TNA goes live again tonight, following their big pay per view event Slammiversary XI. Bully Ray was able to successfully defend his TNA World Heavyweight Championship, eliminating Sting from contention forever. Gail Kim took a hard bump and lost her match against Taryn Terrell. James Storm and Gunner claimed the tag team championship. And Abyss returned to battle Devon, but is he the TV Champion?
Former UFC talent and new Bellator signee Rampage Jackson is slated to appear tonight too. All the fallout starts tonight, live.
Show Open, live from Duluth, GA
We get a recap video package highlighting the big Slammiversary moments.
Tenay and Taz open up the show while Bully Ray comes to the ring. Ray harasses Tenay before he gets in the ring. Ray puts over that Sting's luck at Slammiversary hasn't been good. He says last year Sting got jumped by Aces for the first time. He says Sunday night he "singlehandedly" defeated Sting and there are rumors that Sting will retire.
Ray says there are no heroes left in TNA, and he has beaten all of them. There is no more competition, and there's only one thing left and that is to induct Ray to the Hall of Fame. He demands Dixie come out, but Hulk's music hits. Hogan comes out, bandaged hand and all, and says that all of Aces beat Sting, but he would give the devil his due.
Hogan asks Ray if he really said there are no more opponents. Ray says that's right "dad." Hogan calls him a son of a bitch and they would spend the summer finding Ray's opponent for Bound for Glory. He adds that there will be someone who gets a shot tonight, and that's Jeff Hardy.
Hardy comes to the ring and Hogan tells Ray it won't be a title match, but it's going to be a ladder match with something special hanging above the ring. Hardy pulls out Bully's hammer, and Hogan says whoever gets to it first, gets to use it.
Vince Russo lives! Why in the world does TNA feel they have to gimmick stuff like this? How much sense does this even make?
We get a video hyping up the Bound for Glory Series kicking off next week.
Chavo and Hernandez discuss getting into the Bound for Glory Series. Hernandez thanks Chavo for all he has taught him, and offers a handshake. Chavo says "I taught you a lot, but not everything..." and walks away.
Too soon for this one. And it all felt very forced.
Match #1 - Chavo Guerrero vs. Hernandez; Bound for Glory Qualifying Match
The two make separate entrances, then shake hands as the match starts. Chavo tries to use his quickness to his advantage, but Hernandez is able to catch him every time. Finally, Chavo gets some traction with a kick to the head, then tries a frog splash, but Hernandez rolls his knees up. Hernandez tries the Border Toss, but Chavo slips out of it.
The finish comes when after some slow offense Hernandez is able to roll Chavo up.
If forced to pick one over the other here, I'd go Hernandez simply because Chavo feels stale to me, but truthfully this match was just bad and SuperMex can't wrestle.
Backstage, we get a shot of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson arriving and meeting some of the talent. They hype Rampage's appearance for the top of the second hour.
Devon comes to the ring and demands that everyone shut up. Then he demands that Abyss bring his TV Title back to him since it wasn't a sanctioned match. Joseph Park comes out instead. Park accuses Devon of screwing him out of his chance and attacks. He hits several shoulder tackles before Devon gets the better of him and knocks Park out of the ring.
Devon goes for a chair when Abyss' music hits. Devon waits in the ring. The music stops, but no Abyss. Devon says that since Abyss didn't want to show, he would come back and find him. He takes a shot at Park and heads backstage. Park is bleeding from the mouth. Park flakes out as he sees it, and the show goes to commercial.
I'm going to play wait and see with the split personality angle. Not a fan of it generally, but it could play out okay. The crowd really ate up the fact that Park dropped Devon - I don't think anyone expected that.
Devon and Knux are shown looking for Abyss backstage.
Robbie E comes out and he cuts a promo. He says he was the MVP of the 2012 Bound for Glory Series. He brags about beating Jeff Hardy, who won, and earned five points. He says once he wins the qualifiying match, he might win 10 points or more.
Match #2 - Samoa Joe vs. Robbie E; Bound for Glory Series Qualifier
This is over before it starts. Robbie gets two punches, that's it. Joe takes him out with the Rear Naked Choke.
During this one, Robbie took a chop to the back - which is allegedly even more painful than to the chest. Quick, painless match.
We get more Rampage Jackson hype, as well as the main event. They also air a video package hyping more on Kurt Angle's Hall of Fame induction.
This show is teetering on the edge of crash TV. It's flying.
We get a recap of Gail Kim attacking Velvet Sky last week, and the focus is on Mickie James not getting involved in the matter.
Mickie approaches Velvet Sky, and offers her a lottery ticket. Mickie apologizes for not helping Velvet last week and says she got shocked into inaction.
Velvet brushes it off with a "whatever" and asks for a title rematch. Mickie says she talked to Brooke Hogan and there will be a match, but it will be with someone that Velvet passed over while she was champion. Mickie tells Velvet when she's healthy, she will get her rematch. Velvet slaps the wall out of frustration.
TNA is doing the best job with their women. Head and shoulders above WWE even. They're actually telling stories it would seem.
They air the Kurt Angle Hall of Fame video package.
A well done package and good placement, but they can't over-use this or it will lose its luster. TNA needs to be sure to pick their moments on this.
JB introduces Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Jackson comes to the ring and says he started out as a wrestling fan. He adds that it's what he did until he fell in love with knocking people out (in MMA). He says he's excited to come to TNA and knows he wants to face the best.
Kurt Angle's music hits. He comes out and gets a mic. He says he knows Jackson has mastered the cage, but this is Kurt's ring. He says one day when Jackson is ready, he doesn't have to look far to find the best because Kurt Angle is the best there is. Angle offers a handshake, and Jackson obliges. Jackson pulls Angle in tight and they have a staredown before Angle leaves the ring.
I'm not sure how compelling this feud is, but it does make sense.
Backstage, Jeff Hardy says he and the creatures are excited for tonight's main event match with Bully Ray.
Anderson and Ray talk about D'Lo getting kicked out of the gang. Anderson says the VP slot is now open. Ray asks if Anderson has any ideas about filling the slot. He switches to complaining about having to face Jeff Hardy tonight and that no members of Aces and Eights have been invited to the Bound for Glory Series. Ray says he's going to fix that. Anderson asks if Ray wants help tonight. Ray says a good VP would know if he did or not and leaves. Anderson ponders if that makes him the VP.
Match #3 - Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, and Kenny King vs. James Storm, Gunner, and Chris Sabin
Sabin and King start the match off. Storm ends up being the guy selling for the heels. The fans start a "We Want Gunner" chant, and he gets the hot tag to a nice reaction. Gunner takes out all three heels and hits a slingshot suplex on King.
Things break down heading to the finish. Sabin somehow ends up being the legal man, and he hits his finisher on King to get the win.
I have no qualms with the match and the action was fine to showcase the new champions against the people they defeated at the pay per view. Just seems like they're in neutral with the next story for these guys though.
Mickie James is heading to the ring.
We get a recap of the Gail Kim/Taryn Terrell match at Slammiversary.
Elsewhere backstage, Brooke Hogan congratulates Taryn on her win. Taryn puts the match over and says she's looking forward to eventually challenge for the title. She asks Brooke about Bully and Brooke says she wants to keep things about wrestling. Taryn leaves and Brooke looks frustrated.
Match #4 - Mickie James vs. Taeler Hendrix
Mickie out first, then Taeler comes out to crickets. She does play to the crowd and gets a little bit of a reaction.
Hendrix gets some pin attempts and plays to the crowd. They finally wake up and get behind her, and Mickie applauds as well. Mickie ends up faking a knee injury so she can set up a surprise shot. She hits the Mick Kick to get the win.
Mickie sold this well, but the fans just weren't into Taeler just because she isn't seen on TV that much. Taeler hasn't been all that impressive but this was well done.
Outside the building, Knux and Devon are looking for Abyss. Devon goes around a corner and in the shadows you can see Abyss attacking Knux. Devon runs back around the corner and the title belt can be seen, then Knux rolls into view. Abyss attacks Devon and beats him down.
Hey, look, they finally found Abyss after two hours of looking...
We get a video package recapping Sting's loss at Slammiversary. They show a tweet from Sting that simply read "no one helped me, message received." The announcers hype up Sting appearing next week to address his future.
The announcers also hype up AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle in a Bound for Glory Series qualifier match, as well as James Storm and Gunner vs. Bad Influence in a BFGS qualifier as well.
We get a recap of the moment between Kurt Angle and Rampage Jackson prior to the main event.
Match #5 - Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray; "Hammer on a String Ladder Match"
Ray takes his sweet old time getting to the ring, so Hardy attacks him with a dive onto him on the floor. Hardy goes on a run of offense, then hits another dive. He grabs a ladder and sets it up, but Ray drags him back out to the floor by the leg.
Out of break, Bully works on Hardy and controls things. Hardy hits a DDT then a mule kick. He makes the first play for the hammer. Bully shoves the ladder over but Hardy jumps off. He kicks Ray and jumps over the ladder to land in the corner. He drives the ladder straight into Ray's nuts.
Hardy goes up the ladder again, and this time Ray shoves the ladder over and Hardy crashes on the ropes. Ray yells at Taz about his balls...I almost dropped the laptop laughing. Hardy comes back with a chinbuster and heads up again. Ray knocks Hardy off the ladder again, but Hardy comes back with Whisper in the Wind.
Hardy makes one more play, and this time Ray takes away the ladder. Hardy crashes and burns. He drags Hardy aside and goes up to claim the hammer. He goes to hit Hardy with the hammer, but Hardy kicks him and hits the Twist of Fate. Bully tosses up the hammer, and Hardy catches. He chases Bully, but Bully runs to the back. Hardy sells an injury and gets help to the back by the official.
This continues to the backstage area. Bully staggers and calls for the title belt. He sits down to collect himself, and Hulk sneaks up behind him with a hammer. He goes to hit Ray, but Brooke barges into the picture to yell at him to stop. The three of them exchange looks, and Ray eventually staggers away to end the show.
This was what it was, in terms of the match. They plant one more seed to a Brooke Hogan heel turn with the ending, and it made sense. I wish they'd not drag it out too long, but TNA is doing a good job of keeping viewers wondering. She could have been helping Ray, or she could have been keeping Hulk from "stooping to Aces level" here.
This wasn't a bad edition of iMPACT. The show really flew by quickly. I thought the main event stipulation was just dumb and a recall to their Russo booking years. The Knockouts continue to tell a good story, as does the Hogan situation at the moment. Rampage didn't do much, but they made a smart move to shadow a future story with Angle.
Join me next Thursday for more iMPACT coverage here on Ring-Rap.com.