This week’s TNA Impact opened with a backstage shot of Austin Aries arriving at the building for tonight’s main event. Also shown arriving was Kurt Angle. They face off in the TNA Title tournament later on.
Following a dramatic video package on the title tournament, Mike Tenay introduced the show, focusing on KO champion Gail Kim’s Open Challenge beginning tonight. Plus, Angle vs. Aries in the tournament.
Aces & Eights’s music then played to bring out Bully Ray, Brooke, Garett Bischoff, and Knux as Taz gloated about “swerving” Mr. Anderson last week. Mike Tenay complained about getting swerved last week, then Bully came over to the announce table to gloat in Tenay’s face. Ray told Tenay to go home and put himself out of his misery.
Now in the ring, Ray spoke to the hard camera about having one question for everyone. “Do you know who I am?” he asked. Ray said he’s the puppet master and the one who makes people believe whatever he wants them to believe. He said the club isn’t about quantity, but about quality. Ray added that he doesn’t need to be World champion to be the most-talked about guy in TNA.
Ray moved along to Mr. Anderson. He said Anderson tried to drive a wedge between all of them, but it didn’t work. He accepted Anderson’s challenge for a No DQ match next Thursday’s Impact, but said the difference is he won’t just piledrive him on the stage but through the stage this time.
On cue, Anderson’s music interrupted to bring out Anderson on-stage. “Through the stage, eh?” Anderson opened. Ken said he’s as sick & tired of Aces & Eights as the people in Cincinnati, so he figures when he beats Ray next week, then A&E is done in TNA. “Disbanded. Done. Never to ride again,” he said. Ray asked why he would agree to a match like that. Anderson said he’s right, then sweetened the pot. He said his wife is at home pregnant with twins right now. So, if he can’t beat Ray next week, he will take his ball, go home, and be done in TNA. Ray liked the sound of that. He wanted to look Ken in the eyes, though.
Bully said if he had the chance, he would love to piledrive Ken’s pregnant wife. (Boos.) And as far as Anderson putting his career on the line goes, Anderson must be crazzzzzy. Anderson thought it over, then noted: “Yep, I’m pretty crazy!” Anderson popped Ray in the face to make his point, but A&E put a beat down on Anderson. Ray then brought a chair into the ring, but Anderson kicked Ray in the gut and clotheslined Knux to the floor. Anderson then grabbed the chair, sending Ray scurrying to the outside to recover with Brooke.
In the ring, Anderson said he’s got Ray next week, but he’s feeling kind of frisky right about now. Anderson wanted to fight as Impact cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:10]
Back from break, the bell sounded and Mr. Anderson, in street clothes, prepared to face Knux after Aces & Eights were sent to the back during the break.
1 — MR. ANDERSON vs. KNUX
Anderson landed early right hands until Knux cross-body splashed Anderson. Knux then splashed Anderson across the middle rope as Tenay hyped Anderson vs. Ray not being a wrestling match next week. Neither is this match with Anderson looking like a common person out of the crowd “wrestling” in tennis shoes, jeans, and a long-sleeve shirt.
Knux knocked Anderson to the outside, then ran him into the ring steps. Knux continued the “methodical” assault before adhering to ten count rules by rolling back into the ring. Knux then suplexed Anderson back into the ring for a two count. Knux followed with a big corner splash to Anderson’s back before delivering a sidewalk slam for another nearfall.
Knux continued to slow the pace before Anderson ducked a slow-motion clothesline attempt and hit the Mic Check out of nowhere. Tenay celebrated the finisher, Taz freaked out, and Anderson pinned Knux for the win. Post-match: Anderson took the mic and proclaimed himself the winner and the man who will take out Bully Ray next week.
WINNER: “The Common Man” Mr. Anderson at 4:58.
Somewhere: Joseph Park talked to himself about Bad Influence. Park said he doesn’t even drink, but B.I. threw an appletini in his face. Park thought things over, then decided he wants Christopher Daniels one-on-one on Impact.
Somewhere Else: Kazarian and Daniels spoke about Park. Daniels reasoned that Park appeared to be in need of a drink, so he simply provided a mid-match refreshment. But, now Park wants to put on his big-boy pants and step up to him. So, he’ll handle Joe Pancake by himself, one-on-one. Then, they can find Abyss and get the TV Title back around their waists. Bobby Roode then walked in and showed off his new t-shirt to Bad Influence.
[Commercial Break 9:23]
Video Package: Kurt Angle vs. Austin Aries in a submission match later tonight.
In-ring: Bad Influence’s music played to bring out Christopher Daniels for the next match on the show. After Daniels danced in the ring and took a sip from his appletini, Joseph Park was introduced to face Daniels.
2 — CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. JOSEPH PARK
Suddenly, there was a mid-ring handshake. Daniels wasn’t sure how they arrived at this, but Park took advantage to deliver a short-arm clothesline. Park followed with a Boston Crab attempt, but Daniels easily blocked and reached the bottom rope. Park then chased Daniels on the outside, which allowed Daniels to take advantage of Park not being fleet of foot.
Back in the ring, Daniels slowed down the pace and tried to work on Park, who avoided Daniels’s attacks by pretending to be a beached whale in the ring. Park made a light comeback before slowly stumbling back to his feet to scoop up Daniels and deliver a rudimentary suplex.
Park then pointed to the top turnbuckle, pounded it a few times to try to get the crowd warmed up, sat on the turnbuckle, thought things over, watched Daniels roll away, hopped down, and charged Daniels in the opposite corner. Daniels shook it off, though, distracted the ref, low-blowed Park, who then tipped over in the middle of the ring, and Daniels pinned him for the win.
WINNER: Daniels at 5:23. That was rough-looking. Imagine you’re a newer/infrequent viewer not in on the Joseph Park joke and you came across this match. It’s time for TNA to end the joke or do something else non-wrestling-related with the character.
[Commercial Break at 9:36]
Backstage: Knux was mad about losing to Mr. Anderson in the opening match, but Bully Ray walked in to console Knux and Garett Bischoff. Ray said he’s got Anderson covered next week, so don’t worry about it.
In-ring: Ethan Carter III was introduced for the next match. Tenay said ECIII picked up a few wins over the weekend, so he’s 7-0 according to his scorecard. Tenay also described ECIII as entitled before random techno music played to bring out both Norv Fernum and Dewey Barnes for handicap action.
3 — ETHAN CARTER III vs. NORV FERNUM & DEWEY BARNES — handicap match
Quick in-and-out tags for Norv and Barnes trying to work on ECIII, who suddenly exploded on Dewey with a clothesline. Taz then became distracted by the paw print on the back of Barnes’s trunks. On cue, Dewey escaped to tag in Fernum, who landed a cross-body block.
[Q4] Fernum followed with a missile dropkick, prompting Tenay to lose whatever credibility he has left going nuts for the comeback. Taz called him on losing his credibility here, then ECIII dropped Fernum with the One-Percenter facebuster. Another one for Barnes put both men down. ECIII then covered both men for a simultaneous three count. Taz claimed he’s now 9-0, but Tenay informed Taz that a handicap match only counts for one match. Post-match: ECIII reminded everyone who he is. “I’m a Carter. And the world needs us,” he said.
WINNER: ECIII at 3:31.
Still to come: Angle vs. Aries in the title tournament.
[Commercial Break at 9:48]
Video Message: Presented by the “Friends of A.J. Styles,” Styles traveled to AAA in Mexico to defend the original TNA Title.
Backstage: Dixie Carter freaked out about Styles’s message being allowed on the air. Dixie yelled at the producers to fix it.
Video: Jeff Hardy beat Chris Sabin in the first tournament match last week. Now, Hardy will study his next opponent and keep advancing to become TNA Champion again.
Video Package: Austin Aries ended Bobby Roode’s record TNA Title reign last year.
Backstage: Aries was shown warming up in the Bearcats locker room prior to facing Kurt Angle later tonight.
[Commercial Break at 9:55]
In-ring: One minute before the top of the hour, Dixie Carter’s music played to bring out TNA’s top heel authority figure. Tenay commented on how angry Dixie was before the commercial after Styles’s video message aired.
[Q5 -- second hour] In the ring, Dixie Carter thanked the booing crowd for their warm reception. Carter said it is so hard when you are blessed to have perfect instincts. But, every once in a while, it just feels so good to say how right she was when she kicked that “redneck,” A.J. Styles, off her roster. Dixie entered teacher mode telling the fans to listen up so they don’t miss this word about no one on the roster being irreplaceable except her.
Carter said this is a business, not a walk down memory lane. And what has A.J. Styles done for her lately? He took her TNA Title belt down to Mexico and he is defending her title and — listen to me — he is not her World champion. Carter went on about Spike TV bringing her “Turning Point” PPV to television next Thursday, then asked for four important men to join her in the ring.
Bobby Roode was introduced first in a suit, then James Storm in jeans, then Samoa Joe in jeans, then Magnus in a suit. With all four men in the ring, Dixie recapped Joe and Magnus facing each other and Roode facing Storm in the tournament. Dixie continued that she already spun the Wheel of Dixie to determine their match stipulations. She noted Storm and Roode will be in a Bullrope match, which she gave the advantage to Roode on. She told “honey” Storm to step up his game and prove what he is made of.
Storm laughed, then took the mic. Storm told Dixie that she doesn’t need to show her anything because she isn’t ready to ride this rodeo. Storm got in Roode’s face delivering the man-of-the-people speech about taking over the show and becoming World champion. Storm shouted his catchphrase in Roode’s face to conclude their face-to-face.
Next, Dixie set up Joe and Magnus to go face-to-face. Carter dismissed Joe as another “TNA Original, just like your lil’ buddy A.J. Styles.” Joe smirked, then said he can’t participate in this charade anymore because the only reason why they’re having this tournament is because Dixie couldn’t cut a deal with A.J. Styles. Dixie told Joe to calm down, but Joe said they’re all being used to cover for Dixie’s bad business. But, Joe has Dixie covered. Because after he wins the tournament, the first person he will defend against will be A.J. Styles. “No way!” Dixie shouted, accentuating her point with a finger-point.
Magnus calmed everyone down and took the mic from Dixie. Magnus over-dramatically said they’re in this tournament for the spirit of competition, let his words linger to minimal reaction, then continued that he will beat Joe in the tournament. “It won’t be easy, but it’s going to happen,” Magnus told Joe.
Dixie squeaked in conclusion that this tournament is about finding *her* champion who will look after *her* causes and finding the one true, real, Hvt. champion for this business. Dixie wished them good luck next week, then left the ring.
Backstage: Mr. Anderson walked up to Garett Bischoff and punched him, setting off a brawl. Anderson threw Bischoff into a crate, then pulled out handcuffs and cuffed Bischoff to a moving cart. Bischoff woke up and tried to break free, but Anderson told him to shut up. Anderson pulled out a beer to have a little talk with Bischoff.
[Commercial Break at 10:11]
[Q6] Next Thursday: The TNA Title tournament continues with Storm vs. Roode in a Bullrope match and Joe vs. Magnus in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Plus, Ray vs. Anderson in a No DQ match.
Video Package: Kurt Angle debuted in TNA in 2006.
Locker Room: Angle was shown warming up to face Austin Aries later tonight.
In-ring: Lei’D Tapa’s music played to bring out KO champion Gail Kim and her bodyguard, Tapa. Once in the ring, Gail noted she issued an Open Challenge to anyone outside of TNA last week. Gail said a lot of names have been mentioned, but the problem is someone has to actually show up. And, tonight, someone actually showed up. Hannah Blossom, from British Boot Camp, was introduced to the ring as the opponent.
4 — KO champion GAIL KIM (w/Lei’D Tapa) vs. HANNAH BLOSSOM — non-title match
As the match started, Taz went through his memory bank trying to remember who “this chick” is facing Gail before remembering her from “that show in the U.K.” Tenay added more details as the match started with Gail in control. Gail dominated early on, Hannah made a comeback to give the audience some hope, but Gail finished her off for a decisive victory.
Post-match: Gail stood next to Tapa and took the mic. Gail said she is the most dominant women’s wrestler in TNA and she is just getting started as champion. On commentary, Tenay wondered who is next.
WINNER: Gail at 3:22.
Up Next: Angle vs. Aries in the TV main event. Both men were shown walking down the hallway ahead of the match.
[Commercial Break at 10:24]
In-ring: Joseph Park was introduced to the ring again. Taz said seeing Park once in a show is enough. “Why are we doing this to our viewers?” he said. In the ring, Park said when he came to Impact last year, he just wanted to find Abyss. But, Bad Influence got under his skin and he tried to prove himself against them. Meanwhile, Park claimed Abyss is a legend and future TNA Hall of Famer.
[Q7] Park said he’s sick of the accusations about them never being in the same place at the same time. So, he has a solution to the problem. Park issued an open challenge for next week’s Impact. “Me, Joseph Park, versus my brother, Abyss,” he said. Park left the ring, noting he’ll show the accusers.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz were shown on-commentary to hype the “Turning Point” card next week on Impact. Tenay then narrated a graphic on the TNA Title tournament bracket.
In-ring: Christy Hemme was standing by to introduce the TV main event. First out was Austin Aries followed by Kurt Angle. Of note, TNA had to darken more of the arena after many people cleared out before this match, which was taped at the end of the second TV taping.
Suddenly, something was going on backstage. TNA cut backstage, where Garett Bischoff was asleep on the floor. Then, Mr. Anderson uncuffed him, hoisted Garett on his shoulders, and walked off. TNA cut to commercial.
[Commercial Break at 10:34]
5 — KURT ANGLE vs. AUSTIN ARIES — TNA Title tournament match — submission match
The bell sounded back from break. Angle and Aries felt each other out in the early-going before the match moved to the mat for an exchange of matholds. Stalemate, then both men returned to their feet and went at it again. Aries took control this time, targeting Angle’s previously-injured leg/knee. Angle snapped off a backbreaker in response, then stood up and hunched over, his body looking wrecked.
Suddenly, Bobby Roode walked out on-stage and unfolded a chair to sit down and watch the match. This brought Angle out of the ring to yell at Roode, who said he’s just here to watch. Aries tried to take advantage with a flying attack on Angle, but Angle intercepted with a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle rolled Aries back into the ring, then glared back at Roode, who said he just wants to watch.
Angle was slow to re-enter the ring, allowing Aries to knock him out of the ring. Angle sold pain on the outside as Impact cut to its final break.
[Q8] [Commercial Break]
Back from break, the announcers focused on Angle’s history of injuries as Aries worked on Angle in the ring. Angle then mounted a comeback before snapping off a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle followed with a German suplex, then a second, and a third. Angle waited for Aries to get up, but Aries blocked the Angle Slam and flowed into a wind-up discus clothesline that sent Angle to the floor.
On the outside, Aries delivered a double sledgehammer to the top of Angle’s head, “compressing the neck.” Aries sold an ankle injury on the move, though, and was slow to re-enter the ring with Angle. As a result, Double A missed a top-rope dropkick, then Angle tried the Anklelock, but Aries escaped. But, Angle re-applied moments later. Aries broke free, then knocked Angle to the outside again.
On the outside, Aries delivered a suicide dive, but again sold the ankle injury following the move. Meanwhile, Angle sold head/neck pain flat on his back. Back in the ring, Aries delivered a top-rope missile dropkick. Next was a corner dropkick. Aries wanted the Brainbuster suplex and he connected. Aries flowed into the Last Chancery, but Angle powered to his feet.
From a standing position, Aries and Angle traded bombs as what was left of the crowd make light “Yeah / Yeah” noise with each bomb. Suddenly, a fan shouted, “USA!” So, the crowd joined in with a light “U-S-A” chant. Angle and Aries ignored and continued competing before Aries dropped Angle on the back of his head. Aries then measured Angle for a top-rope move, but airballed a 450 splash and landed on the ankle.
Reset at 18:00 with both men selling various injuries. Angle then shouted toward Roode on-stage and went for Roode’s cross-face submission. Double A fought for a few moments, but Angle was able to secure a tap-out to get the win. Post-match, Angle and Roode jawed from a distance to continue building anticipation for a potential meeting in the tournament.
WINNER: Angle at 18:44 to advance in the tournament. Solid TV main event, although every Kurt Angle match is concerning when you look at his physical condition.
Announcers: Tenay and Taz hyped “Turning Point” next week, but were interrupted by Mr. Anderson’s music. As Roode watched from off-stage, Anderson emerged through the curtain with possession of Garett Bischoff. Anderson then positioned Bischoff for a piledriver and connected. Roode and Angle looked on as Anderson stripped Bischoff of his Aces & Eights jacket to close Impact.
(James Caldwell, PWTorch.com)