TNA continues on the road. Bully Ray started to establish the logic behind his moves to reveal himself as the president of Aces and Eights last week. He did a decent job, but will he continue to elaborate and tell that story tonight?
Jeff Hardy established himself as Ray's next contender last week. But Jeff didn't address him directly. Will Jeff do that tonight?
Show Live in Jonesboro, Ark.
We get a recap video package, then the announcers check in from ringside.
Jeff Hardy makes his entrance and shakes hands with fans at ringside. Hardy tells the fans that he's not 100 percent but he feels better after last week. He solidified his contender position.
Bully Ray interrupts from the opposite side of the arena with a mic. He comes out with the other Aces members. Ray scolds the fans to shut up and asks if Hardy is going to call him out for a fight since it's Open Fight Night. He reminds Jeff the title won't be on the line since they're not in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Mr. Anderson takes over the mic and asks if Hardy is getting "another second chance." The fans start to chant for Hardy. Anderson tells Hardy that he and Ray never got the chances because they don't need them. He says Hardy can keep burning buildings down as long as he keeps "selling that merch."
Anderson calls Hardy a disappointment that lost to Ray fair and square and will lose again in Corpus Christi. Hardy charges Ray and Anderson and knocks them from the ring apron. The rest of the gang hits the ring and attacks. Devon yells "get him" and Ray pulls out his chain.
Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Magnus, and Eric Young run out for the save. Aces gets out. Ray tells them to not worry about it and "let's go." Hardy gets on the mic and calls out Mr. Anderson tonight.
Hardy showed good confidence and good mic work tonight - he's never been a strong mic guy. The crowd is live tonight again and it's a good atmosphere.
We get highlights from last week's tag team championship rematch between Chavo and Hernandez vs. Bobby Roode and Austin Aries, then Daniels and Kazarian attacking afterward.
Chavo complains about Bad Influence interfering in their match. They noted it's Open Fight Night. Chavo and Hernandez come out and Todd Keneley says we'll find out who they're going to call out.
After commercial, Chavo and Hernandez are in the ring. Chavo says they were robbed last week and this is all about payback. He reminds us it's Open Fight Night. They also talked to Hulk Hogan and he added the stipulation that the winner of the match would be the No. 1 Contender for the tag team championship. They call out Bad Influence.
Match #1 - Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez vs. Bad Influence; Winner is the new No. 1 Contender to the TNA Tag Team Championship
The crowd is really hot for this one. The faces charge down the ramp and dive over the ropes, hitting simultaneous shoulder blocks on Bad Influence. However, Bad Influence cuts the ring in half and they work over Chavo.
Chavo fights his way out of the double team and gets the hot tag to Hernandez. He runs through some power offense that the crowd enjoys. Daniels catches him with a boot to the face and tries using the ropes for leverage when he goes for the cover, but the official catches it.
Hernandez hits a sit-out powerbomb and tags in Chavo. He goes up top, but Kaz recoveres and shoves him off the ropes. Daniels gets two out of it. Daniels tries for Angel's Wings, but Hernandez hits a shoulder block. Chavo follows with the frog splash to get the win.
The result is a bit of a yawner, but the fans were into it and the match was entertaining. I'd like to see some other teams get involved.
Taryn Terrell answers her locker room door and talks to the camera. She's holding up stuff in front of herself. She says she's excited that it's Open Fight Night and she knows who she is calling out and what she's going to wear.
They air an ad for Slammiversary and hype the ticket sales starting tomorrow.
They show highlights of the segment last week where Brooke Hogan fired Taryn Terrell as an official but signed her to a wrestling contract. Terrell attacked Gail Kim right afterward.
Taryn comes to the ring and says it's her first night as a Knockout. She talks about her issues with Gail Kim and says it's no secret that she's going to call Gail out. Gail's music hits and she comes to the ring.
Gail gets arrogant and tells Taryn she made a rookie mistake by calling out the greatest female wrestler ever. She asks if Taryn wanted to embarrass herself like that on television.
Gail says Taryn has rubbed others wrong way, including one person who wants to call her out. Gail calls for Tara to enter and she comes out with Jesse to help her take care of business. Gail takes a cheap shot, then Tara hits the ring and joins Gail in beating Taryn down.
Velvet Sky's music hits and she runs out for the save. Velvet chases the heels from the ring and helps Taryn to her feet.
Kim is good on the mic in the arrogant role she is working. Taryn comes off as a likable and bubbly babyface also.
Velvet Sky is talking to the cam a mile a minute with Taryn next to her. Taryn spies the heels and attacks Gail and Tara from behind as they're walking. Velvet pulls her off.
The announcers hype up Gut Check coming back next week. They run a video package that focused on the past winners, as well as the only loser to make it to the roster, Joey Ryan.
JB hypes up Gut Check and says the match will feature Adam Pearce vs. Magno. Both men are with JB, and they stare each other down.
From reports, Pearce was looking good at an independent show that featured Jerry Lynn's retirement. Hopefully, TNA doesn't send him to developmental. They should just sign him straight away and get him on the roster but if Gut Check is the means to get him there, so be it.
They recap what happened earlier with Jeff Hardy calling out Mr. Anderson.
Hulk talks to Jeff Hardy and hypes up the rematch between Ray and Hardy on April 11. Hogan says Hardy stepped up and proved he was the man to lead the company. He apologizes for making the title match at Lockdown in a cage, because that gave Aces an avenue to steal the title. Hardy says he lives for the future. Hogan tells Hardy he can pick his own stipulation for the match with Bully Ray in two weeks.
They're doing a nice job of hyping that April 11 show in Texas with the talent. Using graphics are okay, but when the talent is talking about it, it's more effective.
Sting comes out to the ring (you can hear Sting's music during the backstage segment). Sting talks about the mistake he made, and made the problem he's trying to fix. He says the only way this can be fixed is to call out Hulk.
Hogan gets a strong response when he makes his entrance. Sting tells Hogan he's apologized twice and things might "get nuclear" if he doesn't accept the third. Hogan says he should have listened to his gut because he knew Ray was rotten. People like Dixie Carter and Sting told him otherwise.
Hogan says he made a decision that screwed up the company, and it was Sting's fault. Sting says the key words are that "Hogan made the decision." He tells Hogan to own it and Hogan does own up to walking his daughter down the aisle and giving Ray the title shot. Hogan says he is tired of having Sting in his face.
"Get the hell out of my ring, brother." Hogan tells Sting. The crowd boos and Sting tells Hogan to make him. Security steps into the ring to keep them apart. The security guys lead Sting out of the ring. Tenay says he never imagined this happening.
The live crowds enjoy seeing Sting and Hogan. Sting was good here but I'm not sure how long this can stay interesting. Hogan shouldn't wrestle, so we won't get a physical payoff. The other thing I don't get is why they're giving that coveted "top of the second hour" to this segment, or at least not incorporate some "now" talent to get them a rub.
Tenay talks about the upcoming events. They run through highlights of Sting being led backstage. Matt Morgan is clapping, saying it's another Hulk Hogan mistake. Sting stops and glares, clenching his fists, but walks for the door.
They show highlights of the AJ Styles situation, including Taz offering him a spot in Aces and Eights.
Meh, I'm not big on bringing AJ into Aces. Especially the way that Taz kind of insulted him by putting him at the bottom of the club to start.
James Storm comes out to the ring and gets a mic. He calls out AJ Styles for Open Fight Night. Styles doesn't answer the call-out. Taz poses that AJ might be at the bar. Keneley says he's sure it's a dry county. Styles eventually makes his way through the crowd and glares.
Storm tells Styles it was nice of him to show up. Storm says they're both from the south, and they can handle this by either drinking about it or fighting about it. Storm pulls off his ring coat and waits but Aces hits the ring and attacks Storm. Styles disappears.
Eric Young's music hits and he runs out to try to make the save but the numbers are too much. Kurt Angle runs out and he helps clear Aces out. Angle gets the mic and challenges the three Aces members to a six-man match.
Match #2 - Kurt Angle, James Storm, and Eric Young vs. DOC, Garrett Bischoff and Wes Brisco
The heels work over EY as the match gets started. After commercial, EY still is selling, but he's able to work his way over to Storm for the hot tag. The crowd picks up a little bit after the commercial. Young gets the hot tag to Storm, but Storm ends up selling.
The crowd gets behind Storm as he makes the hot tag to Angle. Angle hits German suplexes on all three heels. D'Lo comes out and distracts Angle. Bischoff is able to wrap a chain around his hand, but Angle tackles him and throws him in the Ankle Lock. Brisco sneaks up on Angle from behind and rolls him up. He uses the tights for leverage to get the win.
The crowd wasn't real hot for this. They popped big for the Angle tag, though. There's only been two matches tonight so it might be that, or it might be that we saw these guys out earlier on. Hard to say.
Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson and Devon toast the team winning. Devon reminds Ray to not forget D'Lo. Ray says it's true that they never walk alone. Ray brings up the fact that Jeff Hardy gets to pick his stipulation for the title match. Mr. Anderson gets upset and says that won't happen because he plans to take Hardy out tonight.
They recap the recent rules changes in the X-Division and highlight champion Kenny King.
JB hypes up the One Night Only pay per view event that will feature the best of the X-Division. JB talks to Sonjay Dutt and noted that Dutt will have to win a qualifier match against Mason Andrews and Petey Williams, both of whom are on set with JB and Dutt.
Would have been nice to hear the talent speak here instead of just JB, but that's fine. Nice reaction for Petey, who I thought kind of got a raw deal from TNA when he was released a while back.
The announcers talk at ringside. Taz says it doesn't matter what stipulation Hardy picks for the title match and Bully Ray will still take him out. We get a recap package of Bully winning the title at Lockdown.
Match #3 - Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson
Both men make their entrances for the main event. Hardy gets off to a fast start and the live crowd is into the work. They battle to ringside, then as the match works back to the ring they go to commercial. After break, Tenay talks about the history between these two.
About 10 minutes in there's an odd referee bump. Anderson intentionally backs over Earl Hebner. Garett Bischoff runs out with a hammer and gives it to Anderson. He swings and misses. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate and gets the hammer. He ponders using it, and Hebner recovers. He warns Hardy to not use it, but Hardy does anyhow so the match is thrown out.
Hardy's not done with the hammer, though, and hits Bischoff with it, knocking him from the apron. Hardy goes out and of the ring and pulls a chair from under the ring. He goes after Anderson on the ramp and hits him with the chair. He sets the chair up, charges and uses the chair as a springboard to knock Anderson back into the ring.
Hardy calls for a ladder. He goes to ringside and gets a table and sets that up in the ring. He goes back out and gets the ladder and sets it up. Anderson recovers a bit and kicks at Hardy, but eats another Twist of Fate. Hardy puts Anderson on the table and climbs the ladder.
Bully runs out and pulls Anderson off the table. The crowd boos as Ray and Anderson leave. Hardy sits on the ladder and says he's made up his mind. There will be no rules in Corpus Christi on April 11. He says tables, ladders and chairs will all be legal in a Full Metal Mayhem match. Ray gets upset at ringside as the show ends.
The live crowd really enhanced that main event. It was good, but just picture that all going down in front of the Orlando faithful at the studio? The live audience gave it so much more punch.
A slight bit predictable on where they went with this match (TLC) but that's not bad here. It might have made more compelling storytelling for Anderson to be fighting for the right to help pick the stipulation for Ray, but I'm okay with what they did here.
I think they did a good job of selling the April 11 show and it might have made viewers look past next week. The live crowd didn't seem to care about the hype for a show they won't see in person and were receptive to what was going on for the most part. I know I'm looking forward to seeing Adam Pearce on the show next week personally.
A good atmosphere tonight in Jonesboro, and somewhat better than some of the Raw crowds we've seen lately. It all led to a solid show that, while could have used more in the wrestling department, was still entertaining.
Join me next Thursday for more iMPACT coverage. Thanks for watching along this week.