The eighth live Impact of TNA’s summer series opened with a video package recapping recent events, focusing on the A.J. Styles/Claire baby drama storyline and the Aces & Eights group setting up an attack on Hulk Hogan and Sting at the end of last week’s show.
Announcers: TNA cut to Mike Tenay and Taz on-camera at the Impact Zone with no sound in the background. They recapped the attacks on Hogan and Sting, then showed a photo of Hogan in the hospital. Taz said they hope to see Hogan back in TNA soon enough, and Hogan is hot at the Aces & Eight group right now. Tenay said they do not know Sting’s condition as of right now, and neither man is here tonight.
Impact Zone: After an Open Fight Night-themed intro video played, TNA cut to the Impact Zone for full pyro and explosions. Tenay plugged the return of Open Fight Night in the Bound for Glory Series, plus Bobby Roode calling out new TNA World champion Austin Aries. Tenay broke down the BFG Series leaderboard, which will determine who gets to make the open call-outs for matches tonight.
James Storm, the BFG Series points-leader, came out first to kick things off. Tenay noted Storm has been at or near the top of the standings since the very beginning of the Series. Once in the ring, Storm flashed a smile before taking the mic to announce his opponent tonight.
James Storm, the BFG Series points-leader, came out first to kick things off. Tenay noted Storm has been at or near the top of the standings since the very beginning of the Series. Once in the ring, Storm flashed a smile before taking the mic to announce his opponent tonight. Before that, he congratulated Austin Aries on becoming new TNA champion. He then noted he’s still on the fast-track to becoming #1 contender. He hasn’t forgotten about Bobby Roode, though. Storm said he wants to be World champion to carry this company on his back. He said Roode is personal and he just wants to kick the crap out of him. (Seed planted for a potential Roode-Storm non-title grudge match independent of the Series if Storm doesn’t win.)
Storm continued that the Aces & Eights are running around like it’s the Wild Wild West, but this isn’t the WWW because he would be in charge if that were the case. Storm told them they don’t have a set of balls. He then shouted out to Hulk Hogan, telling him they hope he gets well soon. And, now, down to business. Storm said the lion in this promotion – the measuring stick in wrestling and the greatest to ever set foot inside the ring – is Kurt Angle. Cue up Angle’s theme music for a match that could headline a PPV. No sign of Angle, though. Angle’s music stopped and everything went quiet on the show. They cued up Angle’s music again, but still no sign. Storm then told someone to go get Angle. Silence in the building for this interval as a camera went backstage to find Angle. There was still this awkward silence in the building. Suddenly, TNA showed Kurt Angle face-down on the ground with Aces & Eights standing over him after putting a beat down on him. One of the members cussed, with m-f’er bleeped out. “Now Angle?” Tenay exclaimed shouted before they cut to break.
Announcers: Back live, Tenay and Taz were shown on-camera to react to Aces & Eights taking out Kurt Angle in the previous segment. TNA replayed the beat down on Angle “moments ago” before the announcers wondered aloud what the connection is between Hogan, Sting, and Angle. Tenay rhetorically asked who these people are and who’s behind the attacks.
[Q2] Impact Zone: Next, #2-ranked Samoa Joe came out to issue an open challenge in the BFG Series to perhaps get the in-ring action started tonight. In the ring, Joe said he chose to pick a fight tonight since he knows no one would pick a fight with him. Joe called out The Pope because he’s always had a problem with him, and vowed to tap him out. They cut backstage to show the group of BFG Series wrestlers waiting for their names to be called. Pope then emerged through the curtain to face off against Joe.
1 — SAMOA JOE vs. “THE POPE” D’ANGELO DINERO — BFG Series match
As Joe and Pope went through a feeling out process, Tenay noted TNA president Dixie Carter announced a new talent signing on Twitter earlier today. Tenay said they will have more info on the new signing later tonight, but did not mention Chavo Guerrero by name. In the ring, Pope landed a blow to the head and quickly tried to follow up with clubbing blows to take advantage. Joe then rolled out of the ring to sell a mouth injury, which brought Earl Hebner to ringside to check on Joe, who then took a boot to the head from Pope. Meanwhile, Tenay offered Annoying DirecTV Plug #1. Back in the ring, Joe tried to fight back against Pope, but Pope cut him off and slapped on a submission. Joe continued to sell a mouth injury, so Pope smashed Joe in the mouth again. Joe covered up and Pope landed multiple strikes, but left himself open for Joe to slap on an armbar. Pope tapped out, giving Joe a submission win. Post-match: Joe slipped out of the ring and continued to sell a mouth injury. In the ring, Pope sold the effects of the submission while Joe continued to act like he was in immense pain.
WINNER: Joe via submission at 3:23; Joe earned 10 points. Odd match affected by Joe selling the mouth injury, which led to a sudden finish. There were moments when the match looked like a very realistic fight with Pope trying to follow up on Joe’s mouth injury, but since that rarely occurs in wrestling, the audience was taken out of the action unsure what to make of the situation. Then again, this audience already feels like another sleeper tonight.
Backstage: Bobby Roode was shown walking down the hallway. The roving cameraman asked Roode if he had anything to do with Aces & Eights taking out Hogan last week, which drew Roode’s ire. Roode then vowed to call out Austin Aries tonight and prove Aries’s Destination X victory was a fluke.
Impact Zone: Since #3-ranked Kurt Angle is “injured,” TNA skipped to #4-ranked Jeff Hardy for the next call-out. Hardy sang along to his song before they cut to break.
Impact Zone: Back from break, Hardy was in the middle of the ring waiting out a “Hardy, Hardy” chant. Hardy shouted out to his creatures before welcoming them to Open Fight Night. Hardy said he has someone in mind he’s going to call out. Before that, Robbie E.’s music played. Robbie and Rob Terry made their way out as Robbie demanded his music be shut off. Robbie claimed everyone is ducking him, so he is calling Hardy out tonight. Hardy responded by telling his creatures they’re doing this, which represented an acceptance of the reverse challenge.
2 — JEFF HARDY vs. ROBBIE E. (w/Rob Terry) — BFG Series match
Robbie smashed Hardy before the bell, giving him an early advantage. Robbie continued to work on Hardy, who came back with a corner boot. Robbie complained to the ref about an eye injury, which allowed Terry to yank Hardy to the outside on the outside. Robbie tried to take advantage with a pin attempt back in the ring, but Hardy kicked out. Tenay then noted Hardy has two BFG Series matches this weekend, including Hardy vs. A.J. Styles in Brooklyn.
Back to Thursday, the ref had enough of Terry trying to interfere. Hardy then took control of matters by choking Terry with his shirt. Hardy lost focus, though, and the ref applied the fastest ten count in referee history to count out Hardy and give Robbie five points. Post-match: Robbie celebrated as if he won the World Series, according to Taz. Hardy sold frustration after being duped by the Robbies.
WINNER: Robbie via count-out at 2:47; Robbie gets 5 points.
Backstage: A random man with a random arm tattoo was shown warming up backstage. Tenay said it’s Sam Shaw and he’s in Gut Check, up next.
Backstage: Knockouts tag champion ODB was shown screaming at “husband” Eric Young on the phone. Co-KO tag champion EY then snuck up behind ODB to wonder where’s been the last two months. EY came up with a wild story that led to him being booked on a fishing show. He said he meant to text ODB, but a shark ate his phone. EY said he can fix this, then they made out. ODB told him to go get the beer and friend chicken.
Video package: A.J. Styles/Claire/Dixie Carter/Daniels drama. The video closed with Claire telling Styles to do the right thing.
Backstage: Daniels and Kazarian were shown talking to each other. The roving cameraman asked Daniels what proof Claire has. Daniels said he doesn’t know what the evidence is, but Styles continues to deny the allegations. Daniels said Styles needs to stop being a scumbag and own up to his mistake.
Impact Zone: Jeremy Borash introduced the “chance of a lifetime” to earn a spot on the Impact Wrestling roster. JB introduced “extreme sports” afficianado Sam Shaw, hailing from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Out came Shaw dressed in board shorts and tennis shoes. Shaw even did sort of a surfboard pose in the ring. JB then asked Shaw why he deserves a spot on the roster. Shaw unconvincly said he’s wanted to be a pro wrestler his entire life. And, finally, he gets his chance. Suddenly, the Aces & Eights hit the ring to make the save by beating down Shaw. The crowd was quiet for this beating, which was inflicted by six men from the group. TNA suddenly cut to break with Shaw still taking a beating as Tenay tried to figure out what’s going on.
[Q4] Impact Zone: The Gut Check judges got their TV time checking on the condition of Sam Shaw following the attack by A&E before the commercial. After a replay of the events “moments ago,” they showed Shaw being helped out of the ring by medics and Bruce Prichard, Al Snow, and Taz. Shaw sold internal injuries as he was slowly dragged to the back. Tenay noted there’s no authority figure tonight, so A&E have turned TNA upside down.
Impact Zone: #5-ranked Mr. Anderson came out for the next OFN call-out as Taz re-joined Tenay on commentary. The announcers tried to connect the dots on A&E’s beat downs before Anderson took the mic to discuss d-bags. Anderson said he called out one of the biggest d-bags this company has to offer, Christopher Daniels. Tonight, though, he wants to face a guy he respects and calls a friend. He then called out A.J. Styles to take 7 points from him.
3 — MR. ANDERSON vs. A.J. STYLES — BFG Series match
Once the bell sounded, the awkward silence in the building returned. The fans tried to create some noise as Styles and Anderson felt each other out in the ring. The announcers re-visited A&E taking advantage of no authority figures at Impact tonight, with Tenay noting Dixie Carter isn’t even in the building since she’s in New York for meetings with Spike TV. Anderson and Styles traded control before TNA cut to break at 3:10.
Back live, Anderson was working a headlock on Styles. Styles then came back with his signature leapfrog, dropdown, dropkick for a two count. Meanwhile, Tenay offered Annoying DirecTV Plug #2.
[Q5 -- second hour] Styles and Anderson traded control again as Tenay plugged more BFG Series matches this weekend. Anderson then slowed things down with a cravate trying to work on Styles’s neck. Styles broke free, then scoopslammed Anderson, but Anderson rolled through into another cravate. Styles broke free again, then tried a corner move, but Anderson blocked and re-applied the cravate. After breaking free again, Styles nailed a springboard forearm smash for a two count. Tenay noted the 15-minute time limit as they hit 11:20 in the match.
Styles tried to finish the mathc with the Clash, but Anderson countered. Styles then ran right into Anderson, who dropped him with his rolling sentaun for a close two count. Anderson tried to follow with a Mic Check, but Styles slipped out and nailed a kick to the head. Styles then went to the corner to finish off Anderson, but Anderson blocked Styles. They fought up-top as they reached 13:00. Anderson then nailed a big superplex that nearly flipped Styles onto his stomach. Anderson made a cover, but Styles kicked out just in time. Styles tried to come back with the Clash, but Anderson blocked, then sort of flipped Styles onto his stomach and leverage-pinned Styles for a three count.
WINNER: Anderson at 13:38; Anderson gets 7 points. A bit off at times with the duo not having the best chemistry in the ring, but a strong finish.
Post-match: Anderson brought in Styles for a handshake as Styles sold frustration with the loss. Suddenly, Claire’s voice was heard in the building. Claire stomped out to ringside waving papers in the air and demanding Styles come talk to her. Claire said she’s been calling Styles all week, but he won’t return her calls. Claire then told Styles that since he doesn’t seem to remember anything, let her refresh his memory. Claire claimed they had some drinks and ended up having a hot night in her hotel room. Claire then pulled out some photos showing a passed-out, drunk Styles in bed with Claire smugly taking a photo lying on Styles’s chest. Claire focused on the tattoos along Styles’s side to claim it’s very real. Styles acted stunned by this revelation. She uncouthly claimed it went all night. Claire slammed the photos on Styles’s chest, then walked off. And, Styles being set-up continues into more ridiculousness territory.
Moments Ago: Claire flashed some photos at Styles claiming they had a passionate night together. … Backstage: Styles was shown reviewing the pictures with a look of concern on his face. On commentary, Taz said it’s really tough to deny the allegations at this point.
Impact Zone: Bellator commentator Sean Wheelock joined Tenay and Taz on commentary for the next match, which started with Rob Van Dam making his way to the ring for the next OFN Challenge. In the ring, RVD said he’s just tickled pink to be here and take part in OFN because he feels like fighting. And, there’s no one he would rather kick the crap out of more than that “fallen scumbag, Christopher Daniels.” Backstage, Bully Ray was shown trying to take Daniels’s martini as he made his way to the curtain. Daniels ripped it away, though, and made his way to the ring with martini in-hand.
4 — ROB VAN DAM vs. TNA tag champion CHRISTOPHER DANIELS — BFG Series match
RVD went right after Daniels’s mid-section with a kick strike as Tenay and Wheelock talked Kansas City wrestling history. Wheelock also joked that he hopes Aces & Eights doesn’t show up at their Bellator event tomorrow night in Florida. In the ring, RVD went for a leg submission, but Daniels grabbed the bottom rope for a break. The match moved to the floor, where Daniels choked RVD with his shirt before running him back into the ring for a slingshot elbow drop that resulted in a two count. Daniels dropped a knee, then bowed for the crowd before applying another submission.
RVD fought to his feet and the two men traded bombs, with RVD’s punches missing Daniels. RVD went the more conventional RVD route with a corner monkey flip before hopping up top, where he missed with a frogsplash. RVD landed on his feet, though, and went for Rolling Thunder, but Daniels moved out of the way. Daniels then rolled up RVD and used the ropes for leverage to score a cheap win. Wheelock noted the ref missed that as Taz called it highway robbery.
WINNER: Daniels at 4:43; Daniels earns 7 points.
Backstage: The roving camerman caught up with new TNA World Hvt. champion Austin Aries appearing on the show for the first time tonight. Aries referred to Roode’s “fluke” label, then called Roode’s entire title run a “fluke.” Aries said he’s right here waiting to be called out by Roode tonight. He noted everything about him trumps Roode, too. Aries then picked up playing cards that were placed near his wrestling gear. He noted he trumps Aces & Eights, too.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz were shown on-camera to bring in Brooke Hogan via phone to discuss Hulk Hogan’s condition. Brooke said Hulk was heavily sedated and has undergone multiple surgeries. She said she doesn’t want to talk too much about it. She thanked them for their thoughts and prayers.
Last Thursday: Bully Ray beat Joseph Parkl before Park “suddenly” busted out a Black Hole Slam.
Backstage: Park was shown talking to Garett Bischoff about his legal services, which is important when the last name is Bischoff. Garett thanked him for the offer, but wanted to know what happened last week. Park said he was so proud of himself for standing up to Ray even if he wound up on the short end of the stick. Garett ignored that, saying hthere was someone else in there last night. “It was me, Joseph Park,” he said, before noting Bischoff needs to consider his legal services.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz noted there are only two wrestlers left on Open Fight Night. … Backstage: Bully Ray was shown telling Magnus to go call him out in the ring since they’re the last two.
Impact Zone: Magnus slowly made his way to the ring, which allowed Bully to sneak up behind Magnus and jump him from behind. Bully, still sporting a cap, inflicted a ringside beating on Magnus. Magnus had enough and knocked Ray into the barricade before rolling him into the ring to officially start the match.
5 — BULLY RAY vs. MAGNUS — BFG Series match
Ray regained control of the fight once the bell sounded to officially begin the match. Tenay received word that Sam Shaw will receive another Gut Check opportunity next week on Impact. Bully woke up the crowd with a giant open-hand slap to Magnus’s chest, then he paraded around the ring to gloat about it. Ray proceeded to spit into the air before missing with a big splash. Magnus and Ray then traded right hand bombs, repeating the RVD-Daniels spot just one match ago. Ray won the exchange with a giant clothesline, but missed with a corner attack. Magnus then applied an old-school Texas Cloverleaf center-ring. Ray screamed in pain as the crowd encouraged him to tap out, but Ray grabbed the bottom rope for a break. Magnus followed with a suplex, but Ray kicked out in time. That was Magnus’s last gasp, as Ray came back with a cutter for the pin and the win. Post-match: Ray flexed the calves to ensure everything was in-place.
WINNER: Ray at 4:44; Ray earns 7 points. Magnus was right up there with Hardy as most popular star of the evening, which says something when TNA has done nothing with Magnus’s character since the Tag Title run with Joe.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz recapped the BFG Series Standings, noting Samoa Joe is #1 after flip-flopping with Storm, who apparently will not get the match against Kurt Angle tonight.
Video package: Chavo Guerrero is coming to TNA. The video announced Chavo will debut on Impact next week. Back live, Tenay excitedly hyped Chavo’s debut next week.
Impact Zone: Bobby Roode’s music played to bring out the former World Hvt. champion dressed in his wrestling robe. Tenay noted Roode thinks his loss to Aries at Destination X was just a fluke. On-stage, Roode took the mic and said there is one word to describe recent events: “fluke.” Roode called out Aries, then his music played again.
Impact Zone: Roode was in the ring back from break. He told Aries to get out to the ring right now. Out came the new World champion ready to prove Roode wrong. And, the bell quickly rang to start the default main event that wasn’t hyped like a main event.
6 — TNA World Hvt. champion AUSTIN ARIES vs. BOBBY ROODE — non-title match
Aries delivered an armdrag, then paintbrushed Roode across the head to taunt him before teasing the Last Chancery. Roode easily escaped, then teased his own Cross-face submission finisher. Suddenly, the crowd started a random chant that sounded like “We want pizza.” Or, something along those lines. Aries then dropkicked Roode to the outside before delivering a running forearm smash. Aries stood tall ringside as Tenay sent the show to commercial 2:30 in.
[Commercial Break. Spoke cut back to show ten seconds of the match occurring during the break.]
Back from break for real, Roode was in control of the match. Roode targeted Aries’s lower back, drawing gasps from Aries with each breath. Meanwhile, the announcers continued to speculate that Roode must have some connection to Aces & Eights, with Tenay being produced to jump to conclusions as usual. Roode continued the attack on Aries’s lower back, delivering a spinebuster for a two count. Roode paid tribute to Ric Flair by backing up to the corner, measuring Aries, and then delivering a knee to the face, which resulted in a nearfall.
At 9:00, Roode continued the attack with a kick to the gut before doing the belt-around-the-waist motion. Tenay noted Aries vs. Roode for the Title will occur at Hardcore Justice, which currently has just the Aries-Roode match. Aries teased a comeback, but Roode yanked Aries to the mat to apply an armbar. Aries escaped into the Last Chancery, which prompted the crowd to encourage Roode to tap out. Roode opted to escape via eye rake, though. Roode then hit a spear for a two count.
The action moved up top, where Aries chopped Roode to the mat before delivering a missile dropkick. He tried to follow with the Brainbuster, but Roode reversed into the cross-face. Aries escaped, then landed a discus forearm. Aries followed by tossing Roode over the top rope to the floor before delivering a flying suicide dive into the barricade. Suddenly, the Aces & Eights group hit the ringside area to attack Aries, which caused the ref to throw out the match.
WINNER: No Contest at 13:30. As expected, this turned into an angle to save a decisive result for the PPV. It also explains why TNA did not go all out hyping the main event since there wouldn’t be a result.
Post-match: A&E tossed Aries, then Roode into the ring and beat down Aries while Roode sat back and watched. A&E gathered in a circle to stare at Roode, who applauded their efforts. Roode thought they were on the same team and extended his hand, but the Fat One kicked Roode in the gut, then beat down Roode, which generated cheers since the heel got his, but it was at the hands of a group of heels the audience is supposed to be fearful of. The thugs went back to a first-day-of-wrestling-school-level punches and kicks on both men, with some of the six men kind of standing around. TNA signed off with the announcers selling more confusion than at the top of the show.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor