10.18 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: A disappointing show after Bound for Glory featured more focus on Aces and 8's, with Devon being the new sergeant of arms of the group. I'm not sure if the Open Fight Night concept has been dropped, but next week is Championship Thursday, which typically came after OFN. But there was no challenges and no Gut Check on this show. Jeff Hardy and Austin Aries will continue to have a program after Aries confronted Hardy during his world title celebration. Hardy will make his first title defense next week.
Aces and Eights pulled up in the Impact Zone on motorcycles, bypassing security since they have full access to the building.Six men showed up in black vests and masks. Then the spokesperson appeared on the big screen with several others celebrating, and issued a toast to Devon, who walked out to mild boos and a few cheers. Some of the fans were just happy to see him back, probably because they know how nice Devon Hughes the person really is. He had to insult the crowd to elicit "You sold out" chants. Devon said he joined Aces and 8s because he can. Well, that explains everything. He then thanked the guy who patched him in, so there's still a mystery leader of the faction. He cut a promo on Sting, Hulk Hogan and Bully Ray, saying he hadn't forgotten about the time his son was put through a table. Nobody remembered that. Ray, Sting, Samoa Joe, Mr. Anderson, A.J. Styles, Kurt Angle, James Storm and much of the rest of the roster ran into the ring and they had a big brawl until Hogan came out with a baseball bat. There was a commercial and the two sides had been separated. Hogan said if Aces and 8s wanted full access to the building, they had to fight. Sting challenged Devon, and Hogan said Devon must accept or else Aces and 8s would have to walk. Crowd chanted for Ray. Devon accepted.
They promoted a Jeff Hardy celebration party after winning the TNA Heavyweight title at Bound for Glory. Austin Aries saw this on a monitor and invited himself to the party.
Hogan talked with Anderson backstage and said Hardy would defend the title next week on Championship Sunday, and said the challenger would be one of four men. Storm would be one of the four men, and another would be determined tonight in a three-way. Hogan told Anderson the third spot would be given to him. Joseph Park walked in after being held captive for over a month. He wanted to talk to Hogan in private.
Samoa Joe defeated Robbie E to retain the TNA TV Title in 2:39 via submission. Joe overpowered Robbie E. over the first two minutes and attempted the Muscle Buster, but Robbie T. interfered. So Joe decked Robbie E, then gave Robbie T. an Elbow Suicidia. Joe gave him the Muscle Buster and got the tap out with the Kokina Clutch. Robbie T then ran in, only to get choked out with the Kokina Clutch, as well. *
Tara was doing a photo shoot with Jesse Godderz, who was in excellent bobybuilding condition. He had to scold the photographer as an excuse to remind everyone he was once on Big Brother. Not to mention setting himself up to be the next failed reality star in TNA. Tara started talking about Hollywood couples and how they were on a par with them. Then they started making out. Must be nice to start out in TNA and your first role requires you to kiss Tara.
ODB called Eric Young, who was apparently at home with his mother instead of at the Impact Zone. They're teasing marital problems between the two.
2. ODB defeated Tara in 3:10 in a nontitle match. ODB gave he a powerslam, then started talking on the phone with Young. Tara made her comeback after a slip from her flask, and gave the Bam for the victory. Miss Tessmacher applauded from the stage. It was then announced that Tessmacher would face Tara for the title in a rematch. So what was the point of ODB going over here? 3/4*
Angle and Styles talked backstage. Styles basically broke up their tag team. Angle and Styles would join Christopher Daniels in a three-way tonight to determine who gets a slot as a finalist next week against Hardy. They're either going to feud or Styles is going heel.
3. Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez defeated Kid Kash and Gunner in 4:52. For whatever reason, the crowd was pretty dead after the big brawl that started the show. Hernandez press slammed Kid Kash. Chavo Guerrero gave Gunner a somersault senton. Guerrero took a clothesline from Gunner out the outside. Guerrero gave Kash an enzuigiri to tag in Hernandez, who gave Kash the Pounce. Guerrero tagged in to give Kash a crossbody block for the pin. *3/4
Park continued to talk with Sting and Hogan, and wanted to fight one of them. Ray walked in and apologized to Sting for letting him down. Ray said no one understands why Devon joined Aces and Eights. Ray wanted to replace Sting in the singles match against Devon tonight. Hogan declined, but said Ray would be the third person under consideration to face Hardy next week. Ray said Hogan should learn to trust him more. Sting left to talk to Ray.
Hardy came out with a confetti and pyro celebration as the new TNA champion. He has new ring music that he also performs, just like his other three incarnations. He also has his own title belt, except this one isn't purple like his heel turn last year. Aries came out after Hardy had barely started his celebratory interview, sarcastically singing "Celebration." Aries brought out cookies, and the crowd started chanting "We want cookies." Aries handed him the balloons, but they floated to the top before Hardy could grab them. He offered him cookies, but Hardy slapped them away. Aries said he would wait for Hardy to wilt under the spotlight before he invoked his rematch clause. But first, Aries noticed Hardy had his own insignia on his belt. Aries grabbed the belt and spit on it. Hardy decked him with one punch and attempted to give him the Twist of Fate, but Aries ran off and smirked. So the feud continues.
Daniels admitted things weren't looking good after he lost the tag team titles, but he views the Appletini as half full. So he was ready to beat Angle and Styles tonight.
4. Kurt Angle oinned Christopher Daniels in a three-way match that included A.J. Styles in 6:53. Standard deal with all the three-way matches where the babyfaces have the advantage. Faces gang up on heel at the beginning, then start fighting with each other when one goes for the kill. Kazarian wasn't at ringside, with Taz explaining that Daniels blamed TNA's travel department for not getting him to the arena. Angle got the ankle lock on Styles, but Daniels came in and leveled Angle, then sent him to the post. Daniels gave Styles the STO for a two count. Styles nailed the springboard forearm on Angle, but Daniels got the Blue Thunder Driver on Styles for a two count. Angle then gave Daniels an exploder suplex, but Styles came back with a Pele kick on Angle. With all three men down, Styles sent Daniels to the floor with a backdrop, then followed with an Asai Moonsault. That's despite the fact that Angle was down on the mat. Styles rolled Daniels into the ring, and as Styles was climbing the ropes, Angle got up and kicked Daniels, who backed into Styles, who fell to the floor. Angle then finished Daniels with the Olympic Slam. Angle wanted to shake hands with Styles after the match, but Styles refused. Some of the fans booed Styles for that. ***
Joey Ryan and the returning Matt Morgan ran into Hogan backstage. Hogan wanted to know what the deal was with Morgan, who he claimed had been doing run-ins at house shows for 4 months. I hope Hogan's attorney understands his client and his penchant for exaggeration, or else he could join Mike Nifong in the disbarment zone. Anyway, Morgan reminded Hogan of his first interview in TNA, when he claimed he was going to make Morgan a household name. Hogan wouldn't hear it, saying he had been on Morgan's side the entire time, speaking up for him at creative meetings. But he said no one in creative thought he had any charisma. Morgan got in Hogan's face and said he was going to take all of the criticism and barbs he's heard over the years and shove them straight up Hogan's ass. Hogan looked intimidated at first, but then smiled after Morgan walked away.
Storm came down to do an interview after beating Bobby Roode. He said he made a Bucket List before he came back, which included beating Roode, drink beer, and win the TNA championship. Roode came out, still selling Sunday's match. He put over the match. But Roode said Storm would've never been a world champion last October. And he said that regardless of what happened on Sunday, Roode will always be the better man. Storm said "nope," and gave him the Last Call. He gave him his catchphrase, but the crowd reaction was shockingly tepid.
Highlights of Sting's Hall of Fame induction ceremony were shown, including comments from Lex Luger, Hogan and Dixie Carter. The Luger speech looked touching and harrowing all at once, because in just a five-second snippet, it's clear how physically limited he is. But his words looked as heartfelt as anything he did in his career.
5. Sting defeated Devon by DQ in 10:36. There was a small minority chanting for Devon. Crowd was dead again. The match didn't help because they didn't click in the ring. When Devon had the upper hand, crowd just wasn't into him as a heel at all. It went way too long and really dragged. Sting made his comeback with a Stinger Splash and the Scorpion Death Drop. He attempted the Scorpion Death Lock when Aces and 8s ran in for the DQ. Anderson, Garrett Bischoff, Guerrero and many others ran down for another brawl. Then Ray ran down to clear the ring with a baseball bat, and ran after Devon to the exit. Ray is clearly the top face in this program.
SUMMARY: This was the show where it was clear the lack of depth is starting to catch up with the company. It was the deadest Impact crowd in months, at a time when things should be blossoming after the promotion's biggest show of the year. One problem is the programs are getting long in the tooth. Roode-Storm is long past its expiration date. Aces and 8s just isn't over, and the choice of Devon as the first exposed member was a poor one. Devon is a good midcard babyface because he comes across as a tough guy. The WWE tried him as an upper heel in 2002. HHH even put him over one night on television. It still flopped miserably. Hardy-Aries doesn't have any momentum, plus what happens when Hardy's contract runs out in four months? People with potential like Gunner and Magnus have been lost in the shuffle. Right now, it feels like the company needs rejuvenation, but exactly where to go is a mystery.
Sent from Rod's Pad.