TNA's third show from Jolly Olde England comes to us tonight. Hulk's looking for someone to impress him to establish a contender for Jeff Hardy's title, and Lockdown begins to take shape. We also get a look at the British Bootcamp contestants!
They give us a "previously on iMPACT" segment to recap some of the storyline history.
Hulk Hogan's music hits and he comes to the ring. He says he has eight guys picked to contend for Jeff Hardy's title. They'll compete in the ring, and he will pick the most impressive to face Hardy at Lockdown for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Hogan then introduces Sting as the captain of the Lethal Lockdown team that will face Aces and Eights.
Sting gets a good reaction as he comes out. He says he's looking for three killers to join his team. He asks "whatcha gonna do when the Stinger runs wild on you?" and he and Hogan pose to end the segment.
Every group that runs on TV has this issue sometimes: This got a really great live crowd reaction, but it just felt like they were pandering to the TV audience. It's a weird disconnect, but it happens. The pop Sting got when he came out reminds me just how big the difference is when TNA isn't in the studio.
We get a recap of the run in between Magnus and Bad Influence two weeks ago.
Match #1 - Christopher Daniels (w/Kazarian) vs. Magnus
Magnus gets a fast start and hits a suplex out of a body slam lift. Daniels distracts the official to allow Kaz to hit a hangman over the top rope then follows with an STO on Magnus to get control.
After Kazarian gets tossed for interfering with Magnus' hope spots, Magnus mounts a comeback and beats Daniels with his elbow drop off the top rope.
A good match, but it felt kind of rushed - like they were trying to cram 20 minutes of work into five.
Bully Ray complains about an injury holding him down. He tells Brooke that he prides himself on being a warrior like her dad. He says the wedding got messed up but things have been great otherwise. Brooke doesn't know what to say, but Ray says this won't ruin their Valentine's Day. They decide to go out dancing, and she reminds him to wear his wedding ring, and she found it next to a sink at the hotel. Ray says she's right and they hug.
Small foreshadowing of a turn for Ray, maybe? Lockdown would be the logical place...
Magnus cuts a promo, saying the Aces and Eights attack caused him to have more fire in his belly. He says he just proved to Hogan and the world he is worthy of being a champion.
Match #2 - Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
A voiceover says that Kurt will do whatever it takes to put wrestling back in the Olympics. Taz shit all over the IOC's decision and Tenay agrees.
Joe gets control quickly. Angle gets it back with a belly-to-belly suplex then a big clothesline that Joe sells into commercial.
Joe hits a dive after the break, and Angle flees. Joe starts a comeback with a senton in the ring that got a nice reaction and a near fall. Taz comments on getting texts about watching these two guys kill each other. Joe reverses a whip and charges to get an STJoe. Angle hits a missile drop kick in return then the Angle Slam. Joe no-sells and locks on the Rear Naked Choke.
Angle drives Joe back into the corner then locks on the Ankle Lock. Joe teases a tap-out then flips Angle to break it. Both are down and the official starts his count. As they get to their knees, Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff hit the ring for the no finish. They beat on both guys but Joe and Angle battle back and chase them off.
Seen better, but a good match out of these two. They built nicely to the "no contest" finish. I guess it makes booking sense to do it this way since Joe and Angle will team to take on the rookies.
Backstage, Dixie Carter wishes the BootCamp Contestants luck and gives them a bit of a pep talk.
The Blossom Twins are hot. I'm just sayin'.
Match #3 - Party Marty and The Blossom Twins vs. Gail Kim, Tara, and Jesse
Jesse and Marty start with this fun little slap gimmick in the corner. Marty hits a moonsault for a near fall and Jesse rolls out for a breather. After commercial, Jesse runs to his corner for a tag to Gail. One of the Blossoms comes in and hits a drop kick. Jesse distracts the official and Tara kicks the twin in the back.
Tara gets the tag and works a series of power moves, then tags in Kim. Kim hits her splash move on Holly (we now know their names). Holly gets her knees up on a moonsault by Kim and tags Hannah. Hannah teams up with Holly to hit some cool moves on both Tara and Kim.
Jesse tries to sneak attack, but Marty makes him pay with a missile dropkick. Marty hits a scary looking dive at the barricade and Hannah goes to check on him. That leaves Holly to get hit with Eat D'Feet by Kim for the win.
That was a VERY scary dive by Party Marty. A good match though, and good placement to get their new talent some exposure in that top of the second-hour slot. They are green, no doubt.
Afterward, Gail cuts a promo putting herself over as the most dominant Knockout in the company and says she wants her title back. She says Brooke hasn't announced Tara's contender yet, and it should be her. Brooke Hogan comes out and announces a four-way elimination match with Tara, Gail Kim, Brooke Tessmacher, and Velvet Sky.
They recap Dixie's appearance on Bellator last week, then Jeff Hardy taking a hammer to the knee at the hands of Aces and Eights. They then recap some of the earlier action on the show.
The spoilers for next week are not...um...good news in this area.
Austin Aries and Bobby Roode say that Hogan is scared, and that's why he booked them in a match. They bicker about who should be world champion, then agree they will do what's best for business.
Aries and Roode are not a good pairing by TNA, but that was fun.
Match #4 - Rob Van Dam vs. James Storm
Hectic pace to start, with RVD hitting a split-leg moonsault. Storm throws hands to fight back, then hits a clothesline. Taz is putting RVD over and complains about deck-stacking against RVD. Odd commentary.
Storm hits Closing Time and cues up Last Call, but RVD counters with a kick of his own. RVD goes for the top rope but Storm stops him and they battle, with RVD being out on the apron and Storm in the ring.
The finish comes when RVD kicks Storm away. He tries a coast-to-coast move, but Storm moves, then hits Last Call quickly to grab the win.
A solid, entertaining match that both men looked good in. No one lost anything here.
Joseph Park enters Hogan's office and says that some of the boys told him if he wants to get ahead, he has to politick. Hogan tells him he doesn't need to and Park is OK by him. Park talks about having signs and posters made up and hiring a campaign manager. Hogan asks if that's what the boys told him to do and Park says he assumed so.
Hogan asks Park if he knows what a rib is, not a baby back rib or barbeque rib but a rib. He tells Park to find out and Park says he will. He asks if he can count on Hogan's vote. Hogan agrees and Park leaves. Hulk goes back to arguing with Brooke and says she pushes for too much.
That was stupid, but so stupid it was hilarious. NOT storyline material, but for a one-off moment it was entertaining.
Brooke pressures Hogan to give Bully the title shot. Hogan tries to keep the focus on business but Brooke talks about how Ray got in the business because of Hogan. She talks about how he's family and hasn't been champion. Hogan says he loves the idea but has to remain objective.
They run a video to recap the tag team title switch last Thursday. Roode and Aries come out to the ring and cut a promo. He says it only took a week for Hogan to mess with the plan. He says they'll capture all the gold and bring prestige back to them. Aries says if they're all scared, they should just say so. The fans chant his name and Aries says he knows his name. He says he and Roode are on the same page and they need to get this over with.
Match #5 - Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode
They do a fingerpoke of doom spot, but neither man would fall. They argue about it and Aries says he'll be the bigger man and lay down. Roode covers, but Aries counters to a surprise crucifix pin for two. They argue as they get up.
They lock up out of commercial. Each man hits a roll up and uses the ropes, then they argue. They fight their way over to the buckle where Roode tries a superplex. Aries fights back though and knocks Roode off. Aries tries the 450 splash but Roode moves. Aries rolls through and is able to lock on Last Chancery.
Roode rakes the eyes to counter then locks on a crossface. Aries rolls it up to cause a break. They go through a series of moves and counter moves, then the referee takes a bump. Roode goes out and gets a chair then does the old Eddie Guerrero spot where he hits the mat with the chair then falls. Aries does it next. The official looks at both men, and each man would take a turn shooting dirty looks at the other when the official was tending to the other man.
Chavo and Hernandez come out, wearing Aries and Roode T-shirts. Roode and Aries get out of the ring and the face pair backs off. The heels suddenly realize the official is counting. They hold each other back, and the official counts them both out.
This was entertaining, but I don't get why Kaz is sitting out while they basically do a re-run of his act with Daniels with two guys who really should be singles, main-event players.
Hogan complains to Sting about Brooke pressing him on giving Bully Ray a title shot. Sting says Ray was out of it and Hogan has a great talent pool to choose from. Sting says he's glad he's not in Hogan's shoes. Hogan thanks him sarcastically and leaves.
Hogan didn't look frazzled, like they intended. He looked pretty stupid.
Hogan comes back out and talks about how hard it is to make this decision. He goes to say more but Aces and Eights runs out and surrounds the ring. They get on the apron, but here comes Bully with a chain. They back up when they see him. They start to close in again, but here comes Sting with some bats. They back off and jaw with Bully to end the show.
I think at this point it's way too obvious what's going to happen next. Aces backing away when Ray came out almost screamed "heel turn."
I am anxious for their shows stateside on the road. This was a good show tonight and the atmosphere of being on the road is a definite plus for TNA.
Join me again next week for more TNA coverage right here on Ring-Rap.com.