5.9 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: Abyss made his long-awaited return as the surprise partner for Sting and Kurt Angle to win a six-man tag team match against Aces and Eights. Hulk Hogan's involvement on the show was limited to two brief backstage segments.
Sting and Kurt Angle came out. Sting talked about being the number one contender to face Bully Ray in Boston. Angle wondered where A.J. Styles stood in their program with Aces and Eights and called him down. When Angle asked Styles if he was going to be their partner in the six-man tonight against Ray, Devon and Mr. Anderson, Styles gave him the silent treatment. When Angle demanded that Styles say something, he didn't. Sting took the microphone and explained that he was once in Styles' shoes, but now was the time to do the right thing. Sting did his best promo in a long time, saying the big crowd in Tupelo was the house that Styles built. Crowd chanted for Styles, but he refused to budge. Angle screamed at Styles, who walked off. Angle took off after him, and they started fighting on the ramp. The perils of live television were at work again, as Styles was supposed to take off his leather jacket for the brawl, but he appeared to have a hard time doing it. So they abruptly cut to a shot of Sting watching on in the ring. Angle double-legged Styles and they had a pretty realistic looking fight that required several referees to break up. Meanwhile, Anderson, Ray and Devon snuck up on Sting in the ring and gave him the 3-D.
Backstage, a camerman asked Styles if he was going to leave Angle and Sting high and dry. Styles gave a disgusted look and walked out the door, and he didn't return.
Velvet Sky and Mickie James defeated Tara and Gail Kim in 3:30. Jessie Godderz was back with Tara, and the two constantly made out in lieu of paying attention to the match. Godderz tripped James for the heat. Velvet Sky sold nothing in her comeback, and pinned Tara after In Yo Face. *1/4
Postmatch, Kim was upset at Tara's nonchalance during the match. It led to Kim turning on Tara and giving her the figure four around the post, just like the one Taryn Terrell suffered last week. ODB broke it up. I have no idea where Godderz was during all of this.
Ray gloated with the rest of Aces and Eights over giving Sting the 3-D. D. Lo Brown wasn't invited to this get together and wondered what was going on. Ray, teasing that Brown was about to get fired from the group after losing to Angle last week, invited everyone to the ring for a club meeting. Brown looked like every Los Angeles Lakers coach after the season ends without a championship, knowing their fate won't end well.
Bad Influence came up to James Storm in the locker room. Storm will referee the number one contender's match between Bad Influence vs. Bobby Roode and Austin Aries later. Kazarian gave Storm a six-pack and apologized for the beating they gave him a few weeks ago when they tried to reform Fortune. Christopher Daniels proposed Storm joining them in a group, which Kazarian suggested should be called "Threetourne." Kazarian also said that Styles chose to go Sith instead of Jedi. They urged Storm to do the right thing.
Aces and Eights went to the ring. Ray cut a promo on Sting and Angle before turning his attention to Brown. Ray told him that Brown disgraced his club and his brothers when he lost to Angle, and ordered Brown to turn in his coat right now. Brown said no. Ray told him again to take his colors off. Brown said "His coat was his life, no." Anderson and Knox got in Brown's face, with Anderson saying the club was not for quitters. Anderson stripped the coat off of Brown. Ray asked Brown what he was going to do to get his coat back. Brown said he would challenge Magnus to a fight and beat him. Ray nixed that idea and said that Brown would watch from ringside as Doc faces Magnus.
2. Magnus defeated Doc. Television picked up the match in progress. Doc landed a snap suplex and was on offense most of the way. Magnus hit his top rope elbow for a two count. Brown interfered at this point, tripping Magnus. He tried to throw Magnus into the steps, but Magnus reversed and Brown took the bump. Doc hit a flap jack for a two count. Doc sent Magnus into the ropes, but Magnus reversed the Irish Whip and Brown tripped Doc (when he thought he was tripping Magnus). Then Magnus used a schoolboy cradle for the three count. *3/4
In the back, Ray chewed out Brown for his screwup and ordered Wes Brisco and Garret Bischoff to hold him down. Ray threatened to use a hammer over Brown's skull. Anderson suggested they give Brown a better job, and Ray said Brown was nothing more than a prospect for Aces and Eights. Basically, they said Brown would be fetching them beers, cleaning up after them, etc.
Hulk Hogan met with Angle and Sting, demanding to be the third man in tonight's trios main event. Angle warned Hogan that his doctor had already warned him about in-ring action. Hogan said he got a wildcard card today from someone, and if this person is who he thinks it is, then Aces and Eights would be finished. Sting said they can't rely on "ifs," and said Magnus was someone they could rely on. Hogan agreed on Magnus.
Roode and Aries approached Storm, kissing up to him the same way Bad Influence did earlier. Roode, in the most insincere way possible, told Storm that he was always jealous of Storm because he was the force behind Bear Money and the only reason why he beat Storm was the world title was because he broke a beer bottle over his head. Roode spit it out so fast you could tell it disgusted him. Storm asked if Aries brought him up to say that, which Aries denied. As a parting shot, Storm told Roode that the word going around the locker room was that when Aries beat Roode, it was no fluke. Roode got agitated that was even a subject again. The byplay with Roode and Aries was great again. Roode really should be more of a star, but he's stuck in a company that can't make stars. If only he were in New Japan.
3. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode went to a no contest with Bad Influence with James Storm as the special referee in 11:34. Christy Hemme opened the match by calling Roode and Aries "Bad Influence." Aries cornered her and stood on the top rope until she called them by the right name. She didn't look amused by that gesture. Up to this point, the crowd had been the hottest since the opening live road show in Chicago, but since this was a heel match, they didn't know how to react. Of course, everyone worked hard. At one point, it looked like Storm may have suffered a Randy Orton injury while delivering a two count, as he slammed his arm on the mat way too hard. Even Taz pointed it out in commentary. They opened with each team doing heel tag spots, which was made for comedy. Here, it went over everyone's heads. Aries and Roode eventually got the fans on their side, as Aries got the hot tag and landed a tope on Daniels where it looked like he got shot out of a cannon. Aries hit the frog splash on Daniels, taunting Chavo Guerrero in the process. Kazarian made the save and Bad Influence gave Aries the Future Shock. Roode made the save. Daniels went for the Angel's Wings, but Aries reversed and tried a brainbuster, but Daniels reversed into a cradle. Daniels held Aries' trunks with Storm watching, so Storm refused to count. Daniels and Storm argued. Meanwhile, Aries spit beer into Daniels face. Storm took the beer out of Aries' hands, which got Aries mad. Aries shoved Storm, who tried to deliver the Last Call to Aries. Instead, Aries moved and Storm kicked Daniels. Aries was elated since Daniels was out and told Storm to count three. Instead, Storm counted two, then gave Aries the Last Call. Storm walked out of the ring, and his music just played for a 1990s Sports Entertainment finish. I guess we get another three-way tag title match at Slammiversary. ***
In what appeared to be a segment based at a Lowe's store, several members of Aces and Eights jumped Magnus, since he was going to be Sting and Angle's tag partner. Magnus started to make his own comeback on Doc, Knox and Bischoff, only to get hit with a trash can. Magnus was laid out with a trash can full of weapons, so Sting and Angle were back looking for a partner again.
They're back with Suicide promos since he won the polling for the X Division match. It's funny to think that Suicide was a character meant to sell the old TNA video game, and three men portrayed him. Two are in the best tag team in the company, and the other one is in New Japan.
Kenny King came out for a rare in-ring interview. He did a heel promo at first, then introduced Chris Sabin. At first, King acted respectful as he handed the microphone to Sabin. Once again, Sabin did a promo talking about his rehab, saying he had been two places over the past 18 months: training facilities and his basement. But he has nothing left to lose at this point, so he wanted King to enjoy holding the championship because it wouldn't be his much longer. Again, King showed faux respect, saying he wanted Sabin to hold the X Division championship again so the fans could see him with it. King finally heeled on him, saying it was the closest he would ever get to the championship again. King said he was going to rain golden showers on Sabin's championship parade next week. When King demanded Sabin give him the title back, Sabin punched him and King retreated. Both men sounded like they gave scripted interviews and used words they wouldn't ordinarily use in standard conversation. King is good in his role, however. Sabin deserves a bigger push than the X Division at this point, but it's like WCW all over again the way the glass ceiling works in TNA.
Backstage, Aries, Roode, Daniels and Kazarian all had to be held back from a fallen James Storm, who had been attacked by all of the teams, presumably.
The Bound for Glory Series is back for a third year. For the first time ever, a Gut Check winner will be in the field. Jay Bradley, Sam Shaw, Christian York and Alex Silva will compete in a four-way next week to determine the man who gets the spot.
In the back, Ray told Aces and Eights he knew everyone wasn't happy with his treatment of Brown, but they couldn't have quitters in the group. Ray told Knox that after the main event, Brown should make sure the beers on cold and their motorcycles should be polished.
Angle and Sting left Hogan in the locker room for the main event. At that point, Hogan's cell phone rang, as fate would have it. The wildcard partner was on the phone, and Hogan told him it was now or never.
4. Abyss, Sting and Kurt Angle defeated Mr. Anderson, Bully Ray and Devon in 18:24. It was one of those deals where most of the match was 2-on-3 while the faces waited for the mystery partner to show up. Angle sold for about 14 minutes taking all sorts of offense from Aces and Eights. Just before a commercial, they cut backstage, where Bischoff, Knox, Doc and Brisco had been laid out by an unknown perpetrator. Ray even hit a standing dropkick, which Taz mentioned he used to do back in the day. Tenay muttered "You never left your feet." Angle pulled off an Olympic Slam on Ray to tag Sting. There was a face-to-face confrontation with Sting and Ray where Sting got the better of a slugfest and tried to put Ray in the Scorpion Death Lock, but Anderson broke it up. Devon brought a table in the ring. As Sting was prone, some music played, and Abyss appeared for the first time in over a year. Abyss clotheslined Ray and Devon, and gave Anderson a choke slam through the table for the pin. **1/2
SUMMARY: I guess the Joseph Park character is done now that Abyss has finally been found, which is for the best because his shelf life had just about run out. It was a pretty good show, but I can't see Sting-Ray generating much momentum for the PPV.