Episode 13, Season 13 “Bell to Bell”
Welcome back all Impact fans to our weekly installment of the TNA Impact Wrestling Review right here on TJRWrestling.net. I want to first send a note to anyone reading this that may have DISH Network as their TV provider. For the entire month of April, Destination America is free on DISH Network on Channel 194. So if you want to give TNA a second, third, or hell even a 4th chance (We all know how often they screwed up) then I’d say you owe it to yourself to give them a chance on their new network while it’s free.
With that out of the way, we left last week’s show with Jeff Hardy defeating James Storm in a Six Sides of Steel match, and were also notified that this week’s episode was going to be a special “Bell to Bell” episode with three big main events. Not only will we see another chapter in the Eric Young/Bobby Roode feud, we’ll get a Falls Count Anywhere match with Magnus and Bram. That is actually the match I’m most looking forward to tonight. To wrap it all up, we’re going to see a massive rematch for the TNA World Title as Kurt Angle takes on the man he defeated for the title, Bobby Lashley. The last time these two men hooked up, I was exhausted just writing about the match, so it’ll be very interesting to see if the rematch takes it to an even higher level.
We start tonight’s show with a video package discussing the matches that were announced, and looks like they’re taking a comic book approach to the hype as each match gets it’s own comic book still shot. We get to the arena and Josh Matthews talks about the concept of the Bell to Bell show and announces that we actually have four main events tonight, with a Knockouts match between Angelina Love and Gail Kim. Might be a big of a stretch to call that a main event, but it’ll be good to see Angelina in a match like that, instead of a side piece for the BroMans. We’re not wasting any time either, as we go straight to our first match.
Eric Young vs. Bobby Roode
As EY gets to the ring, he grabs a mic and is short and sweet with his message. There will be no bells and whistles in this match, plan and simple, it will be the sad ending to Roode’s sad career. Roode comes out and already has a mic in hand. Roode talks about how EY took his World title, and tried to end his career, but since then, Roode has beat him in each match they’ve had. Roode vows this ends forever tonight. EY counters by saying that he’s gonna make Roode tap out tonight and break his will. Roode says if EY wants a Submission Match, he’s got one, and he’s gonna make EY cry like the bitch he is. Strong promos from both men, Roode charges the ring and we’re off!
As Roode controls the match in the beginning, Josh Matthew adds a great bit of commentary, telling the crowd at home that the ref will only break a submission if the opponent reaches the ropes, other than that, he’s letting everything go. That’s great to make sure there’s no confusion on the rules as we watch. It comes into play almost immediately as Roode goes for a Crippler Crossface on the rampway, but the ref says he’s gotta make him tap inside the ring. Momentum changes once back in the ring as Roode tries to counter a EY attack and ends up favoring his left knee. The announcers point out that EY is using a brace on his calf to help with his application of the Figure Four Leglock. It’s the old Greg Valentine gimmick, and now that i’ve noticed EY has it on, kudos to him for bringing such an old school style to his work.
We come back from a commercial break and after a 10-Count punch in the corner from Roode, EY quickly gets back on the offensive. EY wraps Roode’s legs around the turnpost as if he’s going to use Bret Hart’s Figure Four on the outside, but instead he just pushes the crossed leg up on the post. They get back in the ring and Roode manages to get the Crossface back on, and EY reaches the ropes. Roode turns it immediately into the Boston Crab, but EY once again to the ropes. Roode goes to follow up but is thrown to the outside. EY gets Roode on top of the steel steps and lifts the injured knee way up in the air and slams it down on the stairs. Roode tries to fight back as EY throws him back into the ring, but the left leg is damaged. EY goes to throw him into the ropes, but Roode crumples down and EY goes right for the Figure Four right in the middle of the ring. Roode is able to flip it over and reverse the pressure, but neither man taps out. EY goes for another Figure Four but Roode kicks him into the ref, who takes a dive, and then Roode hooks on the Crossface a 3rd time. Of course EY taps out here, but the ref doesn’t see it. Roode goes to check on the ref, but turns right around into a spinning leg kick, with that brace on EY’s calf catching Roode square in the face. EY turns to the Figure Four again and after a struggle, Roode finally has no choice but to tap out.
Winner: Eric Young by Submission
That ref bump was probably unnecessary considering it was basically a No-DQ match, but beyond that it was a decent match. It was basically centered around two moves, so you saw a lot of repeat attempts. It looks like EY now has put himself in position for a title match down the line, and it will be interesting to see where Roode goes from here. You can build a company around Roode, so I hope he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle like Austin Aries seems to. We see a shot of Bobby Lashley entering the building as we go to break.
My favorite tag team in the world come out as we return, The TNA World Tag Team Champs, The Wolves. Unfortunately this will not be a good time for The Wolves, as Eddie Edwards comes out on crutches due to a broken heel. If you want a timeline of how TNA does things now, Eddie actually sustained the injury at a One Night Only PPV Taping on February 15th, that the company is contractually obligated to put on. This show that we’re watching on April 3rd, was actually taped on March 15th. It’s one of TNA’s biggest downfalls in my opinion.
Eddie addresses the crowd first and talks about how dangerous Pro Wrestling can be, and talks about the match he had that he got hurt in, and describes how he fractured his heel in half. Eddie tells the crowd this means that he’s out a very long time, and that The Wolves cannot defend their tag titles. Jeremy Borash, who is in the ring conducting the interview, asks Davey Richards if he has any idea about if he’s going to get a new partner or anything of the sort. Davey gives a very impassioned speech about how The Wolves stick together, and with no Eddie Edwards, there are no Wolves. So they have to relinquish the titles. Davey puts one title on 2 separate corners, and then warns the next champions that when Eddie is healthy, they will be hunted, and they will be torn to shreds. Davey lets everyone know, “This hunt will never die!”
Tough, tough moment for TNA and The Wolves in particular. Pound for Pound, you’re going to be hard pressed to find any two better than Eddie and Davey. TNA’s tag division, which was weak as it is once you get past The Wolves, really takes a hit as well. Obviously I wish nothing but a speedy recovery to Eddie.
We go to the back where Christy Hemme welcomes Bobby Lashley to discuss his match with Kurt Angle tonight. She asks Lashley what his motivation for tonight is. Lashley talks about how he’s been motivated his whole life, and especially in the two weeks he’s had since he lost the title. He had never fought Angle before, but even though he lost, he picked himself back up and he’s now ready to get his title back tonight.
Knockous Match: Angelina Love vs. Gail Kim
Back from commercial, and as both women enter the ring, Angelina grabs a mic before the bell rings to talk about herself for a minute. Angelina talks about her accomplishments in TNA, and mentions that now that she’s free of her constraints for the past year (WE MISS YOU VELVET SKY!) then she’s going to prove she’s just as good as Gail Kim, if not better. So I’m officially rooting for Gail Kim tonight.
Both women come out strong as the match starts, very fast pace to this one. Gail Kim goes for a spinning headscissors but Angelina turns it into a backbreaker. Josh Matthews and Taz go into WWE commentary mode as they discuss who the best singles wrestler and tag team is in TNA instead of what’s going on in the ring. I think they finally turn it into a discussion between these two ladies and the champion Taryn Terrell, but I’m not sure. I honestly had to tune them out. The women go to the outside of the ring where Angelina whips Gail into the stairs. She goes to do it a second time, but Gail counters and delivers a nice Russian Leg Sweep into the side of the ring. Both women back into the ring at nine. Gail Kim fires up as they get back into the ring with some strong kicks to the back and then a clothesline. Gail goes to the top rope and hits a front missile dropkick, but Angelina kicks out at 2. Gail goes for Eat Da Feet, but Angelina fights it off. Gail then tries turning it into a springboard headscissors, but instead takes a really hard fall to the mat. I’m not sure if Angelina was supposed to powerbomb her as a counter and didn’t catch her, but it was a nasty bump from Gail. Angelina then hits a Bicycle Kick that Taz calls the Botox Injection, but Gail gets her foot on the rope at 2. Angelina goes for a second Botox Injection, but Gail Kim moves and Angelina then turns into an Eat Da Feet and Gail Kim gets the 1-2-3.
Winner: Gail Kim
That was as good as it gets for Women’s Wrestling in a 6-7 minute match. I would love to see these two get double that time and really let them go. Both women showed a lot of fire and Angelina definitely looked like someone who had a point to prove tonight.
We’re sent to video of the cast of Ghost Asylum, another Destination America show, who meet up with The Revolution at their Tennessee woods location. James Storm, who is with Khoya and Abyss, cuts a promo about the shack that he brings all members of The Revolution to, and how a murder took place there, and when James comes in there with his pledge members, he gets a cold, empty feeling. So he wants the Ghost Asylum crew to look into it. Next week on Impact, they’ll reveal what was found in the house. Cross promotion was bound to happen, so no issues from me on this. It sounds cheesy, but I think it works really well for The Revolution and just adds another layer to the creepiness Storm has tried to present for the stable.
Falls Count Anywhere: Bram vs. Magnus
We come back from commercial, and it’s time for the match I’m most looking forward to. We get a video recap of the feud between the two men before they come out. Magnus comes out solo, no Mickie James, but we’ll see if that lasts. Both men go face to face and start trading blows as we begin. Bram goes right to the outside, to which Magnus follows up with a stiff kick to the face from the apron. Magnus has his way with Bram on the outside, ramming his head into the barricades and chopping him. They walk up to the top of the ramp, where Magnus had powerbombed Bram previously in their feud, and this time it’s Bram who goes for the powerbomb. Magnus is able to back body drop Bram though. Magnus then goes for a piledriver, but Bram drops to a knee and hits a low blow. Big bodyslam to Magnus. Bram beats on Magnus all the way back into the ring, and although Magnus hits a dropkick from the 2nd rope, Bram is able to get right back on the offense. Bram grabs a steel chair and uses it on Magnus, who goes to the outside to try and get some separation. Very slow and methodical pace to this match so far. Magnus whips Bram hard into the turnpost, but before he can capitalize, Bram sends him into the steel steps and is back on the attack. Back in the ring, and we have a nice back and forth attack that ends with Magnus hitting a clothesline. Both men down as we go to a break.
We return with Bram whipping Magnus hard into the ropes. Magnus is placed on the top rope, and then both men exchange blows. Magnus gets a second wind and manages to hit a Tornado DDT to Bram. Both men down again, and here comes Mickie James for the support. Magnus goes for a cover, but only a 2-Count. Magnus sees Mickie and tells her to go the back, meanwhile Bram grabs the chair again and comes down hard on the back of Magnus. Magnus tumbles to the outside. Bram opens the chair and wraps it around Magnus’ head and neck and slams Magnus into the turnpost twice. Brutal looking move. Bram puts Magnus on top of the stairs and looks to end this once and for all with the steel chair. But then he sees Mickie ringside and singles her out. He chases her into the ring and traps her in the corner. James Storm of all people comes out to save Mickie James and tells Bram that Bram better hit him before he hits a woman. Storm takes Mickie away from danger. VERY interesting to see Storm come out there. He tells Bram again that he can’t hit a woman, or his friend. So that could be something to look forward to with The Revolution. Nonetheless, Magnus gets back in the ring and hits his finisher for a long 2-count. Bram rolls to the outside with the chair, and when Magnus goes to pull him back in, Bram throws the chair up in Magnus’ face. Bram gets a two count, and then hits an Implant DDT, on the chair, that Josh Matthews says is called the Brighter Side of Suffering. Another two count! Fantastic match going on right now! Both men go for the chair, but Bram ends up kicking it outside to ensure neither man uses it. Magnus hits a flurry of punches and then hits a massive powerbomb, followed by a 2nd, and then he turns it into a Full Nelson Slam into a Rock Bottom and Magnus gets the hard fought win!
That was a tremendous, tremendous match. They paced themselves beautifully, and once James Storm made his presence known, the match after that hit another level. One can only assume that Magnus and Storm will now be feuding over Mickie James, which if that’s the case, sign me up. I’m a big fan of both men. Bram, as I’ve said multiple times is TNA’s Hidden Gem, so I’m sure he’ll find solid ground in a new feud. Kudos to both men on a great angle and blowoff match tonight.
Jeremy Borash is backstage and he’s talking with Kurt Angle. He asks Angle how he prepares for Lashley. Angle calls Lashley a machine, and says he trained for Lashley harder than he trained for anything else, including the Olympics. It took him over three years to get the title, and he’s not about to let it go already. Bell to Bell, there is no one better than Kurt Angle. It’s Real, It’s Damn Real. Short and Sweet from the champ.
Back from break and we see a recap of what took place moments ago with Magnus and Bram. They show video during the break of Magnus and Mickie walking backstage, and Magnus sees James Storm. He asks Storm what that was all about, Storm says that he knows Magnus is busy in the ring, but he was just looking out for an old friend. He smiles at Mickie and tells her it’s good to see her again. Magnus doesn’t look happy about it as Storm walks away.
We prepare for the main event as we see both men backstage with last minute warmup and then a video recap of their first encounter two weeks ago. We go back live and we get the big match entrances again as we see both men walk from backstage to the ringside area. Two weeks ago there was 34 minutes left in the show when entrances began, and tonight it’s 31. So they’re going to have pretty similar time to have another classic. We go to another commercial before both men are introduced in the ring.
TNA World Heavyweight Title Match: Kurt Angle (c) vs. Bobby Lashley
Jeremy Borash does his main event introductions and before the bell rings, Bobby Lashley walks up to the champ for a handshake, which is returned. Nice sign of respect as we get underway. Angle tries to slow down Lashley with a headlock, but Lashley gets out and knocks Angle down with a shoulderblock. Both men circle and Lashley gets Angle into a headlock of his own. Another shoulderblock and Angle rolls to the outside to catch his breath. Early in the match, but they’re clearly setting a different pace in this match compared to the first. Angle back in and both men exchange go behinds and try to get the advantage, Lashley manages to get Angle down, but Angle quickly gets on top of Lashley with an armbar. Both men battle in the corner and neither can get the upper hand. Almost a restart to the match as they meet in the middle of the ring and Angle shoots off Lashley to the ropes and hits a Belly to Belly Suplex, followed by a German Suplex, and then a clothesline over the top rope. Lashley regroups, and then grabs Angle’s leg and brings him to the outside and then clotheslines Angle to the ground. Lashley gets Angle back in the ring and starts to work on Angle’s ribs as he drives his shoulder into Angle in the corner a few times and then goes for a bearhug. Angle fights off, but gets a big knee to the gut and Lashley goes for the first cover. He only gets a 2-count, but he goes straight for a reverse bearhug and works on those ribs more. The crowd, which has actually been pretty good tonight, rallies behind Angle, who fights out, but as he charges Lashley in the corner, he gets a big boot. Lashley then drops an elbow and goes for a pin. Another 2-count and we go to what should be the last commercial of the night.
We’re back and Lashley is attacking Angle in the corner and really imposing his will on Angle. Big snap suplex to Angle, but again just a 2-count following. Lashley goes to send Angle into the ropes, but Angle hooks them to stop his momentum. Lashley charges and Angle dumps him to the outside over the top rope. Lashley quickly back in and both men trade blows, Angle manages to hit a German Suplex, but before he can hit a second one, Lashley turns it into a massive spinebuster. 2-Count again, but Lashley back on the attack. Angle gets behind and manages to connect with two German Suplexes, but can’t hit a third. Lashley fights off and hits a huge tilt-a-whirl powerslam, 2-count again. Angle back again though, Belly to Belly to Lashley, followed by three German Suplexes again. The pace has quickly picked up. Angle with an Angle Slam and 2-count! Angle has a cut on the back of his head, not bleeding much, but not sure where it came from. Angle gets Lashley in the Ankle Lock for the first time and before Lashley can get to the ropes, Angle drags him back to the middle. Lashley finally manages to roll through and send Angle to the outside. Lashley follows him to the outside and sends Angle to the steel steps and then rams his head into the steps 3 times. Those stairs are working overtime tonight. Lashley clears the fans away from the barricade nearby and then drops Angle chest first hard into the barricade.
Lashley rolls Angle back into the ring and feels confident he’s going to win the title back. Lashley hits a massive delayed vertical suplex, the crowd chanted to 15 seconds he had Angle up. Lashley sets up for the Spear and he hits it flush!! THAT’S what a spear should look like!! Angle somehow kicks out at 2 9/10 though! Now Lashley is going to the top rope, but Angle cuts him off. Neither man can get the advantage, but Angle somehow manages to turn Lashley into an Angle Slam from the second rope! It didn’t look pretty, but it was effective. Angle only gets a long 2-count though. What a match! Angle goes up top for a moonsault, but Lashley moves and then hooks on Angle’s own Ankle Lock! Angle manages to finally roll through and sends Lashley into the turnbuckle. Angle with a quick rollup, and the ref is out of position to see Lashley’s shoulder is up and the ref counts the 1-2-3 anyways!
Winner: Still Champion, Kurt Angle
That’s an unacceptable finish to an otherwise spectacular match. The ref went out of his way to count that out of position. They show a replay of the finish as Angle and Lashley shake hands and the ref isn’t even looking at the two guys while he’s counting from behind Angle. I can only assume it’s going to lead to Lashley/Angle Part Three, but that doesn’t really make sense since Angle is now up 2-0. The announcers state after the replay that Lashley clearly has a gripe, as his shoulder was not only up, you could have fit a human being in between his shoulder and the mat. Just a really questionable finish to an otherwise stellar match and show as a whole.
I have to give TNA a lot of credit for living up to the “Bell to Bell” concept of the show. Once again, no wasted segments and four quality matches. It was announced earlier this week that TNA is gearing up for their next Live PPV, which will be Slammiversary in June. With a lot of feuds and angles coming to an end right now, I would expect starting next week that we’ll start seeing the storylines that will lead to the PPV. I doubt they hold off on Lashley/Angle 3 until June, so it’ll be interesting to see who becomes the #1 Contender for that.
No preview for next week, but since The BDC and Rising were held off completely of this episode, I fully expect to see the show centered around them next week. We’ll be right here to cover it all, thanks again for joining me and as always, follow me on Twitter @FriscoKTank!