It's "go-home" show time for TNA, as we get ready for Slammiversary on Sunday night. The main event tonight features AJ Styles taking on Anderson of the Aces and Eights. Last week, AJ shunned the "patching in" to the club to take a stand as his own man. Will Aces try to take him out completely in advance of Styles' match with Kurt Angle on Sunday?
Also, Chris Sabin will team with Taryn Terrell to take on X-Division Champ Kenny King and his partner, Gail Kim. And there's a big eight-man match featuring all the players in the Four-Team Elimination Tag match to decide the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
Show Open, taped 5/23/2013 in Tampa, FL:
We go backstage to see Bully and Devon arriving. They walk past Anderson and D'Lo. Anderson turns and attacks D'Lo and leaves him laying as Team 3D heads to the ring.
Ray cuts a promo and talks about the stipulations surrounding his match with Sting. Ray names down all of the men that Sting has beaten through the years to become a World Champion. He says he will be the man to beat Sting for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
He says he has to wait til Sunday to get his hands on Sting, but for now he is going to get his hands on Sting in a tag match. He calls out Sting and Joseph Park for their match, and they come out.
Match #1 - Bully Ray and Devon vs. Sting and Joseph Park
Sting and Park charge the ring and dive in, and we're underway. They pair off with the opposite man (Sting with Devon, Park with Ray) they'll face Sunday. They battle all over the ringside area. Sting and Ray are left standing and they hit clotheslines on each other.
Things settle down after break into a more standard tag match. The heels work over Park, who eventually gets the hot tag to Sting. Sting takes out both heels and locks Devon in the Scorpion Death Lock. Park tries to get Ray in the same hold but Ray kicks him off into Sting.
The heels hit a double team move on Sting, then set up Park to hit Devon's flying headbutt to the balls. Abyss' music hits. Devon leaves the ring to find Abyss as Park cheers his "arrival". The distraction allows Sting to run in and hit the Scorpion Death Drop on Devon to get the win.
A fair opener to get heat on Sunday's match. I was entertained by it even though it wasn't a technical work of art..
We get a shot of Dixie Carter walking backstage.
Kurt Angle goes off about AJ Styles. He says he respects Styles, but he has committed some unforgivable things. He says he's going to watch Styles' match tonight closely. "Literally..."
Dixie Carter makes her way to the ring. She says they're going to announce the next inductee to the TNA Hall of Fame at Slammiversary. She puts over Sting, talking about how he was the first Hall of Fame inductee. She wishes him well on Sunday in the title match.
Aces music hits to cut her off. Garrett, DOC, and Wes Brisco make their way out. Garret gets a mic and questions Dixie on the love for Aces and Eights. He says he knows Dixie is excited about her celebration, but they're going to make sure it's a funeral. The three of them start to surround her in the ring.
Magnus and Samoa Joe run out to make the save. Joe grabs a mic and challenges Garrett to a match right now. Garrett accepts.
Match #2 - Garrett Bischoff vs. Samoa Joe
Bischoff attacks Joe as he takes his shirt off. Joe quickly knocks him out of the ring. Joe slams Garrett and hits the ropes for his next move, but DOC grabs his leg. Joe kicks him away, and Magnus runs over to attack DOC.
Things break down from there, and the official calls for the bell.
Afterward, Joe hits a suicide dive on all three Aces members after they take Magnus out. Joe and Magnus get back in the ring and Joe says they have a contingency plan. He challenges the three Aces members to a six-man tag at Slammiversary, with Jeff Hardy joining Joe and Magnus.
Joe's dive was a bit on the risky side, but not totally reckless. Overall this was a good brawl that got them to the point they wanted, which was setting up the six-man tag for Sunday.
We get a recap of Storm and Gunner becoming partners.
Storm talks with Gunner and puts over Gunner's military experience. He says that's the reason he picked Gunner to join him. Gunner says they have a brotherhood and they would win the tag team championship on Sunday.
Hulk Hogan asks Brooke about what happened with Bully last week. He says he saw the look in her eyes and she was clearly freaked out. Brooke says she knows Bully is full of it but it's still hard for her to hear it and she needed Hulk to understand that.
She admits she is having a hard time concentrating on running the Knockouts division with Bully around. Hogan says Sting told him he needed one shot and he has it on Sunday.
Hulk was in ramble mode again. Brooke was passable but not as good as she has been of late. She's been borderline believable which is more than has been expected.
Match #3 - Bad Influence, Bobby Roode and Austin Aries vs. James Storm, Gunner, Chavo Guerrero, and Hernandez
Gunner and Daniels kick it off. Gunner slams him around and Daniels runs off to tag out to Aries. Aries gets in the ring but tags right back out to Roode. Roode gets some shots in, but Gunner battles back then tags in Chavo. Chavo hits the Three Amigos spot and goes up to the top rope, but the heels knock him down.
The heels work over Chavo. Hernandez gets the hot tag and hits his shoulder tackle, then takes a big corner drop kick from Aries. Nice spot. Aries pulls him down and Hernandez tags Gunner. Gunner squashes Daniels, then makes him submit to the Torture Rack.
Overall a lukewarm teaser to the four-way tag title match on Sunday. That drop kick in the corner was a hot spot for sure. Notable is that James Storm was never tagged into this match.
Bully demands that all of the Aces bring him victims on Sunday, or any one of them, even Devon, could end up like D'Lo.
Mickie James is heading to the ring.
We get a video package that announces Bound for Glory to take place in San Diego, CA on October 20. We then get a recap of Mickie James winning the Knockouts Championship last week.
Mickie comes out and gets a good reaction. She says it feels good to be the champion and she puts over the release of her first album as well as winning the title.
She admits there is some concern over how she won the title, and she wants to address it. She asks Velvet to come out to the ring, and she does. Velvet's leg is wrapped up and she's dressed in street clothes, with high heels. Mickie says she wants to clear the air and says she went to Velvet and asked if she wanted to postpone the match. Velvet refused, so it didn't work out but fair. She asks everyone to applaud for the champion that was.
Velvet says she appreciates the support, but she wants a rematch. Mickie agrees to grant the rematch after Velvet's knee heals. Velvet doesn't want to wait though and asks for the match at Slammiversary. Mickie says there's already a Knockouts match booked, so maybe that rematch will happen after Slammiversary.
Gail Kim's music hits and she comes out. She puts herself over as the last Knockout standing at Slammiversary, and will then be coming for Mickie's title. Velvet interjects and says she gets the first crack at Mickie. Kim attacks and tries to drag Velvet to the ring post again, and Mickie just watches on. Taryn Terrell runs out and runs off Kim.
A good talking segment. Mickie is maybe going a little too far, but it was sound and a good direction. Kim coming out kind of gummed up the works though.
Match #4 - Kenny King and Gail Kim vs. Chris Sabin and Taryn Terrell
The women start it off, with Terrell hitting Kim with a cross body. Kim tags out and Sabin comes in to fight King. Sabin hits an arm drag. King battles back from that and toys with Sabin, while teasing Taryn.
Kim keeps interfering in the match, which allows King to cheat to keep the advantage as the action progresses. In the end, Taryn hits Kim with a spear to take her out, then Sabin hits King with his finish to get the win.
Afterward, Sabin cuts a promo and talks about winning the X-Division Championship on Sunday. King attacks him from behind, and then Suicide hits the ring to hit his gut buster on King. He grabs the title, and he and Sabin have a staredown.
Suicide running in was a nice touch to this situation. Otherwise, all it really did was get all the competitors in these matches on TV prior to Sunday.
We get a video recap of all the different guys that Sting has defeated to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
The announcers run down the Slammiversary card for Sunday. There is an obvious mistake in the six man match, with Anderson being shown in place of DOC.
Be sure to join us Sunday evening for all the Slammiversary action as we bring you live results throughout the night, starting at 8PM EST.
Match #5 - Anderson vs. AJ Styles
Anderson comes out alone, and attacks AJ before he can even get his jacket off. Both guys trade early shots. Styles takes Anderson to the outside then htis a baseball slide kick as we go to commercial.
Out of break, Anderson hits a DDT on the apron to take control. He throws Styles back in the ring and hits a back drop that only nets a one count.
Styles gets a flurry of offense in. He hits a sick clothesline, but Anderson comes back with a rolling fireman's carry. Anderson tries the Mic Check, but Styles blocks it. He ties up Anderson in the Tree of Woe. Styles hits a drop kick. Kurt Angle shows up to cause the non-finish.
Aces runs out, and Magnus, Park, Sting, and Samoa Joe give chase. Angle and Styles battle separately to the back. The Aces gang teams up on the rest of the TNA guys and takes them out. Sting and Bully fight and Sting gets the better of it, locking Ray in the Scorpion Death Lock. Devon attacks Sting from behind to break it up, then he and Ray hit the 3D on Sting. The gang poses over Sting to close out the show.
I think we all knew this main event was going to have a non-finish to it. Even the live crowd was dead to the end result so they even suspected it was coming. It was a good final image though. Traditionally speaking, in this case you would assume Sting to be the one to get the upper hand here on Sunday now, so this creates a nice sense of "swerve" if Sting were to lose (which I assume will be the case).
This show didn't sell any more pay per view events from my point of view. However, the show was solid and they hit the points they needed to hit. Call it a sense of "safe storytelling" from TNA's view, which isn't a bad thing for them.
The one thing I really hope we see TNA do going forward toward Bound for Glory is take a few chances. They have the time to work through some of those things and it could pay off well if done properly.
Join me on Sunday evening for live results and reaction to the Slammiversary pay per view event. We'll then be back next Thursday with live iMPACT coverage for all the fallout. Thanks for watching along tonight.