off like a real Marine, and they will team up to face Storm and Roode next week. Gunner likes that.
Ugh. That didn't click with me. Especially the "like a real Marine" thing. Bad follow-up to an otherwise good in-ring segment.
Match #6 - Eric Young (c) vs. Abyss; TNA World Heavyweight Championship under Monster's Ball Rules
EY runs out and throws a trash can at Abyss. He grabs a cookie sheet and goes to work with that. Abyss throws him over the ropes then pounds on him. He throws EY back in and EY tries to follow with a dive. Abyss hits him with a trash can out of mid air.
Out of break, Abyss sets a chair up in the corner and slingshots EY to the corner. EY gets hung up for a minute and it looks painful. Abyss dumps out some tacks in the corner and EY starts a comeback. Low blow with the cheese grater then EY tries a piledriver. Abyss counters with a backdrop.
Abyss retrieves Janice and takes a swing at EY. He ducks, and Janice gets stuck in the buckle. EY hits a low blow and tries to use Janice, but takes a chokeslam in the tacks for two. Abyss pulls out a barbed wire board from under the ring and tries a chokeslam. EY bites his hand and Abyss shoves him off. EY bounces from the corner and hits a drop kick that lands Abyss on the board. EY follows with a top rope elbow drop for the win.
Two weapons matches on the same show sometimes takes energy off of the second one, but this one worked well. I'm personally not a fan of these kind of matches, but it entertained. The one small problem I have with this being EY's first title defense is that he proclaimed to be a great wrestler, then worked this gimmick hardcore match. It can be a confusing signal and might follow his title run around. We'll see how they do going forward.
This was pretty average to just below average. Young feels like he's in a holding pattern otherwise as Champion. I thought Roode and Gunner had a good tables match but Ray took some heat off of it with the promo segment afterward. I'm not sure I understand why people are mad that MVP isn't booking them. That story just seems odd. The Knockouts were okay but not great, and really no one cares about Tigre Uno and Sanada, who are having a decent series of matches with no support to them otherwise. Nothing horribly offensive, but nothing really exciting either.
Join me next Thursday as we get ready for the Sacrifice pay per view event, right here on Ring-Rap.com.