8.22 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: A.J. Styles returned to his original "Phenomenal" persona to join the Main Event Mafia and pin Devon in the "loser of the fall leaves the company" main event. So Devon's stint is apparently done, and Aces and Eights sold it big. Bully Ray and Mr. Anderson continue to bicker. Also, Ray's flame "Brooke" turned out to be Brooke Tessmacher, which is a step up in terms of heel charisma. And Joseph Park earned 20 points in the Bound for Glory Series standings after winning a four-way street fight.
Bully Ray and Tito Ortiz were backstage. Ray was on the phone with "Brooke," talking about how the world will be shocked when they reunite tonight. Mr. Anderson walked up and wondered why Ray didn't bring Ortiz into the Aces & Eights fold sooner. Anderson said Ray hadn't been returning his phone calls. Ray told Anderson to start earning his stripes and stop being so concerned about his business. Anderson and Ray are taking the dissension route.
The new faction of Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian came out. Roode congratulated Ray on winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for the second time, but said Roode was the man who had a target on his back. Daniels said "The Extraordinary Gentlemen's Organization" (EGO) would go 3-for-3 when he wins the street fight tonight for 20 points in the Bound for Glory Series. Roode said they needed to add one more member to the group, Austin Aries. James Storm and Gunner came out. Storm said he knew from personal experience that Roode wasn't someone they could trust, and told Daniels and Kazarian that it wasn't a question of when Roode was going to turn on them, it was when. Roode claimed Storm was jealous of him. Storm said he was going to walk to the corner, take his shirt off, take a drink from his beer and fight them. That's exactly what Roode did, which triggered an impromptu tag match.
1. Kazarian and Bobby Roode defeated James Storm and Kazarian in a nontitle match in 9:41. This show as a carryover from Hardcore Justice, so it was no DQ rules. Except Daniels was ordered to the back by Earl Hebner after it started. So why couldn't he interfere? Storm got the hot tag from Gunner and gave Roode Closing Time, which teased the Last Call. Kazarian came in with a championship belt threatening to hit Storm, but Storm gave him the Last Call. Roode snuck up from behind Storm and gave him a low blow and trunks for the pin. Evidently, Roode is channeling Toru Yanu for his new gimmick. **1/4
Aries did a promo about how he turned down an offer to join the Main Event Mafia. Now, he's got an offer from Roode, Daniels and Kazarian to help strengthen their numbers. Aries said there's something to be said for trusting the people you're in a group with, so he has some thinking to do.
2. Manik defeated Sonjay Dutt in a nontitle match in 4:27. A lot of high spots, as usual. They both looked good in the time given. Manik did a diving dropkick to the apron onto Sonjay Dutt. Later, Dutt came back with a huracanrana and attempted the moonsault double stomp, but Manik moved and gave Dutt a Go to Sleep, followed by his finisher, the double chicken wing dropped into a gutbuster. **1/4
Anderson told Devon and the rest of the Aces and Eights told everyone that Ray wanted them to focus on the Main Event Mafia in the 5-on-5 match tonight. They all drank beer and Devon said they were going to testify.
3. Joseph Park pinned Jay Bradley to earn 20 points in the Bound for Glory series in a four-way street fight that also included Hernandez and Christopher Daniels in 12:19. Eric Young accompanied Joseph Park again. After Hernandez hit an over the should backbreaker drop on Daniels, Jay Bradly stopped the pin with a chair to the back of Hernandez, and later used the chair on Hernandez's neck. It spilled out to the floor, where Hernandez tried to backdrop Daniels on the ramp, but Daniels reversed. Roode and Kazarian came out at this point. Bradley tried to use a chair on Park, but Park double-legged him and put him in a Boston Crab. Roode and Daniels interfered and dragged Park to ringside, but Young came in to brawl with them. Roode took Young out. Bradley hit Daniels with a Yakuza kick and kicked him low, followed by a chair shot to the back. Bradley gave Daniels a back suplex on the chair. Kazarian got to Bradley and he and Roode put the boots to him. Hernandez soared into the ring with a gorgeous Air Mexico on Daniels. Aries then came into the ring teasing he was going after Hernandez and joining the Extraordinary Gentlemen's Group, but gave Daniels a brainbuster instead. Aries raced to the back. It was great that Aries got a big pop for the turn. It was bad that the crowd chanted "Yes! Yes! Yes!" as he raced to the back. Meanwhile, Bradley bloodied Park with brass knuckles. Once again, Park saw his blood and turned into Abyss, knocked Bradley and Hernandez down and gave Bradley the Black Hole Slam for the pin and 20 points. **1/4
Sting tried to give the rest of the Main Event Mafia a pep talk after being humiliated last week. Magnus gave a speech that they didn't need anyone else, they were the elite of professional wrestling and could beat Aces and Eights 4-on-5.
A video package of Brooke Hogan and Bully Ray's long and winding road aired, which I guess is Brooke Hogan's final company appearance.
Ray and Ortiz came out and asked the fans how does it feel to have the wool pulled over your eyes again with Ortiz's turn. Ortiz got some heat after his turn. Ortiz cut a promo on Quinton "Rampage" Jackson that he knocked him out last week with the ballpeen hammer, and on November 2nd, he would do it again. Ray said he was going to expose the secret that he and his girl had been keeping for years. Ray then introduced "The love of his life." They played Brooke Hogan's entrance music and video, but Brooke Tessmacher came out. They started making out in the ring. Actually, Tessmacher has a better heel aura than Brooke Hogan, and she's shorter than Ray, so he's more imposing. Ray said there was only one thing left to do, and Tessmacher sucked his finger and spit. Ray said we're done.
4. Gail Kim defeated ODB in 6:19. ODB hit Gail Kim with a Fallaway Slam and the Bronco Buster. Kim came back with Divorce Court and a shoulder breaker, then sank in a keylock on ODB's left shoulder. Kim tried to cannonball ODB's arm, but ODB hit Kim low. And Kim sold it. Well, there was a low blow in the last Invicta show, so I guess it can happen here. Though I must have been sleeping during that portion of Anatomy class. ODB crotched Kim on the top rope and gave her a superplex. ODB landed on her bad shoulder, and Kim kicked out at two. ODB tried the Bam, but Kim slipped it into a crucifix for the pin. Fine match by any standard, and more good work from Kim. **
Jeff Hardy was featured in a good Bound for Glory package, talking about his victory last year. He talked about how physically draining the series is, and how he wants to win it again this year for his infant daughter.
Aries explained his actions from earlier tonight saying Roode needed help to win the Bound for Glory Series. Aries said he didn't need help, all he needed was his ability.
Mike Tenay promoted Hulk Hogan appearing next week in Cleveland. Tenay claimed Hogan was meeting with attorneys this week, thus his absence from this show. Taz kept saying something isn't right. I'll bet.
They aired Sabin's postmatch promo after he dropped the strap last week, and boy it did him no favors at all. He talked about Aces and Eights being a cancer in the industry and how he would be back.
5. Sting, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Magnus, Samoa Joe and A.J. Styles defeated Wes Brisco, Garrett Bischoff, Knux, Mr. Anderson and Devon in 16:27 when Styles pinned Devon, so Devon is now gone from TNA. Before the match, Anderson called out Ray to watch the match, not teasing any dissension at all. Ray came out with Tessmacher and Ortiz. Anderson offered any member of the Mafia to lay down since they were shorthanded. At that point, A.J. Styles came out, with his current music playing. Then his old music came on and Styles snapped into his Phenomenal A.J. Styles gimmick for a good pop, and the sides were even. Styles did his dropkick on Anderson to "A.J." chants. Knux gave Magnus a back suplex. I mention this only because Knux made a real-life, bona fide, Impact wrestling appearance. And I just wanted to type it. After getting the heat for awhile, Magnus gave Knux a DDT to make the hot tag to Sting, who immediately gave Knux two Stinger Splashes. It turned into a 10-man brawl everywhere, as Jackson was left knocking down all five of the heels, including a body slam to Wes Brisco. Sting put Knux in the Scorpion Death Lock, but Devon gave Sting a low blow. Knux covered Sting for a two count. Devon missed a splash off the second rope and tagged in Styles, who gave Devon the springboard forearm and an enzuigiri. It turned into another brawl to ringside. Devon speared Styles, but Styles escaped slam and gave Devon a Styles Clash for the pin. ***
SUMMARY: With Devon supposedly done and Anderson and Ray teasing a split, it looks like there could be an escape plan from the Aces and Eights angle coming. Which is for the best because it hasn't turned business around in any way. Give the company credit for knowing when to cut bait on the Styles' gimmick, though it wasn't completely done away with as Styles still had some mannerisms of his "loner" persona.