Trick or treat! It's the Halloween themed edition of iMPACT. But the big trick is what happened with the title. It looks like AJ Styles took it and left town. So, TNA is setting up a tournament to crown a new champion. Also, James Storm and Gunner are going to try and win back their tag team championship from the Bro-Mans.
Show Open, Taped in Salt Lake City, UT
We get the opening video, and Tenay and Taz check in on commentary.
Dixie comes to the ring to cut a promo. She says she tried to give AJ Styles the world on a platter but he threw it in her face. She says that no one walks out on Dixie and that he no longer exists in the company. She says he's no longer the champion.
She tells him to keep the title and the car because as of tonight, he's just like millions of little boys dressing up in costume tonight. She says she needs a new champion and announces a tournament to crown a new champion. The first seven men are James Storm, Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, and Chris Sabin. Each name is followed with a short hype video recapping each man's title wins.
She starts to go on but Bully Ray's music interrupts. Before he says anything, Dixie says there will be a gauntlet match to determine the final entrant. Ray demands to know how he will get his title back if he's not in the tournament. He asks if we know who he is and Dixie says that he's the guy that lost to AJ Styles twice and caused the current mess.
Ray blames Earl Hebner for costing him the title and Ken Anderson for costing him the rematch. The lights go out and Anderson charges the ring to attack Ray going to commercial.
Strange editing to get those hype videos in there. It wasn't terrible, but definitely noticeable. I like what they did by not including Ray, saying he caused the mess. With that and Anderson, Ray gets a transition out of the title picture, but doesn't fall off the map.
We get a recap video from before the break. Backstage, Anderson gets attacked from behind with the chain by Ray as he's being dragged off in handcuffs.
HerveyCam asks Garrett Bischoff about what happened. He says that club business was club business, and starts to go on but Knux comes up and says they need him.
Match #1 - The Bro-Mans (c) vs. James Storm and Gunner; TNA Tag Team Championship
Christy Hemme is the Mad Hatter tonight. Interesting.
Gunner and Storm start this thing on the ramp with an attack. Storm beats on both guys and tags Gunner in to continue the beating. Storm tags back in and hits Eye of the Storm and covers, but Robbie breaks it up.
Gunner runs in and ends up getting dumped to the floor. Storm hits Closing Time and cues u the Last Call. Jesse runs, but Storm grabs him on the apron. He suplexes Jesse in, but Robbie grabs Storm's foot, and that lets Jesse fall on top instead for a pinfall.
I hate that Bro-Mans are the champs. This wasn't anything to get too excited about.
Sting enters Dixie's office. She says everyone was complaining about Sting not being able to challenge for the title, and she wants to lift it to enter Sting in the tournament so he can prove he still has it. Sting says he earned everything he ever had and doesn't feel entitled. He storms out and Dixie asks if that means yes.
Oblivious Dixie is Oblivious. I'm not a fan.
They recap Abyss' return in video form.
Bad Influence is playing Sherlock Holmes. They talk with bad British accents and talk about finding Abyss and the TV Title.
Match #2 - Ethan Carter III vs. Norv Fernum
ECIII comes to the ring and Taz puts him over big. Wow, we're getting a rematch.
Norv gets a high cross body in, but ECIII hits him with the finish, called the 1 Percenter, for the win.
Afterward, Carter gets a mic and calls himself EC3 and says that he's a Carter and the world needs them. He poses and winks to the hard cam.
Bobby Roode is talking to one of the doctors about Kurt Angle's injury issues. Roode says that Angle wasn't healthy at Bound for Glory. He asks that "for Kurt's safety" he wants to make sure that he's cleared. He tells the doc he trusts him.
ODB talks about getting back the Knockouts Championship. Daniels and Kaz step in, playing detective, to ask about where Abyss is. Eric Young interrupts to back ODB up and let Kaz and Daniels know that Joseph Park won't be there tonight.
Match #3 - Gauntlet Match to Determine the Eighth TNA World Title Tournament Entrant
Sting is the first entrance, and Kazarian is out next. He ditched the detective wear to work this one. They battle for a couple minutes, then we get Knux as the next man in.
After commercial, Eric Young hits the ring and he goes to work on the heels. Taz plays up a "Triple H" tone of asking if fans really want Eric Young to be the face of the company. Tenay tells Taz to listen to the fan reaction. Taz ends up heeling on Utah, then calms down and says he gets crazy sometimes.
Daniels is next in, and heels outnumber faces. So far, no one's been eliminated as we head to commercial break. The clock expires just after commercial and we get Manik coming to the ring. No one was eliminated during the break. Magnus comes out and he runs over Bad Influence. Manik is able to eliminate Knux with a huracanrana. That kicks off a wave, with Manik going out by Daniels and EY going to the outside also.
Your final four is Sting, Magnus, Kaz and Daniels. Magnus eliminates Daniels first. Sting and Kaz are working and Magnus seizes the opening and sends both of them out to win the eighth slot in the tournament.
Sting looks shocked and stands at ringside, hands on his hips, shocked by Magnus' actions. Magnus looks toward Sting and applauds disingenuously, pretending that it was a 'passing of the torch' moment.
This was a pretty basic gauntlet match. Nothing to get all that fired up over. It did add fuel to the fire of the Sting/Magnus story within the Mafia.
HerveyCam asks Kurt Angle about his medical status for tonight. Angle says he is cleared, but the doctor did advise him to not wrestle. Angle says he will destroy Bobby Roode tonight.
Dixie Carter is asked about Magnus winning the match and qualifying for the Title Tournament. She says "good for him" for joining a cast of former champions. She says she's excited to announce the brackets, and something extra via....the "wheel of Dixie." She giggles and walks off.
Sigh. I guess this is a stipulation gimmick?
Match #4 - Gail Kim (w/Lei'D Tapa, c) vs. ODB; Knockouts Championship
The announcers play it as if ODB has the odds against her, wondering if anyone can beat Gail with "an amazon" like Tapa in her corner. ODB tries to get an early cover before Tapa cna factor in, but Gail escapes. Things move outside, and Gail gets the upper hand out there.
The action moves back inside, and ODB starts a comeback after being worn down a bit. Lei'D Tapa gets on the apron and distracts the official. ODB has a visual three but of course the distraction stops things. Gail reverses the pile into a roll-up for the win.
Nothing great to talk about here either. They just used the same kind of finish of the first match here. Typical distraction finish, I guess.
Daniels and Kaz talk about how they didn't have the success they thought they would in the gauntlet match, but they did solve the Abyss mystery. They vow to reveal their findings after commercial.
Bad Influence makes their way to the ring in detective garb again. Daniels says that Abyss lives under the ring. Daniels goes out of the ring and pulls a pumpkin from under the ring. He calls it a talentless vegetable like Abyss. Daniels ends up insulting the fans to get a reaction.
To be fair, this was a late segment in last week's tapings, so the crowd had to be exhausted. It was a good crowd on last week's show.
Joseph Park's music hits, and Eric Young comes out dressed like Park with the sweatsuit and glasses and all. Taz heels up on what he's seeing. Young calls himself a scientist and there is no proof that Halloween is a holiday. He says it is "the big guy's" favorite holiday.
EY says he has a message from the big guy, and punches Kaz and Daniels. They team up on EY and beat him down. Abyss' music hits and he comes to the ring. He hits Daniels and Kaz with a double clothesline then drops Kaz with the Black Hole Slam. Daniels tries to run, but he ends up coming off the ropes to take a Black Hole Slam as well.
Abyss poses, then turns around to check on EY. He extends his hand to Young and he reluctantly accepts. Tenay puts over that the monster is back.
They show Angle and Roode in split screen, and they're heading to the ring for the main event next.
Tenay walks us through the Title Tournament brackets after commercial. It's Hardy vs. Sabin and Roode vs. Storm on one side, and Angle vs. Aries and Magnus vs. Samoa Joe on the other.
Some potentially very good matches in these brackets. Hopefully that's how it plays out.
Dixie is with Jeff Hardy and Chris Sabin. They start the tournament next week. Indeed, she has a wheel with stipulations on it. Dixie spins it and it lands on "Full Metal Mayhem". Dixie tells Sabin he doesn't stand a chance in Hardy's specialty match.
Match #5 - Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode
Roode's out first, Angle second. They put over that Angle is looking for redemption after losing at Bound for Glory.
Angle goes on a run and sends Roode outside the ring earl.y Roode stumbles at ringside, taking hands from Angle. Angle teases hitting a suplex on the floor, but Roode blocks then counters by slamming Angle back-first in the apron. Tenay sends it into commercial.
Out of break, the announcers wonder if Angle has the cardio stamina to handle the altitude. Nice feel to add to the match. Angle hits Roode with repeated German suplexes, getting a near fall off the third. Roode tries the crossface, but Angle hangs in there and is able to suplex Roode for a two.
Angle drops the straps and tries the Ankle Lock, and the crowd chants for a tap-out. Roode slips out and hits a neckbreaker from the fireman carry, getting a near fall. Roode can't follow up, and Angle gets the Ankle Lock, grapevining the leg this time. Roode kicks his way out.
Angle gets a crazy look on his face and he takes Roode up to the top rope. Roode gets out with a headbutt. Roode is slow to follow up though, and that allows Angle to toss him from the ropes. Angle drags himself over for the cover to get a near fall. Both men stay down and Brian Hebner starts a ten count.
Angle sells like he's lost feeling in his arm, and Hebner ends up calling for the bell to stop the match, giving Roode the win. Roode gets his hand raised and he struggles to his feet. Angle continues to shake and twitch, and a second official comes out. They keep him down and Roode paces in the background. Tenay chimes in and says that people are concerned for Kurt and security and medics come to the ring to check out the scene.
Roode leave and sells mixed emotions as we go to a replay of the top rope move. The announcers say that's what caused Angle to lose control of his body. Angle still is shaking to try and get feeling back. Tenay says that fans can check for the latest on Kurt's condition via the TNA website. The show ends with Angle doing more twitching.
That was uncomfortable. The ending at Bound for Glory was strange and poorly worked with Angle aborting the stretcher job. This was bad. I can't see an end game here, and I'm sure it's turning people off.
Any good story has a firm ending and a good direction. I don't feel like this particular one does. I am not sure why TNA feels a need to run with this one as it is, especially given Angle just coming back out of rehab for a chemical dependency issue.
All in all, an "okay" show, but nothing all that newsworthy beyond the Title Tournament. I think there's some promising matchups in those brackets. I foresee some good wrestling and the possibility of good stories that can spin out of it. Hopefully TNA books it properly and takes advantage to get some momentum going.
Tune in next Thursday for more live iMPACT Wrestling coverage here on Ring-Rap.com.