This week’s TNA Impact opened with Todd Keneley’s voice in soundbytes from Slammiversary on Sunday. The video ran through highlights from the entire PPV, concluding with footage of Bully Ray beating Sting to retain the TNA World Title and Sting unable to challenge for the title again.
From Atlanta, Ga., Mike Tenay introduced the show now that Keneley is no longer with TNA. Aces & Eights’s music then played to bring out Bully Ray as Taz hyped Ray’s title victory at the PPV. Ray marched through the back entrance as Tenay complained about Bully needing help from six members of Aces & Eights to beat Sting on Sunday.
Once in the ring, Ray introduced himself to boos. “I am the TNA World Hvt. champion,” Bully said. He said he comes from New York City (more boos) and the guy who defeated Sting at Slammiversary (more boos). Ray said Slammiversary hasn’t been too kind to Sting – last year, it was the first time Sting got jumped by his group. And everyone knows what happened on Sunday – he single-handedly defeated Sting (more boos for Ray distorting the truth as a heel).
Ray said the rumor is Sting might even retire. He said TNA has no more heroes because he has destroyed everyone and no one can do anything about it. Ray said there’s only one thing left to do. “I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame,” Ray said to boos. Ray then called out Dixie Carter, telling her to step out of the mirror for five seconds and come down to his ring.
Suddenly, Hulk Hogan’s music interrupted at 9:07 EST. Hogan strutted out on-stage to loud cheers as Ray trash-talked him from inside the ring. Taz asked what Hogan is doing out here as Hogan asked for his music to be cut. Hogan said this sounds like Hulkamania Country. Wearing bandages over his hand, Hogan said he could not believe how Sting slipped on a banana split at Slammiversary to lose to Bully and Aces & Eights. But, did he just hear that there’s no more competition? “You heard me damn well, daddddd,” Ray replied. Hogan told his “son of a b” that he begs to differ. Because it’s Bound for Glory Series time. Next week, there will be a list of 12 potential competitors identified during the Selection Show.
As for tonight, tonight in Atlanta, Ga. (cheap pop acknowledged), it will be Ray against the man he screwed not only once, but twice. “The enigma Jeff Hardy, dude,” Hogan said. Jeff Hardy’s music played and Hardy marched out on-stage with his hands in his pockets as the crowd cheered wildly. Hardy hit the ring, sending Ray out of the ring to complain about Hogan’s booking. “Hardy, Hardy” chant before Ray demanded a change. Hogan said he can do whatever he wants, then said he wants to make Hardy feel really comfortable at home tonight.
Hogan said the title isn’t on the line, but there will be a monster ladder in the middle of the ring. And, what’s hanging in the balance – long, long build-up – will be a hammer. Hogan said whoever gets to the hammer first gets to use it. Is Home Depot sponsoring the match? Hogan’s music played as Taz complained about Hogan abusing his power.
BFG Series video: At Bound for Glory, one man will earn a spot to challenge for the TNA World Title. 12 will enter, but only one will survive. Next week, the 12 wrestlers will be selected.
Backstage: Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez were shown talking about their Tag Title loss at Slammiversary. Chavo then noted both of them have been added to the BFG Series. Hernandez changed the subject to thanking him for teaching him the Guerrero Way, but Chavo ignored his handshake and said he hasn’t taught him everything. Chavo walked off, leaving Hernandez hanging.
[Q2] [Commercial Break]
Back live at 9:20, Hernandez’s music played to bring out Hernandez for a Bound for Glory Series qualifying match. Didn’t Chavo just say they’re both in the BFG Series? Combined with Hogan’s confusing explanation at the top of the show, apparently the deal is there’s a qualifying round to then be considered for the BFG Series on next week’s Selection Show.
1 — CHAVO GUERRERO vs. HERNANDEZ — BFG Series qualifying match
Hernandez knocked down his tag partner to start the match as Tenay plugged Rampage Jackson’s signing. Actually, the deal with the BFG Series is that one slot has already been filled (Jay Bradley), this match will determine the 2nd of 12 slots, and the full roster will be determined on next week’s official Selection Show. They need a graphic. Hernandez had a pin 3:30 in, but Chavo got his feet on the ropes. Chavo then snapped off two of the Three Amigos suplexes to some boos. He followed with a spinwheel kick in the corner, and a teased top-rope frogsplash generated some cheers. But, Hernandez got his knees up to block the frogsplash.
Hernandez then wanted to end it with the Border Toss, but Chavo countered with a roll-through. But, Hernandez slipped through and stacked up Chavo for a quick three count. Post-match, Chavo threw a fit about losing while Hernandez watched Chavo. Hernandez asked for some applause for Chavo, but Chavo was taking the loss hard. They eventually embraced center-ring and Chavo reluctantly gave it up for Hernandez.
WINNER: Hernandez at 4:58. It’s time for Chavo to turn heel, so this was a fine set-up to plant seeds for a heel turn.
Backstage: Rampage Jackson was shown walking through the doors to enter the building, making his TV debut. Rampage shook hands with new tag champs James Storm and Gunner before exchanging some pleasantries.
[Q3] Tonight: Rampage Jackson will appear at the top of the hour.
In-ring: More Aces & Eights music. Out from the back entrance was former TV champion Devon. Devon marched to the ring and told the crowd to shut up. He said he wants Abyss and the TV Title right now. “Get yo ass down here,” Devon said.
Joseph Park’s music interrupted and Park waddled out on the entrance ramp. He said Devon assaulted him and robbed him of his chance to challenge for the TV Title last Sunday at the PPV. Park said he is tired of being bullied, then he jumped Devon in the ring with a double-leg takedown. Park landed a few blows, then shoved down Devon. But, Devon eventually recovered and knocked down an over-zealous Park. Devon followed with kicks and stomps before knocking Park out of the ring.
On the outside, in plain sight of the camera, Park pulled out a blood tablet from the pocket of his track jacket, then Devon sent Park into the ringpost. The camera focused on Devon, who wanted to smash Park with a chair shot, but Abyss’s music played to distract Devon. No sign of Abyss, though. Devon grabbed the mic and demanded Abyss come out here. Then, Devon scooped up Park, who had “blood” coming from his mouth, and landed a few more blows before leaving. Park saw the blood, freaked out, began breathing heavily, and started to make his toward a departing Devon as Impact cut to break.
Back at 9:41, Devon and D.O.C. were shown backstage scouring the hallways looking for Abyss. No sign of him, though.
In-ring: Robbie E. was introduced to the ring. Robbie claimed that he was the MVP of the BFG Series last year, then reminded everyone that he beat Jeff Hardy and even got five points. Tonight, after he wants his qualifying match, the sky’s the limit. Robbie said his opponent tonight is going down. Suddenly, Samoa Joe’s music played. Joe marched out on-stage and stared down Robbie in the ring.
2 — SAMOA JOE vs. ROBBIE E. — BFG Series qualifying match
Joe hit the ring and big-booted Robbie in the face. Joe landed more high-impact offense, popping the crowd. Joe let the crowd enjoy his beating for a second, then tried the Muscle Buster, but Robbie raked his eyes. Robbie couldn’t follow up, though, giving Joe an opening to deliver more signature offense. Joe crunched Robbie in the corner, then hit the Muscle Buster center-ring. Joe followed with the rear-naked choke for a quick tap-out.
WINNER: Joe via submission at 1:44 to qualify for the BFG Series. It’s Jay Bradley, Hernandez, and Joe in the BFG Series.
[Q4] Still to come: Hardy vs. Ray in a non-title ladder match. Also, Rampage Jackson makes his TV debut at the top of the hour.
Up Next: Kurt Angle Hall of Fame video package.
Back at 9:50, TNA replayed footage from last Thursday when Gail Kim tried to take out Velvet Sky’s injured knee. Meanwhile, new KO champion Mickie James just stood there and watched.
Hallway: Mickie James and Velvet Sky came face-to-face. Mickie said she’s sorry for not helping her last week, but she has a gift: TNA Georgia Lottery card. Mickie said knows she just stood there last week, but she felt like she was in a movie just watching things unfold in front of her. She said before she could do anything, “day-saver” Taryn Terrell showed up. She asked Velvet to accept her apology. Velvet accepted, then requested her title re-match tonight. “About that,” Mickie said. She said she already has a match tonight against someone Velvet over-looked when she was champion. But, their re-match will happen in the future. Mickie walked off, frustrating Velvet, who claimed she is healthy.
Ringside: Taz and Mike Tenay recapped Slammiversary and plugged the replay before rolling footage from Kurt Angle’s Hall of Fame induction video.
Back in the arena, Tenay plugged Rampage Jackson debuting on Impact next.
Rampage Jackson Debut
Impact returned one minute before the top of the hour with Jeremy Borash in the ring. The crowd appeared to be warmed up before they returned from break, then JB welcomed out Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Rampage emerged on-stage as Tenay plugged media coverage of Jackson’s signing this week.
[Q5 -- second hour] Jackson, who has an unmistakable presence, marched down the ramp before entering the ring. JB welcomed Jackson to TNA. Jackson said he grew up a wrestling fan in Memphis and he knows that if he’s going to be the best in TNA, he has to beat the best. Suddenly, Kurt Angle’s music played. Jackson will have to work on his “shock and surprise over a wrestling interruption” facial expression.
Angle marched to the ring and went face-to-face with Jackson. He told Rampage that he’s staring right at the best right now. Angle told Jackson that he might be the best in the cage, but this is his world. He said when Jackson thinks he’s ready, he’ll have to go through him. Angle told him that’s real. They came within inches of each other, then Angle backed away and shook hands with Jackson. Then, they came within a few inches again. Jackson nodded up and down that he gets it, then Angle’s music played. Angle marched out of the ring, then Jackson looked around the arena surveying the crowd to conclude his introduction.
Earlier Tonight: Hogan booked Hardy vs. Bully in a ladder match tonight.
Locker Room: Jeff Hardy talked about getting his revenge on Bully Ray tonight.
Backstage: New tag champs James Storm & Gunner and new X Division champion Chris Sabin were shown walking down the hallway. They’re in six-man tag action next.
Impact returned at 10:08 with a plug for upcoming TNA house shows. They could have at least kept around Todd Keneley to read these spots.
Moments Ago: Kurt Angle confronted Rampage Jackson.
A&E Holding Cell: Bully Ray asked Mr. Anderson what happened to D-Lo Brown. Anderson noted Brown has a “bit of a headache,” referring to Anderson popping Brown with a hammer last week. They moved along to other business, specifically Ray booking him in a ladder match vs. Hardy tonight. Ray then asked why Hogan would put the #1 star, Hardy, in a dangerous match with him tonight. And, why are they not represented in the BFG Series? Ray vowed to fix this, then Anderson asked if he needs some help tonight. Ray told Anderson that a good VP knows what to do, suggesting Anderson is auditioning for the spot.
In-ring: Austin Aries’s music brought out Aries, Roode, and Kenny King. James Storm’s music then brought out Storm, Gunner, and Chris Sabin for six-man tag action. Before the match started, TNA showed still-shots of the Ultimate X match at the PPV. Back live, Tenay noted Sabin will have the chance to cash in the X Title for a TNA Title shot at Destination X “this summer.” The NBA Finals Game 1 hit halftime as the bell sounded.
3 — X Division champion CHRIS SABIN & TNA tag champions JAMES STORM & GUNNER vs. KENNY KING & AUSTIN ARIES & BOBBY ROODE — six-man tag match
The face trio quickly knocked the heels to the outside, then Sabin tried to wipe out all three opponents with a splash. Taz heeled on Sabin, noting that’s how he blew out his knee twice before. Back in the ring, Storm and Roode went toe-to-toe in a Beer Money flashback. Storm got the best of Roode, popping the crowd, but Aries blind-sided Storm and Roode slammed his former tag partner to give the heels the advantage.
The match built to a hot-tag to Gunner, who ran over the heels before sling-shot suplexing King for a pin attempt that was broken up by Roode and Aries. The action broke down before Roode caught Gunner with a big spinebuster. This set of a chain of moves before Sabin hit King with the Hail Sabin cradle driver. It was good for the pin and the win. After the match, TNA stayed with a post-match celebration for the face trio.
WINNERS: Team Sabin at 6:39.
Still to come: Hardy vs. Bully in a ladder match.
Backstage: Mickie James was shown walking down the hallway. Hardcore Country is in action next against an opponent TBA.
Backstage: Devon and D.O.C. were still looking for Abyss somewhere in the building. The duo stormed through a side door and took off running out of sight of the camera.
Video Package: Taryn Terrell beat Gail Kim in a brutal Last Knockout Standing match at Slammiversary.
Backstage: Brooke Hogan hyped Taryn Terrell’s performance on Sunday. Taryn said Gail Kim had it coming to her, but she was focused on one thing – becoming Knockouts champion. She then asked Brooke if she’s still in love with Bully. Brooke tried to downplay the question, telling her to keep it about wrestling. Taryn apologized for stepping out of line, then walked off.
In-ring: Knockouts champion Mickie James was introduced for the next match. Gut Check winner Taeler Hendrix was then introduced to face Mickie, bringing Taeler back to television.
4 — KO champion MICKIE JAMES vs. TAELER HENDRIX — non-title match — ODB referee
Mickie was disingenuously ready to play nice early on. So, they locked up, but Taeler “showed up” Mickie with a move and celebrated. Mickie mockingly applauded, then established control of the match. Another lock-up, a play-nice handshake, and Mickie controlled again. Mickie then finished off Taeler for the win. After the victory, Mickie applauded Taeler and continued being over-the-top playing nice.
WINNER: Mickie at 3:50.
Backstage: An overhead camera followed Devon and D.O.C. looking for Abyss. Suddenly, shadows on a wall documented Abyss sneaking up behind D.O.C. and temporarily kidnapping him. Devon couldn’t find D.O.C., so he freaked out, then Abyss chucked D.O.C. against the wall before smashing Devon to the ground. Abyss vowed to take the TV Title belt…to the abyss.
Still to come: Hardy vs. Ray in the main event.
Back from break at 10:40, TNA ran a video package on Sting unsuccessfully challenging Bully Ray for the TNA Title at Slammiversary. But, Sting had no one to help him fight off Aces & Eights’s interference.
Tweet: Sting sent out a message earlier today: “Sunday, I was left to fight alone … message received!” Mike Tenay plugged Sting appearing next week on Impact to address his future in TNA.
Next Week: Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles in a BFG Series qualifying match. Also next week, Storm & Gunner vs. Daniels & Kazarian in a BFG Series qualifying tag match.
Earlier Tonight: Angle and Rampage Jackson had a mid-ring confrontation.
In-ring: Jeff Hardy’s music played for the TV main event. Hardy walked by a ladder on the entranceramp, then took a victory lap around the ringside area. Aces & Eights’s music then brought out Bully Ray from the back entrance-area before TNA focused on a hammer hanging above the ring. Out of protest for this match happening, Ray took his time entering the ring, stopping for a conversation with Taz. Hardy had enough of this and splashed Ray on the outside to begin the match.
5 — TNA World Hvt. champion BULLY RAY vs. JEFF HARDY — non-title ladder match with a hammer hanging above the ring
Hardy dragged Ray into the ring before delivering a big corner splash. Hardy then knocked Ray to the floor again and delivered another splash, nearly taking out Taz in the process. Ray sold immense pain on the floor as Hardy soaked up a “Hardy, Hardy” chant. Jeff then smashed Bully into the ring steps before going under the ring to retrieve a ladder, which he slid into the ring.
Back in the ring, Hardy wanted to climb, but Ray yanked him down and tried to injure Hardy’s leg. Tenay frantically described the change in momentum as Impact cut to break.
Back from break 9 minutes before the top of the hour, Ray was in control of the match. In the ring, Ray worked on Hardy’s leg, trying to prevent him from being able to climb the ladder. Bully then picked up a ladder and dropped it down on Hardy’s stomach. After the damage was done, the ladder casually rebounded off the bottom rope, then accidentally popped Hardy in the face on the way down.
Ray proceeded to use his fist as a hammer, shouting that he doesn’t need a hammer. Hardy teased a comeback, but Ray easily countered with a big kick to the head and flowed right into the Stan Hansen horns. As Hardy sold, Ray mocked Hulk Hogan by posing to the crowd. “Hi dad!” Ray mockingly waved toward the hard-camera. Amazing sequence from Ray.
At 9:00, Ray tried to follow up, but Hardy countered with a DDT. Both men sold on the mat before they came to their feet and traded bombs. Hardy took control, then dropkicked Ray across the ring. Hardy followed by setting up a ladder mid-ring, then he started to climb, but Ray shoved it down. Hardy responded by shoving Ray into the corner before dropkicking the ladder into Ray’s crotch. Ray sold immense pain as the crowd soaked it in and Taz noted Ray does not wear a cup.
At 11:40, Hardy started climbing the ladder, but Ray shoved Hardy down to the mat. It’s worth noting no pinfall attempts thus far, so apparently a decision cannot be rendered until the hammer is retrieved. They were two minutes away from the top of the hour without a sense of the match nearing its conclusion. Hardy then tried climbing again, but Ray shoved him down again. Hardy recovered in the corner, then hit Whisper in the Wind, taking out both men.
At 14:00, Hardy set up to climb again. Hardy touched the hammer, but Ray yanked the ladder out from underneath Hardy, who crashed down to the mat. Ray then dragged Hardy to the corner, sold crotchal pain, and started climbing the ladder. Ray reached up and touched the hammer and retrieved it. Ray sneered toward the hard cam, then slowly walked down the ladder steps.
[Q9 -- over-run] Ray discarded the ladder, then measured Hardy for a hammer shot as the referee remained outside the ring. Why was he still on the outside? Why was he even there? Hardy blocked the hammer shot, though, and hit Twist of Fate. Hardy took the hammer as Taz told Hardy that he’s better than this. Ray ducked a hammer shot, then another and Ray took off to the back. As Hardy gave chase, he sold injuring his butt. Hardy then picked up the hammer and asked the ref to help him backstage.
WINNER: ??? at 16:20 when TNA cut backstage. Fool the audience once, shame on them. Fool the audience 39 times, shame on the promotion for another TV main event without a finish. Poor writing that shifts the heat from the heel to the promotion. Or, blame it on Hogan, who has trouble explaining stipulations when he announces matches. How was the match supposed to end, anyways – hammer shot wins, pinfall or submission, some other method? They never made it clear.
Backstage: Bully Ray was shown demanding his World Title belt. Ray continued stumbling around the backstage area while catching his breath. Ray bent over, then sat down as Hogan approached him from behind with a weapon in-hand. Hogan, the babyface authority figure, wanted to smash Ray from behind like the guy in the Hopper commercial with a baseball bat, but Brooke Hogan ran in and shouted, “No!” Ray saw her intrusion as an opening to leave, then he took off. Brooke and Hulk had a non-verbal stare down to close the show two minutes past the top of the hour.
(Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch.com)