Notes In Observance – TNA Impact Wrestling 11/25/15: Away With Group Play
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
Away With Group Play
– The opening video showcased last week’s newsworthy happenings – Eric Young, Awesome Kong and Bobby Roode securing spots in the TNA World Title Series Round of 16. This was touted as the final night of Group Play as only nine spots remained. Matches announced were a three-way dance for Group X-Division where X-Division Champion Tigre Uno, Manik and DJZ would compete for two falls, Rockstar Spud vs. Drew Galloway (Group United Kingdom) and a main event of Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Aries for the final spot of Group Champions.
– The Triple Threat Sudden Death match for Group X-Division between Tigre Uno, Manik and DJZ was a highlight in a good way. There was so much energy between these three and they played off each other so brilliantly that you never knew what the next move was going to be. We didn’t want the first fall to end, quite frankly, but it was a pleasant surprise to see DJZ get the first nod, pinning Manik. The second fall of the match was also good for what it was, as Manik dominated only until Tigre fought back and surprised him. Sure, poor Manik got pinned twice, but it was for the good of the X-Division and was far from throwaway material.
– Throughout the TNA World Title Series, there has been a consistent push of Drew Galloway as a babyface who was persistent on his own success, but also upped the game of those he faced. He has been less about “Stand Up” and more about genuinely coming across as someone you can root for. The act has toned down enough where he feels like somebody “real,” and that can only be a plus going forward. We liked the idea of his promo from Scotland because it fit the theme of him going back home to catch up on his personal life and tied it into his quest for Championship gold – comparing family members inquiring about his lack of a romantic partner to how fast life can be and he didn’t want it to pass right by him. Liked his final line about wanting to present to his friends and family upon his arrival on the United Kingdom tour the “one true love” – the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. It was also a good lead-in to his following match.
– The Group UK match between Galloway and Spud was an aggressive bout that allowed both competitors to use their assets to add to the in-ring story. Galloway stood taller and more experienced, yet Spud was more of an underdog than ever, with the underlying mutual respect evident throughout. Maybe it was just from facing Galloway, but this was the Spud we like to see, but on the brink of the World Title Series and the story being told with “perfect” Galloway, we were hard-pressed to think the Scotland native would lose and right we were.
– The Group UK match between Bram and Grado had the latter’s entrance take longer than the actual match. The highlight- Grado gave away his hat to a guy whose sign read, “I want Grado’s Hat.” There ya go. For the sports-like aspect of it, we liked how commentary mentioned how Grado didn’t take it seriously and that’s why Bram was able to surprise him with a School Boy pin from behind to win in three seconds. It was definitely something. Given Bram’s legal troubles away from the ring, we’d be shocked if he advances past the Round Of 16, but hey, at least he’s there. He had one of the better 2015’s for a TNA talent.
– The Group Future Four match between Jessie Godderz and Micah also faced a “do or die” situation for both guys and with that in mind, we knew Godderz was going to get the nod here. Micah just hasn’t developed as a character in any fashion, despite how energetic he comes across as sometimes. He has no personality and it shows. As for the “Modern Day Adonis” however, he has had plenty of promo time to get over and he has benefitted somewhat from this tournament. As for the match itself, it was more competitive than it had any business being, but with the correct finish – Godderz going over via submission with the Adonis Crab.
– It was cool to see Kurt Angle get some video package air time with the UK Tour in January being hyped as his “retirement tour” and the video clips of him talking with the British media looked fun, but the separate video clips of him talking like he was reading from a cue card left us scratching our head. It didn’t come off as real and with how Angle ended up in TNA after lying to WWE about the severity of his health issues, we can question if this is really it for him in pro wrestling. Guess time will tell.
– The Group Tag Team Specialists match between Davey Richards and Robbie E provided the surprise of the night given the “do or die” situation. There was an excellent effort of giving Robbie E credibility throughout the tournament as a serious competitor and that played into his final match, where he was ultimately upset by Richards in a well-wrestled contest. Those of us who’re familiar with Ring Of Honor can testify how excellent of a singles wrestler Richards can be and this was promising for a potential singles career in TNA, though we feel Richards was being groomed for a later loss to a tourney favorite.
– The Group Wildcard match between Kenny King and Crazzy Steve was also more competitive than necessary (it’s Crazzy Steve after all, a guy who only communicates via a horn) but for what it was and the time it was shot, it made sense for King to get the nod. Aiden O’Shea (stereotypical angry Irish guy who likes to fight) watched intently backstage as he was eliminated with King’s decisive finisher. Minimal drama in a time-filler and we don’t have high hopes about King’s tournament standing going further since he’s somewhere else now, but this was okay.
– We’re not too sure what Thea Trinidad adds to Austin Aries’ act or gimmick, she kind of just stands there, but Aries himself brought his A-game on the mic as you’d expect, putting Lashley over as a strong competitor, but also himself, saying his opponent would need to be perfect to beat “the greatest man that ever lived.” Good stuff into a hot main event, that impressed us the last time it was done at the Manhattan Center Summer 2014 Impact Tapings (the “Dixie Carter goes through a table” shows) when Lashley was a great heel beast Champ.
– The Group Champions main event match between Lashley and Aries showcased more of their excellent chemistry. Loved the Brainbuster spot where Aries tried to kick his way out, only to still suffer landing on his back, staying in the air an impressive 21 seconds. The drama here amped the pace up to something worth watching right down to the last 30 seconds, with Lashley nearly Spearing Aries out of his ass to advance to the Round Of 16. We expected Lashley to win given Aries’ contractual status, but still a fun main event anyways.
– The show’s final portion announced the Round Of 16 Brackets as follows – Block A (Ethan Carter III vs. DJZ, Bram vs. Richards), Block B (Lashley vs. Galloway, Mahabali Shera vs. Eli Drake), Block C (Tigre Uno vs. Gail Kim, Eric Young vs. King) and Block D (Godderz vs. Awesome Kong, Bobby Roode vs. Matt Hardy). The wrap-up video package had a mashup of self-taped promos from the likes of EC3, DJZ, Richards, Drake, Young, Godderz, Roode and Hardy which were all memorable. We gathered that EC3 was destined to a Finals match with Hardy, DJZ was a rampant ladies man, Richards had the Wolves Nation behind him, Drake would only “dance” his way to the Finals in his match against Shera, Young didn’t like King standing in his way, Godderz wouldn’t let any “man, woman or Kong stop him,” Roode respected Hardy but that all stops when the bell rings and the Matt Hardy train never stops. Beep beep? Either way, fun way to close things out and we have a stacked episode for next week.
- Group X-Division – Triple Threat Sudden Death – DJZ and Tigre Uno def. Manik via pinfall in separate falls to each advance to Round Of 16
- Group United Kingdom – Drew Galloway def. Rockstar Spud via pinfall to advance to Round Of 16
- Group United Kingdom – Bram def. Grado via pinfall to advance to Round Of 16
- Group Future Four – Jessie Godderz def. Micah via submission to advance to Round Of 16
- Group Tag Team Specialists – Davey Richards def. Robbie E via pinfall to advance to Round Of 16
- Group Wildcard – Kenny King def. Crazzy Steve via pinfall to advance to Round Of 16
- Group Champions – Bobby Lashley def. Austin Aries (w/Thea Trinidad) via pinfall to advance to Round Of 16
Posted on November 29, 2015, in TNA and tagged Aiden O'Shea, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Bram, Crazzy Steve, Davey Richards, DJZ, Drew Galloway, Eli Drake, Eric Young, Ethan Carter III, Grado, Jessie Godderz, Josh Matthews, Kenny King, Kurt Angle, Manik, Matt Hardy, Micah, Robbie e, Rockstar Spud, The Pope, Thea Trinidad, Tigre Uno, TNA World Title Series. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.