Previously on Impact Wrestling
World champion Bully Ray opened the show crowing about his win over Sting at Slammiversary and insisting that he be placed in the TNA Hall of Fame. Hulk Hogan and his Michael Jackson glove told him to beat it with that noise, and gave Jeff Hardy one more chance at the president of Aces and Eights in a ladder match for a hammer.
Or a hammer match with a ladder. I'm still a little shaky on the stipulation/booking of last week's main event.
Two more slots were filled in the Bound for Glory (BFG) series, as Hernandez defeated his good buddy Chavo Guerrero and Samoa Joe defeated Robbie E in qualifying matches.
Devon wanted a piece of new Television champ Abyss, but when he called him out, he only got his lawyer brother. After smacking Joseph Park for a bit, the former TV titleholder made like Elmer Fudd for the rest of the night as he and Knux searched for the monster. Abyss (wearing Park's track pants...hmmm) eventually found them, laying them out before departed to take the belt to...the abyss.
Knockouts champ Mickie James continued her brilliant heel turn, faux-graciously bowing out of a match with Velvet Sky due to VelVel's injuries - a bum knee that James stood by and watched Gail Kim give to Sky - and booking herself into a title defense against an Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) project as curvaceous as she was overmatched, Taeler Hendrix.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson debuted and showed quite a bit of polish and charisma for his first time in a pro wrestling ring. A man with some amateur grappling experience himself, new TNA Hall of Famer Kurt Angle, came out to make sure that the former UFC star knew he wasn't getting a free ride on Impact.
In the main event, the champ experienced some testicular discomfort due to a ladder attack by "the artist" but managed to win the match and retrieve the hammer. When Hardy disarmed him, Bully ran for safety. Backstage, his father-in-law nearly rang his other bell with another mallet. But Brooke clearly still has something in her heart for Ray, since she stepped in to stop her dad as the trio shared an awkward moment at show's end.
(NOTE: This show was taped last week for broadcast tonight. Previews are spoiler free, but results are available here)
The remaining nine members of the BFG series field will be announced. Or determined via qualifying matches. There seem to be a couple of ways into this year's tourney. But the Huckster promised us we would have a list of names after tonight, and a real American never lies.
Announced qualifying matches include a Slammiversary rematch between Kurt Angle and AJ Styles, and tag team champions James Storm & Gunner versus Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) with spots for both members of the winning team on the line.
What's next for Rampage? His staredown with Angle made it seem like maybe he won't disappear from our screens immediately like King Mo did. TNA officials are saying that he will appear on Impact tonight!
Sting was none too happy that no members of the TNA locker room came to his aid while the Aces and Eights threw everything but the kitchen sink at him in his title match on pay-per-view (PPV) in Boston. He is scheduled to appear on Impact and make a statement about that, and his future now that he can no longer challenge for the world heavyweight championship.
The plot thickened in the Hogan family drama last week...will the general manager have anything to say about the Knockouts general manager protecting the world champ last week? Wanted to use their kayfabe titles to remind everyone that Hulk, Brooke and Bully do have wrestling-related jobs...although I don't know how they can focus on them with their personal lives in such upheaval!
Expect to pop for:
Hand tools. Christopher Daniels' love of screwdrivers was eventually channeled into an affinity for appletinis, but TNA's fixation on booking with things you can buy at Home Depot has found its way back into the promotion.
When your champion participates in a match that he has no compelling reason to compete in - his belt was not on the line, it was no disqualification (couldn't he have brought his own hammer?), there were no penalties for not participating - just to get his hands on a home improvement product, you're putting over that product in a big way. Usually, ladder matches are for retrieving championship hardware.
Was that hammer better than the one Hogan found just laying around backstage?
And now, their big free agent signing is a guy who's known for lugging a chain around with him everywhere he goes! Forget about scratch-offs and insurance, get this company a product placement deal with Lowes.
But, given that it looks like we're headed for a big showdown between a 42 year old and a 60 year old with a ceramic back, they'll probably need all the construction equipment they can get their hands on in order to get 15 minutes out of that dog.
The heat is on:
Bobby Roode. The guy gets my vote for most talented all-around performer not currently employed by WWE. He's the longest reigning World heavyweight champ in TNA history. He's now been a part of two of the biggest tag teams in the company's history.
But he's hovering around the same position in the company that his former Beer Money partner, James Storm, now occupies. And I don't mean the tag team championship.
His run with Austin Aries has been incredibly entertaining, but with the tag scene seemingly moving on, it's time for both of the Dirty Heels to do the same thing. Some of it is a by-product of having a dominant heel champion and big heel faction. There's not much for the other rudos to do while they're waiting their turn. But if we're not going to get a tweener Fourtune that melds Bad Influence with Roode and Aries to fight Bully's gang, then let's get the It Factor back to the main event on his own.
Hopefully, the Bound for Glory series will allow them to do just that with Roode, and some other guys stagnating in the mid-card.
As the saying goes, "TNA gonna TNA". The Hogan soap opera is entertaining in a cheesy way, and a long-running tournament is a great story engine from which to build.
If you're excited for Impact, let's talk about it here. Then join the live blog tonight and come back tomorrow for more analysis and general chatter about TNA!