For awhile now, many have been calling the debut on a new network a reboot of sorts for the company. Aside from the talks of new beginnings, I felt this show was more of an evolution for the company from their time on Destination America. Things looked better and generally felt better!
Along with a new intro (which I dig) they also made upgrades to their graphics. The graphics are similar to what they had on Destination America with minor adjustments.
Finally there was the crowd. It was lit better than I remember during the time on DA. The crowd was very good all night which provided a nice energy for the product. Hopefully, TNA can keep getting crowds like this.
* TNA wrapped up the World Title Series tonight with both the semi-finals and finals. The show opened with a Dixie Carter segment hyping the debut on Pop but quickly dissolved into a brawl between the four semi-finalists and Tyrus. It was an okay preview for the matches.
EC3 vs Lashley was okay if not sloppy at times. These two have had better matches in the past. The Tyrus interference wasn't necessary but gives Lashley a reason to chase after the belt.
Matt Hardy vs Eric Young was also good in telling a story. The narrative of EY Piledriving Matt Hardy on the outside could have been a good tool to give Matt an out for losing to EC3 later in the night. Unfortunately after the match, Matt Hardy seemingly healed.
The main event was another solid outing. It won't go down as match of the year or anything but it was a nice wrap-up for the WTS. The World Title Series has had its share of strong matches but I don't feel this one will top that list.
EC3 was the right guy to win the title. A huge chunk of TNA fans would have been pissed if Hardy won. I like EC3 winning clean and Hardy clearly showing frustration after the match. The little conversation he had with Reby and the stare that Reby sent to EC3 continued to tease a heel turn in the near future. I personally would like this change of direction if that is where they go from here.
*Kurt Angle announced his last stand tour which will consist of him facing a list of opponents of his choosing. His first opponent selected was Drew Galloway, who will face Angle next week. Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz got some face time with promos on Kurt and Drew. Eli continues to handle himself and I got a kick out of Jessie gagging at some of the things Eli was saying.
This set up a 3-way for Friday's One Night Only Live show with the Wolves vs Jessie/Drake vs Angle/Galloway. What I like about this is that it built to One Night Only, which has been needed for awhile. Secondly, it teased both the Wolves as opponents for Kurt Angle. Thirdly, it established Eli Drake and Jessie Godderz as a tag team.
*Bobby Roode's open challenge was accepted by Bram. When Roode was teasing that anyone from any promotion could challenge him, I was expecting that. I love Bram but he was kind of a letdown. With that said, Roode beat Bram which led to my favorite part of the show (minus the production error).
Eric Young came back out and (with the help of Bram) attacked Roode. This led to James Storm returning to TNA and helping Roode clean house. Storm cut a passionate promo about why he left TNA last year. It then led to a reunion of Beer Money, which I am excited as hell for. This segment established a returning Beer Money while also allowing Bram and Eric Young to team. This show did wonders for TNA's tag team division.
While I have issues with how James Storm left in the first place, I am glad he is back. He looks pretty healthy and looks happy to be back in TNA. My favorite part of this is that TNA lured Storm back from NXT out from under WWE's nose. It shows that TNA still has a lot of fight in them. Beer Money will face the newly formed Bram/Eric Young at One Night Only: Live. Two interesting matches so far.
* I wasn't a fan of the Knockouts segment. It did a good job catching the fans up on what is happening behind the scenes but unfortunately it reminded us about how shallow the division is. The entire Knockouts Division was pretty much involved in the segment in some fashion. Gail Kim's involvement was predictable and a wasted opportunity to debut another Knockout. Awesome Kong's heel turn and alliance with the Dollhouse came out of nowhere and made no sense. I am taking a wait and see approach with this story.
*I really enjoyed the Miracle segment with Maria and Mike Bennett. Maria did an over-the-top introduction for Mike Bennett. She did a great job with that and showed how much she has grown as a performer. Mike Bennett came to the ring and also cut a good promo teasing a revolution of sorts in TNA. I could see Mike Bennett being a big star for TNA in 2016. The Bennett/Maria act got over tonight. They are welcome additions to the roster.
*Overall this felt like a better version of what we saw on Destination America. It isn't a dramatic change of booking or presentation. If you liked what you saw last year, you will like this show. If you wanted something completely different, I didn't see signs of it tonight. It really was an evolution as opposed to a reboot.