The live TNA Impact episode opened with yet another recap of the A.J. Styles/Claire Lynch storyline. Will Styles do the right thing? Plus, Aces & Eights leadership speculation continued on last week’s show.
Live in the Impact Zone, Mike Tenay introduced the show before Bully Ray came out for the first of three Bound for Glory Series matches tonight. Ray flashed his calves toward Tenay and Taz on commentary before Ray pulled out his phone to send out a tweet. Once in the ring, Ray demanded So Cal Val enter the ring to give him the mic, then sent her out of the ring. Ray introduced himself by asking the crowd if they know who he is. Ray called himself the leader of the Bully Nation and hyped his Twittah Machine. Ray said he doesn’t go anywhere with it.
Ray turned his attention to Joseph Park, saying he learned something from him. That would be when there’s enough evidence stacked up against someone, the person must be guilty. And, that person would be James Storm as leader of the Aces & Eights. Ray said he’s going to prove that Storm is behind A&E, but he’s going to beat Storm tonight for seven or maybe even ten points, then go on to Hardcore Justice and beat Storm, Robbie E., and Jeff Hardy to get 20 more points.
Ray began to rattle of the reasons why Storm is behind Aces & Eights, but Storm’s music interrupted to cut off Ray. Storm came out not dressed to wrestle, but rather in street clothes and shades to cover his eyes. In the ring, Storm told Ray to shut up. He said all Ray did was sit out here and bore the people with no facts. Storm said he’s tired of people accusing him of being behind the group, then pulled a Hulk Hogan line that he’s sick and tired of being sick and tired. Storm said he had nothing to do with the attacks because he’s more worried about winning the BFG Series to go win back his World Title.
Storm told Ray that he got this cowboy all wound up, so when two guys have an issue and when the other guy crosses a line, they have a fight. Storm drew an imaginary line, then told Bully he’s going to give him until the count of three before he kicks the crap out of him. Bully turned his hat around and told Storm to start counting. Storm reached three and Bully quickly packed away to duck under the ropes. Storm said that’s what he figured, but the line is still here for anyone else to come fight him.
Suddenly, a voice was heard in the arena. It was an Aces & Eights leader with a manipulated voice to mask his identity. A man wearing “Prospect” on his jacket spoke while another man stood next to him. The man apparently said they’re doing things on their terms. TNA cut back to the Impact Zone, where the crowd was completely quiet processing what was going on, then Bully began screaming at Storm that he’s behind the group. Impact abruptly cut to break with Ray mid-rant.
Back live, Mike Tenay reset the show and said Sting granted the Aces & Eights access to the Impact Zone tonight. Tenay sent to a replay of the mystery man’s modulated message to Sting that they will do things on their own terms.
[Q2] Tenay plugged the BFG Series matches on Sunday before going to a pre-recorded promo from The Pope talking about hoping to get 20 points at Hardcore Justice on Sunday. Tenay then reviewed the BFG Series Standings. TNA has some fuzzy math with Samoa Joe, who is listed for 53 points despite having 47 points and adding 7 points on Xplosion, which would put him at 54 points.
Mr. Anderson was shown on-commentary for the next match. He offered a few thoughts in a scattershot segment setting up the opening match. Rob Van Dam came out first, followed by Magnus. RVD was scheduled to face Pope tonight, but apparently they changed the match.
1 — ROB VAN DAM vs. MAGNUS — BFG Series match
Van Dam won with a top-rope frog splash after some basic back and forth while Anderson tried to act engaged on commentary.
WINNER: RVD at 3:21 to earn 7 BFG Series points.
Backstage: The roving cameraman caught up with Bobby Roode to discuss his contract signing with Austin Aries for Hardcore Justice on Sunday. Roode said during the contract signing with Aries and Sting tonight, he might just cancel the match because his lawyers don’t like some of the language in the contract.
Impact Last Week: Daniels and Kazarian held a baby shower for Claire Lynch, who flipped out and told A.J. Styles to do the right thing for their baby.
Impact Zone: Christy Hemme announced a Tag Title match up next. Garett Bischoff and Devon, who Tenay described as a promising tag team, came out to challenge Daniels and Kaz, who were introduced as the World tag champions of the world per their request.
2 — TNA tag champions DANIELS & KAZ vs. TV champion DEVON & GARETT BISCHOFF — TNA Tag Title match
Devon and Garett controlled Daniels early on with in-and-out tags as Garett tried not to embarrass himself. The heels then cut off Garett and began working him over in their corner. Devon took a tag and all four men found themselves in the ring. Devon maintained control, then Daniels brought a tag belt into the ring, which led to confusion for “Conflict of Interest” referee Earl Hebner. The misdirection led to Kaz possessing the title belt to smash Devon in the face with it. Daniels pinned Devon for the win.
WINNERS: Daniels & Kaz at 4:08 to retain the Tag Titles.
Impact Last Week: Sting talked to Brooke Hogan, who received a message from Aces & Eights.
Backstage: Sting was shown talking to no one in particular and TNA cut to different angles of Sting talking to no one in particular. Essentially, Sting sent a message to Aces & Eights that he’s calling them out tonight.
This Sunday: Hardcore Justice. Styles talked in a soundbyte about the TNA Title belonging to him. Storm, Ray, Daniels, Robbie E., Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Magnus, The Pope, and Mr. Anderson also talked in soundbytes about wanting to be champ.
Impact Zone: Robbie E.’s music was playing back live on the show. Robbie and Rob Terry were in the ring sporting matching pink sweaters. Robbie noted he has 5 whole BFG Series points and said after he wins his tables match at the PPV, he’s going to have 20 more points. Robbie said it’s going to catapult him to Bound for Glory Series and the man he’s going to put through that table is Jeff Hardy, who he beat for five points. Robbie rolled footage from three weeks ago when Hardy got counted out against Robbie.
Robbie then began listing five reasons why Hardy will never will be on his level. Robbie only got through one reason (he wears cool sweaters and Hardy wears wifebeaters) before Hardy’s music interrupted. Out came Hardy sporting a wifebeater tanktop and jeans. Hardy hit the ring and awkwardly dropped Terry with a neckbreaker before squaring off with Robbie. Hardy wound up his fist, then popped Robbie across the face. Hardy wanted a table move, but Terry smashed Hardy from behind. Terry then powerbombed Hardy through the table. Robbie went nuts, yelling and screaming at Hardy that he’s going to get 20 points on Sunday.
[Q4] Backstage: The roving cameraman caught up with A.J. Styles, who sold frustration over the Claire Lynch pictures. Styles said she must be really bad at sex to not be able to remember having sex with her. Also, he doesn’t drink, so he wasn’t drunk with her. Styles frustratingly said he has to focus on Kurt Angle after 18 hours of flying doing TNA promotion in Australia.
Impact Zone: Tenay plugged the Joe vs. Daniels vs. Angle vs. Styles ladder match in the BFG Series at Hardcore Justice on Sunday. On-camera, Tenay and Taz plugged Styles vs. Angle up next in a BFG Series match. Suddenly, there was a disturbance at the announce table. Samoa Joe grabbed a headset and said there’s bias in this company because he hasn’t been given time to talk about the BFG Series. Joe vowed to destroy Angle, Styles, and Daniels on Sunday and get his 20 points. Styles’s music interrupted Joe, who slammed down the headset. Styles came out and they cut to a shot of Claire excitedly cheering on Styles from ringside. “Yeah, baby!” she shouted as Styles ignored her and did his usual ring intro. Tenay said that’s one big distraction for Styles tonight. Angle was then introduced to face Styles.
3 — KURT ANGLE vs. A.J. STYLES — BFG Series match
Styles delivered an early dropkick to send Angle to the outside, which fired up Styles. Styles then splashed Angle on the outside and they cut to a shot of Claire intently watching the action a few feet in front of her. Impact went to break one minute in.
Back live, Angle and Styles were mid-ring jockeying for control of the match. They cut to another shot of Claire and Tenay noted it’s weird that she’s cheering A.J. tonight when she was mad at A.J. last week. Taz called Claire every male’s nightmare. It sure seems like TNA is trying to create their own A.J. Lee with crazy, unpredictable tendencies. Back to Claire, who chimed in during a “Let’s Go A.J.” chant as Angle worked on Styles.
[Q5 — second hour] A double clothesline put both men on the mat at the top of the hour. Styles and Angle then countered and ducked each other’s offense before Angle trapped Styles in a trio of German Suplexes. Angle tried the Olympic Slam, but Styles nailed a Pele Kick for what sounded like a three count, but Angle got his shoulder up barely in time. Angle came back with an Olympic Slam for another very close nearfall.
Angle dropped the straps at 10:00 and slapped on the Anklelock, but Styles flung him away and trapped Angle in a German Suplex trio, but Angle countered #2 into the Anklelock. Styles escaped and they cut back to Claire excitedly watching Styles. Styles then nailed a flying forearm smash, followed with a Clash attempt, and connected. Styles rolled Angle over and scored another super-close nearfall. Styles tried to follow with a top-rope move, but Angle hit a top-rope belly-to-belly suplex for another close nearfall.
At 12:00, Angle slowly began climbing the corner for a top-rope moonsault, but missed with the move and ate the mat. Styles slowly tried to set up for a springboard move, but Angle blocked a springboard 450 splash with knees to the gut. Angle followed right up with the Olympic Slam and it was finally good for a three count. Afterward, Angle slapped the mat to sell he was fired up finally getting the pin on Styles.
WINNER: Angle at 12:46 to earn 7 BFG Series points. Excellent TV match. They overcame lackluster match hype and the constant cut-aways to Claire to still deliver a stand-out performance.
Post-match: Angle celebrated on the way out of the ring, then Styles was shown walking past Claire, who tried to reach over the guardrail to console him and say he did a good job. Styles stopped when she touched him on the arm, then kept on walking. Claire acted upset by Styles ignoring her, but didn’t flip out.
Video promo: Aces & Eights delivered another message from their poker table. The leader said their next target will be revealed tonight.
Backstage: Mr. Anderson walked up to James Storm and said it’s funny what “his boys” just said. Storm took exception to Anderson’s insinuation. Anderson said it’s funny everything Aces & Eights does seems to benefit Storm in a roundabout way. Storm said he has nothing to do with them. Anderson said if he happens to be their next victim, they’re going to have another discussion, but it will be a little different. Anderson walked off, then Storm sold inner anger ready to explode.
Backstage: Austin Aries was on the phone talking to someone about Bobby Roode’s contractual legal threats. Aries hung up, then the roving cameraman asked Aries about the language of the contract for their title match. Aries said he’s not a lawyer and wants to make sure Roode is comfortable with their title match on Sunday, so they’re going to handle it like men.
[Q6] Impact Zone: Christy Hemme introduced Gail Kim for a Knockouts match. KO champion Miss Tessmacher came out to face Gail, who tried to attack her mid-ring entrance to jumpstart the match.
4 — KO champion MISS TESSMACHER vs. GAIL KIM — non-title match
Gail controlled early on after the pre-match attack. Tessmacher then made a comeback and won with a bulldog out of the corner for the pin and the win. “Conflict of Interest” Earl Hebner raised Tessmacher’s hand in victory after the tune-up win, then Madison Rayne’s music played to bring out Tess’s PPV opponent on Sunday. Madison kissed Earl to indicate to Tessmacher that the deck is stacked against her with the ref in her corner. Wouldn’t the simple solution be not to have Earl as the ref for their title match on Sunday?
WINNER: Tessmacher at 3:30.
Backstage: Joseph Park was shown talking to no one in particular. Park said everyone has been asking him about the legal issue between Roode and Aries. He went back to a “case” from 2003 that involved similar issues. He said this could be intense. Park spotted a potential client off-camera and went running off.
Backstage: Aries and Roode were shown on a split-screen preparing for their contract signing.
Impact last week: Austin Aries and Kenny King beat Bobby Roode and Zema Ion in tag action when King pinned X champ Ion. … Video package: Kenny King talked about taking the “biggest risk of my career” coming to TNA to compete against the best. King said he wants to climb to the top of the X Division. He said he envisions being announced new X Champ to help him focus during training.
[Q7] Impact Zone: Sting’s music played to bring out the interim authority figure dressed in jeans and a red Sting t-shirt sans facepaint. In the ring, Sting paced around a black contract table before calling out Aces & Eights to come meet him in the ring. But, as for the business at hand, Sting called out Roode and Aries to come sign a contract for Hardcore Justice.
Out first was Bobby Roode, who slowly made his way to the ring before Aries’s music played to bring out the TNA World champ. Aries promptly sat down at his end of the table before Roode stood up and paced around the ring. Sting asked Roode what’s with the attitude, then Roode asked Sting if he’s stupid or something. He said the contests of the contract is his problem. Roode said in the contract, if he somehow loses to Aries, then he don’t get another title shot as long as Aries is champ. Roode said he isn’t signing that because Sting has had a problem with him since Day One. Roode demanded the terms of the contract be changed or Sting won’t have a main event on Sunday.
Aries screamed that he’s had enough. He said Roode needs some cheese to go with his whine. Aries said it’s funny how concerned Roode is about a re-match clause if he thinks Aries’s victory last month was a fluke. He noted Roode knows he has his number. Aries said if the clause is a problem for Roode, then they can scratch it and they’ll have a verbal agreement. Aries said when he beats Roode on Sunday, Roode can’t get a re-match, but if Roode were to fluke into a win, Aries will waive his re-match clause. So, it’s Winner Take All with no re-matches. Roode screamed at Aries that he’s a fluke, ignoring the proposition. Roode then shook hands with Sting, Sting shook with Aries, and Sting announced they have a match for Sunday. Sting said one walks out champ and the other doesn’t get a re-match.
Roode and Aries ripped off their jackets, then started over-turning chairs to sell they’re fired up about the match in three days. Roode loosened up his tie, then extended his hand and Aries shook. Aries held his title belt in the air before Roode took a swig of water and threw the rest of the water bottle contents in Aries’s face. Roode bailed from the ring as Sting held back an angry World champ to conclude the segment. Strong set-up for their title match on Sunday. Well done.
Backstage: Storm and Bully Ray were shown on split-screens preparing for their BFG Series main event up next.
Video package: Hype for Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez vs. Kid Kash & Gunner tag match at Hardcore Justice on Sunday. … Tenay and Taz broke down the Hardcore Justice PPV line-up, then reviewed the BFG Series Standings, which still has Samoa Joe’s incorrect score.
[Q8] Impact Zone: Bully Ray was introduced for the main event. After Bully tried to intimidate Christy Hemme in the ring, Storm was introduced to face Ray. Storm looked around the arena before entering the ring, apparently trying to spot the Aces & Eights group in the arena.
5 — BULLY RAY vs. JAMES STORM — BFG Series match
Ray tossed Storm out of the ring to the floor early on and they cut to break.
Storm made a comeback back from break, but Ray cut off Storm with a uranage and scored a nearfall. Frustrated, Ray tried to follow up with a Bubba Bomb, but Storm blocked and went up top. Storm connected with a top-rope cross-body splash, but Ray kicked out in time. Storm went for another top-rope move, but airballed an elbow drop. Ray followed with a Bubba Bomb, but Storm kicked out of a pin attempt. Storm and Ray then nearly ran into the ref, which caused confusion for Storm. Ray then hit a Bubba Cutter for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Ray at 10:48 to earn 7 BFG Series points.
Post-match: Ray grabbed his chain to fight off Aces & Eights if they were to make an appearance tonight. No sign of the group, so Ray shouted at Storm where the Aces & Eights are. Ray told Storm to send for the group so they can do this. Suddenly, the modulated voice man appeared on the screen again. The prospect told Bully he will be seeing a lot more of them on Sunday. Back live, Ray asked Storm to clarify if they’re coming for him on Sunday. Storm just rolled out of the ring as Ray kept asking him as Impact faded out.
(Thanks to James Caldwell of PWTorch.com for live results.)