1.2 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: A.J. Styles made his return to challenge Magnus for a winner-take-all match next week. Chris Sabin regained the X Division title from Austin Aries. It was a strong show.
Kurt Angle came out and said 2013 was the worst year of his career, citing his out-of-the-ring struggles along with the damage done by Aces and Eights. I'll say. He started to lay out his goals for 2014 when Bobby Roode interrupted him, thinking that Angle was going to announce his retirement. That was last week's show. Roode wanted Angle to tell him face-to-face that he was the better man. Angle said he wasn't leaving, and that he was going to kick ass in 2014, and challenged Roode to one more match. Roode tried to get the fans to chant "one more match," but they wouldn't bite. Roode refused, but thought better of it. Roode said if he beats Angle, then Angle must leave the company and never accept an invitation into the TNA Hall of Fame. That's the third time in a month that someone has either wrestled with their career on the line or has left the company, at least in storyline. Angle agreed to the match at Genesis in a steel cage. They had a pull-apart brawl, which included Rockstar Spud running out and being thrown out of the pile like he was a Chihuahua trying to break up a dog fight between two pit bulls. Spud ordered both men to find a tag team partner so they could face off tonight.
Dixie Carter said she had found the perfect world champion in Magnus and he would get a coronation fit for a king tonight. Dixie received a telegram (they still have those?) from a mystery man. The message read "See you tonight."
Carter found Spud and wanted him to get to the bottom of the mysterious note she received.
Gail Kim awaited another Open Challenge with L'aid Tapa. Madison Rayne came out, which wasn't anything news, but since she hasn't been a formal challenger yet I guess was legal.
Madison Rayne defeated Gail Kim in a nontitle match in 5:04. After Tapa tripped Rayne, Kim pulled out the La Tapatia, similar to how Jushin Liger used to apply it with a dragon sleeper. Rayne broke up Eat Defeat with a backslide before each woman clotheslined the other. Rayne tried a rana, but Kim threw her down face first. Kim again tried Eat Defeat, but Rayne reversed it into a 3/4 nelson for the pin. Looking like Rayne vs. Kim for the Knockouts title at Genesis. **
Velvet Sky saw her boyfriend Chris Sabin backstage and tried to sweet talk him. Sabin acted like an asshole and told her if he walked out of the building without the X Division title tonight, he was walking out of the building without her.
Angle talked with Gunner backstage about being his partner for tonight's main event. Gunner agreed, only to have James Storm walk up and shake his head in disgust over his former tag partner teaming with someone else.
2. Chris Sabin defeated Austin Aries in 5:42 to win the X Division title. Sky is now making Ronda Rousey facials whenever Sabin bosses her around. Crowd chanted "Shelley's better" at Sabin. Austin Aries put on the Last Chancery early on. Sabin ordered Sky to get on the apron to distract referee Brian Hebner, but Sky refused. That led to Sabin giving her a tongue lashing. Taz started comparing Sabin and Sky to the Captain & Tennille and Sonny & Cher. Tenay urged Taz to bring his references into this century. Aries hit a missile dropkick, and Sabin ordered Sky to jump on the apron to distract Hebner. Sky did it against her will, and Sabin kicked Aries low and got the pin with an inside cradle. Sky was nearly in tears. Jeremy Borash interviewed Sabin afterwards, and Sabin thanked the one person who made winning the championship all possible. Of course, Sabin thanked himself. Sky looked more concerned about Aries. **
Spud was rehearsing his lines backstage when Dixie phone rang. She's stoled the Vince McMahon gimmick of having her theme song as her cell phone ringer. The caller on the other end hung up, and Spud noted it was the fourth time someone at that number had hung up on Dixie today.
Samuel Shaw came out. He calmly ordered Christy Hemme, who he is supposedly dating, to leave the ring before announcing his opponent.
3. Samuel Shaw defeated Norv Fernum via submission in 1:34. Shaw is a well-dressed and better spoken Waylon Mercy. He wears black gloves and looked at Hemme after every big move. Shaw got a submission with a standing head and arm choke. Hemme looked more and more concerned about the guy she was dating. Isn't there a provision in Hemme's marriage certificate that after she tied the knot, she couldn't date anymore? 1/4*
Storm said Gunner was just like every other tag team partner he's ever had. Tonight, he would prove that Angle made a mistake in picking Gunner as a partner. Storm left to talk to a mystery person in their locker room.
It turned out that Storm was talking to, of all people, Roode. Storm said he hated Roode, but he needed to be Roode's partner tonight to send a message. Roode said he didn't Storm, who said he was going to be out there tonight one way or another.
There was a profile piece on Magus similar to last week's segments. He put over Dixie some more and said Jeff Hardy was wrong to spit in Dixie's face in their main event two weeks ago.
3. Bobby Roode and James Storm defeated Kurt Angle and Gunner in 6:46. Borash, Taz and Tenay played up the possible reunion of Beer Money up huge. Crowd didn't react like it was any real surprise and just treated like it was another match. Gunner is a good worker who the company has dropped the ball on several times before, and he still isn't over. Angle must really be hurting because Gunner went almost the whole way. Roode and Storm did the Beer Money double suplex, but Roode refused to do the chant. Angle made several hot tags behind the referee's back and finally just gave Roode several Rolling German Suplexes. Angle put Storm in the ankle lock, but Roode knocked Angle out of the ring. Gunner put Roode in the Gun Rack, but Storm hit Gunner with the Last Call, and Roode pinned Gunner with the AA. Storm put the world championship briefcase on top of Gunner after the match. ***
Spud wanted to know if Sting was the mysterious messanger. Sting said he wasn't there to talk to Spud, he was there to talk to Dixie's lapdog.
Ethan Carter the Third came out and they played up his pin of Sting last week. EC3 ran down Hardy for leaving the company, then said he tweeted Hardy earlier in the day to face him one-on-one tonight. Of course, Hardy wasn't there. EC3 then ordered the timekeeper to ring the bell while he counted Hardy out. Before he could reach ten, Sting came out. Sting said he wasn't going to listen to EC3 trash talk Hardy because Hardy was a man. Sting called EC3 a little dog who was on the end of Dixie's leash. Crowd chanted "Dixie's lapdog" at EC3. Sting chased EC3 out of the ring, and called him a lapdog again. EC3 started to walk up the ramp until he finally accepted Sting's challenge to fight him---in two weeks at Genesis. The EC3 buildup has been very well done so far.
Joseph Park claimed to Eric Young he wasn't Abyss, and wondered why Young put him in a match against Bully Ray tonight. Young reminded Park that Abyss wrestled Ray two years ago, and afterwards, Abyss disappeared. Ray walked up to Park and told him it wasn't in his best interests to go to the ring tonight by himself. Park wondered what Ray was talking about, and Ray said he was going to set Park on fire.
4. Joseph Park defeated Bully Ray by DQ in :55. Ray just stood in a corner with his head down until Park approached him. Ray kicked Park in the groin for the DQ. Ray pulled out a bottle that was supposedly lighter fluid and poured it all over Park, then pulled out a lighter, teasing he was going to set Park on fire. Mr. Anderson came out for the save, put Ray poured the fluid on Anderson, as well. Ray held up the lighter, then just left the ring. Really wasn't much of a segment because no one believed anyone was going to be set on fire, even if Abyss has done numerous fire spots in his career. DUD
Next up was the coronation of Magnus. Spud and EC3 were in the ring with the Union Jack flag and a throne. Spud introduced EC3, who was the Master of Ceremonies. This was one of those WWE segments that goes 20 minutes that can be summed up in three. EC3 gave a long introduction to Carter, talking about the 1-percent. Dixie told a story about reading a magazine during a flight where A.J. Styles was on the cover, but then she turned inside to find a six-page article on Magnus, which took her breath away. She knew then that she was going to sign him to her roster. Dixie introduced Magnus, who took his spot in the throne to piped in boos. Magnus told the fans to return their women to their full, upright positions. He put over Dixie some more, calling her the wind behind his massive wings. He accused the fans of not believing in him, and he didn't turn his back on the fans. At this point, Gunner came out and teased cashing in the world heavyweight title briefcase. He challenged Magnus to a fight, but Dixie immediately nixed it. Gunner dispatched of Spud and EC3, and got Magnus up before Spud kicked him low. Magnus teased hitting Gunner with the belt until Styles ran in from the crowd for the long-awaited showdown with Magnus. Spud and Carter were sent packing. Styles laid down the original TNA world title belt while Dixie screamed bloody murder. Styles told Dixie he wasn't going to hand over the title to Dixie. Wow, a babyface that doesn't act subservient to authority figures. That would make Styles the hottest babyface in the industry. Too bad he's history after next week. Styles said he was there because he screwed the people over by making the world title a farce. Styles said Magnus wasn't a world champion until he beat the world champion. Despite Dixie's orders to the contrary, Magnus accepted Styles' challenge for a unified world championship match next week. Dixie immediately denounced the move, but Magnus said no one would doubt him as champion again. Magnus ordered Dixie to give Styles a one-night contract for next week, and he was ready to roll the dice because he felt lucky. They shook hands for a winner-takes-all match.
SUMMARY: If only TNA could turn back time. The current direction isn't producing a series of great shows or anything like that. But this direction would have been better suited in January 2010 than signing Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to deals, further relying on past stars. Now, the company is starting to build a way a rebuilding franchise should: investing in draft picks. EC3. Gunner.Spud. Magnus. Some may prove to be busts. Some may turn out to be great leaders. It's a much more healthy direction. The bad news is, it may be four years too late. The final segment was very well done because it set up the company's biggest match since Samoa Joe and Angle at Lockdown, which still holds the company record for buy rates.
Sent from Rod's Pad.