We're just a couple days away from Bound for Glory, the biggest event of TNA's year. Austin Aries is set to defend his TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Jeff Hardy, but before that he needs to face James Storm tonight. His opponent, Jeff Hardy will face Bobby Roode. Storm and Roode are set to face off too, so maybe we'll see some interaction in these matches to put all these feuds to their height going into Sunday.
Aces and Eights still lurks. Will they try to get into Sting's head, or attack Sting or Bully Ray before Sunday to gain an advantage? The show kicks off in minutes.
They open with a recap segment.
Tenay and Taz check in on commentary. Tenay hypes up Aries vs. James Storm and Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode on this show tonight. We go right to the ring with Christy Hemme to give us ring intros for the first match.
Match #1 - Austin Aries (c) vs. James Storm; Non-Title Match
The two men get right to it. There's no clear-cut favorite in the fans' eyes but the crowd's into it. Storm chops Aries hard in the corner which prompts Taz to comment that Aries may have lost an areola.
Storm teases Eye of the Storm later, but Aries escapes. Aries air-mails a missile dropkick. Storm teases the Closing Time (or the Codebreaker) but Aries shoves him off. Aries misses the brainbuster.
The finish comes when Storm ends up at ringside. Roode runs out and throws Storm into the ring post behind the official's back. That allows Aries to get the Brainbuster to pick up the win.
Good action in this one. Could have played up the Roode involvement a little bit to make the finish seem more intriguing, but we'll see if they run with it. The main event of Aries vs. Hardy at Bound for Glory still feels very flat to me.
Wes Briscoe and Kurt Angle are talking, and Wes wants to know if he can tag along on the trip to Bound for Glory. Angle agrees and says he'll make it happen. Styles walks in and gets upset over Angle offering to tag with Sting against Aces and Eights. Styles tells him Angle's first priority should be the tag title match. Angle assures Styles his head is still in the game and Daniels and Kaz are messing with Styles' head.
Not sure why they're teasing tension between Styles and Angle, but it was good tension. Maybe they're setting up one of them turning heel? Styles came off like a whiny bitch, though.
They show Sting and Hogan walking backstage and Tenay tells us they are going to address Bully Ray teaming with Sting.
They run a "memories" package about Bound for Glory, featuring Sting.
In Ring Segment:
Hogan and Sting come out. Hogan says he's not a good card player because he doesn't know if you call it "six, seven aces or a full hand." Hogan says he has to watch as Sting and Bully Ray fight for the company. Sting says it doesn't matter and Aces and Eights took out their first choice of Mr. Anderson, so now they have to run with the situation.
Hogan asks if they made a deal with the devil. That brings out Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. They ask why Hogan would pick someone like Bully Ray, who can't be trusted, when he could have picked the best tag team. Kaz says that "Thunder Lips" should call off the tag team title match at Bound for Glory and replace Bully Ray with Kurt Angle.
Bully Ray comes out. He says if this were a wrestling match, Angle would be a great choice. He goes on and says this is going to be a fight and Ray puts himself over as the guy to get the job done. He says he doesn't have to be friends with Hogan or Sting to do it either. He suggests Sting tag with him tonight to face Kaz and Daniels.
Daniels and Kaz are fun on the mic. The way they set up the main event was really good with Daniels and Kaz lobbying to not have to defend their titles at Ray's expense. This forced Ray to propose the match that he did.
Match #2 - Hernandez (w/Chavo Guerrero) vs. AJ Styles
Styles told Angle to stay backstage for this one.
Late, Styles gets distracted and jaws with Chavo. He tries a springboard move, but Hernandez ducks out of the way. Styles lands on his feet and charges but eats a shoulder block that is enough for Hernandez to get the win.
Really? A shoulder block?
Aces and Eights Clubhouse:
The VP speaks. He shows us that Joseph Park is okay and "pretty damn adorable." VP says that it's funny how a common enemy unites people. He is surprised that Ray is teaming with Sting, but not a surprise they can't overcome. He goes on and says that they may have to test the question of whether they've been locked out or locked in the iMPACT Zone. Either way, VP promised to see them on Sunday.
In Ring Segment:
Zema Ion comes out in street clothes, carrying his X-Division Championship. He says he's living proof that being humble gets you nowhere. He says he's broken arms and ended careers to keep his title. Ion says it's bittersweet, because Sunday is the biggest show of the year but there's no match for him because he's taken out the rest of the division.
Rob Van Dam's music hits and here he comes. RVD says he doesn't have a match at Bound for Glory either and Hogan told him he could pick any opponent. Ion shoves him and holds the belt up, but he's sort of cowering as RVD cocks a punch. RVD throws a kick instead and RVD holds up the belt over him.
This could be a good 'pre-show' match on the live special. Should be a crowd pleaser to kick the show off. Probably won't be a title match, though.
Hulk tells Bully Ray he doesn't trust him. He has been watching Ray run his con for two years now. Ray asks what con he's been running that Hogan hasn't before. Hogan tells Ray he gets a test run tonight and will pay for it if he messes up. Sting stands up for Ray and says he needs Hogan's endorsement. Ray says he won't let him down and Sting tells Ray he better not.
Looks to me like Ray is the leader of Aces and Eights. They're really going out of their way to tell the story that Hogan knows something's not right going into Sunday. Ray is ideal though of all the other talent.
Brooke Hogan is talking to Taryn Terrell. She says it's been all kinds of high school drama between Miss Tessmacher and Tara. Brooke asks if Taryn is ready to call this match on Sunday.
Tara shows up and hands a media list off to Brooke, and wants an A-List green room for her and her boyfriend on Sunday. Brooke tears the list up. Tara gets indignant and says that Khloe and Kim (Kardashian) were right about her.
Match #4 - Bully Ray and Sting vs. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian
The champs get the better of Sting early and work him over. The fans rally behind Sting as Taz and Tenay sell this is all about the trust factor between Sting and Ray. Sting slams Daniels and crawls to his corner to get the tag.
Ray gets the hot tag and works over the champs. He gets a two count on Kaz but Daniels breaks it up. Daniels tries using the tag belt as a weapon but Ray kicks him. Sting moves Ray out of the way of a diving Kaz. Sting stops Ray and says "get the tables!" Neat moment.
Bully sets up a table as Sting hits a neckbreaker on Kaz. Sting brings Daniels to Ray, and Ray hits a powerbomb on Daniels. The official throws the match out at that point.
The fans ate this up and Ray and Sting could not have come across better. As a whole, the crowd has been good tonight, but they picked up during this match.
They show us a video package from "earlier today" on Austin Aries and Jeff Hardy. Jeff Hardy talks to a camera and talks about giving himself and the creatures what they deserve, which is the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. He says he'll then be the best wrestler on earth.
The announcers hype up a Knockouts match after the break.
They set up Al Snow vs. Joey Ryan on Sunday with a video package.
Samoa Joe talks about his final thoughts going into Bound for Glory. He says he will retain his championship and shut someone up at the same time. He says Magnus became jealous. Magnus shows up and blows off the camera guy. Magnus says Joe doesn't get to hide behind politics. Joe offers to do the match tonight but Magnus admits he's a businessman.
Match #4 - Miss Tessmacher (c) vs. Gail Kim; Non-Title match
Gail Kim is aggressive from the start and controls the offense. Tessmacher gets a couple hope spots along the way. Late in the match, Gail tries a rope move but Tessmacher avoids her and slams her down to get the pin.
Tara jumps Tessmacher from behind but Tessmacher is able to slam her down as well.
A little clunky at the end, and odd that the champion sold so much before a title match.
Bobby Roode cuts a promo, but Storm interrupts. Storm tells Roode he knows that Roode attacked him earlier. Roode tries to blow him off but Storm shoves him to a locker and tells Roode he will have to kill him to beat him. A brawl ensues until King Mo breaks it up and tells Storm to save it for Sunday.
They run a Hall of Fame video package for Sting, then Tenay and Taz run down Sunday's Bound for Glory card.
Match #5 - Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode
Roode jumps Hardy as he's gladhanding with the fans. Roode throws Hardy into the security railing a couple times. The announcers talk about how Roode is in a street fight mode. Roode throws Hardy in the ring and the match gets underway.
The announcers talk about Hardy's toughness as he finally gets in some offense. Roode fights back and throws Hardy back to ringside. He tries a suplex, but Hardy blocks it and hits a suplex of his own.
After commercial, Roode controls the offense as the fans rally behind Hardy. Hardy starts a comeback but gets cut off with a spinebuster. Hardy rallies again and misses a Swanton Bomb. Roode gets a near fall. Hardy starts another offensive run but Roode cuts him off with a low blow to get a DQ finish.
The referee stops Roode from using a chair on Hardy, who turns and hits the Twist of Fate on Roode. Austin Aries makes an appearance, and says he has something to say. He throws down a sheet of paper and says he he's not going to say that.
Aries says that people in the company have been telling him how to act, what to say, and to embrace the fans. He says he's done with "that crap." He says they've tried to paint a picture that Aries is jealous of Hardy but that isn't true. He isn't jealous of Hardy's rap sheet or the fact he is too crippled and can't play with his little girl.
Aries goes on to say he's jealous of Hardy's special treatment. He can't get a new entrance video and music because production is too busy with Hardy stuff. He says he might be being set up to fail but he won't because he thrives when the world is against him.
Hardy tells Aries that his neck and nuts hurt and Sunday he will end Aries' cocky ass. Aries says it's his ring and he could slap the taste out of Hardy's mouth but he will give Hardy a chance to get the adulation of his fans. After a moment, Aries asks Hardy to leave so he can bask in his own glory.
As Hardy goes to leave, Aries kicks him and drags him back in. Aries hits the brainbuster to close the show.
A bit of a long match for the guy challenging for the title. You'd have thought they would have had Hardy make quick work of someone and get some momentum going. Very odd call on the go-home show for Bound for Glory.
The closing Aries/Hardy segment felt very rushed. And in that last moment going into the pay per view, we get a heel turn? There is some build with how Aries has been cocky of late, but the whole "I've been forced to do this" seems like it's a few weeks late.
All in all though, a good show that the fans were into an hot for. It just still didn't really give me much hope for Sunday's pay per view event, especially as it pertains to the main event. The two guys have been losing matches, plus had competitive matches tonight and that just feels out of place to me.
Does this booking beg the question that TNA is looking for ratings over truly building to the biggest show of their year? Hard to say and I guess that story will tell itself as we see Neilsen numbers.
Don't forget to join me Sunday night, starting with the pre-show right on through all of Bound for Glory for live results and coverage throughout the evening. Thanks for watching along tonight.