Slammiversary is just a short few weeks away. Sting made a statement in the contract signing last Thursday. Will Bully respond? Speaking of Aces, they're hoping to patch in AJ Styles tonight. I get a feeling that won't happen, but I guess we'll see.
Velvet Sky defends her Knockouts championship against Mickie James and Suicide returns tonight as well!
Show Open, Live from Tampa, FL
They open with a graphic expressing thoughts and prayers for those in Oklahoma affected by the recent tornadoes and plug donations to Red Cross.
We get a recap package of the Joseph Park, Sting, and AJ Styles stories. Hulk gets his ring entrance as the announcers check in. They try to put over the pop as this is Hogan's home town.
Hogan rambles for a minute and talks about drinking beer at his bar. Shark Boy was even with him. Hogan turns his attention to the AJ Styles story and says Styles decided to join Aces and Eights, and JB was his witness.
What is this nonsense?
Hogan calls Sting out next and he gets a decent reaction. Hogan says he's not a fan of the stipulation Sting agreed to - that he cannot challenge for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship again if he loses at Slammiversary. Hogan says he's the GM, he can change the stipulations.
Sting starts to talk, but bumbles his lines. He says he wants it so bad that he can't talk to cover it. He says if he can't beat Bully and take the title back (and power), then he doesn't need to challenge for the title again.
Hogan says it's nice and all, but Hogan runs the show and he doesn't like it. Brooke Hogan's music plays and she comes out. She blames herself for all of this mess and says she doesn't want the two professionals shouldering the blame. She volunteers to resign as head of Knockouts.
Hogan argues with her, but Aces and Eights interrupts. Bully comes out alone and asks why they're all blaming themselves. He says the only person at fault is him. He does blame Brooke for one thing and that's making him fall for her. He says they have a connection and he would never stop loving her nor would he take his wedding ring off. Brooke cries as he walks away.
There was a whole lot going on in that segment. I think Bully arriving finally set the table for a heel turn for Brooke, so I guess we'll see how that's going to play out. Not sure if this did all that much, but it wasn't the worst thing I've seen.
We get a hype package for Suicide's return.
Kenny King joins the announce position for this triple-threat X-Division match.
Match #1 - Suicide vs. Joey Ryan vs. Petey Williams; X-Division Qualifying Match
Petey dumps his opponents to the floor and Ryan slides in. Ryan hits a pumphandle toss. Suicide goes top rope and Ryan walks over to the same corner. Ignoring the fact that Suicide is on the ropes, he gets out his baby oil and squirts it on himself. Yes, this happened.
Suicide hits him with a missile drop kick as he turns around. Not a good spot there. Suicide follows with a gut buster to get the win.
This match wasn't good. Kenny King was not good on commentary either. Suicide's return did not generate any sort of interest from the fans either.
Chris Sabin pays a visit to James Storm's locker room. He makes a case to partner with Storm for the four-way tag title match. Storm tells Sabin he appreciates the support, but Sabin should stay the course to win the X-Division title and be able to cash in for the World Heavyweight Championship. They part ways friendly after Sabin says he understands.
We get hype for Mr. Anderson vs. Kurt Angle, and the AJ Styles' decision segment.
Brooke confronts Bully and wants to know what he meant in the opening segment. He says he still loves her. Brooke gets it this time and she cries again.
Elsewhere, Mickie James asks Velvet Sky if she wants to postpone the Knockouts title match since Sky is hurt. Sky says she appreciates it but wants to go on with the match. Mickie asks again. Velvet says Mickie is a good friend and she would still compete tonight. Mickie exits after a hug.
Sam Shaw makes his entrance for the Gut Check tournament match. Alex Silva gets announced, but he doesn't come out. Aces and Eights comes out though. Wes comes out along with Doc and Garrett Bischoff.
Wes takes credit for knocking out Alex Silva backstage. He complains about having competed in Gut Check and winning, but not being invited to participate in the tournament. The gang rushes the ring and takes out Shaw.
Magnus makes the save, and he challenges Wes to his match right then and there against him.
Match #2 - Magnus vs. Wes Brisco
Magnus throws Wes all over the ring to start. Wes slides out to the floor in order to regroup.
After the break, Wes is in control. Kenely gives us another plug for the donations for Oklahoma. Wes tries a cross body, but Magnus catches him and turns it into a suplex. Magnus goes up top and sets up a rope move but the rest of the gang interferes to cause the disqualification finish.
Afterward, the gang continues to beat Magnus down. Samoa Joe runs out for the save and clears the ring.
Pacing is a real issue here. Joe's return is a big deal, but there was no time to really let that sink in. Not to mention the match was only two minutes or so.
We get a recap package of Sting being inducted into the Hall of Fame last year. They hype up that a new Hall of Famer will be introduced at Slammiversary.
Safe to say the last name of this Hall of Famer is Jarrett?
Bully talks about the situation with Brooke with the gang. He then says he doesn't want to talk about his personal life. Anderson changes gears to AJ and asks when he is to arrive. Ray says that even though there have been some disappointments, AJ won't be one. He sneaks a peek at D'Lo after that comment. The gang toasts.
We get a recap of Kurt Angle attending an event at Grand Central Station in New York City that was designed and promoted to save Olympic wrestling.
Match #3 - Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson
Angle comes out to a crazy pop from the Tampa fans. Anderson makes his entrance after that. After commercial, the bell rings but the camera cuts backstage to show AJ arriving on his motorcycle.
Lots of back and forth early on, with either man hitting big moves. Angle hits the triple German suplex spot then tries to get the Ankle Lock. Anderson kicks him away then comes back with the Mic Check. Angle kicks out. Anderson goes up top, but Angle runs up the ropes and hits a belly-to-belly suplex.
Angle drops the straps. AJ comes out to ringside and Angle sees him and goes nuts. Taz hugs AJ while the official keeps Angle from leaving the ring. Anderson hits a low blow and rolls Angle up for the win.
AJ leaves with Anderson behind him, but he doesn't give any indication as to what's going on as if he's aligned with Aces and Eights.
The match was fine but we've seen it a lot, so it's hard to get too excited about it.
HerveyCam catches up to Gail Kim. He asks about the match at Slammiversary and Kim recounts all the women she has beaten up lately. Taryn Terrell rushes into the scene and attacks Kim. She beats her around a bit until officials pull her off and Kim escapes.
We get a recap package of how Storm ended up with the tag team division.
Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez join the broadcast position, and James Storm heads to the ring. Storm talks about his tag team success in TNA and talks about being able to pick his partner for Slammiversary. He says women love a good tag team....wrestler.
Bobby Roode and Austin Aries cut him off. Roode calls his time in Beer Money the worst four years of his life. Storm says it's because Roode couldn't hang with him. Roode says it did make the moment when he hit Storm with the beer bottle that much sweeter. Roode demands that Storm reveal his partner.
Before Storm can say anything, Bad Influence interrupts. Daniels says they're now the best tag team and they've proven it. Kaz says they were screwed out of their title match, so they are the only ones who should be upset. He says it doesn't matter who Storm picks, they're going to beat all the other teams.
The heels start arguing amongst themselves. Storm yells at them all to shut up. He goes for the introduction again and this time Shark Boy and Robbie E come out. They make their case for being Storm's partner as well. Out of nowhere, Gunner slides in and clotheslines both men. He puts Robbie E in the Torture Rack and drops him. He and Storm stand eye to eye and Storm says "see you at Slammiversary." The heels are upset by this news.
Not sure how much of an impact Gunner's return has, but if they follow it up right it will be good. The segment as a whole was good but didn't need the Shark Boy/Robbie E silliness. That said, those two were good fodder for Gunner to destroy and he looked like a real badass doing it.
Joseph Park is talking to Sting, and discussing "getting the strap" and Park says it scares him. Sting promises it's a good phrase and he wants Abyss to show up for him to tag with. Park says he's not sure he can set that up. Sting shakes his head and talks about Park running with the story. Sting says if it can't be Abyss, he wants someone close to it. Park gets flattered by that, thinking Sting's talking about him.
I like Park misunderstanding the wrestling phrases gimmick. The only problem is, when it's a serious story it just doesn't work.
Match #4 - Velvet Sky (c) vs. Mickie James; TNA Knockouts Championship
The two trade shots early on. Mickie hits a full nelson slam that ends up pretty scary looking. Velvet lands awkwardly on her hip. Mickie hangs on to the full nelson hold as the match goes to commercial.
Out of break, Mickie works a rest hold. Velvet uses an arm drag to start a comeback then hits a Russian leg sweep to get a near fall. The crowd isn't reacting to this though. Vevlet hits a spinning head scissor but comes up lame.
Mickie clips Velvet at the knee. The crowd wakes up a little bit for that. Mickie ends up hitting a DDT to get the win.
Typical Sky match. This was very obvious that it was going to go down like this tonight. I wonder how they play this out? They could easily go with an angle similar to when CM Punk cashed in on Jeff Hardy: "what did I do wrong?" The fans were dead for most of this and didn't react much to the title change.
We get a recap of AJ Styles' return.
Bully toasts the gang and the man that they're about to patch in.
Aces comes out to the ring. Bully puts Anderson over for recruiting AJ Styles to the group. Ray calls out AJ, and he comes out through the crowd. Bully says that everyone wants AJ, but AJ knows where the power is in TNA. He hand AJ a beer and says that AJ never drank, but he wants AJ to raise his bar and drink with Bully. He says that AJ can give his heart to Jesus but his soul belongs to the club. AJ lifts the bottle and drinks it down.
Ray gets excited, and he welcomes AJ to the club. Anderson hands AJ the cut. AJ looks at it and says something to Anderson. Ray tells Anderson to hold it open for him, and he does. Kurt Angle's music hits before AJ puts the cut on.
Angle tells AJ he has just flushed his legacy away. He asks if this is what AJ wants, and Ray says of course it is. Angle yells at Ray and tells him he's talking to AJ. Ray tells Angle that he's talking to one of Ray's brothers. He yells at AJ to put the cut on, and he does.
Angle rolls into the ring. DOC attacks him first, then the gang teams up on Angle. Ray gives AJ the hammer and tells him to take Angle out. AJ nails Kurt in the leg and kicks him from the ring.
A celebration ensues, but AJ turns and attacks them with the hammer next. He takes out two of the lower guys in the group. He flees the ring and dumps the cut. He holds up his gloves to make his symbol and yells something I can't quite make out to the gang as the show ends.
That was a good, hot segment to close out the show. This should give viewers incentive to tune in to next week's program for the go-home show into Slammiversary. AJ is in a good place right now; his character is working and he's been a solid heel. I will be curious to see how it continues once he starts talking again.
Overall, though, this wasn't a strong show. AJ and Gunner's return seem to be the two things that stand out. The exchange between Hogan, Sting, and Brooke seemed sloppy and just there for filling time. No one really seemed to care about the Knockouts title change and the X-Division match was just awful.
Join us next Thursday night for the go-home edition of iMPACT as we head into Slammiversary, right here on Ring-Rap.com.