Two TNA veterans clashed in the main event of this week’s show as Alex Shelley faced Eddie Edwards, plus Josh Alexander in action and more.
TNA Impact: 8/2/24 Osceola Heritage Park in Orlando, Florida
The big news story to come out of TNA is that their President, Scott D’Amore, was fired during the week. The timing of this seems extraordinary considering they have just gone through the rebrand three weeks ago and D’Amore has been TNA’s biggest cheerleader for years and seemingly very popular with the locker room. I will not miss his on-screen presence but there’s no doubt that this will have some effect backstage.
They recapped last week’s show where Nic Nemeth continued his winning start to his TNA career. He was beaten down by Steve Maclin and the Rascalz post-match. Grizzled Young Vets got the win over Bullet Club in the first match of a best of 3 series for the Tag Team Championships.
The show opened with the Cross the Line theme, which has been back for a few weeks (not as catchy as the last theme in my view!) and Tom Hannifan pumped up the first match that we are straight into.
Match #1: Non-Title match: Chris Sabin vs John Skyler w/ Jason Hotch
This match was sponsored by Mustafa Ali, which was funny as these two face each other for the X-Division title at No Surrender. I hope that’s a win for Ali on debut in TNA. Skyler cut his usual bland Good Hands promo pre-match on his way to the ring. Just wrestle, please. Skyler backed Sabin into the corner early with chops. Sabin took him down with an armbar but Skyler broke free and tossed Sabin to the floor. Skyler tried for a top-rope move but Sabin blocked him with knees. He ran at Skyler who caught him with a belly-to belly for a 2 count. The Mustafa Ali banner with information was scrolling along the bottom of the screen as the match wore on. Little touches like this add a bit to the feud, I like it. Skyler tossed Sabin to the floor again and distracted the referee so that Hotch could ram Sabin into the ring apron. Hotch threw Sabin back into the ring and Skyler hit a running senton for 2. Sabin tried a Sunset Flip pin but Skyler held him off. Sabin nailed a German suplex and both men were down for a breather. He hit a forearm smash in the corner and a DDT for his first nearfall of the match. Sabin hit a stiff running kick to the face for 2 again. That was nice. Skyler broke out of the Cradle Shock attempt and hit a spear from the apron for 2. Sabin avoided an attack in the corner and nailed his own running kick. Sabin hit the Cradle Shock for the win after 7 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Sabin
Analysis: **3/4 That was a good opening contest. When the Good Hands are presented as not simply jobbers, they are a decent team to watch and Skyler was competitive here. Sabin winning was obvious but at least it was not complete one-sided.
Gia Miller was backstage with the challenger for the World Championship at No Surrender, Alex Shelley. Miller wondered if facing Edwards in the main event tonight put himself at risk of injury ahead of No Surrender. Shelley said he had been doing this week in, week out for 20 years and he would be fine. He said that by taking Moose down at No Surrender, all of The System will crash.
Analysis: A fine promo from Shelley ahead of his main event match. I like The System as a dominant heel faction in TNA.
Match #2: Xia Brookside vs Tasha Steelz
This is a rematch from a couple of weeks ago. Brookside won that in her TNA singles debut. She hasn’t been on TV since which is a continuous problem with these tapings and have been for years. Brookside hit a top-rope crossbody early for 2. Steelz grabbed a headlock on Xia and slammed her head first into the match. She was definitely in heel mode here as she taunted the fans. They traded right hands and Xia knocked Tasha down with a forearm. She whipped Steelz into the bottom turnbuckle and hit a double knee/neckbreaker combo for 2. Nice offense there. Xia locked in an Abdominal Stretch and then used her legs to wrench the neck of Steelz. She turned it into a pin for 2. Steelz fought back with a sloppy spinebuster for 2. That didn’t look good. She stalked Xia but missed a splash in the corner. Xia connected with a kick in the corner but Steelz fought her off and hit a slow Sunset Flip pin for the win after 4 minutes. She might have been holding the tights by the looks of it.
Winner by pinfall: Tasha Steelz
Analysis: ** That was really short so it’s disappointing in that regard. They were just getting going. Hopefully a cheap win by Steelz here leads to a rubber match at No Surrender. Brookside looked smooth but Steelz had a few little issues in this match. Not her usual great ring work here.
Ace Austin and Chris Bey reminded GYV that they retained their titles over 3 teams at Hard to Kill. Austin said GYV weaseled their way into another title match in a best-of-3 series. He complained about GYV cheating for the win last week. Bey started to talk about the titles but was attacked from behind by the GYV. Gibson and Drake trapped Austin’s arm in a packing box and slammed the lid down hard. Security broke it up.
Analysis: A nice little segment there to keep the feud fresh in our minds. Good stuff.
Jake Something confronted the newly-turned heel Frankie Kazarian backstage. They argued about Kaz’s recent actions. Something challenged him to a match. Kaz didn’t look happy about that!
Analysis: A simple way to set up a match for the future.
Match #3: Mike Bailey vs Zachary Wentz w/ Trey Miguel
Bailey is the third-most popular wrestler in TNA and needs to be used in far bigger matches moving forward in 2024. They exchanged wristlocks early in the match. Hannifan was still going on about the Rascalz using spray paint to win. That’s so 2023, Tom. Bailey connected with a big kick to the chest of Wentz. He hit his combo kicks and an enziguiri. Wentz retreated to the ring apron and Miguel tried to interfere but Bailey chased him off. Wentz hit a big right hand that took Bailey down to the mat for 2 count. Bailey got out of a Full Nelson suplex attempt and kicked Wentz to the ring apron. He hit a springboard Moonsault to take Wentz down.
Bailey hit a missile dropkick from the top rope as we came back to the action. He hit another kick to the chest but missed a running Shooting Star Press. Wentz hit a hard German suplex and hit a running knee in the corner. He nailed a running punt to Bailey’s chest and then both men connected with a kick to the head. They exchanged right hands back and forth and Wentz took over with forearm strikes. Bailey hit another kick to the chest and Wentz avoided a superkick. Wentz hit an awesome springboard running knee and a modified Full Nelson Bomb for 2. The crowd was right into this match. Bailey avoided the UFO cutter and nailed a running Spanish Fly. I still don’t know how you do that move. Wentz tried a roll up using the tights but Bailey kicked out at 2. Bailey nailed a massive superkick and the Tornado Kick in the corner. Miguel knocked Bailey off the top rope as he set up for the Ultima Weapon. Wentz nailed the UFO Cutter for the win after 7 minutes of TV time.
Winner by pinfall: Zachary Wentz
Analysis: *** Another solid match on the show but left you wanting a bit more after only 7 minutes that were televised. Nic Nemeth easily accounted for both Rascalz yet Bailey cops a loss here which shows you where he is on the pecking order. That’s disappointing but it was a cheap loss. I would’ve liked 5 more minutes. All the action was very smooth. Both Miguel and Wentz could be great singles stars in the X-Division if they’re needed.
After the match, Wentz and Miguel double-teamed Bailey but then the music of the returning Trent Seven hit and he came down for the save. Seven couldn’t make Hard to Kill due to travel issues. Seven accounted for Miguel and Wentz, then helped Bailey to his feet. Steve Maclin ran down and destroyed Bailey with a clothesline and attacked Seven from behind. I’m enjoying this new alliance. Nemeth’s music hit and he came down to take out Maclin. Nemeth hit a superkick on all 3 heels. Maclin bailed out of the ring as Nemeth checked on Seven and Bailey.
Analysis: That was a great segment. It now looks like they’re building towards a 6-man tag at No Surrender. There’s no need to rush Maclin vs Nemeth and maybe they could hold that off until the Rebellion PPV. Nemeth and Maclin’s rivalry is the best thing in TNA at present.
Kon cut a pre-taped promo about being big and roared a lot. Yawn.
Match #4: Jordynne Grace & Trinity vs Gisele Shaw & Savannah Evans w/ Jai Vidal
This is Trinity’s exit match from TNA and she’s done really well to promote her brand over the past 9 months. The division will certainly feel the recent losses of her and Deonna Purrazzo. Some people might say that D’Amore leaving will effect Shaw’s booking but she’s still never been Knockouts’ Champion and I doubt she wins the title at No Surrender, especially after Grace got people talking at the WWE Royal Rumble. Evans and Grace started the match off with Grace unable to suplex Shaw. She used the ropes to help her out and nailed it on the second attempt. Grace tagged in Trinity and she hit the splits for a 2 count. Evans used her power to take over with some clubbing blows. She sent Trinity into the ropes but Trinity bounced back with a jawbreaker and tagged Grace back in. Evans sent Grace into the corner and Grace jumped over to the ring apron. Vidal tried to interfere and then Shaw pulled Grace down by the hair. Evans pulled Grace back into the ring and nailed a DDT for 2. Shaw tagged in for the first time. She faces Grace at No Surrender, as she cashes in her Ultimate X contract. She bounced Grace’s head off the turnbuckle and tagged Evans back in. She hit a clothesline in the corner and tagged Shaw back in. Shaw missed a running uppercut but was still able to choke Grace out in the corner. She chopped away at Grace and the crowd was really behind the champ. Grace hit a back fist and a clothesline, then tagged in Trinity. Shaw made it to Evans. Trinity nailed a kick and a forearm smash in the corner. Evans fought out of a bulldog but Trinity nailed a vaulting kick to the face. Trinity nailed a crossbody for 2. Trinity scored with the Rear View but Shaw broke up the pin. Grace ran in and tossed Shaw out of the ring into Vidal. She hit a back fist on Evans. Trinity destroyed Evans with a Code Red and she tapped out to Star Struck. The match went 7 minutes.
Winners by submission: Trinity & Jordynne Grace
Analysis: **3/4 There was probably only one scenario there with Evans taking the loss. Trinity is leaving so she goes out on a high and Grace or Shaw weren’t losing ahead of the PPV. I enjoyed the match. It was full of action. I’m not sure where Grace goes after she (probably) beats Shaw at No Surrender. Maybe back to Slamovich for another feud. That was good in late 2022.
Deaner cut a promo backstage in front of a heap of chairs stacked up. Surely, they could’ve given him a better background than that. AJ Francis walked in and offered his services. Deaner said he didn’t want to help him with Joe Hendry and Francis told him not to say his name, then of course Hendry popped up. Hendry told Francis that people in TNA don’t like him. He showed Francis some negative comments about him on social media. Francis pretended to be amused. He reminded Hendry that he destroyed him at Hard to Kill and he was happy to do it again.
Analysis: An easy way to get more people on the show. Hendry hasn’t done much for a while. It would be good to see him in a proper feud soon.
Match #5: Handicap match: Kon vs Richard Adonis & Ori Gold
This is not going to be pretty. Kon destroyed one of the jobbers in the corner and almost took the other one’s head off with a clothesline. He lifted the blonde jobber up and choke-slammed him to hell for the win after 30 seconds. The commentators didn’t even get a chance to tell us who was who.
Winner by pinfall: Kon
After the match, Kon gave the second jobber the neck wrench. He was about to continue his carnage when PCO’s music hit. PCO was wheeled out on the table like last week and Kon met him on the ramp with a right hand. Kon tossed one of the handlers across the stage. The two hosses started throwing right hands on the ramp. Kon tossed PCO in the ring and they continued to deliver big blows to each other. Security ran to the ring to try and separate the two wrestlers. There were about 15 security guards in the ring. Both men broke free and faced off again. Kon killed one of the security guards by choke-slamming him over the top rope onto a bunch of security. PCO clotheslined Kon over the top rope and then did a suicide dive through the middle ropes on Kon and security. Kon grabbed PCO by the skull and slammed him hard on the entrance ramp. PCO sat up and they continued fighting on the ramp. They fought to the back and then that was the end of the segment.
Analysis: That was fun. We know the match will be incredibly slow but two big guys beating the tar out of each other is still good in 2024.
Match #6: Alan Angels vs Josh Alexander
Angels attacked Alexander before the bell. The referee checked on him and Angels continued to beat him down in the corner. Angels posed to the fans so Alexander snuck up behind him and hit a release German suplex and an overhead suplex. He hit some chops and another suplex. Angels tried to fight back with a chop but Alexander chopped him down to the mat. Angels slapped Alexander and poked him in the eye. Angels tossed Alexander to the outside and hit a suicide dive. Angels went to the top and hit a beautiful Frog Splash for 2. Alexander countered a C4 Spike and locked in the ankle lock. Angels made it to the ropes after a short struggle. Angels tossed Alexander throat-first into the middle rope and got a 2 count after a roll up. Angels tried for another C4 Spike and Alexander clocked him with a right hand and a powerful backbreaker. I’m not sure how that can be anything but painful. Angels fought out of the C4 Spike but Alexander locked in the anklelock, forcing Angels to tap after 4 minutes.
Winners by submission: Josh Alexander
Analysis: ** A little 3-week program culminates in Alexander winning decisively. I hope Angels remains relevant moving forward, but that talk show segment was a bomb.
After the match, a fan jumped the rail and attacked Alexander. He was wearing a mask. The ‘fan’ tossed Alexander into the ring steps and took his mask off to reveal himself as Simon Gotch! Gotch is commentator Matt Rehwoldt’s (Aiden English) former tag partner in WWE.
Analysis: That was a cool surprise. I was just writing that I hope Alexander has something in the near future and now he does. Another good signing to add to the roster depth.
* Match #2 in the best-of-3-series between GYV and Bullet Club for the TNA Tag Team Championships
* Non-Title match: Crazzy Steve vs Rhino
* Jake Something vs Frankie Kazarian
* Moose vs Kushida
* Ash by Elegance is in the building
Analysis: The problem for me over the last few weeks, apart from the Nemeth/Maclin feud, is that wrestlers or a feud are on one week and then we don’t see them again for another 2 weeks. At least the GYV/Bullet Club feud continues. I would say match #3 occurs at No Surrender. Moose vs Kushida is good enough for PPV, not a throwaway weekly match.
Match #7: Eddie Edwards w/ Brian Myers & Alisha Edwards vs Alex Shelley
No Moose in Edwards’ entrance which seems strange. Lots of “Eddie sucks” chants, too. There are only 10 minutes left in the show so the main event continues the same-old story of short weekly matches. They locked up but no one gained an early advantage. Shelley slapped Edwards in the face. Edwards didn’t like that so he ran at Shelley and missed a clothesline. Shelley took him down with one of his own. He nailed a spinning kick, which sent Edwards to the outside. Shelley ran the ropes but Alisha grabbed his leg. Edwards ran back in and chopped Shelley down to the mat.
Shelley hit a nasty backbreaker as we returned to the action. They showed a replay of Edwards accidentally kicking the steel ring post during the break. Shelley targeted the right leg of Edwards. Alisha choked Shelley against the bottom rope as the referee checked on Edwards’ knee. Edwards chopped Shelley as he tried to get to his feet. He hit another one but Shelley fired up and hit a Dragon Screw. The crowd rallied behind Shelley as he got to his feet. Shelley attacked with right hands and an enziguiri. Edwards collapsed into the corner and Shelley hit an innovative Dragon Screw where he trapped both legs. He locked in the Figure 4 in the centre of the ring. Edwards struggled but made it to the ropes before tapping out. Edwards reversed a leg lock and sent Shelley into the middle turnbuckle. He tried for a Backpack Stunner but Shelley jumped off his back and nailed a sickening Chop Block. Edwards fought back with right hands on his knees. Shelley went to the top and hit a jumping knee on Edwards’ right arm. Wasn’t he targeting the leg? Shelley ran at Edwards but got caught with a belly-to-belly. Edwards hit a few knee strikes and then a stiff running knee but Shelley kicked out at 1 and started firing up at Edwards. Edwards thought he was blocking a superkick with his hands but Shelley kicked the knee. Edwards went for the Boston Knee Party but Shelley held his knee and rolled him up for the 3 count after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Alex Shelley
Analysis: ***1/4 It passes the 3-star mark because it got over 10-minutes, which is a first for tonight’s show. Good action here with Shelley targeting the leg and actually following up with submissions for a change, except when he went for the arm for some reason towards the end. I like the counter to Edwards’ finisher which led to the win for Shelley.
Myers ran into the ring and attacked Shelley after the match. Alisha was slapping Shelley and mouthing off to him. Myers set up for the Roster Cut but Kushida and Kevin Knight came in for the save. They sent Edwards and Myers to the outside. Knight hit a huge vaulting crossbody from the top rope to take them both out. The trio celebrated as Impact went off air.
Analysis: No sign of Moose but that interaction could lead to a 6-man tag next week or the following week. It’s always good to see Kevin Knight and Kushida.
Final Rating: 6/10
That was a better show than last week, which really wasn’t hard to achieve. There still wasn’t a stack of quality wrestling and you can’t achieve much by continuously having 5 to 8-minute matches on weekly TV. AEW does a lot wrong, but the amount of time they spend on weekly TV is to be admired. I would like to see a lot more wrestling on TNA moving into 2024. The main event was solid enough and I really enjoyed Wentz vs Bailey. The feud between Nic Nemeth and Steve Maclin/ The Rascalz continues to be the best thing on TNA TV each week. We are less than two weeks away from No Surrender and hopefully they add to the 3 matches this week.
The next TNA monthly-special is No Surrender on February 23rd from New Orleans. Here is the card so far:
* TNA World Championship: Moose (c) vs Alex Shelley (after the show they announced this as a No Surrender Rules match where the only way to win is when your ringside crew tosses in the towel on your behalf).
* TNA Knockouts’ Championship: Jordynne Grace (c) vs Gisele Shaw
* X-Division Championship: Chris Sabin (c) vs Mustafa Ali