1.25 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: Taz made his first appearance since joining Aces and Eights. He didn't really explain why he turned. And he was right back at the broadcast table doing total heel commentary, which really wasn't all that different from what he's been doing for years. Bully Ray's babyface promo vowing vengeance and the main event with Christopher Daniels and Jeff Hardy were the best things on the show. No Hulk Hogan this week.
New footage of the post-wedding carnage from last week opened the show, with Brooke Hogan helping Bully Ray up the ramp away from the wreckage.
Aces and Eights came out with Taz explaining his heel turn. Taz just doesn't need to be in a role where his body is exposed on camera. He looks like the 45-year-old who used to be all-state in high school football who's now in your bowling league and hadn't seen a gym ever since. He said life is about opportunity, and he couldn't turn down the opportunity to join a group that has an agenda to get revenge and redemption. He couldn't pass an opportunity to live under a higher power. In other words, Taz didn't really explain the heel turn. Nor did he explain why he specifically targeted Bully Ray. He ran down Brooke Hogan, Taz and Dixie Carter, and brought up a clause in his contract which said that if somebody touched him, he would own the company. Sounds like potential for Taz becoming a front office heel character.
Jesse pulled Tara aside a held up Velvet Sky's action figure in an attempt to motivate her. He said he was a Hollywood superstar, Tara was a TNA superstar, and Velvet likes dead pigeons or something.
Kazarian and Christopher Daniels were backstage, where Kazarian handed Daniels a appletini from out of his bag. Kazarian said he would be at ringside for Daniels' match for the TNA Heavyweight title against Jeff Hardy tonight. Daniels announced himself as the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion of the World.
Taz was inexplicably back at the commentator's table, playing heel. Tenay wanted to know what Taz was talking about when he mentioned a "higher power" in his interview. Taz wasn't talking. Then Tenay brought up the company, and Taz said he felt victimized, but didn't go into reasons why. His heel schtick was forced, and it's clear this was another one of those turns meant to surprise people at the expense of making sense.
Tara defeated Velvet Sky in 9:33 to retain the TNA Knockouts title. Sky's offense looked a little better. After hitting the jigglesault, Tara got thrown off the top rope like she was Ric Flair. Sky made her comeback with clotheslines and nearly lost her top trying the Roll the Dice. Sky had Jesse pinned when Jesse got up on the apron and distracted referee Taryn Terrell. Tara collided with Jesse, and Sky got a near fall with a schoolboy cradle. Sky went for a suplex, but Jesse grabbed her foot and held it down so Tara could get the pin. *1/4
Kenny King glared at himself in the mirror while proclaiming himself the fairest of them all when Xema Ion walked up. They're teaming tonight, and King reminded Ion that he lost the X Division title to Rob Van Dam. King told him he wanted to do the heavy lifting tonight, and instructed Ion to just stay on the apron.
Joseph Park came out. He has his own music and video now. Park said he didn't have an accomplished athletic background, but he knew his place was as a member of the Impact roster and not the courtroom. He said while he lost his PPV match at Genesis, he was here to be the best he could be in Impact wrestling. Next week was Open Fight Night in Manchester, England, and he'll be competing. He said he would spend the next week scouring opposition on who to challenge. He promised to get the elusive victory.
2. Kenny King and Xema Ion defeated Rob Van Dam and Christian York in 5:04. Van Dam gave Ion such a powerful monkey flip, Ion nearly landed on his face. King interfered from behind on Van Dam, which opened the door for the heels. Ion missed a 450 splash, and Christian York got tagged in after Van Dam hit a mule kick. York and King fought to the floor while Van Dam set up Ion for the split-legged moonsault, but King crotched Van Dam. Van Dam got pushed off the top rope to the floor. York escaped a Tornado DDT attempt by Ion, but King gave York a blockbuster, and Ion snuck in and pinned York. King was upset with Ion that he didn't get the pin. **3/4
Taz left the broadcast booth, allegedly due to a phone call. It just so happened that Bully Ray and Brooke were due for an in-ring interview next. Similar to an old Jim Cornette gimmick that he did when he work as an announcer in the NWA from the mid-80s.
Ray and Brooke pulled up in his truck to the arena. They weren't talking about the wedding despite questions from the camera crew.
Garrett Bischoff and Wes Brisco circled around Samoa Joe, looking more and more heelish. They said all they wanted was a progress report on Kurt Angle, who was injured a month ago when he was jumped by Mike Knox with a ball peen hammer. Joe told them he wasn't going to allow them to ride his jock like Angle does. Angle then walked up and said he wasn't 100-percent, but he knew what he had to do. Joe had a disturbed and said he would talk to Angle later.
Ray and Brooke came out looking for Taz, but Tenay told him he left. Ray said last week should have been the greatest night of our lives, but it turned into a nightmare. Ray said he didn't care that he got hurt last week, but it was those who were close to him that got hurt. Sting, Hulk Hogan, and Brooke. Ray said he couldn't say on national television what he was going to do to every member of Aces and Eights. He vowed not to sleep until he kicked every one of their asses. But he couldn't do any of that until Hogan lifts his suspension. Hogan was home "recovering from his injuries." Sting came out and pleaded with Hogan to lift Ray's suspension. Well, Sting doesn't go to house shows, so I guess he wouldn't know that Ray is out there every house show despite being suspended. Reminds me of the early days of Nitro when storylines that the company had been building for a week were thrown away minutes before airtime when Hogan wanted to change things, and Hogan would wind up wrestling when he was supposed to be suspended. He also called Ray Hogan's "new son-in-law," though Brooke and Ray weren't officially married.
Austin Aries and Bobby Roode has another one of their fun exchanges. One of them had to wrestle either Chavo Guerrero or Hernandez tonight. Roode didn't want to work, so he put over Aries in an attempt for him to wrestle Guerrero. Aries didn't want to work either, so he put over Roode as the powerhouse of their team and the man capable of outwrestling Hernandez. Roode brought up Aries beating him for the TNA title last summer, and even got Aries to admit it was a fraction of a fluke. They even created the word "flukeatude." Finally, Aries left Roode to face Hernandez, which angered Roode.
There was a good video of Jeff Hardy retaining the title at the Genesis PPV. Hardy did an interview saying he knew exactly who Daniels is, and tonight he will show the rest of the world what Daniels isn't.
Taz was back at the broadcast booth. Why didn't Ray come back out and confront him?
3. Bobby Roode defeated Hernandez in 5:39. Hernandez held Roode up for about 35 seconds with a hanging vertical suplex. Roode worked like Hernandez was a muscular powerhouse. After a rolling neck snap, Hernandez made his comeback with a slingshot shoulder block, a torture rack drop and the pounce. Hernandez was about to try the tope, but Aries ran down to push Roode out of the way before Hernandez could take flight. Roode got mad at Aries and they argued until Guerrero started a fight with Aries. Referee Earl Hebner was distracted by all this, as was Hernandez. Roode came up from behind and gave Hernandez a bulldog for the pin. Roode and Aries continued to argue, with Aries claiming they won the match, but Roode arguing he did it by himself. Not to mention he was mad for even taking the match in the first place. Aries and Roode have tremendous chemistry. **
Angle came out and said he was going to challenge Ken Anderson (using that name) next week for Open Fight Night. Anderson came out in full Aces and Eights gear. I guess he's now a member of the group with no official announcement. If you'll recall, the build-up was Anderson hadn't officially joined. Anderson said he wasn't going to fight Angle next week, and quickly blurted out he wanted to fight Angle tonight. Anderson cheap shotted Angle, who quickly made a comeback and tried an ankle lock before Anderson escaped. Angle followed up by announcing next week's match would be in a steel cage. Anderson just comes off as filler at this point, and they have to turn him to keep him fresh. Except he's anything but fresh.
Anderson was back in the Aces and Eights clubhouse where the hookers were making a bunch of noise. He ordered them to shut up because he was agitated by Angle's challenge. Devon told him to calm down because they always have a plan.
4. Jeff Hardy defeated Christopher Daniels in 14:10 to retain the TNA Heavyweight title. Daniels eluded Hardy's Hardy'c Arrest and threw him out of the ring. Daniels was tons of more aggressive since he was going for the title. Daniels gave Hardy the Final Cut (why name a move after Pink Floyd's worst album?), but Hardy came back with a Spine Line and a flying forearm. Hardy hit a second rope splash for two count. Daniels came out of a corner with a Death Valley Driver (named after a great Rainbow song) for a near fall, then immediately clamped on a Koji Clutch (waiting to be used by a metal band). Daniels went for a superplex, but Hardy reversed it into a super gourdbuster, and Daniels barely got his foot on the ropes. Hardy went for the Twist of Fate, but Daniels reversed into the Angels Wings, but Hardy kicked out in a great sequence. Daniels attempted for the Best Moonsault Ever, but Hardy got out of the way, then attempted the Whisper in the Wind, but missed. Daniels covered him but Hardy kicked out. Daniels attempted a Tiger Driver, but Hardy reversed it into a huracanrana, then gave Daniels the Twist of Fate. Daniels backed up into Kazarian, and Hardy gave Daniels another Twist of Fate. Hardy kicked Kazarian into the railing, then finished off Daniels with the Swanton. ***1/2
Taz came down with the house mic teasing an interview with Hardy. He asked him what would happen when everything around him in TNA is destroyed by Aces and Eights. At that moment, the VP of Aces and Eights, who still hasn't been identified, ran in and did the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan number on Hardy's knee, hitting it with a ball peen hammer.
SUMMARY: A let down of a show after the big angle last week. The turn of Taz was meant to give Aces and Eights a mouthpiece, but his performance this week was mainly centered around bad jokes and exchanges with Mike Tenay that went nowhere. The whole concept of Aces and Eights has lacked direction from the very beginning because there's never really been an explanation of why they're feuding with TNA stars to begin with. Mr. Anderson is now a member of a team that knocked him out of action for months. Why? That's really never been explained either. The good news is Roode and Aries and Bad Influence are still very entertaining, and the main event was rock solid.