Tonight, we bring you the fallout from Hardcore Justice. On Sunday night, Austin Aries was able to successfully defend his TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Bobby Roode. Three different men picked up 20 points in the Bound for Glory Series, shuffling the standings. What will happen this week?
We open with Austin Aries walking to the ring. He gloats about his win at Hardcore Justice and says he silenced his critics and erased all doubts. He turns his attention to Aces and Eights, saying he refuses to let the show be held hostage by them. He then vows to enter and leave Bound for Glory as the champion.
Jeff Hardy interrupts as he comes out to the ring. Hardy says he has been chasing the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for a year and he is going to win the Bound for Glory Series. They agree the match would be great if Hardy does indeed win the Series. Hardy is upset that the Aces and Eights cost him the match on Sunday, so Hardy calls him out.
Rather than Aces and Eights, Bully Ray comes out. Ray makes fun of Hardy, calling him stupid. Ray says that James Storm is behind Aces and Eights and Hardy agrees that Ray makes a few good points.
Ray says he will be the one to win the Bound for Glory Series and go on to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Aries takes exception and says that Ray is the one to be leading Aces and Eights. On the screen, Aces and Eights appears and their spokesman says that Aces and Eights is all about luck and commitment. He vows they will make an impact on the show tonight.
Ray jaws at Aries, and the show cuts to break.
I am shaking my head as to what they're doing to James Storm here. He was at one point the strongest babyface going, and they just keep undermining him with these accusations of being involved with Aces and Eights. He's not over enough to withstand that. Otherwise, good opener to set some hooks for the show tonight.
Magnus talks about how he's been scouting Samoa Joe for a long time and he's learned everything about him from their stint as a tag team. Magnus says he will get in Joe's head because he knows Joe the man.
Match #1 - Samoa Joe vs. Magnus; Bound for Glory Series Match
Joe controls the early going and is almost able to lock on an omoplata crossface hold. Magnus scrambles out to the floor to avoid it. Magnus hits Joe with a clothesline to take charge.
Joe battles back, setting up for the Muscle Buster. Magnus counters, but Joe hits a uranage and locks on the Rear Naked Choke. Magnus is able to counter out, but Joe rolls him up to get the win.
Afterward, Magnus goes after Joe with a chair.
I think these two just scratched the surface with what they can do in the ring. The match was all right but short. I think they could tell a good story if given time.
Madison Rayne gloats about winning the Knockouts Championship this past Sunday. Her gloating is cut short though when Brooke Hogan summons her to the ring.
In Ring Segment:
Madison Rayne comes to the ring. She says she thinks she's been summoned for a championship celebration. She calls for Earl Hebner, her crush, to join her and Earl obliges.
Brooke Hogan comes out to the stage. She chastises Earl Hebner and removes him from officiating any Knockout matches going forward. Brooke tells Madison that Miss Tessmacher will get her rematch tonight and that there will be a special guest referee tonight. Brooke insinuates the official will be a woman.
Madison is pissed, and she insults Brooke and demands she come to the ring. Brooke storms the ring, but Rayne and Earl dash away. Aces and Eights appear, cornering Brooke in the ring. Aries, Ray, Angle, Hardy, Sting, and others storm the ring, chasing Aces and Eights off without incident.
Brooke doesn't have the chops, yet, to pull this off. She does okay with backstage stuff, but this piece in front of the live crowd was hard to watch. That said, this story needs to move forward a bit. It's going to fall into the "Claire/AJ" category of dragging out.
Sting is in the ring with a mic. He fumes over what Aces and Eights just did to Brooke Hogan. Sting says the locker room is banding against Aces and Eights. He says next week is Open Fight Night, and the idea is that it will be Aces and Eights against the entire TNA Locker Room.
Christopher Daniels and Kazarian are talking about how they're being included in a comic book. AJ Styles shows up and talks about how he must have been drugged. Styles says that tonight, if he beats Christopher Daniels, he will submit to a paternity test. If he loses, he will admit he's the father of Claire's child.
That's gotta be the stupidest stipulation I've heard in a while.
Match #2 - AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels
Styles controlled the early going as the match goes to break.
Out of commercial, Daniels briefly takes control but Styles goes on another sequence of offense. He uses an inverted STF to try and get a submission. Daniels counters and takes control, working over Styles' midsection. He uses a standing Koji Clutch.
Styles catches Daniels with a powerbomb. He runs through another sequence of offense, but Daniels dumps him out to the floor. Daniels follows and Styles is able to jump back in the ring hit the ropes and hit a dive in one motion.
Kaz hits the ring, and he helps hold Styles down for Daniels to get the pin. Brian Hebner was paying attention though and didn't ring the bell. Styles hits the Pele and picks up the win.
After the match, Styles hits the Styles Clash on Daniels for icing on the cake.
A very good match between these guys. Stipulation was dumb, but forgotten by match quality.
Hulk Hogan is on the phone after the match. He says he will be next to Sting next week when he goes up against the Aces and Eights faction.
James Storm is unloading in the locker room. Jeff Hardy approaches him and says all the Aces and Eights stuff is pretty shady. Storm says he will be with the locker room next week to fight Aces and Eights. Storm promises to be at ringside for Hardy's match later to make sure Aces and Eights doesn't show up.
They show Bobby Roode walking through the backstage area.
Bobby Roode comes to the ring. He insists he won his match at Hardcore Justice because the official assigned to the match was the one that declared him the winnner. He whines about the restart and says he deserves to be the TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
Roode blames everyone - Sting, Austin Aries, the officials, and even the fans - for no longer having his championship. Roode says he deserves respect, but the fans chant at him that he's a loser.
Roode ponders what he's to do now that he isn't the champion. He isn't able to come up with anything, so he just drops the mic in the middle of the ring and leaves.
That was, well, odd. Feels like a repeat of Storm's "Lost my Luck" promo after Lockdown.
Miss Tessmacher and Madison Rayne were shown in a split-screen preparing for their title rematch.
They air a video package for the next Gut Check participant, who will get his shot next week. They focus on his rough life in this package. I apologize, but I missed his name.
Match #3 - Madison Rayne (c) vs. Miss Tessmacher; TNA Knockouts Championship with Taryn Terell as special official
Brooke Hogan calls out Taryn Terrell as the official. For those who don't remember, Terrell was known as Tiffany in the WWE version of ECW.
Rayne controls the early going of this one. Terrell has to assert herself as an official on a few occasions to keep the match on track.
Tessmacher comes back with her own flurry of offense but Madison stops her and tries to get control of the match back. Madison turns to argue with Terrell about something and Tessmacher uses the opportunity to scoop Rayne up and hit her finisher to get the win.
So, what was the point of the title change on Sunday and all the Earl stuff? Points to Taryn for playing the official well, but hopefully that's not what TNA wants to do with her on a permanent basis.
The leader of Aces and Eights takes Sting up on his challenge for next week. One of the other members of the faction reminds him they have unfinished business for tonight yet.
Match #4 - Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy; Bound for Glory Series match
James Storm comes down early for this one. Ray gets the upper hand on Hardy then decides to go out to the floor to jaw with Storm. The distraction costs him though as Hardy hits a baseball slide.
Out of commercial, Ray is in control and working over Hardy. Hardy gets a hope spot but Ray hits a big uranage kick for a good near fall. Hardy comes back with the Swanton Bomb to get a good near fall of his own. Hardy tries a suicide dive to the outside, but Ray pulls Storm into Hardy's path.
Hardy is able to hit Whisper in the Wind. Here comes Aces and Eights, but a bunch of TNA main eventers hit the ring to save the situation. The match continues. Hardy is able to hit the Twist of Fate to grab the win.
Afterward, Ray hits Hardy with a clothesline, then grabs his chain. He calls Storm into the ring and shoves him. Storm cues up Last Call, but Ray ducks and Hardy gets hit with it instead. Aces and Eights hits the ring again, and this time they go after Storm. The show ends with them beating down the Cowboy.
Good main event. Losing all that weight has done wonders for Ray - he looks much better in the ring than he did before. Hardy is a good worker so it made for an entertaining close to the night.
I am glad they finally put the Storm accusations to bed with Aces and Eights attacking him to close out the show. They did a lot of damage to the Storm character up to this point, in my opinion, by having him be questioned as he was. Let's see where it goes from here. Is Roode behind this? Do we get a reveal? Could be interesting viewing, but let's hope it doesn't drag out forever.
All in all, decent show. We got very little of "Claire," which is always a plus. Two well worked long matches plus a good overall flow that wasn't TNA's normal "rush" mode helped the time roll right by.
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