10.31 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: Dixie Carter announced an eight-man tournament for the supposedly vacant TNA Championship, which A.J. Styles supposedly kidnapped. Magnus continues a heel turn by winning a gauntlet match to become the eighth man in the tournament field, joining seven other men who previously held the title. The highlight was an excellent main event match between Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode, where Angle teased a long-term injury after a bad landing on a belly-to-belly superplex.
Dixie Carter came out and said A.J. Styles showed his lack of aptitude by leaving the building. She said he's no longer her world title. I would go over the stunning amount of holes in this storyline, but Dave Meltzer already stole my thunder in this week's Observer, so just read that. Dixie even said that Styles was no different than the thousands of little boys out trick or treating with toy belts around their waists. She might as well have been Vince Russo calling the belt "a prop," rubbing it your face yet again that all this wrestling stuff in just "fake," when that's the last thing any fan wants to see. Dixie announced an eight-man tournament to crown a new champion, featuring James Storm, Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, and Chris Sabin. That was seven names, and Bully Ray came out with Brooke figuring he would complete the field. Instead, Dixie announced a gauntlet match for tonight to fill the final slot. Ray wanted to know how he would win back his belt if he wasn't in the tournament. Carter told him he had lost to Styles twice, and he caused the whole mess to begin with. Ray blamed his loss last week on Mr. Anderson, who ran down and brawled with Ray.
Backstage, Brooke got in Anderson's face about jumping Ray. Anderson was apparently handcuffed during the commercial, and Ray jumped him from behind. Ray whipped Anderson with the chain. For some reason, Anderson's body was blurred out during this beating. I guess they thought the chain shots either weren't stiff enough or were too stiff.
Garrett Bischoff was asked about Ray's actions against Anderson. Knux stepped in and said he needed Bischoff's help tonight.
Bro Mans defeated James Storm and Gunner to retain the TNA tag team titles in 4:14. Gunner hit the old Slingshot Suplex on Jessie Godderz. Always surprised me that move never made a comeback after Tully Blanchard retired. Storm caught the Eye of the Storm on Godderz, forcing Robbie E. to make the save. Bro Mans sent Gunner out of the ring, but Storm nailed Godderz with Closing TIme and teased the Last Call, but Robbie pulled his partner out of the ring. Storm tried to suplex Godderz in, but Robbie grabbed Storm's foot and held on while Godderz got the pin on Storm. Great way to get Storm over for the upcoming singles tournament. *3/4
Dixie met with Sting backstage. Dixie said she wanted to lift the ban on Sting ever challenging for the TNA world title again. She said she wanted to put Sting first in the gauntlet if he felt up to it and running through the field. Annnnddd, another stipulation bites the dust. Sting said he never felt like he needed a sense of entitlement and walked out without giving an answer. Wouldn't a babyface jump at the chance to go first to prove he's a worthy competitor?
Christopher Daniels and Kazarian were backstage dressed as Sherlock Holmes picking on a stagehand, who looked like he was in pain from holding back laughter. They claimed he was a heavy drinker from the amount of grey hair. Daniels said they would solve the mystery of Abyss tonight. Kazarian pointed out how the TV title had also disappeared. Daniels said "Elementary, my dear Francois." Kazarian replied, "Junior High, my dear Christopher." I'm running out of things that I truly enjoy about wrestling today, so I'd go so far to say that Bad Influence is the most entertaining act going right now.
2. Ethan Carter the Third defeated Norv Fernum in 3:07. Ethan Carter the Third used an Exploder Suplex, which Taz claimed to have taught him. Fernum, who looked to be about 145 pounds, hit a springboard body block before EC3 cut him off with a Manhattan Drop, then got the pin with the Bulldog DDT, which Taz called "The One Percent." *
Roode talked with a doctor backstage and looked over iPad footage of Angle's injury from Bound for Glory. Roode wanted the doctor to make sure Angle was medically cleared in order to wrestle tonight. It sounded like Roode didn't want him cleared so he could get out of the match. The fans in Salt Lake City had to be confused, since they were told Angle wasn't medically cleared, and then he was out there wrestling an hour later.
ODB said she was getting a rematch against Gail Kim for the Knockouts title when Detectives Daniels and Kazarian walked in. Kazarian saw ODB's breasts and thought she was smuggling two Jack O'Lanterns. Daniels thought ODB stood for Overly Developed Bosoms. Daniels started to question ODB when Eric Young walked in and said it was Halloween, when monsters run loose. He warned them something spooky could be coming their way tonight.
3. Magnus won a 7-man gauntlet match in 19:36 over Sting, Kazarian, Eric Young, Knux, Christopher Daniels, and Manik. who I guess accepted Dixie's offer, and Kazarian were first out. Kazarian did a great job of selling for Sting. Knux was next out, followed by Young, who hit a belly-to-belly suplex on Kazarian. Daniels came down and kept Kazarian from being eliminated by Young. Sting suplexed both Daniels and Kazarian. Bad Influence basically bumped for every face that came in. Magnus completed the field. Manik eliminated Knux with head scissors at 17:43. Even Taz said "Man, this club sucks." That sound you hear is Jeff Jarrett pissing on an Aces and Eights vest. Kazarian eliminated Manik with a back elbow at 17:51. Kazarian drop kicked Young over at 18:21.Magnus clotheslined Daniels over at 19:28. Then, as Kazarian and Sting were jostling, Magnus threw them both over to win and become the eighth man in the tournament. More tension between Sting and Magnus, who was oblivious that he eliminated his own stablemate. **1/4
Angle said a doctor had advised him to take the night off, but he was still medically cleared to kick Roode's ass tonight.
Carter said she had a special surprise as she unveils the tournament bracket later tonight. She gave a hint by saying it would involved the "Wheel of Dixie."
4. Gail Kim defeated ODB to retain the Knockouts title 6:21. The deal with the Lei'd Tapa/Kim pairing is Tapa gets her own entrance before Kim comes out. ODB gave Kim a fallway slam on the floor. Then Tapa distracted ODB, allowing Kim to give ODB a baseball slide. ODB hit the commentators table. Kim gave ODB the steel post figure four for a two count. ODB powered out of head scissors and got a single leg crab, but Kim forced the break. Kim missed a dropkick against the corner, and the fans got into the match. ODB hit a Thesz press off the second rope for a two count. ODB put Kim on the top rope and hit a gourdbuster, but Tapa distracted referee Brian Stiffler. ODB went after Tapa, but Kim snuck up and pinned ODB with a schoolgirl cradle. Kim is really underrated. **1/2
Daniels and Kazarian were upset about not winning the Gauntlet match tonight, but said they were going to go out to the ring and reveal they have solved the mystery of Abyss.
Bad Influence, in their detectives outfits, were in the ring. Daniels said they determined that Abyss' whereabouts where underneath the ring. Daniels went under the ring and pulled out a pumpkin. Daniels said he wasn't Abyss, it was just another talentless vegetable. Young came out dressed as Joseph Park. Young said Halloween was "the big guy's" favorite holiday, and he wanted to relay a message from him. Young punched both Kazarian and Daniels until Abyss' music played as he came out for his first Impact appearance in quite sometime to clean house, including Black Hole Slams for Kazarian and Daniels. Abyss then helped Young to his feet.
Dixie was with Sabin and Hardy backstage. They're apparently wrestling next week in the first round, and Dixie had a wheel to determine which stipulation they would wrestle in. It would be a Full Metal Mayhem match, meaning Sabin was facing Hardy in Hardy's specialty match.
5. Bobby Roode defeated Kurt Angle via referee stoppage at 16:15. Good, intense match from the beginning with Angle trying to avenge his loss to Roode at Bound for Glory. Amazing what two great performers and a simple storyline can do. This was a match where winning and losing meant something. And the fans were engaged. Simple and effective. Angle hit six Rolling German Suplexes for a two count. Roode escaped the Olympic Slam and caught a Double R Spinebuster for a two count. Roode tried a Death Valley Driver, but Angle escaped and clamped on the ankle lock. Roode kicked Angle off and applied the Crossface. Angle reversed back into the ankle lock, and Roode tugged Angle's leg back into the Crossface again. They traded pinning combinations before Roode went back to the Crossface. Angle got to his feet for the Olympic Slam for a good near fall. Angle pulled the straps down for a third ankle lock, but Roode pulled him over for a Victory Roll for a two count. Roode hit a Death Valley Driver for another near fall. "This is Awesome" chants. Angle got a single-leg takedown for another ankle lock, and Roode couldn't kick Angle away at first. Angle dropped down, but Roode got to the ropes. Angle put Roode to the top rope and attempted a Olympic Slam, but Roode gave him a head butt. Angle fell, but recovered for the Belly-to-Belly superplex. Angle crawled over for a cover, but only two. Angle sold a bad landing from the belly-to-belly big, and they teased a double knockout like it was Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata from last spring, except Roode got up. Angle appeared to be in convulsions and referee Brian Hebner stopped the match, awarding it to Roode. Several referees came out to check on Angle, who was unable to get up. So they're playing it up like the years of wrestling with major injuries have caught up to Angle, so he can't beat Roode. Excellent match. ****
SUMMARY: This show was filled with among the remaining things I like about wrestling, which is all one could want on a holiday. Bad Influence, good comedy, great workers, and always entertaining. Gail Kim, great to look at and a very good workers. And Angle-Roode, which is the best program in American wrestling right now, even if it's riding shotgun in the TNA caravan. Outside of the Dixie madness to open the show, I was entertained.