TNA has ushered in a new era, and there’s plenty of reasons to be excited. It was only fitting for this episode to be live, because it gave the company a look of importance.
It wasn’t until the video package that was aired in the intro that realized that Eddie Edwards hasn’t been booked as a winning champion. He hasn’t been losing matches, but he has yet to pick up a decisive victory.
Edwards’ opening promo was rather lame. It was far too generic and directionless, which means he didn’t have to go as long as he did. In fact out of three men that were in the ring, Lashley cut the most cohesive and sensible promo. He made his intentions clear and sounded serious about receiving a rematch.
As for EC3, it was difficult to take him seriously. He utilized one too many jokes, and that didn’t make him come across as someone who truly wanted a title match.
Mike Bennett vs Moose
Since it’s the beginning of a new era in TNA, this was the perfect match to open the show. The two have developed a solid feud and it has yet to feel stale. Along with that, it wasn’t overly long.
The in ring chemistry between the two was strong, it managed to become more entertaining as the match went on. The back and forth action allowed for both men to look like top tier wrestlers within the company. They wrestled in such a way that elevated the importance of the title, as each of them wrestled with desperation and urgency.
I’d say the final decision for this match was most intense we’ve ever seen for the Grand Championship. With the action being as even as it was, it genuinely felt like it could’ve gone either way. Once everything was said and done, it was going to be difficult for anything else on the show to top this.
Swoggle vs Rockstar Spud
This match was perfectly placed on this card. It’s a lower card program, and it acted as the perfect filler segment. At the same time, it wasn’t completely pointless, because it gives Rockstar Spud an angle to work with apart from losing to “smaller” competitors.
Facts of Life w/The Hardys
From start to finish, this promo was simply a breath of fresh air. These were the two hottest acts in TNA for 2016, and we finally got to see them interact over the mic. The Hardys had a ton of mic chemistry with Eli Drake, and it was extremely entertaining. The two parties were able to use the right amount of humour and seriousness, which now makes this program feel like a big deal as opposed to a comedic feud.
Helms Dynasty vs Decay
It was strange to hear Decay come out with a new theme song. I always thought The Nobodies by Marilyn Manson was the perfect song for their characters.
The match itself was nothing too special, but it’s great to see how Decay is still being taken seriously. They had a slight lull after losing the titles, although they appear to have some sort of direction now. With DCC ambushing them after the match, it’s safe to assume that’ll be the next program for both teams. I personally believe it’ll work as an entertaining tag team feud.
Allie vs Sienna
Maria was on fire for the pre-match promo. She truly knows how to make her character feel real, and that’s how it’s so easy to hate her.
While the match quality wasn’t the greatest, this was certainly a fun spot in the show. These types of matches make it easy for fans to drop their suspension of disbelief and cheer for underdog. Allie continuously does an amazing job at playing that role. However, I do believe booking her to lose this match was the right call. Sienna is still considered one of the strongest knockout’s in the division, which means she shouldn’t be losing that easily to someone like Allie.
Lashley vs Eddie Edwards vs EC3
Honestly, this is the least excited I’ve been for a TNA title match in quite some time. Don’t get me wrong, the in ring action was strong, and I was able to appreciate that. However, it’s difficult to get invested in the action if the plot barely exists. In terms of the overall story, there just wasn’t anything intriguing going into the match. I believe that has to do with how Edwards has been booked. There’s been a serious lack of obstacles for him to overcome ever since he first beat Lashley. His last two title defences were mediocre (in terms of furthering plot) because at no point in his narrative did it feel like he was a true underdog, and that role is the appeal of his character.
Apart from my complaints, the finish was more entertaining than the actual match. Davey Richards getting involved was much needed because it’ll now have fans guessing what his role will be in the main event scene. Does he challenge his long time friend to a title match or does Lashley chase him down?
For the first show in 2017 and under Anthems ownership, I’d say this episode of Impact was decent. The majority of it was entertaining with the ugly parts being far and few. My main criticism towards this was the lack of build up for the One Night Only PPV. That show still appears to be canon to the current stories, so I don’t understand the lack of promotion.
The low point of this show was the opening promo, while the high points were Moose vs Bennett and the Hardys/Drake promo. Overall, I give this episode a 6.5/10.