By Ryan Frye
The word impact is described as having a strong effect on someone or something. And for over a decade, making an impact has become a way of life for the athletes of IMPACT Wrestling. In this TNAsylum exclusive series, we'll take a look at some of the most impactful moments from TNA's past and present product, all in an attempt to preview what has yet to come.
INSTANT IMPACT returns to take a look at the third match in the best of five series between The Wolves and the Dirty Heels for the vacated TNA World Tag Team Championships, and how the heels had to get dirty to extend the series to fourth match.
SETTING THE STAGE
2015 has been an unkind year to TNA's tag team division. The championships have been vacated twice since March.
First, Eddie Edwards' broken heel caused The Wolves to relinquish the titles, setting the stage for a tag team tournament. The winners of said tournament—The Hardy Boys—would follow suit in vacating the gold when Jeff Hardy suffered a broken leg in a dirt bike accident.
In an effort to keep the titles as prestigous as possible, to prove they weren't snakebitten, The Wolves and the Dirty Heels agreed to a best-of-five series, with the winners becoming the new TNA World Tag Team Champions.
The first two matches of the series were as good of matches as TNA has had in this calendar year, and ultimately, were matches where The Wolves prevailed victorious. So, going into the third match, Austin Aries realized that something had to change. He and Roode needed to do what got them to the top in the first place—do absolutely anything necessary to win. Bobby Roode, though, seemed hesitant to embrace Aries' plan.
THE INSTANT IMPACT
The four men in this best-of-five are four of the most accomplished wrestlers on the planet today: between them, there are eleven ROH & TNA tag team title reigns, an ROH World Television Championship, six X-Division Championships, three ROH World Championships and three TNA World Heavyweight Championships. For those TNA titles, either Aries or Roode are the longest reigning champions in history.
That alone should speak to the caliber of the four men willing to sacrifice, willing to do whatever it takes to attain the TNA World Tag Team Championships, which eerily sat at ringside for match number three. The question being, with the proverbial shampagne on ice right in front of their eyes, would this be the night The Wolves popped the cork on yet another tag team championship reign?
Aries and Richards began the match. An aggressive Aries gutted Richards with a knee to the chest, downed him with a belly-to-back suplex of sorts into a quick, unsuccessful cover. What followed was a pair of backslides into two more failed pin attempts.
Aries gameplan of pulling a quick one on The Wolves was obvious as he locked in Last Chancery on Davey. Davey, though, managed to reach the ropes leading Aries to tag in Bobby Roode.
Aries opened up Richards for a kick to the chest from Roode before scurrying to the apron. Roode wrenched the arm of Richards, but Richards reversed. The Wolves dissected the arm of the It Factor with quick tags in succession, leading to a top rope stomp of the arm from Davey.
A double team from The Wolves whipped Roode into the ropes, taking advantage with a drop toe hold and a knee to the back skull. The Wolves' first cover of the match resulted in a kickout at two.
The sense of urgency, the intensity inside the ring was tangible as The Wolves recommitted to their attack on the arm of Bobby Roode. Roode, however, was able to break free of Edwards long enough to tag in Aries.
Aries fell victim to much of the same. The Wolves quick tags led to not only both of them being fresh, but additionally both of them often being in the ring at the same. Aries and Roode, while great singles competitors, simply lacked the chemistry of a team that's been together for as long as The Wolves.
Luckily for them, the Dirty Heels seized control through a commercial break, with Bobby Roode isolating Davey Richards from his partner—therefore, The Wolves great teamwork was deemed obsolete for the time being.
Roode slingshotted Davey up towards Aries for a double team move of sorts, but Davey and Aries collided and Aries fell to the floor. Meanwhile, Davey nailed Roode with a stomp to the chest. It looked as if Davey would be able to tag in Eddie, but Aries opportunistically yanked Edwards off the apron.
Roode remained in the control for a short time before Davey fought out of the Dirty Heels corner and tagged in Eddie.
Roode ate a flurry of offense, lastly a shinning wizard before Aries got involved and received an inverted suplex for his efforts.
Edwards backed Roode into the corner and viciously chopped away until Austin Aries again attacked from behind. All control of this match had been lost, and Aries was fulfilling his promise of doing any and all things neccessary to keep this series ongoing, but would it be enough?
Roode and Aries readied Eddie for a suplex, but Davey saved him. Towards the ropes the Dirty Heels went, and onto the floor they crashed as Davey and Eddie saw them coming.
The Wolves smelt blood in the water, immediately taking advantage with suicide dives onto Aries and Roode. Aries faceplanted ala Ric Flair while Roode simply collapsed to the canvas. In short, the Dirty Heels were in trouble.
The Wolves double teamed Roode inside the ring and nearly won the match while Aries was still on the outside.
Aries was able to thwart one of the tag team finishers of The Wolves pulling Davey from the ring. The Dirty Heels took advantage with a slingshot into a forearm and diving elbow into a nearfall.
Aries and Roode were in disbelief. Seemingly anything they had done in this series wasn't enough to put The Wolves away. Regardless of what they did, The Wolves were always a step ahead.
Aries and Roode shot Eddie into the corner, but Eddie sent Aries up and over to avert any offense.
This set Roode up for the pop up into a roundhouse, followed by a superkick to the skull and Michinoku driver to boot, but Aries broke up the pin.
Eddie tossed Aries to the outside, but when The Wolves ascended to the top rope, Aries was able toss Davey to the floor in return.
Davey fought valiantly, but was overmanned with his partner out of the match at this juncture.
Davey ate a nasty dropkick followed by a picture perfect spinebuster from Roode. Next was a 450 splash. Cover: 1, 2, no!
Aries saw a problem arising (Eddie Edwards) and quickly eliminated it with a suicide dive. Still yet, though, desperation was oozing out of the pours of both Aries and Roode. They had to win, but The Wolves had an answer to absolutely everything in the Dirty Heels' arsenal.
Aries slid a steel chair into Roode, who refused to indulge as the very liberal referee Brian Hebner looked on.
"I can't do it!" Roode screamed at Aries before Edwards rolled him up: 1, 2, kickout!
Aries grabbed one of the TNA tag team titles and entered the ring to avert Hebner's attention to him. By doing so, he allowed Roode to low blow Eddie Edwards, and then crack the steel chair over his spine. Cover: 1, 2, 3!
A massive smile crept across the face of Bobby Roode. Despite how hard he tried to fend it off, he gave into an old addiction, and it felt too damn good.
This is what got him to the top of the mountain in the first place, and now, it may well capture him the TNA Tag Team Championships once more.
The Wolves and the Dirty Heels have quite predictably stolen the show in each of their three matches thus far. Not only with great, fast paced wrestling, but also with a compelling story.
The Wolves are simply too much of a cohesive unit for the Dirty Heels to match, even as great as they are as singles competitors. Thus, Aries and Roode have reverted back to being the dirty heels they truly are at heart to compensate for that.
The final two matches of this series look to be excellent, with the story they're telling coming to a crescendo. And likely at Slammiversary, we'll finally have new tag team champions.
Personally, Aries' contract situation permitting, I'd like to see The Dirty Heels emerge as the champions as they continue to embrace their dirty side.
While other teams seem to be scarce at the moment, they could fend off a few other teams while The Wolves slowly climb back into the title picture. Finally, The Wolves would get their revenge on the Dirty Heels and regain their titles.
Additionally, after months of seemingly being lost in the shuffle as a stale babyface, the Bobby Roode we know and love looks to be back. His character finally has the motivation, the fire, the drive, the passion that he had during his epic 256 day world title reign. And in the big picture, that might be the biggest thing to come from this series.