Coming off the heels of a pay-per-view of the year candidate, Slammiversary, TNA Wrestling presented a new episode of Impact Wrestling. With the fallout from the 11th anniversary event, updates on the Bound for Glory Series and a debut, TNA looked to keep the momentum going strong.
Things kicked off with TNA World Heavyweight champion Bully Ray!
The Main Event is Set
TNA champion Bully Ray immediately started to brag about defeating Sting at Slammiversary. He claimed that Sting was on the verge of retirement, and adding that the Aces & Eights have taken everyone else out; TNA had no more heroes to save it.
That brought out general manager Hulk Hogan, who praised Bully for retaining the title despite the help from his entire gang. He then booked a Ladder match between him and Jeff Hardy with a hammer hanging above the ring to end the segment.
Bully Ray started things out strong with a great promo. The man is truly the best heel in TNA right now, and one of the best in the business as a whole. He’s also one of the few good things about the Aces & Eights. If it wasn’t for him and Mr. Anderson, the faction would sink like a rock.
Hogan gave one of his typical promos, while Hardy got a pretty good reaction from the crowd. Putting the hammer up for grabs is a bit corny, but makes sense in terms of storylines. The tool has become one of the main weapons of the Aces & Eights, so it’s good to see someone get the chance to use it on them.
Overall, it was a good segment to kick things off.
Hernandez vs. Chavo Guerrero: BFGS Qualifier Match
Before the match backstage, both Guerrero and Hernandez were disappointed about losing the titles at Slammiversary. They were both up for a spot in the Bound for Glory Series, and Hernandez thanked Guerrero for teaching him everything. Guerrero then cryptically said “not everything” before walking away.
This was an interesting segment. What I got from it was the seeds being planted for their breakup as a team. It’s about time, too. Hernandez is in Guerrero’s shadow right now. He’s a talented big man and deserves some of the spotlight over a veteran wrestler.
Looks like that’s exactly what will happen, too. Hernandez would win the match with a rollup, thus advancing to a spot in the BFGS. The match itself was pretty solid. There was good, back-and-forth action throughout and they showed to have good chemistry with one another. Getting to know each other as a team really helped that.
I wasn’t too much of a fan of Guerrero joining TNA, so I'm glad to see him take a backseat for the BFGS. His reaction to losing leads me to believe he’ll turn heel on Hernandez soon. It’s a good call; he’s already booed at events as it is.
Devon Wants the Television Championship Back
Devon then made his way out to the ring. He ranted that Abyss stole the TNA Television Championship from him in an unsanctioned match. He wanted him out there to give it back, but he got Joseph Park instead.
He was upset about being robbed at the chance to win a title and just out-right attacked Devon. He was on a roll until Devon got the upper hand. Before the use of a chair, though, Abyss’ music hit. When he didn’t come out, Devon headed to the back to look for him. Before the segment ended, it was revealed that Park was bleeding.
Devon gave a decent angry promo, but this was all about the Abyss/Joe Park storyline. I like what TNA is doing with it. It’s pretty obvious that they’re the same person, but the storyline is taking some interesting turns.
When Park sees blood, he turns into Abyss. It has gotten to the point where he just doesn’t pull off some of Abyss’ moves; he puts the mask on and wreaks havoc. The psychosis now lasts longer than a few moments. It’s only a matter of time before the monster inside Park completely takes over, thus resulting in the permanent return of Abyss.
Whether or not TNA officially reveals them as the same person is another situation entirely. Either way, TNA is handling the storyline very well.
After the commercial break, Devon and Knux were searching for Abyss backstage. They didn’t find him, so TNA cut to the next match. All they needed was a bloodhound and we’d have an episode of Scooby-Doo on our hands!
Robbie E vs. Samoa Joe: BFGS Qualifier Match
Before the match, Robbie E bragged about being the 2012 BFGS MVP by defeating Jeff Hardy and gaining five points. This year was going to be his year and he was going to take down whoever stood in his way.
Robbie gave a solid promo here. He was also pretty entertaining, so that’s a plus. It’s a shame that Robbie is still stuck with his Jersey Shore gimmick, especially since the show is no longer on the air. He’s a talented performer that needs to be repackaged.
His demeanor soon changed when he found out that Samoa Joe was going to be his opponent, and the end result was the Samoan Submission Machine just squashing Robbie. The match was short and sweet, and a way to keep Samoa Joe looking strong after his victory in the six-man tag match at Slammiversary.
It’s great to see him back in the series. I would like to see him win it all, as Samoa Joe vs. Bully Ray would make for a great Bound for Glory main event. I think the winning spot is reserved for somebody else this year, though.
Everything in Slow Motion
Backstage, Mickie James approached Velvet Sky. She gave Velvet a TNA lotto ticket and explained why she just stood back and watched Gail Kim attack her last week. She said that everything was in slow motion and before she could jump into action, Taryn Terrell stole her thunder just like she stole her match at Slammiversary.
Velvet accepted her apology and wanted her rematch later. Mickie said she already had a match and just walked out while Velvet was still talking.
Mickie’s heel turn is coming along nicely. Her promo was great. The tone of her voice and the way she was delivering her lines, especially the slow motion line, sold everything she was saying.
She continued to be condescending towards Velvet, and also continues to duck her. Mickie is trying everything to get out the rematch, which is very heelish. Her turn into heel is a slow one, but I’m enjoying every minute of it. TNA is really building towards it and they’re letting Mickie really shine in the process.
Coming Soon: Kurt Angle vs. Rampage Jackson?
Rampage Jackson then made his TNA debut. Jeremy Borash was conducting the interview, and Jackson stated that he was a big wrestling fan and that it was an honor to be there. He wanted to be the best, but to do so, he knew he had to beat the best.
That brought out Kurt Angle, who said he didn’t have to look far for the best. When Jackson was ready, Angle would be waiting for him. They shook hands and stared each other down to end the segment.
I originally questioned the signing of Rampage Jackson. I wanted to see a wrestler, not someone who just has mainstream name value. After this segment, though, I got pretty pumped that he’s with TNA.
Jackson didn’t get much of a chance to talk, but Angle gave a great promo. The best part was without a doubt the staredown, which was quite intense. Having Kurt Angle be his first opponent is a great idea. Jackson will obviously have to train before his first match, but there’s no one better to face than Angle.
He is still one of the best in the business, and could help Jackson quite a bit in the ring. If TNA allows him to train enough before the match, they could potentially have a Match of the Year candidate. Just from an MMA standpoint, they could probably tear down the house.
Count me as on board with the Rampage Jackson signing. I can’t wait to see how the situation between them is developed.
A New Aces & Eights VP?
Backstage, Bully Ray was looking for D’Lo Brown. Mr. Anderson didn’t know where he was, so they began talking about the vacant VP slot in the gang. Anderson was silent on the subject, though, so he asked Bully if he wanted the gang's help during the ladder match.
Bully simply said, “A good VP would make a good call.” That confused Anderson who asked if he was the VP to end the segment.
Anderson is a great talker. He’s one of the best in TNA. He and Bully Ray are the only two good things going on in the Aces & Eights, so seeing Anderson as the VP would be great. Ever since Brown was let go as VP, I was really hoping that Anderson would get the patch.
He was already the mouthpiece when Bully wasn’t around, so it made sense for him to get it. Looks like TNA is going in that direction, and there will be no complaints from me.
James Storm, Gunner and Chris Sabin vs. Austin Aries, Bobby Roode and Kenny King
With a springboard tornado DDT into Hail Sabin by Chris Sabin onto Kenny King, the team of champions picked up the victory. This was an overall good and fun match. Featuring a fast pace and exciting back-and-forth action, all six wrestlers delivered for the TNA fans here.
Despite getting smaller with the potential breakup of Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez, the tag team division in TNA is still pretty exciting. Storm and Gunner as champions was a surprise, especially since they literally just got together. It creates new situations in the division, though.
Both Bad Influence and the team of Aries and Roode will be now be targeting them instead of each other. TNA still needs to bring in some more teams. The Aces & Eights team of D.O.C. and Knux would be a good addition, while there are a number of stars that TNA doesn’t use that could be paired up.
Joey Ryan and Jessie Godderz would make an interesting team, and Rob Terry and Crimson could be a force to be reckoned with. Former champions Samoa Joe and Magnus could even reenter the mix. The division is good for as small as it is, but more teams could make it better.
The X Division is exciting once again. Kenny King was a fighting champion and had many great matches with former champions and division veterans. Having Sabin as champion is a good call. After coming back from career-threatening injuries, he deserves the spotlight.
His new in-ring style is very good, and he’s better than ever as a result. He’s the perfect X Division wrestler to be able to cash in Option C, too. He’s a TNA original who has worked hard throughout the years. If there’s anyone that deserves a shot in the main event, it’s him.
Love May Still Be in the Air
Backstage, Brooke Hogan was praising Taryn Terrell for her victory in Last Knockout Standing at Slammiversary. Taryn thanked her and said her goal was to be Knockouts champion. She then asked whether she still loved Bully Ray, but she avoided the question with more praise for Taryn.
Taryn definitely deserves praise for that match at Slammiversary, and so does Gail Kim. I was live at the event and seeing it in person was phenomenal. Both women threw everything they had at each other and gave fans one of the best matches of the night.
As for Brooke and Bully, I get the feeling that Brooke will become the first female member of the Aces & Eights. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I’ll wait to pass judgment when and if it actually happens.
Mickie James vs. Taeler Hendrix
Mickie James would pick up the victory with a spinning back kick to the head of Taeler Hendrix. This was a decent match with some nice overall action. The match was definitely designed to push towards Mickie’s impending heel turn.
She would be condescending towards Taeler by congratulating her for executing the simplest moves and even feigned a knee injury to gain the upper hand.
Taeler has improved quite a bit since her last appearance on Impact Wrestling. From this match, you can tell that she still needs some work, though. In the end, she made it through this match fine, and also helped in building towards Mickie's turn to the dark side.
Taking the Belt to the Abyss
Backstage, Devon and Knux were still looking for Abyss. Devon left the area, which gave Abyss the opportunity to take out Knux. Fans only saw their shadows, though, which I thought was cool. Devon reappeared and he too was taken out by the Monster. Abyss then said, “I’m taking this belt [TV title]…to the Abyss!”
I’m not really sure what that’s supposed to mean, but I like it. There’s actually a storyline surrounding the Television Championship, which is something that hasn’t been seen in quite some time. Abyss winning the title may be the best thing to happen to the belt since it became the Television Championship.
It’ll be interesting to see how TNA develops this while also advancing the Abyss storyline.
Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy: Ladder Match
The match ended in a no-contest when Bully Ray ran away. Bully was able to grab the hammer, but Hardy managed to get a hold of it. After a few swings, Bully took off backstage.
The match not having a definitive ending was a bit disappointing, but the contest as a whole was good. It wasn’t as good as their previous Full Metal Mayhem match, but it got the job done in terms of storylines.
The action was solid and hard-hitting, so they gave fans a physical encounter. It was also entertaining with lines like “Taz! My balls!” after Hardy kicked a ladder into Bully.
From a storyline perspective, Bully Ray running away makes sense. He’s a heel that can dish out the pain, but once it’s about to be turned around onto him, he wants nothing to do with it. The hammer is the Aces & Eights’ weapon and seeing it used on the president is something Bully didn’t want to happen.
A loss would have killed his momentum, too. While running away halted a bit of it, what happened backstage restored it. As Bully Ray was screaming for his title belt, Hulk Hogan came up from behind with a hammer of his own.
Before he could hit him, though, Brooke Hogan came running up to stop him. Bully quickly turned around and slowly backed away. Father and daughter then had an awkward staredown.
Bully left the arena unscathed, so the Aces & Eights stand tall once again and their momentum stays intact. The Brooke Hogan situation is going to create some controversy within the Hogan family. Her stopping her father also fuels my belief that she will ultimately join the Aces & Eights.
Overall, I thought this was a good episode of Impact Wrestling. TNA took what happened at Slammiversary and ran with it. Most of the matches and segments delivered this week, while the ones that weren’t as good still got the job done in terms of storylines.
I especially like how wrestlers have to qualify for the Bound for Glory Series this year. The past two years, the 12 wrestlers were just simply announced as competing. Having to fight for spots makes the series more important
TNA Wrestling is on a major roll right now; 2013 is looking to be their year. They’ll be continuing that roll next week with two major matches set and a big segment.
In two Bound for Glory Series qualifying matches, AJ Styles will take on Kurt Angle and Bad Influence will go up against James Storm and Gunner. Sting will also appear next week to address his loss at Slammiversary. If the tweet he sent out earlier in the day is any indication, he’s going to have a lot to say.
Thanks for reading, and I will see you all for next week’s show!