Tonight's the night. Sting and Bully Ray sign their contract for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Slammiversary. Contract signings in wrestling are always interesting, so what happens tonight between these two men.
Kenny King will defend his X-Division Championship as well against Chris Sabin and Petey Williams in three-way action. Sabin and King started to tell a good story last Thursday - will they keep it going?
Show Open, taped in Tupelo, MS
We get a recap of Angle and AJ Styles brawling, the return of Abyss, and Magnus getting destroyed by Aces and Eights. The announcers check in on commentary.
Hogan makes his ring entrance. Hogan tells AJ Styles that he can join Aces and Eights, but Angle is going to keep chasing him until the Slammiversary event. Hogan books Angle vs. Styles. He hypes up the TNA World Heavyweight Championship contract signing, and calls out Abyss.
Abyss' music hits, but no sign of the monster. Hogan says he wants to thank Abyss man to man, and they start the music again. This time, Joseph Park comes out. Park says he's shocked his brother returned last week. He spent a lot of time looking for him and says Abyss came to the show while he was at home resting up from the beating he took. Hogan tells Park he's not playing and needs Abyss and if anyone knew where Abyss is, it would be his brother.
Devon and D'Lo interrupt. They come to the ring and Devon says they demand to know where Abyss is also. He wants to get his own pound of flesh from the monster. Park says "how dare you!" and Devon says 'Get out of my face, fat boy." Park says that the two members of Aces are pissing him off and challenges Devon to a match on the spot.
Devon again tells Park to shut up. D'Lo jumps in and begs for the match to beat up Park. Hogan books it and makes it official. Devon says it's fine, but he will take a chunk out of Abyss the next time he sees him. Hogan says that after Park beats D'Lo, he's going to give the green light to Abyss getting after Devon.
Hogan's threat felt out of place and I'm lukewarm to Park vs. D'Lo as a match. But otherwise, the segment was decent enough.
HerveyCam catches up to James Storm. He asks Storm to comment on what happened in the tag match last week. Storm says "Watch...just watch." and walks away.
We get a video package for Christian York.
Match #1 - Bobby Roode vs. Chavo Guerrero
Roode comes out first, then Chavo. Roode gets some offense in, but Chavo begins to mount a comeback and hits the Three Amigos suplex spot. Chavo sets up for the frog splash, but Roode knocks him to the floor.
James Storm comes out to the ring and spits beer in Roode's face. Apparently, this one is over via disqualification.
This match meant nothing and on top of that we got a screwy finish. I had more hope for this, but perhaps the plans got scrambled when Storm got injured by this point in the tapings.
They show Kurt Angle walking backstage.
We get a video recap of AJ Styles' story to this point. Kurt Angle comes to the ring. Angle says he's never backed away from a fight, so when AJ backed away it pissed him off. Angle says that Hogan has made it official that it will be Angle vs. Styles one more time at Slammiversary. Angle says he doesn't want to wait and wants to do it tonight. He calls AJ out and wants to do this tonight.
Instead, Aces and Eights music hits. Anderson comes out and says Angle sounds like a woman. He tells Angle that AJ isn't his boy. Next week, everyone will witness AJ being patched in to Aces and Eights. He double dog dares Angle to show up. Angle says he doesn't want to wait to fight and attacks Anderson.
Anderson slips from the ring, and AJ hits the ring through the crowd. He jumps in but doesn't immediately go after Angle. Angle turns and sees him. They stare at each other for a moment, then AJ hits a drop kick. Anderson applauds from the floor and AJ exits up the ramp.
So on next week's program, AJ beats up the Aces and Eights. This is a good storyline, but it needs to get to the next level as to what it is when he decides to stand alone and unaffiliated with either side.
We get a recap video of the previous segment, then a hype video for Jay Bradley to set up the next match.
Match #2 - Christian York vs. Jay Bradley; Gut Check Challenge Semi-Final Match, winner goes into the Bound for Glory Series
Bradley takes quick control of the match. He uses his power to overtake York. He tosses York up and hits a big boot for a near fall. Bradley reverses a chinlock to hit a springboard elbow, then sets up for his clothesline finisher.
York ducks and follows with a kick. He drops Bradley in the corner and follows with a cannonball. York sets up the Mood Swing, but Bradley counters out. York goes up top, but Bradley gets out of the way and follows with the Boom Stick to get the win.
York is slow, Bradley doesn't have the body but does have impressive height. I wasn't impressed by this one by the developmental talents.
We get a backstage shot of Gail Kim and Velvet Sky.
HerveyCam catches James Storm coming out of Hogan's office. He asks what Hogan said about what happened earlier. Storm says that Hogan told him that actions have consequences. Storm says that no one else's actions have consequences, like leaving him beaten down last week. HerveyCam asks what's next, and Storm tells him to just keep watching.
Anderson puts over AJ's attack on Kurt Angle earlier in the evening. He tells D'Lo that he needs to get the win tonight.
Elsewhere, Brooke Hogan puts over Mickie James. Mickie thanks her and plays for a bigger spot at Slammiversary. Brooke says she knows, but she has to let Taryn and Gail do their thing. She ends up booking Mickie vs. Velvet Sky for the title for next week on iMPACT.
Bully walks into the picture and chases Mickie away. He tells Brooke to tell Hulk that there's not going to be a contract signing as much as it would be a negotiation. Brooke asks him for a divorce and Ray tells her never. She shoves him away and walks away.
Match #3 - Velvet Sky (c) vs. Gail Kim; Non-Title match
Velvet opens the match in control but Kim moves to the corner and Velvet ends up hitting her bad leg on the turnbuckle. Kim works the leg, then goes up top. Velvet counters by pulling her off the ropes. She starts to work her offense but her leg gives.
She tries to set up In Your Face but Kim counters by sweeping the leg. Kim sets up another move, but Velvet kicks her in the back and sends Kim to eat the buckle. Kim bounces out and Velvet rolls her up for the win.
Afterward, Gail does her normal routine of locking the figure four around the ring post on her opponent. ODB breaks it up.
Velvet just can't work, but it's worth pointing out the Knockouts have made their way back to the top of the second hour. There are some good things going on in the division at least. I do smell a title change coming next week though.
We get hype for Suicide returning next week.
Match #4 - Kenny King (c) vs. Chris Sabin vs. Petey Williams; TNA X-Division Championship in a triple-threat format
King slides out to let Sabin and Williams go at it. Sabin dumps Williams out and King slides in for his attack. Sabin sees him coming and they square off. King hits a Pele kick and knocks Sabin down, but Petey hits him with a facebuster.
King comes back and things settle into a singles match speed after King kicks Sabin from the ring. King hits a hangman on Williams, and Sabin attacks King from behind. Williams shoves Sabin out and follows with a dive, then works on King to make his comeback. He sets up for the Canadian Destroyer, but Sabin clotheslines him to break it up.
Sabin teases a tornado DDT on King, but King counters and kicks him. He hits Williams with a backbreaker for two. He picks Petey up but Sabin kicks King. Sabin ties King in a Tree of Woe and follows with the DVD.
Sabin sets up for the finish on Williams, but King recovers. He hits Sabin with a running knee, then hits the Royal Flush on Petey to retain the title.
This was a good match. Unfortunately, King's win did kind of take some shine from Sabin's return. I guess it's a pitfall of this triple-threat format.
This show's moving along, but it still feels pretty uninspired. At least it's not crash TV.
Daniels frets over what Storm is going to do during his match with Hernandez, and attacking him and Kaz. Kaz tells Daniels he has his back and assures Daniels to not worry.
Elsewhere, D'Lo thanks Anderson for saving him from Bully. Anderson tells him he did it for the club, not D'Lo. He says D'Lo has been in hot water since he buried Wes and Garrett. D'Lo admits it was a mistake but wants to make it right. Anderson tells D'Lo he's pulling for him tonight.
Hm. Will Garrett and Wes arrive to help D'Lo if he needs it because he apologized?
Match #5 - Christopher Daniels (w/Kazarian) vs. Hernandez
Daniels tries a slam but Hernandez clubs him down. Hernandez hits his big flying shoulder block and poses. Kaz distracts him, which allows Daniels to attack from behind.
Daniels throws Hernandez to the floor and Kaz beats on him. Hernandez recovers though and fights back into the ring. He misses a corner splash. Storm walks out at this point.
Daniels watches up the aisle, and Hernandez hits Daniels with a big shoulder tackle to get the win.
Afterward, Storm makes an announcement. He says the tag team championship match at Slammiversary will be Chavo and Hernandez vs. Roode and Aries vs. Bad Influence vs. Storm and a partner of his choosing.
This wasn't a good match, partly because everyone was watching and waiting for Storm to appear.
Match #6 - D'Lo Brown vs. Joseph Park
The two work some clumsy offense to start, hitting strikes, clotheslines and belly bumps. D'Lo takes control though. He beats Park down in the corner and busts his forehead open. Park sees his blood and goes nuts.
It's not long after that. Park throws D'Lo to the corner then hits him with the Black Hole Slam to get the win.
Afterward, Park snaps out of it and wonders what just happened.
No help for D'Lo. I get the sense D'Lo is going to be dumped out of the gang, but I can't understand why he's there in the first place. And the split-personality story for Joseph Park/Abyss could be intriguing, but these stories don't often work well in wrestling.
Contract Signing Segment:
JB is at a podium and he introduces Bully Ray. Ray comes to the ring and shoves Borash down. JB leaves afterward. Ray lets us know who he is and gives his pedigree. He says that this is going to be a negotiation and calls out Sting. Sting makes his entrance, but Ray stops him halfway. He asks for Hogan as well to make it official. Hogan comes out to the stage.
Ray says this is the first time the two have been face to face since he screwed everyone over. He says Sting won't get an apology if he is looking for one. Sting tells Ray that he should break his arm, leg, cut his throat out, put his eyes out, and make him bleed.
Ray looks at him and asks what's wrong with Sting. Sting says if Ray doesn't do those things to him, Sting will do them to Ray. Sting says he doesn't have any initial demands, but since Ray asked, he wants this match to be no holds barred.
Ray agrees, but adds a stipulation. He says he'll do it if Sting promises and signs to never challenge for the title again if he loses. Hogan pleads for Sting to not do it. Ray interjects and says Hogan is making Sting's decisions again and reiterates the stipulation. Sting signs, then beats down Bully Ray to close the show.
They could ignore this down the road somewhere, but this could prove to be an interesting twist to a match I wasn't all that excited about. Odd that they would put the stipulations in place given that TNA depends on Sting and Hogan to be their money-makers (though I don't agree with that approach).
A good ending to an otherwise uninspired show. I think the stipulation adds some interest to the title match, but I still think this is NOT how Sting should be used in 2013. Save him for the feature matches, not title shots.
Join me next week for more TNA coverage here on Ring-Rap.com. Thanks for following along tonight.