Tonight, the World Heavyweight Championship Tournament rolls on. Magnus, Bobby Roode, Jeff Hardy, and Kurt Angle get their shot to roll on toward the goal of claiming the vacant TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Also, AJ Styles is supposed to return the title belt tonight. Will that happen?
Show Open, Taped in Orlando, FL
The video package hypes the semi-finals of the title tournament, then Taz and Tenay check in and do the same.
Kurt Angle comes out to the ring. He cuts a Thanksgiving type promo and thanks the fans for helping him on his quest to reach the Hall of Fame and the World Championship is his pathway there. He talks about the match he had with Austin Aries, then calls out Magnus.
Magnus comes to the ring as they air a recap of him tweaking his knee in the elimination tag last week. Angle asks him about his leg and Magnus deflects. He says he respects Angle more than anyone in the business. Magnus says his knee kept giving out on him and he had to make a quick decision.
Angle tells him that a champion will work hurt and asks if Magnus has the heart of a champion. Magnus says he has the heart and hunger to be number one. The fans are giving him the "What?" treatment. Worst gift to wrestling, Stone Cold. Angle says that Magnus is standing in his path to redemption and Magnus has to go through him.
Bobby Roode's music plays and he comes out. He says he gets it because he had heart and hunger once but it didn't get the job done. He says you also need a killer instinct, like the one he used to hit Storm with a beer bottle to win the championship. Roode says his match with Hardy is up next and he is going to do more to Hardy than he did to Storm. Roode says that Angle knows what he can do, and Magnus won't be a champion.
Magnus gets pissed, and Angle holds him back. Jeff Hardy's music plays and he drags a table along with him. He tells Roode that Roode is standing in his way and he's going to put Roode through a table tonight. He starts a "Hardy" chant to end the segment.
That got off to a slow start, but Roode and Hardy added to it and made it work. Kurt Angle turned a gift to a quest - as he is good at. Magnus, well, he didn't get much love here.
Match #1 - Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy; TNA World Heavyweight Championship fought under Tables Match rules
Roode brings in the first table, and he sets it up in the corner. He tries to throw Hardy into them, but Hardy fights him off. The table slides itself down when Hardy goes for Whisper in the Wind. Hardy almost hit it.
The fight spills out on the apron, and they knock each other off and into a table. They hit simultaneously, and Brian Hebner is confused. He looks to the fans as the show goes to break.
When they come back they show the officials arguing about the situation during the break. Earl Hebner decides the match should continue. That wasn't done well at all. Roode sets a table up in the ring once we're restarted. Hardy hits Roode with the Twist of Fate and Roode ends up on the table. Hardy goes up top to follow up, but Roode rolls off the table. Hardy hits the move over the table.
Hardy sets a table in the ring and tries a superplex. Roode counters to a front suplex on the ropes. He tries to hit a suplex to he floor, but Hardy mule kicks him and Roode falls through the table out on the floor. With that, Hardy moves on to the Tournament final.
This was alright. Nothing so far on this show has gotten me all fired up and excited and the gimmicks of this title tournament has taken away from the feel of it. I was hoping we'd see more in light of the 0.7 rating from last week. Yes, zero point seven.
They show a video of EC3 getting ready, and he issues a challenge to a TNA legend who is a first ballot Hall of Famer and a guy who has wrestled legends.
Dixie Carter appears in an iMPACT 365 video that shows a letter from AJ Styles' agent. The letter has a tracking number showing the belt being shipped back to her.
Ethan Carter III comes to the ring and talks about the "litany of stars" he has faced since arriving in TNA. He says there is one man who has been in the ring with legends. He's getting a big "You suck" chant audibly, but the fans don't visually appear to be doing it. Piped in for the win. EC3 says he is challenging Earl Hebner. Yes, Earl. He still screwed Bret.
Earl tells Carter he's not a wrestler, and he's not going to wrestle. Carter tells Earl he works for his family, and he will wrestle or be fired. He says not to worry about the official for the match. He snaps his fingers and here comes Rockstar Spud, with Brian Hebner in tow. Brian gets in the ring and Carter tells Earl he will lay down and his "disappointment of a son" will count the fall. Earl refuses at first, but EC3 yells at him and finally Earl lays down.
Match #2 - Ethan Carter III vs. Earl Hebner
Carter covers a prone Earl with one finger and Brian counts the fall in what seemed like 15 seconds. Afterward, Carter makes Brian roll Earl out but not before he kicks the dust off his feet on Earl.
Personally speaking, this segment didn't work for me. But Earl Hebner is a sympathetic enough figure that it did put heat on EC3.
We get a recap video of Bad Influence messing with Joe Park last week. They promise to take it to another level tonight.
They run a vignette with Christy Hemme and Sam Shaw at dinner. She excuses herself and he signs off on the bill. The waiter comes back, and Sam grabs him. He tells the waiter about the way he was looking at Christy, and tells him he will kill him if the waiter does it again. The waiter runs off in fear and Christy returns. Sam goes back to a peaceful demeanor as she arrives, then they leave together.
We get another "Friends of AJ" spot.
Dixie is on the phone when she's interrupted by an assistant who says she has a delivery. The delivery guy comes in with flowers, and she rages and tells him to not come back unless he has the title belt.
Bobby Roode complains about being out of the tournament because he slipped and fell through a table.
We get a shot of Sting arriving to the building.
Dixie is talking to a group of men. She says the Feast or Fired match will take place next week. The entrants weren't exactly revealed.
Bad Influence comes to the ring with an envelope. Daniels says that some folks had their ovaries in a twist over what they did to Park, but they are going to expose Park as a fraud tonight. Park's music hits and he comes to the ring. He tells them that, all kidding aside, they need to stop. He says they won and maybe he should have remained an attorney.
Kaz says that's the information they have. Park grabs the envelope and tears it up. Kaz makes fun of him and tells him to look at the screen. They show another iMPACT 365 video, and it's Bad Influence at the office of Park, Park, and Park. They go in and the office is empty. They go to the building's receptionist, and she says the law firm closed up 13 years ago.
Daniels says they confirmed it and asks what he has been doing for 13 years. Park asks them to leave him alone. He starts to leave, but Kaz spits in his face and calls him a liar. Bad Influence ends up putting the boots to Park until Eric Young makes the save. EY tells Bad Influence that he's tired of their bullying so they'll settle it with a tag match next week. Park isn't happy.
Wow. Joe Park at the top of the second hour. I'm really going to try and believe this was a Bad Influence segment at the top of the second hour as it seems a positive spin.
Sting tells Magnus he believes in him, and the two have a bro-mantic moment. Sting asks Magnus if people had told him that Sting's rant about being entitled was about Magnus. Magnus says that people talk, but that's wrestling. He asks Sting if it was, and Sting simply replies "you tell me" then wishes him luck and leaves.
This is almost like Sting turned heel. Horrible logic here in my opinion. Why would Sting give two drops of monkey piss if people were telling Magnus he was talking about him unless he decided to assure him it wasn't?
Rockstar Spud barks some orders at a lackey for him to watch for the delivery guy.
Match #3 - Bro-Mans (w/DJ Zema) vs. James Storm and Gunner
Gunner and Storm dominate. Storm hits the Last Call and goes for a pin, but Robbie spits beer in Gunner's face. Gunner gets pissed and attacks Robbie. The official tries to pull him off, but Gunner's not having it, so it causes a DQ. Storm and Gunner argue after the match.
Pick a guy to turn, make it happen. Neither of these two men (Gunner and Storm) have the juice to drag out an extended heel turn.
Sting tries to pay Kurt Angle a visit, but Rockstar Spud plays security. He asks Sting who he is and Sting quips back that he has heard all his albums. Spud mocks Sting for not winning in the tournament and Sting mocks Dixie's accent. Spud tells Sting that Dixie wants him to leave. Spud gets word that the package has arrived and tells Sting to leave one more time. Sting yells "what is going on here!" and leaves.
Spud playing genuine ignorance as to who Sting is killed this segment. Horrible segment.
This show started out alright, but it's really coming off the rails.
Gail Kim cuts a promo via iMPACT 365 where she says she hasn't had any competition.
Chris Sabin cuts a 365 promo and Velvet Sky primps herself in the mirror. He talks about "you" helping him defeat Austin Aries next week. She asks how she looks, but Sabin grabs the belt (which is what he's talking to) and the question is how "they" look. Velvet agrees.
Boy, that really made Velvet look like a real idiot there.
Match #4 - Gail Kim (w/Lei'D Tapa) vs. Laura Dennis
Kim dominates this one. She has Dennis beat, but pulls her up from the pin. Dennis gets a brief comeback as a result, but Kim hits Eat D'Feet to get the win.
Afterward, Kim and Tapa rough up Dennis, but ODB runs out for the save. She clotheslines Tapa over the rope.
Wow. The Knockouts used to be so sound, but now they are in dire need of talent.
Angle and Magnus are shown walking backstage.
Match #5 - Kurt Angle vs. Magnus; TNA World Heavyweight Championship Tournament under Last Man Standing Rules.
Early going in this one, the two men end up playing it pretty even.
During the match, they go backstage with Spud delivering the box to Dixie. Dixie says it proves you always get what you want if you're willing to fight for it. Taz and Tenay tell us that they got a text message that Dixie will reveal the belt after this match. Yes, a text message. Spud hasn't mastered talking through the headset yet.
I'm about to LOGIC RAGE!!!
In the ring, Angle hits a boatload of German suplexes then spears Magnus to the floor. Angle gets a near fall out on the floor, then Magnus gets one back in the ring. Angle slams Magnus and teases a moonsault but Magnus moves. He follows up with the top rope elbow and tells the official to count. Angle makes the count at nine.
Magnus charges on Angle, and we now get the requisite official bump. Angle hits the Angle Slam, but here comes Bobby Roode. He attacks Angle and wakes the official up. The official counts both men, but Magnus is able to get up before ten.
Afterward, Roode goes after Angle, but Jeff Hardy runs out for the save. Angle and Roode end up out of the ring as Hardy and Magnus go face to face in the ring. They shake hands to close it out.
Dixie and Spud are excited over revealing the belt. They open the box, and it's a toy version of the TV title belt. Dixie goes nuts and storms away.
We get a "Friends of AJ" video. AJ talks to the camera and says if Dixie wants the title belt back, she has to come to the trailer park to get it. He tells her to watch her back, because she isn't very well liked there.
TNA drives me batty. They give us a couple good shows, really lay an egg on Thanksgiving, then give us this show tonight. I felt a lot like logic-raging at times after this show got off to a promising start.
It looks like they're setting up AJ to face whoever wins the title tournament. That could make for interesting booking, depending on AJ's contract status. Time will tell.
Magnus and Hardy didn't really do enough to get their match set up, but they have a week to do that, so they have time. If TNA is smart, they will do a good job to make it feel special because they have a chance to build - not really make - Magnus in the final.
Join us again next week for more iMPACT coverage here on Ring-Rap.com.