The July 26th edition of TNA Impact! Wrestling opens with a video package recapping last week's edition.
Sting's music plays and he comes out to the ring to open the show. Sting, who quickly makes his way in to the ring in a very serious mood, says TNA president Dixie Carter asked him to be the interim general manager while Hulk Hogan heals. Sting, who calls out Aces and Eights, gets Austin Aries to come out instead.
Aries says he will take care of Aces and Eights after they attacked him last week. Kurt Angle comes to the ring and he will join Sting and Aries to take on Aces and Eights. Bobby Roode is next out to the ring. Roode says he knows the man behind the group. He begins to give hints on who it is. Roode reveals it is James Storm. Storm comes charging after Roode and both battle it out in the ring.
Eventually, Angle breaks up the fight. Roode continues to state that Storm is behind this all.
(My quick take: A good, opening segment. It got right to the point of what it was trying to accomplish and it appears there could be a stable against Aces and Eights. Adding Roode to the mix to reveal Storm is behind Aces of Eights throws in a tongue twister.)
Backstage, Roode continues to stand by his statement that Storm is behind Aces of Eights.
Gail Kim and Madison Rayne versus Mickie James and Tara
Your winners via pinfall, Kim and Rayne.
Match Rating: 3/5
(Solid opening match. How Kim and Rayne won was a bit questionable on who got the pinfall. Other than that, the match had a good opening for Impact!)
Sam Shaw versus Douglas Williams
Your winner via pin fall, Williams. During the match, Joey Ryan appeared again and created a buzz by knocking out Al Snow at ringside.
Match Rating: 3/5
(Shaw got in some nice spots in the match. I also liked the opponent picked for the match, as Williams has not been on television for quite some time. Ryan again appearing created another buzz in the crowd. He has so much potential as a heel.)
Chavo Guerrero Jr. arrives to the Impact! Zone to make his TNA debut. Guerrero, dressed in a suit, says he is excited to be with Impact! Wrestling. He begins to praise the roster, saying they are hungry to do well. Guerrero says he is ready to become a champion in TNA, but Kid Kash and Gunner interrupt his speech.
Kash begins to ask where the Guerrero family is. While Guerrero is getting attacked, Hernandez comes out for the save.
The Gut Check judges are backstage discussing Shaw and Ryan's appearance.
A video package airs of Claire's recent revealings of AJ Styles.
AJ Styles versus James Storm in a Bound for Glory Series Match
No contest match. Aces and Eights returned by attacking Styles but leaving Storm alone.
Match Rating: 4.5/5
(This was a very good match to watch. Lots of terrific chemistry and in-ring work. Aces and Eights attacking Styles and leaving Storm alone made some sense in the match. It continues the story if James is behind the group.)
Sam Shaw is reintroduced for his Gut Check challenge decision. Shaw is accepted and earns a spot on the TNA roster.
Zema Ion versus Kenny King for the X Division Championship
Your winner, via pinfall and still champion, Ion. During the match, Roode interferes, allowing Ion to score the victory. After, Aries comes out and forces Roode backstage.
Match Rating: 3.5/5
(Good X Division action. King is looking better each time with his in-ring skills. No need for any sort of a title change, and Roode's interference helped his mission to get back at Aries.)
Bully Ray versus Kurt Angle in a Bound For Glory Series Match
Your winner via pinfall, Angle. After the match, Aces and Eights are back in the ring for an attack on Angle. Styles, Aries and Sting come out to fight back. Storm comes flying out to the ring for the save. Angle and Storm continue arguing in the ring as Impact! Wrestling closes.
Match Rating: 3.5/5
(A power-versus-technical wrestling match. It was a solid main-event match with a clean finish. I have no problem with Aces of Eights coming out after the match, as it did not interfere during it.)
Overall Impact! Wrestling Rating: 3.5/5
At the end of the show, Impact! Wrestling displayed a solid episode to watch. There were many positives I felt TNA did throughout the night, and they continued to advance storylines.
First, Aces and Eights are making significant progress week by week. I may not agree with James Storm being questioned if he is behind the group, but it does raise some eyebrows to viewers watching. Aces and Eights are looking similar to the nWo back in 1996, attacking everyone in their sight. They have yet to attack Storm, which brings up questions if he is really behind them. It feels as if TNA is creating an invasion angle.
Secondly, the Bound for Glory Series matches really show just how important they are. The two Bound for Glory Series matches on Impact! Wrestling were very entertaining to watch.
Also, Shaw did a pretty decent job in his Gut Check match with Douglas Williams. His match was a bit lackluster at times, but Shaw did enough to earn a TNA contract. Joey Ryan once again made another appearance, this time knocking out Al Snow at ringside. TNA is doing right with Ryan's character by having him show up on Gut Check episodes. He has all the potential in the world to become a monster heel character.
Overall, TNA put on a good show to watch this week. With DirecTV customers now having Spike TV back on their screens, hopefully this show resulted in some better ratings, which TNA deserves.