Last week on iMPACT, it was "must win" for six men in the Bound for Glory Series.  Their matches would determine if they would make it into the final four that will compete on the "No Surrender" themed show on September 12 for the shot to face Bully Ray.  AJ Styles fell just short.

Tonight, Hulk changes the game.  He announced a gauntlet match worth 20 points to the winner.  Who will emerge victorious?

Show Open, Taped in Cleveland, OH on 8/28/2013

We get the recap from last week’s show.  Taz and Tenay check in on commentary and we then get a video package hyping up the gauntlet match and all the entrants.  Magnus is listed as a entrant, so he must have arrived in Cleveland in time after solving his visa issues.

Bully Ray, Brooke Tessmacher, and Tito Ortiz come out, followed by the rest of the Aces gang.  Ray says the Aces are in total control and the best bunch of brothers a president could have.  Ray puts them all over, saying that he would be nothing without them.  He says that last week might have been hard but it’s the past now.  He hugs everyone, stopping with Tito to put him over because the fans were chanting he sucks.

Anderson doesn’t look real happy, but Ray calls him the best VP he could have.  He tells Anderson he loves him more than he loved Devon, the hugs him.  Anderson still doesn’t look thrilled about this.  Ray says his guys will win tonight and he will beat Sting like he did at Slammiversary.  He excuses everyone but Knux, who is scheduled to face Chris Sabin.  Ray and Brooke stay to watch, and Sabin’s entrance hits.

That was alright.  Given the match-ups, I’d figure Aces to lose except for Ray.  Too bad the gang has been used so poorly that it doesn’t matter.

Match #1 – Knux vs. Chris Sabin

Basic early action.  Knux shoves Sabin down, so Sabin calls for a test of strength that Knux laughs at.  Sabin kicks him in the gut after he reaches, and takes control of the match.  Knux hits a cross body for two.

Ray talks trash at Sabin, and Knux tries to get a splash at the ropes but Sabin moves.  Sabin follows up with a missile drop kick.  Ray throws in the hammer, but Sabin knocks it away.  Both men dive after the hammer and Sabin gets it.  He knocks out Knux in full view of the official for the DQ.

Afterward, Ray drags Knux from the ring and yells about what happened.

Knux looks like a chump there, even though he won.  Are they thinking of turning Sabin heel or something with the uses of the hammer?

Mickie James is heading to the ring.

Backstage

Sabin flips out, while Velvet Sky gives chase, trying to calm him down.  Sabin says that bad things always happen with the hammer involved.  He tells her he didn’t introduce it and it’s not right – something has to change.  Velvet says he doesn’t need the hammer to win.  He yells at her then says he isn’t mad at her.  He walks off, and she asks what just happened.

In-Ring Segment:

Mickie James comes out with an award in hand.  She talks about being in Cleveland, saying she would be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  She talks about the award, saying she was invited to the VMA’s but she had won a VJA.

She says the media and fans are being too hard on Miley Cyrus for trying to be herself, and she was being treated the same way for being the best champion ever.  Mickie makes a twerking joke only to be interrupted by ODB.

ODB tells Mickie she can’t believe she would reference Miley in the home of rock and roll.  She tells Mickie she will take the title from her.  Mickie says that isn’t going to happen and attacks ODB.  ODB hits her with a clothesline and grabs the belt to pose with it.  Mickie grabs it away and they argue over it.  ODB pulls off Mickie’s shirt, and she sells it as she’s naked (she has a tube top on) and runs.

Mickie vs. ODB isn’t a great match to me, but it’s a logical choice as a lead face at the moment.  Taryn Terell would be better, but she’s expecting…

Backstage:

JB is with Hernandez and Jay Bradley, telling them they will start the gauntlet.  Bradley says they were eliminated from contention in the series, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make an impact.  He says he had been offered money from “a certain organization” to make things happen, and says he had no problem with Hernandez as a business partner either.  He tells Hernandez to consider it.

Are they turning him…..?  Oh, please, no….

Match #2 – Bound for Glory Series Gauntlet Match, 20 points available to the winner

Bradley and Hernandez come out first.  Bradley repeats his offer but takes a kick to the gut from Hernandez.  Bradley eventually gets the better of Hernandez.  Joseph Park comes out next, and he came out a bit early.  Bradley gets the better of him and nearly eliminates him.  Hernandez hits a shoulder block.  Anderson is the next man in, and he works over Park as Hernandez brawls with Bradley.

During commercial, Samoa Joe joined in the fray.  AJ Styles joins as we are rejoining the show.  He eliminates Joseph Park.   Kazarian comes out and goes right after Styles.  Meanwhile, Joe is chopping away on Anderson in the corner.  Joe sets him up on the top of the ropes and hits him with a kick.  Anderson tumbles to the floor and hits his head on the railing pretty hard.

Christopher Daniels comes out next, and he teams up with Kaz to work on Styles, then turns his attention to Samoa Joe.  Joe hits both with a clothesline, but they bounce back to stomp Joe down in a corner.  Bad Influence teams up on Hernandez to eliminate him.  Jeff Hardy is the next man out.

Bobby Roode is making his entrance out of commercial.  He attacks Hardy.  Bradley tries to eliminate Styles with the Boom Stick, but Styles counters and is able to eliminate Bradley instead.

Austin Aries is in next, and he runs down to the ring.  He hits a diving clothesline on both Kaz and Daniels.  Roode attacks him, so the three EGO men beat Aries down. The other faces in the ring recover to break up the three on one assault.  Magnus is the last guy out, but he doesn’t get much pop.  Joe tries to eliminate Kaz, but Kaz ducks the attempt.  Roode joins in to help dump out Samoa Joe.

Hardy tries to eliminate Roode, but Roode counters and in turn dumps Jeff Hardy out.  Kazarian gets thrown to the ramp, which eliminates him from the match.  Magnus tries to eliminate Daniels, but Roode joins in and takes out Magnus. 

Aries ends up on the apron.  Styles uses Roode’s back as a springboard and hits Aries with a forearm to send him to the floor and eliminate him.  Roode gets dumped out by AJ right afterward.  Styles works a clinic with Daniels for the next minute or so, then clotheslined Daniels out to pick up the victory and 20 points.

They run down the leaderboard, with the top four now being AJ Styles, Magnus, Austin Aries, and Bobby Roode.  Tenay says that later on, we’ll find out what the pairings will be for the “No Surrender” themed show.

They tipped their hand on Styles going over, and the eliminations happened too fast there at the end.  That aside the match was decent.

Backstage:

Ray gets all over Anderson’s case for losing.  He asks Anderson what he has done for Ray lately.  Anderson screams at him, but Ray tells him he will rip off Anderson’s colors, set them on fire and piss on them.  Harsh.  He tells Anderson to never disappoint him again and walks away.

This was a good segment.  They could lead this into a meaningful face turn for Anderson (unlike his many turns before) if they play it right.  I don’t think they should turn him yet again, but the fans might respond to it.

We get a recap video of Styles winning the gauntlet match.  He cuts a promo backstage, saying he is a leader and a winner.  He says he will win the Bound for Glory Series and go on to Bound for Glory to win the title way from Bully Ray.

We get a recap package from the close of last week’s show where Sting attacked Ray.

Backstage:

Rampage asks Sting about never being able to wrestle for the championship again.  Sting says he doesn’t need to wrestle for the title anymore, but that night was also good because it made him realize he needed the family.  He says the Mafia exists because of that night, and he’s going to destroy Bully Ray in the main event.

Match #3 – Gunner and James Storm vs. Garrett Bischoff and Wes Brisco:

Storm and Gunner come out, but Brisco and Bischoff attack them from behind.  The champs recover and the match gets underway, with Storm and Bischoff in the ring for the start of the match.

Storm sells for a bit, then Gunner gets a hot tag.  The two team up and beat up both of the heels.  They set up for their double team finish, but Brisco pulls out Gunner and slams him on the announce table.  Wes distracts the official and Garrett hits Gunner with a chain to get the cheap win.

Wow.  Just, wow.  They really did that?  What an un-freaking-believable joke of a move.

AJ Styles is heading back to the ring.

In-Ring Segment:

Roode, Magnus, and Aries are already in the ring.  JB introduces them, then introduces AJ.  He comes out to just his old music, wearing a baseball hat and looking pretty plain.  JB asks Styles who he will choose to face.

Styles gets in Roode’s face first, then moves to Aries.  He says that Aries is the one guy who he didn’t want to lose to in the Series.  Aries reminds Styles that he did lose, and Styles acknowledges that.  He says that’s why he wants to go through Aries first.  Aries says that no matter what happens, there will be a winner when they face off – the fans.

Roode grabs the mic from JB.  He says he teamed with Kaz and Daniels to get him into the final four, and it worked.  He says he has the weakest link, and he will beat Magnus then go on to win the title.  Magnus says he didn’t need Muppets like Stadler and Waldorf to help him win.

Magnus says that Cleveland is Mafia Country.  He tells Roode he may have friends, but he has a family.  He says that things will be even next week, and he will go through all of them to become a world champion.  The four men face off heading into the break.

I like the matchups.  I think your top match ends up being Styles vs. Roode, with Styles winning the whole thing.  Watch for the MEM to involve themselves by helping watch AJ’s back from Daniels and Kazarian.

Match #4 – Bully Ray (w/Anderson and Brooke Tessmacher) vs. Sting; No Disqualification Rules

Ray and his gang come to the ring, then Sting comes out.  JB handles the old-school in-ring introductions for our main event.

Ray grabs the mic and says he wants to remind Sting that this won’t be for the title because Sting lost at Slammiversary.  “Screw you and your best friend Hulk Hogan!”  Hogan’s music hits and he comes out to the ramp.  Hogan bans Tito Ortiz from ringside, and tells security to toss him.  Ray challenges Hogan and asks who Hogan thought he was.  Hogan makes it a no DQ match then.

Sting starts off by hitting a Stinger Splash on Ray and throwing him out to the floor.

Wow.  So, Tito gets tossed but not Anderson?  And with a no DQ stip, Aces can just come out and hit the ring.  The Mafia could come out, but…really?  That ends up in a shmoz finish and Ray ends up not really having to take a loss.  Is that the plan?

Back from commercial, Sting beats on Ray with a chair.  Ray hits a low blow in order to stop Sting’s assault.  He goes to the announce position to get something from Taz.  He looks at Anderson, who just nods. Ray was handed a box cutter, so he cuts the straps and pulls the mat back to expose the wood on the ring floor.

Sting catches Ray and hooks on the Scorpion.  The rest of the gang runs out and attacks, but Anderson stays out on the floor.  The Mafia runs out for the save and chases three of the gang to the back.  Ray teases a piledriver on the exposed ring floor, but Sting counters out.  He tries the Scorpion Death Drop but Ray grabs the rope.  Sting crashes and burns.

In the end, Sting comes back and hooks on the Scorpion Death Lock again.  Anderson teases feeding in the hammer, but he throws it away.  Ray taps out, and Sting wins.

Sting is announced as the winner and he exits.  Anderson gets in the ring with the belt.  He yells at Bully for not doing it by himself and gets in Ray’s face on the mat to ask if Ray knows who he is.  Anderson says he is the guy who is facing Ray next week and will be the next world champion.  He says his name is “Mr….Anderson….Anderson.” He poses with the title and walks away, with Ray and Brooke shocked in the ring as the show closes.

That was a total garbage match, but it could be expected. 

The fans reacted well for Anderson at the end, but really it’ll be up to the next live crowd to determine if we really buy in to his face turn or not.  Then again, they could play it as a fingerpoke of doom match too next week.

All in all, this was a middle of the road edition of iMPACT.  I wasn’t crazy about the gauntlet match  being announced after a “must win Thursday” situation, but it was decent enough to get to where they wanted to be.

Join me next week for the “No Surrender” themed show live at 9PM EST here on RingRap.com.