Photo via ImpactWrestling.com"
WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight ... Whoops! Wrong show.
TNA Impact Wrestling comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Thurs., May 31, 2012) from the Impact Wrestling Zone in Orlando, Florida, for the first live show of the summer series that will run for the next 12 weeks.
And for the first time, CagesideSeats.com is bringing you a live blog of all the night's action.
You'll have to bear with us a bit as we catch up on current TNA storylines. We could just bullshit you and do a little research and act like we're on the up-and-up but most of you know better. This is a WWE blog, for the most part, and we rarely travel outside that bubble.
But we're doing so for TNA tonight (and for the foreseeable future) now that they've moved to the live format. As long as they keep this up, we will too.
Tonight's show will feature Sting returning to battle Bobby Roode in a lumberjack match, not to mention the debut of Brooke Hogan, who will be taking over the Knockouts division. Don't worry though, Cagesiders, she won't be doing any actual wrestling.
The show has a brand spankin' new start time at 8 p.m. ET on Spike TV, so be sure to get here nice and early to join in with all your favorite Cageside commenters. TNA Impact Wrestling live blog after the jump.
TNA IMPACT WRESTLING RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG MAY 31
Broadcast is live.
They recap last week. Hogan chose AJ Styles to challenge Bobby Roode for the title. When Roode won, he officially became the longest reigning champion in TNA history. This led to Sting's return to challenge Roode to a match this week.
And that's how we'll open the show. This is a lumberjack match and everyone is already ringside.
Sting vs. Bobby Roode -- To think, it was 14 years ago tomorrow that Sting joined the NWO Wolfpac on Monday Nitro under the WCW banner. Now he's nearing 50 and opening TNA against Roode in a lumberjack match.
They begin and Roode tries to flip and back bump into the corner and nearly breaks his neck in the process. Not a good start. Roode takes control and puts Sting in the corner where he starts hitting chops. Sting no sells them and regains control. After a clothesline, Sting looks for the Scorpion Death Lock. Roode goes nuts getting to the ropes to avoid it.
Sting continues the assault and while he does so, Mike Tenay mentions Twitter for the first time. Roode gets sent to the outside a few times and the babyfaces rough him up before sending him back in. The opposite happens on the other side to Sting.
The lumberjacks nearly brawl on the outside while Roode almost gets the pin in the ring.
Roode regains control and it's so just damn weird to watch this with so little noise. Raw has a certain big feel to it while Impact just sounds dead. Literally, like you can hear every whisper and that's what makes it so sad. There isn't even that.
They finally come alive for Sting's comeback. He ends up eating a boot to the face in the corner, though.
Again, Sting gets sent to the outside where he's attacked. This time, however, he fights everyone off.
Roode still firmly in control back from break. Sting again gets sent out to the lumberjacks -- who are comprised off the top stars on the roster -- before getting worked and sent back in.
Roode again tries to hit chops but Sting again no sells and hits the Stinger splash just after. Roode quickly bails to the outside with the heels, who form a protective cocoon around him. So Sting flies over the top rope and takes all of them out.
Sting looks for the Scorpion Death Lock but gets reversed into a crossface. He manages to get to the ropes, though.
Back up they go and Sting hits the Scorpion Death Drop out of nowhere. This time he finally gets the Scorpion Death Lock and Roode taps out to give Sting the win.
Unbelievable. The first live Impact Wrestling event of the summer after a big promotional push and they job the World Heavyweight Champion to a returning Sting. By forcing him to tap, no less.
Hogan's music hits while Sting celebrates and he comes out clapping with a big smile on his face. He says Sting is the number one guy on Impact Wrestling. He's going to make headline news right now, he says. He says the Slammiversary main event will be Roode vs. Sting for the heavyweight title.
They cut to the announce desk with Tazz and Mike Tenay. They're going to set the stage for tonight.
AJ Styles will take on Christopher Daniels. Devon will also defend his TV title against whomever the fans choose in an online vote. Oh, and Brooke Hogan will be debuting.
Bully Ray in the ring. "Do you know who I am?" He's got good heat. They cut to Joseph Parks in the crowd. Ray says he came here looking for one person and that's Park.
Ray continues by saying he's surprised Park had the balls to show up after what happened last week. He tells the "guy in the truck" to roll the footage of last week that showed Bully beating Park up. He proceeds to say he wants to fight Park and to get down to the ring.
Park looks all scared but the crowd is urging him on and he walks down to ringside. Says he doesn't want to fight. "Of course you don't want to fight. Because you're a coward. You're a coward, your mother's a coward, your father's a coward, but most of all, your brother, Abyss, is a coward."
Park gets pissed and tries to jump the rails but security steps in. Ray tells them to back off and Park climbs in the ring. Ray says he wants to fight right now, so "let's do it, lawyer boy."
"I'm not a wrestler, I'm an attorney. I am not a fighter," Park says.
Ray says maybe he can change his mind. He says he wants to change his plea to guilty. He's guilty of leaving Abyss for dead.
So Park grabs him and acts like he's going to punch him. Before he can, Ray says he'll sue if he does so. Park says he won't stoop to his level and he has class. Ray says no, he's just like Abyss. Just a coward.
Park then gets on the mic and says he wants to fight after Ray leaves the ring. Ray repeatedly says, "You want to fight me?" Park says yes and Ray says they won't do so now but at Slammiversary.
They show a promo hyping Crimson. He's still undefeated and he still has a terrible finisher. He's shown in the back talking to someone off camera and saying, "You see that? Clearly, I can't be beat. I can't be beat."
Time for an X-Division title match.
Chris Sabin vs. Austin Aries -- They chain wrestle to start. Sabin hits a big forearm in the corner. Aries takes control with a springboard and a running elbow. Sabin battles back with a cross arm roll up that gets two. After going back and forth a bit, Aries hits a suicide dive on the outside. Not long after, Sabin returns the favor with a dive over the top rope.
Back in the ring, Aries counters a slam into a roll up to get the pin to retain the title. Short but fun match.
They show a pre-tape with Hogan telling Tazz he's proud of how he's handled himself with Gutcheck. Tazz says thanks and he's going to be himself, which some people don't like. Hogan says that's fine and thanks again for stepping up.
For those who don't normally watch (like me), we're lost.
They show another pre-tape of Al Snow, Bruce Prichard and Tazz running over film and talking about this Gutcheck thing. They break down one of the competitors from last week, Joey Ryan. Snow and Tazz like how he looked but Prichard thinks he looks like a 70s porn star.
They continue breaking down the tape with Tazz saying he didn't like Ryan staying in character too much last week and not acting at all like he was about to be in the biggest fight of his life. Prichard and Snow disagree and say they thought he did a good job.
This makes me think of Tough Enough deliberations with a far lesser cast of characters than Stone Cold Steve Austin, Booker T, Bill Demott and Trish Stratus.
The segment ends with Tazz saying, "let's let him cut the promo and if he can cut the promo of his life, we'll see."
Brooke Hogan's debut is next.
Backstage and Jeff Hardy, RVD, Mr. Anderson and Robbie E are standing around awaiting the results of the voting to see who will face Devon for the TV title shot. If the poll is legit at all, Hardy wins in a landslide.
Dixie Carter comes walking out to some terrible music.
She asks how everyone is doing before saying she can't believe TNA has made it to the 10 year mark. I don't think anyone else can believe that either.
She says TNA will have a Hall of Fame and the first inductee will be revealed at the Slammiversary show. Wow. Been in business for a decade and already busting out a Hall of Fame. Too funny.
Finally, she moves on to introducing Brooke Hogan. She says she needed help running the Knockouts division by someone who knows the business through and through. She didn't realize it but she had someone right there all along.
Oh dear god, Hogan comes out to some terrible song of hers. She's wearing a tight black dress that shows off her thunder thighs. Tazz calls her a "firecracker."
Carter officially welcomes Hogan to TNA Impact Wrestling.
"What a welcome."
Dixie and Brooke start talking about how hard it was to tell Hulk about her being hired but they bonded together through girl power. Brooke looks like she's going to cry. She then says she knows Dixie wants the Knockouts to be taken seriously -- with girl power -- and she's going to take this seriously.
"I'm going to work my butt off. Fans, thank you, Dixie, thank you and Knockouts, thank you."
She was caked in make up, looked terribly uncomfortable and entirely too young.
Backstage, Kazarian and Daniels are complaining while watching a monitor. They're upset about Carter not revealing more but they promise to drop a bombshell tonight because it's live TV and what they hell can anyone do about it.
Time for the TV title match. Interactivity, y'all!
Devon vs. Jeff Hardy -- Hardy won with over 40-percent of the votes. He's the only dude on the roster who actually moves the needle a bit. He acts like he's asleep when he's told. He's got that stupid make up where he painted an eye over his eyelid to make it look like his eyes are open when they're actually closed.
He's so artistic!
They get busy quickly, trading near falls on roll ups. Hardy with a head scissors but Devon gets a clothesline. Body slam sets up a head butt but Hardy moves. Enzuigiri hits. Hardy comes off the top but only gets two.
Devon takes over and regains control for a bit before Hardy comes back and hits the Twist of Fate. He goes up top for the Swanton Bomb but Robbie E and Robbie T hit the ring to lay both guys out. The referee calls for the bell and they announce the match "has been thrown out due to interference."
Devon battles back and hits a neckbreaker on Robbie E before nailing Robbie T with a jawbreaker. Suddenly, Devon and Hardy work together as a tag team to send the heels out. Then they do some sort of handshake in the ring while the crowd celebrates.
Pre-tape of James Storm back at home. They continue playing up whether or not he's coming back to wrestling. He says he made his decision and his daughter asks if that means he's going back. He tells the cameras to shut off.
Gut check with Joey Ryan up next.
A replay airs of Daniels and Kazarian coming out and helping Kurt Angle win his match against Styles by showing him an envelope that had pictures of Styles and Dixie Carter. Because of this, he was distracted in his TNA heavyweight title match last week and lost. More to come on this later.
Gutcheck decision time for Joey Ryan. Bruce Prichard, Al Snow and Tazz are all in the ring.
They say they're ready to make their decision. They bring out Ryan to a small applause. He's in full on 70s porn star character again, doing the spot where he lifts his leg up on the ropes in the corner. The guys in the ring can't help but laugh.
They give him some mic time. Ryan asks if they know who he is because he's kind of a big deal. In fact, he's trending on Twitter right now. Oh, and 87-percent of TNA fans say yes to him.
But what about the judges.
Prichard says no.
Snow says yes, despite the fact that he doesn't like him.
They give him a chance to cut a promo. He says he's money and Tazz knows it, and where he comes from, you don't leave money on the table because someone else might come by and pick it up.
Tazz says if that was the promo to save his life, he's gotta be kidding. Ryan gets in his face and they act like they're going to come to blows. Tazz says no.
Dear god, they've turned Impact into a reality show. That was the evolution. It's no longer a wrestling show. It's a reality show about wrestling.
Main event time.
AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels -- Collar and elbow tie up into the corner and Daniels slaps him in the face after they break. Tazz on commentary says he's sorry for losing his cool in the Gutcheck segment. He proceeds to use insider terms and continues saying Ryan needs to keep "humping the road" until he can come back better.
Tenay says he loved the passion of it all.
Meanwhile in the ring, Daniels is in control. Irish whip into the corner. AJ with a boot to counter. They trade suplex attempts over the top rope. Daniels drops Styles neck on the rope and then hits him to the outside, where Styles lands on the barricade.
Daniels working an arm coming back from break. Scoop slam before coming off the ropes for two. He works a submission hold that Styles could easily get out of but doesn't and instead waits until he can get to the ropes to break it.
Styles starts to make his comeback. Both guys end up laid out for a rest spot before Daniels rushes into the corner where Styles used to be. They pick up the pace with Styles getting the torture rack into a slam and pin attempt that gets a two count.
Flying forearm before a kip up. Daniels gets sent into the corner and they trade offense. Styles looks for the Styles Clash but Kazarian comes down for the distraction. Daniels almost gets a roll up on the distraction but Styles hits the inverted DDT off a flip on the top rope and that gets the pin.
Kazarian rushes back in and the heels attack. Kazarian's shots look terrible.
Kurt Angle's music hits and he comes out to make the save. He puts Kazarian in the Ankle Lock before Daniels makes the save. They hit the high low and then tie Angle up on the bottom rope. Styles gets up but is hit with one of the tag belts.
The champs fail to tie up both of Angles wrists, despite two attempts, and finally end up just hitting him with the belt too.
Daniels gets on the mic and says he's got something to play. So they run audio of Carter and Styles talking about hooking up without actually saying so, until she shows up at the commentary booth, grabs Tazz's microphone and tells the production team to turn it off. "What the f*ck," she says. "You are FINISHED!"
And that's that.