In the arena, Mike Tenay introduced “Must Win Thursday” for the Bound for Glory Series, plus Hulk Hogan returns and A.J. Styles speaks.
But, first, Aces & Eights’s music played to bring out TNA World Hvt. champion Bully Ray followed by Tito Ortiz, Mr. Anderson, Wes Brisco, Mike Knox, and Garett Bischoff. On commentary, Taz said it’s been a dark week with Devon kicked out of TNA last week on Impact.
In the ring, Ray interrupted his music and said he has something to say. “I am in a really, really bad mood,” he opened. Notably, Brother Devon is no longer with them. Ray said he wants answers and he wants them now.
Actually, he would like to hear from his brothers. “Bisch” shrugged his shoulders. “Bully, I don’t know what happened,” Bischoff said. Knox said he was on the floor taking care of Rampage and Magnus, so he was doing his job. How about you, Wes? Wes over-reacted that he doesn’t know what happened. Mr. Anderson had no words, then said he doesn’t know what happened, but Devon knew what were the consequences were. Ray agreed that it is what it is. “What ‘it’ is is a disappointment,” Ray said. “Because my brother Devon has always been a disappointment and a loser,” turning on Devon again. “I never needed Devon and I never will again,” he said.
Ray pointed to Tito and said he’s the only one he needs now. The other A&E members were a little concerned about this. Ray then told Tito that he’s giving him his own colors, causing Anderson to freak out. Anderson demanded a mic, then noted they don’t fight around here anymore. Ray told Anderson to back down and he will do whatever he wants. “So get in line, Ken, before I put you in line,” he shouted.
Ray turned attention to his girl, demanding that Brooke come out to the ring. Brooke emerged on-stage holding a biker jacket, apparently for Tito. On commentary, Taz said this usually doesn’t happen in front of the world, but this is Bully’s call. Brooke presented Ray with the jacket and Ray held it out for Tito, who took a deep breath and walked toward the jacket as Anderson shouted in Ray’s face. Ray then pushed Anderson into the corner and told him to stay, like a dog.
Ray gave Tito his jacket, then Ray revealed it was Devon’s jacket. Ray then shouted at the other A&E members that if they have problems with this, then get out. He shouted at Anderson that he voted on this and now he will sit back and watch the BFG Series unfold.
Ray then noted he heard that his father-in-law is here tonight. Bully said he can’t wait to see Hulk Hogan as the crowd chanted for Hogan. Ray then looked into the camera and said he would like to introduce Hulk to the only Brooke who has mattered in his life. Ray, Brooke, and Tito filed out of the ring while the other A&E members hung back in the ring, selling apprehension over their association with Bully.
Still to come: MEM speaks, plus Gail Kim vs. ODB in a 2/3 falls #1 contender match. And, in the BFG Series, Aries vs. Daniels, Styles vs. Roode, and Jeff Hardy vs. Kazarian.
Backstage: A face-painted Jeff Hardy talked to a camera about having to beat Kazarian tonight. “Creatures!” he shouted into the camera.
[Commercial Break at 9:12]
[Q2] Back from break, TNA showed footage from “earlier tonight” when Hulk Hogan arrived at the building. Tenay said Hogan has returned from weeks of meetings with “the network” and with “lawyers.”
In-ring: Bad Influence’s music played to bring out Kazarian for the first of three BFG Series matches tonight. On commentary, Tenay said Hogan ruled that if Roode, Kazarian, or Daniels interfere in matches tonight, they will lose their spot in the BFG Series. Jeff Hardy was introduced next to face Kaz.
1 — JEFF HARDY vs. KAZARIAN — BFG Series match
Inspired start to the action, then the two men came to a stalemate. Hardy then knocked Kaz to the outside and flew at Kaz with a knock-down clothesline. Hardy took a victory lap, then brought Kaz back into the ring. Hardy wanted a top-rope move, but Kaz hung him out to dry to cut off Hardy’s attack. As Kaz slowed down the pace, Tenay mentioned Magnus leading the BFG Series standings. Tenay said Magnus will get to pick his Final Four opponent if he remains #1 in the Standings.
Hardy fought back at 4:00, then teased a submission hold and flowed into a figure-four, trying to get 10 points in the BFG Series. Kaz fought the hold, then reversed pressure and escaped to the bottom rope. Kaz came back with a standing kick for a close two count. Kax, frustrated, tried a second-rope move, but Hardy blocked and hit a Twist of Fate. Hardy wanted a Swanton Bomb from the top, and he connected. Hardy covered and it was good for the win.
A review of the BFG Series Leaderboard showed Hardy now in Third Place with 31 points.
WINNER: Hardy at 6:08. Hot opening match. Good to see TNA capitalize on the energy Hardy brings to the show.
Backstage: Mr. Anderson regrouped with the Aces & Eights members. Garett Bischoff ripped Bully Ray for turning on Devon after 15-20 years. Wes flipped out about Tito Ortiz, then Knox talked up Mr. Anderson as the leader of their section. Anderson said if this keeps up, they will have a vote of their own and Bully won’t be too happy about it. He said no one is bigger than the club.
Tonight: Gail vs. ODB 2/3 Falls to determine the #1 contender to the KO Title.
[Commercial Break at 9:28] […Q3]
[…Q3] Impact returned from break with a flashback to last Thursday’s Impact when A.J. Styles joined the Main Event Mafia to eliminate Devon from TNA.
After Tenay reviewed the BFG Series Standings and plugged Styles vs. Bobby Roode still to come tonight, TNA went back to the ring.
2 — GAIL KIM vs. ODB — 2/3 Falls #1 contender match to the Knockouts Title
Gail Kim was out first, followed by ODB. Tenay did not provide a date on when the new #1 contender will get a KO Title shot against Mickie James. Gail quickly went to work on ODB’s previously-injured leg to try to get an early fall. ODB could not resist a Sharpshooter submission and had to tap. TNA sold ODB in jeopardy heading to break.
*** Gail 1, ODB 0 at 3:03 ***
[Commercial Break. Gail was still in control during a mid-match cut-in.]
Back from break, Gail was still working on ODB’s leg. Gail gloated about her control, allowing ODB to roll her up for a quick three count.
*** Gail 1, ODB 1 at 8:25 ***
Gail angrily resumed control of the match and went back to working on the leg. But, ODB refused to give up. ODB eventually fought back with a Sharpshooter submission of her own, “overcoming the attack from Gail,” and Gail tapped out.
WINNER: ODB via submission at 11:27 to win 2-1 falls. Another high-intensity match featuring two of the top (and remaining) Knockouts on the roster. As of right now, Mickie vs. ODB for the title has some momentum.
[Q4] Still to come: Styles vs. Roode in the BFG Series. And, up next, Main Event Mafia speaks.
[Commercial Break at 9:46]
Backstage: Velvet Sky was back on the show. A roving cameraman asked Velvet for thoughts on ODB, who she said has a good shot to beat Mickie for the KO Title. Velvet then hyped the Knockouts PPV next month. Asked about missing “Hardcore Justice” Impact, Velvet said she had some personal issues to tend to. Asked if that was Chris Sabin, Velvet said they’ve been together for years, but they keep business and personal separate. She said the cameraman isn’t going to get her on that.
Locker Room: Christopher Daniels sat down in his locker selling concern over Hulk Hogan ruling on their interference. Bobby Roode talked about needing to defeat A.J. Styles tonight, then Daniels angrily said he’s going to get answers from Austin Aries, who turned down their organization last week.
Backstage: Austin Aries was standing by with Jeremy Borash for an interview. Aries said anyone who knows him knows he stands alone and does things on his own. He said he plans on counting on the only person he’s ever been able to count on – himself. Asked about A.J. Styles, he said he hopes Styles makes it to the Final Four so they can face off again. Daniels interrupted and shouted in Aries’s face about turning down their group. Aries and Daniels argued about who’s better and traded insults about Miley Cyrus and baldness. Nice, intense set-up for their upcoming match.
Up Next: Main Event Mafia speaks. This time, for real, according to Tenay.
[Commercial Break at 9:55]
Impact returned one minute before the top of the hour with the roving cameraman asking Hulk Hogan for his thoughts on matters at-hand. Hogan blew off the questions and said he has a huge announcement later.
[Q5 — second hour] Main Event Mafia’s music played to bring out Samoa Joe leading the group. Joe was followed by Rampage Jackson and Sting. Once they hit the ring, Rampage took the mic and said he wants to get something off his chest. Rampage said he wants to talk about Tito Ortiz cheap-shotting him two weeks ago. He just wants him to know that they’re not waiting for Bellator MMA…on PPV…on November 2. Rampage vowed to stomp a mudhole in him because the rules are a little bit different over here.
Joe took the mic and shouted out to Cleveland. Joe said as he looks around, he can tell that – pause for a “Joe, Joe, Joe” chant – the Mafia runs this town tonight. Joe flashed back to one week ago when things weren’t looking good, then Sting went backstage looking for someone to join the fight against Aces & Eights. But, they were all cowards. Except for one man, who did the right thing. And that man is A.J. Styles.
Sting spoke next. Well, howled first. Sting said that howl goes out to A.J., who he noted put his career on the line for the Mafia last week. He told Styles that the door is open if he wants to be part of this family. But, no matter what, they want to recognize him for his help. Sting led the crowd in chanting for Styles.
Styles’s brooding music played, then Styles walked out on-stage dressed like the newer Styles. Styles stopped on the entrance ramp, lowered his head, his music stopped, and the old Styles music played as Styles flipped off his hood. Taz called the whole transformation “very annoying.”
In the ring, Styles surveyed Sting, Joe, and Rampage before taking the mic from Sting. On the mic, Styles said he appreciates them being out here. Pause for “A.J., A.J., A.J.” chant. Styles said he needs to do this himself. Sting took the cue and led the Mafia out of the ring.
Alone in the ring, Styles began his speech. Styles said one big question about what happened last week is whether he is the newest member of Main Event Mafia. Styles said he respects what they’re doing, but the suit & tie is not him. He said he’s developed some trust issues over the past year, like having two best-friends stabbing him in his back or the production team airing his dirty laundry without even asking him if it were true or not. Maybe it was realizing what everyone had told him that this is just how the business is. And the only person he could trust is Allen Jones.
Styles summed up that he is with no one. Styles paced the ring to silence, then said he might as well answer some other questions. Styles said his perception of this business has changed, but he’s better than the Best in the World because he is the Phenomenal A.J. Styles. He said he loves what he does in this ring, but he has to understand that this is just a job. Styles paused for a random “Yes!” chant, then Styles noted the fans have had that job that just plain sucks.
Styles continued that he was the hardest working man in the building for what? He shouted down at Mike Tenay that he deserves better. He shouted into the camera toward “Dixie” that he deserves better. Styles said he was TNA’s go-to guy for 11 years, only for Dixie to bring in the next big star who fell flat on his face. Or, to pick up the pieces when Dixie’s next direction failed.
Styles walked around the ring as some crowd members cat-called and others sat quietly. Styles said he prayed to God that Dixie would fire him so that he wouldn’t have to quit. But, he didn’t quit. He came to this ring and started tapping people out. But, over the next few months, something clicked upstairs. Styles said he likes being Dixie’s go-to guy – the guy who delivers the goods and steals the show.
Styles said he likes being the go-to guy, but the question is whether he can still be that person. “You better believe it,” Styles said. He said he can carry this company on his shoulders, but the question is whether he can go on to win the BFG Series to then become new TNA World champion.
On cue, Bobby Roode’s music interrupted. On commentary, Taz complained about Styles’s sense of entitlement. As Roode walked out on-stage to face Styles, Tenay sent the show to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:14] […Q6]
[Q6…] Back from break, the bell sounded to begin the next BFG Series match.
3 — A.J. STYLES vs. BOBBY ROODE — BFG Series match
On commentary, Tenay tried to sum up Styles’s promo as wanting to be the guy to lead TNA. Taz balked at that assertion as Styles delivered a trademark dropkick that sent Roode out of the ring. Styles then hopped over the top rope onto the entrance ramp to deliver a back-flip splash to Roode.
Back in the ring, Styles snapped off an emphatic backbreaker before slapping on a submission. Roode escaped, then delivered a spinebuster to cut off Styles’s attack. Styles came back with his now-trademark rapid-fire series of strikes and kicks that put Roode on the mat. Styles followed with a corner smash before climbing to the top. Styles wanted a top-rope move, but Roode ducked and Styles gave Roode his own spinebuster. Styles followed with a Lionsault of sorts, then tried a submission, but Roode escaped. Styles came back with a Pele Kick to the head.
Styles stood up and called for the Styles Clash, but Roode blocked. Styles then tried a springboard move, but Roode intercepted with a Crossface submission. Styles escaped, then rolled into the Calf-killer submission. Roode fought the hold, then reached the bottom rope for a break. Roode tried to come back with a Fisherman Suplex, but Styles rolled into a quick three count for the pin and the win.
A review of the Leaderboard showed Styles now in Fifth Place just below the Final Four after being unable to get a submission pin for 10 points.
WINNER: Styles at 7:12 to earn 7 points. It was like letting the air out of a balloon when Styles delivered the long “return” promo, won his return match, and then TNA showed his name just below the Final Four, ending his mission to get the TNA Title shot and be “the man” for TNA. With this not officially being the final “regular season” day of the Series, though, the announcers didn’t make it clear whether that means Styles is officially out of the Final Four or if there’s some escape clause in this messy BFG Series set-up. Of course, someone in the Top 4 could get DQ’ed to allow Styles to back into the Final Four, or Daniels could lose his spot in the Final Four if Roode or Kaz interferes in his match against Aries, which isn’t exactly a strong way for Styles to enter the Final Four.
[Commercial Break at 10:26]
[Q7] Backstage: JB was standing outside of Hulk Hogan’s office. Borash said that Hogan will enter the ring for a promo after their final BFG Series match.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz recapped the BFG Series Standings. Taz said Styles has to get out from under the red line that’s keeping him out of the Top 4. How? Isn’t he done, per TNA’s pre-show announcement? Or, is Taz suggesting Styles cause #4 Daniels to be DQ’ed, which would cause Daniels to lose 10 points?
4 — CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. AUSTIN ARIES — BFG Series match
Early on, Daniels and Aries traded control trying to show the other up. Daniels eventually took control before Impact cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:35]
Back from break, Daniels was choking Aries on the mat. Daniels delivered a springboard moonsault for a two count, then Aries fought back with rapid-fire left-hand strikes and blows. Aries followed with a pendulum elbow before knocking Daniels to the floor and delivering a suicide dive. Ringside, a fan held up an “Aries Fears Hemme” sign in Aries’s face, but Aries ignored it and tossed Daniels back into the ring.
At 10:00, Aries came off the top with a missile dropkick that sent Daniels across the ring. Aries wanted a Brainbuster, but Daniels escaped. Aries tried again and this time he connected. Aries pinned Daniels and it was good for the win.
A review of the leaderboard showed Aries now in second place, Daniels out of the Final Four at #5, A.J. Styles down to #6, and Samoa Joe, who was #2 for most of the BFG Series, now at #7.
WINNER: Aries at 11:13 to earn 7 points. Strong TV match. There was no sense of what’s next for the BFG Series from the announcers since there is still Kazarian vs. Hernandez on the international Xplosion show, which TNA said earlier today is the only match left in the Series.
Backstage: Bully Ray talked to Tito Ortiz while Brooke Tessmacher hung on Ray’s arm. Bully said he has Hulk Hogan right where he wants him, then told Tito to keep an eye on Mr. Anderson.
Up Next: Hulk Hogan returns for a promo.
[Q8] [Commercial Break at 10:46]
In-ring: Impact returned 10 minutes before the top of the hour with Hulk Hogan walking out to the ring after missing the past few weeks. Once Hogan hit the ring, Hogan addressed the fans that it sounds like they missed him.
Hogan said while he has been taking care of business, the TNA stars have been going crazy. He said it’s great to be back in a TNA ring wearing a brand-new pair of Jordans. Hogan continued to his order of business:
(1) BFG Series. Hogan asked for the Leaderboard. Hogan said that on September 12, everyone is going to St. Louis for No Surrender, but he changed the game. And the landscape is changing as they speak. Because he and the Spike executives decided that the match needs one more match next week. That’s why next week, they’re going to have a gauntlet match for 20 points. Basically, whichever wrestler within 20 points of the Final Four gets in the Final Four, pouring more water on the BFG Series “regular season.” So, if A.J. Styles is going to make the Final Four, this is his way of backing in.
(2) Aces & Eights’s music interrupted before Hogan could continue. Out came Bully Ray and Brooke Tessmacher. Bully cockily said he wants to introduce this “Brooke” to Hulk, but Hulk cut him off and said she couldn’t “bum a rush” on him. Hogan said he hasn’t just been handling business, but personal items, too. Hogan handed over divorce papers to Bully, noting that his Brooke is moving on with life whether Bully likes it or not.
Bully kicked the papers aside, then said he doesn’t care about divorce papers. He said he never cared about Hulk’s daughter. “I used her,” he said. “I used her to get to this (the TNA Title belt). I used her. I used you. I used Sting. I used all of your Hulk-a-schmuck-a-maniacs.” Ray said he got Tito Ortiz, Aces & Eights, and he’s on cruise control.
Hogan replied, “Do you know who I am?,” prompting Ray to spin his cap sideways to sell anger over Hogan taking his line. Hogan said he’s going to give Bully something to care about and tear him apart at the seams. Because in two weeks, Ray is going to defend the TNA Title in the main event against an Aces & Eights family member. Chris Sabin doesn’t get a title re-match?
Bully shouted at Hogan that he isn’t fighting his brothers. Hogan left the ring and shouted back to Bully that he is also defending the TNA Title this week (he meant this week). Against Sting. Did Hogan mis-speak about Bully defending the title or did TNA forget the stipulation that Sting cannot challenge for the title again?
Sting, dressed to wrestle, hit the ring and knocked down an unprepared Bully Ray. Sting cleared Bully from the ring, then Bully recovered on the outside as Tenay plugged the 12-man BFG Series gauntlet match next week. Impact signed off with Bully catching his breath and Sting standing tall in the ring.
(Report by: James Caldwell, PWTorch.com)