This week’s live Impact started with text on the screen sending condolences to the people of Oklahoma affected by devastating tornadoes earlier this week. Included was a Red Cross number to donate.
Impact then opened with the standard “What Happened Last Week” intro video, focusing on Abyss/Joseph Park, Bully Ray and Sting feuding over the TNA Title, and “Hogan” fed up with A.J. Styles. Horace or Hulk? They continue to be on a last-name basis in the intros. The voice-over announcer concluded by saying it looks like A.J. Styles is joining Aces & Eights tonight.
In the SunDome, Todd Keneley introduced the show and plugged the Knockouts Title match, Suicide returning, and Styles potentially joining Aces & Eights.
Impact then kicked off with Hulk Hogan’s music bringing out Hogan in his home market. Taz called it typical Hogan trying to take over the show. TNA went to various pro-Hogan crowd shots before showing Hogan’s wife on the front row as Hogan hit the ring. Once in the ring, Hogan milked a loud “Hogan” chant before shouting out to his hometown fans.
Hogan said he knew it was going to be special because when he hit Hogan’s Beach Shop last night, he heard it was going to be heavy in the SunDome tonight. Hogan added that he drank before the show, then watched Shark Boy drink with him.
Hogan got down to business that A.J. Styles is crossing over to the darkside tonight, then blew it off as not mattering to him. So, he brought out his real brother, Sting, to talk about getting the power back in TNA. Once Sting hit the ring, Hogan told Sting that he appreciates what he’s doing for “The Family” at Slammiversary, but he doesn’t have to go for the stipulation that he never gets another title shot if he doesn’t win at the PPV.
Sting replied that he doesn’t need Hogan to do anything because he put this upon himself by trusting Bully, and he only needs one chance to get this done. Sting said he wants the title and the – Sting stammered around – then covered by saying he’s so fired up that he can’t even talk right now. Sting said if he can’t beat Bully, then he doesn’t deserve to be champion ever again.
Hogan replied that Sting doesn’t have to do it, and he is running the show, not Bully Ray, who is hiding in the back. Suddenly, Brooke Hogan’s music played to continue the family reunion in Tampa. Brooke marched to the ring with a determined look on her face, then approached Hulk for a father-daughter chat. Brooke said this is hard for her to say, but she doesn’t want to see Sting and Hulk take the blame for what she did by falling for “that dumb jerk” Bully.
Hulk said Brooke doesn’t need to go there. Brooke cut him off and said she was the catalyst for the whole company go up in smoke. She said she’s tired of watching them take the blame for it. Brooke said she’s so proud of the Knockouts and the girls are so talented, and she loves being here, but she feels like she ruined everything. Brooke said she feels it’s best to resign as — Hogan cut her off and told her to move beyond Bully and take care of business.
Brooke started to reply, but Aces & Eights’s music played instead. Out came Brooke’s “husband,” Bully Ray with the TNA World Title belt over his shoulder. Ray cut his music before knocking fists with Taz. Ray asked the three of them why they’re taking the blame for everything when it’s not their faults. Ray said when it comes to whose fault it is, it’s his fault. “It’s my fault that you don’t know how to run this company!” Ray shouted at Hogan. Ray said he’s the one who turned this company upside-down. “Make no mistakes, dad, I run the show around here, jack,” Ray said.
Bully then turned his attention to Brooke as Hulk tried to hold his daughter back. Ray said he blames Brooke for making him fall for her. He said he thinks of her every morning and every night. He said Brooke knows they have a connection. “You damn well that I still love you,” Bully said, drawing boos. “And I will always love you.” Ray pointed to his wedding ring and said he will never take this off. Aces & Eights’s music then played and Brooke sold tears as she watched Bully leave.
Vignette: Suicide is returning. Next.
[Q2] [Commercial Break]
Ringside: X Division champion Kenny King was ringside to commentate on the next match. Out first was Joey Ryan ready for Suicide. Or, Petey Williams, who was out next. After Petey hit the ring, Suicide was introduced to the ring. No zipline entrance for the character that went away several years ago.
1 — JOEY RYAN vs. SUICIDE vs. PETEY WILLIAMS — X Division three-way match
Last week, the graphic indicated Suicide will be in the X Title match at Slammiversary, but the announcers said this match will determine who faces King and Chris Sabin at the PPV. As the action unfolded, King said no one should drop an opponent his neck, which Taz agreed with. “Are you kidding me? Coming from you?!” Tenay called out to Taz, who chuckled to himself. Petey then tried to drop Suicide on his neck with the Destroyer, but Joey broke it up. After a series of moves from all three competitors, Suicide delivered kind of a wheelbarrow crotchbuster across his knees on Joey for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Suicide at 4:03. The three-way format needs to go or the X wrestlers need to re-work their matches to make less mean more. They’re trying to pack in too many moves in a four-minute window for anyone to stand out. At least TNA dropped the X Cam, so that’s a start.
Backstage: Chris Sabin was shown walking into the locker room to talk to James Storm. Sabin said he has a proposal. He said the two greatest teams in TNA history were Beer Money and Motor City Machineguns, so he thinks they should team up. Storm said it sounds good, but Sabin has a good thing being able to capture the X Title at Slammiversary, then cash in for a TNA Title shot. Storm said he’ll keep the offer in-mind for the future, though.
Still to come: Angle vs. Anderson and A.J. Styles making a decision.
[Q3] Backstage: Suddenly, Brooke Hogan grabbed Bully Ray and demanded to know what Bully means by saying he still loves her. Ray calmed her down and repeated, “Yes, I still love you.” He walked off, leaving Brooke flummoxed.
Locker Room: Knockouts champion Velvet Sky was shown taping up her knee. Mickie James walked in and said she can go to Brooke and bump back their title match tonight because of Velvet’s injury, but Velvet said she doesn’t want that. Mickie said she just wants to make sure Velvet is 100 percent sure. “I’m sure. Let’s do this,” Velvet said. “Let’s rock.” Mickie hugged her bestie and walked off, leaving Velvet to continue taping up her knee.
In-ring: Sam Shaw, wearing goofy plaid boardshorts, was introduced for a BFG Series qualifying match. Alex Silva was introduced next, but no sign of Silva. Suddenly, Aces & Eights’s music played. Out came Wes Brisco, who congratulated Shaw on winning his match tonight because he took out Silva in the parking lot. Brisco said he should be in this tournament, and he will show Sam how lucky he really is.
Wes, flanked by Garett Bischoff and D.O.C., hit the ring and surrounded Shaw, who decided to go for the weakest link, Garett, before D.O.C. and Brisco put the boots to Shaw. Wes then delivered a careful neckbreaker across his knee. Suddenly, Magnus’s music played. Magnus hit the ring to chase away the A&E C-Team before grabbing the mic.
Magnus said there’s something about this situation that just doesn’t sit well with him, the wrestlers, or the fans in Tampa. Magnus said he doesn’t appreciate Wes beating up Sam Shaw, who Magnus called his friend. Magnus told “Pep Boy” Garett to wipe the smile off his face before he knocks it off. Magnus went back to Wes, telling him he doesn’t deserve to be in the BFG Series. What he does deserve is to take a beating tonight. He then booked them one-on-one…right now.
2 — MAGNUS vs. WES BRISCO (w/A&E)
Wes charged the ring and the bell sounded. Magnus delivered right-hand slaps into a flying knee. He then tried a side suplex, reset, and delivered. Magnus, fired up, sent Impact to break in control of the match.
Back from break, Wes was in control. Wes landed a few body shots before delivering a hard clothesline. Suddenly, Keneley announced a new TNA/Jeff Hardy Exercise App. Tenay followed with a plug for Impact moving back to 9:00 p.m. EST next week. Keneley followed with a plug for Oklahoma Tornado Relief Efforts. TNA got all the plugs in prior to Magnus making his comeback with an explosive clothesline out of the corner.
Magnus followed with another hard clothesline before firing up the crowd. Magnus rallied the crowd, then charged Wes, but Wes got his foot up to block. Wes tried to follow with a cross-body, but Magnus caught him “like a baby,” according to Keneley, and delivered a bodyslam. Magnus wanted a top-rope move, but Wes cut him off. Wes wanted a superplex, but Magnus knocked him down. D.O.C. and Garett then jumped Magnus, resulting in a DQ.
Suddenly, Samoa Joe resurfaced and stormed the ring ready tear up Aces & Eights. Joe delivered a few body shots, but A&E ran away before he could deliver a signature beat down. Joe, fired up, helped Magnus to his feet before demanding more of Aces & Eights in the ring.
WINNER: Magnus via DQ at 7:50.
[Q4] Up Next: Angle vs. Anderson in another round of TNA vs. Aces & Eights.
Slammiversary plug: Sting-Ray and Styles-Angle are advertised as a double main event.
Video: TNA’s Hall of Fame. Tenay narrated a clip of Sting being announced as the first TNA Hall of Famer last year. Tenay posed the question of who will be next, with the answer to be revealed at Slammiversary.
Aces & Eights Holding Area: Brother Devon asked Bully what’s up with him talking to Brooke Hogan. Ray then told Wes good job making sure Magnus received the message. He shouted out to D.O.C. and Garett for backing up Wes. Asked about A.J. Styles’s arrival, Ray assured them that Styles is on-board.
Video Package: Kurt Angle in New York City to help promote the “Save Wrestling” campaign.
In-ring: Christy Hemme was standing by to introduce Kurt Angle to a loud reaction. Tenay plugged a “PPV quality match-up” coming up next, which brought out Mr. Anderson by himself. Keneley sent the show to break as Anderson made his way to ringside.
Back from break two minutes before the top of the hour, it sounded like a bell sounded, but the video was of A.J. Styles riding a motorcycle into the backstage area. Styles hopped off the bike and looked around the backstage area before TNA cut to the arena.
3 — KURT ANGLE vs. MR. ANDERSON
In the ring, Angle and Anderson came to a stalemate before Anderson beat down Angle in the corner. Meanwhile, Taz delivered a sales-pitch about what A&E brings to the table as Tenay talked dejectedly and definitively about Styles turning his back on TNA. Keneley was the voice of reason saying that “would be” a blow to TNA.
[Q5 — second hour] The match continued with Anderson smashing Angle in the corner, drawing oohs from the crowd. Ref Brian Hebner checked on Angle, who sold being shaken up before Anderson put a boot in Angle’s throat to keep him grounded. Anderson then taunted Angle, who sold a shoulder injury. The crowd decided to get involved by rallying for Angle, who responded with a dropkick. But, Anderson re-targeted the left shoulder.
After a reset, Angle got to his feet first and delivered consecutive clotheslines. He followed with a snap belly-to-belly suplex for a two count. Anderson came back with a fireman’s carry drop for a close two count. No Mic Check, then Angle came back with a German Suplex. And a second. And a third. Angle wanted the Anklelock, but Anderson blocked and hit the Mic Check. Quick cover, but Angle escaped a split-second before three.
Anderson contemplated his move, then slowly climbed to the top rope. Angle caught Anderson, though, and nailed a suplex. Angle got fired up, then A.J. Styles suddenly appeared ringside. Taz stood up to celebrate with Styles, who pretty much no-sold Taz’s hug as he watched Angle. Hot-headed Angle then yelled at Styles, allowing Anderson to low-blow Angle from behind. Anderson then rolled up Angle from behind for the win.
Post-match, Anderson walked up to Styles, who ignored him and turned to walk away. Anderson continued to celebrate before turning back to the ring to taunt Angle.
WINNER: Anderson at 8:33. Good match, overall.
Backstage: James Storm was shown walking down the hallway. Storm picks his partner for Slammiversary next.
[Commercial Break. Oh goodness, “Arrested Development” return trailer. Simply amazing.]
Backstage: Gail Kim was standing by. Suddenly, audio was heard of a man a few miles away asking Gail for her thoughts on Slammiversary. Gail didn’t care about facing Taryn Terrell at Slammiversary, because she wants the Knockouts Title shot tonight. Suddenly, Taryn made Gail care by attacking her and slamming her into a door, then onto a table. Suddenly, a large man, who was later revealed as Irish Pat Kenney, grabbed Taryn from behind to pull her away. Gail high-tailed it down the hallway as Random Man #2 leaning against the hallway wall was focused on his phone.
Video Package: James Storm. And Tag Team Glory with Chris Harris and Bobby Roode.
James Storm Segment
[Q6] Ringside: TNA tag champs Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez were shown on commentary. An underneath camera shot made Chavo look five years older than he is, then James Storm was introduced to the ring. Storm hit the ring and said he sees a lot of beer-drinkers in Tampa tonight.
Storm said last week, he was granted the opportunity to wrestle for the TNA Tag Titles at Slammiversary – with a partner of his choosing. Storm said he’s been part of AMW and Beer Money while in TNA. So, he figures he’ll do it again. Storm took a left-turn by commenting that women love a good tag team partner, then Austin Aries’s music suddenly interrupted.
On-stage, Aries and Bobby Roode stood in street clothes. Aries opted to hand the mic to Roode, who said he is the King of Tag Team Wrestling. Roode said his four years spent in Beer Money was without a doubt, the worst four years of his life. Storm interjected from the ring that it’s not his fault that Roode couldn’t drink and hang with him. Roode replied that when he smashed a beer-bottle over Storm’s head, it was the proudest moment of his life.
That being said, Roode told Storm to enlighten everyone who his “joke” of a tag partner is at Slammiversary. Before Storm could answer, Daniels’s music played to bring out Daniels and Kazarian on the other side of the stage also dressed in street clothes. Daniels had a “joke” – the Dumps, Lumps, and Humps who think they’re better than Bad Influence. Kazarian followed with an inside reference that a lot of people claim to be offended as of late – Kaz turned toward Austin Aries (referring to the Aries-Hemme “crotching” from two weeks ago) – but they should be offended because Storm turned them down for Bad Influence.
Storm cut off the talking before Shark Boy’s music suddenly played. First, Suicide, now Shark Boy. On commentary, Chavo surmised that it looks like they’re holding onto the titles at Slammiversary. In the ring, Shark Boy did the Stone Cold routine about a little fishie telling him about Storm looking for a tag partner. Shark said if he thinks he should be Storm’s partner, give him a Shell Yeah.
Suddenly, Robbie E.’s music played. Taz heeled on the segment as Robbie hit the ring. Robbie told Shark Boy that Storm doesn’t want to team with a loser, but someone who’s going to help make him a champion. “And that someone is Robbie E.,” he said to boos. On-stage, the heel teams tried to figure out what’s going on. Robbie told Storm that he carried Rob Terry for two years, so he can carry Storm. Robbie even had tag teams – Beer Bro, America’s Most Bro, GTBB (Gym, Tan, Beer, Bro), Two Bros & A Baby, Drunk & Tan, and Hairspray & Drink All Day. Robbie began singing, then Shark took the mic from Robbie. They argued as Storm sat back and watched.
Suddenly, a homeless-looking man in designer jeans hit the ring. The man with a big beard and distant eyes was identified as a returning Gunner, who took out Shark Boy before putting Robbie in the Torture Rack. After finishing off Robbie, Gunner walked up to Storm, who removed his sunglasses. On-stage, the heels asked Storm to select Shark or Robbie, but Storm shook Gunner’s hand and told him he’ll see him at Slammiversary.
Still to come: A.J. Styles’s Decision.
Backstage: Velvet Sky and Mickie James were shown on a split-screen. Velvet vs. Mickie for the KO Title is up next.
[Q7] Locker Room: Joseph Park was shown talking to Sting. He wanted some advice from Sting on challenging Devon for the TV Title on Sunday. Park was confused about wanting to “get the strap,” a/k/a the title belt, then Sting noted he’s been put in a tag match against Team 3D next week on Impact. Sting said he hopes Abyss will be his tag partner, then he asked Park to arrange it. Park said he can’t get hold of Abyss. Sting muttered to himself that Park is going to “kayfab” him until the end on this. Sting then booked Park as his tag partner, exciting Park.
Announcers: Keneley, Taz, and Tenay were shown on-camera reminding viewers about the timeslot change next Sunday. Keneley then plugged Slammiversary “this Sunday,” prompting uncomfortable looks from Tenay and Taz since the PPV is next Sunday. The announcers then broke down the PPV line-up.
In-ring: Time for the main event sponsored by Five-Hour Energy. Out first was “Hardcore Country” Mickie James. After Mickie hit the ring, Knockouts champ Velvet Sky was introduced as the announcers noted Velvet is battling a knee injury defending the title tonight. Taz said there’s mutual respect between Velvet and Mickie in this match, but he thinks Mickie is secretly licking her chops to take advantage of the injury situation.
4 — KO champion VELVET SKY vs. MICKIE JAMES — Knockouts Title match — ODB special referee
Everyone played nice early on, making it seem like this would be a fair match between two friends. Mickie then grounded Velvet with a waistlock sending Impact to commercial.
Back from break, Mickie was still in control. Velvet tried to use her John Nord boots to kick away at Mickie, but it only hurt her knee more. Suddenly, Mickie chop-blocked Velvet hard and got a crazy look in her eyes. The crowd popped for “the moment.” Mickie followed with a spike DDT and it was good for the win. After the match, Mickie celebrated with the belt as Velvet sold knee pain in the ring.
WINNER: Mickie at 8:45 to capture the Knockouts Title. Well-done slight heel turn, but without being over-the-top, just going for one emphatic blow to tell the story.
[Q8] Video Package: A.J. Styles walked away from TNA, then came back with a new attitude. Tonight, does he join Aces & Eights after deciding to do his own thing from now on?
A&E Holding Area: Bully Ray quizzed D-Lo Brown on whether he washed the bikes and got them cold beer. Anderson then jumped in and got a congratulatory toast for beating Kurt Angle. Ray then toasted to A.J. Styles joining their crew. It’s next.
A.J. Styles Segment
Impact return 10 minutes before the top of the hour with Aces & Eights’s music playing again. Out came Bully Ray, followed by the B and C teams. Ray knocked fists with Taz, then hit the ring and flashed the TNA Title belt to the hard-camera. Tenay called this a dark-day for TNA to see Styles joining A&E tonight.
In the ring, Ray quizzed the crowd on whether they know who they are. Ray announced their presence, then noted no member of this club is more important than any other member. Bully said when someone in the club screws up, he pays for it. As much as D-Lo Brown screwed up, one guy stood up and proved himself. And that man is Ken Anderson. Bully said tonight is not about Ken, though, or them, or even himself. It’s about the one guy who they are going to initiate into the club, A.J. Styles.
Styles’s music played to bring out A.J. from the A&E entrance area as Taz talked excitedly about this moment. Tenay muttered to himself that he can’t believe it. Styles hit the ring and accepted Brother Devon’s invitation to enter the ring. Styles stared down Bully, who told Styles that it’s a big night for him and this club. Bully said Hogan wanted A.J., even Fortune wanted to re-form with Styles. But, Styles knows where the power lies in TNA.
Bully asked Styles to do something for him. Bully handed Styles a beer-bottle, then noted Styles doesn’t drink. He said he wants Styles to cheers him, then drink with him as a sign of their covenant. Bully said he can give his heart to Jesus, but his soul belongs to the club. Styles then took a long swig of the bottle contents, surprising Taz.
Bully excitedly got down to the important part. He asked Anderson to give Styles his colors. As the crowd bought into the angle by chanting, “You sold out,” Styles accepted the jacket from Anderson. Styles looked it over, then smiled. He asked Anderson to hold it open for him. Bully gave a formal introduction, then Kurt Angle’s music suddenly interrupted.
Angle came out on-stage with mic in-hand. Angle said he knew this day would eventually come, but he had to see it with his own two eyes. Angle told A.J. that his legacy in TNA just went down the crapper. “Does this make you feel important?” Angle said. “This disgusts me!” Angle told A.J. that they’re going to meet at Slammiversary, then Bully interrupted that this is exactly what Styles wants. Angle said he’s not talking to Bully, who then told Styles to put on the jacket. Styles put it on, drawing screams from the crowd. Styles hugged the other A&E members as Angle watched from the entrance ramp.
Suddenly, D.O.C. knocked Angle into the ring. A&E began beating down Angle, then D.O.C. and Knox held up Angle for Styles to smash Angle with the hammer. Styles measured Angle, then smashed Angle’s knee with the hammer. Styles kicked Angle out of the ring, then posed center-ring with Bully Ray. The other group members turned their backs to celebrate to the other side, then Styles shot a look to the hard-camera and smashed Knox with the hammer.
As the crowd cheered, Styles smashed two other A&E members, then high-tailed it out of the ring onto the entrance ramp. Styles, no longer wearing the jacket, flashed his A.J. logo on his gloves as Tenay said Styles really does walk alone. Taz called Styles nuts as Anderson chased after A.J. to close the show.
(Credit: James Caldwell, PWTorch)