Sent from Rod's Pad.7.18 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: On a show that was destined to be interesting in the weeks of company turmoil leading up to it, Chris Sabin went from jobbing to Black Rain in a tag team match in 2008 to winning the TNA World Championship five years later with a victory over Bully Ray.
The show opened with an excellent video of Chris Sabin to build him up as a challenger for Bully Ray. The odds are Sabin isn't the complete package to be a top guy, but this company has supplied him with quality production during his push.
Jeremy Borash did the entire show on color, claiming he was told to rush out to the broadcast table 10 minutes before airtime. No further mention of Taz during the entire show.
Bully Ray came out and did an overdog interview to drum up support for Sabin. Crowd started chanting for Sabin, which turned into a "yes" chant. Ray called out Brooke Hogan. Brooke held up her engagement ring and said she was moving on, and he should, too. She called him Mark again. Ray began acting remorseful, then told her that she moved on only when he says so. This brought out Hulk Hogan, who claimed that Ray had raped and pillaged the company. Of all times to say that line. Reminds me of Hogan's appearance about the death of WCW on the old WWF Confidential show in 2004, and Hogan said one of the main factors in WCW's demise was Bret Hart's contract. If TNA dies, what will he blame then? Sharknado 2? The Hogans started to leave, but Ray said he would never give Brooke a divorce, and he would never lose the Heavyweight title. Kurt Angle popped up on the screen with the rest of the Main Event Mafia, and Angle said Ray would lose to Sabin tonight.
Bobby Roode was asked about last year's Destination X match, when he dropped the strap to Austin Aries. Roode said he remembered last year as a fluke, and vowed to start he road to the Bound for Glory main event tonight.
The Bound for Glory standing entering this show: 1. Magnus 49 points. 2. Samoa Joe 19 points. 3. Jeff Hardy 17 points. 4. Christopher Daniels 14 points. 5. A.J. Styles 12 points. 6. Aries, Hernandez and Mr. Anderson 7 points. 9. Roode, Kazarian, Jay Bradley 0 points. 12. Joseph Park -10 points.
Austin Aries (14 points) defeated Bobby Roode (0 points) in 11:55 in a Bound for Glory Series match. I'm not sure if it's because the heel colorman gimmick is so overused, but Borash really comes across as something fresh at the commentator's cable. He knows how to get a match over better than Taz, whose humor has run its course since going heel. Lots of unique spots during the match, including Roode going for a suplex on the apron to the floor, but Aries threw knees to Roode's head while suspended in the air. Aries got free, then hit a twisting flying axehandle from the top rope. Later, Aries hit a tope on Roode, who landed on the top rope of the steps. They exchanged submission holds, with Roode kicking out of a schoolboy cradle and immediately transitioning into a crossface. Roode went for the payoff, but Aries reversed into a discuss forearm. Aries went the brainbuster, but Roode escaped and tried a Death Valley Driver, but Aries escaped that and hit the brainbuster for the pin. A very good opener ***1/2
Postmatch, Roode went berserk after dropping to 0-4 in the tournament, destroying a monitor at ringside, throwing several chairs into the ring and whatever else he could find.
Backstage, Hernandez shook hands with the returning Homicide, who will be in action in the X Division title tonight. Chavo Guerrero walked on this scene, and there was a moment of tension before Guerrero extended his hand to Homicide. Guerrero will be competing for the X Division title, as well, and talked of facing Hernandez next year at Destination X when he wins the TNA World title. I just hope there is a next year.
Aces and Eights met backstage, with Mr. Anderson saying Kunx's vote in the Vice President election caused Doc to quit the group.
2. Sonjay Dutt pinned Homicide in an X Division three-way match that also included Petey Williams in 4:05. The gimmick is there will be three X Division three-ways tonight, and the winner of each match would advance to an Ultimate X match next week that will determine the new X Division champion. Lots and lots of moves that seemed too much for the crowd in such a short span. Homicide hit Petey Williams with the Gringo Killa, and appeared concerned he hit the spot too stiffly. Sonjay Dutt, who had been hung by the tree of woe for awhile, came out of the corner to make the save. Dutt pinned Homicide after a moonsault double stomp. **1/2
3. Manik defeated Kenny King in an X Division three-way match that also included Chavo Guerrero in 4:34. Manik did a great spot early, setting up a Muto Lock on Kenny King while giving Guerrero a Northern Lights Suplex at the same time. Another collection of moves. Guerrero hit two Amigos on Manik, followed by Three Amigos on King. He set up the frog splash on King, but Manik cut him off. King kicked Guerrero to the floor. Manik came out of the corner with a double chickenwing dropped into a gutbuster to pin King. **1/4
Angle laid down the law to the rest of the Mafia members saying tonight was the reason why they gathered the family together again. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson said he was ready to knock out somebody tonight.
Hogan talked with Sabin about the injuries he's suffered. Hogan told Sabin the same advice he gave Ray the night he won the title: just make sure that by the end of the night, they remember you. He told him to take the title home to TNA.
The Mafia came out, with Sting and Angle saying they're going to take the fight to Aces and Eights. Magnus challenged them to a fight then and there. Anderson appeared on the big screen, saying they won't came to the ring. Instead, they wanted to fight the Mafia backstage. The Mafia went to the back. The scene shifted backstage, where Anderson baited the Mafia into a room. Ray and Devon jumped Angle, and dumped him in the bed of a truck, which drove off. The rest of the Maifa was locked inside of a room with no way out.
4. Greg Marasciulo pinned Rockstar Spud in a three-way X Division match that also included Rubix in 6:25. Greg Marasciulo is the former Trent Barreta, fresh from the Best of the Super Juniors tournament with New Japan. Rockstar Spud carries himself like a star, but he doesn't have the high spot flash that Rubix or Marasciulo have. Marasciulo drilled Spud with a missile dropkick, then followed with a somersault tope that Spud didn't make a very good catch on. Marasciulo would pin Spud after a Emerald Erosion. So next week, it's Marasciulo vs. Manik vs. Dutt in a Ultimate X match to determine the new X Division champion. **1/4
Ray was on the phone with the mystery driver of the truck that drove off with Angle in the back. Ray ordered the driver to take Angle to take him to a mystery spot that talked about earlier. In fact, Ray told the driver to make Angle an offer he couldn't refuse.
Angle was shown driving back to the building in the truck that kidnapped him, selling his head as he arrived.
Mickie James was in the ring talking about a moment last week that set the standard for the Knockouts industry for years to come. She teased the Gail Kim-Taryn Terrell ladder match and asked for footage to be shown, but instead it was James performing with her band in concert. She compared it to man landing on the moon and the "Invention of the Teaking." Fans started to boo, and then Kim came out. Kim put over her match with Terrell and said she would be taking the Knockouts title next week from James. In response, James said that Kim was violating a clause in her contract that called for five feet of separation between her and her challengers. James started to slap Kim, but Kim ducked, slapped Kim and they a pull-apart brawl. Kim was over more as a babyface after her match last week, and she won over some fans who realized how hard she worked in her series with Terrell.
Aries walked up to Sabin, and started to be cocky. Aries then gave him a pep talk, saying he was the litmus test in TNA. Aries had beaten Ray, and Sabin defeated Aries two weeks ago. So Aries knew he could beat Ray, and told him he would be rooting for him tonight.
A.J. Styles did a promo saying the X Division reminded him of himself. Next week, Styles would wrestle Jeff Hardy, someone who played a hero. But Styles said he would be taking his points against Hardy.
5. Chris Sabin defeated Bully Ray to win the TNA World Heavyweight title in 14:35. They opened by slapping the hell out of each other, with Sabin practically having Ray's handprint on his chest. Sabin was firing up like Kenta Kobashi after every shot, and the crowd was into him. Ray then dropped an elbow on Sabin's injured knee, and Sabin rolled to the ramp. At this point, Aces and Eights came out. Somehow, the Mafia was released from their locked room and followed them to ringside. Ray worked on Sabin's knee some more, then started mouthing off to Jackson. Ray unlaced Sabin's boot to take away any protection on Sabin's injured knee. Sabin started fighting back on one leg, but Ray cut him off with a clothesline. Ray was great playing heel, as if he's ever anything different. Ray took off Sabin's other knee brace and continued to make sure Sabin was fighting on one leg. Sabin couldn't stand on his left leg, so he mounted a comeback with high right leg. Sabin went to the top rope, but Ray crotched Sabin and hit a superplex for a near fall. Ray went for the Buh-Buh Bomb, but Sabin hit an enzuigiri, then followed with a missile dropkick that also knocked down referee Brian Hebner. Sabin had the pin but no ref. At this point, Anderson handed Ray a ballpeen hammer, which elicited a total melee with the Mafia brawling Aces and Eights up the ramp and to the back. Ray and Sabin were alone in the ring, and Ray was about to use the hammer, but Sabin used a spin kick and grabbed it himself. Ray went for the power bomb, but Sabin used the hammer to clobber Ray over the head with it and to get the pin. Big pop for the finish, perhaps not as loud as Aries' win over Roode last year. ***
SUMMARY: I've talked about TNA taking chances with talent for years, and this is the ultimate example. It's good to see Sabin get a shot. Honestly, I think he's lacking in many areas that Aries had, and his reign didn't turn business around. Then again, I don't know if anyone in TNA can turn business around. But they've done a great job in making Sabin a viable presence. Whether he can take the reigns and find the IT factor that Daniel Bryan has remains to be seen. This was another good show.