This week, it's the second of two shows taped in Corpus Christi. How will Bully respond to his win from last week in Full Metal Mayhem? Who will emerge as his next challenge? And will Brooke react to his win any differently this time?
Show Taped in Corpus Christi, Texas
We see a graphic that sends thoughts and prayers to the City of Boston in wake of the bombings there on Monday.
We get a recap video package then the announcers check in on commentary. They feed it into a second recap video package that talks about Jeff Hardy going to the hospital after the match with Bully last week.
Devon asks Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco if they're ready and they give a kind of smug reply to the question. Devon chides them and tells them they better get the job done tonight.
Match #1 - Kurt Angle vs. Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff; handicap match
We get Wes and Garett's entrance as they run another video package to run through the history between them and Angle. Kurt comes out second.
Angle beats up on Brisco, then kind of tosses him into the corner for Garett to tag in. Garett has no better luck against Angle. He ends up sending both the young Aces members down to the floor.
They used way too many video packages one on top of another there. I didn't really get excited about the match starting as a result.
Wes takes the cheap road and hits a low blow while Garett has the referee distracted. The heel pair take over for a while. Angle starts his comeback with a series of rolling German suplexes on both men. He caps it with a double German on both men after the official kicks Garett's hands loose from the ropes.
D'Lo runs out to ringside and hands off a chain to Garett, and he hits Angle with it while Anderson distracts the official. Angle loses the Ankle Lock he has on Wes, and the match, as a result.
Anderson cuts a promo saying if you weren't wearing a cut (a vest) you were in a bad way tonight and things are going bad for TNA. He says they're rooting for Styles tonight then the four pose.
I'm glad the Aces members got the win, but this story feels directionless with Angle. The match wasn't terrible but it just felt like status quo to me. Anderson's involvement feels kind of just "there." The only really compelling thing Aces is in with right now is AJ Styles' decision story.
Petey Williams and Zema Ion respectively cut promos about the X-Division Championship match coming up.
Match #2 - Zema Ion vs. Petey Williams vs. Kenny King (c); Triple Threat Match for the X-Division Championship
King attacks the two men before the match really even gets going. This is the debut of the "Referee Cam" so we shall see how this works out. About a minute in, Williams hits the Canadian Destroyer on King, but Ion broke the count up. Ion works Williams while King takes a powder.
Williams twists his way out of a backbreaker and hits a Russian leg sweep then hooks on a crucifix pin. Ion hits a jawbreaker and throws Williams. Williams dives on King and takes him down as he got back to his feet. Ion hits a tornado DDT from the apron and tries to follow with a moonsault but eats Williams' knees.
Williams locks Ion in the Sharpshooter, but King hits him with a running knee then pins Ion to retain his title.
The match was good, and I think if this triple threat thing is going to continue it can work if they do a better job of applying stories to this somehow. The "X-Cam" reaction: "eh...can leave it behind." It didn't add much to the show for me.
Magnus cuts a promo, saying that Aces and Eights were talking about taking things. The only person taking anything will be Magnus when he takes Devon's television title later tonight.
Elsewhere, Brooke Hogan congratulated Christy Hemme on how good her Knockouts shoot looks. Hemme leaves and in walks Brooke Tessmacher and Mickie James. Brooke wishes the two ladies luck in their match tonight. Mickie exits, but Tess stays behind and tells her that she felt for her and the Knockouts would be there for her. They hug and Tessmacher exits.
Gosh, I hope Tessmacher isn't being gullible...
Match #3 - Devon (c) vs. Magnus; TNA Television Championship
Devon comes out, then Magnus comes to the ring. He gets mugged from behind by other Aces members before he can get to the ring. He holds his own, but eventually the numbers are too much. Devon hits him with a chained fist a few times.
Magnus takes a double chokeslam from Knux and DOC. Samoa Joe runs out for the save at that point.
They run a recap of what just went down, then Joe rages backstage. He calls Aces cowards, and says their transgressions are going to be paid in blood. He says he will see Devon in the ring later. It's implied it's for a title match.
We get a recap of the AJ Styles storyline, then a recap of Velvet Sky's knee injury two weeks ago.
Match #4 - Brooke Tessmacher vs. Mickie James; Winner becomes #1 Contender to the Knockouts Championship.
Collar and elbow tie up all over the ring to kick it off. ODB breaks them up and the two women start to turn on her, but ODB tells them to fight.
Things spill out to the floor. ODB breaks things up and gets them back in the ring. Tessmacher dumps Mickie to the corner and hits her stinkface spot. The crowd has been flat for this throughout. Mickie hits a flapjack and follows with a top rope Thesz press.
ODB gets on Mickie for using closed fists and they argue. Tessmacher runs over and the two hit clotheslines on each other. ODB starts a 10-count, but the two battle to their feet. Mickie runs Tessmacher into the corner then rolls her up suggestively for the win.
Dreadfully slow and not much crowd reaction at all. And they went right back to the story they've been using which is an official getting involved in the match.
AJ Styles is standing looking at Bad Influence. He walks away without words. Bad Influence follows and claims AJ is back with them, then they walk off singing.
Elsewhere, Joseph Park is in a restroom on a phone talking about annulling Brooke and Bully's marriage. Devon walks in and tells Park he can't listen. Park says he's doing this for Brooke and gets attacked from behind by Bully. Devon chokes him with the chain and Ray yells at him to stay out of family business. He throws Park into a shower stall and puts it on.
I think this is a good use of Park. He may be the one to reveal the Brooke Hogan heel turn here and all of her deception as well.
Mickie James cuts a short promo about being excited about her win tonight. Elsewhere, James Storm cuts a promo about knocking sense into AJ via the Last Call Superkick.
We get a video package to recap the tag team title change last week.
Bad Influence comes to the ring. Daniels plugs their shirts and says they're close to getting AJ to join them again. Kazarian transfers over to talking about challenging the new tag team champions.
Aries and Roode come out and cut them off with bad news. Roode says he's sorry to inform Bad Influence that they're not the No. 1 contenders. He says Aries and he were. Daniels says that because Roode is Canadian, his opinion only means three quarters of one. Aries says his opinion represents 1.25 quarters so it equals two parts.
Too much math for me tonight...
Things break down from there. Kaz calls Aries a "dirty vegan" and Aries says they could put the meat in their mouths if they wanted, but not him. The crowd woke up on that one.
Chavo and Hernandez sneak out from behind Aries and Roode, and Bad Influence backs away. Chavo and Hernandez beat up Aries and Roode and pose with the belts.
Somewhere in there, they said the tag title rematch would take place next week. Because TNA has destroyed their tag division, this feels like it's stuck in place and going nowhere.
Bobby Roode talks seriously in a pre-taped segment about Jeff Hardy being sent to the hospital last week and Aces and Eights running amok over TNA. They recap the attack on Magnus and go to a pre-taped promo from Matt Morgan. He talks about all of Hogan's mistakes and says it all could have been avoided if Hogan had made the right choice.
Morgan is showing good intensity and his general position is good, but something feels off about what's going on here. Heeling on Hogan about Aces would only make sense if they're turning Morgan face, which I'm not sure is going to happen. And that just seems like Bully's story all over again.
Match #5 - Samoa Joe vs. Devon (c); TNA Television Championship
Late in this one, Joe has Devon set up for the Muscle Buster. Aces runs out for the distraction and Anderson hits Joe with knucks. Anderson dives out of the ring and Devon covers Joe for the win.
Afterward, the gang holds Joe while Anderson hits him again with the knucks. Joe sells it like his face is broken.
Felt like the second knucks shot wasn't necessary and was silly. At least now the beatdowns are leading to in-ring wins for Aces. It's better than it has been, story wise.
Match #6 - James Storm vs. AJ Styles
The two men make their entrances. AJ stands outside the ring then walks off. Storm chases him and they battle on the entryway. Storm knocks him into the ring and we get underway officially.
Both men get some spots in. Styles trips Storm at about a minute in before they go to break.
Out of break, Styles controls the match. Storm starts a comeback. They almost blow a backdrop but recovered it, hitting a reverse atomic drop and then hit the backdrop spot.
Storm perches Styles on the rope and they battle. Storm ends up upside down. Styles hits a drop kick and gets two while Bad Influence makes their way out to cheer AJ on. Storm and AJ spill to the floor and fight their way back in. Storm cues up the Last Call superkick, but Styles grabs his leg and locks on a new submission finisher to get the win.
Afterward, Bad Influence attempts to celebrate with AJ, but he takes them both out. He stares at Storm and walks away calmly.
Aces and Eights hits the ring and beats up the three men left. Bully does his "do you know who I am?" thing. He says that he's the man responsible for destroying the fans' heroes. He says he was responsible for taking out Hardy and taking out "these three pieces of trash."
Ray says there are no heroes left, and you could blame it all on Hulk Hogan. He says he will call out Hogan next week so he can look him in the eye and tell him all the heroes are just victims. He closes the show with the Aces catchphrase.
The match between Storm and Styles was okay, but you could tell the two of them were holding back. The biggest problem though was that the Styles story was buried under the Aces beatdown.
The beatdown was effective, and Ray was very good on the mic as usual. It will be interesting to see what they do with Hogan next week.
Overall, however, the show was poorly paced. We got a ton of video packages that really hurt it as well. There's an effective use of recap packages, but TNA missed it tonight.
Join me next Thursday for more TNA coverage. Thanks for following along tonight.