8.8 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: Only thing of note on an otherwise forgettable show was the buildup for Bully Ray's rematch next week with Chris Sabin at Hardcore Justice. If Ray loses, he doesn't get another shot at the TNA world championship ever again. This stip and the result of the main event indicates a title change next week.
As Mike Tenay was about to enter the building, Taz stopped him and ordered him out of the building. With Aces and Eights behind him, Taz told Tenay that he was getting the night off and he would return to the commentator's table. So Taz returned to heel color, joined by Mr. Anderson, while Jeremy Borash did play-by-play on Impact for the first time I can recall. When WCW started tanking, one of Eric Bischoff's moves was to start changing announcers in hopes that would improve ratings. Of course, network executives have long thought announcers make a difference in football ratings. The truth is, people don't watch wrestling or football for announcers, because announcers are the waiters and the product is the main meal. If the steak sucks, it doesn't matter how good Al Michaels is, he's describing a steak that sucks.
Bully Ray came out talking about Tito Ortiz's debut, and said he wasn't impressed with him. Ray ordered Ortiz to stay away from him or else he would beat him up. Ray said he learned the main event tonight would be Team 3-D vs. Chris Sabin and a mystery partner from the Main Event Mafia. Ray told Sabin to come out for the contract signing leading up to their title match next week at Hardcore Justice. Sabin read off a lot of scripted insults to Ray, and said he was the only person who believed he could beat Ray for the world title. Ray wanted to know where the contract was he wanted to sign. Brooke Hogan came out instead of Hulk. Brooke said her father was "out of town" meeting with the board. By "the board," I guess she meant a Today show appearance that Hogan, who vowed to be "the Vince McMahon of TNA" in 2009, never once mentioned TNA. Crowd booed Hogan's absence, and Brooke got no reaction. Of course, on this night few people did. Brooke said Hulk had been reviewing Ray's contract, and sent an e-mail saying if Ray loses the rematch against Sabin next week, he will never get another shot at the TNA world title. Ray vowed he would not be bullied by Brooke, Sabin or Hulk. Brooke got in the ring and reeled off this line about how she learned by being married to Ray that he was all talk and little action. Can't wait for more Brooke dialogue in her next shark movie coming straight to a Red Box near you. For some reason, Ray signed the contract anyway, so the rematch is on.
Bound for Glory Tournament standings (after watching Day 2 of the G-1 this week, man does tournament feel like the NIT) 1. Magnus 49 points. 2. Samoa Joe 25 points. 3. A.J. Styles 22 points. 4. Christopher Daniels, Austin Aries and Anderson 21 points. 7. Jeff Hardy 17 points. 8. Bobby Roode, Hernandez 7 points. 10. Kazarian, Jay Bradley 0 points 12. Joseph Park -3 points.
1. Jeff Hardy (24 points) defeated Samoa Joe (25 points) in 12:01 in a Bound for Glory Series match. It's amazing to think Anderson was once primed for superstardom. On commentary, it's clear he was a one joke comedian that carried it as far as he could in the WWE. Now, he's devoid of any charisma and didn't say anything on commentary to stand out. Joe hit an Elbow Suicidia. Joe hit the power bomb into an STF, then turned that into the Rings of Saturn, but Hardy kicked out of a crucifix pin attempt. Hardy came back with a flying forearm and the Whisper in the Wind. Joe tried a Musclebuster, but Hardy escaped an attempted the Twist of Fate, but Joe slipped out and clamped on the Kokina Clutch. At this point, Joe got distract when Anderson stood up at the announcer's table. That's right, Anderson just stood up, and Joe got distracted. I got nothing for that, either. This allowed Hardy to escape and get the pin via schoolboy cradle. **3/4
Daniels did an interview playing up dissension with Kazarian, claiming Kazarian was jealous of him because he's 3-0 in the BFG series while Kazarian is 0-3.
2. Mr. Anderson (24 points) defeated Magnus (39 points) by DQ in 6:37. Crowd was dead. Magnus hit his Michinoku Driver but missed the Randy Savage elbow. At this point, Roode came in and hit Anderson with a chair, leading to Magnus getting disqualified. So Roode wants to catch up with Magnus in the standings, so Roode cost Magnus 10 points in the standings because of this DQ. It's a finish that makes logistical sense, but it was so lame here. Match was boring, too. *
Roose did an interview with a sea of empty red seats behind him, saying he got Magnus disqualified to cost Magnus 10 points. He said it was only the beginning.
Referee Brian Hebner was asked about disqualifying Magnus, with the interviewer saying it was a tough call. It was? What else was he supposed to call? Magnus walked in and started acting sympathetic to Hebner, saying tough calls were a part of the business. Mangus said things have a way of working themselves out, and he would get those ten points that he lost tonight back.
Robbie E and Jessie Godderz met backstage, with Robbie saying they kicked Tara to the curb because it's Bromans before Romance. Mickie James walked in and said they needed to take care of Gunner and James Storm while she took care of ODB.
Sting and Kurt Angle came in Sabin's locker room. Sting said either he or Angle vowed to take out one of Aces and Eights next week. Well, that narrows it down. Sabin said he had a plan about the tag team match tonight, but it involves the Mafia trusting him. They cut away.
Ortiz came out for his first promo since joining the company full-time. Borash asked him what he was doing in Impact Wrestling. Ortiz started to explain when Angle came out. I guess Sabin's plan was simple. Angle got in Ortiz's face and told him he was entering Angle's world and his ring. Angle said he's earned the right to be called the greatest wrestler alive, and he will respect Ortiz's space, but Ortiz better respect his. Ray came out and said he doesn't respect either one of them. Ray claimed he could double-leg Ortiz and make him tap out, and he's been beating the hell out of Angle for ten years. Ray cut a promo on Ortiz. So basically, this was exactly the same segment that Angle did with Rampage Jackson two months ago with a Ray appearance thrown in. Tito showed some personality.
3. James Storm, Gunner and ODB defeated Bro Mans and Mickie James in 4:16. Storm got the heat. Godderz showed more aggressiveness and looked pretty good. Gunner tried the Gun Rack, but James jumped on Gunner's back. ODB sent James out of the ring. Gooderz lifted Gunner up, but Storm cleaned his clock with a great looking Last Call. Robbie came off the second rope, but Gunner caught him, leading to a double-team powerslam and neckbreaker for the pin by Gunner. **
Postmatch, Gail Kim did a run-in attacking ODB. As they were separated, James hit ODB behind with her championship belt.
Kazarian did a promo running down Daniels, making you think he was going to turn babyface again following his match tonight against his tag team partner.
Ray and Devon talked backstage. Ray couldn't remember how many times they had been tag team champions, 23 or 24. Devon said he was going to take someone out tonight, and Ray said "testify." Ray said that was his line.
4. Kazarian (2 points) and Christopher Daniels (23 points) went to a double countout in 4:04 of a Bound for Glory Series match. They wrested scientifically for the first three minutes until Kazarian threw an elbow trying to escape a hammerlock, which was the only strike in the entire match. Daniels acted like he was ready to square off with Kazarian, but instead they each left the ring at the same time, encouraged referee Earl Hebner to count them out, which he did. So they each got two points. This was supposed to lead to them getting heat, but after the finish of the previous BFG series match, no one cared. DUD.
Postmatch, Roode came back out with his chair. The three entered the ring together, with Roode saying he, Daniels and Kazarian had become forgotten after the arrival of Jackson, Ortiz and the Mafia. So they were forming a group so that one of them would win the Bound for Glory Series and win the World Championship. Seems that Roode is getting a heel push again, and it will lead to him turning on Daniels and Kazarian down the line.
Ortiz was stopped backstage, saying he would be at Hardcore Justice.
5. Chris Sabin and Kurt Angle defeated Team 3-D in 16:40. At first, Sting came out to enhance Sabin's entrance pop, but Angle then jumped in the ring as the official mystery man. Crowd started chanting "U.S.A." Taz mentioned Hell's Kitchen, New York was in the U.S. 3-D did their old spots, including Wazzup on Sabin. Heels worked out Sabin's bad leg until the hot tag to Angle, who got a near fall on Devon after an Olympic Slam. Ray got a near fall on Angle after a uranage and hit him with a big boot. Sabin made a blind tag and hit a missile dropkick on Ray. Sabin traded elbows with Ray and Devon in opposite corners, and got a near fall on Ray with an enzuigiri. Sabin got dumped to the ramp. and 3-D hit the 3-D on Angle. Devon got a table out, which actually got the biggest babyface pop of the taping. Ray set the table in the corner and tried to put Sabin through the table but missed and wound up crashing through the table. Devon took a bump over the top rope, and Sabin pinned Ray after a crossbody block. ***1/4
SUMMARY: The company would be best served to get this taping in the rear view mirror as soon as possible, both for what happened at the show and after it. This was a nothing program. Nothing offensive. Nothing horrid. And nothing that stood out.