10.17 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: The go home show for Bound for Glory felt ordinary and surprisingly passive. Dixie Carter offered a $50,000 bounty for someone to take out A.J. Styles, and wound up with plenty of takers and no one succeeding.
Dixie Carter started the show joined by two security guards. Carter compared herself to Michelangelo, saying her masterpiece would be complete on Sunday at Bound for Glory. Carter announced the contract signing for the TNA World Title match between Bully Ray and A.J. Styles was scheduled for tonight, but what if Styles didn't make it to Sunday? So the main angle of the show was a return to the 70s and 80s, where Carter was putting up a $50,000 bounty for anyone to take out Styles, and one of the guards showed off the cash in a briefcase.Ray and Brooke came out and said he would be happy to collect the bounty and face someone else on Sunday. Magnus came out and was incensed at Carter for the very idea of putting a bounty on Styles' head. Magnus challenged Ray to a match tonight. Ray put over Magnus as a potential force, but also said he was a fraud who didn't have a tough bone in his body. Ray said Magnus was the biggest disappointment he had ever seen. Considering Ray was around for the TV ratings from Hogan's second week in the company, that's saying something. Magnus slapped Ray, and the match was on.
Ray talked backstage with Garrett Bischoff and Knux about how they came together to beat up Styles. Ray said he told them he would give them the spotlight. Bischoff and Kunx looked incredulous. Ray said he would put Knux in a match against Styles for a chance to collect the bounty.
Robbie E. won a four corners match over Christopher Daniels, Hernandez and Eric Young in 5:16. This was a prelude for the tag team gauntlet match, which will be held on the preshow on Spke TV on Sunday. The winner of this match would be the last team in for the gauntlet match, basically meaning Bro Mans drew #30 for the Royal Rumble. Robbie E. did the chickenshit heel deal, staying away from Hernandez and letting Christopher Daniels take the bumps for the power moves. Eric Young got the tag from Hernandez and hit a double drop kick. Daniels hit an STO on Young and covered him, but Robbie broke it up. Hernandez and Robbie started arguing, and paid no attention to Hernandez charging down the ramp to hit Air Mexico. Hernandez missed a charge into the corner and went to the top rope. Young hit a Randy Savage elbow on Daniels, but Robbie pushed Young out of the ring and pinned Daniels. *3/4
Styles was doing an interview and barely said a word before Jessie Godderz jumped him. Quickly, Styles fought back and left Godderz laying, and said it was going to be a long night.
Styles came to the ring and said he was flattered that Carter put a bounty on him, because she knew he was going to win at Bound for Glory. And when he does win, he's going to make Carter pay. Styles challenged anyone to come to the ring and collect the bounty. Knux came out with Bischoff, and they double teamed Styles for a while. James Storm and Gunner came out for the save. Storm and Styles had a staredown, then walked away from each other. This all led to a singles match.
2. Gunner defeated Knux at 4:56. Match dragged. Storm watched the match from the ramp. Bischoff got in his face, and Storm spit beer in his eyes. Knux hit a crossbody block for a two count. Taz compared him to Marty Jannetty of the Midnight Rockers. Knux called down Ray to help him, which I'm sure would've gone over great with referee Brian Stiffler standing right there. Instead, there was no Ray, and Gunner speared Knux for the pin. Once again, a tease that Aces and Eights is nearing an end. *1/4
Chris Sabin talked about being robbed of having a chance of being in the main event at Bound for Glory because he had to appear in the Ultimate X match. So Sabin left Velvet Sky behind and left to find Styles and collect the $50,000. Sky wasn't happy.
Bischoff and Knux were mad at Ray for not helping. Knux said the next time Ray needs their help, things will get interesting.
Brooke was taking pictures of herself when Gail Kim walked up. Kim was concerned about Lei'd Tapa and her destroying Sky and ODB. Kim suggesting Brooke watch her back, and vice versa. Brooke paid her no attention, and Kim said it was truly every Knockout for herself.
Sabin was backstage looking for Styles. He ran into Samoa Joe instead. Joe lectured him about not having his priorities straight, and if Sabin survived their match tonight, maybe he could collect that bounty. But Joe said he was a very big if. Sabin cowered up and staggered away.
3. Samoa Joe defeated Chris Sabin in 5:12. Joe pasted Sabin with one stiff chop after another. Sabin started to leave, then used Sky as a shield. Sabin pushed Sky out of the way and tried a knee, but Joe caught him. Sabin reversed it into a DDT on the ramp. Sabin wanted the countout victory, but Joe got in the ring at 9. Joe recovered for a uranage and a senton. Joe attempted the musclebuster, but Sabin bit Joe's forehead and hit a springboard DDT for a near fall. Sabin tried a rolling reverse cradle, but Joe caught him in the Kokina Clutch and Sabin immediately tapped. **1/2
Right away, Austin Aries ran down and gave Joe a Missile Dropkick. Jeff Hardy came out and gave Aries a Twist of Fate, then pulled out a ladder. Hardy started to climb, but Sabin stopped him. Manik ran down and hit Aries and Sabin with a crossbody block off the top of the ladder to tease the Ultimate X match on Sunday.
Daniels and Kazarian were backstage and attacked Styles, beating him down.Again, Styles made his own comeback, pulled out a fire extinguisher and used it on both men.Styles disappeared with the smoke. For a moment, Styles morphed into the Ultimate Warrior in WCW. By the way, that's the only time that previous sentence will ever be written. Well, I hope so. It was so cheesy, because you could see through the smoke Styles to his left down a hall to escape, and Kazarian and Daniels had to pretend there was no hall and Styles had just vanished.
Ethan Carter III, or EC3, announced he would be at Bound for Glory, and said he "was going to make Aunt D real proud." So Dixie has a nephew.
4. Bully Ray defeated Magnus in10:41 in a nontitle match. Ray overpowered Magnus in the early going so he would come into Sunday strong as the world champion. Magnus dodged an elbow drop and hit a clothesline after a slugfest. After a Yakuza kick, Magnus hit the Randy Savage elbow for a two count. Magnus went for a running splash in the corner, but Ray put referee Earl Hebner in the way for the ref bump. Ray brought out a chain, but Sting came down and grabbed Ray's arm. As Hebner told Sting to get to the back, Ray gave Magnus a low blow and pinned him. *1/2
Afterwards, Magnus was upset at Sting for getting in the way of his match. Sting assured Magnus he was only trying to help him. Sting wanted to shake hands, but Magnus just slapped his hand and walked off without him.
Sting tried to talk to Magnus backstage, who was disgusted about the way his match ended. Magnus said he was sick of being on the losing end, and said he wanted to accomplish something by himself. Joe walked in to play peacemaker. Sting said Magnus would be by himself in San Diego.
Kurt Angle came out to the biggest reaction on the show. He did a very good interview on Bobby Roode, saying Roode reminded him of himself years ago. But when Roode wanted to make a mockery of Angle's induction into the Hall of Fame, that made it personal. Angle said Roode may go down as one of the greatest ever, but he will never be Kurt Angle. Roode came out and said Angle was right, he isn't Kurt Angle. But he didn't want to be the Kurt Angle of today. He said Angle was the end all, be all of professional wrestling. Now, Roode was the end all, be all. Roode said he was more worthy of a hall of fame induction than Angle. He said Angle had done a whole lot of nothing over the last few years. In fact, the last time Angle did anything, it was two years ago when Angle defeated Roode in the main event for Bound for Glory. Angle opened Roode's eyes that night, and it led to Roode becoming the longest-reigning champion in the history of TNA. Angle asked Roode how could Roode beat him when Roode will be the one tapping? Roode slugged Angle and put the punches to him from the mount. Angle got a single leg and put Roode in the ankle lock until Daniels and Kazarian ran down to put Angle into the steel post. Roode ordered his EGO stablemates to the back as Roode put Angle in the crossface. Angle was even tapping, something you never see a babyface do in an angle like this. Roode said he was going to make Angle tap out. Great angle. Would have been even better two weeks ago.
The finale was the contract signing, with Jeremy Borash presiding over the proceedings. Dixie was out there, and she didn't seem upset that no one had been able to cash in her bounty. In fact, she was smiling. Atta way to sell the gimmick! Ray signed the contract and said he didn't waste any time signing the contract because Styles can't beat him. Styles didn't have the brains, the passion, or the thunder in his fists. Ray brought up Ric Flair destroying Dusty Rhodes in October 1985. He said a month later, Rhodes returned and did his legendary "hard times" interview. 27 years later, Ray said he has put the wrestling world through hard times. He started with Hardy inside of a steel cage at Lockdown, he defeated Sting at Slammiversary to make sure he can never have a title shot again, he ran Sabin back in the X Division, and he ran Hulk Hogan out of the company. Ray said when he beat Styles, he would put him through hard times, with no contract and no championship. When Styles returned home without a job, he wouldn't be surprised if his wife left him. Ray proclaimed himself the Dark Vader of wrestling, and Styles wasn't Luke Skywalker. Styles responded that he wasn't Ric Flair, and Ray wasn't Dusty Rhodes. Styles said Ray was nothing but a big, dumb bitch. Styles admitted he had everything to lose and everything to gain, he was in a "must win" situation. Styles said he was the most desperate man Ray will ever get in the ring with. Styles signed the contract. After all that, Ray said he wasn't putting the title on the line, because he was going to cash in on the bounty. Ray rammed the podium into Styles and tried to hit Styles with a chain, but Style ducked and hit Ray with the bounty briefcase. Then Styles took the money and....threw it at Carter. Couldn't he have thrown it to the fans? Or kept it for himself? Styles and Ray had a staredown to end the show.
SUMMARY: There was nothing wrong with the show. However, this hardly feels like TNA's biggest show of the year. The card is lacking due to various circumstances, some of which aren't the company's fault. However, TNA hasn't run a PPV since June. They've had four months to build this show. The last half hour were talking segments, both of which were good. But it felt so crammed, as has much of the build for this show. Almost the entire card was announced within the last three weeks. Wasn't one of the reasons for cutting down on PPVs to allow for a greater build for the remaining PPV?That's an indictment of the creative team. Granted, much of that has been in disarray of late. It's still surprising when past Bound for Glory shows, under the creative direction of Vince Russo (no less), felt more important and had a better build than this one.