By Jeremy Peeples,

Last week, Eric Young laid out both Austin Aries and Kurt Angle to close out the show and cement himself as the top heel in the company. EC3 wants that spot and is now campaigning for a title shot in 2015. Taryn Terrell defended her title against Awesome Kong, but needed the help of The Dollhouse to do it. She’s now the ringleader of that group and turned heel during the match. Brooke won a fatal four way to become the number 1 contender, which in hindsight, did kind of telegraph a heel leaving with the title.  The Rising ate a beatdown from the BDC, and we’ll get Low-Ki vs. Drew Galloway in a pipe on a pole match tonight as a result.

I love the idea of getting a match between them on free TV, but the stip doesn’t bode well for the match. It’s also a Hardcore Justice show, and that was something they only spent one week hyping up. Much like how Jim Cornette said regarding ECW that if “every show has a surprise, then it’s not a surprise”, TNA has that same problem with “special” shows. We’ve got back to back weeks with a theme to them, and before that, we had “bell to bell” which seemingly meant something although they never really clarified what that was. Bells were rung though, so perhaps that’s the extent of the name’s importance. Beyond the overkill of themed shows, there’s no time to make things seem important – or even an emphasis on things within a show to really do that.

One week after WWE’s Extreme Rules PPV, the show opens with a highlight reel talking about extreme the show will be. We’ll get an X division title ladder match between Rockstar Spud and Kenny King, Eric Young vs. Kurt Angle in a stretcher match and the Galloway-Ki match. The show begins with the Hardys and Davey Richards against the Revolution. Josh and Al Snow are on commentary. Matt hits someone with a kendo stick and Davey gets some mounted punches on Abyss in the corner. Al is shown in one of his amazing wacky jackets with Josh in the broadcast booth. Davey gets a delayed suplex to Manik.

Khoya hits Jeff’s back with a garbage can lid. Jumping neckbreaker to Davey from Manik. Matt saves Davey from a suplex and the Hardys run wild. Poetry in Motion dropkick with a chair to Abyss thanks to Davey holding it up. That was a cute little spot that mixes up what you know with something new. Twist of Fate to Abyss, but Manik prevents the swanton. Khoya lifts Jeff off the top and does a gutwrench…thing resembling a suplex to Jeff. He dropped him very gently and then landed some punches. Manik chokes away on Davey, which Al points out is a mistake since he’s becoming distracted and can’t win with that.

Manik gets a rolling suplex and turns it into a back suplex. Abyss hits Jeff in the stomach a couple of times with a pipe. Matt hits Khoya in the head with a trash can before hitting Abyss in the cut with a kendo stick. So far, this is basically a video game hardcore match where a whole lot of things are technically going on, but very little of it matters because everyone recovers within a second or two. Abyss and Khoya hit a Tower of Doom to the faces, including Manik suplexing Davey. Well, they went up to save him, so I’m not sure why they had their arms around his neck in a suplex position.

Davey hits creeping death to Abyss and then dives to the floor onto Abyss. Jeff dives onto Khoya and Manik jumps into a Side Effect. Davey gets the double stomp off the top to Manik, but Abyss saves him. Abyss takes him out and elbows Jeff down. Abyss goes for the Earthquake splash, but Jeff puts the chair up and crotches him. Swanton to Abyss gets the win. Storm tells Abyss that he’s failed him one too many times before we go to the announcers. Josh puts over Al’s jacket and Al says that he’s here to keep teaching Josh.

Ken Anderson is backstage dressed up like Clark Griswold saying that he’ll be doing his own speech tonight and he has a sign. Josh talks about how Billy Corgan has joined TNA Wrestling and he plugs a TNA site interview he did with him via Skype. Anderson comes out in a white and blue button-down shirt, untucked, with an orange tie. This is an absolutely awful look, although I guess it works as a spoof of EC3 dressing up last week. Ken says he’s not about campaign promises – he’s about kicking EC3’s ass. Cue EC3, who comes out right away with Tyrus and his giant signs.

EC3 tells Ken it sucks when people interrupt and then Ken laughs like Pee Wee Herman at the “you can’t wrestle” chants. EC3 says the opinions of the dullards here don’t matter to him and he has officially invented politics in wrestling. Fans sing a new “boring” song, complete with maestro hand movements and Ken tells EC3 if he wants the title, just freakin win it! EC3 tells him that he busts people up and collects scalps and has even beaten Kurt Angle. 

Ken asks him if his streak is important and EC3 says it is, and Ken tells him that he will via a “Mr. Anderson Will Beat the Streak” sign. EC3 says Ken will be a footnote in his rise to being “champion, champion”. Ken challenges him to a match for next week’s live show, and the fans will pick the stipulation. I hope we get to choose between a no punching, no closed fists, and no backfists match. EC3 tells Ken to tread lightly, and Ken is sweating bullets in this outfit. He closes this off with a sign-off with Tyrus. Anderson is very hit or miss, but I really enjoyed this and a lot of it was due to him.

The four way X Division Title ladder match is up. Mandrews is out first, followed by Tigre Uno – who now gets streamers, then Kenny King, and finally Rockstar Spud. Mike Tenay did an interview with Rockstar Spud for Reaction/TNA’s Youtube channel, and the first part is quite good. Rockstar Spud’s side is taped up due to the BDC attacks. Clips of that would be nice, but they told the story on commentary, so that’s okay. Tigre hits a tornado dive to Kenny King on the floor. Mandrews his an SSP off the top to the pile. King and Mandrews fight over the ladder and Tigre dives onto it resulting in a teeter totter spot. Tigre climbs the ladder and Spud does something I don’t recall seeing before – just closing the ladder so he can’t climb anymore. 

Kenny attacks the ribs with some punches and kicks. Kenny and Mandrews punch it out and Kenny goes into the ladder and backflips off of it and tries to send Mandrews into it, but he uses that to leap off with a spinning DDT. Spud eats more rib shots from Kenny against the ladder. Mandrews drop toeholds King into a ladder. Uno goes up and fights him and hits a Spanish Fly off the ladder! Well, that was pretty cool.

Spud punches away at Kenny and hits a jumping kick to send him down. Spud and Kenny climb up, but a rib shot sends him down. Kenny climbs up, but Uno does the Shelton hop onto the mid-ring ladder before King fights him off. Spud rips the bow tie off and punches Kenny down, but Homicide pulls Spud down rib-first into another ladder and Kenny climbs up to win the title. This was a far better “safe version of a dangerous match” than the Ultimate X match was a few weeks back. Al talks about how bad it is that the bad guys cheated – so at least there’s one announcer who is against heels cheating and wants it to be taken seriously.

Back in the TNA studio, Josh talks about Anderson-EC3. Anderson wants a falls count anywhere and EC3 wants an arm wrestling match. EY vs. Angle vs. Lashley recap is aired to further explain the Angle-EY issues, then we see EY’s path of destruction. EY comes out with a stretcher and has Kurt’s shirt around his waist, which looks a bit odd. EY says that Kurt wanted to wrestle the real Eric Young. He calls himself a world-class champion and wrestler. “Lastley, I put you on this!” He brags about putting Aries and Roode on a stretcher as well. He’s upset about this being a non-title stretcher match – well, he has a valid point there.

He went from getting a title shot to losing it through no fault of his own due to Aries. He says that tonight, he’ll do what no legend, icon, or superstar could do – end Kurt’s career. King says that he and Homicide are the BDC X Division Champion, so maybe they’ll Freebird rule the title. MVP gives Ki a pipe and he destroys a row of water bottles. Spud is asked about what it feels to lose his title now after winning it in England. He says that 14 years of hard work have been stolen from him. The title represented Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles, Frankie Kazarian, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels – and that title meant that you were one of the best who has ever stepped foot in a wrestling ring and that title put him on the list. He will get the title back. Wow – Spud was incredible here, and this was easily the best promo on TV this week.

Taryn and the rest of Dollhouse do a vignette about messing with her means you mess with her friends and this is her house – the Dollhouse. She defends the title against Brooke next. Brooke comes out first and the Dollhouse gets an elaborate video intro. Taryn’s theme is now the creepy Dollhouse theme, which works perfectly for what they’re going for with this act. After a long collar and elbow tieup, Brooke shoulderblocks her down and gets a dropkick. A big “Brooke” chant breaks out.

Brooke gets two swinging neckbreakers for 2. Brooke elbows her down and hits a flying clothesline off the second rope. Marti distracts the ref and Jade trips Brooke. Taryn rubs her face into the mat. Al says it’s like sandpaper and Josh buries him for that. Heaven forbid a commentator put over something as hurting. Taryn kicks her in the stomach and gets a flipping neckbreaker for 2. Taryn chokes her on the rope. Taryn curb stomps Brooke and goes up top.

Crossbody misses and Brooke gets a series of elbows before hitting the booty-bopping facebuster. Brooke goes for a stinkface, but the Dollhouse saves Taryn, so she dives onto the pile. Brooke gets a flapjack and goes up top, but Jade pushes her off and Taryn gets the cutter and the win. Jade and Marti play ring around the rosy with Brooke’s body and hit the H bomb before putting the jawbreaker in her mouth. Taryn says no one can beat her, which Gail takes offense to.

Taryn says she doesn’t want to be in Gail’s shadow and Gail says she doesn’t want anyone to be in her shadow. Taryn says it’s Gail’s time to be in her shadow and now it’s three on one. Gail says she isn’t alone and Kong comes out. This is a great way to play off of the past – Gail and Kong are now allies for the first time in nearly eight years of the Knockouts division being around. Slammiversary ad airs – they’ll be live on June 28 from Orlando. They describe this show and that PPV as being amazing and recap the BDC-Rising rivalry with a video package. I love the ending shots of these Rising videos showing the group – it makes for a good wallpaper.

Low-Ki comes down and Al talks about being in the ring with Grado when Drew made his TNA debut. Drew has his ribs taped up and runs wild on the floor. Drew nails some hard chops against Ki while the fans hold him. Ki gets some headbutts on the floor and chucks a chair at him, but Drew avoids it and uses it against Ki’s back. Drew suplexes him from the floor right on the apron and then chops away on the apron as well – I like doing this seemingly basic stuff in different parts of the ring.

Ki caves the chest in with some kicks. He wants a Ki Krusher on the chair, but Drew counters with a powerbomb that Ki fights out of. Ki gets a hard corner forearm charge and punches away to get the pipe. Drew picks him up and gets a running tree slam – that was impressive. Drew puts the chair in a sitting position and chops Ki up top. However, it works against Drew, who gets chopped in the throat and draped over the chair where he eats a big double stomp. This sweet-looking spot gets 2.

Ki goes to get the pipe, but Drew meets him up top. Drew punches and chops away. The pipe falls down while Ki goes for a Warrior’s Way and gets thrown off. Drew grabs the pipe and goes to the top rope. Ki kicks him in the ribs during the flight and gets the pipe despite Josh saying earlier that only the first guy who gets the pipe can use it. Drew gets the Future Shock DDT on the chair for the win. This was a fine match overall, but I’d rather have these guys in a straight match. BDC comes down as does The Rising for a brawl.

A country-set music video recaps the Mickie-Magnus-Storm triangle. This was pretty cool. We see Magnus’s camera guy see Mickie at the grocery store, where James Storm just happens to be. James says they’re gonna get him some really cool diapers and this is played as Storm trying to usurp Magnus here. Magnus is mid-ring, but Storm comes out before he can speak. James says he isn’t the one who said “one more time” – the fans did. Magnus says he sees through it and knows what he’s trying to do. Magnus says she isn’t part of his Revolution – all Storm’s out to do is drive a wedge between he and Mickie. James says he’s not trying to do that, he’s just helping a friend – like Magnus would do.

Storm tells him that he has trust issues because he’s the one who hired a camera man to follow Mickie around. He had to hear from a camera guy that he ran into Mickie at a public parking lot, and he’s known Mickie for a loooong time. This is basically being played up as almost the Flair-Randy-Liz storyline, and I like this a lot. Storm says that instead of grilling him, he should ask Mickie instead. Kurt tells EY that it’s not about showing him why he’s the best, it’s beyond personal here, he wants to inflict violence. Kurt-EY is the main event and it’s next.

EY comes down and Josh says that the TNA site video that explained this match says that there’s no finish line – you just need to strap your opponent to the stretcher. Well, that gets across having to actually beat someone to a point of no return as opposed to having to cross a finish line like a schoolyard race, so that’s a big improvement.

Josh says that Kurt has a huge bruise on his chest from the attack last week, and sure enough, his right pec is badly-bruised. Angle takes him down with punches and clotheslines, and batters him around ringside. The crowd chants “over here” to get Kurt to bonk EY into something near them. Angle punches and clotheslines him in the corner. Kurt misses a charge and gets shoved shoulder-first into the post for an ad break.

Correction – a really long ad break. EY smashes Kurt’s face into the buckle and Kurt tosses him in, but EY Flair flips to the apron. They fight back in and Kurt belly to belly suplexes him, sending him to the floor. Kurt dives off the apron with a double axehandle and eats a punch to the gut. Kurt really shouldn’t be doing something like that to the floor, especially with his knee requiring a brace. EY stomps his head into the steps and grabs the stretcher. 

Kurt fires back with punches, but he eats a boot to the face. EY goes to the apron and Kurt teases a German off the apron, but EY fights him off. Al says that EY is obsessed with being great, but just winning the World title once proves how great he is. EY really does benefit from the “former World Champion” moniker because one year later, they’re still getting some mileage out of it. EY pops up out of the corner, but eats a German out of it.  Rolling Germans take the pad off a buckle and send them to the floor, but a shin guard-assisted low blow ends that.

EY wants a piledriver, but Kurt counters and slingshots him into the post and Angle slams him on the floor. Kurt moves EY to the stretcher and ties one strap together, but EY rakes the face. EY goes for a figure four, but it’s countered. He wants a piledriver, but that is countered into an ankle lock after a backdrop counter. EY counters that into a whip into the exposed steel leading to a piledriver, and then a second one. EY drags his motionless body to the stretcher and gets the win.

WWE hasn’t done stretcher matches often, but hasn’t really done them well except for one with Finlay at a Cyber Sunday show. Here, TNA had a really good match that was very much like the Michaels-Hart ladder match where it was a wrestling match that just so happened to involve this key item to win. The strap stipulation is so much better in theory than “run a stretcher match over a bright line” and sure enough, it was better in execution too. Josh talked about how EY has definitely earned a title shot now, which is quite true – he beat the champion fairly in this match.

An ad for next week’s show hypes up that it’s live and we get a partial card rundown. EC3 faces Anderson and Gail and Kong face the Dollhouse in a tag match. The best parts of this week’s show were the X Title, the stretcher match main event, Rockstar Spud’s backstage promo, and everything involving the Storm-Magnus-Mickie storyline. It’s early in the gestation period for that, but it’s already one of the best stories being told in the company and something that will either have a blowoff match or a pivotal match at Slammiversary.

To see every screen taken for the show, just click here.