This week’s Impact leading into “No Surrender” next week opened with Mike Tenay introducing the show. Tenay plugged Sting vs. Bully Ray and the 20-man Bound for Glory Series gauntlet tonight. This led to pre-taped soundbytes from Kazarian, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Mr. Anderson, A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, Hernandez, Jay Bradley, Joseph Park, Christopher Daniels, Jeff Hardy, and Magnus discussing the gauntlet tonight.
Back in the arena, Aces & Eights’s music played to start the first segment. Out came TNA champion Bully Ray, who was joined by Brooke Tessmacher and Tito Ortiz. Bringing up the rear was Mr. Anderson along with his subgroup of Wes Brisco, Garett Bischoff, and Mike Knox.
In the ring, Bully told the audience that Aces & Eights is in total control of things. Ray said they hang together, do everything together, and bang together. Ray said he knows last week might have been a little harsh, but they’re all past that. Ray then hugged Bischoff, Wes, and Knox. Ray knocked fists with Tito and told him not to listen to “Tito Sucks” chants. Ray stopped at Mr. Anderson, who was leaning against the ropes ready to absorb Ray’s false sincerity. Ray said he has more love for Anderson than his brother, Devon. Ray pulled in Anderson for a hug and Anderson responded with a light tap on the back.
Ray then announced that Knox is facing Chris Sabin tonight. Then, Wes & Garett face the TNA tag champions. Then, Anderson will win the BFG Series gauntlet tonight to win the 20 points. Ray closed by addressing the hard camera that he’s got Hulk Hogan at checkmate and he accepts the fight with Sting tonight. Ray assembled the troops for the night before the A&E music played again.
After a few awkward moments of Ray standing in the ring with Knox, Chris Sabin’s music played to bring out the most-recent former TNA champion. Tenay said it’s his first match since losing the TNA Title.
[Commercial Break at 9:09]
1 — CHRIS SABIN vs. MIKE KNOX (w/Bully Ray and Brooke Tessmacher)
The bell sounded back from break. Sabin instantly sold concern over Ray’s ringside presence before locking up with Knox, who knocked down Sabin. Sabin responded with a Test of Strength tease, but instead kicked Knox’s knee to begin targeting the left knee. Sabin tried to get a head of steam for a splash, but Knox intercepted him with a big body splash.
[Q2] Knox slowed down the pace as Taz entered Therapy Mode that he doesn’t like a lot of people. “That’s kind of my thing,” Taz noted. Knox continued to slow down the pace and work on Sabin while the fans facing the hard camera focused on other events besides what was happening in the ring. Tenay even noted that Tenay is having a hard time concentrating on the match, so he entertained Taz by changing subjects to Hogan booking Bully in a title defense against an A&E member next week.
Sabin avoided a splash to re-target Knox’s knee. Sabin then came off the top with a missile dropkick. Suddenly, Ray handed a hammer to Knox, who lost control of the hammer apparently because he’s not very coordinated. Sabin then dove at the hammer, retrieved it, and smashed Knox over the head with it, drawing a DQ.
Post-match, Sabin flipped out, apparently unable to understand how he was DQ’ed for using the hammer. Sabin shouted at the ref that Knox brought the hammer into the ring as Taz called Sabin a maniac. Sabin continued to rant and rave, then clutch his head in frustration to conclude the segment.
WINNER: Knox via DQ at 5:58. So, the Chris Sabin character. What’s the direction here – another conflicted babyface who gets frustrated by the heels, snaps, checks out, and the crowd isn’t interested? It came across like 80 percent of the live audience had no idea that Sabin just held the top title in the company, especially since TNA hasn’t made a big deal out of Sabin being the most-recent champion and how Aces & Eights cheated to win the title back.
Up Next: Knockouts champion Mickie James has a special performance.
[Commercial Break at 9:20]
Moments Ago: Chris Sabin popped Knox with a hammer, then didn’t understand why he was DQ’ed.
Hallway: Velvet Sky tried to calm down Chris Sabin. Sabin said every time the hammer comes into play, he gets screwed. Sabin started removing ring gear, then began muttering to himself that something has to change. Velvet tried to calm down Sabin and tell him that he doesn’t need the hammer to win. Sabin repeated himself over and over about the hammer, scaring Velvet, who repeated herself that Sabin doesn’t need the hammer. “This is crap!” Sabin shouted, causing Velvet to freak out. “What just happened?” she asked herself after Sabin disappeared.
In-ring: KO champion Mickie James was introduced to the ring. Mickie went way over the top shouting, “Hello, Cleveland!” Mickie said you cannot believe how excited she was when she saw Cleveland on her schedule. So, she decided to prepare an amazing performance. Smoke and monkeys. Dancing midgets. The whole carnival ready.
Mickie said who needs the VMAs when they have the MJAs. Mickie held out her own trophy and placed it in the corner before turning her attention to how the “media and you people” treated her friend, Miley, is unfair. This is so last week. Mickie said she understands how difficult it is to be the greatest Knockouts champion of the century. So, she said to herself that it’s just not right. “Apparently you don’t like the way we twerk it,” Mickie said before muttering to herself about how Mickie twerked it.
[Q3] ODB interrupted Mickie’s self-talk. ODB asked Mickie if she’s really talking about Miley Cyrus in the home of rock and roll. ODB said the one thing Mickie needs to be worrying about is her taking that “Knocked out Title.” Mickie wasn’t buying it. She noted that ODB isn’t a star like her, then cheap-shotted Mickie from behind. ODB fought back, then Mickie and ODB went face-to-face. ODB cleared Mickie from the ring, then vowed to be the next Knockouts champion.
Backstage: Jeremy Borash broke down the BFG Series Standings. Then, JB brought in Hernandez and Jay Bradley, who are both mathematically eliminated from the Top 4. Bradley said a certain organization has offered him money to eliminate someone, then he proposed a working relationship with Hernandez. Hernandez sold deep thoughts as Impact cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:33. Mid-break, TNA cut to the A&E Holding Area. Mike Knox was consuming his post-match victory meal as Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff made fun of him for having something in his beard.]
Earlier Today: Sting showed up in the arena and walked down a flight of stairs.
Tonight: Bully Ray vs. Sting.
In-ring: Hernandez’s music played and Christy Hemme introduced the 12-man BFG Series gauntlet match up next. Tenay noted that they were under impression that the BFG Series was supposed to wrap up last week, but Hulk Hogan threw a curveball by extending it one week to this match. Jay Bradley was out next to start the match with Hernandez.
2 — 12-man BFG SERIES GAUNTLET MATCH — Winner gets 20 points
After the bell sounded, Bradley took the mic and reminded Hernandez of the offer – a lot of money on the table for an elimination of the right person at the right time. Hernandez quizzed the crowd on what he should do, then he kicked Bradley in the gut and chopped him into the corner. Hernandez continued to attack Bradley until the clock expired.
Out next was Joseph Park, who was joined by Eric Young ringside. Park clumsily overpowered Bradley until Bradley rocked him with an elbow. The match slowed until Hernandez smashed Bradley with a big Pounce from across the ring. No eliminations, then the clock expired.
Out next was Mr. Anderson, who charged the ring to clothesline Hernandez. Anderson then targeted Park, who held onto the ropes to avoid elimination as Impact cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:43. Mid-break, TNA cut to a shot of Samoa Joe's ring entrance.]
[Q4] Back from break, the countdown clock expired to bring out A.J. Styles. No eliminations during the break. Styles jogged down to the ring without the dramatic “transformation” to the Old A.J. and promptly eliminated Joseph Park. Styles nearly eliminated himself in the process.
*** Park eliminated at 9:00. ***
Out next was Kazarian, who hit the ring and went right after Styles. Meanwhile, Anderson worked on Joe, who promptly fired back with a kick to the head that sent Anderson over the top rope, eliminating Anderson second.
*** Anderson eliminated at 11:40 ***
Out next was Christopher Daniels, who targeted Samoa Joe once he hit the ring. Daniels and Kaz then double-teamed Styles, trying to eliminate their long-time rival Styles survived, so Daniels and Kaz double-teamed Samoa Joe, who responded with high-impact offense to both. Daniels and Kaz then turned their attention to Hernandez and eliminated him third.
*** Hernandez eliminated at 14:40 ***
Out next was Jeff Hardy, who charged the ring as Impact cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:54]
Back from break, the countdown clock expired to bring out Bobby Roode. Roode marched to the ring as a woman near the arena mic shrieked as if they were back in the Impact Zone. Roode promptly joined Daniels and Kaz to target Joe. Meanwhile, Bradley took his cue to try to eliminate Styles, but Styles blocked and eliminated Bradley, prompting Tenay to wonder who paid Bradley to target Styles.
*** Bradley eliminated at 20:00 ***
[Q5 -- second hour] Roode and Styles battled in the corner at the top of the hour. Meanwhile, Joe and Daniels battled in an opposite corner. Styles then snapped off a dropkick on Kazarian.
The countdown clock expired to bring out Austin Aries next. Aries flew over the top rope onto E.G.O. while wearing his trademark cape to make a grand entrance. Aries’s advantage was short-lived, as E.G.O. regrouped and triple-teamed him before turning their attention to Styles.
The countdown clock expired for the final time to bring out points-leader Magnus at 23:30. Magnus quickly targeted Daniels with his lift-up bodyslam finisher. Joe was then eliminated by E.G.O. after Daniels and Kaz ducked a clothesline near the ropes.
*** Joe eliminated at 24:30 ***
Basic battle royal-style action followed. Then, Hardy was eliminated, exciting Taz on commentary.
*** Hardy eliminated at 25:20 ***
After Hardy was cut, Kazarian was back-dropped over the top rope onto the entrance ramp. Apparently that counts as an elimination, as validated by ring announcer Christy Hemme.
*** Kaz eliminated at 25:55 ***
Magnus was quickly eliminated next, bringing it to a Final Four of Roode, Aries, Daniels, and Styles.
*** Magnus eliminated at 26:10 ***
Aries wanted a springboard move, but Styles lunged across the ring and eliminated him over the top rope.
*** Aries eliminated at 27:10 ***
Roode was then bumped over the top rope onto the entrance ramp for another elimination. So, it’s Styles vs. Daniels one more time.
*** Roode eliminated at 27:22 ***
Styles and Daniels traded offense before Styles built momentum and delivered a hard clothesline that sent Daniels flying over the top rope. Daniels landed on the floor, giving Styles the win and the 20 points.
WINNER: Styles at 28:38 to win 20 BFG Series points and make the Final Four.
Post-match, Styles celebrated on the way out of the ring before taking a victory lap. On commentary, Tenay noted they finally have the final standings. Now, it’s #1 Styles, #2 Magnus, #3 Aries, and #4 Roode. Tenay said that Styles will select his opponent for next week’s Final Four later in the show.
Still to come: Bully Ray vs. Sting.
Backstage: Bully Ray was in the holding area as Mr. Anderson sat behind him with a towel wrapped around his neck. Ray said he can’t even begin to describe his disappointment with Anderson right now. Ray said Knox won his match, he’s sure Wes & Garett will win their match later, and Anderson hasn’t done anything lately. Anderson snapped at Ray that he’s put everything on the line for this club. Ray quietly replied that he’s above Anderson, and if he took the colors away from his own brother, Devon, imagine what he’ll do to Anderson. “Fall in line!” Ray shouted at Anderson. “Don’t disappoint me again, Mister…Vice President.”
[Commercial Break at 10:11]
[Q6] Moments Ago: A.J. Styles eliminated Christopher Daniels to win the BFG Series Gauntlet to make the Final Four of the BFG Series.
Backstage: Styles said he was out of the Top 4 moments ago, and now he’s leading. Styles excitedly said he is a competitor and a winner. “I’m going to win the Bound for Glory Series and I’m going to face Bully Ray,” Styles declared.
Last Thursday: Bully and Hulk Hogan had a verbal exchange setting up Ray versus an Aces & Eights member on next week’s Impact. Plus, Ray vs. Sting this week.
Backstage: Sting and Rampage Jackson were shown sitting down in folding chairs somewhere in the backstage area. Rampage asked Sting to tell him the story about not being able to challenge for the TNA Title again. Sting said it’s a bad thing on the surface, but it led to him re-forming the Main Event Mafia to get help, back-up, and a family. Sting vowed to take out Ray tonight. He said he’s been on a rampage for a lot of years, then said they should rampage together.
In-ring: James Storm’s music played to bring out TNA tag champions James Storm and Gunner. Storm took a swig of beer as Gunner followed behind him to the ring. Suddenly, Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff attacked them from behind and the action spilled to the floor. Ref Brian Hebner took a peek at what was going on, then Storm beat Garett into the ring. So, the ref called for the bell.
3 — TNA tag champions GUNSTORM (JAMES STORM & GUNNER) vs. ACES & EIGHTS (WES BRISCO & GARETT BISCHOFF) — non-title match
On commentary, Taz noted Wes and Bischoff needed to jump GunStorm from behind because they’re not as experienced as the tag champs. Realizing it sounded like he was dogging his stablemates, Taz stopped himself mid-sentence and changed the subject. Once order was restored, Aces & Eights isolated Storm in the corner. Garett did his trademark shoulder thrusts in the corner before sending Storm face-first into Wes’s boot.
Aces & Eights continued to isolate Storm until Storm kicked free of Wes and tagged in Gunner. Bischoff also tagged in and took offense from Gunner. Gunner followed with a uranage into a backbreaker on the way down. GunStorm came back with an innovative-looking slingshot into a DDT on Bischoff, who kicked out before three. But, GunStorm couldn’t seal the deal.
Wes brought a Tag Title belt into the ring, causing the ref to lose track of Bischoff, who pulled out a chain from his gear and popped Gunner in the back of the head as the ref was pre-occupied with the title belt. Bischoff pinned Gunner for the win.
WINNERS: Aces & Eights at 6:00.
Up Next: A.J. Styles picks his Final Four opponent for next week.
[Commercial Break at 9:26. Mid-break, Austin Aries was shown making his way to the ring to hear Styles's selection.]
[Q7] Back from break, Tenay broke down the final BFG Series Standings. In the ring, Jeremy Borash was standing by with Magnus, Bobby Roode, and Austin Aries. JB set the stage for the Final Four before bringing out A.J. Styles to pick his opponent for the Final Four next week.
Once Styles entered the ring, JB asked Styles to make his selection. The crowd shouted out some names for Styles, who noted he has some decisions to make. Roode got in Styles’s face, but Styles ignored him, then turned toward Aries, who smiled back. Styles said Aries is the one guy he didn’t want to lose to, which is why he’s the first man he’s going through to get what he wants.
So, JB announced Aries vs. Styles next week. Aries responded that he’s not big on making predictions and he doesn’t like making promises he can keep, but there will be a winner next week. And that’s the fans.
In the other semi-final, it’s Roode vs. Magnus. Roode took the mic from JB and said he loves when a plan comes together. Roode continued that he aligned himself with Kazarian and Daniels for this reason – to get in the Final Four of the BFG Series. As far as he’s concerned, he’s facing the weakest link, Magnus. Roode vowed to defeat Magnus and advance to the Finals before going to Bound for Glory to regain the TNA World Title. Magnus wasn’t amused by this tough talk, so he mouthed something in Roode’s face.
Roode took the mic next and said he got this spot by himself, not with help from Daniels and Kazarian. Magnus said he thinks Cleveland is Mafia Country, and he has a family in the Main Event Mafia to counter Roode’s group. Magnus vowed to go through all three of them to become TNA World champion at the BFG PPV.
JB summed up the Final Four of Roode vs. Magnus and Styles vs. Aries to conclude the segment.
Up Next: Sting vs. Bully Ray in the main event.
[Commercial Break at 10:37]
Back from break, Tenay broke down the No Surrender Impact line-up next week.
In-ring: Aces & Eights’s music played to bring out Bully Ray along with Brooke Tessmacher. Tito Ortiz followed close behind, followed by Mr. Anderson slowly walking behind. Ray told Anderson what his role is tonight before Ray, Tito, and Brooke entered the ring. Sting was introduced next for the main event. No back-up for Sting, who came out alone.
Once everyone was in the ring, JB handled formal ring introductions for Sting vs. Bully. Bully then took the mic and told everyone to sit down and shut up. Ray waited out boos, then told Sting that this is a non-title match. Ray reminded Sting of Slammiversary when he beat him with the stipulation that Sting could never wrestle for the title again. “Screw you and screw your best friend, Hogan,” Ray said.
[Q8] On cue, Hulk Hogan’s music played to bring out Hulk Hogan on-stage. Taz complained about Hogan’s presence before Hogan introduced himself. Hogan said he runs the show around here, then gave Bully a “receipt” that Tito is ejected from ringside. Hogan told security to escort out Ortiz, who complained on the way out.
Ray then complained to Hogan that he can’t pull that on him. Hogan said he can top that by changing this match to a No DQ match. Taz called that an outrage as Ray stared down at Anderson, who simply leaned against the announce table with a self-satisfied look for Ray. Sting suddenly Stinger-Splashed Ray in the corner. The ref called for the bell and the match quickly spilled to the floor.
4 — TNA World champion BULLY RAY (w/Tito Ortiz and Brooke Tessmacher) vs. STING — No DQ non-title match
Sting landed a weapon shot in front of the announce table as Impact cut to its final break 35 seconds in.
[Commercial Break at 10:49]
Back from break eight minutes before the top of the hour, Sting was still assaulting Ray with weapons on the floor. Sting tossed Ray back into the ring and brought a chair with him, but Bully delivered a low-blow to cut off Sting. Ray capitalized with high-impact offense as Sting writhed in pain on the mat.
Ray left the ring and stared down Mr. Anderson before receiving an object from Taz. Ray then began taking apart the ring with the tool provided by Taz. Back in the ring, Ray delivered a chair shot to Sting’s back before peeling back the ring canvas and ring padding. Ray exposed a section of the boards underneath the ring before stalking Sting, who responded with a take down into the Scorpion Deathlock. Ray teased tapping out, but Aces & Eights hit the ring to attack Sting.
A&E beat down Sting while Mr. Anderson watched on the outside. 15 seconds later, Main Event Mafia decided to hit the ring, led by Samoa Joe. Joe, Magnus, and Rampage Jackson cleared A&E from the ring, leaving Sting and Ray alone in the ring again. Bully wanted a piledriver onto the exposed boards, but Sting countered with a back-body drop.
At 9:00, Ray tried to come back with a big boot, but Sting ducked, dropped Ray, and slapped on the Scorpion Deathlock. Anderson watched from ringside as Ray teased tapping. Anderson then pulled out a hammer and teased giving it to Ray, but he pulled it away from Ray. Anderson then “accidentally” tossed the hammer away from Ray, leaving Ray with no option but to tap out to the Scorpion.
WINNER: Sting via submission at 9:47.
Post-match: Brooke entered the ring to check on Bully as Sting left the ring. Anderson then entered the ring and taunted Ray that he couldn’t get the job done on his own. Anderson, with possession of the TNA Title belt, mockingly asked “Prezzzzzz” if he knows who he is. Anderson then told Ray that he’s the guy who will face him next week for this title.
Anderson declared himself Ray’s worst nightmare and the next TNA champion. “My name is Mister Anderson!” he shouted in Ray’s face. “Ander-son!” Tenay freaked as Anderson held up the title in the air. Taz said Anderson is going to pay for this. Tenay signed off with a final plug for Ray vs. Anderson and the BFG Series Final Four next week on Impact.
(Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch.com)