TNA brings us their final show of the year tonight from the iMPACT Zone in Orlando. Austin Aries has been pushing buttons with Hulk Hogan. He wants his title back, at least that is his claim. How will he try to get under Hulk's skin tonight? More accusations about Bully and Brooke, maybe?
We get a recap of last week's show to kick us off. Pyro goes off and the announce trio welcomes us to tonight's broadcast.
Bully Ray comes to the ring to cut a promo. He says that it's very obvious over "the last couple months, the last couple weeks" that he and Hulk Hogan are unable to get along. Ray says he doesn't know what it is he has to do to gain Hogan's trust.
Um, stop fooling around with his daughter who is some 17 or so years younger than you, Ray?
Ray calls out Hulk to talk. Hulk's music hits, but after a delay it's Brooke that comes out, not Hulk. Ray asks where Hulk is and Brooke says he knows about "us."
Ray asks how Hulk knows, and says there isn't really anything to know. Neither could figure out how Hulk found out about their relationship. Ray leaves the ring and tells her there's nothing for Hulk to know, since there's nothing to know. She follows after him and they head backstage.
Austin Aries comes out, dressed to fight. He says he should be the TNA Champion and always will be the main event. He talks about how he had Jeff Hardy beat, but Bobby Roode screwed him out of the win. He admits he can't be mad at Roode, though, since Aries screwed him over first.
Aries says they will find out which one of them should be challenging Hardy for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. They're going to take the two best wrestlers in the universe and put them in the main event where they belong.
I like this main event and it should be good if given enough time. That said, it's a heel vs. heel match that the fans might not get too invested in from a storyline perspective. Maybe this is how they get to the three-way at Genesis?
Samoa Joe comes out, dressed for a fight. He says he's there to pick a fight on Open Fight Night. He issues an open challenge to one of the masked members of Aces and Eights. He says he's going to take the mask off so the world could see what a "cowardly little moped-riding bitch you are."
Match #1 - Samoa Joe vs. a masked member of Aces and Eights
This goes pretty quickly, with Joe dominating and locking on the rear naked choke to pick up the submission win. Afterward, Joe goes for the mask but other members of Aces come out to chase Joe off.
Joe should have just ripped the mask off rather than advertise it. And the losses just keep piling up for Aces and Eights. The angle has lost serious momentum as a result.
Robbie E and Robbie T are talking when Tara's "boo" Jesse walks into the frame. Robbie E and Jesse bicker, which leads to a "bro-off" being set up between the two.
What on earth is a "bro-off"?
Elsewhere, Kenny King and Christian York are talking. King talks down at York and tells him to watch him wrestle Rob Van Dam later on. He assumes he will be facing RVD because RVD said earlier he will be calling out someone he respects. York asks himself "where do they find these guys...?"
Well, wonder if that was intended to be a veiled shot at ROH there...?
The Bro-Off: Jesse (w/Tara) vs. Robbie E (w/Robbie T)
Robbie E and Robbie T come to the ring. E calls it "Open Bro Night" and calls Jesse a fake Robbie E. Jesse and Tara come out and Jesse reminds him that his name is "Mr. Pectacular."
Robbie E establishes rules for the Bro-Off. One, it's every bro for himself. Two, everything must end with bro. Three, well, there isn't a three. Robbie E calls for his entrance music and does a dance. He tells Jesse to "top that, bro."
Jesse's music hits and he goes through a posing routine. Tara swoons. Jesse ends his attempt by pressing Tara over his head several times and says "that's how you bro-off, dude." Robbie E looks impressed and says it wasn't as bad as he thought, but there were issues.
E says this is a "bros, not ho's" event. He disqualifies Jesse for saying dude instead of bro also. Robbie E goes to declare himself the winner.
Robbie T intervenes. He says there's one more bro in this event. He poses to Jesse's music, then presses Jesse over his head a couple times. The music changes, and he does some hip thrusts on the mat and some fist pumping. He closes with "bro" and the other two are left speechless.
Nothing about that segment was worth the airtime. Not even if it leads to a three-way wrestling match between them. Lame.
Rob Van Dam comes out and builds up his opponent. Kenny King assumes it will be him, but RVD swerves him. He calls out Christian York, and York tells King "maybe next time..."
Match #2 - Rob Van Dam (X-Division Champ) vs. Christian York
Early in this one, York gets in a lot of offense. He gets a two-count after hitting a missile drop kick and a double foot stomp to the back.
Taz mocks Keneley for knowing York's move names. RVD mounts his comeback, hitting a split-leg moonsault for a near fall of his own. RVD finishes York off with the Five Star Frog Splash.
York loses a lot of matches. Wonder if the Gut Check judges are rethinking this one?
Announcing gripe: Why isn't Taz picking on Tenay (who, if you recall was called "The Professor" in WCW days)? Are they just both that complacent to pick up on the small things - i.e., knowing the names of wrestlers' moves? Keneley isn't a perfect announcer, but he's showing effort that the other two just aren't in my opinion.
Devon is talking with other members of Aces. He says there's someone who was a little difficult and arrogant, but Aces could just land him if they made him feel a part of the group. Devon calls in DOC, who has two women with him. Devon asks if it would work, and DOC says it will.
Moments like this just prove that Aces never really had a goal or they've wandered far from it. This story is in serious need of something right now to jump start it, or needs cut.
They air footage of Joseph Park training at OVW. Danny Davis liked how Park snapped when his nose got bloodied up last time. Davis says that whoever or whatever Park snapped into got his attention. Davis says that one has to live wrestling 24 hours a day and questions if Park is doing that.
Daniels and Kazarian are at the merchandise stands. Daniels says they're "just making sure their merch still isn't here." He says Christmas has come and gone, but there's just one last present from everyone's favorite tag team. Kazarian throws a bunch of AJ Styles shirts in the trash.
We get a recap of Hulk Hogan's promo from last week where he talks about how TNA became a monster in 2012, and the pay-per-view events were so great.
Bobby Roode admits he knew Austin Aries was going to call him out. He says Aries is so predictable.
We get the hype video for Sting's return next week. DOC is his first target.
Daniels struts to the ring. He says he's not just the face of iMPACT Wrestling, but he's also a ring general and a national treasure. He is the man with the rear who makes the girls cheer. Daniels says he and AJ Styles really meant "one last time, until next time." He calls out AJ.
Kazarian comes out impersonating AJ. He does the full AJ entrance and everything. Kaz keeps up the impersonation in the ring, saying he couldn't beat Daniels. He says he's going to go find Claire Lynch. Daniels stops him and says that no one wants to see that. Daniels then tells the fans they have permission to "worship us now."
If you missed the broadcast and are catching up via this report - go out of your way to find a video version of this segment. Kaz was spot on. Hilarious moment.
Chavo and Hernandez have had enough of this, and they come out and complain. They say Daniels and Kaz are having fun at the expense of others. Chavo says they're going to end 2012 for Daniels and Kaz with "a foot right up your rear." Yikes. That leads to...
Match #3 - Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez (c) vs. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian; Non-Title match
Keneley points out that Daniels and Kazarian are called Bad Intentions. Taz calls him on the error and says it's Bad Influence. They go to commercial with Daniels begging off from Hernandez.
After commercial, Daniels and Kaz are in control, isolating Hernandez in their corner. Super Mex gets the hot tag to Chavo eventually and Chavo goes on a good run of offense.
The finish comes when Kaz tries to imitate AJ's springboard forearm. That backfires on him, which allows Chavo to hit the Frog Splash for the win.
This was a good, long TV match from these teams. We've seen better work from them though.
HerveyCam is asking Jeff Hardy about Austin Aries and Bobby Roode. He says both men are great in the ring, but he doesn't like either of them outside of it. He says that their selfishness and arrogance doesn't fly with him, and revenge is on the way.
No "Deep Thoughts with Jeff Hardy" moment here? Interesting.
Aces and Eights Club House:
After a video airs, the Vice President tells Devon that the person he has been referring to will bring a certain level of asshole to the club. The camera pans back to show Mr. Anderson in the room with them. Anderson says Devon assured him he would be safe, so he's all ears.
The two "ladies" from earlier sit down at Anderson's side. Devon says the club has business to attend to that might be physical and then even more physical. Anderson says he isn't sure if this pertains to him. The two ladies whisper to him and Anderson admits it'd be rude to not think about it. He tells Aces to give him some time to consider it.
Hey, um, Mr. Anderson - you do know you're getting DOC's "seconds," right?
Gail Kim comes to the ring. She says her title loss was a fluke and she needs to erase all the bad memories before 2013 gets started. She calls out Brooke Tessmacher.
Match #4 - Gail Kim vs. Brooke Tessmacher
Taryn Terrell is our official. Brooke gives Gail a series of pelvic thrusts in the corner before hitting a facebuster. Taz calls this an amazing match and wishes it would go an hour. Kinda funny.
Late in this one, Brooke goes for an elbow off the top but crashes and burns. Gail follows up with Eat De Feet for the win.
Solid action here. I just think that booking Gail as a heel in her return has blown up on TNA. When she feuded with Kong back in the day, she was able to show a lot more charisma as a face than she's been able to show working as a heel, in my view.
They show separate shots of Bobby Roode and Austin Aries backstage getting ready for the main event.
We get the Sting hype video again. He says he wants his bat back and he's going after Aces and Eights, starting with DOC.
The announcers hype up the Wrestler of the Year results for next week, as well as Devon and the masked Aces and Eights wrestler vs. Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe in a steel cage.
Match #5 - Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode
This one is pretty evenly matched in the first few minutes. They show a pre-tape of Jeff Hardy where he says neither Roode nor Aries deserve to be champion. Something has to be done.
I like that they're not using those "inner thoughts" type monologues. This was just a simple pre-tape that conveyed a point; we weren't supposed to think it was live and we could hear him thinking and all of that.
Worth noting is we saw an ad for the iMPACT/Bellator block of programming coming up on Jan. 17.
The announcers play up Roode and Aries being "mirror images" of each other. Aries catches Roode in Last Chancery, but Roode gouges the eyes to break the submission hold. Roode locks on the Crossface, but Aries also rakes the eyes to break it.
Roode gets a cover and uses the ropes for leverage. Earl Hebner catches Roode doing that and scolds him. Aries returns the favor of an assisted pin by pulling the tights in his own pin attempt. Roode hits the Double R Spinebuster for a near fall, then retrieves a chair from ringside. Hebner takes the chair, which allows Aries to hit a spinning forearm shot for a two count.
Aries goes out after a chair, but Hebner stops him from using it. Hebner gets cranked up and says he's sick of the both of them. Aries and Roode team up on Earl and kick him simultaneously, then toss him from the ring. They smile, then battle for the chair laying in the ring. They battle over it, then Jeff Hardy's music hits. They drop the chair.
Aries and Roode stare up the ramp, waiting for Hardy to appear. Hardy, though, attacks from behind and gets the better of them. He clotheslines Aries to the floor, then drops Roode with the Twist of Fate. He celebrates with the fans to wrap up the show.
The main event was good. It had its funny moments and the heel antics were good as well. Probably not the best call to get fans laughing at their antics, though, then have Jeff Hardy hit the ring and take both men out in a two on one situation. Hopefully, TNA does something about that on next week's program.
We got more from TNA than I know I expected in the holiday week. They really didn't advance any of the major storylines though. Next week is a big week for TNA and I would have preferred to see them set things up with some actual in-ring angles rather than just a video package for Sting's return and announcing the main event (the cage match). Joe Average Viewer isn't going to think from tonight's show that Jan. 3 is a big deal, unless they really are into seeing Sting return.
Join us next Thursday night for more iMPACT Wrestling coverage and thanks for watching along tonight. Have a safe and happy New Year's celebration!