The sixth live Impact of TNA’s summer series opened with a video package recapping last week’s events, specifically the Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park feud and Daniels accusing A.J. Styles of fathering Claire’s child.
Impact Zone: Mike Tenay and Taz introduced the show and promoted James Storm vs. Jeff Hardy in a BFG Series match tonight. Bully Ray then stomped out to the ring and announced he is on Twitter. He then called out Joseph Park, who slowly made his way to the ring. Ray said he accepts Park’s challenge for a match next week. Ray wasn’t done, as he pulled out a legal document for a restraining order against Abyss. Ray said if he so much as smells Abyss next week during the match, he will have Abyss thrown in jail for the rest of his life. Park looked over the document, then Ray jumped him from behind and put him out cold to end the segment.
Backstage: Hulk Hogan brought in X Division champion Austin Aries for a chat. Hogan told Aries that he needs the X Title belt tonight. Aries noted he doesn’t want any shenanigans, and he’ll hand over the title tonight. Hogan then told Aries to make a serious statement in the ring Sunday night at Destination X. He told Aries to get TNA to the promised land. Aries told Hogan to get everyone to hop on his back.
[Q2] Back live, Tenay said A.J. Styles is here tonight to address Daniels’s latest allegation that Styles fathered Claire’s baby. This led to a video package on the final minute from Impact last week when Daniels made the accusation and Dixie Carter made an empty threat that Daniels and Kaz are done. … Earlier Today: The roving cameraman caught up with Dixie as she was evaluating new X Division talent with Al Snow, D-Lo Brown, and Bruce Prichard. Dixie refused questions on Daniels’s accusations before sending the cameraman away.
Impact Zone: Tenay said Hulk Hogan put the weekly TV Title defenses on hold the past few weeks, but the TV Title will be defended tonight. Out came Crimson to challenge for the title. TV champ Devon was out next and Crimson jumped him in the ring. This being TNA, the bell sounded despite the unfair start.
1 — TV champion DEVON vs. CRIMSON — TV Title match
Crimson continued to work on Devon as the announcers wondered if Crimson can bounce back from his singles loss to James Storm at Slammiversary last month. Devon eventually absorbed Crimson’s pre-match attack and landed a corner attack, but Crimson cut him off with a big clothesline. Crimson then got in ref Earl Hebner’s face, distracting himself, which allowed Devon to nail a lift-up spinebuster for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Madison Rayne stomped down to the ring and walked past Devon to grab Earl Hebner. Madison planted a big kiss on Hebner, who sold shock over the “crush” reveal. Madison left, then Hebner went from shock to a devilish grin.
WINNER: Devon at 2:02 to retain the TV Title. It seems like Crimson is about to go the opposite direction with the losing streak gimmick. Meanwhile, TNA continues to give TV focus and attention to non-wrestlers, with the latest being Hebner.
Backstage: Chris Sabin was shown hobbling down the hallway on crutches. Tenay said Sabin will speak next about his latest knee injury.
Impact Zone: Sabin was making his way into the ring back from break as new entrance music played in the background. In the ring, Sabin hid his emotions behind dark sunglasses as he propped himself up on crutches. Sabin said ever since he was a little kid, the one thing he dreamed about was being a pro wrestler. He said what’s going on right here has turned into a nightmare. Sabin said it wasn’t until he got home and talked to his family that they told him he should consider retiring and doing something else to do with his life. He said a few days, the doctor told him he came back from one ACL reconstruction, but it would be too difficult to come back from two. “Sabin, Sabin” chant from the crowd.
Suddenly, Bobby Roode’s music played to bring out the TNA World Hvt. champion, which prompted Sabin to toss his shades aside, selling anger. Tenay wondered aloud what business Roode has with Sabin. Roode, dressed in a sharp suit, slowly entered the ring to measure up Sabin, who sold frustration over Roode’s arrival. Roode sarcastically called this a sad, tragic story. He said they’ve known each other a long time and to see Sabin come out here like this is pathetic.
[Q3] Roode said it’s pathetic just like every other X Division wrestler in this company. “No!” the crowd shouted. Roode circled Sabin, brought up Jesse Sorensen’s name, and said the X Division guys are all the same – they risk everything every night and get no reward. Speaking of which, this Sunday, Austin Aries puts it all on the line against him at Destination X. Roode said at the end of the day when Aries gets in the ring with him, ol’ A-Double will be just like Chris Sabin – taking the risk, getting no reward, and having his career ended just…like…that. Roode then kicked out Sabin’s crutch and mocked him as he sold on the mat. Roode landed a few more shots to the supposed injured knee before Aries stormed the ring to make the save. Tenay said Aries gets his shot at the gold this Sunday. So, to recap, Sabin didn’t get to finish his speech, leaving the storyline open-ended for when TNA follows up.
Impact Zone: Back live, Christy Hemme was in the ring to introduce a random match. Out came Dakota Darsow (it sounded like Hemme called him Dakota Darko), and Tenay said this is another X Division qualifying match. Out next to generic X Division music was Flip Cassanova.
2 — FLIP CASSANOVA vs. DAKOTA DARSOW — X Division tournament qualifying match
Tenay noted Darsow appeared on Impact last year during the X Division invitational. Tenay introduced another lawyer angle, noting Gail Kim has delayed her Knockouts Title challenge against Miss Tessmacher until next week. But, the replacement Knockouts tag match will occur in the next segment. And, of course, the big question is whether Earl Hebner will be special referee with Madison Rayne in the match.
As for the X Division match the announcers were briefly focused on, Flip knocked Dakota to the outside, then landed a twisting corkscrew moonsault springboarding off the second rope. Flip then rolled Dakota into the ring and went for a top-rope body press, but Dakota rolled through into an elbow drop. Dakota followed with an awkward-looking series of leg drops for a nearfall. Dakota, with a busted nose, went for a moonsault, but missed when Flip rolled out of the way. Flip then came off the top rope with a high-flying move before deciding to go back up top, drawing Taz’s ire. Flip then went for a 450 splash and kind of crash-landed on Darsow for the pin and the win. Post-match: Flip was covered in blood from splashing Darsow, who continued to bleed heavily from the nose selling frustration with the loss.
WINNER: Flip at 3:54. Awkward throughout, but Flip provided some needed athleticism on this show.
Backstage: Miss Tessmacher, standing next to Tara, told a cameraman that Gail Kim can hide behind lawyers, but she will beat Gail any day of the week, tonight with Tara, and next week with the title on the line. Tessmacher thanked Tara for supporting her tonight and they shared a moment. It feels like a Tara heel turn coming…unless it’s a red herring.
[Q4] [Commercial Break]
Gut Check replay: Taeler Hendrix’s promo to earn a TNA contract. They replayed Bruce Prichard’s “tough enough” line that Hendrix replied to by noting she will fight to stay here in TNA. In a backstage interview clip, Hendrix noted she was having a hard time forming words to describe her excitement.
3 — TNA Knockouts champion MISS TESSMACHER & TARA vs. MADISON RAYNE & GAIL KIM
Of note, Earl Hebner is not the referee, avoiding a serious conflict of interest. After back-and-forth focusing on the Tessmacher vs. Gail feud, Tessmacher eventually scored a clean, decisive victory over Madison. Tessmacher and Tara stood tall, victorious, with no sign of a heel turn or anything mischievous.
WINNERS: Tess & Tara at 3:21. This was presented as just a filler segment to bridge to next week’s title match.
Backstage: A.J. Styles was shown walking down the hallway selling deep thoughts at having to do a lot of explaining. The Styles/Claire saga gets the top of the second hour slot tonight.
Video package: James Storm’s failed Lockdown title match against Roode. Storm talked about re-watching the match over and over, but now trying to put it in the past and look ahead to the BFG Series for a shot at redemption. … Backstage: Storm was shown warming up for his BFG Series match against Jeff Hardy tonight.
[Q5 -- second hour]
Impact Zone: A.J. Styles came out on-stage and walked into the ring to clear his name. Styles said first he was accused of having an affair with TNA president Dixie Carter, which was proved to be wrong. And, now, Daniels wants to accuse him of being the father of Claire’s unborn child. He wanted to know what Daniels is trying to prove with all of this.
Daniels’s music played to bring out Daniels and Kaz on-stage. Kaz questioned Styles not getting what’s going on. He accused Styles of getting a “junky whore” pregnant, then said Styles needs to stop the lies. Styles vowed to rip off Kaz’s head when he gets his hands around him. Daniels stepped in and said he has proof that Styles is the father of Claire’s baby. Styles told him to shut up and said it’s not about Claire and him or Dixie and him, but the two of them. He noted this all started at Destination X last year when Daniels proved he is a jealous prick when Styles beat him. Styles said the difference between this year’s and last year’s Destination X is he wants this match, and not just any match, but Last Man Standing. Styles told “Chris” that he’s no man. “I’m a man,” Daniels whispered on-stage. Styles vowed to shut up Daniels once and for all. Cue up Styles’s music as Daniels and Kaz backed away up the stage shouting at no one in particular. Tenay said the violence is going to be amped up this Sunday.
Hogan’s Office: The mystery cameraman, shown like Mr. Wilson on “Home Improvement,” asked Hogan about Aries vs. Roode on Sunday. Suddenly, a random man in a bandana and a beard interrupted and said their group is not cowards. The guy looked like a TNA front-row plant. He handed over an envelope, then left the office. Inside the envelope was a picture of some playing cards, which flabbergasted Hogan. Hogan told a random guy in the room to track down the bandana man.
Backstage: Jeff Hardy was shown doing stretches and various calisthenics preparing for his BFG Series match against Storm tonight. … Video package: They focused on Hardy’s involvement in the BFG Series this year and being intrigued by the whole thing. Hardy noted his goal is to win the BFG Series and end the selfish generation introduced by Bobby Roode.
Impact Zone: Kenny King came out for the next X Division qualifying match. King, the current ROH tag champion, danced to the ring as Taz sang his praises. King posed in the ring before more generic X Division music played to bring out Lars Only, who is Johnny Yuma of the RockNES Monsters from the SoCal wrestling scene.
4 — KENNY KING vs. LARS ONLY — X Division Title tournament qualifier
King dominated things early on as Tenay noted King is a real-life “Magic Mike,” incorporating the recent movie release into the broadcast. King continued his domination on the outside before rolling Lars back into the ring for a nearfall.
[Q6] Lars came back with a flying huracanrana on the outside before celebrating for the crowd. Lars sent King back into the ring for a pin attempt resulting in a nearfall. Lars called for the end with a Tornado DDT, but King fought him off. They kind of fell apart trying a Russian legsweep spot, which Taz said “kind of sucked.” King and Lars reset with a corner spot, which King turned into an enziguiri. King followed with a sidewinder slam for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Hemme brought in Kenny King for a post-match interview after a look at the Direct Auto Impact of the Night. King told the “pretty lady” that he didn’t come here to play games, but get himself noticed. King said he has a lot riding on this, so if you thought this was special, just wait for Destination X. He said the king will be crowned on Sunday.
WINNER: King at 5:21. Rough at times, but more fine athleticism on the show. Solid post-match promo from King until the clichéd final soundbyte.
Backstage: James Storm was shown walking down the hallway. Tenay said the Impact main event is moments away, yet they’re only 20 minutes into the second hour.
Last Week: Austin Aries rode a bike in Florida. Aries talked about the psychology that goes into his in-ring work, then noted he wasn’t blessed with the genetics to get a job in wrestling just being tall. He said it pushed him to excel at what he does by learning and not just relying on his size. Aries offered a soundbyte that Bobby Roode has been winning matches with beer bottles while he’s been winning with brainbusters. Aries was then shown walking down the beach contemplating life. Aries said the pinnacle of TNA is becoming TNA World champion. So, until he reaches that goal, he won’t rest.
Backstage: Aries and Kenny King embraced after King’s win, and King said he’s just trying to follow Aries’s footsteps. Aries told King he’ll get a title before he knows it if he keeps this up. The roving cameraman then caught up with Aries to ask him about handing over the title tonight. Aries said he’ll give up the X Title belt to Hogan at the end of the show.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz recapped the BFG Series Standings with Storm on top with 36 points. … Impact Zone: Hemme introduced James Storm for the TV main event tonight. Jeff Hardy was out next needing some points in the series, only having 7 at this point. As Hardy completed his intro, Tenay noted they will announce the BFG PPV location later tonight.
5 — JEFF HARDY vs. JAMES STORM — BFG Series match
Early feeling-out process as the announcers hyped both men as the front-runners in the BFG Series according to Hogan.
[Q7] After a minute, Hardy landed a shoulderblock before the two men traded quick pin attempts. They eventually went to their corners after a babyface stand-off, leading to “Hardy, Hardy” chants. Hardy then side-stopped a charging Storm, who found himself on the apron. Hardy landed a punch and Storm landed on the floor to collect himself. Storm paced ringside before slowly re-entering the ring as the announcers discussed Storm’s body language slowing down the pace and appearing to be frustrated.
Storm eventually hopped off the apron to the floor as the Hardy chants picked up. After stalling some more, Storm slowly re-entered the ring and measured Hardy for a lock-up center ring. The two men moved the lock-up against the ropes, and Tenay sent the show to break following two minutes of inactivity.
Back live, a side headlock to continue the inactivity. Storm broke free of Hardy’s mathold and landed shoulder thrusts in the corner. Hardy came back with a leg drop, but Storm came right back with repeated clotheslines. And, Hardy came right back with clotheslines into a seated dropkick for a two count. Storm returned fire with a turnaround slam out of the corner for a close two count, then Hardy knocked Storm to the outside. Hardy followed with a baseball slide kick, then flying splash to knock down both men on the outside.
At 11:00, Storm rolled back into the ring and Hardy just made it back into the ring before a ten count. The two men reset with Storm landing a big clothesline that took out both men. They reached their feet at a seven count, but sold having nothing left. Storm then built some momentum for a corner splash, but Hardy dodged. Hardy tried to follow with a top-rope Swanton Bomb, but Storm moved just in time. Storm then slowly went up top looking for a finisher, and connected with an elbow drop for a close two count.
At 13:30, Storm sold frustration unable to put away Hardy. Storm then warmed up for the Last Call superkick, but Hardy sold unable to stand up. Storm fixed Hardy, which threw off Storm’s rhythm and allowed Hardy to duck a superkick attempt. Hardy followed right up with the Twist of Fate for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Storm sold frustration as he collected himself in the corner. They replayed the finish before coming back live to show Hardy staring down Storm. The two men shook hands center-ring before Storm left the ring to give Hardy center-stage. Tenay and Taz then recapped the standings, which show Hardy moving up to a tie for third place with 14 points.
WINNER: Hardy at 14:04; Hardy gets 7 points in the BFGS. Odd middle before a strong finish and post-match handshake. Overall, good use of the BFGS format to create a clean finish in a TV main event.
[Q8] Video package: Kurt Angle coming to TNA for a nose-to-nose confrontation with Samoa Joe. They showed Angle landing The Headbutt into the Olympic Slam as Tenay went nuts. They didn’t show the classic image of Joe standing up in the background with blood on his forehead staring down Angle from behind.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz broke down the Destination X PPV line-up, focusing on Roode vs. Angle for the TNA World Title in the main event.
Backstage: Hulk Hogan was shown walking down the hallway. Tenay said Hogan will speak next, which will be the main event segment.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz announced the Bound for Glory PPV news that Phoenix, Ariz. will host the BFG PPV in October. Interesting timing with WWE’s Money in the Bank PPV in Phoenix next Sunday.
Video package: Kurt Angle randomly talked about Mr. Anderson. He talked up Anderson and noted the importance of the BFG Series. Anderson was shown next talking about needing to win or go home. After the video aired, the announcers provided context that next week’s show will feature Angle vs. Anderson in a BFG Series match. Also next week is Tessmacher vs. Gail for the Knockouts Title and Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park.
Impact Zone: Hulk Hogan came out to the ring as Tenay noted the random man with the envelope earlier in the show. Tenay said something will occur next week involving the group, which Hogan called cowards. Once in the ring, Hogan waited out crowd cheers before entering promo mode that he only hears it this loud when Storm, Hardy, or when Aries is out here. Hogan called out Brother Aries, but Roode’s music played instead.
Roode pardoned himself for the interruption, but Hogan cut him off and told him not to cross the line. Roode told him he told him once before to shut up when he’s talking. They interrupted each other before Roode noted he is a real World champion, unlike Austin Aries. Roode said the only reason why Aries has a shot against him this Sunday is because of Hogan. He said Hogan bought into “stupid Option C,” which will be nothing but a failure. Roode accused Hogan of giving false hope and promises to the fans, Aries, and the entire X Division. Roode told Hogan that when he beats, aims, and ends the career of Aries, the failure and blood will be on Hogan’s hands.
On cue, Aries’s music interrupted. Aries told “Robert, Bobby, Bob” that he thinks this is his show, but he’ll become World champ on Sunday. Aries recapped Options A, B, and C for Roode tonight as he slowly entered the ring. Aries choose Option C, which is not having to wait until Sunday to get it on. Aries told Roode he’s not backing down from him and he’s not afraid of him. Hogan stood in the background smiling as Aries and Roode prepared to fight, with Aries mocking Roode’s “stupid tie.” Roode did what he did before and told Aries he’s not worth it. Roode teased leaving, but tried to blind-side Aries, who saw it coming and ducked a title belt shot before landing his own title belt shot. Aries then held up both title belts as Tenay told viewers to tune in this Sunday to see if Aries can dethrone Roode. Aries handed over the X Title, then held up the World Title belt and stood tall as Hogan raised his arm to conclude Impact.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor