Austin Aries opens the show
The former TNA World Heavyweight Champion kicked off Thursday night's program by addressing the Impact Wrestling fans and hyping his "first time ever" match against A.J. Styles in the main event slot of the broadcast.
He credited A.J. on carrying the company for the last decade, but said that it would be he, Aries, that did so for the next ten years. "A Double" also hinted that he was coming for Chris Sabin's title before being interrupted by former tag team partner Bobby Roode.
Roode has done an excellent job over the last few weeks of playing a wrestler that is absolutely obsessed with winning the Bound For Glory Series, and bordering on a mental breakdown every time he loses another match.
He reminded Aries and the TNA faithful of what he is capable of. Roode promised that he would make the best of the rest of his BFG matches, that he would turn it around and make it to the finals.
Aries said he hoped that was the case...so he could beat Roode again. He would leave the ring as Roode prepared to square off against Hernandez in the opening match of the evening.
Whether TNA plans to go in that direction or not remains a mystery, but, if they do, they have already laid the groundwork for an Austin Aries-Bobby Roode feud in the near future. Although this has been done before, it has the opportunity to seem fresh and deliver a series of show-stealing or Match of the Year candidate bouts.
The desperation of Roode as he attempts to climb back into the race in the Bound For Glory Series has also been interesting, and has this writer wondering exactly where the company is going with it.
ODB and Gail Kim cannot be contained
There has not been a more solid and consistent performer in the Knockouts division this year than Gail Kim. Whether it be holding down the fort as the roster's top female heel or delivering phenomenal, exciting and original matches with Taryn Terrell, she has been the most valuable woman in the company in 2013.
ODB, on the other hand, was left for dead as the official referee for the Knockouts. She was left with nothing to do until recently, when she left the stripes (or hand prints, in her case) in the locker room and has returned to in-ring action, thanks to a new-found rivalry with Gail.
On Impact, they met in singles action. The match was progressing nicely until it prematurely ended in a double count-out with no winner.
The referee's decision was not popular, and neither woman was ready to end their war with the other. They continued to brawl at ringside, with no number of officials able to separate them.
The return of ODB to the ring will only help to bolster a Knockouts roster that is as depleted as ever. The recent releases of Madison Rayne, Taeler Hendrix and the future Hall of Famer Tara has left a major void and creates the need for fresh faces. ODB may be familiar with most fans of the company, but her absence from in-ring action and the Knockouts title picture for the last year gives her the opportunity to fill that void, for now.
Gail is the perfect opponent to help knock some of the ring rust off of ODB and return her to title contention.