Last week, Bully came out to gloat that in fact he may have retired The Icon, Sting after their match at Slammiversary. Sting teased that he wasn't happy with the TNA roster for not helping him when the entire Aces faction attacked also. What does Sting have in mind - is he done, or is something else going to happen?
The Bound for Glory Series is getting underway and we'll soon know the twelve men that will contend to have their shot at Bully's World Heavyweight Championship. Who will make their mark in the opening weeks?
Show Open, taped 6/6 in Duluth, GA
We get an opening video package that hypes up the BFG Series selections and recaps last week's show ending.
The show opens "cold" with Hulk's music as Taz and Tenay check in. Hogan cuts a promo, calling it "an act of God" that he didn't chop Bully down with the edge of his hand last week. Wow. He talks about how things have gotten so twisted he made Brooke stay home this week.
Hogan moves to talking about the Bound for Glory Series, and says three men have automatically qualified. Because he won the series last year, Hulk makes Jeff Hardy the fourth man. Hardy comes out to the ring and begins to cut a promo. Bobby Roode cuts him off though, coming out and saying he's the other man who was automatically entered.
Hogan stops this, and says the fans get to decide who gets to use the first call out on Open Fight Night next week. Roode mocks Hogan for this and says he hopes everyone votes for him. He plans to call Hardy out and kick his ass. Jeff tells Roode to try and kick his ass now.
Cue Aces and Eights. The entire gang comes out. Bully asks why the men in the ring are fighting amongst themselves. He demands to know why there isn't anyone from Aces in the series. Hogan tells Ray he will give them one spot to be decided in a battle royale among Aces.
Bully says whoever is in the series is considered a target, and that makes Hardy and Roode targets now. He sics Bischoff and Brisco on them, but Roode and Hardy fight them off. After they're cleared, Roode clips Hardy and leaves him laying.
That was just all kinds of strange. Ray delivered a good promo but he felt like he was "out of order" with his points. Then Hogan grants a spot to Aces in the series, then all of the sudden everyone is a target. Bischoff and Brisco attacking was completely weak too.
Bad Influence is talking, and they crack on Storm and Gunner. They say they will win their tag match, and one will go on to the Bound for Glory Series and become the new World Heavyweight Champion.
Match #1 - Bad Influence vs. Gunner and James Storm; Bound for Glory Series Qualifying Match
Things break down really fast in this one. Bad Influence dumps Gunner out to the floor. They try a double clothesline on Storm, but he ducks and counters with a backstabber to Daniels. Daniels ends up out on the floor. Kaz gets Closing Time.
Storm plays up to the fans and cues up Last Call. Daniels hits Storm with the title belt, and Kaz uses a roll up to get the win.
So, Bad Influence and Hernandez are in the Series. Chavo isn't teaming with Hernandez at the moment. So, who are the tag champs going to feud with?
HerveyCam catches up with the long-gone Crimson. He gets asked why he's there. Crimson asks when we last saw him, and answers his own question with "12 months." He says he's not going to say why he's there and walks away.
Not overjoyed to see Crimson back, but there are reports of people having seen him on the indie circuit and saying he's improved. So, let's see how it goes.
We get a shot of Velvet Sky, and she has an envelope. She calls it a surprise for Mickie James, and it's also good news.
Crimson comes to the ring. He cuts a promo about how he went undefeated for 470 days, but the one loss he suffered sent him home for 12 months. He says the numbers consumed him. Now, he has an opportunity to qualify for the Bound for Glory Series. He calls out Joseph Park to "dance with the devil's own."
Match #2 - Joseph Park vs. Crimson; Bound for Glory Series Qualifying Match
Crimson dominates the early going, squashing Park all over the place. He hits a spinebuster and backs off to the corner. He waits for a long time while Park stands up. Crimson charges, but Park moves out of the way. He rolls Crimson up to get the win. He gets out of the ring fast.
A really poor reintroduction to Crimson, regardless if this is setting up a future program of some sort.
Mickie James finishes dolling herself up with makeup. She says it's sweet that Velvet has something for her. She asks the mirror if she's ready, and walks off.
Velvet Sky comes out, envelope in hand. She talks about how her friendship is now up i the air ever since Mickie won the title. She says she has the solution to the problem in the envelope. She asks for Mickie to come out, and she does.
Mickie thanks Velvet in her "over the top" way. Velvet takes the paper out and hands it to Mickie. She explains that it's medical clearance from her doctor, and she wants her rematch for the title. Mickie says this might be a "faked" document, but Velvet insists it isn't. Mickie says that Velvet was cleared yesterday, but her knee is still hurt today.
Mickie kicks Velvet in the bad knee and basically completes her heel turn. She assaults the bad leg, then locks her in the STF and twists herself back as opposed to laying across Velvet's back. Velvet taps, but Mickie holds on until officials come out to break things up.
Decent segment. Mickie's turn isn't shocking, but perhaps surprising. She's been in between characters for a few weeks, so this was more of a cementing of the change of direction.
Matt Morgan is angry, and he cuts a promo about having to qualify for the Bound for Glory Series. He calls this yet another Hogan mistake.
Match #3 - Kenny King vs. Magnus vs. Rob Terry vs. Matt Morgan; Fatal Four Way Bound for Glory Series Qualifying Match
This is a fatal four way, but people tag in and out. OK. Morgan starts with King. King tags out immediately to Terry. Terry and Morgan slam into each other, then Morgan backs Terry to the corner and chokes him with his foot. King tags himself in on Morgan and works for a bit. As Terry starts to recover, King tags back out to Morgan.
King tags back in again, and this time gets tossed up in the air by Terry. Magnus tags in on Terry, and he takes everyone else out. He hits a top rope elbow on King, but Morgan saves the matchup.
We go through the "everyone hit a finisher" sequence. Morgan goes after Magnus, but Magnus pulls the rope down. Morgan goes crashing to the outside. Magnus hits a driver on King to grab the spot in the BFG Series.
A weird mix of talents, as King didn't seem to fit in the mix. That said, Magnus was the right guy to win this match. However, I really wish they'd have found a way to get Morgan in too.
Eric Young is talking to HerveyCam. He hypes up the reality show he's in and turns his attention to Austin Aries. He says he is going to bet him about getting into the Bound for Glory Series. He then says he's nervous and heads to a stall to throw up.
We get a recap video of Rampage Jackson's debut last week. We get a shot of him putting his chain around his neck.
We get a recap video of Bully Ray getting the win over Sting at Slammiversary.
Sting comes out to a big pop. He says it's good to be back in Atlanta. He then says that last year he was the first man inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame and says he would never forget that moment. He says that one year later, he was given a final chance to wrestle for the championship and he failed. He says Bully Ray sent wave after wave after wave until his strength gave out. Bully Ray ended up winning.
He says that the other thing he won't forget is that while this was all going on, no one came out to his rescue. He says that Aces and Eights works like a well oiled machine, like a family. He repeats "family" over and over and says he needs to make his own family. Better yet, a mafia.
Sting announces that there is going to be a new version of the Main Event Mafia. It will soon rise, and Aces and Eights will fall.
UGH! The only way this works is if Sting assembles a group of young talents to help get them over. Anything less, and it's a colossal failure.
Match #4 - Eric Young (w/ODB) vs. Austin Aries; Bound for Glory Series Qualifying Match
Eric Young gets an entrance, and they show ODB making an appearance on his reality program. Austin Aries comes out without Bobby Roode.
Pretty much just trademark Eric Young comedy work. Aries hits him with the brainbuster to get the win.
Meh. Not much to discuss here.
Bully tells DOC to get in the game. He says he's not going to let Hogan get to the group. He says they get one spot in the BFG Series, and it's Anderson's. He asks if everyone agrees, and they all say 'aye'. DOC hesitates, but he finally says 'aye." They all toast to it. Most of the gang leaves, but Devon keeps his eye on DOC, who isn't looking too thrilled.
TNA has either been dragging things out too long or rushing. I feel like they're rushing this one. Is this the right time to start picking away at the faction? Hard to tell - let's let it play out.
We get a pre-taped promo from Chris Sabin, where he debates trading in the X-Division Championship to get a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship.
Match #5 - Aces and Eights Battle Royale as their Bound for Glory Series Qualifying Match
Six man battle royale here. They square off, then Anderson shoots Wes with a finger gun. Wes falls out of the ring. Anderson keeps going with the silly eliminations, getting rid of everyone but DOC. He tells DOC to jump, but DOC stalls. Eventually, DOC does climb over, but changes his mind and gets back in the ring.
Anderson jaws at DOC for a moment, then pokes him in the chest. DOC has had enough and he throws a punch. Anderson and DOC brawl, then Anderson hits him with a knee lift and disposes of DOC to get his win.
Afterward, the gang storms out to the back as Taz tries to sell it as "no big deal, and just a misunderstanding."
I was expecting DOC to knock Anderson out and then eliminate himself.
Rampage confronts Angle, and he asks what he meant when he says "when (Rampage) is ready." Angle tells him he only meant that Rampage would have to train, just as if Angle went to Bellator and he'd have to train to be great. Rampage seemingly accepts that explanation and tells Angle he will be watching.
Eh, that wasn't as good as their exchange last week. I prefer them to take the "baddest man in the sport" gimmick instead.
Aces is freaking out amongst themselves. They all yell at DOC. DOC says that he was just trying to step up, but Bully interjects. He says Hogan is pulling their own tricks on them, and that's not acceptable. DOC apologizes and says he wants to take Styles out for hitting him with the hammer. Ray tells him to get it done.
We get hype from the announcers about the return of the Main Event Mafia, and the voting for next week's Open Fight Night challenge between Jeff Hardy and Bobby Roode.
Match #6 - Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles; Bound for Glory Series Qualifying Match
Styles gets a good hometown pop when he makes his entrance. He takes control early in this one with a drop kick, followed by a backbreaker. They show Rampage Jackson watching on from one of the control rooms in the back.
Out of commercial, Angle hits a belly to belly suplex on the floor. He hits a back breaker in the ring, only to have AJ come back with a flurry of strikes. Both men sell after that exchange of offense. AJ hits the springboard forearm for a near fall that the crowd eats up.
Angle comes back with the triple German suplex spot. He teases the Angle Slam, but AJ counters that into a spinning DDT for a near fall. The fans chant 'this is awesome.' AJ misses a corner splash, and Angle follows with the Angle Slam for a near fall.
Angle drops the straps, and it's time for the Ankle Lock. AJ reverses into his "calf killer" hold, but Angle counters again. AJ runs Angle to the corner to get the break then goes up top. Angle runs up top with him and tosses AJ off, but AJ lands on his feet. He hits a DDT on Angle in the corner. Taz completely oversells that on commentary.
Aces and Eights runs out to attack AJ. He's up to the task though and takes them out. He ends up using a roll-up on Angle, who is distracted by all the commotion, to get the win.
Afterward, AJ splits. Aces attacks Angle. This draws out Rampage Jackson with his chain to make the save. He didn't actually attack anyone, just scared them off. He and Angle stand in the ring together to close the show.
This was a good match, but the match Angle and AJ had at Slammiversary was much better than this. I guess they had to get to AJ in the BFGS somehow, but this had to feel kinda crummy to the viewers who paid for Slammiversary to see the best match on that card two weeks later on free television.
Still seems that they're using Rampage in this "mutual respect" role. Not digging it myself. Right now he needs to train and get ready for his future opponent, which will most likely be Kurt Angle. I guess they felt they needed to utilize him in the tapings, but a "one-off" last week could have been enough.
Tonight's show was just "middlin'" - nothing great, but nothing completely terrible. They completely blew off their cliffhanger ending from last Thursday - but TNA has been dragging a lot of their storyline moves out lately. I'm glad they're taking time to tell stories better, but they need to make sure they're using their time wisely and not drag things out too long.
Join me next Thursday for more live iMPACT coverage here on Ring-Rap.com. Thanks for watching along tonight.