Thursday’s episode of Impact Wrestling featured the much-anticipated Delete or Decay segment, which was essentially a sequel to the acclaimed Final Deletion match between Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy earlier this summer. However in this case, the “broken” Hardy brothers joined forces to take on Decay, who was targeting the Hardy compound in an effort to abduct Matt’s son, Maxel.
If you liked the Final Deletion, you liked Delete or Decay. If you hated Final Deletion, you hated Delete or Decay.
There’s really no in between, it seems. Personally, I’m in the group that liked it. You can’t do things like this all the time, but for one part of your show, it works. There really can’t be anything more different than the Hardy-Decay storyline and the introduction of the new Grand Championship, which we’ll get to in a bit. One makes the product feel very much like a pro sport, while the other makes it feel like a movie production. You could say that TNA is trying to serve too many masters and should stick to one narrative, but I’d disagree. If they stick to a sports presentation, they’re ROH. If they go purely entertainment, they’re WWE.
There was also a terrific segment in the middle of the show building up to the match. Matt Hardy had Jeff in his personal zoo, where he apparently talks to reincarnated famous people through his animals. It’s clearly not for everyone, but if you have been enjoying the campy storytelling, it doesn’t get any better than this. Very rarely is pro wrestling comedy actually funny, but this segment had several laugh-out-loud moments. Wrestling with the kangaroo, talking to George Washington, who is a giraffe. It’s all whacky stuff, but just when you think they can’t get any crazier, they do. Later, Decay carjacked a guy, stole his truck and left him laying in the middle of the road with no pants on.
For years, Vince McMahon tried to claim that his show was a variety show. Well, TNA is really pro wrestling’s ultimate variety show. There’s a little bit there for every type of fan. If you want true wrestling, you liked the Grand Championship matches and the ECIII-Lashley press conference. That felt like sport. If you like the over-the-top entertainment stuff, you probably really dug Delete or Decay.
TNA is trying to be a melting pot for all of these different types of pro wrestling. It’s how they think they’ll grow their fanbase.
Given that no one has touched the WWE in terms of analytical data for almost two decades now, why not try something different? Remember, the last time they did this, WWE ripped them off with a segment using The New Day and The Wyatt Family.
Whether you liked it or hated it, the truth will be in the numbers. If it helps TNA draw more viewers and if it helps sell pay-per-views for Bound for Glory, where I assume we’ll see them fight for the TNA Tag Titles, then it was a good thing. Given this is the first week TNA has to run against the NFL, it was smart to position this segment on this show. The Final Deletion had people buzzing and something like that or Delete or Decay is something TNA can run that isn’t spoiled in spoiler reports. It’s something I believe we’ll see them go back to again.
The Grand Championship is a very cool concept. We’ll see how the rounds translates to television. British promotions have used the tactic in the past, but this gives the new Grand Championship some meaning. It separates it from just a random mid-card title.
There is a lot of unique storytelling that TNA could do with the rounds and judges coming into play. If you’re an MMA fan, you see controversial decisions and it usually makes for some hyped re-matches.
1. Jade & Gail Kim beat Allie & Sienna
TNA is doing a really nice job building sympathy for Allie, and it’s clearly working. There were some legitimate chants for Allie during the match (it didn’t seem heavily post-produced). The match ended when Sienna bulldozed Allie with a silencer and that allowed Jade to pick up the pin, although she looked uncomfortable doing it. After the match, Jade and Gail helped Allie get back up and seemed concerned for her.
2. Drew Galloway beat Braxton Sutter in a Grand Championship first-round match
They could have done a better job explaining the scoring. I really like the concept, but the scoring was confusing. It appears that they’re scoring the rounds with three judges, and the majority wins that round for the wrestler. So in the second round, where two judges had the round 10-9 Sutter, and one had it 10-9 Galloway, then the round went to Sutter and tied the match after Galloway won the first round unanimously.
That’s different than MMA and boxing, where judges score the entire fight individually. In MMA, for example, two judges would have the fight 19-19 after two rounds, and one judge would have had it 20-18 Galloway.
I’m not a fan of announcing the judges’s scorecards between rounds, either. It’s possible that eliminates some of the suspense if a match goes to decision. If one wrestler wins the first two rounds, and we already know that, then there is no suspense if the fight goes the distance, because that third round literally would not matter if there is no finish. That’s the only real complaint. The scoring would be easier to understand if it was exactly like boxing and MMA, and also if the scores were secret until the end of the match.
That would make for a lot more suspense both in terms of reading results but also, announcers could speculate that someone needs a finish in the third round to win, without actually knowing. I guess in this situation, someone would know that they needed to finish, but I think it’s more intriguing the way MMA and boxing do it.
3. Eli Drake beat Jessie Godderz in a Grand Championship first-round match
Godderz won the first two rounds before Drake scored a pin in the third round to steal the win. Good storytelling here, showing fans who are new to the concept that just because Godderz won the first two rounds, nothing is certain.
Elsewhere on this show, ECIII and Lashley brawled after a press conference hyping their Bound for Glory main event title match. Dixie Carter also announced that she signed Moose to a TNA contract, after his deal with Mike Bennett was terminated because Bennett “fired” him for not helping him win the World Title last week. Dixie also set up Bennett vs. Moose for Bound for Glory.
Projected Bound for Glory card:
Lashley (c) vs. ECIII for the TNA World Title
Mike Bennett vs. Moose
Grand Championship final (presuming Aron Rex vs. Drew Galloway)
Matt & Jeff Hardy vs. Decay for the TNA Tag Titles