The first TNA Impact back at 9:00 p.m. EST started with a video package on recent events. Who will take control leading into Slammiversary on Sunday – TNA or Aces & Eights?
Backstage: Bully Ray was shown addressing the Aces & Eights group members in a back hallway. Ray said today’s priority is A.J. Styles, A.J. Styles, and A.J. Styles. D-Lo Brown then decided to remind Mr. Anderson that his plan to recruit Styles did not work last week. “Sorry, bro,” he said. Anderson didn’t say anything, then Ray walked in-between them and quietly walked away. Brown tried to follow behind, but Anderson jumped him from behind and put Brown on the floor. Anderson then walked away.
In-ring: In the arena, Aces & Eights’s music played to bring out TNA champ Bully Ray and Devon. Taz noted they are not in a good mood after what happened with Styles last week. In the ring, Ray took the mic and said it’s three days until Slammiversary, then hyped his title defense against Sting at the PPV.
Ray said Sting has beaten some of the greatest World champions out there. Ric Flair. Hulk Hogan. Kurt Angle. Jeff Hardy. Ray sarcastically said everyone loves Jeff Hardy. He said the difference is he also beat Hardy, but when he beat him, he took out Hardy and put him on the shelf. Ray claimed Hardy will never be heard from again, then said he can’t wait three days for Boston to make sure Sting never, ever gets to wrestle for the title again. But, for now, he’ll be patient. “Get out here and let’s fight!” he signed off.
After a pause, Sting’s music played to bring out the #1 contender and Joseph Park. Sting walked out ahead of Park, who sold concern over this match-up. Sting and Park then hit the ring and the fight was on.
1 — STING & JOSEPH PARK vs. TEAM 3D (TNA World champion BULLY RAY & TV champion DEVON)
The match quickly spilled to the outside, where Sting sent Devon into the guardrail. Meanwhile, Park took a beating from Bully. There was an off-moment where Ray was beating up Park in the corner of the timekeeper’s area, but a ringside staffer wearing sunglasses was leaning back in his chair no-selling the action two feet in front of him. By comparison, Jeremy Borash was selling the action in front of him to enhance the story.
The action eventually spilled back into the ring, where Ray and Sting had a face-to-face. They traded blows, then collided center-ring. Both men hit the mat and Todd Keneley sent Impact to commercial.
[Q2] Back from break, Park was bent over at the waist in the middle of the ring. Devon tried to help Park throw up his dinner with right hand blows, then Park found a second wind, but Bully popped Park in the head behind the ref’s back. Team 3D then began wearing down a weakened Park, including Devon taking his team delivering a leg drop before taunting Hulk Hogan. Meanwhile, Mike Tenay got mad at Taz, who laughed at Tenay snapping at him.
At 11:00, Park stumbled to his feet and awkwardly avoided a double clothesline, then tagged in Sting. Sting delivered a dropkick to Devon, then kicked his shins and wanted the Scorpion Deathlock. Park then went Fantasy Camp mode wanting a Scorpion on Bully, but Bully easily kicked Park into Sting. Team 3D then isolated Sting, but Sting double-clotheslined Team 3D. “C’mon guys, what are we doing here?” Taz asked, exasperated.
Team 3D regained control, then Bully scoop-slammed Park. Suddenly, Abyss’s music played. Tenay, of course, jumped to conclusions that Park’s brother is here. Park called down for Abyss, but there was no sign of him. As this was going on, Sting dropped Devon with a Scorpion Deathdrop. He slowly covered Devon, Park held off a distracted Ray by grabbing his foot, and the pin was good for the win.
Post-match, Ray sold shock over this outcome. Before Sting could get his hands on him, though, Ray left the ring to recover on the outside. Sting stood tall in the ring and Tenay said Sting has to win the title on Sunday.
WINNERS: Sting & Park at 13:22. The idea was to make 54-year-old Sting look like a strong threat to Bully juxtaposed to the goofy, uncoordinated Joseph Park, but the match never really came together since it seemed to be moving in slow-motion.
Up Next: TNA president Dixie Carter, with a new look, was shown walking down the hallway. She speaks next.
Backstage: Kurt Angle was shown talking to someone off-camera. Angle said A.J. Styles might not have joined Aces & Eights, but Styles will have a price to pay at Slammiversary for attacking him last week. Angle vowed to watch Styles’s match against Mr. Anderson very closely tonight.
In-ring: TNA president Dixie Carter was introduced to the ring as TNA cut to a shot of Hulk Hogan’s wife standing and applauding with a big smile. In the ring, Carter tickled the ears of the fans before noting they have seen the most amazing men and women in the ring the last 11 years. So, this Sunday at Slammiversary, they will be inducting the next TNA Hall of Famer. Last year, it was Sting. This Sunday, Sting faces Bully for the TNA Title. She wished Sting best of luck and said they’re all pulling for him on Sunday.
[Q3] Suddenly, Aces & Eights’s music played. The third-tier squad of Garett Bischoff, D.O.C., and Wes Brisco emerged from the backstage area and strutted down to the ring. Garett yanked the mic from Christy Hemme, then entered the ring. Garett circled Dixie, asking where the love is for Aces & Eights. Garett said he doesn’t hear Dixie wish Bully Ray good luck on Sunday. Bischoff continued to circle Dixie before vowing to turn her celebration on Sunday into a funeral. D.O.C. and Wes then cornered Dixie, but Samoa Joe’s music played.
Joe and Magnus stormed the ring to clear away Aces & Eights, then Joe took the mic and said he spent one month at home seething after they took him out. Joe declared that the wait is over tonight, starting with Garett Bischoff. Joe said he doesn’t know who gave Garett permission to speak. Ever. So, he will beat him into the man he will never be. Taz said he doesn’t get it that Joe thinks he can make matches now.
2 — SAMOA JOE (w/Magnus) vs. GARETT BISCHOFF (w/Aces & Eights)
Joe quickly teed off on Garett with punches into a corner enziguiri kick. Bischoff slumped down to the mat, Joe glared into the hard-camera, and Impact cut to break.
[Commercial Break. A second spot for WWE Studios’s “12 Rounds 2” aired during the break.]
Back from break, Garett had survived three minutes of Joe giving him a beating. Joe then wanted a big splash, but A&E grabbed his foot from the outside. Magnus fought A&E, but the distraction allowed Garett to attack Joe from behind. Garrett then joined A&E beating down Magnus on the outside and the bell suddenly sounded as Taz was mid-sentence. There was no indication of what was happening, then Joe went flying through the ropes with a suicide dive taking out A&E.
As the ref waved off the match, Magnus rolled into the ring to join Joe, who took a mic. Joe called them cowards and D.O.C. a “big shaved ape” before booking the three of them against himself, Magnus…and Jeff Hardy. A&E freaked out ringside as Joe let the announcement linger.
WINNER: Joe at 5:37?
Last Thursday: Gunner returned to TV to be James Storm’s tag partner for the TNA Tag Title match at Slammiversary.
Video Package: James Storm talked to a roving camera. Storm said he picked Gunner because this man has seen war and battles, so he knows he will fight for him. Gunner vowed to bring war on Sunday.
Up Next: Eight-man tag match previewing the Tag Title match at the PPV.
[Q4] Still to come: Anderson vs. Styles, plus mixed tag action.
Hogan’s Office: Hulk Hogan was shown exasperated as he addressed daughter Brooke. Brooke said she just needs Hulk to understand that Ray is tugging at her heart-strings, so she needs to process this from last week. Brooke said it’s hard because she thought she once knew a good guy, and she can’t focus on the Knockouts with Bully walking around here.
In-ring: Bad Influence’s music played to bring out Daniels and Kazarian for the eight-man tag match. Bobby Roode’s music then brought out Roode and Austin Aries to round out the heel team. Out first for the faces were James Storm and Gunner. Storm, sporting a heavily-taped right thigh, led his team to the ring as Keneley sent Impact to commercial.
Back from break, TNA tag champs Chavo and Hernandez were introduced as the final team in the eight-man tag match. The teams stalled as Tenay announced that it will be elimination rules for the four-team Tag Title match at the PPV on Sunday. The bell sounded five minutes before the top of the hour.
3 — TNA tag champions CHAVO GUERRERO & HERNANDEZ & JAMES STORM & GUNNER vs. DANIELS & KAZARIAN & BOBBY ROODE & AUSTIN ARIES — eight-man tag match
Gunner wanted to start for his team and Daniels figured he would start for the heel team. Gunner quickly knocked Daniels to the outside, where Daniels asked for a time-out. Gunner mocked the time-out, then waited for Daniels to re-enter the ring, but Daniels bailed to the corner to tag in Aries. Aries wanted nothing to do with Gunner, either, so he tagged in Roode. “You’ve got this, Bobby!” Aries told his tag partner.
[Q5 — second hour] Chavo was eventually isolated from the face team, then all four heels ganged up on Chavo while the ref was pre-occupied. Chavo eventually hot-tagged Hernandez, who cleaned house. The action broke down, then Hernandez delivered more power offense. But, he didn’t see Aries coming with a corner dropkick.
Aries tried a Brainbuster, but Hernandez chucked him across the ring. Gunner then tagged in and delivered a lift-up backbreaker on Aries. Gunner followed with a Torture Rack, which caused Aries to give up. Storm, who did not enter the match, joined the faces celebrating in the ring.
WINNERS: Team Gunner at 9:08. They’re definitely trying to re-establish Gunner after he returned to TV last week.
Backstage: A.J. Styles was shown arriving in the parking garage on a bike.
A&E Quarters: Bully Ray yelled at everyone, then tapped Mr. Anderson on the shoulder and told him to take care of Styles tonight. Ray wanted to discuss Joseph Park, but Devon interrupted and, fired up, said he will get the job done at the PPV. Ray said he bettah.
Next, Ray said Jeff Hardy shouldn’t even be walking, much less returning at the PPV. Ray singled out Garett, D.O.C., and Wes that they better take out Joe, Magnus, and Hardy. And, he has a job for Mike Knox, who got excited. Ray then officially declared war on Impact Wrestling. Didn’t that happen nine months ago? Ray said he wants victims and he wants them all over the place. Ray said if he doesn’t get victims, they might all end up like D-Lo Brown. Ray left, then D.O.C. firmly declared, “We gotta get it done.”
Up Next: Mickie James celebrates her Knockouts Title victory last week.
Announcers: Keneley, Tenay, and a disinterested Taz were shown on-camera. Keneley reset the show and introduced a video package on the location of Bound for Glory, which will be in San Diego on October 20. The video focused on a “new chapter” in TNA’s history. The first soundbyte was from Kurt Angle saying he will “please the fans” and show why he’s the best. Additional soundbytes were about “stealing the show.”
Mickie James Celebration
In-ring: “Hardcore Country” Mickie James was introduced to the ring clutching the Knockouts Title. Taz said it’s more like “hardcore competitive girl.” In the ring, Mickie celebrated with the title belt as Taz recapped Mickie taking out Velvet Sky’s knee last week in order to set up her title victory.
Mickie’s music stopped and she excitedly said it feels good to be champion. Mickie thanked everyone so much for supporting her. Mickie said it’s been a crazy year with the release of her new album and now – this might be the greatest thing of her whole life – new Knockouts champion. Mickie said it’s been almost two years since she was champ, making this a long time coming. “I love you guys,” she said. She shouted out to her fans, but said there have been a handful – a very minute, minority – who have doubted the way she won the title. “It hurts my heart,” she said before noting she deserves this title. Mickie said she would like to call out her dear friend, Velvet Sky.
[Q6] Velvet, sporting a taped left knee, walked to the ring applauding Mickie and playing nice. Mickie said she’s amazing, then said she just wanted to bring out Velvet because there have been some questions – it’s hurtful. She recalled talking to Velvet before the match and wanting to make sure Velvet was 100 percent, but Velvet said she was ready. And she’s a fighting champion, folks! Mickie said it just sucks that Velvet’s knee gave out and she became champ. “Give it up!” Mickie said. Mickie laid it on thick that Velvet was such a great champ.
Vickie responded that she appreciates the support. “You’re welcome!” Mickie said. Velvet then wanted the re-match. Mickie smiled and said she can have the re-match anytime she wants. “And they will blow the roof off this mother!” she said. Velvet said they will, then requested the re-match at Slammiversary. Mickie, now annoyed, said they already discussed this with Brooke Hogan, who said she already booked a Knockouts match at the PPV. Mickie said maybe after – after! —
Suddenly, Gail Kim’s music interrupted. Gail said she appreciates the festivities around here. “Thank you,” Mickie quietly said. Gail said she doesn’t think Mickie is so fantastic because Mickie only won the KO Title because she softened up Velvet weeks ago. Gail said she has been so frustrated to the point that she took out her own partner, Tara, recently. Gail vowed to take out Taryn Terrell at Slammiversary, then vowed to be the last Knockout standing. After that, she’s regaining the Knockouts Title.
Velvet reminded Gail that she’s next in line, then Gail suddenly attacked the knee. Gail dragged Velvet to the outside as Mickie pretended to act frozen in time, not doing anything about Gail about to inflict more punishment to Velvet. Taryn then ran down to chase away Gail as Mickie slowly backed away from the ring in the background.
Suddenly, music played to bring out X Division champion Kenny King for mixed tag action next.
Back from break, Chris Sabin’s music played. Sabin came out to join Taryn for mixed tag action as Keneley talked up Sabin returning to action from multiple knee injuries. Before the bell sounded, the men had to restrain the women from trying to tear each other apart.
4 — X Division champion KENNY KING & GAIL KIM vs. CHRIS SABIN & TARYN TERRELL — mixed tag match — ODB referee
As the match started, Tenay announced Gail vs. Taryn will be a Last Knockout Standing match at the PPV. After the Knockouts went at it, Sabin and King entered the ring to battle. TNA then inserted a voice-over from Tenay with the details on Bound for Glory in San Diego in October.
[Q7] The match continued with Sabin and King continuing to battle and exchange control, with neither man able to gain a definitive advantage. Suddenly, the action broke down. After order was restored, Sabin delivered the Hail Sabin driver center-ring. Sabin covered King and it was good for the win.
Post-match: Sabin took the mic and said that after two years of physical therapy and pain, he will become a five-time X Division champion. Suddenly, King attacked Sabin from behind. King then wanted a finisher, but Suicide hit the ring and dropped King with a fallaway gutbuster. King rolled out of the ring, then Sabin stared down Suicide.
WINNERS: Sabin & Taryn at 5:01. The booking says Sabin gets the TV win and King remains champ in the Ultimate X match at the PPV, but Sabin remains in the title hunt.
Backstage: A.J. Styles was shown walking down the hallway ahead of the TV main event.
Video Package: Sting. The video included PWI photos of early-years Sting. The video cut to Sting sitting down for an interview discussing his quest for the TNA World Title. Sting reflected on his top career title opponents, specifically Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan before TNA. In TNA, Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett. As for Sunday, Sting said his title challenge against Bully Ray is about taking away power from Ray. He said this is his one chance to drive a stake through his heart.
Announcers: Kenely, Taz, and Tenay broke down the PPV line-up. The graphic indicated Mr. Anderson will be representing Aces & Eights in the six-man tag match against Joe & Hardy & Magnus instead of one of the C-Squad members.
In-ring: On cue, Mr. Anderson made his way to the ring for the TV main event. A.J. Styles’s music then brought out Styles dressed in all-black with his eyes covered by hair and hood. Styles very slowly made his way to the ring as Taz said Styles isn’t going to survive as a lone wolf in TNA.
5 — A.J. STYLES vs. MR. ANDERSON
The bell sounded two minutes before the start of the eighth quarter-hour. Anderson landed early right hands, but Styles responded with hard smacks of his own. Styles began kicking around Anderson before scoop-slamming him for an elbow drop.
[Q8] Styles continued to smack around Anderson, who eventually rolled to the ring apron for a breather. Styles had enough and chucked Anderson to the floor before removing his t-shirt. Styles followed with a baseball slide kick to the floor. Styles in control heading to break.
Back from break 10 minutes before the top of the hour, Anderson dropped Styles face-first across the ring apron to gain control. “Shut up,” Anderson told a few fans on the front row who took exception to his actions. Back in the ring, Anderson followed up with more offense to keep Styles grounded. Styles suddenly fired back with slaps and a knock-down clothesline that put both men on the mat.
At 13:00, the fight moved to the top turnbuckle, where Anderson slammed Styles to the mat for a two count. Styles came back with a corner dropkick, then Kurt Angle suddenly hit the ring and attacked Styles, causing a DQ.
WINNER: Styles via DQ at 13:50. Not much energy to this match since Anderson is playing a quiet, calculating heel and Styles isn’t playing to the crowd as a lone-wolf. The match seemed to be occurring in a vacuum other than a few moments here and there.
Post-match, Styles kicked Angle’s bad knee to cause more pain for his PPV opponent. Aces & Eights then hit the ring, followed by TNA roster members. The action spilled all over the place as the crowd sat quietly, worn out from the double TV taping. Suddenly, Sting and Bully came face-to-face in the ring. Bully and Sting exchanged right hand blows as the crowd sat quietly watching, then Ray and Sting got the crowd involved with signature poses.
Sting delivered rapid-fire strikes, then dragged Ray down to the mat to apply a Scorpion Deathlock. But, Devon bashed Sting from behind. Team 3D followed with a 3D to Sting, taking out the #1 contender before the PPV. The crowd booed, then A&E hit the ring to stand tall over Sting. Impact signed off with Aces & Eights’s music and the group standing tall in the ring ahead of the PPV.
(Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch)