Previously on Impact Wrestling
TNA World champion Bully Ray had a specific agenda for last week's show: mention Brooke Hogan's real-life engagement a lot, elect a vice-president for his club, the Aces and Eights, and convince Chris Sabin not to cash in his X-Division title for a shot at his belt.
Two out of three ain't bad. Congrats to Vice President Mr. Anderson.
Despite claiming that he was not intimidated by Sting's new Main Event Mafia (MEM), that faction's pledge to take out the champ's gang and ensure that his match with Sabin this week on the Destination X-themed episode of Impact remains a one-on-one affair got some added muscle when they revealed mixed martial arts legend Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as their final member.
The Bound for Glory (BFG) series rolled on, with a night of "randomly selected" tag team pairings leading up to a gauntlet match made up of the winners of those matches. The winner of the whole shebang was Magnus, and the 25 points he received gives him a commanding lead in the series.
Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels proved that it doesn't matter if they're the Dirty Heels and Bad Influence, Dirty Influence and the Bad Heels or Influential Dirt and Heely Badness, they're entertaining as heck - in ring and out.
And sisters were doing it for themselves as Gail Kim defeated Taryn Terrell in a brutal, innovative ladder match to become the #1 contender to Mickie James' Knockouts title.
Live from the 'Ville...Broadbent Arena in Louisville, KY!
The former Motor City Machine Gun became the second man to choose 'Option C' when he handed his X-Division strap to Hulk Hogan last week. Will he become the first to fail to capitalize when he faces Bully Ray tonight?
With their full roster revealed, the Mafia are ready to rid the company of Aces and Eights. Since the villains turned down their in-ring challenge, MEM will fight them in the aisles, in the back or in the streets. The war resumes with Destination X.
Meanwhile, the X-Division will need a new top gun. Qualifying matches are scheduled for tonight featuring part, present and future stars of the division as TNA begins the process of crowning a new champ.
And it was a year ago when Aries cashed in his belt and ended Roode's record-making run as Heavyweight champ. The now tag partners will do it again tonight, with badly needed BFG points on the line.
Expect to pop for:
TJ Perkins. Suicide, Manik...I've got to believe that we've been given a steady dose of the red and blue costume for a reason. It's got to be TNA's intellectual property, and maybe the action figures sell really well in Latin America and the Asian Pacific? More importantly, TJP got the rub, brother, when Hogan dropped his name and wrapped his arm around him on Impact.
With the herd being thinned on the TNA roster and an X-Division tournament to fill, this seems like a great opportunity for the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla staple to make a name for himself on a nationally televised stage. Even if that name is Manik.
Kenny King just had a lengthy run with the belt. Christian York is out of the company. Sabin and Aries are elevated beyond the division, even if it might only be temporary for the former. There's really nobody else on the radar.
Perkins has proven he can earn a living on the independent and international scenes. But I don't think he'd argue with TNA gold. I don't know that he's weak on the mic, but I can't think of anyone ever telling me that he's great, either. He's had success in a mask before when working his Puma gimmick - this could be the perfect situation for the high flier to really impress.
The heat is on:
Magnus. Why am I worried about a 6'3" 26 year old who looks like a cockney Hugh Jackman?
Mostly because this is TNA, I suppose. Last year around this time, James Storm had a big lead in the series to determine the #1 contender and was widely assumed to be headed toward a showdown with former Beer Money partner Roode for the World title. While it's hard to argue that they made the wrong call in striking while the iron was hot with Aries at Destination X 2012, it's impossible to argue that anything that happened next was good for Storm.
So, the good news for the Brit is that Sabin is no A-Double, and there should be no unexpected change of plans regarding who holds that strap come Bound for Glory, the pay-per-view (PPV). The bad news is, that current plans may have a lot more to do with a red and yellow egomaniac not currently in the BFG series.
I know that Magnus has had run-ins with the Aces and Eights, but do we really think of him when it comes to the club's main nemeses? I'd run down the names of everyone in his group (except Rampage), plus Hogan, Jeff Hardy and Joseph Park, before I got to Magnus. Is his involvement with the Mafia really going to be enough to make a showdown between he and Bully the kind of thing they want to headline their showcase event?
Like fellow countrymen Drew McIntyre and Wade Barrett in WWE, Magnus is all look and physical showmanship so far. The most I've enjoyed or been able to recognize his character was when he was a pseudo-gladiator in the days of the World Elite (also, I miss heel Eric Young, but that's a whole 'nother subject). Dixie Carter may sing his praises, but he doesn't strike me as a guy the real powers behind TNA's on-screen product believe is THE GUY, brother.
The best he can probably do right now is work on his microphone skills and hope that Vince McMahon decides he needs another strapping bloke for his collection.
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