This week’s final Impact episode taped in the U.K. opened with a video recapping recent events, going back to Jeff Hardy taken out by Aces & Eights a month ago. Last week, Hulk Hogan tried to determine who will face Hardy for the TNA Title at Lockdown, but the lack of criteria and Aces & Eights interrupting did Hogan in. This week, Hogan tries to determine the #1 contender.
In the arena, Todd Keneley (not pictured) introduced the show, noting it’s their last night in London. Keneley and Mike Tenay (not pictured) then plugged two title matches tonight – for the X Division and Knockouts Titles.
Hulk Hogan’s music then played to bring out Hogan for another verbal segment to start the show. Taz (also not pictured) accused TNA and Hogan of “political crap” edging out Aces & Eights from the TNA Title picture. Once in the ring, Hogan said he’s been thinking all day about London being home for him. He said he’s had some tough choices to make recently, and things didn’t exactly pan out how he thought they would last week on Impact. Hogan said he had the #1 contender dialed in, but A&E stuck their noses in TNA business. He said he had a whole week to think about everyone who tried to get the #1 contender spot, and after one long week of thinking about who the man should be, he decided. “That man stood out above everyone else, he rose to the occasion, he made it clear that he is the only man for the job,” Hogan said. Hogan then introduced…Bully Ray, who was not in one of the undefined “qualifying” matches last week. Keneley said Hogan is calling “a bit of an audible.”
Bully Ray walked to the ring acting excited as Taz groaned about Tenay toeing the company line about this decision, saying Ray wasn’t even in a match competing. Once in the ring, Ray feigned shock and humbleness at Hogan’s decision. “Hulk, I don’t even – I don’t – I’m in shock right now,” he said. Ray claimed to be hurt and claimed to have partially torn his quad in the tables match two weeks ago. Hogan answered that he’s the toughest s.o.b. in the company. Ray said there were so many great guys fighting in the ring last week, then pretended to play nice that so many other guys deserved the shot above him, but all he wanted was Hogan’s respect. He said he wants to make Brooke Hogan happy, he wants to make Hulk happy, and he wants to become TNA Champ.
Ray turned to other business. He said this is just a suggestion, but suggested that tonight in the main event “right here in London,” a six-man tag match. On one side are three members of Aces & Eights. And on the other side is Bully Ray, plus his tag partner Sting, and…one more guy. Ray milked the crowd, then said he thinks that guy should be youuuuu. “Whaddya say, dad, let’s kick some Aces & Eights ass, brother?” Hulk said Ray’s got a deal. The crowd popped, Taz flipped out on commentary, and Tenay noted Hulk has not wrestled since Bound for Glory 2011.
Backstage: Bobby Roode and Austin Aries were shown talking, then Daniels and Kazarian walked into the shot to congratulate them on beating Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez for the Tag Titles before they could. Daniels told Roode & Aries to follow their lead out there in an eight-man tag match, then Roode and Aries argued about following leads.
Up Next: Team Ego vs. Chavo & Hernandez and Joseph Parks and James Storm in an eight-man tag match.
[Commercial Break. A spot for WWE Studios’s “The Call” aired.]
[Q2] In-ring: Daniels and Kazarian were introduced first for the opening bout of the show. As the first group of heels came out, Keneley hyped Hulk Hogan returning to the ring tonight in the main event. Tag champs Roode & Aries were introduced next as Taz previewed three of A&E’s finest members ripping apart Hogan.
First out for the face teams were Chavo and Hernandez, followed by Joseph Park to a jazz-less theme song that Taz still hated. James Storm then came out last and Taz heeled on Storm’s “fanbase.” Tenay asked Taz if he likes anyone, and Taz replied that he doesn’t even like himself. Keneley then delivered a weak plug for TNA’s own version of the Harlem Shake on TNA’s website.
1 — DANIELS & KAZARIAN & TNA tag champions BOBBY ROODE & AUSTIN ARIES vs. JAMES STORM & JOSEPH PARK & CHAVO GUERRERO & HERNANDEZ — eight-man tag match
The action quickly broke down and Park sold that he was lost on what to do. So, Park just used his body as a wall for the heels to run into it. The heels then found themselves recovering on the floor as Park remained stunned in the ring leading to break.
[Commercial Break. A spot for WWE Studios’s “Dead Man Down” aired.]
Back from break, the action had settled down with the faces in control. Tenay then relayed news that Hardy vs. Ray for the TNA Title at Lockdown will be contested inside the steel cage. Isn’t every Lockdown match inside the steel cage? Perhaps TNA has wised up to only having select matches inside the cage, but not every match. In the ring, the heels took advantage of Park’s “inexperience” to control him in the corner. The heels comically argued throughout their isolation of Park, which eventually led to Park just dragging himself across the ring to bring in Storm.
[Q3] Storm went after Daniels and Kaz after Roode and Aries decided to bail on their tag partners. Hernandez then smashed Daniels with a Pounce before Chavo came off the top rope with a frog-splash to Daniels. Kaz broke up a pin attempt, then Storm finished off Kaz with Last Call Superkick. Suddenly, the faces set the stage for Hornswog…er…Park to come off the top with a splash that seemed to hurt Park more than Kazarian. Storm pinned Kaz for the win. Keneley noted Park is 2-0 on TNA Impact now.
WINNERS: Team Park at 12:18. Basic house show-style tag match while “protecting” the tag champs by stressing their selfish, egotistical personalities over losing the match.
Still to come: Hogan & Ray & Sting vs. Aces & Eights in the main event.
Video Package: British Bootcamp recap of how Rockstar Spud won the competition.
In-ring: Robbie E. and Rob Terry were introduced to the ring. Tenay relayed a message that Robbie plans to teach Spud a lesson tonight. Spud was then introduced and Taz noted he’s giving up a lot of size – “and experience!,” Tenay interjected twice. Tenay and Taz then argued about Taz stabbing everyone in the back when Taz didn’t understand why their relationship is so strained.
2 — ROBBIE E. (w/Rob Terry) vs. ROCKSTAR SPUD
Robbie quickly beat down Spud, telling him that he’s a loser. Spud suddenly busted out a dropkick before running into a boot to the face. Robbie then fist-pumped into a fist-drop. But, he missed with a corner attack and ate the corner turnbuckles. Spud made a comeback with a DDT before climbing to the top rope. Spud wanted a legdrop, but Robbie easily moved after Spud took forever. Robbie then tried to grab Terry’s List clipboard to use as a weapon, but Terry held on, not wanting Robbie to win by cheating. This allowed Spud to roll up Robbie for a surprise three count and the win.
Post-match: Terry stood over Robbie in the ring while Spud sold shock over his victory on the outside. After a replay of Spud’s upset victory, they showed Robbie slowly walk up to Terry to inquire about their latest issues. Robbie screamed in Terry’s face, then slapped him. Terry slowly turned around, slammed down the clipboard, removed his shirt, and freaked out Robbie by posing. Robbie slowly backed away down the entrance ramp as Terry continued to pose against the ropes.
WINNER: Spud at 2:44.
Still to come: Team Hogan vs. Aces & Eights in advertised six-man tag action. And, up next, Tara puts the KO Title on the line against three former champions.
Earlier Tonight: Jessie gave Tara a pep-talk about two constants: he will always be her boyfriend and she will remain Knockouts champion tonight.
[Q4] [Commercial Break]
Still to come: Hulk Hogan’s in-ring return in six-man tag action.
In-ring: Back from break, Velvet Sky’s music played to bring out the first challenger to the Knockouts Title. Gail Kim was out next, followed by Miss Tessmacher. TNA recapped each challengers’s recent victories to earn a spot in this title match. Then, Jessie brought out the Knockouts champion Tara. Before the bell sounded, KO executive Brooke Hogan was introduced to sit ringside for a closer look at the match. Just before the bell sounded, Keneley slipped in a note about this being elimination-style. Impact cut to break before the opening bell.
[Commercial Break. Another spot for WWE’s “Dead Man Down.”]
3 — Knockouts champion TARA (w/Jessie) vs. GAIL KIM vs. MISS TESSMACHER vs. VELVET SKY — four-way elimination match for Knockouts Title — Taryn Terrell special referee
The bell sounded back from break three minutes before the top of the hour. As the bell sounded, Taryn kicked Jessie out from the ringside area, attempting to create a fair match. After an initial flurry of brawling, the heels Tara and Gail settled things down, then argued.
[Q5 — second hour] The match continued with action in and out of the ring.
The Gail-Tara issue came into play for the first elimination when Gail eliminated Tara, guaranteeing a new Knockouts champion. The announcers were too busy arguing to accentuate the point, though. Velvet then rolled up Tessmacher for the second elimination. So, it’s Velvet vs. Gail. Velvet got the best of the situation – with indirect help from ref Taryn – and hit her sit-out pedigree on Gail for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Sky at 8:45 to capture the Knockouts Title.
Hogan’s Office: Hulk Hogan told Sting that he needs him to keep eyes on him during the six-man tag match because he has a bad feeling about this. Sting said he will definitely have his back. Sting then left Hogan’s office and told Bully Ray that Hulk is cool about being part of the match. Ray said he’s not trying to sound cheesy, but it’s cool to team with both of them. Sting vowed to end A&E tonight and make sure Lockdown doesn’t even happen.
Video Package: 2012 was a “terrible year” for A.J. Styles. Tenay said it has been two months since Styles has been seen in TNA. So, TNA cameras are heading to Styles’s home to obtain comments from Styles. Tenay said the footage will air next week.
Video Package: Another look at Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff conning Kurt Angle.
[Q6] In-ring: Garett Bischoff was introduced for singles action. Garett emerged through the Aces & Eights side tunnel entrance with a smug look on his face. Taz had a good laugh at how A&E conned Angle and TNA. He said everyone is mad because Garett and Wes pulled the wool over everyones’s eyes. Samoa Joe’s music then played to bring out Joe to feast on GB.
4 — SAMOA JOE vs. GARETT BISCHOFF
Garett slowly entered the ring before the bell sounded. Joe then circled the ring to make Garett wait and think about what his punishment will feel like. Garett ducked a clothesline, then dipped out of the ring. Garett unconvincingly told Joe that he has a bike in Joe’s size if he wants to join the cause rather than fight. They played a game of chase before Garett clubbed Joe across the back with forearm strikes, but Joe shook it off, only to be taken down by a chopblock to the left knee.
Garett went to work on Joe’s left knee, including attempting a legbar. Joe had enough of amateur hour, delivering multiple right hand strikes. But, Garett clubbered Joe to the mat. Garett continued to slow the pace, but Joe elbowed out of a side headlock. Joe then ran over Garett with clotheslines before delivering a running boot into the flying butt splash. Joe washed Garett’s face with his boot, then delivered a running corner boot. Joe wanted to finish Garett with a top-rope Musclebuster, but Wes Brisco hit the ring, causing a DQ.
Post-match, Wes and Garett tried to attack Joe, but Kurt Angle’s music played. Angle jogged to the ring and chased away Garett and Wes, who stood in the crowd glaring toward Angle. Angle took the mic and said he didn’t forget about them. He said he got Wes his TNA contract, and he’s glad he did because the pain he’s going to deliver to Wes will be 100 percent legal. Angle said it will be Angle vs. Wes one-on-one inside a steel cage. Taz wondered aloud how that happened and why it’s allowed.
WINNER: Joe via DQ at 5:07.
Up Next: RVD vs. Kenny King for the X Division Title.
In-ring: Kenny King was introduced for the next title match of the show. Tenay noted King has had a lot of title shots recently…but King believes he is more focused this time. X Champ Rob Van Dam was introduced next to defend the title.
5 — X Division champion ROB VAN DAM vs. KENNY KING — X Division Title match
After the bell sounded, Taz vowed to put Keneley in a bodybag. “Point taken,” Keneley sheepishly responded. In the ring, King airballed a springboard legdrop, giving RVD an opening to kick King in the face. King then re-took control and slowed down the pace. King then tried the Royal Flush and kind of dropped RVD to the mat. Obviously, it wasn’t good-enough for a three count.
King airballed a double-knee smash in the corner, then RVD delivered more kicks into Rolling Thunder. RVD quickly climbed to the top rope and nailed the five-star frogsplash center-ring. RVD covered King and it was good for the pin and the win.
WINNER: RVD at 6:22. Fine match, but is there anyone else in the X Division besides RVD, King, and Zema Ion? Anyone?
Backstage: Hulk Hogan talked to Brooke Hogan, who tried to implore Hulk not go through with this match tonight. Hulk said he has to in order to defend his family. Brooke, concerned, told Hulk to make sure they protect him.
Up Next: Hogan’s advertised return to the ring.
Video Package: Aces & Eights took out Jeff Hardy one month ago. Hardy said in a video interview recorded in daylight that his injury has healed and he’ll be good to go next week. TNA already had comments from Hardy on facing Bully Ray despite Hogan making the decision just over an hour ago in the storyline. More continuity issues. Hardy said he thinks the cage match against Bully could be the best cage match of all-time.
In-ring: Aces & Eights’s music played to bring out TV champ Devon, disappearing-act Mr. Anderson, and D.O.C. for six-man tag action.
[Q8] Sting was introduced at the start of the final quarter-hour. Sting waited on-stage to soak up the reaction before slowly walking to the ring, then Bully Ray came out second. Hulk Hogan’s music played next for the final participant, but there was no sign of Hogan. Taz said maybe Hogan had second thoughts, then told the ref to call for the bell. Hogan’s music stopped and the crowd booed. Hulk’s music played again, but no sign of Hogan again. A&E jumped Sting and Ray, so this being TNA, the bell sounded.
6 — STING & BULLY RAY vs. ACES & EIGHTS (TV champion DEVON & MR. ANDERSON & D.O.C.) — handicap match
Aces & Eights wore down Sting and Ray, but they weathered the storm. Ray limped across the ring selling his “injured” quad, then Sting delivered a Stinger Splash. Tenay called for an update on Hogan before Impact cut to break.
Impact returned from break seven minutes before the top of the hour. Tenay and Keneley said they don’t know why Hogan hasn’t showed up yet; Taz said maybe Hogan doesn’t know his way to the ring. “You don’t think something happened to Hulk?” Taz asked insincerely. In the ring, Ray was isolated by Aces & Eights as the announcers continued to argue. Ray teased fighting out of the heel corner, drawing a “C’mon, Bully!” call from Tenay. Taz accused Tenay of being biased and showing his true colors as an announcers.
At 7:30, Ray finally broke free from Devon and tried to tag in Sting, but Devon pulled Ray back to the heel corner. This brought in a stripped-down Anderson to deliver a few right hands to Ray. Anderson spit across the ring toward Sting, bringing back memories of when Disco Inferno was involved in TNA storylines. Ray and D.O.C. then scrapped near the ropes before A&E re-took control.
At 10:00, Ray finally broke free and reached Sting for a tag. Sting entered the ring and cleaned house before howling toward the crowd. D.O.C. and Devon then accidentally hit each other. Sting followed with Scorpion Deathdrop to D.O.C., but Anderson broke up the pin. Sting then grabbed Anderson to deliver the diving headbutt, but Aces & Eights emerged on-stage with possession of Brooke and Hulk Hogan in distress. Hulk sold a knee injury as Ray gave chase up the ramp. Back in the ring, Anderson kind of fell down in the ring to allow Sting to set up for the Scorpion Deathlock, but D.O.C. smashed him with a clothesline. Anderson pinned Sting for the win.
WINNERS: Aces & Eights at 11:25.
Post-match, Aces & Eights inflicted punishment to Sting. Other A&E members hit the ring to stand tall over Sting as TNA cut to a shot of Ray tending to Hulk and Brooke on the stage. Impact signed off with Taz saying it’s a good day to be a bad guy.
(Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch.com)