TNA Impact comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (July 18, 2013) from Louisville, Kentucky, featuring Destination X, a special episode replacing the pay-per-view (PPV) that was cut from the schedule when the company dropped down to four pay shows per year.
This year's event will feature Chris Sabin vs. Bully Ray for the heavyweight championship, the Main Event Mafia vs. the Aces and 8s, the Bound for Glory Series continuing with Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode, and the start of a new tournament to crown a new X Division champion.
To follow along with the live blog as it all goes down come right back here at 9 p.m. ET to check for updates from the show set to air on Spike TV.
TNA IMPACT RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG FOR JULY 18
Broadcast is live.
They open with an awesome video building up Chris Sabin. He's been through a ton of adversity and at the end of the road is a big old Bully with a vicious crew of thugs who back him up at all times. Luckily for Sabin, he's got a few friends of his own -- the Main Event Mafia -- and tonight, we'll see if the unbreakable kid can hit it big and win the heavyweight title.
That was really good, and did more to build up the match tonight than anything they could have done in the ring.
We'll start with Bully Ray, who is out with his belt holding it up high. He's by himself, though.
In response to a ton of boos when his music goes off: "Sounds like everybody is really happy to see me tonight."
We are, though.
He opens by saying he's sick of this. Everybody wants to talk about Sabin and he's tired of it. With perfect timing, the crowd starts up a "Let's go, Sabin" chant.
"You know damn well you can chant his name to high heaven, that kid ain't got a chance in hell to beat me for the world title."
Oh god, a "YES" chant just broke out, though it died pretty quick.
He's done talking Sabin, though, he wants his wife Brooke Hogan to come out to the ring. He wants to talk to her. Naturally, she answers the call wearing an incredibly short skirt showing off her thunderous thighs.
She says she doesn't understand what he's still holding onto this for. She's moving on -- as she shows him the wedding ring Phil Costa gave her -- and he should move on too.
"I said it last week and I'm really happy I have the opportunity to look you in the eyes tonight and tell you that you move on when I say you move on."
That's enough to bring out The Hulkster, and he gets a pretty good pop as usual.
He's pissed off, too. "Enough is enough, so we're knocking it off." He stops his promo to let the crowd chant for him, which they're doing with zest. "You've raped and pillaged this company and my family and you've got everything you've wanted out of us."
Again, enough is enough, and Hulk grabs Brooke and walks away.
Bully says he'll never give her a divorce and he'll never lose the heavyweight title.
This prompts the Main Event Mafia to appear on the screen and once again assure us they're here for a fight with Aces and 8s and they're going to ensure the main event is a fair fight.
In a cool visual, Samoa Joe, Sting, Kurt Angle, and Magnus were all lined up in front wearing suits while Rampage Jackson paced behind them wearing his chain and a mean scowl. That was pretty cool. Great way to use him.
Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries
This is a Bound for Glory Series match and they're pushing hard that Roode has been on a losing streak and has zero points so far in the series. They've brought back his frequent use of the word "fluke."
There's also the added story that these two are a tag team, though they've always struggled to work together cohesively.
Really good, long, back-and-forth match that Aries won with the Brainbuster. Roode sold it like a god and went absolutely nuts after the match, like he did after losing the heavyweight title last year. This included punching himself in the face as he was walking out.
Crazy Roode is a sight to behold.
Pre-tape with Mr. Anderson telling us that Knux's no vote apparently pushed Doc over the edge and he turned in his cut. That's the way they're explaining his contract not getting renewed, obviously.
A brief pep talk gives way to the usual backstage walk.
You know, Doc, as underwhelming as he initially seemed to be, actually stood out a bit in the group. Now, no one does.
Sonjay Dutt vs. Homicide vs. Petey Williams
It's explained that this is one of three qualifying matches for the X Division title match that will take place on next week's episode of Impact.
It was a pretty good match, with things heating up in a big way towards the end. Homicide hit Williams with a scary looking spike that Petey sold really well, like he wasn't trying to sell at all and was legitimately hurt by the maneuver. I wouldn't be surprised if that's exactly the case. It looked brutal.
Shortly after, Dutt recovered from where he was in the corner and pinned Homicide to make his way into the match next week.
Chavo Guerrero vs. Kenny King vs. Manik
This is the second of three qualifying matches for the X Division title match that will take place on next week's episode of Impact.
Not a bad match, though nothing special and certainly not s good as the one before it. Manik won by pinning King, who went from champion to nothing in really short order.
Pre-tape with Sting backstage and Kurt Angle asking if everyone is ready to start part one of tonight's mission. Rampage steps up and says he's "ready to knock somebody out."
So they storm out of the room with purpose as Magnus looks back to Sting to say "he's ready to knock somebody out."
That was actually fairly good timing and delivery.
Pre-tape backstage with Sabin hanging out and Hulk Hogan showing up to say everyone knows what he's been through, what with all the set backs and the injuries and all that.
Who knew it would all come down to this?
His advice for Sabin is the same as it was for Bully: At the end of the night, just make sure they remember you. And bring the title back to TNA, of course.
It's the top of the second hour, and that means it's time for the Main Event Mafia to make their presence felt. Sting gets a moment on the mic before passing it off to Angle, who is screaming his head off. He calls the group in the ring the greatest collection of champions, wrestlers, and fighters ever put together.
Magnus gets the mic and tells us, one-by-one, that everyone in the crew is ready. Then he asks if Louisville is ready, and they respond favorably.
Before long, Mr. Anderson shows up on the titantron. He finds it ridiculous that the Mafia would expect them to just come running down to the ring, so instead the MEM is "cordially invited" to come to the back and find them.
Joe spouts something about being thirsty, asks Rampage if he's thirsty and he responds by grabbing his genitals and saying "oh, you KNOW I'm thirsty" and, unbelievably enough, they run right to the back like Anderson wanted them to.
Naturally, it's an ambush and Ray manages to throw Angle in the back of a pick up truck before sending it off.
So they just kidnapped an Olympic hero, those dastardly heels!
Meanwhile, Devon locked the rest of the crew in a room so this could happen.
What dopes the Mafia are.
Greg Marasciulo vs. Rockstar Spud vs. Rubix
Marasciulo, by the way, is the artist formerly known as Trent Baretta in WWE. The match wasn't very good, save for a big sunset flip from Marasciulo to Spud on the outside. Oh, and Spud's mannerisms are the biggest reason everyone seems to be high on him.
Or at least everyone Mike Tenay talks to, but you know how that goes.
Anyway, Marasciulo, which is a terrible name to have to spell out, won the match to complete next week's Ultimate X match for the title.
A pre-tape shows the truck that was used to kidnap Kurt Angle come rolling up to the arena. Oh and guess who's driving?
It's Angle himself!
Indeed, it appears he took out whomever was the unlucky bastard driving the getaway car and came back to the arena to help his family in the Mafia.
Mike Tenay's shock at this was just rich.
Mickie James promo time.
She talks about a seminal moment in women's wrestling happening last week and how history was made and she wants to show footage of it.
So they play a video of her performing at a concert in Nashville. She sounded mostly awful and there didn't seem to be many people at the show.
James plays it up like a gigantic deal, though, brilliantly so, and that's enough to bring out Gail Kim, the number one contender to the Knockout's title. Remember, she won that right in last week's ladder match victory over Taryn Terrell.
They set up for Mickie to slap Kim, but she ducks and gets in a slap of her own. This leads to a pull apart brawl setting up their Knockouts title match next week.
Pre-tape showing Austin Aries running into Chris Sabin backstage. The latter is suspicious of the former but Aries reveals himself to be a friendly, at least for the time being.
Aries encourages Sabin while putting himself over.
"Not that it means a whole hell of a lot to you, I'm pulling for you tonight. Get the job done."
Main event time.
Bully Ray vs. Chris Sabin
The match starts with about 25 minutes to go in the show. About 10 minutes in, the Aces and 8s come down to the ring to provide support for Ray but are immediately forced to retreat, or at least stand idle, by the Main Event Mafia.
The end result was a big brawl from both sides and Ray and Sabin being left alone in the ring with a referee who had taken a bump and been knocked down. There was a hammer left over from all the chaos before and Ray tried to use it only to have it end up in the hands of Sabin. Ray tried a Bully Bomb but before he could complete it, Sabin hit him with the hammer and got the pinfall.
Sabin is the new TNA heavyweight champion.