It's time for a showdown. Magnus faces AJ Styles tonight in a unification match as they each hold their own version of the TNA Championship. Tonight, they square off to determine who the true champion is. Will Dixie get involved somehow to keep "her" champion in place? Also, Kurt Angle will battle both members of Bad Influence in a cage.
Show Open, Taped in Orlando, FL
We get a recap of the failed coronation segment that closed last week's show.
Dixie Carter gets her entrance, and she says she doesn't want to waste another minute on AJ Styles so she calls him out to sign the contract and get it over with. AJ comes to the ring, and grabs a mic. Dixie won't let him talk though and she says he doesn't get to talk.
Dixie tells him the contract is for one night and one match only. She says to make sure it's the last time she sees him, she makes the match no disqualification. She says she hopes the last time that she sees him, he is being carried from the ring. She shoves the contract his way and demands him to sign.
Styles mocks her tough act and tells her she bet on the wrong horse again. He says it's "winner take all" tonight, and that means he is leaving as the TNA Champion. He takes the contract and tells her that if she thinks the no-DQ stipulation will mean her little friends will get to run out and interfere, there are plenty of guys in the back who don't like her as much as he dislikes her.
Dixie tells him she signed his checks and fed his family for 11 years, and it was no different for the guys in the back. She says they won't come out because she owns them. Styles calls Magnus a paper champion who has his head up Dixie's skirt.
Magnus' music hits and he comes to the ring. He tells Dixie to leave, and she does. He tells Styles that's the last time he will call Magnus a paper champion. He tells Styles that his time has come and gone and it's now Magnus' time. He says that after tonight there will be one champion, and it will be Magnus. He leaves.
Styles tells them to stop, and signs the contract before pitching it their direction. He tells them he clawed his way to the top with blood, sweat, and tears. He says he will leave tonight as champion, and asks Dixie what she will do then. He says Magnus could ask her if he took his lips on her ass.
Dixie started off pretty well, but she fell apart. She does better when she sounds confident and determined, not whiney. Magnus and Styles were good, but Magnus was a little boring. Styles was on it with some good energy.
Dixie reminds Gail Kim how important her match is tonight. Gail says she knows, and Dixie leaves. Kim turns to Lei'D Tapa and asks her if she knows what she will do tonight. Tapa nods.
Match #1 - Eric Young and Joseph Park vs. Bro Mans (w/DJ Zema)
Park and Young come to the ring. Backstage, Dixie asks Bro Mans if they know how important their job is tonight. Robbie says it's a little intense, and Dixie gets agitated. Jesse settles things down as the voice of reason, and Dixie leaves. DJ Zema does his thing and irritates me.
Young gets a fast start and whips up on Bro Mans. On the big screen, Gail Kim and Lei'D Tapa are beating up ODB with a kendo stick. Really? EY runs to the back, and Park is left to his own to face Bro Mans. Ahh, now I get it.
Bro Mans hit their finisher to get the win. Afterward, Bro Mans go get a section of security railing and hit their move again on Park.
I guess the gimmick of the night is to have heels pick off faces to prevent AJ having support if he's interfered with in the title unification match.
Samoa Joe approaches Dixie and tells her that AJ wasn't lying when he said guys in the back didn't like her, and the locker room has his back. He is a bit aggressive and "in her face" as he says this. She asks him if he's threatening her, and he says he doesn't do that to women.
Dixie tells him he needs to concentrate on his match tonight with EC3. She tells him he needs to worry about getting out of that match in one piece. He tells her that Carter's blood is on her hands.
Yup, that's where this is going. And this was good Samoa Joe here - I've missed that.
Joe Park is getting treatment. Eric Young is running out of the building with ODB. He bumps into Sting and Stnig asks what's going on. EY says he has to get ODB to a hospital and takes off. Sting says 'Dixie" and walks away.
James Storm comes out and calls out Gunner, who joins him. Storm tells him he has been in several great tag teams, and the best ones broke up over the world title. He says Gunner is doing it again with the case. Gunner says Storm knew the match was every man for himself, and Gunner didn't do anything Storm wouldn't have done. Storm tells Gunner they should have one more match and he issues a challenge for a ladder match for the case. He offers a handshake, and Gunner takes the challenge without a word.
Hey, look - it's Gunner the Dope! I hate when they put these cases on the line, whether it's in WWE or TNA.
Backstage, EC3 is beating up Samoa Joe. The battle makes its way out to the ramp and eventually the ring.
Match #2 - Ethan Carter III vs. Samoa Joe
Joe asserts himself, and he gets all of the big spots in. He cues up the Muscle Buster on Carter. Spud runs out and grabs Joe's leg and that draw's Joe's attention. He goes after Spud and Carter attacks Joe's leg from behind with a pipewrench. The match ends as a no-contest.
After the match, Carter and Spud work on Joe's leg some more.
Typical bait and switch match. Not all that interesting.
JB interviews Kurt Angle and asks about his open challenge for the night. Angle says he will prepare for his cage match with Bobby Roode next week by having a cage match tonight. He feels bad for whoever answers the challenge, because he will see them as Roode instead.
A "meh" promo from Angle.
We see AJ preparing for his match. A video package recaps all the people who had been taken out through the course of the night. Backstage, a doctor tells Joe he needs to go to the hospital because he may have a broken patella.
Elsewhere, Sting discovers paramedics treating an unconscious Gunner and Storm. Sting storms off to find Dixie. He yells at her about what's going on, and she says that wrestling is a dangerous sport and business. She tells him to focus on his match, and he retorts that a match won't keep him from dealing with her. She says there's something else too, but for now the conversation is over. She storms off and Sting says he's tired of her.
That was clunky as hell. The segment was good until she threw out the "there's something else but I'm not going to tell you..." thing.
Kurt Angle comes to the ring, and Bobby Roode comes out to the stage. He talks about the cage match next week and asks the fans if they want it to happen tonight. The crowd cheers, and Roode undoes his robe like he will head to the ring. He tells Angle that would be stupid, so he found someone who hates him as much as Roode does...actually two men. He brings out Bad Influence.
Match #3 - Kurt Angle vs. Bad Influence; Handicap cage match
Angle catches both guys as they enter the cage but the numbers are too much. Angle locks a small package on Daniels but Kaz keeps the official distracted. Angle hits them with a blizzard of suplexes. Kaz tries to escape, but Angle takes him with a German from the second rope onto Daniels. Angle hits the Angle Slam on Kaz and grabs the win.
Sigh. Bro Mans are the tag champions. Your best team is jobbing out to Kurt Angle in a handicap match. Sigh.
Dixie yells into her phone and tells them to leave the cage up. She makes a joke that is really close to the racist line. Bobby Roode appears and she asks him if he's ready for his cage match tonight. Roode stammers and complains about having to face Angle tonight but since he had one match already he'd go out there. Dixie tells him it's not against Angle, but against Sting. Roode flips out and Dixie tells her she has his back. He seems unsure, but walks away.
Roode's reactions here were hilarious. I'm not sure that's what they were going for, but I couldn't stop laughing at it.
Angle is posing for pictures with fans backstage when Al Snow pulls up in a car. He tells Angle to hurry because there was an emergency and he had to get Angle to the airport. Angle jumps in the car and they take off.
Match #4 - Bobby Roode vs. Sting; Cage Match
Roode tries to make the first escape at the door, but Sting grabs his foot. Roode tries to climb out but Sting hits a slam from the top rope, then throws Roode into the cage. Sting reverses Roode's attempt at his finisher and hits a Scorpion Death Drop, then locks on the Scorpion Leg Lock.
Shenanigans enuse though. EC3 runs out and distracts the referee, and Rockstar Spud throws Roode a baton. Roode hits Sting with the baton and escapes the cage to win.
They really should protect the cage gimmick given they dedicate an entire pay per view (Lockdown) to cage matches. But, they didn't in an attempt to push the Carter Authority Storyline...
Mr. Anderson is arriving to a funeral home. I missed what he said due to a "wrong number" phone call.
We get a recap of Bully Ray threatening to light people on fire last week. Anderson enters the funeral home and points. He says he sees him sitting there, and they should just finish it. Ray is sitting in the back of the room, and says of course Ken saw him since they were brothers and know each other well.
Ray says he can't end it because that would be too forgiving. He says people say forgiveness is a strength and asks forgiveness for being weak. He says that next week at Genesis it would just be the beginning for Anderson for what Anderson took from him. Anderson turns to the coffin and grabs something out of it, but when he turns back around Ray is gone. Anderson is holding baby blankets.
For whatever reason, and maybe because it's just this fresh in my mind given Daniel Bryan joining them, this felt like a knock-off Wyatt Family bit. Since Ryback ripped off the Bully Ray character, I guess it's only fair they do something like this. It's not quite the same, but close enough.
Sting tells Dixie that nothing will keep him from being in AJ's corner tonight. She reminds him it's contract season, and she always re-signed him quickly and sweetened the pot for him. Sting tells her that he can't be bought, and she talks sweetly to him and tells him to make the right decision before leaving.
AJ and Magnus are shown walking backstage and it's soon time for title unification!
Match #5 - AJ Styles vs. Magnus; TNA World Heavyweight Championship, winner takes all, under No Disqualification Rules
JB handles the old school introductions for us. Magnus stalls early on, going to the floor and dodging Styles. They finally do lock up, but Magnus tease that his leg is injured. EC3 and Spud run out and attack AJ. Magnus gets involved too, and nearly ends up eating the Styles Clash, but Carter makes a save. Sting runs out for the save for AJ, and ends up taking EC3 and Spud to the back.
Bro Mans and DJ Zema run out, and they go after Sting and AJ. They end up beating the daylights out of AJ, and Earl Hebner slow counts it so AJ can kick out at two. Sting fights the three of them off, and next here comes Bad Influence to get a piece of the action. Guess we're getting a parade of heels here. Hebner refuses to count the pinfall and storms away. He knocks down Spud in the process.
Dixie has Brian Hebner come out to the ring to take over as the official. Earl says he doesn't care and exits. Brian slides in to count a pinfall (and does so properly) and AJ kicks out. Sting comes back, and he and AJ take on the heels and kick some ass. They even took out a ringside cameraman. Styles puts Magnus in the calf killer, but Bad Influence knocks out Brian Hebner before Magnus taps.
One more time, AJ takes out everyone and hits Magnus with the Styles Clash. Earl Hebner runs back out and tries to count the pin, but Bad Influence drags him out. Styles hits a dive on the pair of them. He goes back in the ring.
The parade of heels continues, and here comes Bobby Roode. He runs out and knocks AJ down then hits him with his finisher three times. Magnus covers, and Dixie drags a third referee out to make the count for Magnus and he wins the match.
That was the biggest cluster of a convoluted mess I've seen. Magnus came out in the early part of the show and tried to express a confident heel gimmick. This totally railed against it. I have no issue if Magnus would have taken some tactics as a heel would, but this was an overbooked garbage mess.
The biggest issue is what this does to Magnus, and his title run. It makes him and the title look so weak in a time where they need to do something to add value to the TNA Championship.
Up until this match, the show was average to above average, but this really put a damper on that. Join us again next week for more iMPACT Coverage here on Ring-Rap.com.