Austin Aries starts the show by coming down to the ring and reminds us that he’s the guy who came up with Option C, and after winning the World Title last week, he’s going to do it again this year, and tells Hulk Hogan to come down to the ring to make it official. Hogan comes out and says that he’s got to hand it to Aries, because he did it last year and he’s done it again this year because he’s the X Division Champion. But Aries may have been the guy who created Option C, but Hogan gets to decide where and when, and he’s decided that tonight will have a double main event. One of those matches will be Aries defending the X Division Title in a three way match against the REAL Suicide, whom Hogan has renamed Manic, and the man who wasn’t pinned in last week’s title change, Chris Sabin. Hogan tells both Sabin and Manic that they have the chance to right last week’s wrongs, Sabin says he never stopped fighting while recovering from two torn ACLs and Aries cheated his way to the X Division Title, andnothing is going to stop him from becoming a six time X Division Champion tonight.
The Mystery Cameraman knocks on Bad Influence’s locker room door, and Kazarian says he doesn’t care which version of AJ Styles he gets tonight, they know AJ better than anyone and he’s winning tonight.
Speaking of AJ, he’s backstage, and he’s…WALKING!
Bound For Glory Series: AJ Styles vs Frankie Kazarian
Daniels and Kazarian come out dressed like Sigfried and Roy, while AJ Styles comes out dressed like he’s been sleeping on a park bench. AJ quickly drives Kazarian out to the floor and takes him out with a baseball slide. It’s all AJ as he hammers Kazarian with hard shots, but Kazarian dodges a flying forearm in the corner and launches AJ across the ring with a monkey flip. AJ quickly responds with a flurry of strikes and a roaring clothesline, Kazarian drills AJ with a shotgun dropkick for 2, Kazarian counters AJ’s new leg submission to a rolling leg cradle for 2, but AJ gets the leglock on the second try and forces Kazarian to tap out.
Winner: AJ Styles
That’s ten big points for AJ Styles, who now moves up to third place with 12 points. Magnus is still in first with 24, and Samoa Joe is in second place with 19, for the record.
Mickie James is backstage asking a crew member for a ladder. Maybe we’ll find out what she’s up to…NEXT!
Chavo Guerrero, Jr is backstage giving Hernandez another pep talk, saying that he’s going to be a World Champion and to go out there and win tonight.
Mickie James is in the ring with her belt and a ladder, and she says that getting to the top of the Knockouts Division requires clawing and scratching your way to the top, and being that she’s a country music star, a spokesperson for nationwide commercials, and by the way, the Knockouts Champion, all she keeps hearing about is the ladder match next week to determine her next challenger. She wants Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell to go out there and break a leg and everything else because it doesn’t matter, they’ll never be as great as her. Mickie will trash both of them and stand atop the division as the greatest Knockouts Champion of all time, Mickie James.
We look back at last week as Al Snow, Bruce Prichard, and Danny Davis discuss the Gut Check match we say between the Big O and Ryan Howe. They discuss the positives and negatives of each man, then we flash back to now as the judges are backstage with both men and reveal that the Big O is eliminated and Ryan Howe will find out whether he gets a contract later on tonight.
The Main Event Mafia is arriving at the building, and Kurt Angle says that we’ll find out who the fourth member is later on tonight.
Bound For Glory Series: Jay Bradley vs Hernandez
When I did my Elite column a couple of weeks ago previewing the BFG Series, these were the two guys I said were the biggest longshots to win the whole thing. Bradley is actually bigger than Hernandez, and this turns into a power match early on as they trade shoulderblocks before Bradley gets the advantage with a rolling knee move for 2. Bradley tries to ground Hernandez with a rear chinlock before tossing him out to the ramp, but Bradley plays right into Hernandez’ game plan and sets him right up to hit the running shoulderblock over the ropes. Hernandez hits a charging clothesline in the corner and an over the shoulder backbreaker for 2, but Bradley goes to the eyes, hits a backbreaker of his own, but Chavo distracts Bradley before he can hit the Boomstick and allows Hernandez to drill Bradley with the Pounce for the win.
That’s seven points, but it seemed like a kind of heel move there by Chavo, didn’t it?
We go to the Aces & Eights clubhouse where Bully Ray says he’s got to hand it to Aries for always finding a way into the title picture, but the winner of tonight’s match gets to face him for the title. Doc asks which one Bubba would prefer to face, and Bubba says it would be great if none of them were able to challenge him. The rest of the crew likes that one, and they toast to the impending doom of those three guys.
TNA World Tag Team Champions James Storm & Gunner vs Robbie E & Jessie Godderz
Robbie and Jessie jump the champs before the bell and trap Gunner in their half of the ring. They work Gunner over and choke him on the middle rope, but Gunner quickly tags in Storm, who comes in and cleans house. Gunner comes back in and they hit this sweet double team where they pick Robbie up and launch him into Jessie. Storm drills Robbie with the Last Call, Gunner hits a uranage backbreaker, and they hit a cool double team DDT for the win.
Winners: James Storm & Gunner
Just a quick match to showcase the champs, but they looked awesome and seem to have great chemistry as a team.
The Main Event Mafia are…in a hotel somewhere, it seems, and they’re…WALKING!
Jeff Hardy is backstage, and he says that he’s got a long history with Abyss, and he knows Joseph Park has a little bit of that dark side inside him too, so his plan is to get his points and get out tonight.
Sting and Kurt Angle come out to the ring, and Angle reminds us that the Main Event Mafia is back, and repeats himself just in case we didn’t hear him. They’re back for two reasons: to destroy Aces & Eights, and to make sure Bully Ray loses the TNA World Title. Sting says the previous MEM consisted of former World Champions and that doesn’t always create the greatest unity, so they went a different direction this time around and they introduce Samoa Joe…who is a former World Champion. Joe says the numbers have been in the favor of Aces & Eights, so he went and got a crew of guys who beat up cowards, and with the MEM behind him, he’s going to run through each and every man in the BFG Series until he hearns his shot at Bully Ray and chokes him out to win the World Title. Angle learned to respect Joe after all the matches they had and he is the baddest man Angle ever wrestled, and Joe came up with the idea of the fourth member for the MEM, and Angle thought it was a good idea. Angle says people would pick this guy to be the future of Impact Wrestling, but Angle says he is the now, and the fourth member of the Main Event Mafia is…Magnus! No surprise there, and Magnus comes out and says that when opportunity knocks, you answer it, and looking at the BFG Series leader board says all there is to say about it. Magnus keeps saying Sports Entertainment, which kind of makes me cringe, but he puts over each of his new buddies, then Sting challenges Aces & Eights to a fight and isn’t worried about them saying there won’t be a winner in tonight’s main event, because they guarantee that there will be.
Jeff Hardy comes out to the ring, and he’ll face Joseph Park…NEXT!
Bound For Glory Series: Jeff Hardy vs Joseph Park
Park pretends like he’s afraid to wrestle before knocking Hardy down with a shoulderblock. Hardy responds with a flurry of offense and goes for the Swanton, but Park moves out of the way and then…stands there staring at Hardy like he doesn’t know what to do. He settles for slumping Hardy into the corner and punching him before whipping him hard across the ring. Park is in control, but wastes a ton of time between each move and gives Hardy space to hit a series of running forearms to turn the tide around. Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate, but Park shoves him off to the ropes and catches him coming back with a Samoan Drop. Park looks surprised, but goes to the second rope and hits the splash for a 2 count. He probably would have won if he hadn’t hesitated before going for the win, and Hardy is now able to get his elbow up on a charge by Park and hit the Whisper In The Wind. Park realizes his mouth is bleeding and he Abysses up, stares Hardy down, and gives the ref a Black Hole Slam when he tries to check on Park. Hardy goes to check on him and tells Park to stop, and Park snaps out of it as a second referee comes out and rings the bell.
Winner: Jeff Hardy by DQ
So that’s only 2 points for Hardy, but now Park loses ten points and has no idea what happened as the referee raises Hardy’s hand. I have to say, it’s getting really annoying watching Park wrestle. We get it, he’s a wussy rookie, but he’s been wrestling for “a year” now and it looks really stupid when he still looks shocked every time he hits a move. Seriously, make him wrestle like a wrestler or keep him out of the ring, this is really, REALLY starting to get old.
Time for the Gut Check decision, as Ryan Howe comes out to face the judges. Al Snow says he’s watched Howe develop over the years, and he’s a great musician, but he has to say no. Howe gets thirty second to convince the other two judges why he deserves the contract, and Howe says that it takes a lot of guys a lot of years to get here, and he proved that he can entertain the fans in a way nobody’s ever seen, and if the judges want someone who can entertain the fans, he’s their guy. Danny Davis says his mind was made up, but the fans’ reaction changed that because the way they booed him out of the ring didn’t rattle him, so he’s going to say yes and now the decision comes down to Bruce Prichard. Prichard says Howe got a reaction, no doubt about it, and he won’t doubt the heart and desire Howe has, but if this were any other competition on any other night, they might get the chance to go on to the next round. But this is Gut Check, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and the answer is no, Howe stays in Vegas. Howe looks disappointed, but shakes the judges’ hands before grabbing his guitar to head home.
Aces & Eights is backstage, it’s almost main event time and Bubba wants to get a front row seat. Doc pulls Bubba aside to say he heard the Main Event Mafia’s challenge and he says he can take them all out tonight, but Ken Anderson comes over and starts rattling on Doc for campaigning before next week’s vote. Bubba gets between them and says they should spend as much time trying to take the Mafia out as they do stabbing each other in the back, then tells them to go out to ringside for the main event.
Speaking of the main event, Austin Aries is backstage, and he’s…WALKING!
Aces & Eights comes out to watch the main event, then we see a video package previewing next week’s Ladder Match, and then it’s main event time!
X Division Title Match: Austin Aries vs Chris Sabin vs Manic
Manic and Sabin both mob Aries as soon as the bell rings, and they keep shoving each other out of the way so they can get Aries to themselves. Sabin and Manic eventually turn their attention to each other as Aces & Eights looks unimpressed at ringside. Aries tries to sneak in and grab Sabin, but Sabin dumps him out to the floor and goes back to beating up TJ Manic. Manic gets the Royal Octopus and rolls it into a guillotine, but Aries breaks it up at 2. Sabin nails Aries and goes up top to superplex Manic, but Manic shoves him off, hangs in the ropes, and waits for Sabin to charge so he can dodge and send Sabin out to the floor. Manic hangs Aries on the middle rope and goes for a springboard legdrop, but Aries moves and Manic hits the apron and rolls out to the floor. Aries climbs to the top, Sabin grabs him, and they trade blows in the middle of the ring. Aries snapmares Sabin and hits him in the back of the head with a dropkick from the second rope for 2. Sabin gets backdropped to the ramp and Aries nails him with a double axhandle from the top rope, but he tries the brainbuster and Sabin reverses to a gourdbuster. Aces & Eights suddenly comes over the rail and surround the ring, and Knux grabs Manic’s ankle when he tries for a dive. Manic kicks Knux off into the announce table and then tries a dive onto Doc, but Doc catches Manic and powerbombs him on the floor. We’re down to Aries and Sabin as Aces & Eights surrounds them, but the Main Event Mafia comes down to ringside to even the odds as we go to commercial.
We return as Manic is being carried out on a stretcher and Aries gives Sabin a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron. Aries rolls inside and lets the referee count, but Sabin just barely makes it back in before the countout, so Aries tries unsuccessfully for a few pin attempts. Aries continues hitting offense and trying for pinfalls, but Sting gets up on the ring apron and distracts Aries for some reason. Aries picks Sabin up and slaps him in the face, and this just fires up Sabin, who goes nuts pummeling Aries with punches and chops, followed by a running dropkick to the face for 2. Aries escapes the Cradle Shock, but Sabin gets the boot up when Aries goes for the IED, Aried dodges a running boot from Sabin, and Sabin’s boot gets caught in the ropes. Aries smells blood, hits a dragon screw legwhip through the ropes, a missile dropkick, the IED, and goes for the brainbuster but Sabin small packages Aries for 2. Sabin goes for the Cradle Shock again, but Aries reverses to the brainbuster for 2. Aries is in shock as Sting is still standing on the ring apron, but he has the presence of mind to catch Sabin in the Last Chancery. Sabin makes it to the ropes, so Aries drags Sabin into the corner and goes up top for the 450, but Sabin rolls out of the way and Aries lands on his butt. Sabin pops Aries up into a powerbomb for 2, then he hits the Cradle Shock and now Aries is out at 2. Sabin goes for another Cradle Shock, Aries counters to a cradle for 2, then they knock each other out with simultaneous roaring elbows. They get to their feet and trade punches in the middle of the ring again, Sabin hits a running forearm in the corner, Aries responds by following him into the opposite corner with an IED and puts Sabin on the top rope for a super brainbuster, but Sabin reverses and hits a top rope Cradle Shock for the win.
Winner and NEW X Division Champion: Chris Sabin
This match was a hundred different kinds of awesome after it stopped being a three way, and it just goes to show what these guys can do when they aren’t forced to have these meaningless car crash matches. Please, please get rid of the three ways, TNA! Chris Sabin points at Bully Ray and tells him that he just might be looking at the next World Champion, then holds the belt high as Bully tells him there’s no chance as we call it a night.
(Credit: Stuart Carapolaon and PWInsider.com)