Ever since the Bound For Glory (BFG) series started, I haven't seen a more consistently entertaining wrestling show, with as much star power, that booked this many high profile matches on a week-to-week basis.
TNA put on yet another solid edition of Impact Wrestling, something they have been doing on a consistent basis for months.
I was a big fan of the way the show got started, with the brawl between champions and challengers for the upcoming Hardcore Justice pay-per-view.
It was a different way to get the show started and was a welcome change of pace to the usual formula of a headline guy’s promo being interrupted by the upcoming challenger.
The match that followed the brawl was slow at times but featured enough big spots to keep people into it and allowed for the babyface team to go over.
The in-ring work stayed top notch as match after match they showed why the action is light years ahead of WWE.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you are not watching Impact Wrestling every single week, you need to start. If you are a wrestling fan, you especially need to start watching.
This is the place to get athletic, psychological wrestling, logical and well-thought-out storylines and sexy, athletic women.
Allow me to break down each of the segments.
Match One: Bobby Roode/Zema Ion vs. Austin Aries/Kenny King
As I touched upon above, the brawl among these four men to kick off the show was an exciting way to get things started.
It’s so important for TNA to continue to separate itself from WWE and they did so here.
As far as the match itself, it was a very solid television match. It was long with several exciting spots: the psychology of the heels isolating King from his partner and the eventual hot tag to help lead to the babyface come back.
One thing I was really looking for in this match was if Roode and/or Aries would stand out against the rest of the men. Would Roode feel bigger than the rest and the others feel like just X-Division guys?
I didn’t get this feeling. Ion and King looked like they belonged and certainly held their own.
If the X-Division title is going to be the second major strap in the company, it would be wise to continue to allow these guys to have big moments and pairings with the heavyweight stars of the company.
Sting calls out James Storm, Kurt Angle accuses Storm of leading Aces and Eights, etc.
I wonder, however, if TNA made a the right decision last week.
James Storm is in what is probably an important stretches of his career. To have accusations that he is aligned with emerging heel faction Aces and Eights doesn't make much sense to me.
I am just as much in favor for red herrings or tricks or anything that would make the story tougher to predict, just not at the overall expense of the rocking crowd reaction Storm has been getting since returning to Impact.
There is no doubt he will be one of their top guys for years to come. He not only seems much more comfortable as a face, but also the beer drinking cowboy fits his current role much better.
Before Storm came out, Sting showed a video that piles on the evidence Storm might be aligned with Aces and Eights.
When Storm came out, he cut a passionate promo saying why he was innocent and even possibly pointing the finger at Angle instead. Storm looked good here and seemed to convince Sting before being interrupted by Angle.
The former Olympic gold medalist again mentioned that they have beaten everyone except Storm—eight men even ran away from Storm. Angle begged for them to come to the match tonight but Sting did him one better, saying he would also be at ringside tonight.
I thought it was a decent promo.
It didn’t really do much to advance to story, however, it did catch viewers up on the allegations facing Storm. It also hyped the main event for the evening between Storm and Angle.
While it wasn’t anything that was “can’t miss,” it did the job and was a nice way to use two babyfaces against each other without making the fans choose a side.
Next a Claire Lynch/A.J. Styles video package recapped the events of recent months.
Daniels and Kaz were shown backstage joking about what A.J. Styles is getting into in Australia.
Daniels was rocking a sweet scarf and holding his usual appletini. Both men claimed they were going to throw a babyshow for Claire later.
It was good work by both men: Kaz showed good personality while Daniels continues to excel with his heel character. Although, I wish he could move on to something with someone other than A.J.
Stipulations were also announced for the three four-way BFG Series matches.
The first is A.J. Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle vs. Daniels in a ladder match.
This match is going to absolutely steal the pay-per-view show. Daniels, A.J., and Joe have already fought each other in what is arguably the best match in company history.
Adding both Kurt Angle—one of the best wrestlers on the planet—and the ladder to this match should give the competitors unlimited possibilities.
These four guys will blow the roof of the place and do things we haven’t seen done in a long time, if ever. I am stoked about the choice for not only the participants, but the match stipulations as well.
Also announced was a table match that pits Bully Ray against Robbie E against Jeff Hardy against James Storm.
This match is pretty wide open once you take Robbie E out of the equation.
Personally, I am not all that excited about the tables element, but I will admit it does add something to the match, as it seems to be right up Bully Ray’s alley.
Will Ray be able to win his trademark match or is a table only there to take you off the scent of Hardy or Storm
I see Hardy winning this match. He also has a history with tables and could certainly use the 20 points.
Of the three matches, I am least excited about this one.
The last match that was announced will pit RVD, The Pope, Mr. Anderson, and Magnus in a "falls count anywhere" match.
For me, this match is right up there with the ladder match in term of excitement.
I believe all four of these guys are still in it and can make the final four matches—yes, even the Pope.
They should be able to take the fight all over the arena and get themselves into some interesting spots. These guys can all bring it and the winner is anyone’s guess.
That is what makes these BFG series matches so fun. I am hoping they pull the trigger on Magnus as I think he has all the potential and would like to see him land in the final four.
Match Two: Bully Ray vs. Robbie E (BFG Series)
Bully Ray cut a short pre-match promo, saying he doesn’t trust Storm, even after six years. He says he will be standing ringside for his match against Angle, as well.
He also challenges Storm's loyalties, which keeping viewers guessing, but does it with a top-heel character so it doesn’t damage anyone if the allegations are wrong.
All in all, it was an effective promo.
Robbie E makes his entrance and I’m reminded how much I dig his act as a mid-card guy.
Wrestling the likes of Kenny King, EY, Devon, Bischoff, Magnus, and others is where he needs to be. I wish his spot in the series would have gone to Crimson, Gunner, Abyss, or even Douglas Williams.
Bully Ray made quick work of Robbie E—as nearly everyone has—and picked up the seven easy points. It is what it is.
This match could have been on a house show, with Jeff Hardy vs. A.J. Styles televised instead. But every guy in the series needs to get his camera time.
Except the Pope, apparently.
Then, Earl Hebner is shown giving Madison Rayne a teddy bear, chocolates, roses, and other gifts.
Gail Kim questions last week and Madison responded with the hilarious line: “Earl would never screw anyone in a match ever. He’s a professional.” It was great.
The tension between Gail and Madison was evident, setting up Hebner’s involvement again later.
Match Three: Gail Kim vs. Tara vs. Madison Rayne vs. Mickie James (Four-Way No. 1 Contender to the Knockouts title match)
Brooke Tessmacher joined Tenay and Taz on commentary and looked absolutely stunning as did all four women during their entrances.
And yes, Earl Hebner was the referee for this match.
The match itself was very good with all four women working hard. They kept two or three women in the ring at all times and there wasn’t ever a lull in the action.
In the end Tara rolled up Madison Rayne (who had both shoulders on the mat) and Hebner counted three. Tara celebrated but Hebner declared Rayne the winner.
Even though it was the obvious finish, I okay with it because of the eventual payoff. What I didn’t like was Tara accepted the finish with only a stunned look or how no one else even questioned the decision.
Regardless, it was a very good match and I expect Earl to be the referee for Rayne’s next match against Brooke at Hardcore Justice.
After the match, Sting was talking to Brooke about the condition of her father, spending considerable time trying to console her. A messenger delivered an envelope and when she opened it, she found Dead Man’s hand.
She panicked and ran out of the room.
Hopefully, they will attack her next and she will disappear and save us from her horrible acting.
ODB and EY were shown backstage. EY promoted his show and ODB told him they needed to defend their titles before Brooke did something about him being a man holding a woman’s belt.
EY said they can’t defend the belt if they aren’t together and grabbed his title and ran away.
I think this team has officially jumped the shark. They should be using ODB in the Knockouts division and EY in the midcard to get some of those guys over.
Match Four: Kid Kash vs. Chavo Guerrerro
Kash made his entrance with Gunner. I dig the pairing and I would dig it even more with Bully Ray. A gang of bullies could be fun. All of those men have attitude.
Chavo came out with Hernandez, I hate this pairing. It’s too predictable and Hernandez has been given several opportunities and has yet to show any charisma.
This was a good pick for Chavo’s first opponent as both guys worked well together and Chavo didn’t looked physically outmatched in there with Kash.
The action was decent but it seemed to me like Chavo was trying way too much to be like Eddie. Chavo use to be a flier and risk-taker but now he uses more of a ground game, with arm drags and suplexes thrown in.
It also killed me when Gunner got on the apron to distract the ref and instead of walking over there and pulling him down, Hernandez got on the apron from the other side of the ring and pointed at him while yelling in Spanish.
That made no sense.
If they are not going to utilize the men at ringside, why have them out there? Their future tag team match is obvious and could have gotten there without all the other nonsense.
Overall, I dug the debut of Chavo and I’ll be excited to see his act going forward.
With the match over, Dixie was asked about Claire backstage and somehow didn’t make a total fool out of herself this time.
Backstage, Wes Brisco was introducing himself to Kurt Angle asking him to put a good word in with Hogan. Devon and Bischoff interrupted them with talk of being sick of the Aces and Eights and bringing the fight to them.
Angle just asked to get through his match tonight.
I loved this segment almost more than anything else on this entire show. It’s not something that is blowing your mind right now, but if the rumors of Brisco being involved with Aces and Eights is true, this will turn out to be huge for the casual fan.
Brisco could be a mole sent to infiltrate the inside of Impact, specifically the locker room, and see what they know. Maybe pick out their next target and gain access to the building.
Fans will never see it coming while on-line fans can appreciate it now and wonder where it’s going next.
I thought it was brilliant.
Daniels and Kaz threw Claire a baby shower and Daniels was terrific here, too. He cracked a few jokes and just did a great job the entire time. He continues to excel.
The two presented Claire with a series of gifts: autographed Kaz and Daniels photos, A.J. Styles action figures and even a baby dressed like Styles.
Claire only had to say about two lines and but still she was TERRIBLE. The fans chanted “please shut up” and I can’t agree more.
Please take her off our screens for good.
MAIN EVENT - MATCH FIVE: James Storm vs. Kurt Angle (BFG Series)
Storm made his entrance and every time he does so I wonder why TNA doesn’t sell cowboy hats? Fans would be all over those things.
Bully Ray, Devon, Garrett Bischoff, Sting, Bobby Roode, and eventually Austin Aries were all at ringside waiting for the Aces and Eights. I thought that Storm and Angle wrestled a great, PPV-quality main event.
It was somewhat diminished by the fact all of these guys were at ringside, as it took some of the attention away from the match. So, too, did the anticipation of an Aces and Eight’s ambush.
All these distractions took away from the two men working hard in the ring.
The match was similar to what we have seen in recent weeks with this string of Kurt Angle main events, but it was well executed, and Storm got an impressive win.
Post-match, Roode questions where the thugs are and says they didn’t show because Storm didn’t need them.
Bully Ray attacks Storm and Roode joins him. Aries jumps in to take Roode while Angle started to retreat.
All four men were brawling as the show went off the air with no attack.
I thought it was a great main event and the post match angle was fine. It leads to another week of speculation about Storm while not overexposing the group as I feared they might start doing after the repeated attacks a few weeks ago.
Overall, this was another very solid and entertaining edition of Impact.
They hyped next week's Bully Ray/Storm, A.J. Styles/Angle and Pope/RVD matches in BFG Series matches.
Now, I'm excited for next week's edition.
We will also be another week closer to Hardcore Justice and hype for that show should start to pick up even more.
Impact continues to roll and this is the one professional wrestling show that I am most excited about on a weekly basis.