Previously on Impact Wrestling
And also a little show called Bound for Glory...
You get a new champion! And you get a new champion! And you get a new champion! And you get a new champion!
That's what TNA Creative said to each of the company's four divisions. The pay-per-view (PPV) in San Diego wiped the slate clean as Chris Sabin once again became the X-Division champ, Gail Kim reclaimed her Knockouts title, Jessie Godderz and Robbie E of The Bro-Mans won tag team gold for the first time and AJ Styles nearly killed himself to become TNA World champion.
None of the former champions (or other challengers, since all but the main strap had multiple contestants fighting for them on Sunday night) will be content to let the new standard bearers celebrate in peace, but the Phenomenal One in particular has a target on his back. Not only will former champ and President of Aces and Eights Bully Ray be gunning for his title, but he has the backing of Styles' nemesis Dixie Carter. And the Dix is President of something slightly more important that a pretend motorcycle gang with three members.
Gail Kim needed some help to take her title back from ODB, and that help came from Lai'D Tapa, the Gut Check winner who had been rampaging through the women's scene on recent episodes of Impact. The Motor City Machine Gun also required an assist from a female associate, as Velvet Sky was unwittingly used to distract Jeff Hardy in the Ultimate X match where Sabin became king of the division for the seventh time.
Kurt Angle is back, and he's sort of in the TNA Hall of Fame (which is itself only sort of a real thing). He accepted and then returned the ceremonial wrist watch, saying he had more to accomplish in the future. Hopefully that includes staying sober and not dying in the ring. The Olympic Gold Medalist delivered the match of the night at BFG with Bobby Roode, did the job for the It Factor and then sort of did a stretcher job.
Sting and Magnus had a match, and I think the only people who cared less than me were in the crowd in San Diego. And scion of the Carter clan, Ethan, debuted by squashing a jobber. On PPV.
The Jazz are off tonight, so it's Impact LIVE for you - residents of Salt Lake City!
Yes, Dixie says "he is gonna fight Bully Ray for the rematch". No, I don't know what it means, but, yes, they left that in the promo they released on the world wide web and will show on national television.
For real though, AJ and Bully will rematch the title bout that some folks just paid for last weekend. Carter seems pretty determined that the man she calls "the Marginal One" won't be the poster boy of her rasslin' organization, so we'll see if she has any more tricks to pull that she didn't already try at BFG.
TNA is pushing an injury (lower case a) angle for Kurt (capital A) Angle. He is being touted as appearing on tonight's show to address his future. The other new champs will also set the stage for their first programs atop their respective divisions on Impact.
But what about the other names we know are soon to be kicking around the Impact Zone? Is Magnus turning heel? How soon can we get the Extraordinary Gentleman's Organization in a main event feud? How much are they paying Jeff Hardy to be a mid-card enhancement talent?
Expect to pop for:
The Bro-Mans, bro! See, when you're not spending your free time whining about how badly you were treated on the flagship show of the largest pro wrestling company the world has ever seen, the Jersey affectations aren't that annoying.
At this point with TNA in general and their once proud tag division in particular, different is good. Goofy gimmicks are experiencing a bit of a renaissance (you could argue that TNA kept those the weird fire buring in the mainstream with gimmicks like Shark Boy and Curry Man and Super Eric), and one of the hallmarks of those gimmicks earning the goodwill of the fans is commitment on the part of the performer. Robbie E has that in spades, as he's had it from the jump...with Cookie and through guest appearances with the cast of Jersey Shore to most recently doing his best Andy Kaufman while jobbing in inter-gender matches.
the dude bro can go in the ring. Jessie has proven himself to be...a good sport. And a fan of the form who honestly wants to improve. Together, they have been entertaining enough to remain on television without being anywhere near the belts. The previous champs have been in "creative has nothing for you" purgatory even with the titles.
What's worse, nobody has missed James Storm and Gunner.
So, let Robbie E fist pump and take bumps while Jessie gets his back. An actual feud would be nice, too.
The heat is on:
The main event bullpen. The powers that be have taken a lot of flack for ripping off WWE stories while they're still running on Monday and Friday nights. And for letting people more interested in getting themselves over than the company hold sway. But what about having names like Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode and Austin Aries with no clear direction?
You could flounder at the top and still get some buzz going about your product with a vibrant upper mid-card. TNA's roster has something like four-to-six guys who are capable of killing it in the ring, half of whom could nail a promo on just about any angle you throw at them and then be ready to enter into a main event program.
But despite a storyline (the Bound for Glory series) that is designed to build to a hot main event at your biggest PPV while also creating those upper mid-card tales, this company botches both things like by changing directions on the series winner every year. This year, they compounded that by pulling the remainder of the series participants into programs with shifting allegiances and slumming with Bellator guys.
I so want their to be a mainstream alternative to WWE. But this freaking company makes it so hard to pull for them, even when they've got a bunch of guys I love to watch work.
Can you turn the page on a dismal Bound for Glory season and give TNA another chance?
Let us know below, and check out the show with your Cageside bros tonight in the live blog.