We enter the final two weeks of hype heading into the Bound for Glory pay per view. Last week, AJ Styles began to turn his attention to Bully Ray as they set up for their match in San Diego. But it was overshadowed by what could turn into chaos.
Hulk Hogan quit. He walked out on Dixie Carter despite her begging him to stay. What happens now? Does AJ get a contract? Will Hogan return? Will Dixie completely lose her mind?
Show Open, "Live" from Tulsa, OK
We get our "previously on iMPACT" video package that focuses on Magnus battling against EGO, Sting agreeing to face Magnus at Bound for Glory, and Hulk Hogan turning Dixie Carter down and quitting.
Dixie comes out to some boos. She says that last week we saw what happens when a selfish individual puts their own interests first. She says that because of it, that person (Hulk Hogan) will no longer be mentioned by name. She says she doesn't need him, or anyone else, telling her how to run her wrestling company. She says she doesn't need "that has-been Eric Bischoff, Mr. Stephanie Levesque, or the good old Jarrett Boys."
She says AJ Styles was out of line last week. She says she asked him nicely to leave but interjected himself in a match. She says she was giving her hard working champion carte blanche to book AJ in any match he chose. She explains "carte blanche" and says it's "blank check in trailer talk."
Sting makes his way out yelling "hey", but Dixie ignores him until he gets in the ring. She says she's happy to see him. She says they all heard about what AJ was saying about Bound for Glory being her wake-up call but she was already awake. She says every guy in the back needs to know they are all under review, including Sting. She says he went too far last week to book his match with Magnus last week.
Sting tells her to cut the crap and tell him what is going on. She says he pushed them up to the ledge last week by making the match, and now she feels she needs to raise it to the next level. She books a tag match between Sting and Magnus vs. Daniels and Kazarian. If Sting's team loses, neither he or Magnus will appear at Bound for Glory. She tells sting that she holds his career in the palm of her little hand and that's what's going on. She leaves the ring.
Dixie Carter needs to just flat get off my television, unless she says nothing. She is trying way too hard, and just doesn't have what it takes to pull this off at all. I didn't need her to be name dropping (such as Sting's proper name, Steve (Borden), and "Mr." Stephanie Levesque) either. Horrible start to the show. Let's see if it gets better.
Austin Aries talks about facing Jeff Hardy. He talks about his accomplishments in the X-Division and how he doesn't like Ultimate X. He says Hardy picked that match because he wanted a spectacle. Aries says he is a professional wrestler and a good one, and he will go on to win the X-Division Championship and again use "Plan C" to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
AJ Styles says it's nice to be back in the building without security being all over him. He blows off the revenge that Bully Ray is getting and says he never backed down from a fight. He says that Dixie will pay at Bound for Glory.
Isn't Bound for Glory about AJ vs. Bully Ray.......?
Match #1 - Austin Aries vs. Jeff Hardy
Aries hits a big elbow in order to take charge of this one. He focuses his offense around the head and neck after that elbow. Hardy dumps Aries to the floor with a head scissor and hits a big dive on him going into the break.
Aries dumps Hardy to the floor and Hardy takes the announce table hard. Aries hits a double sledge and plays to the crowd then hits another. He throws Hardy back in and goes up top to go for the missile drop kick, but Hardy moves.
Hardy starts a comeback but Aries cuts him off with a neckbreaker through the ropes. He hits the missile dropkick then tries a corner drop kick but takes Hardy's feet. Hardy tries for the Twist of Fate, but Aries shoves him off. Hardy hits it on the second attempt, then tries for the Swanton. Aries kicks the ropes, then follows with a second rope brainbuster to get the win.
After the match, Samoa Joe's music plays. He comes to the stage and offers Aries congratulations. He talks about the story behind the Ultimate X match and says he will be the fifth participant. He says that live on pay per view, "Joe's gonna kill you..."
The match was pretty good, but that second rope brainbuster spot was a bit dangerous and unnecessary. Hardy landed square on his head. I wonder, are these guys screwed for booking their own match now? And did anyone bother to consider the sense of continuity if they DON'T get hassled about it? Also, it seems that Ultimate X is the "get everyone on the show" match - which is a real waste of talent.
The Bro-Mans rag on each other over their losses to ODB, EY and Joseph Park. Jesse says that Dixie is respecting people who step up, so he plans to fix the problem. He walks off, and Robbie looks confused.
They run a video package from earlier showing Jeremy Borash talking to EY and Joseph Park about taking a road trip to San Diego. They start, drive about 10 feet, then stop. They get out of the car and say that ODB has a match tonight so they can't leave yet.
Match #2 - ODB vs. Jesse
The Bro-Mans are in the ring and Jesse issues a challenge to ODB. She comes out with Eric Young.
ODB gets all the offense in this one early. Robbie grabs her leg on a whip. Eric Young chases him to the back, and ODB goes for her flask. Before anything happens, Lei'D Tapa makes her entrance and attacks ODB.
Tapa assaults ODB and poses over her with the Knockouts title.
Wait a minute. Jesse challenges ODB, but Eric Young knew about this match earlier? Is there any quality control of the script in TNA? I offer my services, seriously! How do you make those two gaffes! And Lei'D Tapa is a beast but it will take a bit to get her drawing heat.
HerveyCam asks Bully Ray about the revenge match. Ray asks what's so hard to understand. He says he's heading to the ring to take care of it right now.
Garrett Bischoff complains about what Ray had done to their club. Knux agrees with him. Ray says their judgment was clouded by Anderson and Anderson's ego caused all their problems. Knux agreed with that and says that piledriving him on the stage wasn't the answer. Ray says that maybe he's right on that, but tonight he wants to put the spotlight on them. He wants it to be them that takes out AJ Styles and that means the title stays in the club because of them. They buy in and agree to do it.
This was well done. Knux waffled a bit, but otherwise the psychology worked to get them to do Ray's bidding. It also seems to point that Anderson will get a new contract.
Sting and Magnus talk, and Magnus thanks him for setting his head straight. He says he is taking their match seriously. Sting says he has something to prove too and they will tear the house down. Magnus says they have to put that behind him tonight and beat EGO to make sure it happens. Sting agrees.
HerveyCam knocks on the "talent" locker room door and EGO sticks their heads out. They say there will be a big party for their Hall of Fame induction tonight and shoos off the camera guy.
Sting and Magnus' promo was alright, but a bit of a snoozer. EGO was, well, EGO.
The "EGO Hall of Fame" Segment:
Kazarian and Daniels come to the ring wearing matching suits and top hats. The ring has a podium and a giant chair. Kaz is in orange and Daniels in blue - all the way to the shoes and hats. Daniels trashes the fans and Kaz trashes the MLB, Rock and Roll, and TNA Halls of Fame. They introduce Bobby Roode.
Roode comes out, dressed normally by comparison. He takes a seat in the big chair as Daniels and Kaz reveal a photo of him from under a black cloth. Kaz sets up a video package with different guys talking about Sting (I think) with Roode's name overlaid into it. The video is pretty bad but it makes this funny.
Daniels puts Roode over as the It Factor of professional wrestling and brings Roode to the podium. Roode thanks Kaz and Daniels and gets emotional. He says he promised he wouldn't cry. He says there's one more person he needs to recognize and it's him. He says he is the man deserving of the Hall of Fame, not Kurt Angle.
He blames the fans for putting Angle in the Hall of Fame. He asks what Angle has done for TNA recently. He runs through a list of his own accomplishments and asks where Angle is now. He goes to say where Angle is, but Kurt's music hits. He gets a big pop when he comes out and he pulls off his shirt and gets in the ring.
Angle asks Roode who the other two are and if they're Roode's girlfriends. He hits Kaz with a belly to belly and a German suplex on Daniels. Roode tries to run off but Angle grabs his ankle. Roode escapes to the ramp. Angle says he has only one thing to say: "you, me, Bound for Glory." Roode hits his knees and sells.
I enjoyed this. It was a good mix of humor and seriousness to get to the match I sort of expected to happen and that was Roode vs. Angle. I was glad they didn't go down the road of why Angle has been gone. No reason to bring that back up.
We see Velvet Sky and Brooke Tessmacher walking backstage. Velvet's ribs are taped up and she's favoring them.
Bobby Roode rages about Angle interrupting the Hall of Fame induction. He accepts the challenge for Bound for Glory.
Match #3 - Velvet Sky vs. Brooke Tessmacher; winner is the third competitor against ODB and Gail Kim at Bound for Glory
Velvet and Chris Sabin make their entrance. Velvet tries to let the pigeons loose but Sabin puts his jacket over her to keep them in. The fans did not care at all about Brooke Tessmacher.
Tenay tells us that the winner gets to be the third competitor in the triple threat match with ODB and Gail Kim. Velvet is able to take Brooke down, but Sabin calls her over to him. He tries to coach her up, but Brooke rolls up Velvet to get the win.
Wow, just not anything to discuss here. Here's something though - they could have gotten heat on Sabin as he harassed Velvet for losing. But rather than do that, they cut away to Magnus and Sting backstage and the graphics for the main event. They really could have worked with that and let the moment sink in and do some good storytelling, but instead, it's Crash TV and on to the next moment.
We get a new "Ethan" vignette. We get a shot of his face, and now his full name: EC3 or Ethan Carter III.
Match #4 - Bad Influence vs. Magnus and Sting
In the early going of this one, the fight spills to the floor. The heels get control of the match heading into commercial.
Out of break, Magnus takes the heat and sells for the heel team. They make Sting distract Earl Hebner multiple times. Sting finally gets a hot tag and causes Daniels to hit Kaz with an elbow drop.
Sting dumps Daniels out and tags Magnus in. Magnus hits the top rope elbow then hooks in the cloverleaf. Daniels breaks things up, and Sting tags himself in. He hits the Stinger Splash and the Scorpion Death Drop to get the win. Magnus looks irritated with what happened.
The match was fine for what it was. I certainly hope they're not planning on turning Magnus heel...
Dixie confronts AJ and tells him he doesn't have to go through with the handicap match. She hands him a check and tells him that with that much money, he can buy trailers and teach redneck children to read. She tells him to shake hands and call it a career. AJ tells her she's right that you can buy a lot with the money the check represents. He says it can't buy him and tears the check up and throws it in her face. Dixie says she hadn't signed the check anyhow and walks off.
Dixie reminds me of the woman trying to find the right outfit for a date. She keeps trying until she finds the right one, and in the process throws out a hundred different outfits. Same thing here - she's throwing out a barrage of insults in search of the right one. And if she's trying to be a legitimate heel, she needs to be serious and not comical.
Match #5 - AJ Styles vs. Garrett Bischoff and Knux
Aces comes out first, and Bully kicks Mike Tenay off of commentary.
AJ attacks the heels before the bell, then things settle down with Bischoff working against AJ. AJ keeps control of the match early on, but Knux gets a blind tag. He beats AJ down for a bit. AJ gets his comeback going and beats Bischoff with a roll-up.
Afterward, Knux attacks AJ from behind and he and Bischoff gang up on him and beat him down. Ray runs in and shoves them off, then beats AJ with a chain. He backdrops AJ to the ramp then stands over him and talks trash to end the show.
Wow, that match just sucked. I am not sure if it had something to do with the talents in the ring (Knux and Bischoff specifically) but it just was not good at all. But the post match angle did a good job of putting heat on the match between Ray and AJ at Bound for Glory. Shame that they waited until two weeks out from Bound for Glory.
We're two weeks from Bound for Glory, and this show needed to hit a big home run to get some good hype for the event. The show wasn't bad in the overall view, but it just failed to deliver the kind of hype it needed to.
Angle and Roode gets a thumbs up from me. I thought that was well done. Sting and Magnus was OK, but it wasn't great. Joe adding himself in to the Ultimate X match was flat and failed in terms of consistency with Dixie getting on people's cases for booking their own matches. Brooke Tessmacher getting in the triple threat match for the Knockouts title was just an instant forget.
Above all, Dixie Carter is just not working for me. Not at all. She is a major distraction to the main event of Bound for Glory that COULD be a good story otherwise. I could be more forgiving about this if we weren't a week out from the company's biggest show of the year.
Next week's show is the go-home show, so let's hope they deliver. Join me for live coverage next Thursday at 9PM EST here on Ring-Rap.com.