TNA Impact Wrestling Preview: AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle, the Aces and 8s and More

Kyle SchadlerChief Writer IAugust 9, 2012

It's Thursday again and that means a new live episode of TNA Impact Wrestling!

TNA has been having quite the summer so far, and there is no sign of that train stopping—especially since the Hardcore Justice pay-per-view is this Sunday.

The company has confirmed three matches in the Bound for Glory Series, as well as what looks like two segments. Let's see what TNA Wrestling has in store for the fans this week.


A Locker Room Divided: Is James Storm the Leader of the Aces and 8s?

This group of masked men calling themselves the Aces and 8s appeared after Slammiversary and attacked Sting. They would stay quiet for a while after that until they sent a hand of aces and eights playing cards effectively calling themselves the Aces and 8s, or Dead Man's Hand to those they have attacked.

They have since gone after Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode and AJ Styles, but one name seems to have been left alone.

James Storm wouldn't be touched during the attack on Styles, and that brought Roode to bring up the accusation that Storm was the leader of the Aces and 8s. Storm would deny Roode's statement, but things aren't looking too good for the former world heavyweight champion.

That same night, Storm would come out for the save when the group was attacking TNA stars, but the Aces and 8s would simply walk out of the ring before Storm got the chance to even throw a punch.

The evidence only got stronger last week when the group didn't show up at all after the main event between Storm and Angle. Were the Aces and 8s afraid of a fair fight since everyone who's been attacked plus Bully Ray, Devon and Garret Bischoff were at ringside?

Roode had another theory which was that since Storm defeated Angle, there was no need for them to come out.

Is James Storm the leader of the Aces and 8s? Are the masked men just sitting back and laughing as the roster tears itself apart over the wrong answer? Last week, the group also sent a threat to Brooke Hogan, so will they follow through this week and attacked their first member of the Knockouts division?


Hardcore Justice Bound: What's Next for Austin Aries and Bobby Roode?

At Destination X, Austin Aries shocked the wrestling world when he defeated Bobby Roode for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. It would be the first time an X-Division wrestler would hold the title since AJ Styles held it in 2009.

The "Greatest Man That Ever Lived" had reached the top of TNA Wrestling, but Roode saw it as a fluke. He didn't think Aries could defeat him and began calling his title victory a one-time occurrence, and that he couldn't do it again.

The rematch was booked for Hardcore Justice, and Roode has been playing mind games with the champion for weeks.

While Aries wants to fight, Roode would just smile and back away each time. Roode wants to wait until the PPV, which is clearly frustrating the champion. They would be on opposite sides of a tag team match last week, but Roode would mostly stay away from Aries until after the main event when they brawled in the ring.

Is Bobby Roode getting inside the head of Austin Aries? Is Aries playing his own set of mind games with Roode by making him think that he's inside his head?


The Bound for Glory Series Continues

The quest to main event Bound for Glory in October continues this week with three matches in the series. Here are the current standings as of an episode of Xplosion yesterday:

  • James Storm: 66 points
  • Samoa Joe: 53 points
  • Kurt Angle: 41 points
  • Mr. Anderson: 40 points
  • Jeff Hardy: 35 points
  • Christopher Daniels: 33 points
  • Rob Van Dam: 28 points
  • Magnus: 21 points
  • Bully Ray: 21 points
  • AJ Styles: 16 points
  • D'Angelo Dinero: 7 points
  • Robbie E: 5 points

This week we'll see first place wrestler James Storm take on eighth place wrestler Bully Ray, and seventh place wrestler Rob Van Dam go up against 10th place wrestler D'Angelo Dinero.

The third match will no doubt be the main event of the night, as third place wrestler Kurt Angle goes one-on-one with ninth place wrestler AJ Styles.

Which of these six superstars will gain the all-important points this week?

With Hardcore Justice this Sunday, also expect developments in the X-Division Championship between champion Zema Ion and Kenny King, the Knockouts Championship match between champion Miss Tessmacher and Madison Rayne and the tag team match pitting Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez against Kid Kash and Gunner.

With only seven matches scheduled for the PPV, there may be one more match added as well. Will TNA deliver on this go-home episode before Hardcore Justice? Tune in to fine out!