This week’s TNA Impact opened with a video package on recent events. Tonight, it’s the Bound for Glory Series Selection Show.
In-ring: Hulk Hogan’s music played to bring out the Impact GM to start the show. Once in the ring, Hogan played to the crowd before noting he was “this close” to clubbing Bully Ray over the head with a hammer last week. But, Brooke Hogan intervened. And he’s told Brooke to stay home tonight.
Hogan then noted all 12 BFG Series contestants will be determined by the end of tonight’s show. Hogan noted Samoa Joe, Hernandez, and Jay Bradley are in the Series, and Jeff Hardy and Bobby Roode have a free pass to the BFG Series. So, Hogan brought out Hardy for a discussion. Dressed in street clothes and with his hair pulled up, Hardy made his way to the ring to shake hands with Hogan.
On the mic, Hardy said he is so tired of hammers and Aces & Eights. So, he’s going to win the BFG Series again this year, then win the World Title in San Diego at Bound for Glory. Bobby Roode’s music abruptly interrupted, bringing out Roode on-stage. Roode ran down Hogan and Hardy, then noted he was the longest-reigning, most dominant World champion in TNA history. Roode got in the ring and stared down Hardy.
Hogan interjected with an announcement that next week will be Open Fight Night. He said the audience will vote on who gets the first call-out next week. This set off Roode for setting up a popularity contest against him. Roode told the crowd to vote for him because he’s going to call out Jeff Hardy next week. And what he’s going to do to him is kick his ass. “Kick…my…ass…now!” Hardy shouted in reply.
Before anything could happen, Aces & Eights’s music played to bring out TNA champ Bully Ray flanked by Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff. Ringside, Ray asked what’s going on out here. “Why’s everybody so mad at each otha?” Ray asked. Ray said it doesn’t matter who wins the BFG Series because whoever wins has to face him. Ray then asked Hogan why none of the Aces & Eights are in the BFG Series.
Hogan replied that he knows how he’s going to figure out Ray and his boys. He said Aces & Eights have one spot for the Series and they will have a battle royal tonight to determine who gets the spot. “Typical,” Ray replied. Ray told Hogan to remember that no matter who is in the BFG Series, that person is a target of the Aces & Eights. He then noted Hardy and Roode are targets right now.
Brisco and Garett hit the ring, were easily cleared by Hardy and Roode, and then Roode suddenly blasted Hardy from behind. Roode bailed from the ring and said he is the BFG Series winner as Hardy recovered in the ring.
Announcers: Taz and Mike Tenay reacted to Sting discussing his future tonight. Next was a plug for Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles in a BFG Series qualifier and Daniels & Kaz vs. Storm & Gunner in a BFG Series qualifier, which is next.
Backstage: Daniels and Kazarian were on the piano preparing for the match. Kaz cut a promo on “Jim Storm,” saying he’s had more partners than Taylor Swift. Daniels, sporting a 6-o’clock shadow, vowed to enter the BFG Series and eventually regain the Tag Titles before returning to the piano keys.
[Commercial Break at 9:12]
[Q2] Back from break, Christy Hemme introduced Kazarian and Daniels for tag action. James Storm’s music then brought out Storm Gunners.
1 — TNA tag champions JAMES STORM & GUNNER vs. BAD INFLUENCE (DANIELS & KAZARIAN) — non-title BFG Series Qualifying match
The match built to Storm wanting the Last Call Superkick on Kaz, but Daniels hit Storm with a belt shot behind the ref’s back. The belt shot was equal to being smashed by truck, as Kaz pinned Storm for the pin and the win. The tag champs do not qualify for the BFG Series.
WINNERS: Daniels & Kaz at 4:33 to qualify for the BFG Series.
Still to come: Sting has a message about his wrestling future. Plus, Styles vs. Angle in the main event.
Backstage: Crimson, bearded, was in the building. Crimson said it’s been 12 months since he was last at Impact. He refused to tell the roving cameraman what he was doing here.
[Commercial Break at 9:25]
Backstage: Velvet Sky was holding a manila envelope. She said the contents of the envelope will make her, Mickie, and everyone happy.
In-ring: Crimson was introduced to the ring as Mike Tenay played up Crimson’s faux unbeaten streak that James Storm snapped last year. In the ring, Crimson looked around the arena before offering the numbers 470 and 12. Crimson did a lot of hand gestures to explain his point that those numbers have been consuming him. He said he went 470 days “undefeated,” then 12 months ago, his streak ended. Crimson said he had one small blemish on his record, then was sent home for one year. Crimson told Joseph Park to come out here for their BFG Series qualifier.
2 — JOSEPH PARK vs. CRIMSON — BFG Series Qualifying match
Crimson looked like a caricature of early Diamond Dallas Page with too much going on – bright red hair, full beard, tattoos, cream-colored trunks and matching kneepads and wrist tape, fighter gloves, and black boots. He looked like someone going to a football game trying to coordinate several accessories that only get pulled out of the closet a few times per year. As for the match, Crimson dominated, but took too much time in-between moves playing to the crowd and yelling about his numbers. Park eventually found an opening to roll up Crimson from behind for the win.
WINNER: Park at 2:40 to qualify for the BFG Series.
Locker Room: Knockouts champion Mickie James was shown talking to herself while getting ready in the mirror. Mickie said it’s so sweet that Vickie has a gift for her. She gave herself a pep-talk, then walked off.
[Commercial Break at 9:35]
Back at 9:39, Velvet Sky’s music played to bring out the former Knockouts champion with her manila envelope. Sky said she doesn’t know where her friendship with Mickie James stands, so this envelope should reveal where they stand. After Mickie hit the ring, Velvet asked her to look over the contents of the envelope. The document was clearance from Velvet’s doctor to get her Knockouts Title re-match.
“But, Velvet, you can get fake stuff like this on the Internet all the time,” Mickie said. “There’s nothing fake about that,” Sky replied. Mickie said even if it’s real, this was dated yesterday. But, as far as today, Velvet’s knee is still hurt. Mickie then popped Velvet in the knee, officially turning heel, and inflicted more punishment to the knee as Taz comically said that he agrees with Mickie that Sky’s knee doesn’t look so good. Refs eventually hit the ring to get Mickie out of the ring and get help for Velvet.
Still to come tonight: Sting talks for the first time since Slammiversary.
Backstage: A heavily-bearded Matt Morgan was shown pacing around muttering to himself, “Typical, typical.” Morgan, unceremoniously returning to TV for the first time in several weeks, said you’re looking at the man who Sting could not pin, submit, or beat, yet he has to jump through hoops to qualify for the BFG Series. Morgan told three unidentified individuals that he will beat them, qualify for the BFG Series, and become TNA World champ.
Video: Eric Young is “Off the Hook” on Animal Planet.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 9:45]
In-ring: Rob Terry, Magnus, and Kenny King were randomly in the ring back from break. Apparently these are Morgan’s three unidentified victims. Matt Morgan’s music then played to bring out Morgan wearing Hulk Hogan’s purple robe. Morgan posed in the ring, then the bell sounded.
3 — MATT MORGAN vs. ROB TERRY vs. KENNY KING vs. MAGNUS — four-way BFG Series qualifying match
The early focus was on King not wanting to square off with Morgan, so Terry and Morgan had a back-and-forth. Morgan took control and slowed down the pace with deliberate offense while the crowd chanted for Magnus. King then tagged in when he saw Terry in a weakened state. Terry shook off King, then Magnus tagged in. Magnus dominated King, then the action broke down. Morgan had enough of Terry and delivered the Carbon Footprint, but Magnus pulled down the top rope, causing Morgan to fly onto the entrance ramp. Magnus followed with a cradle driver on King for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Magnus at 4:48 to qualify for the BFG Series.
Up Next: Sting reveals his future.
[Commercial Break at 9:55]
Back from break one minute before the top of the hour, Eric Young welcomed the camera into his office. EY told them not to mention his plan to Austin Aries, his BFG Series opponent. EY then locked himself in a bathroom stall and breathed heavily.
[Q5 — second hour] Video Package: Rampage Jackson debuted in TNA last week, then was confronted by Kurt Angle.
Locker Room: Rampage Jackson was shown placing a chain around his neck and preparing for action later tonight.
Video Package: Sting lost the TNA Title match against Bully Ray at Slammiversary when Aces & Eights interfered and he had no back-up.
In-ring: Sting was introduced to the ring in his old Atlanta stomping grounds. Sting, with a stern look on his face, marched to the ring with hands on hips. Sting soaked in the crowd response, then howled and pointed out supportive fans in the crowd. “Why is Sting even here?” Taz grumbled.
Once in the ring, Sting paced the ring before saying it’s good to be back in Atlanta. One year ago at Slammiversary, he was the first wrestler inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. But, over the last year, a lot of bad things have happened. Sting said at the PPV, he was given one last title shot – exactly what he wanted – and he failed. And because he failed, he can no longer compete for the TNA Title. Sting said at the PPV, Ray sent wave after wave after wave of reinforcements until his strength ran out.
But, there’s one other fact he cannot let go of. “I was left out there to fend for myself. There wasn’t one wrestler who came from the back to help me,” Sting said. “But that’s okay. That’s okay I don’t mind at all.” Sting said A&E are like a fine-tuned machine having each other’s backs. “You’re just like family,” Sting said. “Yeah, family. Just…like…family. Family.”
Sting said he realizes now he has to go to a place he never thought he would go again by creating his own family. “My own new family, or shall I say my own new…mafia,” Sting said. “My own new Main Event Mafia,” Sting added to a pop. Sting said that very soon, the new Main Event Mafia will rise and Aces & Eights is going to fall. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Taz said. “He’s got no friends. Give me a break.” Sting left the ring as Taz continued to grumble leading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:07]
Moments Ago: Sting announced that he’s bringing back the Main Event Mafia “very soon.”
Still to come: Angle vs. Styles in the main event.
In-ring: Christy Hemme introduced the next BFG Series qualifying match. Out first was Eric Young joined by ODB. Before the match, TNA cut to a video of Eric Young and ODB doing a skit at an ice bar promoting EY’s show. They acted half in-character, half out-of-character. Odd. Back to the arena, a very stern-faced Austin Aries was introduced to face Young.
4 — ERIC YOUNG (w/ODB) vs. AUSTIN ARIES — BFG Series qualifying match
After the bell sounded, Aries maintained a locked jaw and determined look before locking up with the prankster. Taz called this a battle of a fine car (Aries) and a beat-up, old pick-up truck (EY). Aries toyed with Eric Young after their initial lock-up, then Aries left the ring and ODB slipped in the ring. EY took down ODB, then posed in the corner. “Austin Aries – how this poor guy hooked up with this match,” Taz said. Aries then slipped out of the ring to yell at ODB, angering EY. But, Aries raked EY’s eyes to resume control in the ring.
In the ring, this turned into a Ric Flair Fantasy Camp Match sponsored by The Miz, including both men doing the corner flip and walk the ring apron routine. EY wanted a top-rope move, but Aries crotched him. Aries then got serious with a corner dropkick into the Brainbuster Suplex. Aries covered for the win, then resumed his serious demeanor before marching out of the ring.
WINNER: Aries at 6:07 to qualify for the BFG Series.
Backstage: Bully Ray was surrounded by the other Aces & Eights members, minus Mr. Anderson. Bully asked D.O.C. why he’s not on the same page agreeing that everyone loses the battle royal so that they don’t fight each other, giving Mr. Anderson the spot. D.O.C. gave into peer pressure and reluctantly agreed, then everyone slowly walked away, unsure if D.O.C. would keep his word.
[Commercial Break at 10:23]
Backstage: Chris Sabin was shown talking to someone off-camera. Sabin talked about his rehab progress, then wondered what would have happened if he did not tear his knee last year. Sabin perhaps it would have been him, not Austin Aries, cashing in the X Title for a TNA Title last year. As for this year with the same opportunity that Aries had, he’s just not sure if he will cash in.
In-ring: Aces & Eights’s music played as Tenay tried to butter up Taz that he gets an A&E representative in the BFG Series. Taz sarcastically said it’s real nice that Hogan threw them a bone with this battle royal. The Aces & Eights group eventually spilled into the ring, then the bell sounded.
5 — ACES & EIGHTS BATTLE ROYAL — BFG Series qualifying match
After the bell sounded, the Aces & Eights group pretended to circle around the ring preparing for a lock-up, then Anderson “shot” Wes in the heart, sending Wes reeling over the top rope. Next, Anderson gave Garett a wedgie, spun him around the ring, and lightly tossed him over the top rope. Knox then sold fear, cowered against the ropes, and took a finger-poke from Anderson over the top rope.
[Q7] Next, Anderson told Devon to get a table. Devon made sure he understood, then climbed over the top rope. “Oh, you got me!” Devon told Anderson. Finally, it was D.O.C.’s turn to eliminate himself. D.O.C. wasn’t amused by this, though. Anderson tried to do an imaginary elimination, but D.O.C. remained stiff as a board.
D.O.C. teased climbing out, but walked back into the ring, “Do you think you’re freakin’ special? Get your ass out of the ring!” Anderson shouted. D.O.C. responded with a punch, but Anderson eventually tossed D.O.C. over the top rope, eliminating him to win. Ringside, the other A&E members screamed at D.O.C., asking what’s wrong with him. Tenay asked Taz to explain what’s going on. “There’s nothing to see here!” Taz nervously said as A&E marched to the back.
WINNER: Anderson at 3:54 to qualify for the BFG Series.
Backstage: Rampage Jackson walked up to Kurt Angle, looking for a clarification on his statement last week. Angle told Rampage that if he wants to step into his world, he has to train and be ready to survive in his world. Jackson accepted the pep-talk, then said he’ll look forward to seeing Angle vs. A.J. tonight.
[Commercial Break at 10:34]
Backstage: Aces & Eights were heard cussing at each other before the camera focused on Mr. Anderson yelling at D.O.C. Standing in the background, Bully Ray calmed everyone down, then said he likes the passion from D.O.C., but they had a plan. Ray said fighting among each other isn’t going to go over well with him. D.O.C. said it’s his bad, he gets it, but there’s a guy walking around here who turned his back on their club. He said A.J. hit him with their hammer, so he will step up and take A.J. out tonight. “D.O.C., get the job done,” Ray told him in his face.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz fed to another replay of Sting announcing that he’s bringing back the Main Event Mafia.
Next Week: Jeff Hardy and Bobby Roode open the show hearing who gets the first call-out on Open Fight Night.
In-ring: Kurt Angle was introduced for the TV main event against Styles. Tenay said they will fill the 12th and final spot in the BFG Series with this match. No graphic to visually capture this. It’s also worth noting that TNA really missed an opportunity to focus on this match being a big deal because one of these top stars will not be in the BFG Series. Styles was then introduced to the ring in his home-state. The bell sounded at 10:43.
6 — A.J. STYLES vs. KURT ANGLE — BFG Series qualifying match
An early back-and-forth led to a stalemate, then Styles delivered a big dropkick to the face. Styles then slowed down the pace, leading to Tenay noting Styles has adjusted his offensive attack since taking on a new persona.
[Q8] Styles punched Angle in the gut to cut off a comeback, then snapped off a suplex. TNA then cut to a backstage shot of Rampage Jackson intently watching this match prior to the final commercial of the show.
[Commercial Break at 10:47]
Back from break 10 minutes before the top of the hour, Styles was still in control of the match. Tenay stressed this match filling the final slot in the BFG Series before Styles knocked Angle out of the ring. Styles then dropkicked Angle into the broadcast table, sending Taz reeling. Styles was too slow to follow up, though, allowing Angle to belly-to-belly suplex him to the floor.
Back in the ring, Angle followed up with high-impact offense. Meanwhile, Tenay plugged King Mo in the Bellator MMA tournament next Wednesday on Spike and Taz referenced Angle’s Olympics Gold Medal victory in this city in 1996. Styles made a comeback at 11:00, then landed a springboard forearm strike for a two count. Angle came back with a triple German Suplex, then measured Styles for the Angle Slam, but Styles countered into a DDT for a two count.
At 13:00, Angle came back with an Angle Slam for a close nearfall. Angle sold shock that he didn’t get the win, then dropped the straps. Angle slapped on the Anklelock, but Styles blocked and rolled into his new Calf-killer submission. Angle lost his mouthpiece teasing tapping out, then switched to the Anklelock. But, Styles reversed and kicked Angle in the face. Styles followed with a snap DDT into the corner, grounding Angle.
At 15:00, Styles dragged Angle to his feet as Aces & Eights hit the ringside area. D.O.C. and Knox clumsily tried to attack Styles, but A.J. ducked and Angle took the shot. Chaos, then Styles suddenly rolled up Angle from behind for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Styles at 15:35 to qualify for the BFG Series. Another very good match between these two. (***)
Post-match: Styles quickly left the ring, then A&E hit the ring to attack Aces & Eights. The trio of Anderson, D.O.C., and Knox awkwardly took Angle down to the mat, then Rampage Jackson stormed the ring. D.O.C. didn’t see him coming, but managed to duck a chain shot and bail from the ring.
Rampage and Angle then went back-to-back to hold off Aces & Eights from re-entering the ring. Angle’s music eventually played, Rampage continued to stand tall next to Angle, Tenay was stunned that Rampage had Angle’s back, and Impact faded out at the top of the hour.
Since it’s not clear whether Rampage is going to be on TV regularly, it remains to be seen what Angle does on TV going forward since he’s not in the BFG Series.
(Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor)