6.20 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: Six Bound for Glory matches on the first night of the tournament. Kurt Angle was revealed as the first member of Sting's new Main Event Mafia, which was only fitting since he's the only original MEM member, aside from Sting, remaining in the company.
Sting came down a ramp wearing a three-piece suit, dressed just like he did during the Main Event Mafia days. Mike Tenay teased whether Sting would announce members of his new group tonight.
Ten competitors for the Bound for Glory Series were in the ring to start the show. Hulk Hogan came out to introduce Bobby Roode and Jeff Hardy, the two prior winners of the BFG series. Hogan announced that tonight would begin the Bound for Glory Series, and all 12 competitors would be in action. The fan voting was unveiled, where Hardy received 68% to win and get his choice of who to call out first, since it was Open Fight Night. Before Hardy could talk, Austin Aries stepped in and said he would like for Hardy to call him out, but it wasn't going to happen since he was more popular than Hardy. Christopher Daniels stepped in and said Hardy shouldn't call out the "Secretary of Offense" Kazarian or "Sexually Delicious" Christopher Daniels, because he would lose if he did. Hardy called Roode out. Roode shoved Hardy, and everybody started brawling with each other.
In case you aren't familiar with the Bound for Glory Tournament, submission wins are good for 10 points, pinfall victories earn 7 points, Countout victories are 5 points, DQ wins are 2 points, draws are 2 points, and DQ losses are -10 points. The top four point getters face advance to the semifinals, with the champion earning the title shot at Bound for Glory, the last (and next) PPV of the year.
Mr. Anderson came out to make the next Open Fight Night challenge. I wish somebody would explain why Anderson gets to make the challenge without doing anything to earn it. Anderson called out Joseph Park.
Mr. Anderson (7 points) pinned Joseph Park (0 points) in 5:06 in a Bound for Glory Series match. Anderson treated Park like a joke, allowing Park to put him in headlocks while Anderson would easily slip out of them and embarrass Park. But Park would respond with a series of double chops. Park got a near fall with a schoolboy cradle. Do came down to distract the referee after Park clamped on a Boston Crab. Finish came when Park climbed to the second rope, but Doc kicked Park, and Anderson hit the Mic Check. *1/4
Anderson bragged about his win and said he would be the next Vice President. Doc got upset and said that Anderson did nothing but skate backwards for eight minutes in the ring. That was quite the feat considering he barely worked for five. Doc and Anderson started to argue over who should be VP when Bully Ray stepped in. Ray said they have other matters to focus on tonight, and that was his wife, Brooke Hogan.
Jay Bradley, now with a mohawk, called out Aries.
2. Austin Aries (7 points) pinned Jay Bradley (0 points) in 3:38 in a Bound for Glory Series match. Good short match where Aries really shined. Simple psychology where Bradley wanted to land his finisher, the Boom Stick. Aries kept working over Bradley left leg, but Bradley caught a big boot with his right leg. Bradley went for the Boom Stick, but Aries turned it into a Crucifix, and followed with the Brian Buster for the pin. **1/2
Sting said he was going to have a sit-down meeting with someone tonight backstage, and vowed the Mafia would rise again.
Sting was shown meeting with someone in a dark corner of the building, so dark we couldn't see who he was talking with. He asked the mystery person if they were in. The person shook Sting's hand without identifying himself, but he's in. Sting talked like it was someone who had previously been in the Mafia, so it may have been Kurt Angle since he has no program right now.
Chavo Guerrero gave Hernandez a pep talk backstage in advance for his BFG match.
Hernandez called out Daniels.
3. Christopher Daniels (7 points) defeated Hernandez (0 points) by pinfall in 2:19 in a Bound for Glory Series match. Hernandez did his Air Mexico spot. Somewhere in the early stages, Hernandez took something that bloodied his mouth. Daniels kicked Hernandez low, then pinned him after the Best Moonsault Ever. *1/4
Kazarian was next up and called down Magnus.
4. Magnus (10 points) defeated Kazarian (0 points) via submission in 2:54. Magnus is starting to get over. He's gaining traction with the crowd each week. Whether he can be "the guy" or a upper-card performer remains to be seen. Kazarian tried a missile drop kick that appeared to hit, but was supposed to miss. Regardless, Magnus didn't sell it, and put Kazarian in the Texas Clover Leaf for the tapout. Another good sign was the crowd popped when Magnus clamped on the finisher, because they're educated to the Bound for Glory series and that submissions are worth more than pins. *1/2
Hogan talked on his cell phone when Ray crept up from behind with a ball peen hammer. Hogan, with his catlike quickness moving at half the speed of smell, stopped Ray before he got hit. Ray denied he was going to hurt Hogan and wanted to see Brooke. Hulk said the relationship between Ray and Brooke was over. Ray asked him if he ever wondered why Brooke stopped Hulk from hitting him with the hammer two weeks ago.
Brooke came out for a "state of the Knockouts Division" speech. Didn't she want to resign as Knockouts Division GM a month ago? Brooke has to learn to get her mouth in front of the microphone when she talks. She was wearing heels, apparently trying to look taller than Stephanie McMahon on Monday night, and she towered over the mic. The problem was, no one could hear her. You saw the blank faces in the crowd looking at each other as she put over the Knockouts division. She asked the Knockouts to come out to the ring. Eric Young was in there with ODB, Taryn Terrell, Gail Kim and Velvet Sky. Mickie James got her own special entrance. James talked as she came down the ramp about her upcoming appearance in a commercial and carrying the entire division on her shoulders. James is so great in her role, it makes Brooke look even more bland. Sky, one week after having her knee damaged when James attacked her, didn't even have any tape on her leg. Nor was she selling anything. Nor did she go after James when she got in the ring. Does this company go out of its way to not create stars or what? Brooke brought up a meeting she had with Young two weeks ago. Young announced he wasn't a woman, but he was the toughest dude standing in the ring at that moment. So he and ODB surrendered the TNA Knockouts tag team belts. I guess those straps will go the way of the Western States Heritage Title. Young and ODB made out on their way to the ramp. Brooke put over Sky for all that's she's overcome. James interrupted her and said that Sky's pigeon wings couldn't fly right now. Brooke said that she talked with Sky's doctor, and Velvet had a clean bill of health. So James and Sky could wrestle next week. Kim spoke up and said she wanted a rematch. Brooke put over the match from Slammiversary between Terrell and Kim, and said the two would have a rematch in Las Vegas, and it would be a ladder match.
Hogan told Brooke to leave because Ray wanted to see her. Brooke got in a limo, which drove off.
Styles did a rare prematch promo saying it wasn't about Aces and Eights, it wasn't about TNA, it was about him becoming the next world heavyweight champion. Styles said he was tired of doing the right thing, he's now doing his own thing. Crowd wasn't with him at all and gave him "what" chants.
5.Samoa Joe (2 points) and A.J. Styles (2 points) fought to a 15:00 time limit draw in a Bound for Glory Series match. It was really closer to 13:45. There was no mention of a 15:00 time limit during any portion of the show, but when Christy Hemme announced there were 5 minutes remaining in the match, you could feel the crowd deflate as they knew where this was headed. Crowd was dead for the first half of the match. Samoa Joe tripped Styles on the apron, and Styles hit face first. After the commercial came the time warnings. Joe attempted a superplex, but Styles reversed it, and they both landed very badly and appeared Styles put Joe in the calf killer, but Joe powered out. They've already killed that finisher. Joe attempted a crossface, but Styles forced Joe's shoulders to the mat and nearly got the three count. They brawled as the time limit expired, without any near falls being exchanged. They continued to fight after the bell, and Styles came up with a bloody nose. Styles is supposed to be this new bad-ass character. So why did they put him against Joe, who has a shooter rep and still has a genuine aura amongst fans as someone not to be messed with? It was another step backwards for Styles new character. **1/4
Ray called Brooke on his cell phone and learned she had left. Ray said he wanted to see her tonight, and wanted her to come back to the arena. It sounded like she agreed. Ray told the rest of Aces and Eights to make sure Brooke gets back to the arena. None of this was resolved by the end of the show.
Hogan met with Suicide, Chris Sabin and Kenny King, saying that social media is abuzz over the X Division matches. Next week is an X Division title match between the three, and the winner faces Bully Ray for the World Title during a live Impact show next month, which replaces the Destination X PPV.
6. Jeff Hardy (7 points) pinned Bobby Roode (0 points) in 6:13 in a Bound for Glory Series match. Good match where Roode tried several crossfaces for the submission. Fine finishing sequence as well. Roode attempted the Payoff, but Hardy hit the Twist of Fate, but missed the Swanton. Roode went right back to the crossface, but Hardy forced Roode's shoulders to the mat to break the hold. Roode went for another crossface, but Hardy adjusted and caught the Twist of Fate again for the pin. ***
Sting walked around backstage saying that his business on the night wasn't over yet tonight.
Ray came out and said 15 guys were trying to take his world championship. But he will do anything to keep his title. As the last part of Open Fight Night, Ray called out Brooke, but he emphasized it wasn't to fight. Brooke didn't come out. Instead, the old Main Event Mafia music played, and Sting came out. Sting said he had to reach out to his family. Ray reminded Sting that he will never get a shot at the TNA Heavyweight title again. Sting said that won't stop him from getting retribution. Ray mouthed off about how he could snap his fingers and end Sting's career. Meanwhile, Sting loosened his tie, unbuttoned his dress shirt and threw it over Ray's head. Ray called for Aces and Eights, but they didn't show up. They went to the big screen, and Aces and Eights members were shown laid out backstage. Ray started to go up the ramp, but Kurt Angle appeared and put Ray in the ankle lock. Ray was screaming and tapping like crazy and Sting screamed this was what would happen to him and the rest of Aces and Eights. Whatever became of Brooke going back to the arena, you ask? Don't know, nothing was ever mentioned of it during the final segment. I guess maybe Brooke could have been part of a ruse working with Sting, but I wouldn't count on it.
SUMMARY: The arena in Peoria had to be significantly darkened, which doesn't indicate a strong crowd. Still, the fans who were there were clearly educated to the Bound for Glory concept, which was a positive. Not sure how the Main Event Mafia, as a face group, will work against Aces and Eights, which are essentially a group of midcarders already showing dissension. Overall, a pretty good show, but nowhere near as good as the previous live show in Tampa.