Earlier Today: Sting, as Steve Borden dressed in his Main Event Mafia suit, was shown walking down the parking garage toward the building. No audio. Just Borden. After Impact opened with Sting taking a long walk, TNA rolled a video package on the Bound for Glory Series kicking off tonight.
Inside the arena, Mike Tenay plugged the return of Open Fight Night and kicking off the BFG Series. Various wrestlers were already assembled in the ring dressed to wrestle and dressed not to wrestle. Tenay noted that 10 of the 12 BFG Series competitors are in the ring, then Hulk Hogan’s music played to bring out Hogan on-stage.
Hogan welcomed the “Impact-maniacs” to the BFG Series kick-off and said it’s also Open Fight Night. What he would like to do right now is bring out two men who pre-qualified for the BFG Series. First, 2011 winner Bobby Roode. Roode slowly walked down to the ring to join the other 10 wrestlers, then Hogan intro’ed 2012 winner Jeff Hardy to loud screams.
Hardy took a victory lap, then entered the ring. Hogan said all 12 men in the ring are going to have their first match tonight. Hogan then went the scoreboard to see who won the fan voting. No dramatic music, as the numbers simply appeared on the screen: 68 percent for Hardy and 32 percent for Roode. In the ring, Hardy kind of shuffled his feet looking for a mic to make an Open Fight Night call-out, but Austin Aries interrupted. Aries said he has his own legion of fans, just like Hardy, which drew boos.
Christopher Daniels interrupted and told Hardy to call out anyone else besides either of the Bad Influence members. Because if he does, Hardy will start this BFG Series with the most-demoralizing defeat of his career. Hardy replied that someone made it personal last week and that man is “It Factor” Bobby Roode. Hardy made the call-out, then Hardy and Roode went face-to-face. Roode shoved him, then a giant brawl broke out in the ring. The action continued with no one appearing to restore order. Suddenly, A.J. Styles and Hardy paired off doing battle. Still no one coming out to help as people just started standing around. Tenay said the first match is next.
[ JC’s REAX: Something about the intangibles – presentation, introduction of the fan vote, promo set-up, a bunch of guys with numerous different looks standing around in the ring – made this segment seem very bush-league. TNA has everything they need to look major-league being on the road in an actual venue, but this came across like a local theater skit. ]
[Commercial Break at 9:10]
[Q2] Moments Ago: A brawl broke out among the 12 wrestlers in the BFG Series. Taz stressed Hardy vs. Roode tonight.
Tenay then broke down the BFG Series point standings: 10 points for a submission, 7 points for a pinfall, 5 points for count-out, 2 points for a DQ victory, 2 points for a Draw, and -10 points for a DQ loss.
In-ring: Aces & Eights music played to bring out Mr. Anderson. Apparently Anderson left the ring after the brawl, returned to the clubhouse during the break, and re-entered through the A&E side entrance for the first match. Once in the ring, Anderson said he’s going to call someone out. He said this a-hole has a “guaranteed freakin’ dub” after calling out “Mister Joseph Park…Park.” Out came J. Park touching his chest with his hand to signal his appreciation of the crowd.
1 — MR. ANDERSON vs. JOSEPH PARK — BFG Series match
As the match started, Taz said Park doesn’t belong in the BFG Series, much less in the ring with Anderson. Anderson toyed with Park, then encouraged him to smack him across the face. So, Park grabbed a headlock and spun Anderson onto the mat. Taz admitted to his A&E brother getting embarrassed, then Anderson kicked Park in the gut to begin wearing him down. Anderson delivered a neckbreaker for a nearfall, then climbed up-top, where he missed a Swanton attempt.
Park got The Look in his eyes and began making his comeback, including a back body drop. Park then stumbled across the ring for a corner splash attempt, but Anderson avoided. Anderson wanted a Plunge, but Park blocked and managed to apply a Boston Crab. Suddenly, D.O.C. was ringside to distract the ref. Anderson then rolled up Park from behind, but Park kicked out. Park suddenly started throwing chest pushes with his hands. Park, gasping for air, climbed to the second rope, where D.O.C. cheap-shotted him behind the ref’s back. Anderson followed with Mic Check for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Anderson at 5:07 to capture 7 points. It would be a good thing if the majority of Park’s BFGS matches occur at house shows. Not a good first impression for the BFG Series, where the winner of this deal gets a TNA Title shot.
Backstage: The other BFG Series competitors were shown warming up in the holding area. Another call-out is next.
[Commercial Break at 9:24]
A&E Holding Cell: Mr. Anderson was clean and fresh three minutes after beating Joseph Park. Anderson said he should be the new VP after what he did out there. D.O.C. challenged Anderson, saying he was doing nothing right until he showed up. An argument picked up, so Bully Ray interrupted and calmed them down before tabling the VP vote. Ray said the top priority tonight is his wife, Brooke Hogan.
In-ring: Gut Check winner Jay Bradley shouted that he’s going to make this real short and simple. The guy he’s calling out is Austin Aries. “Get out here and get Boom-sticked,” he said. Out came Aries looking confident in his chances tonight. Bradley tried to attack Aries, but Aries moved and Bradley went flying to the outside as the bell sounded.
2 — AUSTIN ARIES vs. JAY BRADLEY — BFG Series match
The two men traded control before Aries began targeting the left knee/leg/hamstring area. Aries followed with a top-rope missile dropkick, but missed with a corner attack. Bradley couldn’t follow up, though, and Aries went for the Brainbuster suplex. Aries just did manage to get Bradley in the air, turned him over, and snapped off a Brainbuster for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Aries at 3:38 to earn 7 points.
Last Week: Sting announced that he is bringing back the Main Event Mafia.
Backstage: Sting, dressed in his MEM suit, said he’s on his way to a meeting. He said tonight, the Mafia grows.
[Commercial Break at 9:35]
Back from break, Sting was shown talking in the shadows. Sting asked a person if he’s all in, then this person extended his hand and shook. Now everyone is going to start googling wrestlers’s hands to find a match. Sting thanked him for joining the force.
Backstage: Chavo Guerrero have Hernandez a pep-talk before his BFG Series match.
In-ring: Hernandez hit the ring and said that of all the people in the BFG Series, there’s one loud-mouth who pisses him off. Naturally, it was Christopher Daniels. Daniels marched down to the ring sans Kazarian before the bell sounded.
3 — HERNANDEZ vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS
Hernandez delivered an early corner splash, then press-slammed Daniels into the air and down to the mat. Hernandez followed with consecutive clotheslines, then went to the entrance ramp to get a running head-start on a flying shoulder tackle over the top rope. Hernandez celebrated, but missed with a powerbomb. Daniels then suckered in ref Earl Hebner to deliver a mule kick out of the ref’s view. Daniels followed with the Best Moonsault Ever for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Daniels at 2:22 to earn 7 points.
Backstage: Brooke Hogan was shown walking down the hallway. Concern was written on her face, selling that she had Bully Ray and her State of the Knockouts Address on her mind. The Address is coming up.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 9:45]
In-ring: Kazarian was in the ring back from break. Kazarian posed, waited for his music to stop, and called out the man who Dixie Carter thinks is the future and also gorgeous. Hehe. Kazarian identified his call-out as Magnus, then told “mate” to come on out. (Apparently Kaz was referring to a recent Dixie interview, which was not relayed to the audience and inconsistent with the narrative since there’s no connection between Magnus and Dixie on TV.)
4 — MAGNUS vs. KAZARIAN — BFG Series match
Magnus delivered an early bodyslam for a two count when Kaz put his foot on the bottom rope. Kaz tried to come back with a missile dropkick, but Magnus kind of shoved him away. Magnus then grabbed Kaz’s feet and transitioned into a Texas Cloverleaf. Kaz fought the hold, but had to tap out, giving Magnus 10 points. On commentary, Taz grumbled about Magnus not even being from the U.S., yet he’s using a Texas Cloverleaf.
WINNER: Magnus via submission at 2:55 to earn 10 points.
Backstage: Hulk Hogan was shown walking down the hallway in the middle of a phone conversation. Suddenly, Bully Ray snuck up behind Hogan, but Hogan apparently had eyes in the back of his head to turn around and grab Bully to shove him against the wall. Bully, wielding a hammer, waited out Hogan’s tough-guy act, then said he’s not the type of guy to hit someone from behind with a hammer (turning the tables on Hogan coming close to smashing Ray in the back of the head with a hammer a few weeks ago until Brooke stopped him). Hogan told Ray that he better be done with Brooke, but Bully said they’re far from done. “Daaaaad,” Ray said going away.
Up Next: Brooke Hogan’s State of the Knockouts Address gets the top of the hour spot.
[Commercial Break at 9:54]
Back from break two minutes before the top of the hour, Brooke Hogan’s music played to bring out Brooke ready to deliver a speech. Already in the ring was a podium for Brooke, who nervously waited for her music to stop. She hyped the Knockouts division and plugged a hot summer to come.
[Q5 — second hour] Brooke said there are a few issues going on that she would like to address. She called out the division. Out first were ODB and Eric Young holding the disappearing KO Tag Titles, Velvet Sky, Taryn Terrell, and a reluctant Gail Kim. Brooke then delivered a “special introduction” for Knockouts champion Mickie James, who demanded her own entrance.
On the way to the ring, Mickie sarcastically thanked Brooke for the intro before trying to take over the speech. Mickie said she’s so excited to represent all of the ladies at award shows, in music videos, and at red-carpet events. Velvet was not pleased with this speech. Mickie said carrying the division on her shoulders is not as easy as Velvet carrying the division on her injured knee.
Things turned to Brooke and Eric Young, who got a little frisky. Brooke talked off-mic, bringing the segment to a screeching halt. Brooke then asked EY about the conversation they had last year. “Okay, technically, I’m not a woman,” EY said. Young then comically noted he’s the “toughest dude standing in the ring right now” before handing over the KO Tag Titles. EY did note it’s National Kissing Day, so he made out with ODB, sending them rolling out of the ring.
Back to Brooke, who moved to her next order of business. Brooke said she’s proud of Velvet and said she knows that Velvet wants her re-match, so… Mickie interrupted. Mickie reminded Brooke that this “pigeon” is injured. Brooke replied that Velvet is cleared to fight next week. “Okay, fine,” Mickie said.
Gail interrupted and said she wants her title re-match. Brooke hyped Gail and her “match,” not explaining to what the “match” is. Brooke continued to hype Gail, killing Taryn’s heat getting the biggest victory of her career in a grudge match at Slammiversary. In any event, Brooke booked Gail vs. Taryn in a ladder match in Las Vegas next month. Gail wasn’t pleased by this, but Taryn was. The wrap-up music played over Brooke, who tried to conclude things.
Earlier Tonight: Sting teased a new member of Main Event Mafia. On commentary, Tenay hyped A.J. Styles, Kurt Angle, and Samoa Joe coming up in BFG Series action.
Backstage: Brooke Hogan was suddenly in the parking garage. Hulk told Brooke that she did her job, but now she needs her to leave. Hogan put Brooke in the vehicle and told “Keith” to take her back to the hotel. The car started up and took off as Hogan sold annoyance.
[Commercial Break at 10:09]
Back from break, Jeff Hardy was shown warming up backstage. This led to Tenay plugged TNA’s new fitness app featuring Hardy.
In-ring: A.J. Styles’s music played to bring out Styles on-stage. Styles, covering his face with a black hood, slowly, slowly made his way down to the ring.
[Q6] Once in the ring, Styles glared toward the camera before saying, “It’s real simple. This isn’t about Aces & Eights. This isn’t about TNA. This is about me.” Styles said it’s about him becoming the next World Hvt. champion. “Not for the fame. Not for the glory. For the money,” Styles said. The crowd didn’t know how to react to that line. Styles said everyone is looking for a hero, but one thing he’s learned for the last 11 years is this is no place for a hero. Styles said, “I am tired. I am sick and tired of doing the right thing. I am doing my own thing,” he said. Samoa Joe’s music then played to bring out Joe for a match that could have been hyped for two weeks and delivered a rating.
5 — A.J. STYLES vs. SAMOA JOE — BFG Series match
Styles targeted Joe’s left leg early on, then drove Joe into the corner to deliver forearm strikes. Styles then slowed down the pace, prompting the announcers to discuss Styles’s new, methodical in-ring style. The announcers then discussed Sting’s Main Event Mafia – Taz claimed he’s on the mailing list, so he would know if they’re coming back. The match then moved to the floor, where Joe face-planted Styles on the ring apron. Styles rolled back into the ring to sell the effects leading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:22]
With the match hanging in the balance, TNA ran a 20-second spot for their merchandise store before returning from break. In the ring, Joe followed up on his pre-commercial offense before Styles caught Joe with a dropkick to the face. Joe recoiled to the outside, where he took a baseball slide kick from Styles. Suddenly, Christy Hemme announced the amount of time left in the match, which was the first time-limit reference of the night.
Back in the ring, Styles delivered a springboard forearm smash. He wanted a suplex, but Joe blocked. Styles then charged Joe, but Joe responded with a snap powerslam. Joe followed with a submission attempt, but Styles turned onto his stomach to escape.
Joe and Styles reset at 11:00 before Joe teased the Musclebuster, but Styles blocked with punches. Joe shook him off, then tried a top-rope suplex, but Styles crashed on top of Joe after switching momentum in mid-air. Both men sold on the mat and barely made it to their feet before a ten-count.
[Q7] Suddenly, Joe entered MMA Fighter Mode delivering hard right-hand strikes to Styles in the corner. But, Styles absorbed and transitioned to the Calf-Killer. Only, Joe countered with a rear-naked choke. They broke free of each other as Hemme began counting down the time remaining in the match. Styles and Joe started scrapping, trying to find an opening to get a pin or submission. Hemme then dejectedly counted down from six to zero, ending the match at…13:42.
Post-match, Styles and Joe continued scrapping, then Styles came up bleeding from the nose. Styles stared down Joe, then slowly turned around and marched down the entrance-ramp to the back as Joe leaned against the ropes.
WINNER: Draw at 13:42; both men get 2 points. Good match.
Backstage: Bully Ray was on the phone. Bully didn’t understand why Brooke left, then he told Brooke to turn the car around. How far away is the hotel? Brooke convinced her to come back to the arena, then Bully rallied the A&E troops to prepare for her arrival.
Still to come: Sting revealing a Main Event Mafia member?
Up Next: Hardy vs. Roode in the TV main event.
[Commercial Break at 10:34]
Backstage: Hulk Hogan told the X Division wrestlers that social media is blowing up about the X Division. The assembled wrestlers were X Champ Chris Sabin, Kenny King, and Suicide. Does Suicide speak English? Hogan told them they have an unspecified match coming up and the winner gets the choice of cashing in the X Title at Destination X. Sabin just nodded along as the belt hung over his shoulder. Hogan left them, then King dramatically “brushed by” Sabin and Suicide. No speaking parts for the X Division wrestlers.
6 — JEFF HARDY vs. BOBBY ROODE — BFG Series match
Roode was out first, followed by Hardy. Roode met Hardy on the entrance-ramp to brawl, then the fight spilled into the ring, prompting ref Earl Hebner to call for the bell. Roode took control as Taz tried to find the words to describe Hardy. “He gets beat up like a wounded opossum,” Taz said. “What?” Tenay asked. “Exactly,” Taz replied.
[Q8] Roode wanted a Fisherman Suplex, but Hardy reversed into the Twist of Fate. The crowd popped, then Hardy removed his shirt and climbed to the top rope. Hardy wanted a Swanton Bomb, but Roode rolled out of the way in-time. Roode followed with a Crossface, stretching Hardy’s body in two different directions. But, Hardy countered with a pinning predicament for a nearfall. Hardy then nailed the Twist of Fate out of nowhere for the win.
WINNER: Hardy at 6:51 to earn 7 points.
Backstage: Bully Ray was shown walking down the hallway. Ray will try to confront Brooke Hogan next.
Backstage: Elsewhere, Sting said he’s not leaving; he has some family business to attend to.
[Commercial Break at 10:47]
Impact returned from break at 10:51 with Aces & Eights’s music playing to bring out TNA World champ Bully Ray through A&E’s side entrance. Ray shook hands with Taz before hitting the ring. Facing the hard-camera were two fans wearing Hogan t-shirts holding signs reading “Bully Ray Sucks” and “Aces & Garbage.” Gotta be planted signs.
In the ring, Ray said three guys are going to battle in an X Division Title match next week, which means there are 15 guys trying to take his TNA Title. Ray said he’s going to smarten up all of them. “Do you know who I am? I’m Bully Ray and I will do anything and everything to keep my World Hvt. Title,” Ray said.
Ray said he wants to call someone out on Open Fight Night. But, he doesn’t want to fight because he’s a lover, not a fighter. Ray then asked for his “beautiful wife, Brooke” to please come out now. No sign of Brooke. Taz noted Ray did send some of the boys to the back to make sure Brooke arrived safely. Still no sign of Brooke.
Suddenly, the old Main Event Mafia music played. Taz told Ray not to worry, saying it’s just Sting playing games. Sting walked out on-stage dressed in his MEM suit, then marched to the ring to confront Ray. Sting howled, then said he realizes there’s no lone-wolves who will pierce A&E’s corporate shield, so he went back to his family. Ray asked Sting what he knows about family, then reminded Sting that he beat him single-handedly. And, Sting will never get a title shot again.
Sting said Ray is right, but he can still get retribution. And tonight. Taz chuckled to himself, then Ray asked what kind of retribution he’s going to get on him. Sting backed away, turned his back to Ray, undid his tie, and ignored Ray, who said his family will have his back at the snap of a finger. Ray said he will snap his fingers right now. Sting then walked up to Ray as Ray told him to stop doing whatever he’s doing. Sting continued undressing, then Ray snapped his finger and called down for A&E to show up.
No sign of the group, though. “Where’s the guys?” Taz wondered aloud. Sting then tossed his dress shirt in Ray’s face before telling him to look toward the video screen. Backstage, A&E was laid out in the back. Ray, stunned, turned around and took a right hand shot to the face from Sting. Ray then backed away down the entrance-ramp and a bald-headed man in a fancy suit speared Ray. Goldberg? No, Kurt Angle, who didn’t make the save for Sting at Slammiversary. But, Sting recruited him anyways. Angle put Ray in the Anklelock and the World champ tapped out furiously as Sting leaned down and watched him tap. Impact faded out with Ray caught between Sting and Angle.
(James Caldwell, PWTorch)