This week’s TNA Impact episode opened with a recap of recent TNA events, specifically Bully Ray-Brooke Hogan issues following Bully’s heel turn, Hulk Hogan blaming Sting for his family falling apart, A.J. Styles being wooed by Taz and Aces & Eights, and Jeff Hardy earning another TNA Title shot next week on Impact.
Arena: Todd Keneley introduced the show and plugged a 10-man tag main event before Aces & Eights’s music played to open the action. A&E emerged through the back of the arena to make their way to the ring for opening remarks.
In-ring: Mr. Anderson opened by noting he has a special package here. Anderson addressed A.J. Styles, saying when this company needed him the most, they turned their backs on him. He held up the package and told Styles that this jacket is for him when he’s ready. Devon then held up a manila envelope. He said they know this envelope is from Brooke Hogan and he suggested it will change Bully Ray’s relationship with Brooke.
D-Lo Brown spoke next. Brown said his gift was not given, but received. Out of his pocket was a letter notifying him that he’s been terminated from TNA. TNA cut to a “You Got Fired” chant, then Brown continued that he thinks he deserves more than this plain envelope. Brown said he didn’t get a phone call or meeting. He said he doesn’t want a text or tweet, but someone to come out here and tell him face-to-face why he deserves to get fired.
Instead, Kurt Angle’s music played. On-stage, Angle said he has something to say. Angle said he’s going to walk down the aisle, get in the ring, look Brown in the eyes, and tell him how he really feels. Once in the ring, Angle took down Brown and punched away, which brought Aces & Eights member into the picture to defend Brown. TNA wrestlers then hit the ring as Taz complained about Angle setting up A&E. TNA roster members eventually cleared the heels from the ring before Tenay plugged a 10-man tag match still to come tonight.
Locker Room: Joey Ryan walked into Brooke Hogan’s office for a discussion. Joey offered Brooke a favor, but Brooke said she’s technically still married, which was odd since it came across like she would be open to a “favor” from Joey if circumstances were different. Joey continued to use double-entendres that frustrated Brooke, then Joey said what he’s trying to say is she needs a referee for the Knockouts division. Brooke said he can’t trust him, but please don’t put your hands on the Knockouts. Joey said she has his word, then walked off.
In-ring: Christy Hemme was standing by to introduce the opening bout featuring the Knockouts. Gail Kim and former Knockouts champion Tara, along with Jessie, were out first, then TNA replayed the Knockouts brawling in the ring and backstage last week. KO champ Velvet Sky and Taryn Terrell, making her TNA in-ring debut, then came out for tag action.
1 — Knockouts champion VELVET SKY vs. TARYN TERRELL vs. GAIL KIM & TARA (w/Jessie) — Joey Ryan special referee
Prior to the bell sounding, Joey Ryan “inspected” each Knockout for foreign objects to make sure this would be a clean match, of course. The Knockouts had enough of Joey and started the match themselves. Ryan continued his “sleazy” ways during the match by opting to examine the Knockouts instead of counting pin attempts. Gail eventually figured out how to get the victory by flirting with Joey, who fast-counted a roll-up pin by Gail on Taryn to give the heels the win. After the match, Velvet distracted Joey, then Taryn delivered a low blow from behind.
WINNERS: Gail & Tara at 5:30.
Backstage: TNA tag champions Bobby Roode and Austin Aries were shown walking down the hallway. Their contract signing for next week’s title defense is next.
Outside of the television show, TNA announced at this point during Impact that TNA president Dixie Carter is getting her own action figure.
Back from break, Jeremy Borash was in the ring and both the tag champs and challengers (Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez) were already in the ring for their contract signing. Roode spoke first asking the challengers if they have ever been World champions. “No,” Aries answered. Chavo responded that he’s a Guerrero. He said that he has Hernandez with him, and he’s “as strong as a son-of-a-gun.”
Before they signed the contracts, Aries suggested they make this more interesting. He said they need to add some perks for the winner. Aries wrote in green M&Ms, a fruit basket, and more money for the winner’s purse. More whispering back and forth and passing notes on the contract paper as the crowd grew restless.
[Q3] JB then announced what they determined: Two out of Three Falls and Chavo & Hernandez must split up as a tag team and never team again in TNA if they do not win the match. Aries, Roode, and Chavo were all-in, but Hernandez sold concern over this. Hernandez eventually signed the contract, then Aries and Roode held up their tag title belts in the challengers’s faces.
Backstage: Adam Pearce was shown warming up ahead of his Gut Check challenge match. Todd Keneley then threw to a video package documenting Pearce’s journey. Included was footage from CWF Hollywood in California. Pearce said he’s always been “wrong place, wrong time” during his career, but now he finally gets his shot on the big stage. Pearce said someone finally opened the door just a crack and now he’s going to kick the door in.
Backstage: Magno was shown warming up backstage ahead of his Gut Check challenge match. Tenay fed to a video package on Magno’s background, which included Magno explaining his wrestling history, aided by subtitles. Magno said in English that he is here to make an impact.
Back in the ring, Jeremy Borash welcomed out Adam Pearce as the first contestant. Tenay said Pearce has been waiting 17 years for this moment. Keneley said he knows Pearce quite well and he knows Pearce will be ready. Magno was introduced next and Tenay provided background on Magno training in El Paso, Texas.
2 — ADAM PEARCE vs. MAGNO — Gut Check Challenge match
Taz said these two guys are seasoned wrestlers who know what they’re doing in the ring. Tenay added that Magno wrestled previously in TNA as part of the World X Cup tournaments. Pearce tried to ground Magno early on, but Magno used his quickness to escape Pearce. Magno tried to follow with a flying splash off the ropes, but Pearce caught him in mid-air and delivered a spinebuster for a two count.
Magno came back with a corner kick, then clotheslined Pearce over the top rope to the floor. Magno climbed to the top rope for a big splash to the outside, and he connected with a moonsault. Magno rolled Pearce back into the ring, then posed for the crowd instead of following up on Pearce, who quickly rolled him up and held the bottom rope for the pin and the win. Pearce quickly left the ring and gloated on the ramp while Magno complained in the ring.
WINNER: Pearce at 4:15. Solid wrestling from both men; both should be signed, especially Pearce, who brings an air of confidence and authority to the show. By the way, where’s Jay Bradley, whose mic work on Gut Check was better than the majority of the roster?
Last Thursday: Hulk Hogan told Sting to his face to get out of his ring. Sting told Hogan to make him, and Hogan did with help from security. Taz said he thinks this is hysterical watching Hogan’s world collapse.
Up Next: An update on Sting.
[Q4] [Commercial Break]
Backstage: Cameras followed Aces & Eights finding A.J. Styles in the hallway. Mr. Anderson said they kind of like a guy like Styles in their group. Anderson pulled out an A&E jacket and handed it over to Styles to give him something to think about. Anderson and Co. went one way, then Styles clutched the jacket and walked off without speaking.
Video Package: Hulk Hogan didn’t trust Bully Ray from Day One, but Sting convinced Hogan to trust Ray, which of course set up Sting and Hogan for disaster.
GM Office: Hulk Hogan said his “update” on Sting is that Sting isn’t here tonight. Hogan said he needs warriors, not politicians, to fight this battle against Aces & Eights. He said he’s going to call someone out next because he needs to know which side he’s on.
Backstage: Back from break, Joseph Park knocked on Kurt Angle’s door to discuss their fight against Aces & Eights tonight. Park breathed heavily before excitedly saying Angle is his inspiration. He vowed to do whatever it takes to beat Aces & Eights. Angle calmed him down and told Park to follow his lead. He said if Park sees an opportunity, then take it. Angle went back to jumping rope.
Still to come: TNA vs. Aces & Eights in a 10-man tag match. … Still to come: Bully Ray comes face-to-face with his wife, Brooke Hogan.
In-ring: Hulk Hogan’s music played to bring out Hogan two minutes before the top of the hour. After stroking his beard on-stage, Hogan slowly made his way to the ring as Taz noted the lack of logic from Hogan that he needs warriors, but he kicked Sting out of the building last week. Tenay said he doesn’t have any answers for that.
[Q5 -- second hour] In the ring, Hogan said he won’t be making anymore mistakes because he’s leading with, following, and making decisions with his gut. Hogan said the way TNA is being held hostage by Aces & Eights, his gut is telling him to call out A.J. Styles, brother.
Styles slowly emerged on-stage while holding the Aces & Eights jacket handed to him by Anderson. Styles, with a black hood covering a black baseball cap covering his head, slowly marched to the ring and lifted the hood to reveal his black cap. Hogan lifted his black sunglasses and looked at the jacket in Styles’s hands. Hogan said if that’s the path he’s following, they are way off the page.
Hogan said he gets what Styles went through with his personal deals last year. He said with everything Styles went through with accusations, he gets it. Hogan noted he gets the pressure on Styles after he made the stipulation that Styles couldn’t get another title shot if he lost the #1 contender match last year. But, this is Styles’s family since he started here, stuck here, and never strayed. Hogan told ’96 Sting that he’s looking at a different A.J. Styles and he hopes he’s not going down that path. He told Styles, man-to-man, that he needs his help and he needs the Dangerous A.J. Styles.
Styles looked down at the Aces & Eights jacket, then back at Hogan. He spoke. “You want me to help you?” Styles quietly asked. Hogan: “Yes!” Suddenly, James Storms’s music interrupted. Storm marched to the ring, but Styles didn’t turn around. Storm said he remembers the stipulation that if someone got pinned, he wouldn’t get a title shot again until Bound for Glory 2013. Storm said he remembers he pinned Styles, but that’s the way it goes because they all lose big matches. Storm said what bothers him the most is that Styles stood there and watched as A&E beat him down.
Storm said this company was built on their backs. Storm paused to get a cheer from the crowd. He said that every show Styles has appeared on, he’s been on, too. Styles didn’t flinch as Storm continued to shout into his face. “We built this!” Storm shouted. Storm asked Styles if he really wants to join “them,” then said he’s not the same guy that people cheered for day in and day out. He removed his shades, then told Styles that he better clock out before he gets knocked out.
Styles responded by dropping his mic and backing out of the ring, still holding onto the A&E jacket. Styles looked down at it while walking down the ramp, then Impact cut to break.
During the Break: Hulk Hogan said he’s done sucking up to A.J. Styles. He has one week to give him an answer – either Styles is part of TNA or he’s gone from the company.
PPV Plug: Keneley plugged the premiere of “One Night Only” Friday night featuring the X Division.
In-ring: Christy Hemme introduced an X Division qualifying match. First out was Sonjay Dutt, who Tenay described as the most accomplished X Division wrestler who has never been champion. Next out was Mason Andrews (Scorpio Sky a/k/a “Harold” from WWE’s Anger Management bits). Out last was a returning Petey Williams.
3 — SONJAY DUTT vs. PETEY WILLIAMS vs. MASON ANDREWS — three-way X Division Title qualifying match
Tenay noted the winner earns the third slot the next time there is an X Division Title match. Rapid-fire action early on, then Dutt and Petey knocked Mason to the floor to battle one-on-one.
[Q6] The pattern of “one out, two in” continued as the announcers bickered. Petey then took center-stage before setting up for the Canadian Destroyer on Dutt, but Dutt blocked. Andrews then re-entered and headscissored Petey out of the ring. Rapid-fire in-and-out led to Andrews knocking Dutt out of the ring, then Petey grabbed Andrews and hit the Canadian Destroyer for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Petey at 5:19. The overall presentation is unfortunate since it reinforces TNA’s traditional booking of the X Division wrestlers as interchangeable high-flyers.
Backstage: Bully Ray held a meeting with Aces & Eights. He knows that the group will get the job done against Kurt Angle and Co. tonight. Ray told them to go out there, kick some ass, take names, and, most importantly, take their souls. Devon calmed everyone down before asking Ray if he’s ready to deal with this thing with Brooke. Ray said to be honest, he misses his wife. Everyone mock-ahhhed before Devon asked if she gives a good hot-tag. Ray said he’s going to hit the ring, look Brooke in the eyes, hand her the envelope, and move on. Ray toasted to Aces & Eights.
Video Package: One week from tonight, it’s Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA Title in Full Metal Mayhem. Hardy said in a soundbyte that he thinks he has the full support of the locker room trying to regain the title.
Next Thursday: Ray-Hardy for the TNA Title, Chavo & Hernandez challenge Roode & Aries for the Tag Titles, Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell in Knockouts singles action, and A.J. Styles makes his “decision.”
In-ring: Christy Hemme introduced Aces & Eights for the TV main event. After the group hit the ring, Kurt Angle’s music played to bring out Angle and his four team members. Before the bell sounded, Tenay pleaded with Angle to get his team on the same page if they have a chance to stand up to “this gang.”
4 — TEAM TNA (SAMOA JOE & KURT ANGLE & ERIC YOUNG & MAGNUS & JOSEPH PARK) vs. Team ACES & EIGHTS (TV champion DEVON & D.O.C. & MIKE KNOX & GARETT BISCHOFF & WES BRISCO) — 10-man tag match
Angle quickly teed off on Garett Bischoff to begin punishing Aces & Eights members. Angle had enough and brought in Magnus, who rocked Bischoff. More in and out tags gave each side momentary control while the announcers continued to bicker. Eric Young then dumped Knox to the outside and dropped him with a plancha. Team TNA in control heading to break.
Back from break, Knox big-booted Young clear over the top rope to the outside. A&E struggled with a simple task like shoving EY back into the ring, then eventually achieved the task and went back to work on Young. EY eventually broke free and Joseph Park saw his opportunity to enter the match. Young blindly tagged in Park, who cleaned house and fired himself up. Park scoopslammed Wes, then squashed him with a splash, but A&E broke up the pin.
The action broke down with multiple men in the ring fighting and scrapping. Bodies started flying to the outside as Keneley plugged Full Metal Mayhem next week in Corpus Christi. It came down to Park and Devon in the ring. Devon awkwardly spinebustered Park, then climbed to the top rope, where he airballed a diving headbutt. Park then climbed to the second rope, but Garett and Wes provided a distraction. This allowed D.O.C. to sneak into the ring with a foreign object to low-blow Park in clear sight of the ref. The ref then slid back into the ring and counted a three count for D.O.C. on Park.
WINNERS: Aces & Eights at 13:55. Same question as last week – is Aces & Eights becoming more resourceful or TNA’s face roster becoming less competent by the week?
Brooke’s Office: Hulk and Brooke Hogan sat down for a chat. Brooke told Hulk that she needs to handle this by herself after being fooled by Ray. Brooke said she’ll take security with her to the ring to face Ray, who she guessed was handing her divorce papers.
Up Next: Ray-Brooke face-to-face.
[Q8] [Commercial Break]
Video Package: TNA recapped the Brooke-Ray drama that led to Ray turning on Brooke at Lockdown.
In-ring: Nine minutes before the top of the hour, Aces & Eights’s music played to bring out TNA World champion Bully Ray through the back of the arena. Ray slowly made his way to the ring as Taz stood up at the announce table to salute his leader. Ray, with the manila envelope in-hand, yelled at a ringside fan before shaking hands with Taz.
Once in the ring, Ray hyped his TNA Title re-match against Jeff Hardy in seven days. Ray said it’s Full Metal Mayhem next week, which makes Hardy the stupidest person he’s ever met. Ray rhetorically asked why Hardy would book him in a match with tables, ladders, and chairs. He then turned his attention to some personal business to attend to before next week. Ray asked Brooke Hogan to come down to the ring.
Brooke, flanked by Atlas Security getting more TV time this week, marched to the ring as Ray flashed a big ol’ smile toward his “wife.” Brooke stood her ground in the ring, then Ray changed the tone of his voice to ask Brooke how she’s doing, then where her wedding ring is. Ray said he’s still wearing his ring, then gave Brooke a pass this week. Ray told Brooke to do what she’s told and wear her wedding ring. Ray then asked “Brookie” why the security guards are here. Ray told “woman” that they should be here for his protection because she was a crazed-woman and lunatic after Lockdown. “You were insane!” Ray said.
Ray said Brooke should have been happy that night because her husband became World Hvt. champion. Brooke should have been hugging, kissing, and loving on him, Ray said. “You are an insane woman,” he said,” but I forgive you.” Ray then looked at the manila envelope. Brooke said she hopes it’s divorce papers. Ray acted hurt by this. He said he loves Brooke, the wind beneath his wings. Ray said she’s the woman behind him who makes him so great. “I couldn’t have done this without you,” Ray said. He told Brooke to open it.
Brooke opened the envelope and pulled out a ticket. It was a front-row ticket to Corpus Christi so she can sit in the front-row and watch him defeat Jeff Hardy for the second time. Bully said he wants her there cheering her on and looking as beautiful as she possibly can. “Because, honestly, Brooke, you’ve kind of let yourself go,” he said. In response, Brooke ripped up the ticket and slapped Ray across the face.
Bully composed himself and laughed, then said he can’t help but laugh at her because she is pathetic. Bully said she just smacked him in the face and he is laughing at her. “I am in your head so bad that it’s not funny,” Ray said. “And I’ve been in ya since Day One.” Ray encouraged Brooke to smack him again, but Jeff Hardy’s music interrupted.
[Q9 -- over-run] Hardy stormed the ring to attack Ray after Ray shouted at Brooke to get out of his ring. Hardy and Bully brawled in the ring as Tenay called it a taste of next week. Taz said Hardy is going down next week in Texas. Hardy and Ray continued to brawl as Keneley shouted that they will see Hardy and Ray next week live in Corpus Christi. Impact signed off one minute past the top of the hour with Ray and Hardy still trading blows in the ring. Where was security to make this a pullapart brawl for the final image heading into next week?
(Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch)