Welcome, boys and girls, to another Impact review from yours truly. After two less than spectacular weeks of TNA Impact, this week's TNA got back in form and they did it in great style. Top notch matches, great promos, and a fantastic twist in the Aces & Eights storyline have created one of the best Impacts of the live summer series.
1) Samoa Joe 47 points (5-2) 7 MATCHES
2) James Storm 43 points (3-1-1) 5 MATCHES
3) Kurt Angle 34 points (4-2) 6 MATCHES
4) Mr. Anderson 30 points (4-4-1) 9 MATCHES
5) Jeff Hardy 28 points (4-2) 6 MATCHES
6) Rob Van Dam 21 points (3-2) 5 MATCHES
7) Christopher Daniels 19 points (3-2) 5 MATCHES
8) Magnus 14 points (2-3) 4 MATCHES
AJ Styles 14 points (2-2) 4 MATCHES
10) The Pope 7 points (1-4) 5 MATCHES
Bully Ray 7 points (1-2) 3 MATCHES
12) Robbie E 5 points (1-6) 7 MATCHES
~On a side note, Spike TV are considering keeping the live Impact formula after the summer series is over. How is that for a great step forward!~
Opening Segment—James Storm is the leader of Aces & Eights? I have heard conspiracy theories built on less convincing ideas than that, so don't rule it out as a red herring just yet. The three faces kept it short and simple allowing Roode to deliver a very nice twist without going overboard on time. James Storm looked really intense when he jumped Bobby Roode and neither man came out on top of their fight, which was really important. Roode storming out of the arena afterward was great.
Mickie James/Tara vs. Madison Rayne/Gail Kim—Solid tag match from the knockouts with no appearance from Miss Tessmacher or the newly released Velvet Sky (thank god.) James and Tara did some nice tag team work and I can see them holding the Knockouts tag title sooner rather than later. The finish was a good way to cash in on a terrible storyline that's already been done and could lead into a Mickie James heel turn.
Chavo Guerrero's Debut—Chavo is not good on the mic. He may be passable at times, but for me this was not one of them. The real star of this show was Kid Kash. Kash came out with Gunner (Gunner was only there so Hernandez could make the save) and delivered a really good promo that was verging on a shoot when he talked about Chavo senior's alcohol problem. Expect Chavo and Hernandez to form a tag team soon.
BFG Series Match: James Storm vs. AJ Styles—Holy hell, that was a great match. Storm and Styles performed like they were on a pay-per-view with great back and forth action and some exceptional spots. The attack by Aces & Eights didn't take much away from the match because of the James Storm angle going on.
Gut Check Segment—Normally this takes a while longer and I was so happy that it was wrapped up relatively quickly. I was not completely sold on Shaw, but when Taz said yes and he started jumping around and hugging people like a lunatic, I couldn't help but warm to him a bit. Now all he needs is some actual ring gear.
X-Division Backstage Segments—These have a bad habit of being drawn out, but Austin Ares managed to keep it interesting and the fact that it was only two segments instead of three really helped.
X-Division Title Match: Zema Ion vs. Kenny King—Zema Ion actually put on a great match (not a good one he has done a few of them, but a great one) against Kenny King! Though a large part of the reason he put on such a great match is because Kenny King was fantastic, Zema did a great job on his own.
BFG Series Match: Bully Ray vs. Kurt Angle—Another fantastic match to end the show and both men put on top notch performances. Kurt Angle got the points after a flurry of near falls, but I really would have loved Bully getting some points for a change. The appearance by Aces & Eights to end the show was predictable, but their reaction to James Storm was very interesting and the fallout next week should be great.
Gut Check Match: Sam Shaw vs. Douglas Williams—These matches are supposed to help judges decide if this guy is worth a contract, how the hell are they supposed to do that in a match that was barely two minutes long? Alex Silva got more time, damn it. The appearance of Joey Ryan was nice, but as soon as that happened, the match was over. Shaw is very athletic, but we didn't see enough to make any real decision.
-Nice little recap to start the show for those people who can't remember one week ago. Seriously, it feels just a tad condescending that they have to remind us of what happened last week.
-Sting's makeup doesn't have any red in it, just white and black. Haven't seen that in a while.
-There is an "87%" sign in the crowd. Expect Joey Ryan to show up tonight during gut check.
-First Sting, then Aries, now Angle. Please let the next guy be Robert Roode—called it.
-Nice little bit of improv work from Angle after Roode's microphone died.
-Quote of the Night: "Earl might need a lube job, he might get one from Madison!"—Taz.
-Wasn't Mickie James turning heel?
-Bully Ray is on the "twitter-machine".
-Someone needs to get this Sam Shaw some actual ring gear, we don't need another Garrett Bischoff thing going.
-Joey Ryan just decked Al Snow, that was a good punch.
-Are we honestly still doing this backstage thing? It was good the first time (and passable the second,) but I really hope Austin Aries can do some of his magic here.
-Chavo is really getting built up here. It's nice to see he is getting the respect he deserves, but is it a little too much?
-Gunner was out there just as an excuse for Hernandez to run in and make the save.
-Having those tweets appear at the bottom of the screen during the Gut Check discussion was a very nice touch. And didn't these used to be held in a lounge of some kind?
-Crackhead Clair looks nuts tonight, meaning AJ level of nuts (Not Styles, the chick in WWE.)
-Wow, I think AJ might have killed Storm with that Northern Lights Suplex into the corner turnbuckle.
-DDT on the apron, my god!
-Gut Check done in one night is better than over two.
-Kenny King doesn't have an entrance graphic? How can the man challenging for the title not have a graphic?
-Austin Aries/Kenny King vs Bobby Roode/Zema Ion? Can't wait till next week.
-90 percent chance Aces & Eights jump Angle and Ray during the main event.
-Hasty retreat at the sight of Storm and now Storm is now the least trusted man in TNA.