As the road to Slammiversary continues, TNA Wrestling is riding some major momentum just two months from their 11th anniversary show. With two title matches, the Knockouts and AJ Styles' return to the ring, they look to keep that momentum going strong.
This week’s episode kicked off with a matchup, which saw the war between TNA and the Aces & Eights get more intense.
Kurt Angle vs. Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff: Handicap Match
Backstage before the match, Devon wanted to know if Brisco and Bischoff were ready. They assured him that they were, but he just told them that they better get the job done.
I wonder what would happen if they didn’t get the job done. The Aces & Eights have lost before, but they were never punished or anything. They wouldn’t have to worry about that, though, as after a distraction from Mr. Anderson and D’Lo Brown, Bischoff hit Angle in the back of the head with a chain for the victory.
I thought that this was an overall solid match, but it did drag at times. Angle was in control for most of the contest, while Brisco and Bischoff got to shine a bit as well. The crowds tend to really hate Bischoff, and he has embraced that hate. It’s really working well for him and his heel character.
The match wasn’t too exciting, but it got the job done in terms of the TNA/Aces & Eights storyline.
After the match, Mr. Anderson got on the mic and delivered a very strong promo. Speaking about how Sting left and how both Angle and Jeff Hardy were dismantled, Anderson really shined on the mic. Why he’s not the mouthpiece for the group is beyond me.
Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, and Anderson will be doing a lot more talking for the group, at least when Bully Ray’s not around.
Kenny King vs. Petey Williams vs. Zema Ion: TNA X Division Championship
Before the match, both Williams and Zema got to speak backstage. Williams spoke of having to take one out of the match so he’d have a chance at winning, while Zema wanted back in the spotlight.
Both wrestlers delivered in their short segments. It’s really good to see the X Division getting the spotlight back, which is something it definitely deserves. King would then retain his title when he pinned Zema after Williams had a Sharpshooter locked in.
This was a good X Division matchup. The action was exciting at times, and it was quite fun as well. Williams did exactly what he said he’d do here, too. He took out King with his awesome Canadian Destroyer finishing move, and kept him out of the ring with a suicide dive and a diving huricanrana.
Maple Leaf Muscle kept it one-on-one for part of the match with Zema, which I thought was good. Not only did Williams and Zema get to shine, but King got to advance his heel character more by stealing the victory from Williams. His new entrance music really fits his cocky heel character, too.
The X Division is truly reclaiming its spotlight. It’s been a long time since the division has gotten this much attention outside of Destination X.
As for the new X-Cam, which is attached to the referee’s head, it was interesting to say the least. It really didn’t add anything to the match overall, though.
A TNA Television Championship Match Never Gets Started
Before a Devon vs. Magnus Television Championship match, Magnus was backstage talking about how he has waited a long time for a shot at taking the title away from Devon. Magnus gave a good promo before the scheduled match. He gets the job done on the microphone and in the ring; he’s definitely one of the best younger talents TNA has right now.
As Magnus was making his way out to the ring, he was attacked by D.O.C. and Knux. He would actually fight them off, but Devon and his chain would take out Magnus. I guess the hammer is no longer the Aces & Eights’ weapon of choice.
After a double chokeslam from D.O.C. and Knux, Samoa Joe finally made the save. This would be the second time the Aces & Eights have taken out Magnus. Either TNA is building him up huge to eventually take the title off of Devon, or they have no idea what to do with him. I hope it’s the former.
Magnus deserves a push, and the Television Championship deserves to exist outside the Aces & Eights.
After the incident, Samoa Joe called the Aces & Eights cowards and declared that what they did would be paid in blood. Devon vs. Samoa Joe for the title was then made for later on. I like Samoa Joe when he’s intense like this. It really brings the “Joe’s gonna kill you” mentality to light.
Mickie James vs. Miss Tessmacher: No. 1 Contender’s Match
Earlier in the night, Brooke Hogan was with Christy Hemme talking about the new Knockouts website. When she left, both Mickie and Tessmacher walked in. After both were told they were something special, Mickie left and Tessmacher stayed.
She talked of being there for Brooke due to the Bully Ray situation, essentially sucking up to the woman in charge of the division. Could a Miss Tessmacher heel turn be coming? It’s an interesting thought. I can’t really picture her as a heel, but anything can happen.
She could be good in the role if it occurred. If the result of the match is any indication, though, it won’t be Tessmacher turning heel. Mickie James would become the No. 1 contender after countering Tessmacher’s roll-up in a solid match.
Both Knockouts gave fans some good back-and-forth action throughout the contest, and it seemed like it was anybody’s match. It was quite even, as they just went at each other and tested referee ODB.
ODB makes a great referee. She isn’t afraid to get in someone’s face and tell them what to do. Appointing her the new referee of the Knockouts division was a great idea. It gets her on television every week, and she is just so entertaining.
With a babyface being the Knockouts champion, I hope this will ultimately lead to a Mickie James heel turn. Later on in the night, she would say backstage that she was tired of being overlooked and that she was the best women’s wrestler in TNA Wrestling. Her comments were very heelish, so a heel turn could be on the horizon.
She played the role very well when she feuded with Trish Stratus in WWE, and I have faith that she can tap back into that if it does end up happening.
Bad Influence Goes Face-to-Face with Austin Aries and Bobby Roode
Before the segment, Bad Influence were seen watching AJ Styles. Styles soon walked away and Bad Influence declared that the band was back together. They then sang “The Three Best Friends” song from The Hangover. Bad Influence are just so entertaining. They are definitely the most entertaining characters TNA has right now.
The former tag champions then made their way to the ring. They were close to getting Styles back on their side, and then went into the TNA World Tag Team Championship. They declared that they’d become the “World Tag Team Champions of the World, Part Tres.”
That brought out Austin Aries and Bobby Roode, who declared that they were the No. 1 contenders. The two teams argued and threw out insults at each other until Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez broke it up.
This segment was great! Pure entertainment from start to finish. Bad Influence gave strong promos to start things out, Aries and Roode were solid on the mic as well, and the two teams insulting each other and arguing was just hilarious. These four are pure gold together.
Later on in the night, it would be announced that Aries and Roode will get their title rematch next week, and I really hope they win the match. I have tickets to Slammiversary, so I would absolutely love to see Aries and Roode vs. Bad Influence at the event. The match would be phenomenal, and the feud would be incredibly entertaining.
Devon vs. Samoa Joe: TNA Television Championship
Before the match, Devon confronted Joseph Park backstage. Park was talking to someone on the phone about Brooke Hogan, and Devon told him to stay out of family business. Bully Ray attacked him from behind and threatened him to stay out of their business.
As much as the Aces & Eights are targeting Joe Park, I have the feeling that Abyss will be making his return sooner rather than later. The TNA army not only needs a leader, but they need a monster. Abyss wouldn’t be a leader, but he’d fill the monster part very well.
I can see Abyss returning around or at Slammiversary to stick up for his brother, and remain as the TNA army’s monster in the war with the Aces & Eights.
After attacking Park, Devon wasn’t done quite yet. With some help from Mr. Anderson and brass knuckles, he would retain his Television Championship. I couldn’t really get into the match. Samoa Joe was intense throughout, which was the highlight of the contest.
That’s what TNA needs right now, an intense Samoa Joe. Post-match, Anderson would hit Joe one more time in the face. That may take the Samoan Submission Machine out for a few weeks, but once he returns, Joe is going destroy somebody. I can’t wait to see what he does, too.
Wrestlers Talk of the Aces & Eights Problem
Kenny King, Gail Kim and Bobby Roode then spoke about the Aces & Eights backstage. They all went into how too many people were getting hurt and how things were getting out of hand. TNA is finally bringing the heels into the equation.
Not many heels have spoken out against the Aces & Eights. They would just go about their own business because the group was leaving them alone. With the group pretty much taking control of TNA, they become everybody’s problem.
Ring of Honor was doing this with their S.C.U.M. storyline. Everyone was banding together to fight them, and now it seems like everyone in TNA may be doing the same in terms of the Aces & Eights.
Matt Morgan then popped up to blame Hulk Hogan for everything. He went over Hogan’s many mistakes and said everything was easily avoided, which seems to point at Hulk picking Morgan for the Lockdown title shot as being the way to avoid it.
I am very intrigued to see where TNA is going with this storyline. Morgan was never this interesting, so I tend to be a bit excited when he shows up. I want to know what he’s going to say next.
TNA dropped the ball with Morgan the first time, but things are currently looking up this time around. I highly doubt he’ll be the own to dethrone Bully Ray as champion, but winning the World title by the end of the year seems plausible.
AJ Styles vs. James Storm
Before the match, James Storm stated that he tried to talk to AJ Styles like a man, but now he’d have to do things the cowboy way. I take it that way means beating an answer out of him. Storm gave a short, but solid promo in this segment. He made it short and sweet, which got the job done.
After both he and Styles made their way out, Styles tried to walk away, but Storm stopped him. Styles would then win the match with a new submission hold, which looked like a variation of an ankle lock.
Styles and Storm had a good match here. They gave the fans some solid back-and-forth action, and despite not facing each other in a while, their chemistry as opponents was still there. It’s definitely great to see Styles back in the ring. He showed no ring rust whatsoever, and was just as phenomenal as he ever was. Storm performed great as well, but this was all about Styles’ return to the ring and his decision.
After the match, Bad Influence ran into the ring to raise Styles’ hand in victory. He let them do it, but then took them out. As the Aces & Eights entered the ring, he left Storm to get beaten down. Bad Influence felt the group’s wrath as well.
Bully Ray grabbed a microphone and delivered a great promo about how TNA has no more heroes. Fans should blame Hulk for that, and he would say that to his face next week when he calls him out.
The Aces & Eights just attacked a heel tag team, so I think that’s going to play more into heels putting their differences aside with the babyfaces to fight the group.
Bully Ray was just great on the mic. His promo was very good, and he spoke the truth. The Aces & Eights have taken out the heroes of TNA. There’s nobody left. That makes me wonder what’s going to happen next.
Will Sting return? Could Styles join Team TNA? Will Abyss come back? How about somebody new coming in? I think the most likely scenario is Sting, but anything is possible. I can’t wait for next week to see where things go from here!
Overall, I thought this was a subpar episode of Impact Wrestling. There were a few good matches and moments, but nothing really happened that got me excited during the show. Some storylines got me more hooked, but what happened wasn’t particularly exciting.
After last week’s very good episode, I am disappointed this week.
WWE Raw felt chaotic to me, and with Impact Wrestling being kind of lackluster, this hasn’t been too good a week for wrestling shows. Like I said, a few matches were good and some storylines were advanced, but I found myself bored most of the time.
With the Knockouts and World Tag Team Championships on the line next week, I hope to see TNA pick things back up.