Thursday night, live from the Kovalchick Complex in Indiana, Penn., TNA Impact rolls into town with the promise of an exciting and eventful show. We are still on the road to June's Slammiversary, so expect things to heat up.
On tap for tonight...
Bully (c) vs. Hulk Hogan
After being called out by Bully Ray and his Aces & Eights biker gang, will Hulk Hogan step into the ring and face down the biggest threat to his tenure as general manager for Impact? Will he come alone or will he bring back up? What does the Bully ultimately have in mind for the Hulkster now that he essentially has all of the power in his hands (or more specifically, around his waist)?
The unveiling of Bully as the President of Aces & Eights has all but saved this angle. He and Devon are great as a team. The way they attacked Joseph Park in the locker room last week was loathsome and is exactly what the gang needs to garner heat and disdain.
The Aces & Eights called out Hogan because, as Bully said, they've destroyed all of TNA's heroes and there aren't any left. This leads me to believe there's going to be a reveal for a new TNA "savior." I'm thinking Sting. I also kinda have half a mind to expect Matt Morgan, which would be awesome.
In the end, all I really expect to get out of this is a passionate promo between Bully and Hogan and maybe a beatdown handed to the old man. If there's a reveal, then that would be a plus.
Velvet Sky (c) vs. Mickie James
Last week Mickie James beat Miss Tessmacher to become the No. 1 contender to the TNA Knockouts Championship. The match was a great back and forth battle that has become standard for the Knockouts Division. In the end, James came out on top and cut a great segment where she made her intentions towards the title known.
Tonight James and current champion Velvet Sky will get it on! But with Sky still mending from a previous injury, can the champ pull it out or will James once again hold championship gold?
I remember before James left for her break she had been hinting at a heel turn. With Velvet being one of the most popular Knockouts faces, it wouldn't be a bad idea to restart the turn for James now.
Mickie James and Gail Kim are possibly the best female professional wrestlers of all time. (You can quote me on that, argue in the comments if you feel like it, but that's my opinion.) It would be great to have Velvet involved in a long term program with one of these women. And with Kim preoccupied with Taryn Terrell, having James turn heel (or tweener, for all I care) would be great in legitimizing Velvet's run.
Or TNA can do what it's done before and that's have a legitimately competitive and exciting match between two faces. Hey, they've proven it can work with the Bound for Glory tournament.
Chavo and Hernandez (c) vs. Dirty Heels (Bobby Roode and Austin Aries)
This week Dirty Heels finally get their rematch against the champs, Chavo and Hernandez, to prove that their loss was merely a fluke. These two teams work great together and I expect to see another great match. But the match isn't what actually excites me about this battle tonight.
I don't expect the champs to really lose this as this rematch only serves to transition into the next feud. To me, that's the most exciting part. Who will be the next in line for the belts? Bad Influence has been consistently making their claims, but who else. At some point, TNA is going to have to pull the trigger on the Knox and D.O.C. Aces & Eights team up that everyone's anticipating.
Having Chavo and Hernandez win the belts was troubling at first because I hate to see Dirty Heels lose, but it really opens up the title picture more and that's a good thing.
Who do you think deserves a shot at the belt if the champs pull it out tonight?
AJ Styles is the Man
Last week AJ and James Storm finally met, face to face, in the ring. The result was a surprising submission victory by the normally airborne Styles. After the match, Styles went on to cement his new Lone Wolf persona by laying out Bad Influence and leaving all three men in the ring for Aces & Eights to destroy. WWE should take note, if they didn't think a heel turn for the face of their company could work, they should now.
AJ Styles is incredible. The guy totally switched up his move set for this new character. Now he's a mat technician? For those that don't know, that was a legit catch wrestling submission he put on Storm called the Scorpion Death Lock by some, which brings me to my next point.
Styles is very much the new age Sting in this storyline. His enigmatic appearances and behavior call back to the WCW when Sting ultimately took down the NWO. Is this a hint at AJ's future? I guess we'll have to tune in to see.
Aside from Chris Sabin coming back on May 2 (yay for that one!), TNA is unveiling a new audience-controlled segment called "On The Clock":
HULK HOGAN IS PUTTING YOU "ON THE CLOCK"
Tonight on Impact Wrestling on Spike TV at 8/7c, Hulk Hogan is putting you in the Draft War Room and "On The Clock". A new wrestler steps into each X-Division Contender match with the ultimate goal of advancing to an X-Division title match. Chris Sabin returns in that spot on the May 2nd edition of Impact! But the choice of the next new contender is in your hands!
Tonight, you will face the hard choice of being "On The Clock" and make the hard selection. You will be able to log on to ImpactWrestling.com and select the next X-Division contender to get a chance in Tampa (May 23rd).
Who will be on the board to be selected? Tune in to Impact Wrestling on Spike TV at 8/7c to find out the names. Results will be revealed next week during Impact.
Audience participation is never a bad thing, and when it involves the X-Division, then that's even better. What do you think of the attention TNA seems to be giving the X-Division?
I will be live chatting on Twitter for tonight's show, so follow me there: @RichardCorey125.
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