Tonight, Bully Ray has claimed he's going to call out Hulk Hogan and confront him, face to face. Two title matches are being featured too in the billing. Dixie is also teasing that the fans will get their shot at helping pick the next X-Division contender.
Show Open, Live from the Kovalchick Convention Center in Indiana, Pa.
We get a recap package setting up Bully vs. Hogan and the continuing AJ Styles "decision" story.
Aces and Eights show up to the building and three security guys get in their way. Ray says no one has been bad enough to stop them, and the three guards have no chance. He counts to three and the guards step aside.
In the ring, James Storm makes his entrance. They run through a recap of Storm tapping out to AJ Styles submission move that was referred to as the "Calf Killer."
Terrible submission move name...
Storm begins to cut a promo, but AJ Styles appears in the crowd. Storm puts over AJ's win over him last week and the new submission hold. He says he's always willing to fight and didn't appreciate being attacked from behind by Aces and Eights. He says if they want a fight, he has no issue taking a few of them out if they want to meet him in the ring.
Bad Influence's music hits and they come out. Daniels says he has the answer to the Aces problem - Fortune. Kaz takes over and says AJ should forgive himself for taking a cheap shot at them and invites him to the ring to re-establish Fortune right now.
Storm tells Kaz to shut the hell up, and Kaz gets in his face. They start to scrum and Kaz kicks Storm low and walks away. Aces and Eights come out and set up a table so that Anderson can hit a powerbomb. Storm drops to his knees to block it and Joseph Park charges out for the save.
That only lasts a moment, though, as the gang dispatches Park. They reset for the table spot, but Bully stops the gang. He and Devon team up for the 3D on Storm through the table.
That was really chaotic. AJ's dark character is good, but they really need a better name for his submission hold. Aces and Eights and Park really cluttered things up. I realize there's a battle for AJ to make a choice, but they pushed him out of the picture with how it was cast.
Park gets a stretcher ride out. Bully gets a mic and says he's not screwing around. He says no one has stopped Aces and no one will. He calls out Hulk Hogan and says he has until the show ends to answer him.
The announce trio finally checks in. Tenay says Hogan was in the building but left and hadn't returned yet. Taz says he won't be back.
We get a video package highlighting the Knockouts Title match.
Match #1 - Taryn Terrell vs. Tara
Prior to commercial break, Taryn makes her entrance. Before we see Tara's entrance, they show Hulk coming back to the building. Tara comes out without Jesse this time.
I guess ODB is the permanent Knockouts referee. Tara slaps Taryn and she goes nuts and attacks. Tara drops her on the top rope and takes control, then hits a stiff slingshot into the corner.
Taryn starts to come back but misses a crossbody off the top. Tara mouths off at her a bit and sets up for the "booty shake" moonsault, but Taryn rolls her up for the win.
I thought Tara was to be off TV? Maybe this was it for her. Taryn is still horribly, horribly green. No instincts and moves when she shouldn't.
Backstage, Robbie E is giving Jesse a pep talk for his match against Rob Terry. Completely silly moment.
Match #2 - Rob Terry vs. Jesse (w/Robbie E)
Robbie E handles Jesse's ring introduction after Rob Terry comes out.
Jesse tries to flex and show off. Rob attacks him. Robbie distracts Rob which allows Jesse to go after Terry's legs. Jesse tries a cross body, but Terry counters with a powerslam. He covers, but Robbie pulls the official to break up the count.
Terry goes out and chases Robbie. He ends up tossing Jesse on top of him, then goes out and gets Jesse and hits the powerbomb-style finish on him to get the win.
Meh. We got that chaotic opening that had some heat, now we've seen two-bit acts back to back. Show is losing a bit of momentum at the moment.
The announcers talk about the new Knockouts website and show Velvet Sky backstage getting ready for her match.
Kaz and Daniels try to convince Bobby Roode to recreate Fortune again to fight Aces and Eights. Roode makes mention of Aries and they all hem and haw about it before walking away. Aries is shown listening in. Taz warns Roode he should not come after the gang.
They hype up Chris Sabin's return with a video package.
Match #3 - Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez (c) vs. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode; TNA Tag Team Championship
Before the match, we see Aries confront Roode backstage about Fortune. Aries says it's fine if they want to reform Fortune, but if it was so great, why did it go away? He says he's going out to win the tag titles again and he hopes Roode will join him.
Daniels and Kaz join the commentary team as Roode and Aries head to the ring.
Aries and Chavo start off. Aries does some showing off and Chavo hits him with a dropkick. Aries fights back and goes for a tag, but Roode is talking with Kaz. Aries tags him hard then stands and watches as Hernandez tags in and hits a long-stall vertical suplex on Roode. Hernandez tries for his big dive shoulder block but everyone moves and that allows the heel team to take control.
Daniels puts over Roode's tag work then buries Aries when Chavo gets the hot tag. Things break down and Hernandez dumps Aries. Bad Influence sticks their nose in the match now. Hernandez ducks a clothesline from Daniels that ends up hitting Roode. Chavo follows up with the Frog Splash to get the win.
If I felt Aries and Roode were going to win the straps, I'd have felt this to be more important. The work wasn't bad, but it lacked the "title match" feel.
The camera crew finds Matt Morgan. HerveyCam asks what he thinks about Hogan meeting Bully in the ring. Morgan calls it yet another Hogan Mistake. He says he has the solution to the problem and asks Hogan to meet him in the ring next.
We get a video recap of Hogan and Bully Ray's story, adding Matt Morgan's part in.
Matt Morgan makes his entrance. Morgan cuts a promo itemizing down all of Hogan's mistakes. The crowd starts a Hogan chant and Morgan agrees with them. He says he wants to offer Hogan a solution to his problems and asks him to come on down.
The crowd chants for a moment and his music hits. Hogan comes to the ring to a big reaction and the crowd chants for him. Morgan presents himself as Hogan's solution. He says no one has waited longer or worked harder or was more likely to succeed. He says he will Carbon Footprint Bully's head to the fifth row if Hogan wanted if he would just name Morgan the No. 1 contender to the world title.
Hogan says Morgan almost convinced him but he isn't doing it for the right reason. He says when Morgan stole his ring robe and hurled abuse, he took it because a lot of people thought Morgan might be the second coming of "the mania." He says Morgan failed though because he was doing it for the payoff of the World Heavyweight Title. So Hogan says he's not only not picking Morgan but he will go it alone. He says Andre the Giant never whined like a bitch and left, leaving Morgan upset in the ring.
I cringed when I heard that "going it alone" line. It made the rest of the segment feel unimportant. It wasn't a bad segment, overall.
Bully gets the rest of Aces to give their word that they won't come to the ring during his encounter with Hogan.
TNA promotes that they're allowing fans to pick the next contender in the X-Division via voting on the website (impactwrestling.com). This week, you can choose between Rashad Cameron, Rockstar Spud and Suicide.
Match #4 - Mickie James vs. Velvet Sky (c); TNA Knockouts Championship
Velvet sells her knee injury while Mickie works on that leg going into commercial. Out of the break, Mickie keeps working on the bad leg. Velvet tries to fight back, but her knee gives way when Mickie reverses an Irish whip.
Mickie hits the Thesz Press off the top for a near fall. Velvet tries to sneak her finish in there but Mickie flips her over and tries for the jumping DDT. Velvet shoves her off only to have Mickie turn it around into a dropkick to the leg. ODB checks on Velvet, and Mickie stands her up afterward. Velvet rolls Mickie up somewhat clumsily for the win.
I think the Knockouts have reached a level of indifference only compared to WWE's use of their women. This match felt really meaningless to me and the execution just seemed really off. Not to mention Mickie burned up her contender's position in a give-away type match on TV.
Bully tells Devon that he can have Brooke when he's done with her. He puts them over as the leaders of the most impressive force in wrestling. In just a moment, he says he's going to head to the ring and put an end to Hulkamania forever.
Elsewhere, Brooke finds Hulk, who is taping up to go to the ring. She begs him to not go out there. Hogan gives this "impending doom" kind of speech to her and says he will be judged on whether he's a good man or a bad man. He says he's a good man and wants to prove it. Brooke gives him a hug and tells him to be careful.
We were getting awful close to another "Dad, my boob's out" moment with Brooke there. They need to reconsider what they put her in from a wardrobe standpoint.
Ray comes to the ring. He recites off a list of names that Aces and Eights has destroyed. He says he's about to add Hulk to the list and calls Hogan out. Hogan comes out to the ring and Bully mocks him for having his fists taped up.
Bully says when he looks in Hogan's eyes he sees fear. He knows Bully was a dying breed just like Hogan. He says "Do you know who I am!" and says he's going to end Hulkamania.
Hulk tells Bully that he can't end Hulkamania because it will never die. Bully spit in Hogan's face and Hogan turns. Ray laughs at him. Hogan hulks up and tears his shirt off. He does the "you" point and Ray mocks it in return. Bully attacks but Hogan blocks it and sets up for the big boot.
Ray dives out of the ring, and the rest of Aces comes out. They surround the ring and get on the apron, but the lights go out. When the lights come up, there's Sting with a bat, backing Hogan to the corner.
Ray gets excited and chants "yes" a bunch of times, but Sting turns on him and chases the gang away. Sting sticks the bat back in Hogan's face again and then walks off to close the show.
Wow, that just teleported me back to about 1998. It wasn't the worst ending I've seen, but it felt very predictable and very much a retreaded storyline. I cannot understand why Hogan and Sting, two men combined at around 110 years old or more, are all over this main event scene.
TNA faithful just love seeing Hogan and Sting. And I admit, I still am a bit of a Sting mark. But at some point, you need to let the fresh talent surface and begin to take over and TNA is just not doing that. Their drawing power just isn't what it once was because they're so over-exposed. And the ratings reflect that lack of drawing power.
Thanks for watching along tonight. Join me next week for more TNA coverage.