Tonight, TNA crowns a new X-Division Champion. Three men - Manik, Greg Marasciulo, and Sonjay Dutt will compete in Ultimate X to determine a new champion.
Speaking of new champions, Chris Sabin took the TNA World Heavyweight Championship from Bully Ray last Thursday. Sabin makes his debut as champion tonight. How will Bully respond? How will Sabin handle the newfound pressure of being the champ?
Show Open, taped in Louisville, KY on 7/18/2013
We get a video recap from last week's show.
The Main Event Mafia comes out as Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash check in. Sting starts off the promo by saying that last night was his best night ever since Chris Sabin beat Bully Ray. Kurt Angle continues and says Aces and Eights will get back tenfold that which they dished out, but tonight is about celebrating Ray's title loss. He introduces Chris Sabin.
Sabin comes out. He thanks the Mafia for protecting him last week and says he can't believe he's the champion. He promises to be a fighting champion. He challenges the winner of the X-Division Title match later to a champion vs. champion match.
Bully Ray comes out, and he has a suit with him. He introduces the man as his attorney. The attorney says they're going to file an injunction due to pain and suffering that Ray has experienced. The lawyer threatens Sabin by saying they can avoid any trouble if Sabin returns the belt to Ray. He tells them that they have until the end of the show to return the belt in order to not get crushed.
I'm not a fan of how much credit Sabin gave to the Mafia, and how much credit the Mafia took, for the title win. That said, the segment was decent.
We get a video package that hypes up the Ultimate X match as well as Greg Marasciulo.
As I mentioned last week, Greg is the former Trent Barretta. That is much easier to spell, so if you catch me referring to him as such, it's the same person.
We get a hype package for TJ Perkins that tells his story. He's talking without the Manik mask on, and he says that Manik is his alter ego. No hype for Sonjay Dutt though.
Man, we're really dropping the ball with the Manik/TJ Perkins thing. That makes...not much sense...
Match #1 - Sonjay Dutt vs. Manik vs. Greg Marasciulo; Ultimate X Match for the X-Division Championship
The guys are flying everywhere as this one gets underway. JB hypes up Dixie Carter on Twitter, and he might wish he has that back after this week.
Cheap Plug: There's gonna be a blog on the TNA turmoil sometime tonight or tomorrow - be looking for it.
Dutt hits a nice Flatliner/DDT combination on his two opponents. Manik fights his way back into it and hits a nice drop kick on the other two men as we head to commercial.
Out of break, Greg hits his finisher on Manik out on the ramp. He sells a leg injury though. A disjointed “this is awesome” chant tries to start. Greg goes up the ropes limping and climbs on the cables. Dutt yanks him down and they scrum. Manik lays on the ramp while the other two fight and eventually end up on top of the structure.
The two work out to the middle of the X and Greg tries for a suplex. Dutt tries to counter but Greg falls through the structure to the cables. Manik finally recovers and goes up to the cable. He gets to the middle and hooks himself with his legs. Greg tries to kick him away, but Manik holds on and pushes him to the mat. Manik unhooks the belt and picks up the win.
That was fairly tame with only a couple big spots. It wasn’t memorable, but they worked safe and smart. Manik is the right guy to put the strap on here, even with the stupid “alter ego” part of his mask gimmick.
Anderson and Ray talk, and the conversation is centered around Hogan squirming. Ray tells Anderson he’s thrilled that Anderson is the VP and thinks he’s the right choice. Ray tells him that Anderson winning the Bound for Glory Series is of utmost importance and tells him to take care of business tonight.
Match #2 - Hernandez vs. Mr. Anderson; Bound for Glory Series Match
Early, Anderson teases copying Hernandez's flying shoulder tackle from the ropes, but he instead pops Hernandez in the mouth. That was a fun spot.
As things progress, Hernandez hits his offensive spots. He sets up his shoulder tackle from the ramp, but Anderson ducks him. Super Mex crashes and burns, which allows Anderson to set up and hit the Mic Check to get the win.
Meh. That match was just there. The supporting story of the Bound for Glory Series isn't really there either with Magnus having such a big lead.
We get a recap video from the beginning of the show. HerveyCam catches up with Dixie Carter and asks about the attorney. She blows the question off and walks away with another woman.
Eric Young shows Joseph Park the video of him losing his mind during his match with Jeff Hardy. Young volunteers to help Park figure out what's going on since he is "basically a scientist now."
Velvet Sky comes to the ring. She admits that she made a mistake trusting Mickie James. She says she will be at ringside for the Knockouts match.
Match #3 - Mickie James (c) vs. Gail Kim; TNA Knockouts Championship
The two tie up, but it breaks down to a hair-pulling brawl. ODB breaks it up and grabs her chest. Both women end up working dirty tactics, and that leaves the fans not sure who to get behind. Mickie hits a spinning kick and Gail tumbles to the floor. Mickie goes out to get her, but Gail hits a hangman then tries for the figure four leg lock around the ring post. Mickie kicks her away.
Back inside, Mickie hits a flatliner then kips up. Kim recovers and tries a Black Widow submission, but Mickie gets to the ropes to break it. Kim hits a bridging powerbomb, and tries to use the ropes for additional leverage. ODB catches her so there's no count. Kim throws Mickie out to the floor and argues with ODB.
The finish comes when Gail slaps ODB. ODB walks away, but Mickie slides back in the ring to roll up Gail for the win.
Afterward, ODB confronts Gail. Brooke Hogan comes out and says she can't believe Gail decided to slap another referee. She reminds Gail that ODB is an active wrestler. ODB pulls off her referee shirt and challenges Gail, but Gail just storms away.
The match was fair. ODB and Gail makes some logical sense. For all her pre-match chatter, Velvet Sky was pretty much forgotten about.
We get a video recap of Sabin winning then go backstage. Hulk and Dixie are bickering about what to do with this situation. Hogan stands up for Sabin and wants him to keep the title. Dixie says that now that attorneys are involved, they don't have a choice. Hogan submits and the discussion turns to who will tell Sabin.
Not for nothing, I'll contact my attorney tomorrow in order to be the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. There's no choice once the lawyers are involved.
Match #4 - Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe; Bound for Glory Series Match
JB notes that Daniels has never beaten Joe in a one-on-one situation. This match ends up being pretty even in the early going. Joe catches Daniels out of mid air and slams him down to get an advantage. Joe tries the Muscle Buster, but Anderson runs out and causes a distraction. Daniels takes advantage by cutting Joe's legs out from under him. He hits a Best Moonsault Ever for two, then hits it again to get the win.
Nothing flashy, but with Joe and Daniels having so much history they were able to tell a story with it. Anderson's distraction to keep points even might be a good story too if they handle it correctly.
Sting and Kurt Angle talk about what's going on with Ray and his lawyer. Angle admits they failed to get rid of Aces and Eights. Sting tells him that they're still on track, and Angle agrees.
That was just completely random. Angle was especially all over the map.
Match #5 - AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy; Bound for Glory Series Match
Styles and Hardy make their entrances. Louisville is HOT for Jeff Hardy...
Things get off to a fast start, and they go to a break about a minute into the match. Out of break, AJ hits a drop kick through the ropes that sends Hardy into the table. He throws Hardy back in and Hardy mounts a flurry of offense, but AJ throws him back out.
Back in the ring, Hardy works through a sudden series of moves, and hits a powerbomb lift into a throw. AJ hits a drop kick to cut the momentum off. Hardy fights right back with a front slam, then a second rope splash for two. He follows with Whisper in the Wind for a near fall.
AJ hits the Pele as a counter to Twist of Fate. Tenay makes a comment about AJ pulling out old offense from his face days. Styles rolls Hardy through and locks on his calf-killer submission hold. Hardy teases tapping, and tries to reach the ropes, but eventually taps out. Hardy offers a handshake, but AJ walks off and gets some heat.
Having a top star in the company tap out like that definitely gives credibility to the hold. Not sure what the story was with talking about the "old" AJ in the match commentary though. Far too soon to make him a face again.
Bully comes to the ring. He says he has been a victim of injustice and chastises fans for congratulating Chris Sabin for winning the title the way he did. He questions who would use a hammer in a wrestling match like that. He says Sabin has no choice but to do the right thing and hand over the title.
Chris Sabin comes out. Bully says he won't say anything bad about Sabin, then immediately proceeds to insult him. He says he intimidates Sabin, so he should just turn the title belt over and leave. Sabin says he came out to see what a fat crybaby Bully is. He says the only way Ray will get the title back is to pry it from his cold dead hands.
Bully says he will sue to get the title back. He runs down Sabin for using the hammer, then demands Hogan come out and make the title return happen. Hogan indeed comes out, with a piece of paper in hand. Bully acts mad. Hogan says he and the lawyers looked over the contract and they made a decision to offer a counter, but there's no negotiation. He rips up the paper in his hands and says Sabin is keeping the championship.
Hogan reminds Ray he has a rematch clause, and he knows Ray wants to be sure the Main Event Mafia stays out. He stumbles around with it a bit and announces that Ray will get his rematch at the Hardcore Justice themed show on August 8 in a cage match. Ray looks shocked to close the program.
Well, I guess TNA wants us to forget that Bully WON the title in a cage match at Lockdown with the involvement of Aces and Eights inside the cage. Kind of dumb from that standpoint. But the match choice is a decent choice for that show.
We've had a lot of bad news of late within TNA, and I'm not sure if that's altered my view of this show tonight or not, but this show just didn't strike me as a good edition. I really have nothing to pick on specifically, but there didn't seem like there was any energy to it. Hardy vs. Styles was good and I would encourage you to look that up if you missed it. The talking segments fell kind of flat, which may also have given me that "flat" feeling to the overall show.
Join us next week for more iMPACT Coverage here on Ring-Rap.com. Thanks for watching along tonight.