Tonight, it's all the fallout from No Surrender. Jeff Hardy will be contending for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against (as of this moment) Austin Aries. Aries had his hands full with the Aces and Eights' "Armbreaker" Sunday night and did not defend his title.
Bobby Roode made an appearance and cost James Storm his shot at "Glory" by interfering in the match Storm had with Bully Ray. Will Storm challenge Roode to a face-off at the biggest event of TNA's calendar? All this and more on tonight's show.
We open with a video package focused around Jeff Hardy winning the Bound for Glory Series. Tenay and Taz check in on commentary. Austin Aries heads out to the ring.
Aries puts over the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, saying it's one every man dreams of holding. He introduces Jeff Hardy, who will be his opponent at Bound for Glory. Hardy comes out and meets him in the ring. Aries puts Hardy over, praising his effort in winning the Bound for Glory Series at No Surrender.
Bully Ray interrupts the proceedings. He says Aries and Hardy both are lucky men. Aries is lucky because he knows full well Ray would have beaten him at Bound for Glory and won the TNA Championship. Hardy is lucky because Ray felt bad for him for some reason when Aces and Eights attacked Hardy and went after his shoulder. "I took my eye off the ball for a second," Ray says and offers that as the reason Hardy won. Ray says he's been beating Hardy for 15 years in matches all over the world.
Aries reminds Ray that he tapped out the last time Ray faced Aries. Hardy says he feels much better than Sunday and issues a challenge for tonight. Hardy rips off his shirt. Ray backs away, saying he doesn't fight. Tenay sells it that the match is official for tonight.
We get a shot of James Storm walking through the backstage area.
That was a solid opener with the three main players in the title situation. Aries and Hardy feels a bit soft for my liking but there's time for that to change.
During the ring intro for the first match, Tenay offers his best to Jerry Lawler for a speedy recovery on behalf of the "TNA Family" Taz also added his wishes in as well.
Classy move by TNA that didn't feel like it was forced. King certainly has friends throughout all of wrestling, so it was appropriate.
Match #1 - Zema Ion (c) vs. Sonjay Dutt; X-Division Championship
Sonjay goes on offense quickly, hitting an Asai moonsault on Ion at the ringside area. Dutt came up selling his shoulder, which is still taped. Dutt keeps the pressure on though, hitting a top rope moonsault into a double stomp. He covers, but Ion stretches his leg out to the bottom rope.
Dutt goes up top again, but this time Ion trips him and picks up the win when Dutt falls to the mat. Afterward, Ion locks a cross arm breaker on Dutt's bad arm.
Daniels and Kazarian have gotten into Hulk's office, and they're clowning around. Hogan comes in and books a match - Daniels gets either Chavo or Hernandez, and Kazarian gets either AJ Styles or Kurt Angle. He says if they win their matches, there's no tag title rematch at Bound for Glory. If they lose, then the opponent's team that won gets the title shot.
They could have tossed out a Triple Threat possibility here, but the booking is consistent so I'm good with it.
We see Bobby Roode walking backstage.
AJ and Kurt chat and decide who is going to face Kaz. Styles guaranteed a win, so Kurt told him he has the match tonight. Styles leaves the picture, and in walks Wes Brisco. Angle tells him he should watch AJ's match tonight.
I wonder if Brisco is a part of the Aces faction? It'd be a good way to introduce him if he were, so that people would know who Wes is when unmasked.
They focus a video package on James Storm and Bobby Roode. Afterward, Roode makes his way to the ring to cut a promo.
In Ring Segment:
Roode gets on the mic. He says that two months ago, he was screwed over when he lost the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and wasn't able to get a rematch while Austin Aries is champion. He says he went home and watched James Storm pour his blood, sweat and tears into the Bound for Glory Series.
Roode says he questioned why a guy he had to carry (referencing their Beer Money days) should get a title shot instead of him. He decided to go to No Surrender and smash Storm over the head with a beer bottle to prevent that.
Storm's music hits, and here comes the Cowboy. He goes right after Roode and beats him up pretty thoroughly as we head to commercial.
Good way to explain the heel actions of Roode and a good set-up for the most likely Bound for Glory feud match between the two.
Match #2 - AJ Styles vs. Kazarian: Tag Team Championship defense on the line
Styles gets an early advantage as the show goes into commercial. After the break, Tenay plugs the Bound for Glory special that will air on Spike right before the event next month.
The finish comes when Styles hits the Styles Clash to get the win and the Tag Team Championship shot for him and Kurt Angle.
Nice TV match, finish a bit expected. I am looking forward to a standard tag match between the two teams, and would prefer to not see the three-way.
Hulk is with Brooke Hogan. He says he doesn't even want her going home. He says he wants her to bounce between New York and Los Angeles, and he wants at least two people with her at all times she's involved in TNA business because of the Aces and Eights faction.
Joseph Park walks in and tells Hogan he's been waiting on a piece of key evidence that he should have in hand next Thursday. Whatever this is, it should blow things wide open for this case.
Hogan asks if Park will stick around and serve as a bodyguard for Brooke while he went to the ring to cut a promo directed at Aces and Eights. Hogan exits, and Park asks Brooke if she has good representation. Brooke tells Park she has lawyers, but he could be her bodyguard.
Bit of an odd move there - leaving the daughter with the "non wrestling" lawyer. Biggest beef though is how Brooke giggled her way through the segment like she was talking to a kid.
Bully Ray confronts Jeff Hardy. He tells Hardy he should think for a second that he punked out Ray. He demanded Hardy put up his title shot at BFG if he wants to fight so bad. Hardy says nothing. Ray says Hardy's balls aren't big enough to do that.
Ray calls Hardy a coward and says he sees right through him. Hardy says he was ready in the first segment and if Ray does win tonight, Ray can have the title shot at Bound for Glory.
Either Hardy's an overconfident moron or the title shot means nothing despite the buildup of the Series. Not sure I'm all in on this situation.
In Ring Segment:
Hogan comes out to the ring. He says the BFG Series put TNA in high gear and he puts over how intense the series was. He says "you gotta understand, the Creatures of the Night came out on top." He says Hardy dances to a different energy and talks about how Jeff isn't from this same planet or even universe.
Hogan says he won't stand in Hardy's way if he wants to prove he earned the title shot. Hogan confirms that the winner of the Hardy vs. Ray match will be the one to go to Bound for Glory. Hogan turns his attention to Aces and Eights.
He says Sunday was a game changer at No Surrender and the iMPACT Zone now belongs to the fans and the wrestlers in the back again. "From this point on, the iMPACT Zone is going to be locked down forever, brother!"
Vice Prez appears on the big screen. He says Hogan is a better chess player than they thought possible. The VP poses the question: Does Hogan have us locked out, or locked in now that he's locked down the iMPACT Zone? VP tells Hogan his head will be on a swivel and Hogan has to wonder about everyone who approaches him now. He won't know who is, or isn't Aces and Eights until it's too late.
They recap the segment before going backstage.
Chavo says he's mad at himself for letting the tag champs pull a fast one on them last week. He says he invented "lie, cheat and steal" and he would take this match for the team.
Match #3 - Christopher Daniels vs. Chavo Guerrero; TNA Tag Team Title Match ramifications
The fans chant for Chavo early on in this one. Late, Chavo avoided a shot from Daniels with the tag belt. He hits the Three Amigos suplexes and the frog splash to grab the win.
I LOVED Eddie Guererro, really. But Chavo doesn't need to be using his moveset in every match. Special moments are fine, but this is too much.
We get a video highlighting the next Gut Check competitor, Evan Markopoulos. He's 18 years old, started wrestling when he was 13 and lives in Hudson, Mass. He's in school now in Worcester. He talks about how he loves wrestling and that's all he watched as a kid. His parents talk about how they support his desire to be a wrestler too.
Nice video package. Kid's got some personality and a good story.
We get a series of highlights from earlier in the show when James Storm beat up Bobby Roode. The announcers tell us the two men had to be separated backstage also. Storm spoke and says he's going to make life a living hell for Bobby Roode. Next Thursday is Open Fight Night and he can call out anyone he wants. That's good for Storm, but not for Bobby Roode.
They air a video showcasing Gail Kim. She talks about how special Bound for Glory is to her. She recalls becoming the first TNA Knockouts Champion and how that was the best moment of her career.
In Ring Segment:
Tara comes to the ring. She holds up her knuckles to the camera to reveal "TARA" and "FIED" on each hand (get it, terrified?) Tara grabs a mic and says she wants to congratulate her best friend, Brooke Tessmacher, on her win Sunday night. She says she's being serious and she praises Brooke for "beating the teacher." Tessmacher smiles and nods.
Tara admits a part of her was very upset, but she was also happy because she did her job. She tells Brooke she will "always be my best friend and my boo" and says she wants to present her with the title belt properly. Taz quips about Oprah. Tessmacher lets her put the belt around her waist.
Brooke goes to each corner and celebrates on the ropes, but after corner #3 she gets hit with a clothesline from Tara. Tara hits the Widows Peak on her and leaves her laying. The announcers wonder where that all came from.
Tessmacher is not catching on well with the fans, but to be honest TNA is not helping by making her look stupid like they did here. I think the only three people who didn't see the attack coming were Tenay, Taz and Brooke.
They focus a video package on Jeff Hardy winning the Bound for Glory Series, then show split screen shots of the two men walking backstage. Tenay tells us the high-stakes match is next.
Dixie lectures the Hogans, Bruce Pritchard, D-Lo Brown and Al Snow. She says she's given them a lot of room to run things but she needs to know what the plan is regarding Aces and Eights.
Hogan tells Dixie she could be next and Dixie admits she's looking over her shoulder at home. D-Lo says he's had dealings with guys like this and it's all about the fear factor. Hogan comes back to a story about his brother who passed. He ran with a bad crew in Oakland and Hogan had to walk away from his brother. He says his worst fear is if they don't put the fire out, they won't be able to stop things.
D-Lo tells Hogan to open the doors up again and they debate it. Dixie wants to know how they will protect her and her investment. Pritchard says they have everyone in the room asking what will happen next. The camera pans to each one in the room, complete with sound effects.
They discuss the possibility that someone in the room is in Aces. D-Lo says it's better to look them in the eye than run, and Hogan agrees.
OUCH! What was that thing with the bad sound effects, seriously? I guess it's one of those things like in a mystery movie where we're to be left wondering if one of them is in on it but it was just a head-shaking moment.
Match #4 - Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray; TNA World Heavyweight Championship Shot at Bound for Glory
Ray attacks to start the match, but Hardy is able to recover and get the advantage as the show goes to commercial.
Late in this one, Hardy goes on a string of offense and teases his finisher from the ropes. Ray cuts him off and hits a superplex for a near fall. He tries a splash but misses it. Hardy goes for the Swanton and misses that. Ray nails the Bully Bomb for a near fall.
Tenay tries to sell the match intensity with so much on the line. Hardy finishes it off with the Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb to retain his shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
If the idea was to erase doubts that Hardy would not be at Bound for Glory challenging Austin Aries, then I guess this accomplished the point. A good match, but I'm not eating up the foolishness it puts on Hardy. I think this loss took Bully down a peg also at a time when he seemed like he was peaking.
An entertaining two hours of TV tonight but it had it's "what in the blue hell was that?" kind of moments. The exchange with all the TNA "executives" was definitely one of them.
Join us again next week as we continue the road to Glory with another TNA iMPACT Wrestling Reaction and Report here on Ring-Rap.com.