This week’s TNA Impact episode opened with a recap of Bully Ray capturing the TNA World Title from Chris Sabin last week on Impact with help from Tito Ortiz.
Backstage: Bully Ray was shown walking into the building while on the phone with “Brookie.” Tito Ortiz was walking behind him. Bully said the whole world will be shocked when they reveal their plot. After Ray hung up, Mr. Anderson walked into the shot and asked Bully why Tito was added to Aces & Eights without talking to him. Bully told Anderson to not be so sensitive about returning his phone calls and texts, but rather be more focused on taking care of his own business. Bully and Tito walked off as Anderson had a look of “Oh, so this club has been all about Bully, not a ‘Movement’ all along?”
In the arena, Bobby Roode’s music played to bring out Roode, Christopher Daniels, and Kazarian sporting black t-shirts. In the ring, Roode congratulated Bully Ray on becoming a two-time World Hvt. champion last week. Roode said Bully has found a way to screw the system once again, while finding a friend along the way. So, now, Bully has a target on his chest. Roode said they will do anything to get the title from Bully. “One of us is going to walk into Bound for Glory and become new World Hvt. champion, whether you like it or not,” Roode said.
Kazarian spoke next about winning the BFG Series ladder match last week. Daniels, naming the group E.G.O., spoke next that he completes the sweep tonight because he is the best Street Fighter in all of TNA.
Roode followed up that they need to add one more member to this group. And that member is none other than (looking into the camera) Austin Aries. Roode spoke into the camera that they have united as a group, so if he wants a shot at becoming World champion, he should take them up on their offer marching toward Bound for Glory.
Suddenly, James Storm’s music played to bring out TNA tag champions James Storm and Gunner. Storm, dressed in a checkered dress shirt and blue jeans, ran down E.G.O., saying he wouldn’t trust Roode because it’s not a matter of if he turns on him, but when he turns on him.
Roode snapped back that Storm is jealous and always has been jealous of him. Storm snapped back that he’s going to get ready to fight and punch Roode right in the mouth. So, Storm retreated to a corner of the ring, removed his cowboy hat, removed his dress shirt, removed his watch, took a swig of beer, placed it down, and walked over to Roode to deliver a right-hand strike. The fight was on. Suddenly, a referee showed up and called for the bell on a blue-jeans battle.
1 — TNA tag champions GUNSTORM (BOBBY ROODE & GUNNER) vs. E.G.O. (BOBBY ROODE & KAZARIAN)
Since Daniels is in the BFG Series later, Daniels was sent to the back as the fight began. 50 seconds in, Impact cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:11]
[Q2] Back from break, the blue-jeans battle continued with Roode delivering a chop to Gunner’s chest. As the match unfolded, Taz talked about having a good feeling about Tito Ortiz last week before he helped out Bully. Nothing from Mike Tenay expressing outrage on Chris Sabin’s behalf. Gunner eventually hot-tagged in Storm simultaneous to Roode tagging in.
Storm and Roode battled, then Storm delivered a top-rope elbow for a two count when Kaz broke up the pin. Storm followed with the Last Call codebreaker, then warmed up the crowd for a Last Call Superkick, but ref Earl Hebner got in the way. Chaos. In the chaos, Roode low-blowed Storm, Roode rolled up Storm with a hook of the pants, and it was good for the win.
WINNERS: Roode & Kaz at 9:41.
Backstage: Austin Aries talked to the roving cameraman about getting group offers from Sting’s Main Event Mafia and Bobby Roode’s group the last two weeks. Aries said he has a lot to think about, but he thinks he’ll have an answer by the end of the night.
Tonight: Bully Ray’s title celebration. Plus, Main Event Mafia vs. Aces & Eights where the wrestler who takes the fall must leave TNA.
[Commercial Break at 9:22]
Last Thursday: Bully Ray used help from Tito Ortiz to win the TNA Title from Chris Sabin. Still to come: An update on Chris Sabin.
In-ring: Christy Hemme was standing by to announce the next match. Out first was Sonjay Dutt, who Tenay described as the best X Division wrestler never to win the X Title. Out next was X Division champion Manik without the title belt. Before Manik could enter the ring, Dutt flew over the ropes to try to attack him, but Manik avoided. Suddenly, the bell sounded.
2 — X Division champion MANIK vs. SONJAY DUTT — non-title match
As the match started, Tenay read a tweet from Hulk Hogan on all X Division matches being one-on-one going forward. Taz’s response: “Eh.” Taz then got more fired up saying he would like to go on record that he is not a fan of Manik. This led to the latest installment of Taz Therapy that he hated a kid growing up who used to walk around with a mask on.
[Q3] Manik delivered a sit-out powerbomb for a two count, then Dutt came back with a running knee in the corner. As Dutt set up for a potential finisher, Taz began singing to distract himself from the match. Manik avoided the finisher, then clutched Dutt for his cradle driver finisher for the pin and the win. Taz weighed in on the finish, surprising Tenay.
WINNER: Manik at 4:28. No story to this match, so it came across like just a bunch of moves strung together… with the added bonus of Taz Therapy and Taz Sings The Hits.
Backstage: Mr. Anderson talked to Devon and other Aces & Eights members about taking care of Main Event Mafia tonight. Devon vowed to “testify” a little bit tonight. They took a swig in unison.
Backstage: BFG Series participants Hernandez, Daniels, Jay Bradley, and Joseph Park were shown warming up on a four-person split-screen.
[Commercial Break at 9:33]
Back from break, Main Event Mafia’s Sting, Samoa Joe, Rampage Jackson, and Magnus were shown having a strategy session about facing Aces & Eights tonight. It was the first camera shot of the group tonight, and they didn’t seem too concerned about Tito Ortiz screwing them last week, which ruined their stated plan to keep the TNA Title off Bully Ray. It’s an example of TNA’s inconsistent tone from one episode to the next at the same TV taping.
3 — HERNANDEZ vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. JOSEPH PARK (w/Eric Young) vs. JAY BRADLEY — four-way Street Fight for 20 points in the BFG Series
Before the bell sounded, Tenay sold concern over Daniels vaulting to the top of the Leaderboard if he wins this match. Park and Hernandez cleaned house early on, then Impact cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:43] [Q4 ... Mid-commercial, Bobby Roode and Kazarian were shown walking out on-stage for a closer look at the action.]
[...Q4] Back from break, Hernandez and Daniels battled on the entrance ramp. In the ring, Bradley battled Park while EY yelled at the other E.G.O. members positioned ringside. Suddenly, a brawl broke out ringside and Park ate the ringpost during the scrap. Back in the ring, Bradley kicked Daniels between the uprights before suplexing him onto a chair.
Bradley wanted the Boomstick, but Kaz yanked Bradley out of the ring to the outside. Tenay said he understands it’s No DQ, but it’s not the intent of the match to have outside involvement. And where is Hulk Hogan or a Designated Authority Figure Rep to reinforce what Tenay just said if this match is vital for who eventually gets a TNA Title shot by winning the BFG Series?
Suddenly, Austin Aries entered the ring in street clothes to interject himself into the match. Aries high-fived Roode and Kaz, then Daniels went for a high-five, but Aries kicked him in the gut and dropped him with a Brainbuster, popping the crowd. Apparently Aries is the unofficial DAFR here, as Roode and Kaz chased after him, clearing out the outside involvement.
Back in the ring, Park re-entered the ring, saw blood, and entered Abyss mode. Bradley was on the receiving end of a Black Hole Slam and it was good for the win for Park. Post-match, Park stood up and did his scrunched-up facial expression to sell intensity as EY slowly entered the ring to try to calm down Mr. Park. On commentary, Tenay sold shock that Park just picked up 20 points, which gets him out of the negative-points territory.
WINNER: Park at 12:19 to win 20 points in the BFG Series.
Still to come: Bully Ray addresses his plot with “Brooke.”
[Commercial Break at 9:53]
Impact returned from break three minutes before the top of the hour with Main Event Mafia now in a completely different tone now selling anger (Sting) and dejection (Samoa Joe) over what happened last week. Rampage Jackson stood up and shouted about being angry about what happened with Tito Ortiz. Magnus stood up and declared that they are the Mafia and Joe said they were bred for war. Sting seemed more confident in his troops before they face Aces & Eights tonight.
Video Package: TNA documented the Bully Ray-Hulk & Brooke Hogan storyline going back to before Lockdown, at Lockdown when Ray turned heel, and through to when Ray taunted Brooke by vowing to never give her a divorce, but Brooke still had feelings for Ray.
[Q5 -- second hour]
Bully Ray Celebration
In-ring: Bully Ray and Tito Ortiz walked out on-stage before TNA replayed last week’s events when Tito took out Rampage, Bully powerbombed Sabin, and Bully became TNA champion again.
In the ring, Bully showed off the TNA Title belt while Tito kind of pointed to Ray. On the mic, Ray said everyone is really happy to see him. Boos. “What? Are you mad?” Ray said. He asked “everybody” what it feels like to be conned again, then asked if they know who he is. Boos. Ray repeated himself while Ortiz kept pointing around in an effort to feel out his role standing behind Ray.
Ray continued that he does not recognize himself as a two-time champion because he doesn’t recognize Chris Sabin as TNA champion. Ray said Sabin didn’t beat him for the title, as he beat himself. Ray then introduced Tito Ortiz to boos. Tito took the mic next and sent a message to Rampage Jackson. Tito said he knocked Rampage out once and he’ll knock him out again on November 2.
Ray spoke next that no one does shock like him. He said they will be shocked at his next surprise. “Now, I expose the secret that me and my girl have been hiding for a long, long time,” Ray said. He said it’s time for the whole world to know about them. “Get ready for the love of my life,” he said. “Brooke, honey, get down here right now.”
On commentary, Tenay took the bait as Brooke Hogan’s music played. But, instead of Brooke Hogan, Miss Tessmacher walked out on-stage. Taz said that Brooke is indeed Bully’s main squeeze as Tessmacher walked into the ring. In a voice-over, Tenay asked if they’re supposed to believe that Bully was talking to Brooke Tessmacher on the phone all this time. Once in the ring, Brooke made out with Ray.
On the mic, Ray said that now that he has the “hot Brooke” with him, Tito with him, and his brother, Taz, with him, no one should doubt that he can ever be stopped. Bully said there’s only one thing left to do. Tessmacher then removed Bully’s wedding ring and spit it away. “We’re done,” Bully declared before Aces & Eights’s music played.
Up Next: Gail Kim vs. ODB.
[Commercial Break at 10:08]
Back from break, Tenay broke down the Live Events Center before TNA showed what happened “Moments Ago” when Bully revealed Brooke Tessmacher as his new valet, dumping Brooke Hogan.
In-ring: Gail Kim was introduced for Knockouts singles action. ODB was out next to face her bitter rival.
4 — GAIL KIM vs. ODB
ODB dominated early on, sending Gail out of the ring to recover. Gail took advantage on the outside, then began working on the left arm as TNA plugged a new episode of “Fightmaster” following Impact. ODB made her comeback while still favoring the left arm. This prevented ODB from finishing off Gail, who then crucifix-pinned ODB for a three count and the win.
WINNER: Gail Kim at 6:20. It looks like Gail is next in line for a Knockouts Title shot.
Up Next: Main Event Mafia were shown walking down the hallway. In the next shot, Aces & Eights were shown walking down the hallway. Tenay said it’s the last night in TNA for one wrestler on these two teams.
[Commercial Break at 10:22]
Video Package: Jeff Hardy’s Bound for Glory quest was highlighted in a full-length video package. This year, Hardy is fighting for his daughter at home.
Earlier Tonight: Austin Aries fooled Roode, Kaz, and Daniels into thinking he was joining their group.
Backstage: The roving cameraman asked Austin Aries about what happened earlier. Aries said he gave E.G.O. his answer, continuing to play mind-games and be smart. Aries looked into the camera and said he doesn’t need anyone’s help to become TNA Champion again. He said he doesn’t need Hulk Hogan’s help, Dixie Carter’s help, or anyone else’s help because he only needs his God-given abilities.
[Q7] Announcers: Tenay said Hulk Hogan has been meeting with lawyers the past two weeks, and he will return to Impact next week in Cleveland. Taz said something doesn’t smell right about this. Tenay then transitioned to a discussion of Bully Ray regaining the TNA Title over Chris Sabin.
Post-match Last Week: TNA cameras caught up with Sabin for his reaction to the title loss. Sabin was shown slumping down on the floor before noting Bully is a master manipulator and Aces & Eights found a way around the cage. Sabin said Main Event Mafia said they had his back, and he believes them. Sabin said that belt meant everything to him, and he will be back. The camera showed Sabin holding his head, dejected, but still determined. Good, solid, Babyface Dejection Promo vowing to make the comeback.
In-ring: Aces & Eights’s music played to bring out Devon, Mr. Anderson, Garett Bischoff, Wes Brisco, and Knux. The five men posed in the ring before Main Event Mafia’s music played.
Out came Sting followed by Magnus, Joe, and Rampage Jackson. Tenay said one of these men will lose his job up next. TNA went to camera shots of all nine wrestlers assembled in and out of the ring before cutting to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:34]
Back from break, TNA hyped “No Surrender” Impact on September 12 to determine the BFG Series winner.
In-ring: Mr. Anderson took the mic and called out their “fearless leader,” Bully Ray, to watch history unfold with only four Mafia members facing the five of them. On-stage, Ray, Brooke Tessmacher, and Tito Ortiz walked out to get a close look at the action. Anderson then reminded the Mafia that they’re one man short tonight. “That’s not fair, right?” Anderson said. He patronized them that they can pick someone to just lay down for them.
Sting interrupted that none of them are taking a fall for Aces & Eights. Sting said if they go down, they are going down fighting in Norfolk. Suddenly, A.J. Styles’s music played and the arena went dark. Styles walked out on-stage and glared at Bully Ray before marching down to the ring. Styles stopped half-way down the entrance ramp, closed his eyes, and looked down before his old music played. Tenay flipped out as Styles threw off his hoodie and fired himself up (in the dark), then the lights came on and Styles jumped into the ring. As the crowd popped, Tenay excitedly said the old Styles is back.
5 — MAIN EVENT MAFIA & A.J. STYLES vs. ACES & EIGHTS — five-on-five Faction Warfare — wrestler who takes the fall must leave TNA
As chaos broke out, Tenay noted that Styles is putting his career on the line here in this match. Tenay said Styles must feel strongly about backing Main Event Mafia in their effort to rid TNA of Aces & Eights. In the ring, Styles delivered a trademark dropkick on Anderson, then posed for the hard camera.
[Q8] The match settled down with Samoa Joe isolating Wes Brisco and delivering signature offense. Garett then took a beating from Joe, who brought in Styles to punish Garett. Meanwhile, Taz wondered why Styles has to stick his nose in other people’s business. Styles punished Garett some more leading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:46. During the break, a spot for the wrestling-heavy "Saints Row IV" video game aired.]
Impact returned 11 minutes before the top of the hour with Aces & Eights now on the offensive working on Magnus. On commentary, Taz enjoyed the thought of Magnus being gone from TNA if he takes the loss here. Tenay countered with a question about what would happen if Devon lost. “Not happening,” Taz sternly replied. A&E continued to work on Magnus while the crowd randomly did “Yes!” chants at something (or someone) off-camera.
At 10:00, Magnus teased a tag to his team, but Anderson cut off Magnus to continue working on The Future of TNA. The heels maintained control for the next two minutes until Magnus dropped Knux with a DDT. Magnus then hit the face corner and tagged in Sting. Sting delivered a dropkick to Knux before a Stinger Splash. And a second Splash. Suddenly, everyone hit the ring and chaos broke out as Tenay frantically described the action.
Rampage Jackson suddenly found himself alone in the ring. Devon entered the ring, then other Mafia members fed for Rampage, who worked on his wrestling moves. After order was restored, Sting slapped on the Scorpion Deathlock on Knux, but Devon low-blowed Sting. Knux covered Sting, but Sting kicked out in-time.
At 14:00, Devon teed off on Sting with right hands, but Sting avoided a diving headbutt. Sting then tagged in Styles, who knocked heads before targeting Devon with rapid-fire strikes. Styles followed with a leaping kick to the head for a two count. Anderson then cut off Styles, drawing everyone back into the ring. More chaos. Rampage tried to find someone to hit, then settled for just returning to the ring apron.
At 16:00, Styles walked into a big spear from Devon. Devon wanted to finish Styles, but Styles floated over into the Styles Clash. Styles connected, spun over Devon, and it was good for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Bully Ray sold shock on the stage, then Tito mimicked Bully’s mannerisms and selling. Taz freaked out on commentary as Tenay tried to shout over Taz that this is reality. As Aces & Eights reacted ringside and Bully shouted on-stage, Tenay recapped that Devon is gone. Taz stood up and vowed to appeal this. In the ring, Joe leaned down next to Devon to give him a final word, then Styles delivered a final word to Devon before leaving the ring. Impact went off the air with Styles selling determination after winning the big match.
WINNERS: Team StylesMafia at 16:23; Devon is gone from TNA. Solid TV main event, accentuating the strengths of the A&E B-Team to make them formidable opponents. Styles suddenly dropping his anti-everyone stance was jarring, but it was a refreshing, much-needed change for Styles if TNA has plans to send him all the way to Bound for Glory (assuming he re-signs).
(Report by James Caldwell of PWTorch)