TNA Impact opened with Dixie Carter walking down the hallway with her new friend, NFL player Pacman Jones. Mr. Anderson interrupted the good times by saying he just wants a match with Bully Ray. Dixie said he has to bring it to him, then Pac and Mister shook hands and everyone went their separate ways.
Tonight: The TNA Title tournament begins with Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Sabin in Full Metal Mayhem. Pre-taped in the arena, Mike Tenay hyped tonight’s show as TNA focused on some fans in the crowd.
Ringside: Bengals players Pacman Jones and DeQuin Evans were shown sitting ringside. Main Event Mafia music then played to bring out Magnus, then Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, and Sting. Tenay said three of them (not Sting) are in the TNA Title tournament. That is, if Angle is medically cleared. Overall, anti-climatic follow-up on the end of last week’s Impact – which ended with Angle’s career hanging in the balance – to simply have him walk out looking normal this week.
On the mic, Sting said he formed MEM for two reasons to (1) make sure Bully Ray is not TNA World champion and (2) get rid of Aces & Eights. Sting declared: “Mission Accomplished.” But, it came with hard times. Sting said it’s been tough on all of them, so he is here to announce that until further notice, the Mafia will be put back on the shelf.
After disbanding the group, Sting noted they all have something going on. Sting noted Magnus did what he needed to do come out ahead last week in the gauntlet match. Magnus seemed perplexed by Sting endorsing his actions last week. Sting said Angle and Joe will be World champions again, then he turned his attention to “entitled” wrestlers in the back.
Sting said many wrestlers in the back think they should come out on top without ever paying any dues. He said that’s not how he was brought up in the business. Sting hugged Angle and Joe, then stopped at Magnus to pat him on the chest. Sting gave way to Joe, then left the ring as if this was the end of his current program.
Joe said for the past few months, he’s had their backs. But, he as well as the fans have been denied a Samoa Joe Championship for far too long. Unfortunately, the Road to the Title starts with Magnus and he’s sure it will have to go through Angle. Joe vowed to become champ again, then left the ring to “Joe, Joe” chants.
Magnus and Angle were left in the ring. Magnus told Kurt that he’s on a Road to Redemption, but he’s on a Road to Destiny. So, while he loves Kurt like a brother, he wants to tell him that after he goes through Joe and it comes down to them, he will mow Kurt down if he has to. Magnus said the only thing on his mind right now is gold. World Championship Gold. Magnus left the ring, leaving Angle alone to the sound of “Angle, Angle” chants.
Angle said it’s been an honor to run with these guys for the past several months, but they have their own goals to obtain. Angle said his goal is to win the World Title tournament and become World champion again. He said he must do this to prove that he is Hall of Fame worthy. Angle flashed back to last week, where he had another setback. Angle said he talked to his personal doctor this week and he had great news…
Suddenly, Bobby Roode’s music interrupted. Roode called this pathetic. He said he is embarrassed for Kurt. “Kurt Angle, be a man!” he shouted. “Be a man and admit you lost. Twice. Back-to-back to the It Factor.” Roode told Kurt to admit it and move on, just like he’s moving on because the World Title tournament is upon them. Roode vowed to beat Angle for a third time if they meet again.
Angle contemplated Roode’s words, then noted he has Austin Aries next week in the First Round. He said he expects to meet him in the Finals, where his ass is his. But, maybe he doesn’t want to wait for the Finals. Angle delivered a right hand blow and a fight broke out. Refs and security hit the ring to break up the fight and attempt to separate Angle and Roode to little success, as they broke out and tackled each other mid-ring. Impact cut to break mid-fight.
[Q2] [Commercial Break at 9:15]
Back on the show, Kurt Angle was in the ring shirtless. Angle waited for his cue and called out Roode to get back in the ring or else prove he’s a coward. Roode re-emerged from the stage now in an undershirt tanktop. Roode stormed down the aisle, drawing Angle and the fight was on again. Refs and security spilled out to ringside, then agents. Angle was eventually dragged down the entrance ramp to the backstage area as agents Al Snow and Pat Kenney tried to calm down Angle.
But, after a pause, Angle broke free and stormed the ring to tackle Roode in the ring. More chaos, then wrestlers spilled out to help. Namely, Kaz and Christopher Daniels to restrain Roode and Joe and Magnus to restrain Angle. TNA let the segment stand for a while, then Angle broke free and teased another fight. On commentary, Taz said he can’t wait for them to lock up again. Angle’s music eventually played to signal the end of the segment as Roode ranted and raved ringside.
[ JC’s Reax: Strictly from a presentation perspective, nice job by TNA letting the segment breathe and play out rather than rush through the segment, jump-cut to a backstage segment and lose “the moment.” ]
Announcers: Taz and Tenay reset with focus on the TNA Title tournament starting tonight.
Suddenly, Daniels and Kazarian were in a confrontation with Pacman Jones and Evans from the Bengals ringside. Daniels shoved Evans, which brought Pacman over the guardrail. The fight moved into the ring, where Pacman and Jones blocked suplexes and delivered near-simultaneous bodyslams to Bad Influence. Pacman and Evans then celebrated in the ring as B.I. bailed from the ring.
[ JC’s Reax: Again, nice production making it seem like the show is a fluid situation rather than jumping around from segment to segment. ]
Earlier Today: Jeff Hardy and Chris Sabin arrived at the building to kick off the title tournament.
[Commercial Break at 9:26]
[Q3] Two Weeks: “Turning Point” Impact.
Backstage: Garett Bischoff and Knox told a roving cameraman that the condition of their club is none of the person’s business. Mr. Anderson showed up and calmly said he just wants a match with Bully Ray, and it has nothing to do with club business. Anderson said the best thing they did to him was stripping those colors from him. “Get out, man,” he told Garett and Knux. “This isn’t what we started.”
In-ring: Velvet Sky was introduced to the ring for the opening match as A&E voice Taz said he gets what’s going on with Anderson, but he doesn’t think it’s cool what Anderson is doing. A&E music then played to bring out Brooke. ODB was out third for a three-way #1 contender match.
1 — BROOKE vs. VELVET SKY vs. ODB — three-way #1 contender match to the Knockouts Title
The Knockouts were produced to act more sensual than combative early on. ODB then controlled the action before the rest of the KO division – KO champion Gail Kim and Lei’D Tapa – came out on-stage for a closer look at the action heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:36]
Back from break, ODB got into it with Gail and Lei’D ringside after they got an even-closer look at the action. After a series of nearfalls, Velvet had the match won, but Gail interrupted with her finisher. Gail and Lei’D cleared the ring, leaving no one left. Gail then took the mic and made an open challenge to any women’s wrestler as Lei’D tried to look tough standing next to her.
WINNER: No Finish around 10:00.
Still to come: Hardy vs. Sabin in the tournament.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 9:45]
Video Package: A video was allowed on the air documenting Styles’s TNA Title defense in Mexico despite heel authority figure Dixie Carter not acknowledging his title reign. The video concluded with a note that the message was furnished by “The Friends of A.J. Styles.”
Backstage: Garett Bischoff and Knux debated whether Mr. Anderson is right about Aces & Eights being done. Bully Ray then barged in and said he knows about their talk with Anderson. Ray reminded them of something very important – he brought this club together for them, not for him. “For us!” he said. Garett said it hasn’t been “us” in a long time. Ray turned his back and said they have voted about everything. Knux cut him off and said it’s been Ray’s decisions, not their vote. Ray accused Knux of not being very bright, then reminded him that he’s the President. Knux, fed up, said he’s having a vote with Taz right now. Knux left, then Ray yanked in Bischoff to tell him to vote the right way.
[ JC’s Reax: Weak first hour of wrestling content. One match without a finish and a lot of talking segments mixed with some good physicality. It’s not the show after Bound for Glory, right? ]
[Commercial Break at 9:54]
Still to come: Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Sabin.
Pres Office: Dixie Carter was frantic on the phone. “How did it happen?!” she shouted. Dixie said “this guy” is trying to humiliate her. “You fix it! You…you fix it right now or I will!” she shouted. Ethan Carter III then walked in and Dixie calmed down. Carter told ECIII to pick his opponent this week. He said he feels like his streak might end this week, which set off Dixie. She told ECIII to pick the right opponent because the world needs the Carters.
[Q5 — second hour]
In-ring: Aces & Eights was assembled in the ring for another talking segment. Garett Bischoff spoke for Knux, then asked Taz to enter the ring. Taz shook hands with Garett and Knux before asking Bully Ray to join them in the ring. Out came Bully sans Brooke. Tenay noted A&E usually handles business behind closed doors, not out in the open.
Bully entered the ring and shouted for the music to stop. The former World champ paced the ring before asking if they know who he is. Bischoff said they sure do – the poison that has torn this club apart. Bischoff said it’s never been about them, just Bully’s ego. Bischoff said this vote is happening right now.
Suddenly, Mr. Anderson’s music interrupted. Anderson stood proudly ringside watching as the group fell apart, prompting Ray to yell down at Anderson. Anderson then casually lifted the mic to his mouth and said he’s just out here to watch this thing implode. Bischoff slapped Ray back to attention, then voted that he’s finished. Bischoff removed his jacket and backed away.
How about you, Knux? Ray told him he’s been his rock since Day 1. Knux nodded along, but said he doesn’t need Bully, this club, or these colors. Knux removed his jacket and slapped hands with Bischoff as Anderson watched ringside. Ray tried to control his emotions before saying they’re going to have themselves a tie because he’s on the same page with Taz. Ray said he votes that they keep the club right where it is. The crowd booed. And since Taz is his best friend in the whole world, they know how Taz is going to vote. Ray said unlike the two of them, Taz knows what to do what his president tells him to do.
Taz cocked his head before taking the mic. Taz told Bully to pump his brakes a little bit. He said they did the right thing their whole careers, but this has gone wrong. Taz said this club has been rolling for Bully’s agenda only. He said they’re all right. “I’m done,” he said before handing the jacket over to Bully, who refused to accept it. Bully told Taz to put his colors back on. “Make me!” Taz shouted. Bully turned his cap backwards, held his head, and put a hand on his hip to contemplate matters, then got in Taz’s face to tell him one more time to fall in line before he falls on his face.
Taz responded: “Make me. I will destroy you. Make me put ’em on!” Taz handed the jacket over to Bully, who then directed his anger toward Anderson, telling him that he ruined everything. Anderson replied by asking if Bully has no one else to blame or boss around. Anderson then booked themselves in a match at “Turning Point,” telling him he doesn’t want to wrestle, but “fight his ass.” Isn’t the name of the show “Impact Wrestling?” Anderson booked it as a No DQ match.
Ray replied that he’s hated Anderson since Day 1. He said there’s one thing he never understood about him. For a guy who respects “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (crowd pop) so much, he can’t believe Anderson forgot the very first rule. Knux and Bischoff then blasted Anderson from behind before sending him into the ring steps. K&B dragged Anderson back into the ring, where Ray big-booted him. Bully then shouted, “Don’t…trust…anybody” in-between belt shots.
Ray held Anderson in his hand and noted that when you ride with Aces & Eights, you never walk alone. Knux, Bischoff, and Taz stood tall in the background as Tenay complained about these guys being conmen.
[Commercial Break at 10:11]
[Q6] Backstage: Chris Sabin was shown warming up in his locker room. Still to come: Sabin vs. Hardy in the Title Tournament.
Announcers: Mike Tenay and Taz were shown ringside. Taz gloated about doing what they had to do. What did they have to do? Suddenly, Bobby Roode showed up ringside and nearly frightened Tenay out of his chair. Roode demanded Kurt Angle show up and continue the fight. “Where is he?!” Roode shouted.
Suddenly, the lights went out. It was Ethan Carter III’s ring entrance. ECIII hit the ring and posed for the hard camera before generic techno music played to bring out Dewey Barnes dressed in the worst wrestling trunks ever. There was even a cat paw on his gear.
2 — ETHAN CARTER III vs. DEWEY BARNES
Tenay said ECIII is 4-0 after picking up a win in Michigan over the weekend. ECIII worked over Catpaw early on, then played to the crowd before punting him in the gut. Again. ECIII sold pain delivering the kicks, but missed with a third kick. Tenay said ECIII is too entitled, planting seeds for Sting perhaps having an issue with Carter.
For the finish, Catpaw climbed to the top rope for a dropkick, but ECIII side-stepped and nailed his “One Percenter” front-face smash finisher for the win. After the match, Carter took the mic to note that he is ECIII. “And I’m a Carter. The world needs us,” he said.
WINNER: ECIII at 2:21.
Locker Room: Joseph Park was snacking on Halloween candy. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian barged in to comment on Park’s diet, apparently over their attack from the Bengals. Bad Influence reminded Park that he was nowhere to be seen last week, while Abyss ruined their Halloween. B.I. asked Park where his brother is now, then dumped candy on him. Eric Young barged in to defend Park, then he booked them in a Science Experiment out there in the ring.
[Commercial Break at 10:23]
Promo: Turning Point is in two weeks.
In-ring: Bad Influence was introduced first for tag action. Tenay noted B.I. just doesn’t know when to leave things alone. Eric Young and Joe Park were out next. Park did the bit where he waves the crowd like a fan, even waving to the empty hard camera side of the arena. Cue the bell.
3 — ERIC YOUNG & JOSEPH PARK vs. BAD INFLUENCE (CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & KAZARIAN)
The match spilled to the outside early on, where EY landed a suicide dive on Kaz. Back in the ring, EY cross-body splashed Kaz for a two count. Daniels then cut off EY from behind to allow Kaz to begin working on Young. Kaz then accidentally clotheslined Daniels, allowing EY to make a tag to Park.
Taz described Park as “unorthodox” and “clumsy” as he ran over B.I. with brawling offense. Kaz called him a “fat b—-” before missing with a missile dropkick. Park attempted a Boston Crab on Kaz, but Daniels broke it up. Chaos on the outside, then Daniels grabbed the ring mallet, distracting Earl Hebner. So, Daniels grabbed his appletini and threw the contents in Park’s eyes. This allowed Kaz to roll Park onto his back after significant effort for a three count.
WINNERS: Bad Influence at 5:37. A non-finish three-way, a squash match, and the classic TNA Referee Distraction finish to the only matches thus far. Now up to the main event to save the wrestling portion of tonight’s show.
Backstage: Chris Sabin and Jeff Hardy were shown walking down the hallway. Their main event tournament match is next.
[Commercial Break at 10:36]
Back from break, Kurt Angle’s music played to bring out Angle dressed to wrestle. Angle called out Bobby Roode, noting he’s looking for him. Angle said he’ll be out here waiting for him, so come get it. Austin Aries’s music played instead. Out came Aries, who is Angle’s title tournament opponent next week. Aries, standing in the middle of a fog machine, spoke that he understands that Angle’s focus is on Roode, but Angle is stepping in the ring with him next week, not Roode. Aries got close to Angle to tell him that if he doesn’t bring 100 percent laser, he stands zero chance of beating The Greatest Man That Ever Lived.
Dixie Carter interrupted from the video screen. Dixie leaned forward like a schoolteacher telling her kids what the Wheel of Dixie has for them. The wheel stopped on a Submission match, setting the stage for next week. Suddenly, Bobby Roode ran down the entrance ramp to attack a distracted Angle. Roode smashed Angle, but Aries got involved by ripping off left hands on Roode. Aries and Roode brawled until Angle stepped in to smash Roode with right hands. Security eventually showed up again to create separation. TNA cut to a shot of Tenay selling uneasiness in his chair as he tried to assess the situation.
Things calmed down with a look at the TNA Title tournament bracket. Taz said they’re trying to determine a new World champion because their current champion is off somewhere in Mexico. Tenay asked Taz if he’s ready, then Taz shouted out to someone off-camera.
[Q8] With 15 minutes left in the show, Jeff Hardy’s music played to bring out Hardy for the main event. Tenay said the main event is next.
[Commercial Break at 10:46]
Impact returned 11 minutes before the top of the hour with Hardy posing in the ring as his music played out. Chris Sabin was then introduced sans Velvet Sky. Sabin took his time playing to the crowd before entering the ring to start the main event.
4 — JEFF HARDY vs. X Division champion CHRIS SABIN — Full Metal Mayhem (TLC) match — First Round TNA Title Tournament match
Hardy, dressed in his all-black alternative uniform, ignored a handshake from Sabin, who then yanked Hardy into the corner. Sabin posed, happy about his work, then got knocked to the outside. Hardy followed with a flying clothesline off the ring apron before assessing the collection of weapons ringside.
Back in the ring, Hardy and Sabin engaged in a game of tug-of-war with a ladder. Sabin then placed Hardy on the top rope and delivered Rob Conway’s Ego Trip right into the ladder. Sabin covered, but Hardy kicked out of a pin. Sabin wanted to follow with a suplex onto the ladder, but Hardy blocked. He then back-dropped Sabin onto the ladder, prompting Sabin to sell immense back pain.
“Hardy, Hardy” chant from the crowd as Hardy scooped up a trashcan, which he bashed over Sabin’s face for a nearfall. Hardy then tried retrieving a ringside table, but the flimsy table leg broke when he tried to close it. So, Hardy found another table that did not break when he tried closing the table legs.
Back in the ring, Hardy propped up the table in the corner as Sabin continued to recover. Hardy wanted a power move, but Sabin countered with a huracanrana. Sabin then bashed a chair over Hardy’s back before hanging him upside down in the corner to rip open Hardy’s earlobes. Ouch-looking. Sabin then dropkicked a chair into Hardy’s face, but he got cocky posing on top of Hardy, who reached down to retrieve the chair and smash Sabin in the back while hanging upside down.
Hardy then ran off the chair with a corner leg whip. He followed with a clothesline that took Sabin over the top rope to the floor. On the outside, Hardy placed Sabin on a table and tried a big splash, but Sabin moved and Hardy crashed through the table. Back in the ring, Sabin placed Hardy on another table. Sabin wanted a top-rope splash, but Hardy got his knees up and both men crashed through the table.
[Q9 — over-run] At the top of the hour, both men reset before Hardy kicked Sabin and nailed a Twist of Fate. But, Hardy opted not to make a cover. Instead, Hardy placed a ladder in the corner, removed his t-shirt, and climbed the top turnbuckle to fly over the ladder with a super Swanton Bomb onto Sabin. Hardy caught his breath after the big move, then pinned Sabin for the win.
Post-match: Velvet Sky and trainers came to the ring to check on Sabin. Sky sold concern for Sabin, who remained flat on his back as two trainers checked on him. Tenay closed with a plug for Angle vs. Aries in the tournament next week as Impact closed two minutes past the top of the hour.
WINNER: Hardy at 10:38. Good TV main event, rewarding viewers who sat through three nondescript matches and a lot of talking to get to the main event. Most importantly, it felt like Hardy was “back” after presented as a big deal.
(Credit: James Caldwell, PWTorch.com)