Previously on Impact Wrestling
Sting and Hulk Hogan quickly set their distant and recent past issues aside, offering and accepting apologies before moving on to once again jointly address the issue of Aces & Eights. Matt Morgan, still upset that Hogan no-sold the deal he offered to fight the gang two weeks ago, came out to complain about Sting being handed another title shot. But the General Manager said that no one would be handed anything, and made a #1 contender's match between Morgan and the Icon for last week's main event.
With a victory over Zema Ion and Sonjay Dutt, the returning Chris Sabin earned a shot at the X-Division title. With a new finisher and a determined attitude, the company pioneer put Kenny King on notice.
Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle issued an open challenge to any member of Aces & Eights; a call answered by vice-president D-Lo Brown. The veterans put on a brutal "I Quit" match, and in the end it was Brown who said those words. President and world champ Bully Ray was none too pleased with D-Lo, and promised to address his status with the club this week. For his part, Angle tried to get some indication from AJ Styles about his future, but the phenomenal one still didn't feel like sharing.
The Knockouts put on a match of the night candidate as Mickie James and Taryn Terrell defeated Gail Kim and Tara. The heels decimated the winners post-match, with Gail and Taryn likely to continue their issues into the future following a ringpost figure-four by the former champ that left the newcomer writhing in pain.
And Sting staked his claim to a shot at Bully Ray at the Slammiversary pay-per-view (PPV) when Morgan passed out in a Scorpion Death Lock during the main event.
Impact emanates live from Tupelo, MS tonight!
The next challengers to Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez's tag team titles will be decided when the Dirty Heels of Austin Aries & Bobby Roode face off against Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian of Bad Influence. Tensions are running high between the groups following Daniels and Kaz's failed attempt to convince Roode to ditch Aries and reform Fortune. Adding to that strain will be the match's special guest referee - former Fortune member James Storm!
Another women's contest has already been booked, and following their solid showing last week, that's not a bad thing, that's a good thing. Gail Kim and Tara will take on the disgruntled James and new partner, Knockouts' champ Velvet Sky. Will Terrell show for some retribution on Kim? Can VelVel and Mickie co-exist given that just two weeks ago the were battling over the belt?
Trio of villains Bully, Devon and Anderson will battle Angle, Sting and a mystery partner in the main event. The babyfaces hope that Styles will accept their offer to fight the club. The offer of colors is still out there for AJ to join the gang. Is this the night he decides?
All that, and high-flying X-Division action, some foolishness designed to get Rob Terry over and Hulkamania!
Expect to pop for:
Bad Influence. Given that Aries & Roode have failed in their last two chances to dethrone Guerrero and Super-Mex, I think it's probably time to give Kaz and Chris an opportunity. While the guest ref has no love for Bad Influence, his problems with the It Factor are deeply seeded and any officiating bias will, at worst, probably effect both teams equally. Any mic time that the participants in this match get will be the best thing on the show, but I'm betting that BI get to enjoy some appletinis as they plot strategy for getting their belts back at Slammiversary.
Mickie James, Gail Kim and Tara. These three women have been busting their asses for years, and while TNA has recently taken a bit of a tumble back to the T & A side of female pro wrestling, they're still out there looking good in every sense of the term. Even saddled with a greenhorn like Terrell or a game but not-terribly-skilled piece of eye candy like Sky, these three can be counted on to put on the best women's match you'll see on national TV whenever they get the chance. And often, like last week, they may just steal the show in a way that would make the WWE star using that catchphrase jelly.
The heat is on:
Everyone in the X-Division not named Chris Sabin. The sheer volume of video packages and interview spots given to the returning Machine Gun leaves little doubt that they're going to push the veteran X-Division star to the moon. King's time as king of the division took forever to come and has played second fiddle to the triple threat match gimmick. A group of guys counted on for change-of-pace and pump-up the crowd matches hasn't had a personality break out since Aries last summer. Can anyone get in the way of Sabin being handed the next chance to crash the main event?
Sting. Does a guy who's career will always have an asterisk referring to a "never worked for Vince McMahon" footnote (with all the good and bad that that entails) really need to add an embarrassing couple of chapters to the end of that career? Never known as great in-ring talent, watching him lumber through matches in his 50s isn't going to change anybody's mind. And I'm not sure what would be more embarrassing at this point - a loss to Bully or trying to carry the company on his shoulders by winning the belt one more time. Only the casualest of casual fans are getting a thrill from seeing the Stinger closing shows at this point. Forget who is being held back because of his latest push...how much damage is he doing to his own legacy?
Can TNA stay out of their own way and let the strengths of their roster keep fans on their side?
Let us know you think, Cagesiders. And be sure to jump in the live blog tonight and enjoy/complain about all the action along with our very own General, Geno Mrosko!