This week’s live TNA Impact opened with a recap of Bound for Glory Series matches on last week’s Impact and at Sunday’s Hardcore Justice PPV. The video opening also recapped the latest from Aces & Eights.
Impact Zone: Live from Orlando, Mike Tenay introduced the show and pligged three BFG Series matches tonight, specifically A.J. Styles vs. Daniels in a “personal” match, Magnus vs. Samoa Joe in a battle of former TNA tag champs and current GHC tag champs, and Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy in the main event.
Austin Aries’s music then played to bring out the TNA World Hvt. champion fresh off his title defense against Bobby Roode at Hardcore Justice. TNA showed still-shot replays of the Aries vs. Roode title main event that included a re-start after a double pin. Once in the ring, Aries went over the “fluke” word thrown out at him by Roode, who he noted he’s beaten on two straight PPVs. Aries told any more doubters out there to drop the “e” from fluke and go “fluk” yourself. Aries said this is his company now and he is the face of the company. He said no one will tell him what to do, say, or think because he’s running the show.
Aries directed a message to Aces & Eights that he’s stepping up to them. Aries said the BFG Series is coming down to its last days and there’s a lot at stake, so no matter what Aces & Eights or the BFG Series winner has to say, he will walk in to the BFG PPV as World champ and will walk out as World champ.
Suddenly, Jeff Hardy’s music interrupted. Hardy slowly walked out toward the ring selling the effects from Hardcore Justice on Sunday. The announcers noted it’s rare for Hardy to interrupt anyone. Once Hardy entered the ring, Aries welcomed him to his ring and said he must have something important to say. Hardy first shouted out to his fans before noting he’s been chasing that title for the last year and congratulated Aries on being champ. Hardy then vowed to win the BFG Series and they are going to tear it up. Aries said he has no doubts about that. Hardy replied that Aces & Eights cost him 20 points at Hardcore Justice, so he’s demanding they show up right now.
Suddenly, Bully Ray’s music played to bring out Bully marching to the ring with something to say. Aries kind of pulled a C.M. Punk backing into the corner with the spotlight off him as Ray walked right up to Hardy. Ray told Hardy he really is stupid. “James Storm is behind the Aces & Eights. Do you not get it?” Ray asked. Ray said he always knew Jeff’s brother was smarter than him. Ray explained how things went down at Hardcore Justice, putting the blame on Storm for everything that happened in their BFG Series match. Ray then told Hardy that he will go on to Bound for Glory to become World Hvt. champ.
Aries interrupted, knocking on Ray’s calves. He said there seems to be more blood flowing to Ray’s calves than between his ears. Aries told Ray that he’s the World champ and it seems to him that Ray has a lot of aspirations and ambitions, which makes him wonder if Ray is behind Aces & Eights doing all the finger-pointing. Ray asked Aries if he’s out of his mind. Ray ignored the claim and said Storm is behind Aces & Eights. Aries said regardless of Aces & Eights, someone has to go through him to become World champ.
Suddenly, Aces & Eights appeared on the video screen. The modulated man with “Prospect” on his jacket said Aces & Eights are about luck and commitment. The mystery man said Ray got lucky at Hardcore Justice. The modulated man said they will make their presence known in a very real way tonight. Back live in the ring, Ray continued to blame Storm. Impact abruptly went to break with Ray mid-rant.
[Q2] Before returning live, TNA aired a video package recapping BFG Series match results at Hardcore Justice on Sunday. Tenay and Taz then recapped the BFG Series Standings.
Backstage: The roving cameraman talked to Magnus about facing Samoa Joe tonight. Magnus recapped his recent pairing with Joe as TNA tag champ and said he’s gotten in Joe’s head to understand how to defeat the machine.
Impact Zone: Samoa Joe’s music played to bring out Joe as Christy Hemme introduced the opening match. After Joe marched to the ring ready to fight, Magnus came out to face his former TNA tag partner.
1 — SAMOA JOE vs. MAGNUS — BFG Series match
Nice counter/reversal exchange to start the match, indicating the two men know each other very well. After Magnus slipped out of the ring for a breather, Joe lit him up with right hand jabs, but Magnus came back with a boot to the side of the head. Magnus followed with an inside-cradle bodyslam, but Joe kicked out of a pin attempt. Joe came back with an E. Honda frontslam out of the corner, then got That Look in his eyes. Joe wanted a rear naked choke, but Magnus flipped over for a nearfall. Joe countered right back with a crucifix pin.
Post-match: The announcers noted Joe moves back into second place with the win as Magnus sat down in the mat selling frustration. Joe patted him on the back as Magnus continued to sell frustration in the ring. Joe then left the ring and Magnus grabbed a chair on the outside. Magnus went for a chair shot and Joe got his arm up to block, causing Magnus to smash Joe’s forearm. Joe acted angered as Magnus walked away from ringside. Magnus explained his actions in an in-character tweet after the fact: “You don’t patronize me, I’m not a baby. Arm hurt much @SamoaJoe? Next time it’s your skull.”
WINNER: Joe at 3:23 to earn 7 BFG Series points. A solid, technical match that the tourist-heavy crowd sat on their hands for. Meanwhile, the post-match gives Magnus something for after the BFG Series since this was his final BFG Series match.
Backstage: Madison Rayne said a wrong was righted when she became Knockouts champion again. Madison said she didn’t need any help and won the Knockouts Title all by herself at Hardcore Justice. A production assistant interrupted and said Brooke Hogan wants to see her in the ring. Madison smiled and said it must be her victory celebration.
[Q3] Impact Zone: Back live, Christy Hemme introduced new Knockouts champion Madison Rayne. Mike Tenay said “some would say it was because of Earl Hebner.” Tenay and Taz then debated Hebner’s involvement before Taz said he just wants to see a party. In the ring, Rayne noted this is an important moment because the queen has regained her throne. She proclaimed herself new Knockouts champion and said she’s excited for the party Brooke Hogan will throw her tonight. Rayne then thanked Earl Hebner for standing behind her every step of the way. She invited Earl out to the ring to make this moment “absolutely perfect.” Earl emerged from off-camera and walked into the ring for a big hug.
Suddenly, Brooke Hogan’s music played. Brooke walked out on-stage and said this is the kind of behavior she was talking about. Brooke said she’s known Earl her whole life and it’s quite evident there’s some shady stuff tonight. Way, way, way too late, Brooke said Earl can’t referee any more of Brooke’s Knockouts matches. After Madison flipped out, Brooke announced Madison vs. Miss Tessmacher in a re-match tonight. Brooke said she brought in a special referee for the match tonight. Madison then cut a promo on Brooke and the Hogans, saying they’re all talk and no action. Rayne told “big, bad Hogan” to come make the changes right now.
Brooke then charged the ring and Madison and Earl bailed from the ring. Brooke called her out to the ring, then two Aces & Eights dudes hit the ring. Brooke slowly turned around and didn’t seem affected by their presence. The two dudes cornered her in the ring, then Ray, Aries, and Hardy stormed the ring to make the save, chasing A&E from the ring. Kurt Angle and James Storm brought up the rear and Impact abruptly cut to break.
Moments Ago: Brooke Hogan was trapped by the Aces & Eights before the locker room chased them away. … Back live, interim GM Sting had joined the party. Sting called out the Aces & Eights group, noting their character is down in the pits. Sting said he promised Hulk Hogan that Brooke would be protected and that’s what happened. Sting said they can run with the pack because they gave Angle, Hardy, Aries, and himself. Sting then noted it’s Open Fight Night next week on Impact and said it will be Showtime at the start of the show with their packs meeting in the ring. Sting’s music played to wrap up the segment before the top faces slowly left the ring.
Backstage: Daniels and Kaz talked about a Spider-man comic. Daniels “got his heat back” noting he was ganged up on by Joe, Styles, and Angle at Hardcore Justice. Kaz and Daniels turned their attention to the Claire storyline before A.J. Styles walked into the shot. Styles said he must have been drugged to sleep with a “foot” like Claire. Styles then told Daniels about new stipulations for their BFG Series match tonight: if Daniels wins, then he’ll admit to being the father, but if Styles wins, then he gets a paternity test. Styles walked off, then Daniels became concerned about whether Styles is going to go Maury Povich on him.
[Commercial Break…] […Q4]
Back live, Tenay and Taz re-reviewed the BFG Series standings updated with Samoa Joe’s victory earlier tonight. Daniels’s music then played for the second BFG Series match of the night. After Daniels and Kazarian came out, A.J. Styles came out as Tenay recapped the new deal for the match tonight, as agreed upon by Sting. No sign of Claire Lynch ringside here. Before the match, ref Brian Hebner gave Kazarian the boot from ringside because of the importance of the match. Daniels flipped out, then Hebner called for the bell.
2 — TNA tag champion DANIELS (w/TNA tag champion Kazarian) vs. A.J. STYLES — BFG Series match
Daniels tried a quick pin with his feet on the ropes, but Hebner called it off. Styles then lit up Daniels with chops to the chest before dropping a knee across the face. Styles proceeded to choke Daniels underneath the bottom rope before continuing the attack with stomps to the chest. Daniels needed a breather on the floor, which drew Styles to the outside. Daniels tried to cut off Styles back in the ring, but Styles cut him off and continued the attack. Daniels then got down on both knees and begged, but Styles clotheslined him. Tenay sent the show to break.
The match resumed with Daniels in control as Tenay recapped the stipulations added to this match. Styles then came back with his trademark drop down, leap frog, and dropkick for a close two count. Styles followed with the Muta Lock for a submission, but Daniels broke free. So, Styles tried a single-leg crab looking for 10 points in the BFG Series before turning it into a Muta Lock again. Daniels bit his way out of the hold, then slingshot Styles throat-first across the top rope. Daniels proceeded to knock Styles out of the ring, looking for a count-out win.
[Q5 — second hour] Styles made it back into the ring before nine, then took a hard whip into the corner for his trouble. Daniels followed with a punt to the chest and proclaimed, “Its good!” for a football reference. Daniels continued the attack with a back-drop suplex, but no pin. Daniels then blatantly tried to put his feet on the ropes for a pin, but the ref easily spotted it and asked Daniels if he thinks he’s stupid. Daniels, frustrated, chucked Styles to the floor again. Styles was slow to re-enter the ring, but re-entered at eight to avoid a count-out.
Back in the ring, Styles teased the Clash, but Daniels cut him off. Daniels then wrapped his legs around Styles’s throat and applied a standing Koji Clutch. Styles eventually collapsed to the mat while locked in the hold, but refused to tap out. Daniels released, then landed elbows to the back of the head as they hit the 12:40 mark. No mention by the announcers yet of the 15-minute time limit, but Tenay slipped in a TNA house show tour plug.
At 13:00, Daniels mounted Styles for ten punches, which Styles blocked at five to score with a running powerbomb out of the corner. Daniels sold immense back pain as Styles collected himself face-down on the mat. At 14:00, both men reached their feet and Styles avoided a corner attack before springboarding onto Daniels and making his full comeback. Styles followed with a gutbuster, but only a nearfall. Still no mention of the time limit at 14:30. Styles then hit a suplex into a neckbreaker for a two count when Daniels got his foot on the bottom rope. Clearly, the announcers have been instructed not to mention the time limit.
At 15:00, Daniels dumped Styles over the top rope, so there should be a draw with the time limit expiring. But, the match kept going. On the floor, Daniels sent Styles back into the ring, but Styles sprung to his feet and flew over the top rope with a flip-dive on the outside. They hit 16:00 with Kazarian appearing underneath the ring as Daniels recovered on the outside. Styles then tried to suplex Daniels back into the ring, but Kaz held down Styles’s feet as Daniels scored a three count. Ref Brian Hebner saw Kaz, though, and waved off his three count. Kaz and Daniels flipped out, then Styles smashed Daniels with a Pele kick. He covered Daniels for the win. Afterward, Styles put an exclamation mark on things with a Styles Clash to Daniels.
WINNER: Styles at 16:50 following 16:30 false finish after what should have been a draw at 15:00. Another solid Styles-Daniels match while setting up the next stage in the Styles-Claire-Daniels storyline. (**1/2)
Backstage: Sting was shown calling Hulk Hogan, who said he just saw what happened. Hogan vowed to appear on Impact next week to be right next to Sting when they call out Aces & Eights. Hogan said he’s not ready to fight, but he has to be next to Sting against A&E. Hogan said he has Sting’s back. Sting declared it’s officially Showtime.
Locker Room: James Storm was shown re-arranging his gear. Jeff Hardy then walked up behind Storm and said he doesn’t care what people are saying, just that Aces & Eights cost him 20 points at Hardcore Justice. Hardy said it’s all shady. Storm turned around and said he’s sick and tired of everyone accusing him and now Hardy is questioning him. Storm said he will be there next week to fight A&E. He then vowed to be ringside for Hardy’s match against Bully Ray tonight to make sure the group doesn’t show up. Storm walked off.
Backstage: Bobby Roode was shown calmly walking down the hallway straightening his suit tie. Tenay noted Roode has no more TNA Title shots, so Roode will address his situation next.
[Q6] Video package: Aries vs. Roode TNA Title feud.
Impact Zone: Bobby Roode’s music played to bring out the former TNA World champion with no scheduled re-matches. Roode slowly walked out on-stage looking down at the ground before slowly, slowly making his way to the ring peering to his left and right to survey the crowd. Once in the ring, Roode took the mic and looked down at the mat selling inner conflict. Pause for a “You Suck” chant as tourists milled about in the background.
Roode began that last Sunday at Hardcore Justice, he had an opportunity to right the wrong and prove to the world that in fact what he’s been saying is true that Austin Aries is a fluke. Roode said he proved it because he defeated Aries right here in the middle of the ring when the assigned referee Brian Hebner counted to three and raised his hand in victory. Of course, as everyone knows, one thing led to another with Earl Hebner re-starting the match, which Roode claimed he had already won. As a result, he’s standing here empty-handed. Pause for “Looooser” chant. Roode said he should be standing here as World champ. Now, he doesn’t get another re-match. Roode said that without the title – the fans don’t get it – he’s empty and when people think of World Hvt. champion, they think Bobby Roode.
Roode said he went home, looked in the mirror, and said there is only one person to blame for all of this. “And that’s Austin Aries,” he said. Well, and Sting, too. And, the refs. “Aries, Sting, the referees, and as a matter of fact, each and every one of you,” Roode said, pointing to the crowd. Roode said he gives his all every week, but they disrespect him. “You’re a loser” chant from the crowd. Roode said now he’s faced with the question of “Now what, Bobby?” Roode said he’s going to… Well, um… No wait… nope. Roode couldn’t find the words, so he dropped the mic in the middle of the ring and wiped his mouth. Echoes of James Storm’s “I’m walking away” speech after Lockdown in April.
Backstage: Madison Rayne and Miss Tessmacher were shown on a split-screen preparing for their Knockouts Title match tonight with a special referee.
[Q7] Gut Check: A tough-guy-looking guy was profiled in a video package. The man talked about his tough upbringing and becoming a wrestling fan. He said he got a call one day that his brother got shot and now he’s wrestling for his brother. The man said it’s a second chance at life for him. Next week, the man gets his Gut Check shot.
3 — Knockouts champion MADISON RAYNE vs. MISS TESSMACHER — Knockouts Title match — special referee Taryn Terrell
Tessmacher was introduced first, followed by new KO champ Madison Rayne to set up the drama of the special referee announcement. Brooke Hogan walked out on-stage and said she is bringing a “phenomenal” ref to this match. She introduced Taryn Terrell, the former Tiffany in WWE, who the crowd didn’t seem to recognize. The match boiled down to Madison arguing with Tiffany, who tried to call things down the middle. Tessmacher then took advantage of a distracted Rayne for the pin and the win to regain the Knockouts Title.
WINNER: Tessmacher at 4:02 to re-capture the Knockouts Title.
Up Next: Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray. TNA showed the two men walking toward the entrance area on a split-screen.
Earlier Tonight: Aces & Eights cornered Brooke Hogan in the ring before the locker room made the save. Sting then challenged A&E to meet him and his pack in the ring at the top of the show next week.
Video message: In another recorded message, Aces & Eights said that’s just the invitation they were looking for from Sting. A&E confirmed they will meet Sting and his pack at the top of the show next week. Another A&E dude reminded the spokesperson that they have unfinished business tonight.
Impact Zone: Back in the arena, Bully Ray was introduced first for the main event BFG Series match. Hardy was out second leading into the eighth quarter-hour for a singles version of the Hardys vs. Dudleys WWE feud.
4 — BULLY RAY vs. JEFF HARDY — BFG Series match
Ray and Hardy slowly locked up, nearly knocking over ref Earl Hebner in the process. Ray then ducked under the ropes to avoid Hardy. James Storm then slowly walked out to ringside 45 seconds into the match. “Where your boys at, huh?!” Ray shouted at Storm, who said he has no boys. Ray turned his attention back to Hardy and landed right hand blows before jawing with Hebner. Ray then left the ring to argue with Storm before shoving him in the chest. Storm ripped off his jacket to fight, then Hardy dropkicked a distracted Ray through the ropes. Hardy followed with a splash and they returned to the ring as Impact went to break.
Back live, Ray was in control trying to score pinfalls, but to no avail. Also, Storm was shown looking around the arena trying to keep an eye out for Aces & Eights. Ray continued the attack on Hardy, who finally fought back with boots to the gut. Hardy made his standard comeback before delivering a dropkick to the chest for a two count. Ray came back with a lift-up uranage throw, but Hardy kicked out of a pin. Ray then pulled up Hardy by his hair and wanted a Bubba Bomb, but Hardy countered with a back kick to the gut. Hardy followed with a clothesline before removing his t-shirt and climbing up top for a Swanton Bomb. Hardy covered, but Ray kicked out in-time.
At 11:00, Ray rolled to the floor near James Storm, who backed away and noted he has nothing to do with this. Hardy then wanted a plancha on Ray, but Ray yanked Storm in the way, so Hardy crashed into Storm. The announcers completely missed the call, stuck in the middle of a Hogan & Sting plug for the top of the show next week. After a reset, Ray and Hardy returned to the ring, where Hardy nailed a splash. Two Aces & Eights members then hit the ring and measured Ray. Suddenly, Styles, Aries, Angle, and Sting stormed ringside to chase away A&E.
The match continued with Ray pulling himself to his feet and stalking Hardy. Hardy then nailed the Twist of Fate out of nowhere and Ray fell down into Hardy, who rolled up Ray for a quick three count.
WINNER: Hardy at 12:50 to earn 7 BFG Series points. Solid TV match with good chemistry between a fan favorite like Hardy and top heel like Ray.
Post-match: Ray popped to his feet and smashed Hardy with a clothesline. Ray, angry, looked around the arena before locking eyes with Storm, who decided to enter the ring at this point. Storm and Ray argued as Hardy recovered in the background. Storm then tried a superkick on Ray, but Ray moved and Hardy ate the superkick. Ray angrily accused Storm of being behind the A&E group, then left the ring. The announcers then played dumb saying Ray is exactly right about Storm.
Suddenly, four members of A&E hit the ring and started applauding Storm. The announcers continued to play dumb, then one of the A&E members clotheslined Storm. This led to another indy-looking beat down on Storm as the announcers jumped to the next conclusion that Storm was framed all along. The beat down continued as Impact signed off one minute past the top of the hour.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Yet another solid, very good show…dragged down by the final minute of Impact. The announcers produced to play dumb when it was clear that Storm was set up combined with another awful-looking beat down by the Aces & Eights group was a poor end to an otherwise very good show.