by Jeff Hamlin (
) / Twitter: @hamlin37
The Big News: The good news is the Bound for Glory lineup is already set. The bad news is this show was lackluster, with a bizarre ending of Austin Aries during a job to Bully Ray. Mind you, Aries is main eventing the company's biggest show of the year in a month.
Hulk Hogan walked around backstage when, lo and behold, Shaquille O'Neal ran into him. They embraced and O'Neal brought up Aces and Eights and how they went after Brooke Hogan, and Shaq told him he had his back. Shaq cut a promo and showed off some nasty biceps. Well, WWE had their chance at Wrestlemania. Shaq has a ready-made presence in the wrestling industry.
A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle came out and brought up how Styles defeated Kazarian last week to give them a rematch for the tag team titles. But Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez also earned a rematch after Guerrero defeated Christopher Daniels. So Angle challenged Guerrero and Hernandez for the first Open Fight Night match.
1. A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle fought to a no contest with Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez in 12:30. After Angle hit a belly-to-belly on Guerrero, Daniels and Kazarian came out on the ramp to watch. Both teams worked as faces. After Hernandez hit a Pounce on Styles, he attempted the Border Toss, but Angle intervened. Hernandez knocked both men down with a flying clothesline, and Guerrero again knocked both men down with a missile dropkick. Styles struck back with a spin kick on Guerrero, and Angle came in throwing German Suplexes on everybody. Angle clamped on the ankle lock on Guerrero, but was kicked off. Styles made the tag in the process and hit the springboard forearm, but Hernandez planted Styles with a Torture Rack Slam. Angle gave Hernandez the Olympic Slam, and Guerrero hit two Amigos on Angle, and Three Amigos on Styles. Guerrero went for the Frog Splash, but missed. Styles caught the Pele kick, and attempted the Styles Clash, but Daniels and Kazarian ran in for the DQ. ***1/4
Daniels and Kazarian put the boots to both Styles and Guerrero before Hernandez chased them off. Then Hogan came out and ordered a triple-threat match between the three teams at Bound for Glory.
Al Snow was backstage with a haircut. He said he hadn't had a haircut in 12 years, and his wife was a broken up about it. Snow was ordered to attend a meeting with the higher-ups after his challenge to Joey Ryan from two weeks ago.
Hogan was on the phone with Joseph Park, who told him he had the evidence that Hogan was looking for regarding Aces and Eights.
Samoa Joe talked about his most memorable Bound for Glory moment was when he jumped out of the skybox onto the steps with a dropkick on Sting. It was also his dumbest, and he admitted to nearly killing himself.
Evan Markopoulos was this week's Gut Check contestant. He's only 18, and already is a five-year veteran.
Dixie Carter met with Bruce Pritchard about the problem with Aces and Eights. The audio didn't match the video, and they had to cut the tape early. It looked like a spoof of those badly dubbed Japanese movies from the 70s.
2. Douglas Williams defeated Evan Markopoulos via submission in 4:05. Unlike most Gut Check contestants that was greeted with skepticism, the crowd was behind Markopoulos. Maybe it's because Douglas Williams is a good heel, or perhaps the fans have grown used to the concept. He also got the least amount of offense of any contestant so far. Williams connected with a stiff Shining Wizard. Williams laid in the offense so stiffly I was started to sell it watching from my couch. He got the submission with an Anaconda Vise. *1/2
James Storm came out and cut a promo on Bobby Roode, formally challenging him for Open FIght Night. Roode came out in a three-piece suit instead of wrestling gear. Roode came out and said Storm was never going to be as good as he was. Roode refused to fight him. After Roode walked to the back, Hogan met him and basically threatened to fire him if he didn't fight Storm. Hogan gave him three minutes. I thought two Samoan guys were about to show up and beat the hell out of Roode. Instead, they went to a commercial.
3. Bobby Roode and James Storm fought to a no conest in 6:24. That's not counting the brawl before the bell sounded, which was a good four minutes. Or the brawling after the match was thrown out. Roode came out again in a suit, slowly undressed as he came down the ramp and Storm jumped him. Storm choked him with Roode's dress shirt. Crowd responded much better to this brawl than last week. Once they got in the ring, Roode backdropped him over the top rope, and they fought on the floor some more. That melee featured Storm throwing Roode into the steps, and Roode returning the favor by throwing Storm into the railing. Roode pulled out one of Storm's beer bottles, but Storm landed a right before Roode could use it. Storm poured some of the beer into a fan's mouth. Roode grabbed a chair but missed and hit the post, and Storm threw into some fan's shoes at ringside. The fans literally held their feet up on the railing to participate. They fought on the floor for a good eight minutes, but the fans stayed into it. After Roode sent Storm to the floor again, referee Brian Hebner got shoved repeatedly by both men. Finally, Hebner rang the bell to end the match. They fought to the back and ultimately out the door.
Hogan was in the back talking to a parking attendant. Park hadn't showed up yet. Then Hogan got a phone call from one of the leader's of Aces and Eights. Evidently, Aces and Eights had a corporate lawyer of their own. Hogan realized that Park had been kidnapped by Aces and Eights.
Austin Aries met Jeff Hardy backstage. Aries said that everyone was seeing Hardy as the man who wants something that Aries has, the TNA title. But Aries said he was chasing what Hardy already had, a Hall of Fame career (that remains to be seen), a large bank account and widespread acceptance from fans. Aries said later tonight, he would prove that anything Hardy could do, Aries could do as well.
Tara came out and explained why she turned on Miss Tessmacher. She accused the fans of using her to get on television. That one made no sense. Tara talked about her new boyfriend who lives in Hollywood who opened her eyes. He reminded her that she was the best female wrestler she was. For Open Fight Night, Tara called....Christy Hemme. One of the fans injected, "She's a working girl!" Christy, calling her Lisa, tried to calm her down. Tara asked her who her favorite knockout is, and Christy said it was Miss Tessmacher. Tara pulled Hemme's hair and threatened to beat her up until Tessmacher made the save. Seems to be a tease for a new male character. Not much of a segment.
Brooke Hogan confronted Tara about her actions. Tara gave the old line about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. Hogan promised consequences next week.
Mike Tenay mentioned next week would be Championship Thursday, where the future of the TV championship would be determined. So that title isn't be dropped, after all.
Hogan came out. He said the company was getting so hot, he was about to grab a spray can and paint everybody TNA dead around here. What? Hogan announced that Park had been taken hostage by Aces and Eights. He said the Aces and Eights challenged Hogan to meet him in their clubhouse next week, which he promised to do. In exchange, Hogan wanted Park released. The leader of Aces and Eights appeared on the big screen. He admitted that Park had done his homework, and found all sorts of information about them stored on his laptop computer. Then another member of Aces and Eights destroyed the laptop with a sledgehammer. Park was shown held captive inside of a cage door, saying it didn't matter that the computer was destroyed, he had memorized all the information he needed to know. Then he was struck on the head with a ball pin hammer and knocked out cold. Crowd booed this with all the intensity of a Wheel of Fortune taping. Hogan looked concerned.
Aries came out and challenged Bully Ray, saying that Hardy had defeated Ray to win the Bound for Glory series, and Aries would have to do it, too. Ray couldn't believe his ears. A fan touched Ray, and Ray threatened to go after him hardway. Aries actually backed Ray in that dual. As Ray talked some more, Aries gave him a rolling tope and it was on.
4. Bully Ray defeated Austin Aries in 12:19. Ray shoved Referee Earl Hebner into Aries and gave him the Yakuza kick. They was a ref bump as Aries used Cattle Mutilation, and Ray tapped out. Ray pulled out a chain and hit Aries with it. Ray got the pin, then climbed on top of Hebner in celebration. Have no idea why you job Aries a month before the biggest singles match of his career.
Postmatch, Ray threatened to hit Aries with the title belt, but Hardy ran down to make the save. Hardy then posed with the belt, which upset Aries and the two argued as Aries pulled the strap back.
SUMMARY: Pretty much a boring show. There was only one good match. The booking for the main event was confusing, since Aries shouldn't be jobbing at this stage. It was another week where the Aces and Eights angle didn't really move forward. The Storm-Roode brawl had the same ending as last week, and I wonder after two straight weeks of fights around ringside, will fans really be craving more between the two at Bound for Glory. Not among their better efforts.