Hulk Hogan has promised a visit to the Aces and Eights "clubhouse" tonight. What will he find out there, if anything, about this group of renegades? And is Joseph Park still remembering all he found out?
The Road to Glory continues tonight as we kick off our live coverage of tonight's iMPACT Wrestling program...
We get our "Previously on iMPACT" segment, recapping last week's show.
Hogan comes out right off the bat, with a bat in hand. He tells Aces and Eights that they have a date tonight. Hogan briefly turns his attention to the TNA Television Championship. He tells us that Devon's contract fell through, so they will crown a new TV Champion tonight on Championship Thursday.
Hogan then turns his attention to Bobby Roode and James Storm. He talks about their fight last week and how out of control it was. He sets up a Street Fight at Bound for Glory between them, and also says that there's going to be a special enforcer. He initially teases it for next week, but then says it'll be King Mo Lawal.
Hogan makes the turn back to Aces and Eights, and talks about all of their transgressions. He reminds us that he's going to go to their clubhouse tonight, even if he has to do it alone. Sting's music hits and he comes to the ring. He tells Hogan that he won't have to go alone. Hogan says they'll need a second bat.
Good opening segment that Hogan used to get the fans fired up and into the show. Good use of Hogan - that small dose.
Mr. Anderson gives a recall moment for Bound for Glory, and his centered around the show that was on 10/10/10.
Match #1 - Kurt Angle (w/AJ Styles) vs. Chavo Guerrero (w/Hernandez) vs. Christopher Daniels (w/Kazarian)
The faces gang up on Daniels. Kaz trips Chavo and that brings all six men into the ring to argue and bicker as the show goes to commercial.
Back out of commercial, the partners are all sent to the back. Angle is controlling the action and he works over both men. Chavo hits the Three Amigos suplexes on Daniels, but Kurt Angle cuts him off when Chavo goes for the frog splash.
The finish comes when Daniels rolls up Chavo while he's arguing with Kurt for the win.
Hogan makes the first cut on Championship Thursday. Mr. Anderson, Samoa Joe, Magnus, and Garrett Bischoff are all involved. Magnus gets chopped because Hogan doesn't want to listen to Magnus and Joe argue anymore.
Elsewhere, Tara is chatting on the phone with her boyfriend. Brooke Hogan shows up and tells Tara she has to earn her shot at Brooke Tessmacher in a match. Brooke takes Tara's phone and talks to her boyfriend.
That's a lot of action in one segment! Decent elimination segment even though they risk overexposing Hogan with them. Why is Garrett Bischoff involved in this?
Match #2 - Tara vs. ODB (w/Eric Young); #1 Contender Match for the TNA Knockouts Championship
ODB controls the early going of this one, in fact most of the match. Tara tweaks her knee while out on the floor. She can't get to her feet. ODB persists though, but gets rolled up for the win.
Good women's match. Tara seems rejuvenated by this heel turn.
They preview the Gut Check judging segment coming up.
Bruce Pritchard gives Al Snow grief for getting involved with a citizen (Joey Ryan). Prichard tells him that Snow isn't a wrestler but is an executive. He brings up the current TNA legal issues that are going on.
Taz comes in and they turn the conversation to Evan Markopoulos. They agree between themselves that he has both promise and passion for wrestling. Snow asks if it's possible for an 18-year-old to make it because wrestling is a hard life and requires a level of maturity.
Elsewhere, Bully Ray is being asked by HerveyCam who his partner is going to be tonight. Ray was very non-committal but told the camera man to shoot his calves.
In a hallway, Hogan talks to three other guys. He asks if Garrett Bischoff can hang with either Anderson or Samoa Joe. Hogan puts Garrett over, but says it isn't his time.
Good that he's going to be held out. No real personal issues with him, but Garrett is very green and we haven't seen him on TV in forever other than a couple of speaking parts. If he hasn't progressed in his wrestling, he's not fit to carry a championship that needs a boost.
Bobby Roode confronts Austin Aries and tells him that Roode will be teaming with Bully Ray later when they face Aries and Jeff Hardy. Roode puts Aries over quite a bit, but then compares him to Jeff Hardy to plant a few seeds.
Match #3 - Samoa Joe vs. Mr. Anderson; TNA Television Championship
Samoa Joe controls in the early going. He tries to lock in the Rear Naked Choke early on, but he can't get it. Good sense of urgency in that moment.
Eventually, late in the match Joe is able to get the RNC locked in. Anderson tries to crawl to the ropes but Joe keeps adjusting the hold by hooking an arm or switching. Anderson eventually passes out and Joe claims the vacant title.
Joe did a good job there by staying active in the submission hold so that Anderson stayed off the ropes.
They give some hype for Hogan facing Aces and Eights later in a video package.
Hogan is talking to Sting when a crew member walks up with some papers he needs to sign. Aces and Eights attacks, beats down Hogan and abduct Sting.
In the replay, we see that Hogan got abducted too.
Gut Check Judging:
Evan Markopoulos makes his way to the ring. The fact he was wearing pants tonight helps much in offsetting his small frame that really showed his age. He admits he got his ass kicked last week, but he showed up tonight.
Taz gives him a "yes" vote, but Prichard says no. Evan gets his chance to give a promo. He basically sucks up to Snow, talking about where Snow was when Markopoulos was born. He promised he would take more ass kickings, but he will learn from it.
Snow says that Evan is the epitome of Gut Check, and he has the passion needed to be in the business. Snow admits that he's just too young, though, and votes no.
TNA really needs to shake this Gut Check concept up.
The Aces VP is with Sting and Hogan. He says the boss is on his way.
Magnus gives a Bound for Glory reflection, which includes winning the TNA Tag Team Championship as a member of the British Invasion.
At the Clubhouse:
The boss of Aces and Eights sits with his back to Hogan and Sting. He shows Joseph Park, who is tied up to a table. The boss tells Hogan to bring to guys to Bound for Glory to fight two members of Aces and Eights. Hogan volunteers himself and Sting but the Boss says it's not about Hogan. The boss proposes if the Aces guys win, they get access to TNA. If Hogan's team wins, Aces goes away.
Hogan demands they let Park go, but the Boss says Park is their insurance. The boss says he will be let go once the match at Bound for Glory is over.
Good way to add some spice to the Aces and Eights story without giving too much away. They needed to do something - it was falling a bit flat and treading water.
Jeff Hardy and Austin Aries are shown in split screen headed to the ring for the main event.
We get a replay of the Aces and Eights video we just saw, then Taz and Tenay run down the Bound for Glory card to this point.
Backstage, James Storm says he's pleased with Hogan's announcement and is happy that King Mo will be raising his hand as the winner at Bound for Glory. Sorry, about Bobby Roode's Damn Luck.
Match #4 - Bully Ray and Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries and Jeff Hardy
Ray and Hardy start off, but each man tags out. Hardy ends up showing Aries up by taking out Ray and Roode. Aries looks less than amused as they go into commercial.
After commercial, Hardy is still controlling the match, but Roode sweeps his legs out from under him as he tries a moonsault. Hardy lands awkwardly, which allows the heels to take control of the match. Hardy gets a hot tag to Aries, but he is soon overwhelmed too.
Aries is able to make a comeback and locks Roode in the Last Chancery, but Ray breaks it up. Hardy is able to finish off Roode with the Swanton Bomb and get the win, which doesn't please Aries much.
To end the night, Aces and Eights drops off Hogan and Sting at the iMPACT Zone. They threaten to burn Joseph Park if the two "don't behave."
Decent main event to put some heat in the Hardy/Aries storyline heading to Bound for Glory. The two men needed something, so this act of "one-upsmanship" should at least help give it some juice.
Not a bad show tonight. My biggest concern is that Bound for Glory still just feels like "another pay per view" when they should be going all out to make it the biggest show of the year. They're at least setting up some storylines heading to the event, so let's hope it gets better from here.
Join us again next week for more iMPACT coverage. Thanks for watching along tonight.