Last week, Dixie Carter interrupted the main segment between AJ Styles and Hulk Hogan. Hulk was about to make sure that AJ was under contract going in to Bound for Glory, but Dixie tore the contract up. AJ was not happy about this at all - and Hogan was put in a position where he has to choose to be on Team Dixie, or be on the sideline. What's his choice?
And oh, Bound for Glory is on October 20...what other matches will begin to take shape for the card?
Show Open, taped in Little Rock, AR on 9/26/2013
We get our recap video, then the announcers check in.
AJ Styles comes to the ring. He says he appreciated Hulk trying to smooth things out before Dixie Carter showed her true colors. He puts that aside and says he's there to talk about his opponent for Bound for Glory.
He says he knows exactly who Bully Ray is, and he is the man AJ will beat for the title. He says he has no contract, so he is all in with winning. He talks about not being able to see the title in a year and he hoped to win. He says people say that Bully is the most dangerous man in the building, but he disagrees. Aces and Eights music hits.
Bully comes out and says that Dixie is so far in AJ's head that he doesn't know if he could win or if he hopes he can. He calls Dixie beautiful but AJ needs to put her out of his head. Dixie isn't what AJ has to worry about at Bound for Glory. He mentions all the people he put out in Aces and asks AJ what he thinks Ray will do to him. He says he has beaten AJ before, but now he wants to take AJ away from the fans.
He says he hates traveling and hearing the AJ chants. The crowd gives him one for good measure. AJ smiles, and Ray tells him to smile all he wants because he won't have it for long. AJ compares Ray to Dixie, saying they use people and kick them to the curb. Ray says it's a compliment and he will send AJ back to his miserable wife and kids with neither a contract nor a title.
AJ tells Ray to worry about his match tonight. Ray says he doesn't have one. AJ tells him that Hogan hated him as much as he does and made a match. AJ tells Ray that "Joe's gonna kill you." and Ray looks puzzled. AJ says it a second time and the fans start chanting it. Ray is pissed as AJ walks off.
AJ argues with Dixie. She says he has no contract and only one more company obligation. She tells him they have heard enough out of him and asks security to escort him out. AJ tells the security staff to save their energy because he doesn't want to breathe the same air as she does. He storms off.
This wasn't bad. The problem with it is that Ray is the only one who has the mic skill to pull this off. They went all in with the story at least, which they hadn't until tonight.
Austin Aries is going to join the announce team for this first match.
Match #1 - Kenny King and Chris Sabin (w/Velvet Sky) vs. Manik and Jeff Hardy
Kenny King out first, followed by Sabin. Aries has some choice words for them both, then says Manik is the best looking guy in the match as he comes out.
Sabin and Manik start but Sabin immediately tags out to King. Manik locks on a Black Widow hold on King. King gets opened up from that setup, but he escapes the hold and hits a hangman move on the ropes. The heels take over.
Might want to clue Manik in on the fact that WWE's AJ (Divas Champ) does that Black Widow move...
Sabin ties Manik up in a tree of woe then stomps on his nuts to tie his boots. Manik ends up reversing a whip and follows with a missile drop kick to get the hot tag to Hardy. Hardy goes on a run to clear the ring, then things break down. Manik shoves King into Sabin, then hits his finish. Hardy hits him with the Swanton to get the win.
Afterward, Sabin attacks Hardy and Manik. Aries runs in for the save and Sabin escapes. Aries gets a mic and challenges Manik, Sabin, and Hardy to a four way with him at Bound for Glory. Sabin nods to agree, but Jeff grabs the mic. He says he wants his first Ultimate X match. Manik agrees, and Sabin looks sad.
Kenny King felt so much like the odd man out here and it really felt like they treated him like shit. Maybe he plays in to the Ultimate X match finish or something. The match was fine otherwise.
Sting and Hogan talk about dealing with Eric Bischoff in the past when "the last person in charge went nuts." Hogan admits he didn't think anyone would ever be worse than Bischoff. A young woman enters and gives Hulk a gift from Dixie. It's a watch. Apparently Hogan can't tell time. Sting says it's the same watch she gave him last year at the Hall of Fame. Hogan says Dixie is worse than Bischoff because Bischoff never gave him anything.
Which Bischoff? WCW Bischoff, or TNA Bischoff? He wasn't as big of a deal in the TNA version, and Hogan was ON BISCHOFF'S SIDE in WCW?! Logic fail!
We get a recap of EGO's attack on Magnus last week, with Sting checking on him. Magnus says he will demand Hogan give him a match with EGO, and Sting won't talk him out of it.
Match #2 - Magnus vs. EGO (Christopher Daniels, Bobby Roode, and Kazarian); Gauntlet Match
Daniels is the first opponent. He gets control quickly and the crowd dies off. Daniels tries the Best Moonsault Ever, but Magnus gets a leg up and kicks Daniels in the face. He hits a backbreaker and gets the pinfall.
Magnus pins Christopher Daniels
Kazarian is up next. He's a bit slow to get to the ring, so Magnus goes out and gets him. Magnus tosses him in the ring to get the next leg of the gauntlet started. Out of break, Kazarian hits a drop kick, but Magnus slams him then hits a suplex. He hits the top rope elbow and covers, but Kaz gets a foot on the ropes.
Magnus goes up top again but takes a pump kick. Kazarian tries for Fade to Black, but Magnus slides out and rolls through it. He struggles with it, but he locks on the cloverleaf to get the submission win.
Magnus gets Kazarian to submit.
Bobby Roode starts to come out for the third leg, but stalls. Kazarian clips Magnus and follows with a leg breaker. Roode clearly has the advantage here and stalks Magnus in the ring as we go to commercial. Out of break, Roode works the leg with an Indian death lock.
Roode keeps his attack on the leg, using dirty strikes and holds. Magnus gets a slam and follows with a cloverleaf as a hope spot. Roode goes back to the leg for the break. Magnus tries his top rope elbow, but Roode moves out of the way and hooks in the crossface. A very small chant gets going for Magnus. Roode breaks the hold then works an ankle lock instead, and Magnus taps out.
Two problems: 1.) this match was probably way too much for fans who had been sitting through a couple hours of tapings to this point. 2.) TNA hasn't made Magnus feel important enough yet for this kind of a match. He's on the road there, but not there yet.
Afterward, the fans chant for Magnus, and he tosses a chair in frustration. Sting comes out and asks Magnus to come with him. Magnus blows him off and starts to say something but the camera cuts away to Sting. He has a mic and says he doesn't want to do it this way, but since Magnus is making a public display he has to. He again asks Magnus to come to the back to discuss things.
Magnus gets a mic and says that, with all due respect, he has had enough. He says that Sting, Angle, and Joe saw it in him but he doesn't have it in him. He says the three of them all took their opportunities when presented, but he falls just short. Sting tries to tell him to look past it, but Magnus says he wasn't in it. He says it's a results driven business and he's not getting results.
Sting says he remembers what that is like. He says he remembers needing one big match and Ric Flair was the guy who put him on the map. Magnus yells he knows because he watched it, but who would put him on the map. Sting yells back "ME, at Bound for Glory!" Magnus looks confused at first, but then understands. Sting nods and they shake hands.
Right idea, bad comparison. Flair was still very much in his prime when he gave the rub to Sting. Sting is pretty far over the hill by comparison in this situation. They also face the issue of keeping Magnus face, as I don't think it helps to turn him heel right now.
Aries enters Hogan's office, and hands him a bottle of vitamins. He says maybe Hulk needs extra vitamins and prayers with his decision for tonight. Aries talks about there being two Hogans - the red and yellow American hero and the black and white Hollywood made version. Aries says that where he's sitting, it's pretty black and white. Hogan tells Aries that he has it and Aries leaves, wishing him luck. We get a recap video after that of how Hogan got control of the company from Dixie then helped save Sting from getting beaten down by Immortal at Bound for Glory. It captures his rise to GM then last week where Dixie told him to get in line.
Did anyone else get what Aries meant there? I'm lost. I just don't get the tie to the Hollywood Hulk character and a "black and white decision."
Elsewhere, Sabin talks about Velvet's match. He says she will be fine in her number one contender's match, so he will stay backstage and drink his diet soda.
We get a recap of the Magnus match, then we go backstage. EGO is celebrating and they are going to induct Bobby Roode to the EGO Hall of Fame. They act all stupid and celebrate the news.
Gee, Booking 101 says Roode v. Angle at Bound for Glory now, right?
Match #3 - Brooke Tessmacher vs. Velvet Sky; Number One Contender for the Knockouts Championship
Both ladies make their entrances and square off. Before the bell rings though, Lei'D Tapa comes out and destroys Velvet and the referee. Brooke scampers away before anything can happen to her. Tapa hits a Samoan slam on Velvet, then screams something and leaves.
That was effective. Problem is, the fans were so burned out they really couldn't care.
We get a vignette showing a wrestler arriving at some offices. We don't get the man's face, but he walks in and throws his coat down on someone like he's privileged or something. The video transitions into the "Ethan is coming" graphic.
We get hype for how Gunner and James Storm became a team, and they put each other over. Tenay announces a tag-team gauntlet match for the Bound for Glory pre-show that will air on Spike.
They air the Kurt Angle Hall of Fame video package.
Match #4 - Samoa Joe vs. Bully Ray; Non-Title match
Joe controls things in the beginning and Bully gets a small cut over his eye. Ray uses a low-blow to get the break. A cut-in during commercial shows him mocking Hulk while stomping away on Joe.
Joe hits an atomic drop/kick/senton combination coming out of break. Ray throws Joe into Earl Hebner in one of the worst looking bumps I've ever seen. Joe locks on the rear naked choke and Ray taps, but there's no official. Joe breaks the hold to check on the official. Ray gets his chain and hits Joe with it, but Hebner saw enough of that to throw the match out.
Afterward, Ray shoves Hebner back down and throws Joe out. He rips the ring apart and sets up for a piledriver. AJ Styles runs through the crowd and breaks things up, then escapes back through the fans when security runs out. He stops in the fans and looks back on the scene and motions at security to bring it.
The fans woke up for AJ, but they were pretty quiet throughout the match. This show has been really flat all night long - not a bad show - but just no momentum heading to Bound for Glory, which is now two weeks away.
Dixie comes out and craps on the audience for being stupid to the business. She does the whole "bless your hearts" gimmick, which in the south is a serious insult. She says that the one person who does understand the business is Hulk Hogan and she calls him out. He makes his entrance.
Dixie puts over all that Hogan has accomplished and asks if he's ready to go to another level because she can get him there. She says she's tickled that he's wearing the watch she gave him. She asks if he's ready to ride on the Dixie Train or would he force her to make a decision she doesn't want to.
Hogan thanks her for the watch and says he's always dreamed about being a power couple and having a beautiful woman like her with more power than anyone. He says it's an amazing offer and they could do a lot together, but it was an amazing offer for someone else. Hogan quits.
Hogan leaves the ring and Dixie gives chase. She stops him and Hogan tries to keep walking. She drops to her knees and clutches his leg. He looks down in disgust and she leaves go. He walks off. She composes herself and says she doesn't want him anyhow and he's fired.
Lame. That was really, really lame. If you saw spoilers, it sounded worse than this, but it really was bad. I find myself surprised by the comments on Dixie's beauty and some of the other overt sexual tones that drew some male reactions. The "ride on the Dixie train" and AJ's "get on your knees and beg" lines really got some male reactions.
This was a flat show, taped or not. They just didn't give the crowd anything to care about and it showed in their reactions to what was going on.
This was no way to sell Bound for Glory. I was glad that they finally got AJ to pay attention to Bully Ray, which is the most important match on that night. Hopefully TNA has a plan that will really sell the event in the next two weeks. WWE did a horrible job of selling Battleground, and believe it or not TNA is slacking behind the job of selling for Bound for Glory. Not looking good.
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