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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Heel Turns: TNA receives a makeover

Posted by Achilles Heel On March 4

Achilles HeelTNA is dead.

For those who have been expecting TNA’s demise for a long time, this news is not a surprise. What may be surprising, though, is that only the name TNA is dead. Under its new ownership, TNA is being rebranded as Impact Wrestling.

But the organizational change goes far beyond the name change. There will be new authority figures, a new lead announcer and plenty of new faces.

The Greek God of Wrestling detests spoilers, so he won’t give away all of the changes. But one tease for next week’s Impact Wrestling is that a former WWE world champion shows up.

Another spoiler of sorts is that TNA will need to establish new tag team champions. Matt and Jeff Hardy did not re-sign with TNA, meaning that they are free agents. The same is true of Drew Galloway, who dropped the Grand Championship to Moose by judges’ decision on Thursday’s edition of Impact Wrestling.

The loss of the Hardys and Galloway is a big blow for TNA. The Hardys have been incredibly innovative during the past year, including their recent expedition of gold, during which they travel around the world to win all of the tag team championships. Before an injury cut his year short, Galloway was one of TNA’s top performers.

The loss of Galloway and the Hardys will hurt Impact Wrestling, but the excitement over the arrival of new faces should distract fans from the departures – at least for a little while.

Achilles Heel wishes Impact Wrestling nothing but good luck in its uphill climb to re-establish itself as a stable wrestling organization.

*****

FAST AND FURIOUS: Will Goldberg emerge from Fastlane on Sunday (March 5) as WWE Universal champion? Kevin Owens will defend the WWE Universal Championship against Goldberg in the main event of Sunday’s show on WWE Network.

The wild cards in the Owens-Goldberg match are Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar. Jericho is seeking revenge on Owens for a vicious attack by Owens that ended their friendship. Lesnar wants revenge on Goldberg for a humiliating loss at Survivor Series and for being eliminated at the Royal Rumble. Lesnar and Goldberg are already slated to meet at WrestleMania, so the question is whether Lesnar will cost Goldberg the match Sunday or help him win the WWE Universal Championship so he can take it at WrestleMania.

There are three other title matches at Fastlane. Bayley will defend the Raw Women’s Championship against former champion Charlotte Flair. Bayley is the champion, but she may be cast in the underdog role. Charlotte is 16-0 in singles matches on pay-per-view, including 15 bouts in which a championship was on the line.

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson will defend the Raw Tag Team Championship against Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Gallows and Anderson haven’t had the championship long enough for a title change. Neville will defend the Cruiserweight Championship against Jack Gallagher. The Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t expect Neville to lose the title Sunday.

In a non-title match, Roman Reigns squares off with Braun Strowman in a match that should have an inconclusive ending, perhaps with Undertaker, who doesn’t have a match yet for WrestleMania, getting involved. Samoa Joe should defeat Sami Zayn – unless Seth Rollins costs him the match. In a women’s match, Sasha Banks tries to get revenge on Nia Jax for an earlier defeat. The kickoff show includes a cruiserweight tag team match pitting Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa against The Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar.

*****

MAYHEM IN MANHATTAN: Ring of Honor continues to add to an excellent card for Manhattan Mayhem VI, which takes place tonight (Saturday) at the Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Adam Cole will defend the Ring of Honor World Championship tonight (Saturday) against Bobby Fish in the main event.

Other title matches include the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) defending the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship against Jay White and Lio Rush, and Marty Scurll defending the Ring of Honor World Television Championship against Sonjay Dutt. In non-title matches, Will Ospreay battles Dragon Lee and Dalton Castle squares off with Colt Cabana.

One match added to the card this week pits the Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes, Hangman Page and Kazarian) against Marc and Jay Briscoe and Jay Lethal. There also will be a 15-man battle royal, with the winner earning a future shot at the Ring of Honor World Championship.

*****

ORTON TURNS ON WYATT: Randy Orton finally did what was practically inevitable from the moment he joined the Wyatt family: he turned on Bray Wyatt. And he did so in spectacular fashion.

With Wyatt watching from the ring, Orton, on the Titantron, reversed field by revealing that he would cash in his Royal Rumble opportunity at WrestleMania and challenge Wyatt for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Orton then burned down the Wyatt compound, which supposedly contained the remains of Sister Abigail, from whom Wyatt draws his spirit and power.

Achilles Heel hopes to hear Orton explain that he joined the Wyatt Family because he thought the best way to break it up was from within. There should be some real heat, if you’ll pardon the expression, between Orton and Wyatt at WrestleMania. What role Luke Harper will play in this feud – can Wyatt bring him back into the fold? – remains to be seen.

*****

STYLES VS. ORTON: Randy Orton’s path to WrestleMania to face Bray Wyatt goes through A.J. Styles. With Orton initially saying he wouldn’t face Wyatt at WrestleMania, Styles won a top contenders match over Luke Harper on Smackdown after the pair “tied” in a battle royal the previous week. Shane McMahon has ordered a match between Styles and Orton this week on Smackdown to determine the No. 1 contender.

Last week the Greek God of Wrestling questioned what Styles would do at WrestleMania. It appears he could be heading for a match with Shane McMahon. We’ll know more after Styles’ match Tuesday against Orton.

*****

HOT COUPLES: As much as Achilles Heel doesn’t want to see John Cena relegated to a mixed tag team match at WrestleMania, the confrontation between Cena and The Miz and Maryse to start off last week’s Smackdown was awesome. The heated verbal confrontation ended with Maryse slapping Cena, which brought an angry Nikki Bella running down the ramp to the ring. That led to a big in-ring kiss between Cena and Nikki. This match may be far removed from the main event at WrestleMania, but Cena will make it seem important. They all got off to an impressive start on the build to WrestleMania last Tuesday.

*****

PHOENIX RISES: Congratulations to Beth Phoenix, who joins the class of 2017 for induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. It is expected that she will be inducted by her husband, WWE Hall of Famer Edge.

*****

EVOLVE IN FLORIDA: EVOLVE 80 and 81 will take place in Fern Park, Fla., during the days preceding WrestleMania in Orlando. On Thurs., March 30, new EVOLVE champion Zack Sabre Jr., who captured the EVOLVE Championship from Timothy Thatcher, will defend the title against ACH. That card will also include Tracy Williams and Fred Yehi defending the EVOLVE Tag Team Championship against Michael Elgin and Donovan Dijak, Matt Riddle battling Drew Galloway, and Ricochet squaring off with Keith Lee.

One day later, the card is shuffled. Sabre will face Michael Elgin in a non-title match; Galloway will battle ACH; Dijak squares off with Lee; and Yehi takes on Riddle.

*****

PROVING GROUNDS: Combat Zone Wrestling returns to Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees next Saturday for Proving Grounds. Joe Gacy will defend the CZW World Championship against Chris Dickinson in the main event. Scarlet and Graves will defend the CZW Tag Team Championship in a triple threat match against Dub Boys and EYFBO. In non-title matches, Matt Tremont and Stockade team up to face Joey Janela and Cannonball; Devon Moore battles Conor Claxton in a falls-count-anywhere match; Sami Callihan squares off with Alexander James; Maxwell Jacob Feinstein takes on Rickey Shane Page; and Shane Strickland, Jake Crist and Greg Excellent will be among the participants in a six-man scramble.

*****

LOSING HIS SWAGGER: Jack Swagger, who has been nearly invisible in WWE since the summer, has requested his release from WWE. Swagger even was announced as participating in matches on independent cards. The twist is that WWE has not yet granted Swagger his release.

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