The Bound for Glory Series kicked off last week with several matches. Tonight on iMPACT, we get more opening bouts between the twelve men in the Series.
The X-Division Title will be on the line tonight. Hulk Hogan says this will determine who gets the shot at Bully Ray on the "Destination X" themed iMPACT to come. Rumors are flying about a major twist - TNA even revealed a video. What happens?
Show Open, taped in Peoria, IL on 6/20/2013:
We get a recap video package to open up.
Sting makes an entrance to the music used for the Main Event Mafia. Sting introduces Kurt Angle, who comes out to the same music. Taz shits all over it on commentary.
Angle cuts his promo, saying the old MEM used to do what they wanted to and fought who they wanted to. That's what Aces and Eights does now. He says the family was getting back together for two reasons - end the Aces and Eights and make sure Bully Ray loses the title. Angle says the newest member will be revealed on tonight's show.
Way to dampen the show right at the start. I just can't give a damn about the recreation of the MEM. I can't believe they went back to this.
We get some hype for the X-Division title match that kicks off the show, and recap Sabin's title victory.
DOC grabs Chris Sabin and drags him to an open truck. Anderson is there to help hold him down. Bully shows up and tells Sabin to relax, and he wishes him luck tonight then does the right thing. He says the right thing is to not cash in the title shot. He tells the boys to let him go, and Anderson pinches his cheek before they do. Sabin grabs his title belt and storms off.
This was logical, and it was actually well-worked out. Everyone did their part here very well.
They show us a shot of "Big O" Adam Ohringer getting ready backstage. It's followed by a video package hyping how he got there.
Match #1 - Chris Sabin (c) vs. Kenny King vs. Suicide; TNA X-Division Championship
Lots of fast action in the early going. All three fly around the ring, with Sabin getting the best of the situation in the fast start going into commercial.
Back from break, Sabin nails a Tree of Woe combination drop kick on both opponents. King follows up by hitting a Tower of Doom spot on Sabin and Suicide. Sabin takes a powder while King and Suicide battle.
King sets up his finisher, but Suicide counters by sliding out and rolling King up. He uses the ropes for leverage, which the official doesn't see, to get the win.
After the match, Hulk comes out with a guy that is selling a beatdown. Hogan introduces him as TJ Perkins, who is the guy who has "always" been Suicide. Hogan wants to know who is under the mask. Whoever is Suicide in the ring scampers out through the crowd.
There's a lot of holes in the logic here. As for the match itself, it was fine but the fans tried hyping it up to be more than that. The person in the mask is definitely a heel by using the tactics he used.
In the end, the official is out of position, given the position of the official King should have been in the ropes, and the official counted anyhow. This is a mess, and I feel for Sabin who really should have the shot.
We get a hype video for the other Gut Check contestant, Ryan Howe.
Match #2 - Ryan Howe vs. "Big O" Adam Ohriner
Howe comes out playing air guitar. Taz quips that he's glad to see the return of Van Hammer.
Big O turns Howe inside out with a clothesline. He sets Howe up in the corner, but misses the splash that followed. Howe begins a comeback, but Big O hits his powerslam finisher to get the win.
I laughed at the Van Hammer reference - I didn't see that one coming. The match was just kind of there. Neither guy really seemed to impress but I'm suspecting Big O gets the contract.
Sting and Angle walk up to a door. Sting tells Angle they're definitely going to be better this time around.
Tenay runs down the Bound for Glory Series standings, then gives some hype for the two BFGS series matches that will take place tonight.
Bully confronts TJ Perkins in the locker room. He tells TJ to calm down and tells him he likes him and thinks he's a "good little wrestler." He asks TJ if Angle and Sting had put him up to the earlier situation. Perkins says no, and Ray repeats the question. Perkins says he had no idea what happened. He goes to leave but Ray grabs him, stares, then lets him leave.
Bully continues to be the best thing going in TNA. This really did wonders for focusing on the title as well. There was mention of the Mafia but there's no getting around it at this point.
Bottom line - Ray is doing well tonight, the rest of the show is sucking.
We get a recap of the story between Mickie James and Velvet Sky.
Match #3 - Mickie James (c) vs. Velvet Sky; TNA Knockouts Championship
Mickie comes out and cuts a promo. She says she hates that the title came between her and Velvet, but she still cares. She wants to give Velvet a chance to not get hurt and tells Velvet to not be the "$3 pack mule" she is. Velvet attacks and the fight is on.
Velvet beats on Mickie until ODB breaks them up. They work that game a couple more times, then Mickie rolls out to the floor for a break. Velvet tries to grab her, but Mickie goes after the bad leg and slams it on the apron.
Mickie stays on the offense, working the leg. Velvet finally kicks her away and Micke rolls out to the floor. Velvet follows and hits a spinning head scissor. She throws Mickie back in, but Mickie kicks the rope as Velvet gets in the ring. Mickie hits a DDT for two.
Velvet tries to mount a comeback, but Mickie hooks her in a modified STF to get the submission win.
After the match, Christy Hemme asks Velvet about the match. Velvet cries, says she's heartbroken, and walks off sobbing.
Velvet is getting better in the ring, but she still just looks lost at times like tonight. The Gail/Taryn story is the definite hot angle in the Knockouts right now. Mickie's heel turn to this point hasn't been the best story.
We get a recap of "Suicide" winning earlier, and what Hogan had to say about it.
Sting and Angle walk up to Bobby Roode backstage. The men exchange looks, but not words.
Hulk confronts the official from the X-Division match. He asks if he saw something in how Suicide worked the match that might tip off who the imposter was. The referee says he didn't. Hogan tells him to go find Suicide and tell him he either unmasks or he will be stripped of the title.
Match #4 - Magnus vs. Bobby Roode; Bound for Glory Series Match
Things start out fast, but Roode is able to hit a bottom rope slingshot. He focuses his offense on Magnus' neck. Magnus is able to fight back and hits an elbow off the top. Roode bounces right back with a spinebuster.
Roode tries to finish it off with a fisherman's suplex, but Magnus is able to hit a Michinoku Driver to get the win and seven points.
It's still early in the Series, so the matches still feel sort of "lukewarm" in their importance that way. It was fine otherwise.
We get a shot of Storm and Gunner walking backstage, tag belts in hand. Tenay says they have some words to share next.
Aces and Eights storms a locker room where Jesse, Robbie E and Chavo are at. They demand to know if either of the three had anything to do with the Suicide angle early in the show. They all deny it, and Ray warns them that if it was any of them, it would be career suicide. He tells Jesse to lay off the carbs as they exit.
James Storm and Gunner come to the ring. Storm cuts a promo about being the tag team champions with Gunner that sort of rambles. Jesse, Tara, and Robbie E. interrupt. Robbie gets on the mic and asks if they really thought they were that tough. He says that Storm and Gunner are looking at the toughest guys in the locker room. Taz chimes in with "and Robbie's there too...". Ouch!
Robbie says he can't believe Storm didn't pick him but "that train has sailed down the road." He puts himself and Jesse over as the future. He refers to the team as something that sounds like "bromance" but when Storm questions it, they go nuts. They re-enunciate it as "Bro-Mans".
Jesse hypes up that they have "a hot chick" with them in Tara. Storm calls her a "butter-face" which gets the crowd going. Jesse goes to attack Storm but Gunner knocks him out in a weird spot. Storm says "Sorry, about your damn luck." and they play to the crowd.
The unnecessary line about carbs aside, the Aces thing was fine. The rest of this segment, well, I'm not sure what it was supposed to accomplish. Jesse looks like an idiot, and Robbie E. is getting stale in his comedic bit.
HerveyCam catches up to Sting and Angle backstage and asks about the Suicide angle. Sting says he thinks it's great, and Angle suggests going to talk to him.
Match #5 - Mr. Anderson vs. Samoa Joe; Bound for Glory Series Match
Joe pounds on Anderson to start, and things spill out of the ring. Anderson drives Joe into the ring apron then throws him in. Joe comes right back with his combination with the senton for two.
Aces comes out, and they tease getting involved. The distraction allows Anderson to hit a DDT for two. Joe comes back with a powerslam. Two Aces guys get on the ramp, but Sting and Angle run out for the save. Aces scatters.
Anderson tries to get the Mic Check, but Joe holds on to the ropes. He counters into the rear naked choke for the submission win and ten points.
Afterward, Sting and Angle get in the ring and they all hug. Joe makes the hand signs to show he is now with the MEM.
Again, a decent match but it feels like there's no buzz behind it. The finishing sequence was a bit weak here though. No surprise that Joe is added to the MEM. Not sure it does much for the story though.
Hogan is in the ring with Suicide, and he's asking to reveal who he is. Suicide refuses. Hogan goes to say something, but Bully Ray's music hits. He comes out and he says that he and Hogan are on the same page for once. Ray demands that Suicide reveal himself. Suicide refuses again.
Ray says it doesn't matter, and all that matters is what Suicide does with the X-Division title. Ray tells him he doesn't want any of Ray. He tells Suicide to tuck his tail and walk away. Hogan says he has had enough and demands Suicide take off the mask.
Suicide cuts a promo, complete with the voice fixing. He says Bully is always asking if everyone knew who he was, but the question really is, does Bully know who Suicide is. He says he should, because it's the guy who invented "Plan C". He takes the mask off and it's Austin Aries. He says he cashed in the X-Division championship before, and he'll do it again.
It made for a good payoff moment. The crowd popped for the reveal, and the whole thing played out very well in terms of execution. That said, I am not a fan of this angle at all.
In one swoop, they took the spotlight right off of Sabin, who is freshly back from injury and a fan favorite. They burned through a popular character by revealing that TJ Perkins works the character. And they're really created confusion in the Bound for Glory series, that Aries is participating in. These three things to me are bad reasons to have gone forward with this angle.
This wasn't a good edition of iMPACT for this viewer. No matter who is in the Main Event Mafia, I doubt there aren't too many who really care about it. The tag champions' segment with Robbie and Jesse was just weird and seemed pointless. The Knockouts match just didn't click with me either. We shall all find out together where things go, but the early start of the build to Bound for Glory isn't off to a promising start.
Join me next week for the Independence Day edition of the TNA iMPACT Reaction And Report here on Ring-Rap.com.