This week’s TNA Impact opened with Aces & Eight’s Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson, and Taz hi-jacking the show. On commentary, Jeremy Borash noted he doesn’t know where Mike Tenay is. Ringside, Taz slapped around JB before Bully Ray took the mic in the ring.
Ray called out Tito Ortiz for trying to pull a surprise last week before noting he’s been booked in a tag match against Chris Sabin and a partner of his choosing tonight. Ray said it doesn’t matter what happens tonight because it’s bad news for Sabin next week when they’re locked inside a cage with the TNA Title on the line. Ray told Sabin to hurry on out and make this contract signing official.
Sabin’s music played to bring out the TNA Champ as Taz complained about being locked out of the building by Hulk Hogan last week on Impact. Once Sabin entered the ring, Ray said it’s apparent that Sabin is scared of him. Sabin said looks can be deceiving – like when Ray acted like Mr. Good Guy earlier this year and married Hogan’s daughter. Sabin said his eyes are brown and his breath smells like feces because he’s so full of crap.
Sabin let those stinky words sink in, then tried to make an argument about giving Ray a taste of his own medicine using the A&E hammer to win the TNA Title last month. Sabin vowed to beat Ray again at Hardcore Justice next week. Ray had enough and demanded the contract to make this official.
Instead of Hulk, though, Brooke Hogan walked out. Brooke told “Mark” that Hulk is out of town, but he sent over a contract. Brooke then read an email from Hulk that sounded like it was written by David Houston. Included in the agreement is that if Ray does not win the title next week, then Ray cannot get another title shot again. Sabin pointed and laughed at Ray, who said he will not sit here and be bullied by Brooke, Sabin, or Brooke’s fathah. Ray said he will not be bullied by a measly Hogan as long as he lives.
Brooke took that insult in-stride by slowly walking toward the ring to stand face-to-face with Bully. She asked Ray if he’s going to let her tell the world about his he is all-talk and very little…action. On commentary, Taz offered Tenay’s line about that was stiff. In the ring, Ray angrily signed the contract before Sabin put pen to paper. On commentary, Taz and Mr. Anderson said it’s over for Sabin next week
On-commentary: JB, sitting in-between Taz and Anderson, tried to set up next week’s title match as Taz and Anderson got in JB’s personal space. JB said he’s just trying to call the show. He then plugged Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy tonight. And it’s up next, per backstage shots of Joe and Hardy warming up.
[Commercial Break at 9:12]
[Q2] Back from break, TNA flashed back to the end of last Thursday when Tito Ortiz showed up with arms folded to stare down Main Event Mafia and Aces & Eights. Tonight, what will Tito have to say? Of note, the graphic included Tito’s now-signature arms-folded pose to show that he really means business.
In-ring: Samoa Joe was introduced for the first BFG Series match tonight. Jeff Hardy then took a victory lap on the way to the ring, walking right by Aces & Eights at the announce table, ignoring them. Before the bell sounded, JB asked Taz and Anderson what he thinks about Tito showing up last week.
1 — JEFF HARDY vs. SAMOA JOE — BFG Series match
Hardy took control early on, then knocked Joe to the floor. On the floor, Joe flopped around taking bumps for Hardy, who then rolled Joe back into the ring. Hardy couldn’t follow up, though, and Joe knocked Hardy to the outside. Joe then flew through the ropes with a suicide dive elbow smash for a nearfall. before Impact cut to break 2:30 in.
[Commercial Break at 9:22]
Back on Impact, Joe dropped Hardy to the mat before delivering a running butt bomb to the chest for a two count. Joe followed with a chinlock before yanking Hardy down to the mat when Hardy tried to fight back. Joe slowed the pace and fought off Hardy, who again tried to fight back. Joe followed with a sit-out powerbomb into a submission hold when Hardy kicked out. Joe wanted the 10 points, but Hardy reversed momentum to escape.
Joe reset with a chop to the chest before taking two feet to the chest from Hardy. Hardy made his comeback before delivering an atomic drop that may have caught Joe actually in the crotchal region as opposed to stopping short. Taz drew attention to the crotchal attack before Hardy came off the top with a splash for a two count.
[Q3] Joe tried to come back with a Musclebuster at 11:30, Hardy fought, and Hardy slipped out, then both men traded submission teases. Suddenly, Mr. Anderson stood up, which was enough of a distraction for Joe to lose focus on the match. This allowed Hardy to jack-knife pin Hardy for the pin and the win as Anderson said he doesn’t know what’s wrong with Joe for looking over at him.
WINNER: Hardy at 12:01 to earn 7 BFG Series points. Basic TV match. The miles and bumps and bruises have piled up on both men, leading to them trying to work smarter in the ring.
Earlier Today: Christopher Daniels was asked about his relationship with Kazarian. Daniels said he doesn’t get what’s up with Kaz since he’s always been the captain and Kaz the crew. He noted he’s more experienced and has a better BFG Series record, so Kaz needs to understand that it’s time now, not Kaz’s.
Still to come: Bad Influence Battle. But, up next, it’s BFG Series points-leader Magnus vs. Mr. Anderson.
[Commercial Break at 9:33]
Back in the arena, Aces & Eights’s music played. Mr. Anderson took his time leaving the broadcast position, then entered the ring as Taz extolled his virtues. Mafia’s music then brought out Magnus to face Anderson. And, amazingly, no sneak-attack from Anderson and there’s a clean start to the match. In TNA.
2 — MR. ANDERSON vs. MAGNUS — BFG Series match
Magnus sent Anderson flying to the outside early on. Anderson crashed in front of Taz, who tried to pep-talk Anderson. The two brawled ringside as the announcers hyped the five-on-five faction battle next week, with the recipient of the fall being gone from TNA. Back in the ring, Anderson worked on Magnus as TNA decided to go to a wide-shot of the “arena.” Meanwhile, Taz vented about no one liking him, not even himself. That’s one for the Quotebook.
At 5:30, the two men battled up-top before Magnus knocked Anderson down to the mat. Magnus then airballed a top-rope elbow drop. Suddenly, Bobby Roode showed up and entered the ring. Roode thought things over, then decided to take a chair to Mr. Anderson. The ref tried to figure out what was going on, processed the events, contemplated the ramifications, thought longer, and decided to call for the bell, DQ’ing Magnus because Roode attacked Anderson. So, Anderson gets 3 points and Magnus loses 10 points from his points lead.
WINNER: Anderson via DQ 6:36. Is there an authority figure to ensure the spirit of the law is upheld in the point system concerning DQ finishes? Of course, they already established at the top of the show that Hogan is off somewhere else not watching the show.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 9:46]
Moments Ago: Bobby Roode popped Mr. Anderson with a chair, costing Magnus 10 points in the BFG Series.
During the break: Roode spoke backstage that he is continuing what happened last week. Roode said the Game is changing because of him. He said he loves to be selfish and there’s more to come.
Backstage: The roving cameraman caught up to Brian Hebner about making the “tough call” on Magnus. Magnus walked in and said he gets what Hebner had to do out there. But, things have a way of working themselves out. Roode vowed to get the 10 points back.
Locker Room: Robbie E. and Jessie were shown talking about kicking Tara to the curb, then KO champion Mickie James barged in. Robbie and Jessie said she’s in the wrong locker room. Mickie ignored them, then said she needs Robbie and Jessie to take care of James Storm and Gunner tonight while she takes care of ODB. Mickie said they can soak up her spotlight afterward.
Ringside: JB and Taz hyped the remainder of the card tonight.
Video Package: August 1 Warning was revealed as Tito Ortiz. It made Ortiz’s introduction look more ridiculous reminding viewers of the modulated-voice set-up for the reveal.
Backstage: Suddenly, a man wearing shades was shown peering around the corner. It was Tito Ortiz looking around to see if anyone was nearby, then he snuck down the hallway trying to look tough hiding his emotions behind his shades.
[Commercial Break at 8:54]
Back on Impact two minutes before the top of the hour, JB hyped Sabin picking a tag partner against Team 3D tonight.
Locker Room: Chris Sabin was shown warming up when Sting and Kurt Angle walked in. Angle, mere hours before getting arrested on a DWI charge, hyped Sabin before Sabin said he can just smell the trust in the room. Sabin said he has a plan for tonight, but wanted to know if he could trust them. Angle and Sting smiled along.
[Q5 — second hour]
In-ring: JB was standing by to welcome out “Bellator MMA Superstar” Tito Ortiz. Tito marched out to the ring to stand next to JB, who made Tito look taller standing next to him. Tito said he knows JB and the fans have a lot of questions, but he doesn’t have too many answers. He said he has one thing he can say – suddenly, Kurt Angle’s music interrupted.
Angle, wearing his USA shades and selling not being in a good mode, marched to the ring to confront Tito. Angle continued to look tough before dramatically removing his shades. Angle then walked up to Tito and stood face-to-face with him. Angle said this is his ring and he has earned the right to be called the Greatest Wrestler Alive. He told Tito that he will respect his space, but Tito better respect his. After asking if he makes himself clear, Tito answered, “Loud aaaand Clear.”
Suddenly, Aces & Eights’s music played to bring out Bully Ray on-stage from a safe distance. Ray asked if everyone respects each other out there, then noted he doesn’t respect either one of them. (Loud piped-in boos from the Smackdown Sweetener.) Ray said he could make Tito tap out right now, while he’s been beating up Angle for ten years.
From a distance, Ray introduced himself to Tito, noting he’s president of Aces & Eights and soon-to-be TNA champion. Ray told Tito he will smack him in his stupid face if he gets in his way. Tito leaned back and laughed, then Ray said he’s done. Tito scratched his cheek, then Angle shook his hand and left the ring.
[Commercial Break at 10:04]
Back on Impact, JB broke down the Live Events Center.
Moments Ago: Tito Ortiz appeared, Kurt Angle confronted him, and Bully Ray ran him down.
Suddenly, some goofy-sounding music was playing in the arena. Out came Robbie E. and Jessie Godderz for mixed tag action. As the Bro-Man’s came to the ring, Taz volunteered JB to wipe their brows when they work out. KO champion Mickie James was out next to join the Bros.
Out first for the face trio was ODB, who Taz labeled “Oh-Dee-Drunk!” TNA tag champions GunStorm then resurfaced to join ODB for mixed tag action.
3 — TNA tag champions GUNSTORM (JAMES STORM & GUNNER) & ODB vs. KO champion MICKIE JAMES & ROBBIE E. & JESSIE — mixed six-person tag match
After some stalling to determine who should start the match, Robbie was picked to face Storm. Chaos quickly broke out, then JB settled things down by hyping the “TNA 10” on-demand PPV available on some providers.
[Q6] Storm dropped Jessie with a snap DDT, then kicked him in the face. That woke up Jessie, who drove Storm to the corner before unloading rights and lefts and kicks. Jessie then tagged in Robbie, who continued the attack on Storm. But, Storm came back with a backstabber to break free. This allowed Storm to tag in Gunner, who intensely charged the heels before slapping himself around.
Gunner bulked up, then Hardcore Country jumped on Gunner’s back. Chaos. More chaos. Suddenly, Storm destroyed Jessie’s face with a standing sidekick. GunStorm then combined on their double-team finisher to give Gunner the pin and the win. After the match, Taz hyped Storm’s kick to the face before TNA replayed it from multiple angles.
Post-match, Gail Kim hit the ring to go after ODB, but the ref held her back. Suddenly, Mickie blind-sided ODB while ODB was focused on Gail. GunStorm chased away Mickie, who high-fived Gail on the way out.
WINNERS: GunStorm & ODB at 4:17. And the issue continues between ODB and Gail. Meanwhile, where is TNA’s tag division? TNA put the division on the back-burner when they put the only other teams in the BFG Series, but no team has been elevated to face GunStorm.
Backstage: Kazarian was asked about facing Christopher Daniels tonight. Kaz said during all of the fun they’ve been having over the past year, Daniels has forgotten about who he is. Kaz said tonight isn’t about Bad Influence, but about him getting the job done.
Up Next: Daniels vs. Kaz.
[Commercial Break at 10:19]
Locker Room: Back on Impact, Bully Ray vowed to teach Chris Sabin a lesson tonight before the TNA Title match next week. Meanwhile, Devon growled that he is going to make the Mafia pay before next week’s five-on-five. “Testify,” Ray whispered. Devon became upset. “Hey, that’s my line,” Devon growled.
In-ring: Bad Influence’s music played to bring out Kazarian. Random music played next to bring out Christopher Daniels, who tried to figure out how to do his strut down to the ring to the different beat.
4 — CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. KAZARIAN — BFG Series match
No one picked up Daniels’s ring jacket, which sat on the ring apron like a big distraction early on. Daniels asserted himself, then Kaz fought back, so Daniels stood up and shoved him in the chest. Bad Influence came face-to-face to argue, then Daniels slowed things down and they both walked to the entrance ramp. Daniels told ref Earl Hebner to begin a ten count as they stood on the ring apron staring at Hebner. Neither one bolted back into the ring, then Hebner hit 10, counting out both men.
WINNER: Double Count-out at 4:02; each gets 2 points.
[Q7] Post-match: Bobby Roode’s music played to bring out Roode with chair in-hand. Roode glared at Daniels and Kaz, who both sold concern over Roode’s intentions with the chair. Roode looked at both men, then tossed down the chair and walked into the ring. Roode waved in Bad Influence, then took the mic.
In the ring, Roode said everyone has been talking about Aces & Eights and Main Event Mafia, the arrival of Rampage Jackson, and last week’s surprise, Tito. It was so quiet in the arena here. Roode said while everyone has been paying attention to those guys, they have been forming a new force. Roode said one of them will walk into Bound for Glory the winner of the BFG Series. He said he told the world that the Game is going to change and it has.
Roode closed by staking claim to the BFG Series, saying that one of them will be the next World Hvt. champion. Of note, Roode did not give the trio a name. Apparently that will be decided when Tito figures out why he’s in TNA.
Up Next: Chris Sabin picks his tag partner to face Team 3D in the main event.
[Commercial Break at 10:33]
Earlier Tonight: Kurt Angle told Tito Ortiz that this is his ring. Then, Bully Ray made Tito feel really welcome.
Backstage: The roving cameraman tried to get answers from Tito Ortiz, but Tito still didn’t know why he was in TNA. Tito said he’ll be at Hardcore Justice next week and his fists will do the talking. Satisfied with his one-liner, Tito turned and walked away.
Next Week: Styles vs. Hardy vs. Aries vs. Kaz in a ladder match with 20 points in the BFG Series on the line. Plus, Sabin vs. Ray for the TNA Title.
Video Package: TNA documented the Aces & Eights vs. TNA, turned A&E vs. Mafia feud. Now, things hit the fan next week at Hardcore Justice. Who will be exiled?
Back in the arena, another rendition of Aces & Eights’s music brought out Bully and Devon for main event tag action. Chris Sabin then came out on-stage with the TNA Title belt hanging around his neck like a necklace. Sabin then pointed behind him and Sting’s music played. Sting walked out and put his arm around Sabin as Bully freaked out in the ring. Suddenly, Kurt Angle snuck into the ring and sneak-attacked Ray. This being TNA, the bell sounded despite the unfair start.
5 — TEAM 3D (BULLY RAY & DEVON) vs. TNA World Hvt. champion CHRIS SABIN & KURT ANGLE (w/Sting)
As the action started, Taz complained about the sneak-attack tactics from the so-called American Hero, Kurt Angle, and Sting. Angle and Sabin took control of the match, then Angle led the crowd in a “USA” chant. Suddenly, Devon begged off and demanded a time-out, suckering in Angle for a thumb to the eye.
[Q8] After Sabin entered the ring, Angle and Bully stood toe-to-toe and traded punches. Angle then dropped Bully to the mat, but Bully used a distraction from Devon to tackle Angle and pound on Angle’s mid-section. Devon entered and ran into a big clothesline from Angle, who tried to fire up the “crowd.”
Sabin tagged in and landed a right hand on Devon, but Devon punched him and Bully entered. Bully promptly punted Sabin in the gut before targeting the right knee to set up for next week’s title match. Team 3D then nailed a What’s Up dive, but Devon targeted the knee instead of the crotch. Impact cut to break with Team 3D in control.
[Commercial Break at 10:48]
Impact returned nine minutes before the top of the hour with Team 3D still beating down TNA champ Sabin. Ray continued to assault Sabin, but then missed with a punch and smashed his fist into the mat. Sabin tried to capitalize, but Ray wheelbarrowed Sabin knee-first into the mat. Ray had enough and tagged in Devon, who lost control on Sabin.
Sabin finally made it to Angle at 12:30, setting up Angle battling Team 3D by himself. Angle dropped Devon with a belly-to-belly suplex, and same to Ray for a nearfall. Angle followed with the Angle Slam to Bully for a nearfall. Angle wanted to end it, but Devon blind-sided him. Ray then dropped Angle with a uranage for a close two count.
At 13:40, Angle blocked a Bubba Bomb and rolled into the Anklelock, but Devon broke it up. Suddenly, Bully big-booted Angle in the face. Ray, selling an ankle injury from the big boot, hobbled across the ring to take an elbow from Angle, who tagged in Sabin. Sabin delivered a big dropkick, then Ray accidentally clotheslined Devon. Sabin followed with an enzuigiri to Ray, but Devon broke up the pin just in-time.
At 15:00, all four men battled in the ring. Ray then hip-tossed Sabin over the top rope onto the entrance ramp. Back in the ring, Team 3D measured Angle for a 3D before turning their attention to a table under the ring. Devon slid a table into the ring as the crowd popped for something from the Attitude Era.
Team 3D set up the table in the corner, then Ray charged Sabin, but Sabin moved and Ray crashed hard through the table. Devon then went flying to the floor trying to attack Sabin. Back in the ring, Sabin came off the top with a big cross-body on Ray, which was good for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Sabin stood tall in the ring with Angle as Ray remained face-down on the mat, his body completely strewn about as if he were the crime scene outline. Great sell, Sabin celebrated, and JB plugged Hardcore Justice in seven days.
WINNERS: Sabin & Angle at 16:41. Solid tag match to save the show and hype Hardcore Justice next week. Sabin looked like he belonged here, which was a good sign in his development as top titleholder, but there’s still a long way to go with Sabin.
(Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor)