Dixie shocked us last week by turning on AJ Styles. She called him "the marginal one" and made the point that Styles would have been average regardless of the pond he was in. She then abruptly turned the lights out and ended the program. What is the next step going forward? Will Dixie continue to heel on her own company, or was this a one-off proposition?
The road to Bound for Glory starts now, and we look to TNA's biggest show of the year.
Show Open, Live from Little Rock, AR
We get a recap covering the issues within Aces and Eights, then Dixie Carter's turn on AJ Styles.
Dixie is arriving and Sting tries to talk to her. He says she's not the Dixie he knew. She ignores him momentarily by playing with her phone, then tells him to not worry about Dixie because she has things handled.
The announcers check in and here comes Bully Ray and Brooke Tessmacher to open the show.
Ray says he's not often at a loss for words but Dixie shocked the hell out of him. He asks everyone if they heard how she talked to AJ. He says he's been trying to decide how to beat AJ, but now it doesn't matter because Dixie is so far in AJ's head it won't matter. He says he doesn't always agree with Dixie, but she did make AJ phenomenal and make it possible for him to perform in front of the idiot fans.
He asks if we know who he is, and the Aces theme hits again. The other three walk out, and Knux has a mic. He says they know who Ray is, he's supposed to be the president of Aces and Eights, and he's too busy doing his own thing. He calls Brooke a ho again and Ray tells him that he will only tell him one more time to not do that. That gets a "ho" chant from the live crowd.
Knux says they're going to take care of club business tonight by beating the Mafia and they'll do it without Ray. Ray tells him they don't get to make the rules because he's the president and they're only lackeys. He talks about the guys he ran out of Aces and asked what made the three on the stage think he won't do it to them. Ray says that if they don't win tonight, one of them will be booted. Taz defends Ray as Ray and Brooke leave, mouthing off at the club.
While I'm glad there's an exit plan, this plan sucks. I get the ego trip thing, but why should the other three guys care? And what's Taz - the only supporter left - going to do, given he can't work?
Joseph Park starts to shave, but EY and ODB show up to interrupt. EY grabs the razor and says that Park could kill innocent civilians. Park looks confused and asks EY if he's okay. EY says they have a match and they all exit.
Match #1 - Eric Young, Joseph Park, and ODB vs. The Bro-Mans (Jesse and Robbie E.) and Gail Kim
There's some horrible entrance music being used here....
We get some silly comedy stuff going on in the early going. Tenay hypes following Dixie on Twitter and how it's more important now with her actions last week. Park sells for a while and finally gets the hot tag. Things break down with ODB dumping Gail to the ramp. She stuffs Robbie with her chest. She then officially tags in to get the win after Jesse takes a splash from Park and an elbow from EY.
There's your comedy filler for the night. Pretty much meaningless.
HerveyCam asks Austin Aries what his plan is now that the Bound for Glory Series is over. Aries says he will tell everyone next.
We get a video of Hulk Hogan arriving earlier, saying he plans to clean up the mess with Dixie Carter.
Austin Aries comes out and gets a mic. He says people want to know what he plans to do now that he came up short in the Bound for Glory Series. He puts himself over pretty big, but Kenny King's music cuts him off. King says that Aries is getting on his nerves, and he puts himself over. King accuses Aries of stealing the X-Division championship from him by stealing Manik's gear. King calls it brilliant but now he owes Aries for it. King calls himself the future of wrestling, not Aries.
Aries says he won't talk about it right now. He says he has his gear on, so he challenges King to shut his mouth and do something. King quotes Hillary Clinton at night when she looks at Bill in bed and says "You don't want none of this." He tells Aries he won't fight him tonight, then turns and punches him in the face.
King plays to the fans, but Aries knocks him out of the ring. He grabs a mic and demands an official come out. Now it's official.
They got too cute with this one and could have stood to dialed it back. But I am glad that Kenny King is getting something here.
Match #2 - Austin Aries vs. Kenny King
The official comes out and Aries jumps on King. The bell rings right out of break and they show that King got busted open during the break.
King fights his way back and hits a nice throw off the second rope. Aries bounces right back though and hits the brainbuster to get the win.
Is King going to be the feud for BFG? Or is King just being enhancement talent here? If he's the feud for Aries, then why should I care since Aries busted him open and beat him? This makes zero sense.
We get hype for the six-man tag main event.
We get some hype video for Lei'D Tapa.
Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky approach Austin Aries. Sabin tells Aries that he had a good win over King then puts over his cash-in of the X-Division title as more impressive than Aries'. Aries mocks him in return. Sabin tells him he will win the title for the seventh time and mae history. He says he will be greater than the greatest man that ever lived. Sabin and Sky walk off, and Aries says he'll have to test that.
MEM is getting ready for the tag main event, and Magnus gets worked up about EGO. Joe says those guys are all about mind games and he needs to chill. Sting echoes the sentiment and says they're close to ending Aces and Eights and can't let anyone derail that. Magnus calms down and they continue to get ready.
A turn coming for Magnus?
We get a recap of what happened between AJ Styles and Dixie Carter last week.
Hulk Hogan comes out and Little Rock goes nuts. Hogan plays to the fans then talks about being hired as the general manager to handle the day-to-day operations of the company. He says he's seen a lot of things in 35 years in the business, but you don't air your dirty laundry like he saw last week.
Hogan asks the fans how many want to see AJ stay with the company. He repeats the question even though the live crowd was going nuts. He says that later he will be out with AJ and get this problem sorted out.
So, Hogan came out to talk and hype another talking segment? That was just terrible.
Tenay tells us that Kurt Angle will be making his return at Bound for Glory.
I hope Kurt has beaten his demons and being on the road again won't cause him to revert to old habits.
We get a video hyping the arrival of "Ethan" soon.
Backstage, AJ Styles says that he will hear out Hulk Hogan later.
Match #3 - Chris Sabin (w/Velvet Sky) vs. Manik; X-Division Championship
Manik has to be held back, but as soon as the bell rings he attacks and pounds on Sabin. Sabin sells his knee being hurt and has Velvet start to help him to the back. Manik goes out to the floor after him, and Sabin shoves Velvet at him to get a distraction and take control.
Sabin perches Manik on the ropes, but Manik sends him to the mat and locks on a leg submission hold. Sabin crawls to the ropes, but when Manik drags him back Sabin grabs Velvet's hand and drags her along. Manik breaks the hold and Sabin hides behind Velvet. Sabin slips out from behind Velvet and tries a roll-up, but Manik reverses the pile to get the win.
Afterward, Sabin attacks Manik, and Austin Aries runs out for the save. Sabin hides behind Velvet again, then slips out to the floor, leaving her with the men. He escapes to the back.
Well, Velvet is the new Miss Elizabeth, I suppose. And it looks like Aries will be facing Sabin, not King, at Bound for Glory.
The remaining three Aces and Eights guys hype each other up for the main event. They talk about how they can't afford to lose another brother.
Yet again, logic fails TNA. Why would the other two allow a third man to get the boot? They're all upset with Bully Ray, but they'll somehow let him dump one of the remaining three? This is just atrocious logic here!
We get some more hype from the announcers regarding the return of Kurt Angle.
EGO makes fun of Angle's return. Daniels and Kazarian do this manaical laugh. They try to get Roode to play along, but he's not all that interested and walks away.
Match #4 - Aces and Eights (Knux, Garrett Bischoff and Wes Brisco) vs. Main Event Mafia (Samoa Joe, Magnus and Sting); if Aces loses, one of them gets booted from the club
Magnus starts off, but the fans wanted Sting. Things break down early on, and EGO uses that as a chance to run out and attack Magnus before they're chased away. The gang goes to work on Sting and beat on him going to commercial.
After the break, Magnus had been taken to the back so it's a 3-on-2 handicap match with Joe and Sting fighting the Aces. Joe gets a hot tag and hits a powerslam. He covers, but Garrett saves the match and things break down. Sting sends Knux to the corner on top of Garrett then hits a Stinger Splash on both men. Joe locks Wes with the rear naked choke and he taps out.
Afterward, Bully Ray and Brooke come out. Ray gets on the mic and repeats the earlier stipulation. He calls Wes a disgrace to the colors and demands his cut. Knux and Garrett get in the ring and Wes refuses. Ray calls him a disgrace and demands the cut a second time. Wes refuses a second time. So Ray tells the other two to take it from him.
They hesitate. Ray tells them he doesn't pay them to think, he pays them to follow orders and demands they take Wes' cut. Neither man moves, so Ray hits a clothesline, then asks them where their balls are. He follows with a piledriver.
The Aces music starts, and Ray demands it be cut. He tells the two to take the cut and hand it to him, or he would do it again. This time they comply and take the cut. Ray demands that Knux be the one to hand it over. Knux finally did, and they pick Wes up. Cameras cut away before we see anything else.
That was just stupid. Why should Ray have any control over any of them? The whole "I don't pay you to think..." thing feels like a rip-off of the Big Show angle in WWE.
Hogan comes back out and he calls out AJ Styles. Hogan says that he can't have the man going after Bully Ray to end his championship reign not have a contract. He holds a clipboard and tells AJ that his new contract is attached. AJ starts to talk, and Hogan says that he knows AJ is focused and everyone's rooting for him. AJ says "I'm yours" and signs the contract and gives it back to Hogan.
Dixie Carter emerges and says "hold on, boys." Dixie says that she brought Hogan to TNA to open doors, and he has taught her a lot about the business. She says that Hogan is still just an employee. She says that she can make Hogan the best he can be. She tells Hogan that while he sees something in "the marginal one", she doesn't and tears the contract up.
AJ mouths off at her, and she tells him to get out of her ring. AJ gets in her face and she tells him again to leave, and he complies. Dixie cuts a rapid promo. She says 99 percent have criticized her, but those people didn't realize that the one percent made their lives possible and don't understand the burden behind that.
Dixie tells Hogan that she will consider what happened to be a lapse in judgment. She asks if he will be on Team Dixie, or watch from the sideline. She tells Hogan he has a week to decide and leaves a befuddled Hulk standing in the ring to close out the show.
Fast, all over the place, and there was no good feel for what the main point of all of this even is. About all that Dixie got right here was the delivery, but even that didn't feel natural because she stared down the hard camera rather than the more natural "conversational" delivery.
Dixie doesn't have the chops to make this thing work. It's not a good start, and she won't pull this thing up out of the depths. I'm sorry - it's just not happening.
So we're a few weeks away from the biggest pay per view of the year - Bound for Glory - and the promotion's champion is dicking around with undercard guys, and his challenger is caught in an authority figure angle where he "doesn't have a contract."
Go read the "TNA at Ten" Series again. This is a company with a TON of issues, and they really showed up in this program tonight.
Join us next week when I hope this show gets better. Thanks for watching along tonight.