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COMMENT





Impact: Hardy dives in title shot against Lashley
By NOLAN HOWELL - SLAM Wrestling


The old Jeff Hardy returned last week. After dropping the Willow alter-ego as a favor to TNA Executive Director of Wrestling Operations, Hardy earned a shot at TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley in a battle royal last week. Tonight on TNA Impact, Hardy gets his chance at gold as TNA returns to the six-sided ring! Plus, Rhino and Bully Ray collide in tag action! All that and more on this week's edition of TNA Impact!

We are on tape from New York City, N.Y. Mike Tenay and Taz have the call for this week.

TNA Executive Director of Wrestling Operations Kurt Angle kicks us off. Angle reintroduces the six-sided ring. Taz joins Angle in the balcony. Taz plays to his hometown fans and says he couldn't be happier with Angle being in charge and his emphasis is wrestling. Taz stresses the importance of that word and recalls when ECW turned the corner. Taz sees that same look in the eyes of the talent in TNA now and he thinks the mood is about to change.

Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer make their way to the ring. Bully calls NYC the greatest wrestling city on the planet and Bully made people a promise that TNA President Dixie Carter would go through a table. The crowd wants tables and Bully says that it is tables they will get.

Dreamer said he was driving down the highway and had a flashback to 1997 when himself and a bunch of "hardcore freaks" were getting national exposure in the same building they are in tonight, the Manhattan Center. Dreamer thanks the fans and says that TNA feels like a new place for the extreme. Dreamer says there are people ready to go all out every night in the locker room.

Ethan Carter III and Rhino make their way out. EC3 says there will be no tables tonight because his aunt will go through a table over his dead body. EC3 lists all the times Bully failed to put Dixie through a table and Rhino tells the crowd not to boo EC3. EC3 remarks how much he pays Rhino and takes shots at the NYC crowd.

Dreamer knows EC3 doesn't know where he is and knows this isn't a PG product, so Dreamer wants to do a little less talking and bring a lot more action. The teams brawl to start as we break.

(Commercials)

Match One: Bully Ray & Tommy Dreamer vs. Ethan Carter III & Rhino

We return with Bully Ray sending Ethan Carter III from corner-to-corner. Headbutts to the chest and chops land in the corner for Bully. Tommy Dreamer in and landing chops as well. Snap suplex connects for Dreamer and Bully back in with more corner work. Neckbreaker gets Bully a nearfall and Dreamer once again with strikes. EC3 striking back and Rhino in with corner work. Clothesline on Dreamer lands.

EC3 returns and misses an elbow drop on Dreamer after a Rhino bodyslam. EC3 sent off the ropes and into a back elbow. Rhino brought in by Bully and Dreamer and Bully mount the two in the corners. Rockstar Spud stops the duo from more punches as EC3 takes Dreamer down and Bully takes chase for Spud. EC3 working Dreamer in the corner with chops and Rhino in with a body shot. Dreamer whipped into the corner with velocity and Rhino gets a nearfall. Back elbow from Dreamer out of the corner leads to him walking into a spinebuster from Rhino for a nearfall.

Snap suplex from EC3 gets a nearfall and he applies a neck crank. EC3 sends Dreamer into the corner and runs into a back elbow. EC3 dropped on the second turnbuckle and Bully Ray in like a house of fire. Rhino and EC3 splashed in the corner by Bully. Rhino sent out and Bully with a bionic elbow. 3D gets Dreamer a nearfall off the double team.

Bully and Rhino brawling outside and Dreamer plants EC3 inside. Rockstar Spud on the apron and Dreamer hip tosses him inside. Spud taking the attention of Dreamer and EC3 from behind with a rollup.

Winners by pinfall: Ethan Carter III & Rhino

TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley, along with MVP and Kenny King, and Jeff Hardy shown entering the building.

Kurt Angle making his way backstage. TNA X Division Champion Austin Aries meets with Angle and thanks him for the opportunity. Angle says that there will be an eight-man X Division gauntlet match for Aries to prove himself tonight. Aries says he knows Angle wants to give him chances to prove himself and is ready for the opportunity.

(Commercials)

"Cowboy" James Storm meets up with Sanada. Storm tells Sanada he is strong, disciplined, and smart. Storm smacks Sanada and laughs. Storm says Sanada will end up a loser if he continues to listen to The Great Muta.

X Division Gauntlet Match Two for the X Division Championship

Austin Aries starts out with TNA Tag Team Champion Eddie Edwards. Lockup sees Edwards and Aries exchange armlocks. Aries ducks a chop from Edwards and Aries with a signature pose in the corner. Both men exchanging and Aries working Edwards in the corner.

Manik joins the match and lands a shoulder ram on Aries. Headscissors takeover from the top connects on Edwards. Aries sent out between the ropes Manik and Manik landing on Edwards. Manik up top and Edwards with an enzuigiri. Backpack stunner attempt countered by an Aries dropkick and Edwards sent out to the apron. Aries with a jawbreaker and STO combination on Manik. Elbow drop converts and Aries charges Manik in the corner, only to eat a neckbreaker.

TNA Tag Team Champion Davey Richards joins the match. The Wolves working the double team offense on Aries and Manik. Kick and strike combos send Manik outside. DJ Z joins the match, only to be hit with a leg lariat from Edwards. All men exchange strikes. Manik up top and a hurricanrana connects on DJ Z. Manik and DJ Z eliminated as we break.

(Commercials)

We return with Aries, The Wolves, Tigre Uno, and Crazzy Steve in. Sanada joins the match and knocks everyone down with chops to the head. Sanada working to eliminate Aries and stomping him down. Crazzy Steve playing mind games with Tigre Uno and spraying silly string on him. Tigre Uno eliminated. Edwards rocks Crazzy Steve on the apron and Richards with a front flip kick that sends him out. Crazzy Steve eliminated.

Aries goes after The Wolves, only to be taken out. Sanada up for powerbomb, but he punches out and hits a headscissors that sends Edwards out. Eddie Edwards eliminated. Richards charges at Sanada and flips out of a backdrop suplex, only to land him on the floor. Davey Richards eliminated.

Sanada and Aries left to battle to a submission or pinfall. Aries sent outside and Sanada trying a springboard attack back inside, only to be sent outside. Aries follows with a suicide dive outside. Slingshot inside by Aries and he locks in the Last Chancery in the center of the ring. Sanada inches his way and gets the rope break. Aries stomping Sanada on the apron and the two attempting suplex attempts. Sanada unleashes right hands and hits the springboard chop. Tiger Suplex attempt countered out by Aries, but he gets rolled up and bridged for a nearfall.

Scoop slam from Sanada and asking the crowd which corner to climb. Aries pulls him down and clubs the back. Kneebreaker attempt from Aries countered by Sanada, who elbows out and hits the Tiger Suplex for a nearfall. Backbreaker leads to a missed moonsault. Aries with discus forearms to the front and back of Sanada's head. Running dropkick lands in the corner and Brainbuster lands.

Winner by pinfall and still TNA X Division Champion: Austin Aries

Post-match, Aries shakes Sanada's hand.

Bobby Roode and Eric Young backstage. Roode says it is time for them to team up again. Young asks if it feels weird. Roode says the two have bonded against MVP over the past few months. Young says there is no running from them tonight and the only thing they need to decide is who gets to punch MVP in the face first. Roode says it will be him and Young is ready to do it together.

James Storm chiding Sanada backstage, chanting at him that he's a loser. Storm beats on Sanada and calls him a loser over and over. Storm leaves Sanada, telling him Muta and him are frauds.

Dixie Carter shown arriving with security.

(Commercials)

Jeff Hardy says Willow represented the darkness, but the light is now shining in TNA and that light is shining on him winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship tonight.

Kenny King and MVP on crutches in the ring. MVP with microphone. MVP says Mayor Bloomburg was supposed to have cleaned NYC up, but this has been exaggerated. MVP says he has a torn meniscus, but he still stands in the ring before them. King tells everyone he can beat Bobby Roode and Eric Young by himself, but that this is an abuse of power by Kurt Angle. MVP says this match is done under protest.

Match Three: MVP & Kenny King vs. Bobby Roode & Eric Young

Eric Young opening up on Kenny King to start and lands a flying forearm. Young flips out of the corner and struts on the apron to land a shoulder ram and a dropkick inside. Young with a pin attempt and he brings in Roode as he works King into the corner. Roode drops King with a back elbow, but runs into a boot in the corner. Cartwheel kick from King lands and MVP brought in by request. Roode hops up and MVP moves outside to regroup and call timeout.

Back inside, King sneaks a tag as MVP feigns a lockup with Roode. Roode ducks the sneak attack and drops King to bring in EY. Double team suplex gets EY a pin attempt and MVP with some offense from the apron allows King to land a jumping hangman's neckbreaker to the outside. MVP tags in and keeps EY grounded before bringing King back. King with some strikes on the ground for a nearfall. Springboard leg drop gets King another nearfall.

EY sat up top and King looking for a superplex. EY sends him back and hits a crossbody. MVP and Roode both tagged in. MVP stays on the apron and Roode misses a shot. King tries to attack from behind, only to be punched and clotheslined by Roode. King gets his boot up in the corner, only to be on the receiving end of a spinebuster from Roode.

MVP sneaks in, but Roode catches the shot and locks in a Crossface. MVP struggling to get the rope break and King makes the save. EY and King tumble outside and MVP grabs his crutch. Crutch to the stomach and across the back of Roode.

Winners by disqualification: Bobby Roode & Eric Young

Post-match, Young tries to make the save, only to be beaten with the other crutch of MVP by King. King and MVP take both out with the crutches and celebrate.

(Commercials)

No Disqualification Match Four: Brittany vs. Madison Rayne

Madison Rayne with a Thesz Press and landing on Brittany. Back elbow from Rayne followed by chops. Kick out of the corner followed by a clothesline from Rayne. Rayne working Brittany in the corner and sitting her up top. Brittany kicks Rayne away and locks in the armbar across the ropes. Rayne fights out and hits a slide kick outside and a crossbody from the apron.

Outside, Rayne landing forearms up the apron. Piledriver attempt from Rayne on the ramp countered with a back bodydrop and Rayne lands on the apron. Kick from Brittany lands and she works Rayne against the ring apron. Back inside, Brittany with a nearfall. Snap suplex from Brittany gets another nearfall.

Rayne has her head bounced off the canvas like a basketball. Side Russian legsweep lands for Brittany for a nearfall. Rayne fighting back with body shots, only to be dropped by a clothesline from Brittany for a nearfall. Rayne tossed outside by Brittany. Inverted DDT attempt from Brittany countered by a Northern Lights Suplex on the floor from Rayne.

Action again moves inside and Rayne landing forearms and a dropkick. Running boot lands and lays Brittany out for a pin attempt. Brittany cornered, but she fights out and corners Rayne. Handstand attack misses in the corner and Rayne grabs a package DDT.

Winner by pinfall: Madison Rayne

Dixie Carter asked what she's doing here tonight. Carter asked if she will be addressing Bully Ray tonight. Carter says Bully Ray is all bark and she is all bite and she is tired of hearing these questions.

(Commercials)

Austin Aries asked about the thoughts on his victory. Kurt Angle interrupts and congratulates Aries on his victory. Aries again thanks Angle for the opportunity and Aries reminds Angle he created "Option C" for all those who held the belt before him. Angle tells Aries that he will make public his decision on whether he cashes in for a TNA World Heavyweight Championship shot next week.

Match Five for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Jeff Hardy

Lockup sees Jeff Hardy get the side headlock and get slammed to the mat by Bobby Lashley. Lashley takes the back and eats an elbow from Hardy. Lockup again sees Lashley work Hardy into the corner. Clean break sees Hardy attack with strikes and hit a jawbreaker. Lashley leapfrogs and hits a clothesline on Hardy. Delayed vertical suplex connects on Hardy. Hardy fights out of the corner, only to be hit with a shoulder ram. Hardy floats over in the corner and lands a step-over kick.

Action moves outside as Hardy lands a slide kick and a hits a crossbody to the floor. Hardy pulls the steel steps away from the floor. Lashley whips Hardy into the steps, but Hardy jumps up and gets his footing. Lashley sweeps the legs and Hardy has his head bounce off the steps as we break.

(Commercials)

We return to Lashley landing crossface blows with the forearm. Action from the break shows Lashley sending Hardy into the steps over and over. Lashley yanking Hardy to the mat. Corner splash lands an Lashley puts Hardy into a torture rack. Hardy punching out. Lashley dropped by a forearm from Hardy. Inverted atomic drop lands and a leg drop to the groin connects. Dropkick lands for Hardy. Hardy with Whisper in the Wind from the top. Both men exchange and Hardy lands two Twist of Fates. Swanton lands for a nearfall.

Action moves outside and Lashley has his head bounced off the steel steps. Lashley out cold across the steps. Hardy climbs to the top and goes for the Swanton Bomb, but Lashley moves and Hardy lands on the steps.

Back inside, Lashley stalking. Spear lands in the middle of the ring for Lashley and Hardy put down.

Winner by pinfall and still TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Bobby Lashley

Kurt Angle says Bobby Lashley proved himself tonight. Angle grabs Dixie Carter and asks what she is doing. Angle asks if Carter is going to go out there in front of Bully's people. Carter tells Angle to never grab her and tells the two to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge because she is going out there to talk to her people.

(Commercials)

Bobby Lashley, Kenny King, and MVP celebrating. Kurt Angle steps up to them and tells MVP he is tired of him. Angle tells MVP there will be no more nights off. MVP will face Bobby Roode in a falls count anywhere match next week.

Rockstar Spud introduces Dixie Carter. Carter makes her way out with Rhino and Ethan Carter III. Carter asks if this is what all the fuss is about. Carter says she appreciates the loves, but she doesn't return the love. Carter understands why New Yorkers are mad because of the city they live in. Carter mocks Tommy Dreamer, Bully Ray, and those who cheer them. Carter believes she should be known as a "hardcore star" because of how many tables she has put Bully Ray through.

Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer have heard enough and come out with a table with Dixie's name written on it. Dreamer and Bully send out Rhino and EC3. Dreamer sets up the table and Dixie pushes Rockstar Spud right into a boot from Bully. Bully sits up top and Dreamer hoisting Dixie up. EC3 saves his aunt with a lowblow and Spud and Rhino take Dixie into the crowd with them.

Devon makes his way down the ramp and brawls with EC3. EC3 hit with Whassup? inside and Devon asked to get the tables. Devon obliges and EC3 is put through the table with a 3D.

The show closes with Team 3D standing over Ethan Carter III and a broken table.

Nolan Howell can be reached at nth993@gmail.com for any questions or comments.