This past Thursday, IMPACT WRESTLING kicked off the summer by having a live episode of IMPACT at a new start time. The live atmosphere definitely had a positive, more unpredictable effect on the show.
IMPACT's new start time seems permanent, while going live will last the entire summer.
This was the first live episode and it looked pretty promising.
Bobby Roode vs. Sting
After a recap of last week, IMPACT starts things off with a bang. Roode vs. Sting, on live television, in a lumberjack match.
I spot Hardy, Angle, Devon, Bischoff, RVD, Aries, Crimson, Eric Young, Robbie E, Rob Terry, Daniels, Kazarian and even Chris Sabin ringside. Interestingly enough, Sabin is sporting his old attire as opposed to his Motor City Machine Gun-style shorts. As a fitting touch, EY is dressed like an actual lumberjack.
Sting and Roode really work together and this match showed it. The match was given a good amount of time and saw some good in-ring action (loved the way Roode countered a Scorpion Deathlock into a crossface. Also, loved Sting diving over the ropes onto the heels below) and the lumberjacks were used nicely.
The faces would toss Roode back into the ring to get beaten by Sting, and the heels would beat on Sting before feeding him back to Roode.
They really started the show off in a big way by having Bobby Roode tap out to Sting.
After the match, Hogan came out and granted Sting a world title match in Arlington, Texas at Slammiversary.
Unlike most YouTube commenters, I actually like seeing Sting back. Honestly, had Roode won here he would have no opponents for Slammiversary.
Backstage, Madison looks to be prepping for the guy she has a crush on. She says that she should get along with Brooke Hogan as executive in charge of the Knockouts.
Change of Plea
Bully Ray hit the ring and called Joseph Park out of the audience again. This time, Bully just wanted to fight the big man.
Park got into the ring and explained that he isn't a fighter. Bully used one of the oldest bullying tactics in the book by calling Park's entire family cowards. Bully says he is guilty over what happened to his brother, you know, Abyss?
Park grabs Bully and goes to hit him but stops when Bully threatens to sue. They want to fight, but save it for Slammiversary. The match is booked.
Interesting segment with Park and Bully, as always. Though, I feel like it was pretty similar to last week with the only change being Bully's plea.
I'm definitely interested in their match, though. Will Park wrestle in a suit or what's his deal? Will Abyss factor into this someway, somehow?
A video package is shown highlighting Crimson's entire career and undefeated streak within TNA. It was an awesome video package! Almost as awesome as Crimson's new t-shirt. You see that shirt? I want one, ShopTNA.
I'm hoping this video means Crimson will be in action next week because I've been missing the "Undefeated Hero" from IMPACT lately.
X Division Championship
Chris Sabin vs. Austin Aries
Good old, Chris Sabin is back! We haven't seen this guy in years as a singles wrestler and it makes me happy to see him again.
After a good, back and forth match, Austin Aries retained by reversing Sabin's Cradle Shock into a roll-up pin.
Sabin looked pretty angry after the match and had some maybe thinking of a heel turn for Sabin coming soon. Either way, I'd love to see Chris Sabin as a singles wrestler and on TV in the X Division a lot more. He could be a lot of fun to watch this summer, especially if IMPACT will be live the entire time.
Interesting spot prior to the match. Austin Aries was shown backstage talking to D'Lo Brown and spraying water on his head, hair and face. Samoa Joe happened to be walking by and "A Double" unknowingly sprayed Joe in the face before heading towards the entrance ramp for his match.
Later, on Twitter, Joe tweeted about being escorted out of the IMPACT Zone to avoid confrontation or something like that. I feel like we're going to see a Samoa Joe vs. Austin Aries feud either at Slammiversary or Destination X. It should be good.
Aries' reign continues to grow and I'm starting to think nobody will beat him for the title...ever.
A clip is shown where Hulk Hogan picked Taz as Ric Flair's replacement as a judge in Gut Check. Taz replacing Flair further proves that Flair maybe indeed done with TNA. I also like the choice of Taz because he's a former world champion and he isn't exactly soft and won't let these Gut Check guys roll over on him.
TNA Hall of Fame Announced...and Brooke Hogan
Dixie Carter announced that at Slammiversary, TNA is starting a Hall of Fame! They'll select one person at Slammiversary and induct them into their newly found Hall of Fame. Great news, I love it. Read my predictions on who that lucky soon-to-be Hall of Famer will be here.
Dixie brings out Brooke Hogan, who will be in charge of the Knockouts division.
It's too early to judge Brooke and I wouldn't expect her to put TNA out of business anytime soon. Don't worry about it. Maybe a good, baby face authority figure will help take the title off Gail Kim!
Devon vs. Jeff Hardy
As result of fan voting, Jeff Hardy earned a shot at Devon's Television Championship. Yup, fans got to vote. Choices were RVD, Anderson, Robbie E or Hardy (I voted Anderson).
This match was going all fine and dandy until, my dudes, Robbie E and Rob Terry interfered. They beat down both guys but, eventually, the champion and challenger fought them off.
I like the Robbie's, but they have to stop with Devon! Go into the tag team division, guys! You're needed more over there than in the TV title hunt!
Updates from "The Cowboy"
We get another video package from TNA's Cowboy, James Storm. Yeah, there's a name you haven't heard and have been missing I bet.
Another emotion filled video by Storm and he continues to second guess himself as a wrestler. The video ends with his daughter asking if he'll wrestle again. He doesn't answer her, but waves off the cameras.
When Storm does come back, I expect him to destroy everything in his path and eventually capture the world title (preferably from Bobby Roode). James Storm is TNA's biggest face and one of their biggest homegrown stars in recent years. His absence has definitely been felt in the IMPACT Zone.
Joey Ryan: Yes or No?
This had to be the best segment of the night, by far.
This was just filled with raw emotion, unpredictability and shock factor.
Bruce Pritchard voted no because he didn't like what he saw in Joey Ryan. Al Snow, though admitting to not liking anything about Ryan, voted yes. Snow saw unlimited potential for Joey Ryan.
Taz? Oh, Taz. Taz flipped out on Ryan after his "live or die" kind of promo, as Taz would explain it. Taz denied Joey Ryan and his fate was sealed. Ryan got mad and went face to face with Taz. The two were screaming at each other and Taz told Ryan to keep hitting the road and try again some other time.
I loved the segment, but I disagree! Joey Ryan deserved that contract! Hell, Alex Silva got one and he's as bland as the next guy. Not to mention, TNA hasn't used him (and can't use him) in a match or anything because of visa issues.
I'm hoping Taz's comment about "trying again later" and Ryan's Twitter rants attribute to some sort of work because Joey Ryan is too good to pass up.
A.J. Styles vs. Daniels
I know, I know.
We've seen this match a million times, right? Still, it entertains every time! A.J. and Daniels work so well together, they can have a best-of-75 series and still keep it fresh.
The ending saw A.J. backflip off the turnbuckle, then catch and slam Daniels with a reverse DDT. Nice move by A.J., as usual.
Kazarian jumped in and the champs beat down their former Fortune member. A.J.'s Slammiversary tag team partner, Kurt Angle charged the ring to help Styles. Kazarian and Daniels beat them both down using their championship belts and revealed a phone call between A.J. and Dixie Carter.
A.J. and Dixie were talking about meeting up secretly and how nobody is to know. The show ended with Dixie coming out to the announce table, stealing Taz's headset and yelling at guys in the production truck to cut the tapes.
Solid show, good ending. I love the live aspect of IMPACT and there's definitely a lot more to come. Next week, is the final show before Slammiversary (hard to believe, I know) and then we're on to Destination X!