Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Random Match Reviews #13 (10/31/17) - TNA Goes To India

I take a look at some of the best matches from TNA's excursion to India earlier this year!

So we've been hearing about TNA (or IMPACT Wrestling, or GFW, or whatever it's called these days) going to India for actual wrestling events. Of course, their TV deal in India with Sony Six is a big reason why they're still in business to this day. After being delayed for a number of years, TNA finally traveled to Mumbai, India to tape some episodes of IMPACT Wrestling before their annual Slammiversary PPV. I've collected a number of matches that I thought were among the best from those set of tapings, and as you've seen below, I've ranked them. Obviously there were other matches, but these six bouts that I picked out are the ones that, I feel, are worth watching, if you're a big TNA fanatic. Let's not waste any more time!

1.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (6/22/17) - Sony Six X-Divison Elimination Match - Braxton Sutter vs. Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Matt Sydal vs. Suicide vs. Trevor Lee: ***1/2

So over the course of these tapings, a couple of bouts that took place were (I guess) "sponsored" by Sony Six. Essentially, they were multi-person matches where the winner would receive a special trophy from a few officials from IMPACT Wrestling (such as Scott D'Amore & Bruce Prichard) as well as the CFO of Sony Pictures India. The first of those matches was a gauntlet match that featured ten participants, and while that wasn't very good, the second trophy bout, a Six-Way Elimination Match featuring competitors from the X-Divison, was much better. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this was the best match of these TV Tapings in India. There was plenty of entertaining action from start to finish, which really shouldn't be a surprise, considering who was involved. Everyone involved got a chance to shine before being eliminated. Trevor Lee got on an early role when he eliminated Braxton Sutter and then Suicide. Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards (who've been feuding with each other for most of 2017) were pretty much focused on each other for the entire match, with their Full Metal Mayhem at Slammiversary quickly approached. Both men eventually eliminated each other after they used chairs. That bit of the match was the only real downside. It wasn't made clear that you could be disqualified, and Edwards himself got DQ'ed after attacking Richards....who had already been eliminated via DQ. How you do get DQ'ed if you attack someone who's already been eliminated from the match? That part could've been handled better, for sure, but I don't think it hurt the match too much. Anyway, it came down to Trevor Lee vs. Matt Sydal, and in the end, Sydal got the win after hitting his Shooting Star Press. If you watch any match from TNA's India events, make sure you see this one.

2.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (6/15/17) - IMPACT X-Division Title - Low Ki vs. Sonjay Dutt: ***1/4

Arguably the most noteworthy match to take place at these tapings saw Sonjay Dutt challenge Low Ki (who's been wrestling in his Hitman suit lately) for the IMPACT X-Division Title. This was a very big match for Dutt. Not only was he returning to his ancestral homeland, but he was trying to capture the title that he had never won, despite being in the company on-and-off for so long. There was also the backstory of Low Ki being the one who gave Dutt an accidental (but legitimate) injury around one of his eyes in a multi-person bout several weeks prior. While this title match wasn't stellar by any means, it was still pretty good as a whole. These two seemed to work well together, and there was some solid back & forth action throughout. Low Ki did rip of Dutt's eye patch early on, but he never really made it a focal point following that moment. Ultimately, a big splash off the top rope secured Dutt the victory, and his first X-Division Title!! There was a big celebration following the match featuring a number of the babyface roster members. Again, this was good, but it seems like they were saving things for a rematch, which would end up taking place a few weeks later at Slammiversary.

3.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (6/8/17) - IMPACT X-Division Title - Low Ki vs. Caleb Konley: ***

To keep the X-Division theme going in this particular post, we have another X-Division Title bout to talk about! Before Low Ki defended his X-Division Title against Sonjay Dutt, he had a defense against Caleb Konley. Of course, Konley is best known for his time in EVOLVE & Dragon Gate USA, but it seemed like he dropped off the face of the earth after signing with TNA well over a year ago. Fortunately, he's popped back up over the course of 2017, and he got a singles opportunity here against Low Ki. You could question why Konley deserved a title match (as despite reappearing on TV, he wasn't exactly a pushed commodity), but I thought he was fine in his role as good opponent to give Low Ki a solid win. It only went about six minutes or so, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

4.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (6/29/17) - Low Ki & Trevor Lee vs. IMPACT X-Division Champion Sonjay Dutt & Matt Sydal: ***

Another X-Divison match! No surprise there. This tag team encounter aired two weeks after Dutt's title win, and a few days before his defense against Low Ki in a 2/3 Falls Match at Slammiversary. It was pretty standard, but it worked very well. I'll mention this again in the final match covered in this post, but this was a perfect example of how you book a go-home show before a PPV. Put the people who are in big matches on the opposite sides of multi-man tags. While it's a formula that's become a bit monotonous at times in a place like New Japan, it's proven to work if you want to protect your singles matches. Of course, Low Ki vs. Sonjay Dutt took place two weeks earlier, and the rematch is happening relatively quickly after the fact, so this particular bout makes even more sense. They had some good interactions during this one, and as a whole, the match was pretty entertaining. Another reason why this worked is that the two PPV opponents weren't involved in the finish, as Matt Sydal got the win for his team after pinning Trevor Lee with the Shooting Star Press.

5.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (6/8/17) - IMPACT World Heavyweight Title - Lashley vs. IMPACT Grand Champion Moose: ***

On the same episode that featured Low Ki vs. Caleb Konley, Moose challenged for the IMPACT World Heavyweight Title against Lashley. As a whole, this was a pretty solid TV match, but it wasn't without its flaws. There were some very good moments scattered throughout, but for the most part, the match itself was relatively....standard. Again, in my eyes, they did enough here so that this match reached into "good" territory, but just barely. What really sucks is that I heard they had a much better contest at a One Night Only PPV (do people even watch those?!) earlier in the year. This barely got the match rating I ended up giving it.

6.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (6/29/17) - Eight-Man Tag - Alberto El Patron, Eddie Edwards, James Storm, & Mahabali Shera vs. Lashley, Davey Richards, Ethan Carter III, & Kongo Kong: ***

Aside from Kongo Kong & Mahabali Shera, everyone in this match is paired off, in some form or fashion, at the PPV (El Patron/Lashley, Edwards/Richards, & EC3/Storm). This wasn't anything special as a whole, but as I mentioned when I talked about the X-Division tag team bout from the same episode, it's exactly the kind of match you want to book on the go-home show before a PPV. All of the aforementioned PPV opponents got to interact, and there was decent action throughout. Again, it was by no means amazing, but it was perfect as the main event of the final show before the PPV. Alberto El Patron would end up getting the win for his team after hitting a double stomp on Kongo Kong.

That's it for this edition of my random match reviews!! Hopefully I'll continue to make this a more regular series in the future.

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