TNA Impact Wrestling opened with Sting, who stated that he was the interim general manager for the night. He called out the Aces and 8s but got Austin Aries and Kurt Angle instead. They all wanted a piece of the group. Bobby Roode made his way out as well.
He implicated James Storm as the leader of the group and that provoked Storm to come out. The two would brawl before being pulled apart.
I thought this was a good way to open the show. There is finally some unity in the fight against the Aces and 8s, which is something that was lacking in this storyline. A group of six men can't just go around attacking people, there has to be a little bit of order. Now there is, what with Aries and Angle joining Sting, and Hulk Hogan no doubt joining as well once he returns.
A lot of readers mentioned last week that James Storm could be the leader of the group and it looks like that theory is at least being explored now. Storm as the leader could make sense when you think about it.
All of those attacked are involved in the title picture in one way, shape or form. The only one that doesn't fit is Sam Shaw, but he could have been a "wrong place, wrong time" kind of deal. Storm was screwed out of the title, so now he could be taking out those in his way in his quest to get it back.
I still think it's Jeff Jarrett, but Storm would be an interesting choice. As for the brawl between him and Roode, it was an intense one. It showed me that their feud doesn't necessarily need the World Heavyweight Championship because it's already personal enough.
Backstage, Roode knew for a fact that Storm was behind the Aces and 8s. The truth would come out soon enough. I'm interested to see what the truth really is. Whether Storm is the leader or not, I'm very interested to see who the leader really is.
Gail Kim and Madison Rayne vs. Mickie James and Tara
The heels picked up the victory after a questionable decision from Earl Hebner. Mickie rolled Madison up and bridged over, but she got her shoulder up before the three-count. Hebner would give the victory to Madison and Gail anyway.
The match itself was good, but the ending was kind of abrupt. All four women performed very well inside the ring, showing fans that the Knockouts division is very much alive despite not being as prominently featured as they once were.
That being said, it was great to see the division get represented this week, especially with the women that were in the match. I was hoping that this was going to be when Mickie finally turned heel, but that obviously didn't happen.
TNA may have planted more seeds for it to happen, though. Mickie was very frustrated with what happened. With the losing streak she seems to be on, it's only a matter of time before she makes the turn.
The Madison/Hebner relationship is an odd one to say the least. This situation may lead to Madison regaining the Knockouts Championship if it lasts long enough.
Backstage, Sting told Austin Aries that the X-Division needed direction. He wanted the world champion to choose Zema Ion's opponent for later. Having a former X-Division wrestler in charge of the division is a good idea. Who knows the division more than an X-Division wrestler?
While Aries obviously couldn't be the permanent man in charge of it, I'd like to see a former star come in to take charge of it.
Sam Shaw vs. Douglas Williams
Williams picked up the victory with the impressive Rolling Chaos Theory. Shaw was pretty good in the ring against someone like Williams. He’s definitely someone who would make a great addition to the roster, especially the X-Division.
Williams showed here why he should be featured more often. The British star is skilled in the ring and can deliver a match. His finishing move alone is something I would love to see every week.
It's no replacement for Petey Williams’ Canadian Destroyer, but it's one of the best finishing moves out there today.
Towards the end of the match, Joey Ryan returned and eventually punched Al Snow in the face. Gut Check really seems to be turning into a storyline for him as the winners haven't appeared since being awarded contracts. The only one to lose is the one that's appearing more than the winners.
Backstage, Aries would eliminate Rashad Cameron from getting a title shot later on. Cameron is very talented in the ring as he has performed quite well during the few matches he has had in TNA. It's just too soon for the Rashad Cameron Movement to move that quickly, though.
Chavo Guerrero then made his TNA debut stating that the Guerrero family has won gold in every country and company they have stepped foot in except for TNA. He was there to become a champion, but he was interrupted by Kid Kash and Gunner.
After Kash insulted the Guerrero family, Chavo went on the attack. The numbers game would be too much until Hernandez made the save.
Guerrero delivered a solid promo here and I'm quite excited to see him in TNA. He's still very good in the ring and I can't wait to see him up against the likes of A.J. Styles, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode and so many more. I just hope that he doesn't get pushed to the top right away.
I like that Gunner and Kash have returned to television. Both of them have been gone for far too long and it seems like they'll stick around for a bit in a feud with Guerrero.
Hernandez's appearance gives me hope of a team between him and Guerrero. The tag team division is a good place to start before he moves onto the X-Division, the Television Championship or even the world title.
Backstage, Angle wanted to know Storm's connection with the Aces and 8s. Storm said there was none and that he had their back against the group. There may be no connection between the two, but I'm sure a few will be created. I have a feeling that Storm is going to be made to look like the leader for the time being.
Remaining backstage, Snow said that they missed the match due to Joey Ryan. Taz declared that he liked Shaw, and Bruce Pritchard went over some pros and cons.
This segment seemed really rushed to me. Instead of getting a decent amount of time, the segment was about a minute long and didn't really accomplish much. Gut Check segments really shouldn't be done live; they should stick to being taped.
A.J. Styles vs. James Storm: Bound for Glory Series Match
The match would end in a no contest after the Aces and 8s attacked Styles and left Storm alone. Due to the match ending in a draw, both wrestlers gained two points in the series.
The match itself was a very good one. The entire match was back-and-forth with neither wrestler having the clear advantage. Both of them hit signature moves, including Storm delivering a move I haven't seen in a while—the Eye of the Storm—and both of them kicking out just before the three-count each time. These two work well together and it shows.
I was thankful that Styles' storyline didn't show itself here. While Claire Lynch was at ringside for the match, she didn't get involved, nor did Christopher Daniels or Kazarian. He wasn't constantly looking over his shoulder and it allowed him to be the Phenomenal One.
The ending of the match was a bit bothersome since it was such a great contest, but it made sense. Roode is saying that Storm is leading the Aces and 8s and the group just happened to leave him alone after attacking Styles.
That could be taken one of two ways: Storm really is the leader; or, whoever the leader happens to be is playing along to keep his identity a secret. This has certainly got more intriguing.
Backstage, Storm was asked why he wasn't attacked. He said that the guy with the cameraman should get the truth before making accusations. That's just it, what is the truth? Nobody knows the truth except for the leader and the six men wearing the masks. I think the truth will be revealed soon enough.
Back in the ring, the three judges decided Sam Shaw's fate. Snow said “no” due to missing the match, but both Taz and Pritchard said “yes” thus giving him a contract.
That's all well and good, but when is Gut Check actually going to produce? Shaw would make the third winner of Gut Check, but the other two have yet to appear since gaining roster spots. When are these winners going to start wrestling on the show?
I'm happy Shaw got a contract, but I don't want him to disappear for a few months before finally being brought in.
Backstage, Aries would eliminate Dakota Darsow from getting a title shot. He also made a few jokes about his father, but unless you're an older fan or know who is father is, you wouldn't get them.
Since Darsow lost to Zema after Destination X, it made sense to eliminate him here. When it comes to the four that were under consideration, I felt that Sonjay Dutt and Kenny King were the two most deserving due to Dutt's X-Division experience and King's in-ring ability.
I'm not taking anything away from the ability of the other guys, but I feel that King has a ton of talent.
Zema Ion vs. Kenny King: X-Division Championship
Zema would retain his title after some interference from Bobby Roode. After the match, Aries would attack his nemesis but Roode would manage to escape.
I thought this was a good match that saw some nice action throughout, including a few high flying maneuvers. King is certainly making the most out of walking out on Ring of Honor with one-half of the Tag Team Championship.
The former Tough Enough contestant has come a long way and has evolved into quite the talented wrestler. I can definitely see him with the title around his waist sooner rather than later.
Zema is sometimes all over the place. He's sometimes very good inside the ring, but there are other times he's a bit sloppy. Someone needs to teach him some control before he hurts someone else. This was a good match for him, though.
I really hope that the X-Division is going to feature more than just Zema, King, Sonjay, Cameron and Darsow. I remember when the division was huge and they all got the opportunity to shine in the ring. For some reason, the X-Division gets less of the spotlight when there are fewer guys in it.
Backstage, Bully Ray wasn't worried about the Aces and 8s. He called Kurt Angle the greatest wrestler alive, but he also said that he was going to beat him for seven points.
This was a nice little promo by Bully Ray here. He's been such a solid mic worker since undergoing the transformation into the bully. I would love to see him with a title around his waist sometime soon.
Kurt Angle vs. Bully Ray: Bound for Glory Series Match
Angle would pick up seven points after hitting the Angle Slam. This was a good match that featured a lot of back-and-forth action and played to both wrestlers’ strengths. Angle is a wrestler while Bully Ray is a brawler and fans saw their styles mix very well here.
The Olympic gold medalist continues to prove that he's still one of the absolute best in the business. He rarely has a bad match nowadays and can bring the best out of anyone.
Bully Ray has been at the top of his game since becoming the bully. He has consistently had good matches with the likes of A.J. Styles, Mr. Anderson, Abyss and many more over the past year. He has truly reinvented himself.
Post-match saw the Aces and 8s attack Angle while Bully Ray got out of their way. Aries, Styles and Sting would come out of the save, but the numbers game was too great. Storm would then come out, though, and the group would simply leave the ring.
TNA continued to tease Storm's involvement here, and if anyone noticed, there were five instead of six in the ring during the attack.
Could Storm really be their leader? I don't think so. I think that the real leader is taking advantage of this golden opportunity and using it to put all eyes on the former world champion.
Overall, I thought that this episode of Impact Wrestling was a good one.
It did seem a bit slow at times, and a few segments felt rushed, but the show overall was good.
There were a few good matches while the Aces and 8s storylines took a new turn. Not only did they add A.J. Styles to their list of those who have been attacked, but they're teasing that James Storm is their leader. This storyline gets more and more interesting as the weeks pass.
This was by no means their strongest episode, but it advanced storylines nicely and delivered some enjoyable matches.