We're in Las Vegas tonight. The Main Event Mafia has grown, and Aces and Eights is only slightly concerned. Will we see faction warfare tonight? And will Chris Sabin get a chance to regain the X-Division Championship after being scammed out of it last week by Austin Aries?
This is our post-show report for this week, because of the Independence Day Holiday here in the United States.
Show Open, At The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV
The show opens with the “Previously on iMPACT” video package. The highlights are on Sting and Angle promising to reveal another Mafia Member, the Suicide X-Division Fraud by Austin Aries, and Samoa Joe joining the Main Event Mafia.
Tenay and Taz check in on commentary. Austin Aries comes to the ring, flaunting the X-Division Championship. Tenay calls Aries a con-man but Taz defends him and asks Tenay to show some respect.
Aries cuts a promo. He says some love him and some hate him, but now everyone has to respect him. He recalls creating Option C and being the first man to cash in and win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
After his plan last week, Aries says “you bet your sweet ass” he will cash in the X-Division Championship and go after Bully Ray on July 18 and become the World Heavyweight Champion again. He calls out Hulk to make it official.
Hulk comes out to a rousing ovation. Aries says he wants to make it official. Hogan says he did it last year and he did it again. He created Option C among other things. He says Aries took it to a new high and a new low. Hogan says that no one has seen a sin like Aries committed last week. Hogan refers to the sin as gimmick infringement. Aries retorts with “I don’t infringe on other people’s gimmicks, brother.”
Hogan calls this a check and balance system and he decides when this will happen. Hogan says Option C happens at the end of the night tonight. Hogan sets up an X-Division triple threat main event for the X-Division championship. Hogan tells Aries he has two dark clouds coming at him, and calls out the renamed Suicide, who is now Manik. Manik confronts Aries, and Aries asks who he is. Hogan calls out Chris Sabin as “Sabin Mania”. Hogan says Sabin has a chance to right a wrong, and Manik has a chance to get even.
Sabin cuts a promo saying he was recovering a year ago and not even sure he would wrestle again. He calls Aries the Greatest Scam that Ever Lived. Sabin says he earned the X-Division championship and he adds that nothing will stop him from regaining the X Division Championship for the sixth time.
I don’t know that I’ll add too many comments tonight since I only saw an hour of this show live.
One thing I’ll say here is that I don’t understand putting Manik back under the hood, given that we know that Manik is played by TJ Perkins. That doesn’t make much sense. And they really just gave Suicide a new name and did very little with his look, which is also odd.
Taz and Tenay set up the night, with the Main Event Mafia making an appearance. They hype up the BFGS matches coming up tonight featuring Jeff Hardy vs. Joseph Park and AJ Styles vs. Kazarian.
HerveyCam is talking to Christopher Daniels. Daniels isn’t happy about this whole thing and the Cam asks for Kazarian to comment on his match with AJ Styles. Kazarian says that no one knows Styles better than they do and he will win tonight.
We get a shot of AJ walking backstage.
Tenay recaps the BFGS standings, with Magnus at the top of it.
Match #1 – Kazarian (w/Christopher Daniels) vs. AJ Styles; Bound for Glory Series Match
Kaz and Daniels come to the ring dressed like Siegfried and Roy…funny. Kazarian starts off in costume but that didn’t last too long. AJ lands a strike and the wig comes off.
In the end of this one, Styles locks on his “Calf Killer” submission to get the win.
The match was fine, but I’d liked to have seen them go longer. Kaz and Daniels are funny, but I guess the one issue I’d have with them coming out in costume tonight is that this is the Bound for Glory Series and I’d like to see it be taken seriously. Even if the announcers acted outraged, I would have been satisified.
Mickie James tells a crew member to get a ladder that she asked for. Tenay wonders what she’s talking about.
Chavo is shown with Hernandez. He pumps up SuperMex for his match later and tells him he will be in his corner.
Mickie James cuts a promo in the ring where her ladder is set up. She climbs up the ladder and says that in order to get to the top of the Knockouts Division you have to crawl, scratch, and claw your way. She puts over her accomplishments as a champion and national celebrity.
Mickie says that despite her success, she hears all the talk about the ladder match that will determine the new No. 1 contender. She tells Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell to break everything in the match because they won’t be as great as her.
Mickie says that no matter who wins the match, she will take their pretty face and slam it on every rung of the ladder as she knocks them down.
The announcers talk about how full of herself Mickie is, and hype the ladder match next week.
By far and away, Mickie James is the most entertaining female wrestler on TV. You can talk AJ all you want, but it’s not even close. And Mickie looks like she’s having fun.
We get a video package that recaps the Gut Check match from last week, with the judges doing their deliberations interspersed. Snow says he has to argue with Pritchard every time because he doesn’t like either man. Pritchard says he made his mind up in the first two minutes.
Backstage, Pritchard talks to the two men. He tells them they’ve made a decision and go with Ryan Howe over Adam Ohriner. Pritchard mocks and tells O to “get out of their ozone.”
Read my thoughts about TNA development in my Wentz’s Wonderings piece from this morning to know what I think of this segment.
Outside the Building:
Sting, Kurt Angle, and Samoa Joe are entering the building dressed in suits. Angle talks to the camera and says the numbers are growing. The fourth Mafia member will be unveiled to the world during tonight’s show.
Match #2 - Hernandez (w/Chavo Guerrero) vs. Jay Bradley; Bound For Glory Series match.
Tenay plugs Hardcore Justice 2 as a One Night Only pay per view event tomorrow night.
Hernandez hits his running shoulder tackle over the ropes. Bradley gets a short comeback, but Chavo distracts him by grabbing his leg. Hernandez hits a shoulder block to get the win.
I don’t think Hernandez knew Chavo did that.
Bully talks to the rest of Aces. Wes Brisco asks him about Brooke and Bully scolds him that it’s personal business. Wes presses the matter and talks about Brooke recently getting engaged. Bully firmly reminds him that’s personal business. DOC asks Ray who he wants to have win the X-Division title tonight. Anderson says he doesn’t think Ray cares, but Ray asks what would happen if no one won. They laugh.
Brooke’s real life engagement made some fairly mainstream news lines, so it’s good to see that it’s being addressed on TV.
The announcers hype up some of the upcoming matches.
Match #3 - James Storm and Gunner vs. "The BroMans" Robbie E and Jesse (w/Tara)
Gunner starts off but suffers some double teams. He fights his way back, and slaps himself in the face. He tags in Storm. They do a spot where they throw Jesse crotch-first into Robbie, and the live crowd reacted to that. Storm winds them up a bit after that.
Storm hits the Last Call on Robbie, who rolls out of the ring. Storm and Gunner team up for a suplex/backbreaker combo on Jesse to get the win.
A short, entertaining affair. With them working team spots, it makes them look like a real team rather than two singles stars. Gunner looks better too. Jesse and Robbie need an edge.
We get a shot of Sting, Angle, and Samoa Joe walking backstage.
Jeff Hardy talks about his match against Joseph Park. He doesn’t know much about him, but he knows Park’s brother Abyss. If he has any of that dark side, Hardy says he could be dangerous.
Kurt Angle and Sting head to the ring to that bad Mafia music. Angle gets a mic and proclaims the Mafia has returned and gets the fans fired up. Angle states the mission – to destroy Aces and Eights and make sure Bully Ray loses the title.
Sting talks about the original Mafia, and how it consisted of former World Champions. He says in those situations they don’t always have the best unity. He says that’s why things are different this time in who they picked. He announces a man who represents the foundation of change, Samoa Joe. Samoa Joe comes to the ring to a strong reaction and “Joe!” chants.
Joe says that the Mafia again runs Las Vegas. He says he’s been a man of his own volition but you need strength in numbers to defeat Aces and Eights. He says he will plow through every wrestler they put in his way until he earns his shot at Bully Ray and then chokes him out to win the TNA World Championship.
Angle says he picked Joe because of the great matches they had in the past. He calls Joe the baddest SOB he’s ever been in the ring with. Angle says Joe came to him with the idea of who the fourth man should be and he thought “damn, that’s a good idea.” Angle calls this man as one who many view as the future, but Angle sees him as the here and now.
They introduce Magnus as the fourth member. Magnus comes out to a nice reaction and dressed in a suit. He says he had to think about joining the group for a split second. He says when opportunity knocks, you have to answer the door.
Magnus talks about being at the top of the Bound for Glory Series, and he puts over each man in the group. Sting gets the mic and talks about the main event. He says that Aces has threatened to cause a no-finish, but the Mafia will see to it that the fans will see a winner tonight.
This is where I picked the show up live. I have to admit, I had zero excitement about the Mafia returning. And the men Sting is picking did not come out to help him when Aces interfered in the Slammiversary match. That said, the picks are good and the live crowds like it. I like the addition of Magnus, as it makes him look like more of a star. So far, so good.
We get an ad for the Destination X themed edition on July 18.
They show us the leaderboard of the Bound for Glory Series. We’re set for the next match.
Match # 4 - Jeff Hardy vs. Joseph Park; Bound For Glory Series match
The two shake hands to start. Hardy controls the early going. He teases a Swanton a couple minutes in but Park rolls away. Park throws Hardy into the turnbuckle a couple times.
Later on, Park hits a Samoan drop and hits a second rope splash for two. Hardy hits Park with an elbow and hits Whisper in the Wind. Park discovers a bloody lip, and he transforms to Abyss mode. He hits the official with the Black Hole Slam in his rage, and the match is thrown out. Hardy asks Park what he’s thinking as Park snaps to and acts like he doesn’t know what he did.
When they needed the leaderboard, they didn’t show it. Tenay tried, but the leaderboard graphic should just be automatic. The match was fun though and it worked despite my thoughts of it being terrible on paper.
We get a shot of Ryan Howe backstage, and the Gut Check Judging segment is next.
Tenay offers some hype to the upcoming live events.
Gut Check Judging Segment:
JB introduces the judges, who are in the ring. Davis and Pritchard got booed.
Ryan Howe comes to the ring with his guitar. Taz makes some lame Van Hammer references. JB asks Howe if we saw his best last week and Howe emphatically says we did. Snow gets on the mic and talks about Howe’s improvement. Snow talks about Howe’s musical ability and questions why he would want to wrestle. Snow says despite everything, he has to say no.
Howe gets his kickout promo. The fans boo him throughout it. Davis says his mind was made up but the fan reaction changed his mind. Davis says the fans didn’t let Howe take his mind off of what he was saying, despite the fact they were booing him out of the building. Davis admits he has potential and says yes. Pritchard makes some comments but comes back to his answer being no.
Howe was doomed with the guitar gimmick. I wouldn’t exactly miss these segments – but Al Snow was stylin’ tonight in that jacket.
DOC tells Ray that he has his back against the Mafia. Anderson steps in and accuses DOC of politicking for the Vice President slot. Ray interrupts and says if they both worried more about taking out the Mafia as they do stabbing each other in the back, the Mafia would be taken out. He says it’s time to go raise a little hell.
We get a shot of the three X-Division competitors going into commercial.
Aces and Eights comes out to the ringside area.
Tenay sets up a video package to hype Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell in a ladder match next week. They use clips from the Slammiversary match the two had.
Christy Hemme, who needs a seamstress tonight by the way, handles the introductions for this match.
Match #5 - Austin Aries (c) vs. Chris Sabin vs. Manik; X Division Championship
Sabin and Manik take it to Aries to start off. Aces and Eights just watches on from the aisle at ringside. Things break down into every man for himself. Sabin and Manik work against each other rather than teaming on Aries.
Manik catches himself in the ropes. He lets go and falls to the mat when Sabin charges and he ends up going through the ropes. Ray asks who the Aces are rooting for. Manik sells while Aries and Sabin work in the ring. Ray claps along with the fans.
Aries tries the Brainbuster out on the ramp. Sabin blocks it and slams Aries on the ramp. Aces now gets involved at ringside. Manik sets up for a move, but DOC trips him, then slams him down with a powerbomb. Aces surrounds the ring while Aries and Sabin keep working. Here comes the MEM to even the sides going into commercial.
After commercial, we get a shot of Manik being taken to the back on a stretcher. Sting stands on the apron and the rest of the Mafia stand at ringside. Aces has returned to their slot in the aisleway at ringside.
Sabin throws some chops then stands on Aries in the corner. Sabin kicks Aries and follows with a drop kick to a kneeling Aries. That gets him two. Aries targets one of Sabin’s knees. He hits a missile drop kick and a corner drop kick in succession. Sabin counters a move with an inside cradle for two.
Aries recovers and hits a brainbuster. Taz sells it like the match is over but Sabin kicks out on two in a good near fall. The crowd chants “this is awesome” and it doesn’t catch a ton of momentum. Aries puts Sabin down, and tries a 450 but he air mails it. Sabin hits a powerbomb for two.
Sabin follows up with Hail Sabin for a good near fall. A “TNA” chant gets going that gets some more momentum. Sabin goes for the finisher again but Aries counters to a pin attempt for a good near fall. A bit later, Aries hits a drop kick in the corner then puts Sabin up top. Sabin counters and hits Hail Sabin off the ropes and gets the cover to win the title.
Afterward, Ray jaws at Sabin, saying he can’t beat him. Sabin shakes hands with the Mafia and they exit except for Kurt Angle. Sabin gets a mic and tells Bully he might be looking at the next World Heavyweight Champion. Tenay gives some hype to Bully vs. Sabin on July 18 at the Destination X themed iMPACT.
Once this went to a one-on-one match, it really got good. It was good throughout, however. They really need to give up on the all three way match format in the X-Division. It’s good once in a while, but it wears out when seen all the time. I think they’re depriving the viewers of some good one-on-one matches in the process.
They didn’t phone it in tonight, given the holiday here in the US. We got some newsworthy things that happened, with the X-Division Title change, a new Mafia member revealed, and the latest in the Bound for Glory Series. I don’t know who all saw it, but it’s worth checking out, especially the main event.
Join us next Thursday for more iMPACT Coverage.