The fourth live Impact episode of TNA’s summer series opened with a video package documenting James Storm’s resurgence in the Bound for Glory Series last week and Austin Aries facing a title decision tonight.
Live in the Impact Zone, Mike Tenay set the stage, focusing on three items tonight – Aries’s decision, A.J. Styles and Dixie Carter “coming clean,” and the BFG Series Open Fight Night. Hulk Hogan’s music then played to bring out Hogan posing on-stage. On the way to the ring, Hogan pointed to his watch and told Aries that it’s time. Taz also that noted tonight’s Gut Check will feature the first female contestant.
After Hogan completed his posing and various crowd-milking, Hogan said when you ask for change, you better be ready because you make some friends and enemies along the way. Hogan said what happened at the end of last week’s show when Sting was attacked was uncalled for. He said they won’t give those people any more publicity, but they will find out who attacked Sting and make it right for Sting. Hogan followed with more plugs for Open Fight Night and the BFG Series tonight before calling out Austin Aries to come out and make his decision.
After a pause, Aries’s music played to bring out the X Division champion sporting street clothes and the X Title belt around his waist. In the ring, Aries said business first. Aries said last week, Hogan put a great and interesting opportunity on the plate for him. They recapped the offer from Hogan again before noting to be The Man in TNA, you have to be TNA World champion. But, the X Division Title is what this company was built on. He said the X Title is important and he’s afraid if he just hands the title over, then it means nothing. Aries said he came up with an idea – Option C. Hogan said he didn’t give him an Option C. It’s either A or B. Hogan told him he better have one heck of an idea because he’s not here to play games. Aries said he has Option C in mind – he will hand over the X Title for a shot at Roode if he sets the standard going forward that whomever the X champion is leading into Destination X each year will automatically receive a title shot at the PPV. Hogan said Aries is a visionary and he likes where he’s going. Hogan agreed on Option C, and they shook hands.
Suddenly, Roode’s music played to bring out Bobby Roode demanding Hogan get out of his ring. He then asked Aries who he thinks he is thinking he can dictate what happens in his company. Roode told Aries that his little paper title means nothing to him. He said this is the real World Title. “Austin Aries” chant interrupted. Roode told Aries he just made the biggest mistake of his life. If he wants to get in the main event to challenge for his title, then so be it, but he is no X Division wrestler. “I am God’s gift to professional wrestling,” Roode said. He said he will prove why he’s this company’s top champion at Destination X. Roode vowed to embarrass Aries’s ass. Aries said this is Open Fight Night, so come on down and embarrass him.
The two men met ringside and the fight was on. Roode pulled out an old hockey move pulling Aries’s shirt over his head to take away his eyesight. TNA agents then got their TV time breaking up the fight. Aries shouted at Roode that he’s not tough. Suddenly, Mr. Anderson’s music played as Roode continued to be held back ringside. Anderson came out on-stage and told Roode and Aries that he could watch them pound the snot out of each other all day, but he’s putting them on notice that he doesn’t care who wins their title match because the winner of the BFG Series is the man from Green Bay, Wisconsin…Mr. Anderson. Tenay said Anderson will kick off Open Fight Night and will call out someone on the other side of the break.
[Commercial Break… […Q2]
Back live, Mike Tenay recapped the BFG Series point system this year. In the ring, Mr. Anderson waited for the red light to make his challenge. He said this man has the balls to intentionally attempt to destroy another man’s family. He called out Daniels. They cut backstage to show Daniels holding his martini and selling anger over having to go fight right now. Daniels then made his way out still with martini glass in-hand. Daniels took a swig before hitting the ring to demand an answer why Anderson called him out. Anderson punched him and it was on.
1 — MR. ANDERSON vs. DANIELS — BFG Series match
In the crowd, Joseph Park was shown intently watching. Also, the announcers noted all BFG Series matches have a 10-minute time limit. Anderson and Daniels went back and forth before Daniels got too cocky, which allowed Anderson to make a comeback and hit the Mic Check for a clean pin and the win.
WINNER: Anderson at 3:06; Anderson gets 7 points.
Backstage: A.J. Styles and Dixie Carter were shown talking in the hallway. Styles acted concerned about having to talk about their issues tonight. He said maybe tonight isn’t the right time, but Dixie told him they’ve gone over it all week. Styles suggested another way. Option C? Dixie sold frustration as Styles sold inner conflict.
Backstage: The Knockouts were gathered on couches in a back room waiting to find out who’s challenging Tessmacher for the KO Title tonight. Brooke Hogan walked into the room as they cut to break.
[Q3] Backstage: Brooke was in the middle of a conversation with the Knockouts. Madison Rayne was tired of waiting around for her answer. Brooke ignored Madison and said she wants to talk to them about why they want the KO Title. ODB said she’s different than any other Knockout, then got caught up in a conversation with Madison. Brooke cut off Madison and said she needs to get her imaginary friend out of her mind. Velvet Sky said she never got her title re-match. Mickie James then claimed to be the best female wrestler of all-time. Brooke told them to get their acts together and be like Tessmacher, who is focused on working hard every night. There was no resolution to who will face Tessmacher tonight after what was presented as a very natural discussion with Brooke taking charge.
Impact Zone: Robbie E. was in the ring backed by Rob Terry. Robbie issued an open challenge to anyone in the back, and out came Kurt Angle ready for a snack.
2 — KURT ANGLE vs. ROBBIE E. (w/Rob Terry) — BFG Series match
Robbie tried to jump Angle once Angle hit the ring, but Angle quickly cut him off and landed three German Suplexes followed by the Angle Slam. Angle flowed right into the Anklelock and Robbie quickly tapped out. Angle kept on smiling and walked right out of the ring.
WINNER: Angle via submission at 0:33, Angle gets 10 points for a submission. Nice, quick, clean, safe victory for Angle.
Gut Check video: Taeler Hendrix was spotlighted for tonight’s Gut Check contest. Hendrix talked about fighting cancer early in her career and now coming to TNA wanting to be Knockouts champion.
Impact Zone: Magnus’s music played to bring out the former tag champion for the next BFG Series Open Challenge. Magnus said he has someone in mind. They cut to break before Magnus’s opponent came out.
Impact Zone: Back live, Magnus was in the ring looking for his cue to issue an open challenge. He said he wants to face a man whose head isn’t in the game. Magnus said he gets it that he has women lined up all over the world to get a shot at “this.” He said he doesn’t screw around with another man’s wife, though, especially when she writes the checks. So, he’s calling out a man who is extremely selfish and only thinks of himself, A.J. Styles. Backstage, Styles took a deep breath and made his way down the hallway to the curtain to answer Magnus’s challenge.
3 — MAGNUS vs. A.J. STYLES — BFG Series match
Styles hit the ring and landed right hand blows before delivering a backbreaker. Styles tried a top-rope move, but Magnus intercepted him in mid-air, then turned it into a big suplex. Magnus continued the assault with forearm strikes, but walked into a textbook dropkick. Magnus avoided the Pele Kick, though, and scored a one count on a pin attempt. They cut to a shot of Joseph Park snacking on popcorn as Magnus settled into a chinlock. Styles came back with a corner clothesline before landing a kick to the head.
Styles went to the corner for a potential finisher as Daniels and Kaz came out to ringside holding paper. Their presence provided a distraction, which allowed Magnus to deliver his finisher for the pin and the win. Post-match: Daniels and Kaz sold mock frustration that Styles lost his match. They left ringside as Styles recovered in the ring.
WINNER: Magnus at 2:28; Magnus gets 7 points. Fine use of Daniels & Kaz to give Styles an “out” for his early BFG Series loss and continue building to Styles “coming clean” on whatever the issue with Dixie is.
Backstage: Hendrix was shown warming up for her Gut Check opportunity. She certainly seems to have the “it” factor TNA is looking for her.
[Q4] [Commercial Break]
Impact Zone: Back live, Jeremy Borash was in the ring along with Taeler Hendrix. JB announced that this is Gut Check. Cue up the dramatic music. JB told Hendrix they hope she is ready. Out came her Gut Check opponent, Tara, who Tenay said is the most experienced TNA Knockout on the roster, which will give Taeler a tough task tonight.
4 — TARA vs. TAELER HENDRIX — Gut Check match
Tara played the veteran role early on, giving Hendrix a lesson in the ring. Mid-match, Joseph Park was instructed by a stagehand to leave his bleacher seat. Hendrix eventually teased a comeback, but Tara cut her off and scored with the Widow’s Peak for a clean win.
WINNER: Tara at 2:34.
Backstage: The six remaining BFG Series competitors were shown waiting for their assignments. Samoa Joe was in soccer shorts, Jeff Hardy had creepy blue paint on, and Bully Ray and James Storm had a great “moment” staring each other down.
Backstage: Park was shown arguing with a stagehand leading him down the hallway. They were stopped by Bully Ray, who told “lawyer boy” that he smells the fear on Park. Park said he may be scared of him, but his brother is not, especially when his brother snatched him out of the ring last week. Ray told Park that if he sees him out in the crowd one more time or Abyss one more time, it will be the last time either one of them is ever seen. Ray threw him off, then Park tried to collect himself and catch his breath following Ray’s latest intimidation tactics.
Announcers: Just before the top of the hour, Tenay and Taz reset the show, focusing on Austin Aries’s TNA Title opportunity at the PPV.
[Q5 — second hour] Impact Zone: Samoa Joe’s music played to bring out an angry Joe ready for a fight. Joe took a mic and said since no one in the back has the guts to say his name, he’ll come out here and do it himself. He called out James Storm, who giggled backstage. Joe said since Storm is fresh back from petting his horse and finding his smile, he wants to fight him. Backstage, Storm snarled and came through the curtain to the ring.
5 — SAMOA JOE vs. JAMES STORM — BFG Series match
Joe was the aggressor early on, working on Storm’s shoulder. Meanwhile, the announcers told the late-arriving audience that they missed a lot in the first hour. Joe continued to work on Storm as Taz amused himself with pronoun discussion. Storm made a comeback with forearm strikes, but Joe cut him off with a knee to the gut into an armbreaker. Storm fought back with elbows to the gut, then right hand strikes before building momentum with clotheslines. Storm followed with a flying forearm, but got caught in the corner, where Joe smashed him with an enziguiri. Joe then slapped on a rear naked choke, but Storm escaped and flowed into the Last Call Superkick. Storm with the pin for the win.
Post-match: Storm celebrated by shooting alcohol into the crowd. Joe wasn’t happy about the celebration and brought a beer bottle into the ring. Storm saw it coming, though, and prepared to defend himself. Joe opted to give it to Storm, though, as a “sign of mutual respect,” according to Tenay, before bailing from the ring to give Storm the celebration spotlight.
WINNER: Storm at 3:55; Storm gets 7 points to bring him to 27 points.
Video Package: TNA recapped the A.J. Styles and Dixie Carter “scandal” over the past several weeks.
Backstage: Styles and Dixie were shown talking again. Styles said he can’t focus on his matches so they need to get this out in the open tonight. He told Dixie that he’s falling apart. Dixie, with her hands on his chest to calm him down, assured him it’s the right thing to do.
Backstage: Brooke Hogan was back with the Knockouts to talk business and try to see who’s focused on getting the Knockouts Title. She told ODB that she needs to get her personal affairs in order with her “husband” pulling his pants down in front of other women. ODB asked where daddy’s office is, then left.
[Q6] Impact Zone: Bully Ray came out to the Impact Zone with purpose. Ray paced around in the ring before demanding his music be shut off. “It’s off,” Taz said under his breath since it faded out just before Ray spoke. Ray asked if they know he is before introducing himself as the most-hated bully in the world. He demanded to know where Joseph Park is, then noted he’s not here right now. Ray went on to business at-hand. He said they have RVD, Pope, and Hardy left backstage. Ray said he’s going to take the easy ten points tonight, then called out Pope. Ray said he wants his quick points so he can go home and move on to a TNA Title shot. Pope shook off Ray’s “easy” claim, got dressed, and hit the ring.
6 — BULLY RAY vs. “THE POPE” D’ANGELO DINERO — BFG Series match
In the ring, Pope turned his back to remove his jacket, which gave Ray an opening to jump him from behind. Of course, this being TNA, the bell sounded despite the unfair start. Ray continued the assault with sustained offense before Pope came back with a right hand strike. They traded bombs before Pope landed an atomic drop into shoulder block. Pope landed successive bionic elbows, then delivered his running drop across Ray’s neck. Pope wanted a top rope move, but Ray smacked the ropes, crotching Pope.
Ray followed with a big corner splash before landing six of ten corner punches. Suddenly, Abyss came through the crowd and called out for Ray. Abyss made his way to ringside as Pope kneed Ray in the back, sending him to the floor. Ray then got up and saw Abyss standing on the front row. Abyss hopped the guardrail and frightened Ray back into the ring. Back in the ring, Pope hit a quick impact move for the pin and the win. Post-match: Abyss hit the ring and chased Ray out of the ring. Ray ran away to the back as Abyss – walking like a zombie – demanded he come to him.
WINNER: Pope at 3:45; Pope gets 7 points. Abyss’s character just doesn’t seem to fit in the current TNA look and feel. Feels too connected to TNA’s past during eras of illogical, convoluted storylines.
Backstage: Hogan was with the remaining BFG Series competitors, Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy. He said no one called them out, so they must be the odds-on-favorites to win the Series. (That’s way over-looking James Storm.) Hogan told them they are his main event tonight.
Up Next: Brooke makes her Knockouts Title match decision.
Music Video: Portions of Montgomery Gentry’s new music video starring Velvet Sky aired. Included in the video was footage taped at the Impact Zone.
[Q7] Impact Zone: Christy Hemme introduced the Knockouts Title match, starting with the new Knockouts champion Miss Tessmacher. Tenay noted Tessmacher still doesn’t know who she’s facing tonight. They cut backstage to show Brooke Hogan with Velvet Sky and Mickie James. Brooke told Velvet she got the music video, but Mickie gets the title shot tonight. Velvet acted happy for Mickie.
7 — Knockouts champion MISS TESSMACHER vs. MICKIE JAMES — Knockouts Title match
Mickie played the dominant veteran role early on, and scored several close nearfalls that continued to frustrate her. Tessmacher came back with a close nearfall after Mickie kicked out at the last second. Tessmacher then scored with a quick leverage pin for the win. Afterward, Tessmacher took her belt and high-tailed it out of the ring as Mickie sold frustration and pent-up anger.
WINNER: Tessmacher at 5:20. Basic storytelling with Tessmacher trying to hold on for dear life as new champ, while Mickie’s frustration continues to boil not having the title to be recognized as the self-proclaimed best women’s wrestler in TNA.
Backstage: RVD was shown taping his wrists in preparation for the main event. Jeff Hardy was then shown walking down the hallway.
Impact Zone: Rob Van Dam’s music played back from break as that regular obnoxious person in the crowd continued to shriek next to an arena mic. Out came RVD for the final BFG Series match of the night, followed by Jeff Hardy.
8 — JEFF HARDY vs. ROB VAN DAM — BFG Series match
Hardy knocked RVD to the floor within the first minute, then RVD blocked a high-flying attempt. The crowd picked up a dueling “Let’s Go Hardy / R – V – D” chant as RVD began his attack in the ring. RVD followed with a split-legged moonsault for a nearfall, then Hardy came back with a bulldog. Hardy followed with a front suplex before climbing up top. He wanted a Swanton, but Rob moved and Hardy ate the mat.
RVD climbed up top for a 450 splash, but Hardy moved. Hardy nailed a DDT, but RVD kicked out in-time. Hardy followed with a Twist of Fate that turned into sort of a flip-over neckbreaker, and it was good for the pin and the win. Post-match: Tenay covered for this being very short for a TNA main event by focusing on the “incredible pace” to the match.
WINNER: Hardy at 3:47; Hardy gets 7 points. Not enough time to establish a flow in another quick BFG Series match.
Backstage: Styles and Dixie were shown walking down the hallway. They answer Daniels’s allegations next.
Back live, Tenay recapped the BFG Series Leaderboard with James Storm on top with 27 points and Kurt Angle second-place with 10 points.
Next Week: TNA Tag Title match with Angle & Styles vs. Daniels & Kazarian in a Slammiversary re-match.
Impact Zone: To no music, Dixie and Styles emerged on-stage to have one final conversation before walking to the ring. They eventually made it into the ring selling concern over their speech. Dixie said this has been going on a long time. She said situations like this never have a positive outcome. Dixie couldn’t find the words, so Styles told her they don’t have to do this. He said they can leave right now. The crowd booed as Styles tried to lead her out of the ring, but a random woman emerged ringside.
The woman, pregnant, approached Styles and asked to be let into the ring. The woman introduced herself as Claire Lynch and said no one knows who she is. Claire said she came to Dixie looking for help and Dixie went to A.J. because she knew he could help because he is of high moral character. Claire said she’s here to tell the truth. She said Dixie and A.J. are not having an affair. She said she’s an addict and been trying to get clean; she started out drinking and it got out of control. Claire said she woke up a few times in a hotel room with strangers. Some audience members laughed in the background as this got more and more absurd.
Claire she didn’t want anyone to know her secret, and they were there for her. Claire said Daniels and Kaz got in the way when Dixie and Styles were trying to look over her. Backstage, Daniels and Kaz were shown freaking out because no one told him that she was there. Daniels came stomping out to the ring, and Styles met him with a blast to the face. Kaz tried to make the save, but Styles creamed him. Styles blasted away at Daniels again, then power-slammed Kaz on the back of his neck that oohed the crowd. Styles and Daniels continued to brawl, then Styles hit a Pele Kick. He pounded away at Daniels as they signed off.
(Credit: James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor)