The third live Impact episode of TNA’s summer series opened with a silent video on James Storm losing to Bobby Roode at Lockdown in April. The sound came on for a recap of Storm leaving TNA for two months, finding himself in nature, and then returning at Slammiversary to end Crimson’s “streak.” The focus was on whether Storm can complete his TNA Title quest now that he has returned.
Impact Zone: Mike Tenay and Taz set the stage for the show, noting the show is starting with Ultimate X for the X Division Title, the BFG Series is returning, and Roode will defend the TNA World Title against Mr. Anderson in the main event. Already in the ring for the Ultimate X match were Chris Sabin and Zema Ion. X champ Austin Aries was then introduced for his next title defense.
1 — X Division champion AUSTIN ARIES vs. CHRIS SABIN vs. ZEMA ION — Ultimate X match for X Division Title
As the bell sounded, the announcers hyped Aries conquering Samoa Joe at Slammiversary on Sunday. The match started with Sabin and Aries clearing Ion from the ring before engaging in a mid-ring back-and-forth. Ion then tried to sneak into the ring, but Sabin cut him off. Tenay noted Sabin is the veteran of this match, claiming Sabin has appeared in 15 Ultimate X bouts. All three men became involved as the announcers plugged the BFG Series starting tonight. Aries then cleared the ring and Sabin sold a left knee injury, which isn’t good, even if he’s selling. Aries followed with a double suicide dive, then ran around the ring to celebrate as the ref chased him down to offer some instructions.
Back in the ring, Aries and Ion had a mid-ring exchange while Sabin continued to sell ringside. Sabin then slid into the ring and hobbled over to Aries to deck him before rolling out of the ring again. Sabin disappeared ringside as Aries and Ion resumed an exchange on the top turnbuckle, which led to Ion sliding down one of the trusses holding up the structure. Ion recovered and tried to go after Aries again, but Aries delivered a big huracanrana, followed by a snap brainbuster center-ring. Aries then quickly scaled the cables, grabbed the title, unhooked it after a few moments, and dropped to the mat with possession of the title to win. Taz said it’s just another day at the office for Aries.
WINNER: Aries at 7:21 to retain the X Division Title. Sabin’s apparent injury put a damper on what had the makings of a good opener. It is unfortunate the Ultimate X match has become just-another-match in TNA with so many occurring through the years.
Post-match: Aries celebrated his victory while Sabin was helped away from ringside. They replayed Sabin’s mid-match injury before showing Aries’s victory in impressive fashion. Aries then took the mic and said he walked into TNA one year ago and made some hefty claims. He said he can beat anyone in TNA and he’s pound-for-pound the most complete package in wrestling. Aries said people thought that was a lot of hot air at first, but then he started knocking out home runs. Whether he’s first, fourth, or last match, he’s always the main event. Aries said he’s not satisfied as X champ and things moving at a snail’s pace.
Suddenly, Hulk Hogan’s music played. Aries said he’s just the man he wants to see. Hogan stood on-stage doing the Hogan Look into the crowd before they cut to break.
[Commercial Break…] […Q2]
Back live, Hogan had made his way into the ring to join Austin Aries. The camera focused on Hogan pacing around the ring before addressing Aries that he’s making a big request to be in the main event. Hogan shifted it to his career, saying that he’s already been wherever Aries wants to go. Aries cut off Hogan, who kept talking about his career. He said the one thing he’s never done is got the kind of goosebumps he gets when Aries wrestles. Hogan said…wait for it…he can take Aries to a whole ‘nother level. He then called Aries the greatest thing he’s ever seen in this ring.
Hogan said he’s willing to book Aries against the World Hvt. champion on one condition. He said he cannot have one man as the champ of both divisions, so, Aries has to give up the X Division Title. Aries let that sink in for a moment. Hogan said Aries can challenge for the World Title at Destination X, but if he loses, then he walks away with nothing. Aries thought it over before Hogan said he thinks Aries can do it. Aries said he busted his tail for the title, and he just wants him to hand over the title? Hogan said he doesn’t want Aries to hand it over because he wants to see Aries get to the next level as a true main-eventer. Hogan told Aries he has one week to give him his decision. Aries called it fair enough before Hogan’s music played.
Still to come: Sting talks about his TNA Hall of Fame induction, and, presumably, losing in the TNA World Title main event.
Catering: Joseph Park was telling random people that he felt so at home in the ring at Slammiversary. Everyone left when they spotted Bully Ray off-camera. Park tried to back down from Ray, who demanded to know where his brother is. Park said the last time he saw him, he was putting Ray through a table. That didn’t sit well with Ray, who turned over the table and vowed not to rest until he finds Abyss.
Impact Zone: Hernandez’s music played to bring out Hernandez for a TV Title challenge fresh off his return victory over Kid Kash at Slammiversary. Tenay said Hernandez impressed Hogan with his win at the PPV. TV champ Devon was out next to defend the title as the announcers recapped Devon’s tag victory over the Robbies at the PPV.
2 — TV champion DEVON vs. HERNANDEZ — TNA TV Title match
As Devon stood ringside waiting to make his entrance, Hernandez came flying over the top rope with a supersplash. Hernandez then rolled Devon into the ring, and, despite the unfair start, the ref called for the bell and Hernandez made a quick cover for a two count. Hernandez then settled into a bearhug trying to wear down Devon. After breaking free, Devon came flying off the ropes with a big shoulder tackle center-ring.
The two men traded bombs center-ring before Devon built momentum with successive offense. Suddenly, Hernandez came running out of the corner with a big shoulder tackle that sent Devon flying across the ring. It was good for a two count only. Hernandez tried to set up a top-rope move, but couldn’t find his balance as Devon stood on his feet waiting. Hernandez eventually attempted a move off the top for a two count, then Devon came back with his spinebuster finisher for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Devon at 3:34 to retain the TV Title. Good sequences during this match before the clunky finish.
Last Week Recap: Daniels confronted TNA president Dixie Carter about allegedly finding a suitable replacement for her husband in the form of A.J. Styles.
Backstage Earlier Today: Dixie told Styles that she tried to everyone the truth last week, but Daniels interrupted. Styles said they need to just get this out in the open tonight. Dixie said she doesn’t want people to get hurt, but Styles retorted that people are already getting hurt. Dixie told A.J. not to get hurt during a match tonight, and she’ll figure out what to do.
Up Next: Bound for Glory Series begins with a 12-man gauntlet match.
Earlier Today: World Hvt. champion Bobby Roode was shown arriving at the Impact Zone in anticipation of his title defense later tonight.
Impact Zone: Tenay set the stage for the BFG Series 12-man gauntlet battle royal. Out first was new TNA tag champion A.J. Styles as the first entrant in the BFGS. Jeff Hardy was out next as the second entrant. Tenay noted the winner of the BFG Series will challenge for the TNA World Title at Bound for Glory. As for the gauntlet tonight, a new entrant will enter the battle royal every 90 seconds before the last man standing takes 20 points.
3 — 12-MAN GAUNTLET BATTLE ROYAL — BFG Series match — 20 points at stake
After some back-and-forth between Hardy and Styles, Rob Van Dam came out as the third entrant. [Q4] Van Dam executed trademark high-flying offense before they cut to break with RVD posing in the ring.
Back live, Bully Ray’s music was playing to bring out Ray as the fifth entrant. During the break, Magnus entered as the fourth entrant, and there were no eliminations. Ray eventually hit the ring and did some damage before Kurt Angle entered as #6. Angle cleaned house before focusing on Ray to stomp a mudhole in him in the corner. Still no eliminations.
“The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero’s music played to bring out a returning Pope as #7. Tenay said he’s been away doing TV and movies. Pope cleaned house before Ray attacked him from behind to cut off Pope’s momentum. Hardy, who had been selling an injury after the break, was eliminated for the first cut of the evening. Suddenly, Abyss appeared from under the ring and yanked Ray over the top rope as everyone watched. Apparently that’s legal in TNA, so Hardy and Ray are out. Chaos resumed leading to a break.
Back live, Robbie E. was in the ring as the eighth entrant, and there were no eliminations during the break. Suddenly, RVD was eliminated. Daniels then came out as the ninth entrant. Daniels pointed to the crowd, walked into the ring, and ate a springboard forearm smash from an angry Styles. Styles suddenly and accidentally nailed Angle in the head with a Pele kick when Daniels ducked, then Daniels tossed a distracted Styles over the top rope. Moments later, Angle was eliminated at Styles’s feet, ending the night for the new tag champs. Styles tried to give Angle some aid leading to the top of the hour.
[Q5 — second hour] Samoa Joe’s music played at the top of the hour to bring out entrant #10. Joe walked right up to Robbie and eliminated him, then lit up Magnus with a chop. The former tag champs had a staredown center-ring, then traded blows before Magnus landed a big boot. But, Joe pulled down the top rope and Magnus went flying to the outside for another elimination. Joe, Daniels, and Pope were left in the ring.
The final entrant (#11) was James Storm, who eliminated Pope right away, then teed off on Daniels as Joe sold in the corner. Storm eliminated Pope, leaving Joe and Storm. Tenay then passed along a word that whoever does not win the TNA World Title match later tonight will be the 12th man in the BFG Series. Joe and Storm battled on the ring apron, then Storm landed a Last Call Superkick to send Joe off the ring apron to the floor and win. Storm gets 20 points.
WINNER: Storm at 20:35 to win 20 points in the BFG Series. Plenty of interesting developments sprinkled throughout this match to set the stage for the three-month BFG Series. Overall, a nice quality, lengthy match to bridge the gap from the first to second hour.
Post-match: Storm celebrated with a few beers before taking the mic. Storm said the last time he was on Impact, he talked about thinking his luck ran out. He said for the last two months, he’s been spending time with his family contemplating his wrestling career. Storm said his daughter asked him a tough question about whether he’s returning to wrestling, and he found out how much it means to his little girl. Storm said at Slammiversary and even tonight, he realized how much he means to the fans. Storm said he made a promise to his little girl and he will make a promise to everyone watching that he came back to become World Hvt. champion. “Welcome Back” chant from the crowd. “And, if I didn’t make myself clear, ‘The Cowboy’ James Storm is back!” he shouted. Storm told Bobby Roode that he wants him to listen because he hopes and prays that Roode will be World champ after the BFG Series is over with because that’s just going to be a bonus on whooping his ass.
Backstage: Bobby Roode was shown in the hallway selling determination. A mystery interviewer asked Roode if he’s nervous about Storm returning to TNA. Roode claimed Storm is jealous of him, just like everyone else in wrestling. Roode said he has no problem facing Storm again, but, as for tonight, he has bigger fish to fry in the form of an a-hole.
Leading to break, they faded to a graphic on Open Fight Night Open Call-Out. No voices provided info on the graphic.
[Q6] Backstage: Following the battle royal, Angle and Styles were shown in the locker room area. Angle wanted to know what’s up with Styles, telling him to get this deal with Dixie straightened out. Angle shouted at Styles to get this “s—” out of his head because he’s screwing up and could cost them the Tag Titles. Styles vowed to get this straight.
4 — Knockouts champion MISS TESSMACHER vs. MADISON RAYNE — non-title match
Back in the Impact Zone, Rayne came out first to face the new Knockouts champion fresh off her title victory at Slammiversary. Rayne quickly took control of the match, then Tessmacher came back with successive offense. Rayne cut off Tessmacher, but Tessmacher hit a legsweep finisher for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Tessmacher at 2:50. Fine start to Tessmacher’s title reign trying to establish some credibility with a clean victory using her finish.
Backstage: Brooke Hogan was shown talking to Gail Kim about Gail wanting to get her Knockouts Title re-match. Brooke informed her that the Knockouts Title will be defended on Open Fight Night next week, and she has four Knockouts in mind, but Gail isn’t one of them. Of note, TNA used three or four different camera angles to “capture Brooke’s reactions” as the discussion with Gail became more contentious. Brooke eventually walked off, leaving Gail frustrated not included in the match next week.
Last Sunday: Mr. Anderson was shown talking into a camera about not forgetting Bobby Roode’s beer bottle shot over the head a few months ago. Anderson said he doesn’t need to resort to those tactics to get his revenge because he’ll spin Roode around, introduce himself, and beat him.
Backstage: Bobby Roode was shown walking down a hallway preparing for his TNA World Title defense. Anderson was then shown walking down a hallway. Tenay said the title match is next.
Impact Zone: Back live, Mr. Anderson’s music played to bring out the new #1 contender to the TNA Title. Anderson stood on-stage and bypassed the mic drop to sell the seriousness of the match tonight.
[Q7] After Anderson made his way to the ring with purpose, the Champ’s music played to bring out Bobby Roode on-stage for his latest title defense. Once everyone was assembled in the ring, Jeremy Borash was shown in the ring to handle formal ring intros. Anderson was cheered loudly and Roode was booed heavily, as expected. Roode quickly handed over the title belt and the ref quickly handed it off to ringside before calling for the bell, making it seem like they’re pressed for time.
5 — TNA World Hvt. champion BOBBY ROODE vs. MR. ANDERSON — TNA World Title match
Anderson quickly took it to Roode, who did not bail from the ring as he did at Slammiversary. Roode then turned the tables and knocked Anderson to the floor, but airballed a plancha attempt. Anderson ran Roode into the ring steps and taunted him ringside leading to break.
Back live, Roode had Anderson in a headlock center-ring. Roode continued to apply pressure to Anderson, who tried to fight out with elbow strikes before executing a backslide for a two count. Roode then elbowed Anderson in the back of the head before landing a neckbreaker for a nearfall. So, Roode went to work on the back of the head/neck looking to exploit Anderson’s past concussion issues. Anderson absorbed the attack, then made a comeback with successive offense before landing a spinwheel kick to the head. Anderson set up for the Mic Check, but Roode ducked and slapped on a Crossface submission center-ring. Anderson escaped, then scored a series of close nearfalls before Roode rolled to the ring apron.
From the ring apron, Roode yanked Anderson’s left shoulder across the top rope. Roode followed with a whip into the top turnbuckle before slapping on the Crossface again. Anderson fought the hold as Taz noted he must be in a lot of pain at this point. Anderson tried to get to the bottom rope, but had no choice but to tap out. Taz quickly covered for Anderson, saying there’s no shame in tapping in that situation. Anderson was shown recovering in the corner with a stern look on his face as Roode celebrated the win by standing tall in the ring.
WINNER: Roode via submission at 11:31. Nice match and a good, clean, needed victory for Roode after looking weak recently. Anderson wasn’t hurt taking a loss here. (**1/2)
[Q8] Backstage: Dixie Carter was shown talking to A.J. Styles in the hallway again. She said they have to get “this” cleared up next week. Styles said it’s affecting him – in the ring, with Kurt, at home. Dixie tried to calm him down and convince him they’ll get this cleared up next week. They hugged it out.
Slammiversary Highlight: Dixie was shown inducting Sting in the TNA Hall of Fame at the PPV… Backstage: Sting was shown walking down the hallway. He’ll be in the main event segment.
Replay: Back live, TNA aired some highlights from the BFG Series gauntlet match earlier in the night. They focused on Abyss-Ray, rapid-fire eliminations, Styles-Daniels, Styles accidentally popping Angle, Joe eliminating former tag partner Magnus, Storm cleaning house, and Storm eventually eliminating Joe to win 20 points… Tenay plugged what’s scheduled next week: BFG Series “Open Fight Night Open Call-Out” and Gut Check. Plus, Austin Aries has to answer Hulk Hogan’s “intriguing proposal” putting up his X Title for a TNA World Title at Destination X. And, new Knockouts champion Miss Tessmacher will defend the title. Plus, Dixie and A.J. will “come clean” about whatever their issue is. Tenay said Aries’s decision will open the show next week.
Impact Zone: Borash set the stage for Sting’s show-closing promo, first by introducing Sting’s TNA Hall of Fame video package that aired during the PPV. Five minutes before the top of the hour, they returned to the ring for JB to introduce Sting to the audience. Tenay wondered what will be more on Sting’s mind – the HOF induction or main event TNA Title loss. JB handed over the mic to Sting, then left the ring.
Sting said it’s obvious that Slammiversary 2012 went down in history as one of the greatest nights he’s experienced in pro wrestling. But, how could it be so great when he lost in the main event? Sting said he had one goal leading up to the PPV – taking a big, huge chunk out of Roode’s hide, and he did.
Sting said when he stood on-stage during the PPV and received the HOF accolade, he felt there were so many others more deserving. Sting pointed into the camera and named Jerry Jarrett and Jeff Jarrett. He thanked Dixie Carter, then a random man wearing a mask suddenly hit the ring and attacked Sting. Two other masked men hit the ring and attacked Sting. The hefty, 250-lb. men were dressed in blue jeans and cut-off vests, which meant a flashback to the Harris Twins. The three men continued to beat down Sting as the crowd chanted for Hogan. Taz asked for help as the credits came on the screen with the masked men continuing to beat down Sting as the crowd lost hope for a save.
(Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor)