11.8 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: On a go-home show, the biggest news was Sting doing an injury angle after being assaulted with a hammer by Doc of Aces and Eights. Austin Aries and Jeff Hardy did a good angle to close the show to set up their PPV main event. Only good match was the opener.
Aces and Eights were in the midst of a meeting where the masked leader was chewing out the now unmasked Drew Hankinson, who was called the Director of Chaos. I think that's an official front office position for the Republican National Committee right now. The leader called him "Doc," and said he had one week to prove that he still had a role within Aces and Eights. Devon said that he and Doc should team against Kurt Angle and Sting tonight. Doc promised to make things right tonight.
Bobby Roode defeated A.J. Styles in 14:58. James Storm came out to join Todd Keneley and Jeremy Borash on commentary. A.J. Styles and Bobby Roode do an excellent job of laying out their matches as to when the hit the right high points and when not to. After Roode hit a hot shot, Styles made his comeback with a huranacrana off the top rope for a near fall. Roode caught a Double R Spinebuster, but Styles fought back for a sunset flip and attempted the Styles Clash, but Roode kicked him away. Then Roode got the Payoff, but Styles kicked out of his finisher. Roode went out of the ring for a chair, which brought Storm to ringside. But while Roode was distracted, Styles came off with a springboard plancha. Styles began arguing with Storm outside the ring, which gave Roode time to recover. Styles tried another springboard move, but Roode tripped him up and Styles landed badly, which allowed Roode to get the pin. ***1/2
Austin Aries and Hulk Hogan talked in the back, where Hogan chastised him about carrying around the TNA Championship belt when he isn't the champion. Aries said he didn't want to be facing Jeff Hardy in a ladder match at Turning Point. Hogan said Aries would have to face Hardy in the ladder match, and if he didn't turn the belt back over to him by the end of the night, then someone else would get the title shot. Imagine that, a new main PPV event being arranged in TNA three days before the show.
Kurt Angle and Wes Brisco talked backstage when Sting walked up. Sting said he wanted Brisco to be at ringside tonight for their match with Aces and Eights.
Joseph Park was in the ring still selling his back from taking a choke slam through a table from Doc a week ago. Park said his partners at Park, Park & Park had urged him to stop asking for a match with Aces and Eights, but he said this isn't about being a wrestler, it's about being a man. He begged Hogan to make the match, and Hogan came out. Hogan said that when Park pulled the mask off of Doc, he was very lucky. Hogan said he didn't want to risk liability about putting Park in the ring. Didn't they shoot an angle three weeks ago where Park gave Hogan a liability waiver for him to sign? Why couldn't Hogan sign it? Bully Ray came down and said he was afraid Hogan was going to say no. But Ray said that Park had plenty of heart for a lawyer. Ray told Hogan to listen to the fans, who all cheered for Park to wrestle, and then started chanting "yes." Hogan reluctantly said yes and shook his hand. Park hugged him, and gave Ray a high five.
Jesse was in the back with Tara blabbing on and on about his victory over ODB last week. He talked about hitting her with a Shining Wizard, a Shooting Star Process and a Tiger Driver, none of which happened. ODB and said Eric Young wasn't here again tonight, but still challenged them to a handicap match tonight.
Styles was backstage complaining about Storm being allowed to commentate during his match. Storm walked up and said that Styles was the face of TNA Wrestling, but how was it going to feel this weekend when the Face of TNA Wrestling gets kicked in.
2. ODB defeated Tara and Jesse in a handicap match in 2:38. Both Tar and Jesse were in the ring at the same time and they double teamed ODB until she made a comeback. Crowd wasn't that into it until ODb gave Jesse a bodyslam, then slammed Tara onto him. ODb was called "deceptively agile" by Keneley. Reminded me of the time Tony Schivaone said that Sid Vicious outsmarted Kevin Nash in a PPV match. Anyway, they did a spot where ODB gave Tara a drop toe hold onto Jesse's groin, and ODB pinned Tara after a Bronco Buster and a spear. 3/4*
Postmatch, Tara hit ODB with her flask from behind and gave her a Widow's Peak. Tara and Jesse then poured whatever is in ODB's flask on top of her and made out over her prone body.
Backstage, ODB was furious and called Young on his cell phone demanding that he show up at the Turning Point PPV on Sunday for a mixed tag team match with Jesse and ODB.
Taz was back from the northeast and said he saw Christian York in the TV truck since he still doesn't have power. Taz seemed to think hiring him was a no-brainer, but Bruce Pritchard and Al Snow weren't as convinced.
3. Sting and Kurt Angle defeated Doc and Devon by DQ in 6:29. They opened by brawling outside the ring until Doc gave Sting a clothesline. Angle had to do some cheerleading since there was a lack of heat, which shouldn't happen for an top angle that's being going on this long. Angle got the hot tag and even did a rare missle dropkick off the second rope. Angle gave Devon the Olympic Slam, but Doc made the save. Sting was about to put Doc in the Scorpion Death Lock, but Devon grabbed Sting's baseball bat and hit him in the stomach for the DQ. Ray ran down and clotheslined Devon, and teased putting him through a table. Devon escaped and Ray chased him to the back. Meanwhile, Sting recovered and tried to power bomb Doc through a table, but two masked members of Aces and Eights ran in, the tallest of whom hit Sting with a ballpin hammer. Doc then choke slammed Sting through a table, while a blond-haired member of Aces and Eights worked over Angle. Doc then hit Sting with the hammer a good six more times, including once on each hand until Samoa Joe, Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez ran down for the save. This wasn't acknowledged on TV, but Wes Brisco, at least unmasked, was not at ringside for any of this, contrary to what a segment earlier alluded to. This was played up as a big time injury angle, and Sting was helped from the ring by several doctors. The angle was well done and had several replays throughout the show. *1/4
York came down for Gut Check. Taz told him they had both being doing this a long time, and said he respected his durability, so he voted yes. Pritchard, who usually leans toward being the heel in these segments, told York he needed to ask himself why he hadn't made the big leagues after 15 years in the business. But Pritchard did an about face, saying that perhaps the reason why York hadn't reached the big leagues was because he hadn't received a chance. So Pritchard voted yes, the first Gut Check contestant to receive a clean sweep of yes votes. York cut the don't let anyone shoot down your dreams promo.
Aries was on the phone with his attorney trying to find a loophole out of the ladder match with Hardy when he walked in on a conversation between Ray and Brooke Hogan, of all people. When they saw Aries, the conversation stopped cold.
Hogan panicked about Sting's injury and demanded details from the hospital. He walked into his office when Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan greeted him. Hogan told Morgan that he wasn't going to be at ringside for Ryan's match on Sunday. Morgan got in Hogan's face and said he still didn't have any idea who he was dealing with. Morgan left, but Hogan smiled to himself and said he did know. So Hogan continues to work Morgan and trying to make him a bigger star.
4. Christopher Daniels, Kazarian and Magnus defeated Samoa Joe, Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez in 10:54. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian have new music which Daniels gets to dance to. Daniels has also added a spot where he does a Gangnam dance after a double team move. Good match where Hernandez did a tope, which is now called Air Mexico. Guerrero got the heat until Hernandez got the hot tag. It ultimately wound down with Guerrero going for the Frog Splash, but Kazarian pulled him down. Meanwhile, Joe attempted a Musclebuster on Magnus, but Daniels pulled him away, and Kazarian and Daniels gave Joe the old Total Elimination. Magnus came off the top rope for the Randy Savage Elbow for the victory, telling the story that he pinned his former tag team partner with the very move that won them the tag team belts earlier this year. ***
Roode bragged about his victory over Styles and said he was one step closer to regaining the TNA tag team title.
Aries came out for the main event angle with Hardy. He said that Hardy's career has been defined by the ladder, and called him the greatest risk taker the industry has ever seen. He's climbed the highest of highs, and taken some of the biggest falls ever. But this weekend, Hardy was going to take the biggest fall he's ever had. He vowed to take Hardy's belt, melt it after he beats him this weekend, and start wearing it as a belt buckle so he could have Hardy's face near his crotch. Aries said that Hardy was going to give him his belt back, but he had to take it from him man-to-man. Hardy charged the ring and they immediately engaged in a fight, where Hardy nearly gave Aries the Twist of Fate before Aries bailed. Hardy took both belts, and hoisted them to the top while he posed atop the ladder. Then Aries ran back in the ring and jerked the ladder from under Hardy, who crashed to the mat. Aries then climbed to the top of the ladder and posed while Hardy was under the ladder.
SUMMARY: The product seems cold right now, mainly on the babyface side. The opportunity with Storm as a top face has been wasted. What's left to take his place? Hardy, who is in the most popular performer in the company. But his contract situation is very much uncertain. After that, it's mainly people like Hernandez and Morgan who have had that turns at the top and flopped. Perhaps that explained the lack of crowd heat as of late. Company seems like they need some new blood right now.