5.23 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: A newsworthy live show from Tampa as A.J. Styles rejected a chance to join Aces and Eights, hitting both Kurt Angle and several members of A&8 with a hammer to end the show. The story is Styles continues to be on his own side, and no one else's. The love affair between Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan may not be over, as Bully told her he still loves her on separate occasions, perhaps leading to Brooke joining Aces and Eights. Mickie James claimed the TNA Knockouts title for the first time since 2011 by defeating Velvet Sky. James Storm's mystery tag team partner for Slammiversary was revealed as the returning Gunner. And Suicide made his return after a two year absence in a victory against Joey Ryan and Petey Williams.
The company opened by wishing the very best to the victims of the tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma. TNA almost always has its heart in the right place dealing with tragedies.
Hulk Hogan started the show with a big pop. Mike Tenay proclaimed Tampa as Hogan's hometown. He did a big speech which somehow included a mention of Shark Boy. When he got down to business, Hogan said A.J. Styles had decided to jump to Aces and Eights, "as Jeremy Borash as his witness." Sting came out, and Hogan said Sting didn't have to follow through with the stipulation that if he loses to Bully Ray at Slammiversary, he can never get a title shot again. Sting said if he couldn't take the title and the power it brings from Ray, he doesn't need to be wrestling. Has anyone ever seen an example of the power that a TNA champion supposedly holds ever wielded? Brooke Hogan came out and blamed herself for driving a wedge between herself and her father, and well as Sting and Hogan. Somehow, this led to Brooke announcing she wanted to resign as Knockouts GM. Hulk tried to talk her out of it. Ray came out and said it was his fault that Hogan didn't know how to run the company, and his fault that he stabbed Sting in the back. Ray said he blamed Brooke for making him fall for her. Ray he thinks about Brooke every night when he goes to bed, and he still loves her, and always will. He even still had his wedding ring on. Crowd went from being hot for Hogan, to being indifferent as an episode of "The Hogans" took place in the ring, but Ray's stellar heel work got them lively again. It sure did indicate a Brooke heel turn.
1. Suicide pinned Joey Ryan in a X Division three-way that also included Petey Williams in 4:02. Kenny King was on commentary. No zipline for Suicide in the arena setting upon his return. Joey Ryan just grounded this match to a halt as both Suicide as Petey Williams had to stand and wait for him as various points. Suicide and Williams looked comfortable working with each other. Williams attempted the Canadian Destroyer on Suicide, but Ryan broke it up. Suicide caught a reverse neckbreaker, then pinned Ryan after a Tiger Suplex dropped into a double knee to the crotch. **
Chris Sabin talked with James Storm about being his tag team partner at Slammiversary. Sabin said the two greatest tag teams in TNA history were The Motor City Machine Guns and Beer Money, and he needed someone to beat up. Storm politely declined, saying Sabin had plenty of potential to win the X Division title and the TNA Heavyweight title on his own. Sabin said everything was cool.
Brooke got in Ray's face about what did he mean about him still loving her. Ray said he meant what he said, then walked off.
Mickie James went into Velvet Sky's locker room to make sure she was ready to compete tonight for the Knockouts championship despite her bad knee, an injury exacerbated by Gail Kim's Steel Post Figure Four. James offered to postpone the bout, but Sky wouldn't hear of it.
Sam Shaw came out for his Gut Check tournament match against Alex Silva, but Silva never came out. As Dave reported three weeks ago, Silva has been sidelined in OVW with a concussion. Instead, Wes Brisco, Garrett Bischoff and Doc came out, with Brisco claiming Aces and Eights took out Silva in the parking lot. The three then jumped Shaw, with Brisco giving him a neckbreaker over the knee. Magnus ran down for the save, cut a promo on Brisco for taking out someone who he trained with at Harley Race's camp, then challenged him to a match immediately. Shaw disappeared in the midst of all this, so I don't know if Jay Bradley automatically gets the spot in the Bound for Glory tournament. They still have one more week for a semifinal match, which would give Bradley an opponent since the finals are slated for Slammiversary.
2. Magnus defeated Wes Brisco by DQ in 7:52 following the standard Aces and Eights run-in. Not much to it. Crowd responded well to Magnus. I just wish I could understand why they can't put him over for once because there needs to be a face that breaks out of the pack under the age of 50. Brisco went for a crossbody off the second rope, but Magnus caught him for the Michinoku Driver. Magnus went for the Randy Savage elbow, but Bischoff and Doc threw him off the top for the DQ. It was the triple team until Samoa Joe set a 20-yard dash record by a 300-pound man for the save. *1/4
Aces and Eights met backstage, with Devon wondering what the deal was with Ray and Brooke. Ray put over Brisco and Bischoff for beating up Magnus. Ray gave a speech talking about some recent disappointments in the club, looking right at D.Lo Brown. Ray guaranteed that Styles wouldn't let them down tonight in joining the group.
Kurt Angle was shown at a dual wrestling meet in New York where the U.S. competed against Russia and Iran. It was a PSA to save Olympic wrestling, with Bruce Baumgartner, a four-time Olympic medalist, talking at length. Angle did several interviews with television stations saying it was a joke that the Pentathlon is still an Olympic sport. The Pentathlon is basically an offshoot off the Biathlon in the Winter Olympics, which combines skiing and shooting at targets. I think that sport has its origins in liquor store robberies.
Styles showed up backstage riding a new, motorcycle. The bike looked like something you would see out of the Fast and the Furious than Sons of Anarchy.
3. Mr. Anderson defeated Kurt Angle in 8:16. Your basic Angle match, where he spends the majority of the match selling his left arm after running into the post. Mr. Anderson attempted the Mic Check, but Angle reversed into three German Suplexes. Anderson escaped the Ankle Lock and hit the Mic Check, but Angle kicked out. Anderson went to the top rope, but Angle popped up for the Belly-to-Belly Superplex. Angle clamped on the Ankle Lock, but at that point Styles came to ringside. Taz embraced Styles, who didn't embrace Taz back. Nonetheless, Angle was distracted by this scene, and Anderson hit Angle with a low blow and pinned him with a cradle. Anderson extended his hand to Styles, who didn't shake it and just stared at Angle. **1/2
Kim cut a promo saying she should be getting a title shot tonight against Velvet Sky. Taryn Terrell ran in and brawled with Kim like a wild woman, throwing her into a door and the wall. Pat Kenney had to run in to break it up.
Storm came out to announce who his partner will be. Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez watched from the commentators table. Storm acknowledged his previous history with America's Most Wanted and Beer Money, being a co-holder of the tag team titles 11 times. Before he could announce his partner, Bobby Roode and Austin Aries came out. Roode said he was the king of tag team wrestling. He said the 4 years he teamed with Storm was the worst years of his career. But the night he smashed Storm over the head with a beer bottle made him the proudest man walking on Earth. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian then showed up, with Kazarian playing off the Aries-Christy Hemme situation in passing. He said Storm, who he called Jim, could pick Bo or Luke Duke, Waylon (well, he's dead) and Willie, but it doesn't matter who he selected. Storm then said the guy's needed to shut up, and Shark Boy came out with his Steve Austin gimmick. The heels basically smirked thinking Storm chose him. Shark Boy did his entire Austin Tribute Band routine. Before long, Robbie E. came out saying Storm wanted to team with someone who could make him a champion, like himself. Robbie said "Who needs Beer Money when you have Beer Bro?" He ran through a bunch of lame names, including "Hair Spray and Drink All Day," which he started to sing. Then, of all people, Gunner ran out of the crowd and clotheslined Shark and Robbie. He gave Shark Boy a uranage and put Robbie in the torture rack. Upon seeing that, Kazarian urged Storm to pick Robbie. Storm shook Gunner's hand and told him he would see him at Slammiversary. The crowd reaction to Gunner's return was disappointing, but he's been gone so long it's understandable why people would forget him. He's got a ponytail, and a leaner but muscular physique. He's another one due for a break.
Joseph Park talked with Sting in the locker room about his TV title match with Devon at Slammiversary. Park said some of the boys talked about him getting the strap, and said "that sounds painful." Sting explained getting the strap means getting a championship. Thank God Park didn't say strap in front of Vince is all I can say. Then he would've learned what verbal pain sounds like. Sting said next week, Devon and Bully Ray would face Sting and a partner of his choice. Sting said he wanted to have Abyss as his partner, but Park wasn't sure if he could locate him. Sting felt that Park was Kay-fabbing him, so Sting instead chose Park to be his partner. Park agreed to it.
4. Mickie James defeated Velvet Sky to win the TNA Knockouts title in 8:44. This was flat-out bad. Sky did a dropkick early that caught James stiff in the face, and the match degenerated from there. Predictably, Sky did the satellite head scissors spot, but came up favoring her bad left knee. James did a chop block on the knee, which was a heel move. James won the title back with a DDT. Crowd was flat and the execution was worse. -*
In the Aces and Eights clubhouse, Ray asked Brown if he had washed the bikes and picked up ice for the beers. Ray gave a toast to Anderson for beating Angle, and for Styles about to be patched in as a new A&8 member.
Ray came out for the coronation of Styles, tipping his cap to Anderson for beating Angle. Styles came down the A&8s entranceway. Ray handed Styles a beer, and made mention that Styles had never had a drink of liquor in his life. Ray wanted Styles to drink with him as a sign that his soul belong to A&8s. The two tipped glasses, and Styles chugged the beer down whole. Anderson handed Styles his cut as the crowd chanted "You Sold Out." Anderson held the vest open for Styles, but Angle came out and said that Styles legacy just went down the crapper. Angle asked Styles if this was what he really wanted. Styles then put on the cut, and Styles embraced Ray, Anderson and Devon. Angle started to charge the ring, but Doc cut him off, and Knox held Angle so Styles could hit him with a hammer. Styles then hit Angle in the knee with the hammer and kicked him out of the ring. Then, as the rest of Aces and Eights turned their backs to pose, Styles used the hammer to hit Doc, Bischoff and Knox. Styles got big cheers as he held up his hands in the Styles' hand gesture, with Tenay explaining that Styles was a group in himself. Ray, Devon and Anderson watched in disbelief as Styles walked away.
SUMMARY: The final segment was well done because while the result was predictable, the crowd really thought that Styles was going heel. Good to see Gunner back in the company, because while Storm relegated to the tag team division moves him down the card, it will at least give Gunner a rub with a man who has been a main eventer in the company. The James title is interesting because it appears to be a heel turn in the midst of her new album coming out, which may negatively affect sales.
Sent from Rod's Pad.