Previously on Impact Wrestling
Sting wanted to talk to Dixie Carter about her confrontation with AJ Styles, but she was all, "nu-uh, I got this".
Bully Ray for one loved the boss' run-in with the #1 contender to his TNA World title, because it means The Phenomenal One is focused on that rather than him. Knux was perturbed that Ray was focused on his own business instead of the club's. In order to keep the troops in line, the President of Aces and Eights was going to show some tough love to his remaining club mate - whoever took the fall in their match with the Main Event Mafia would be out.
Eric Young knows something funny happens when Joseph Park bleeds, new Knockouts champ ODB likes EY's beard and TNA has nothing better for Gail Kim to do other than partner up with Team Bro-Mans. The champ took out the Pec-tacular Jessie Godderz herself in a fun but pointless segment.
Austin Aries is a babyface, but Kenny King is still steamed from that time he dressed up like Suicide and won the X-Division title. The Chippendales dancer was bloodied and brainbustered after he interrupted the Greatest Man That Ever Lived. Chris Sabin's ego felt the same way after A-Double verbally took down his brief title reign.
Even faking a knee injury and throwing his girlfriend in harm's way couldn't earn the Motor City Machine Gun a win over the guy currently wearing the Suicide suit, X-Division champ, Manik. When Sabin took out his frustrations on the victor, Aries made the save - I think we have a feud!
Wes Brisco tapped to Samoa Joe in the six-man tag, and then Ray bullied Garett Bischoff and Knux into de-kutte-ing him.
Hogan got AJ to sign a new deal, but Dixie doesn't see the need for "The Marginal One" and tore it up. Then she creepily monologued about what a great team she and Hulk could make, before demanding he join #TEAMDIXIE...or else.
(NOTE: This show was taped last Thursday for broadcast tonight. Previews are spoiler free, but if you're so inclined, they are available here)
Still in Little Rock...
Hogan has to answer Carter tonight - will Hulkamania run wild for #TEAMDIXIE or not? How will the Hulkster respond to Dixie's ultimatum? How will the owner respond to Hogan's response? Could this be the last we see of old HH on Spike TV?
The #1 contender will respond to the effects of last week's contract-ripping tirade, and address the World champ, as their showdown at the biggest event on the TNA calendar is set to happen later this month.
Jeff Hardy has also recently come up short against the X-Division title holder...tonight, he partners up with him to face off against the man Manik defeated last week and Kenny King. No word if we'll see the tag champs or more fun with the firm of ODB, Eric & Park tonight.
And with Aces and Eights destroying themselves, MEM's Magnus is out to destroy the Extraordinary Gentleman's Organization (EGO). Tonight, he'll run a gauntlet of all three men.
Expect to pop for:
Hulk Hogan. If you want to see the python, his sex tape is probably still out there somewhere. But I want to see the balls on this dude! If it's true that he exercised creative control so that he's booked as the one making all the decisions about the future direction of TNA, possibly as a prelude to his telling them to blow before jumping back to a WWE Legends deal...damn, those must be some cojones gigantes.
Sure, he seemed to flub or at least stammer over a few lines, but he wasn't exactly working with Daniel Day-Lewis, or even Dangerous Danny Davis, out there. And, yeah, this story problem didn't need to be all about the red and yellow, but if "winning" in professional wrestling is staying on top and making money, the Hulkster is like a cockroach in the irradiated post-nuclear wasteland of life after Vince McMahon.
If this isn't his exit, he's positioned to stay at the top of TNA without having to do anything other than show up for every other taping, come out to a big pop and talk about how such-and-such guy in the anti-#TEAMDIXIE faction is "the guy, brother". If he is on his way out, IRL he's done a better job than HHH's current character of making it look to the casual fan (or promoter) like he did what he could, but they just wouldn't give him (and Bisch) the keys to do "what needed to be done".
You don't have to like it, or even respect, but Hulk Hogan is in the Hulk Hogan business, brother. And Hulk Hogan makes sure that business is always good.
The heat is on:
Dixie Carter. I mentioned during my guest stint as Impact Reactions guy that I don't have many problems with the content of TNA's new big angle. Sure, the timing is suspect, making it look like Carter's company is again chasing WWE's tail. But there's enough reality there to make it interesting, not too much to overtly raise questions about the promotion's viability and just enough uniqueness with the Fatal Attraction-esque overtones of the female owner talking about how great she and the male Legend could be together.
And then Dixie has to open her mouth. Or try to move her face. They'd have been better off bring back Claire Lynch, claiming that she won control of TNA in a wrongful paternity suit and let her go mic-to-mic with Hogan and Styles.
At least when a McMahon, or Bischoff or, hell, Russo cast themselves in an on-screen role, they understood the mechanics of a live performance. Even if this is all fodder for an epic Austin Aries promo about the hubris of the powers-that-be in TNA, it won't be worth it.
But, what the hey...it's only the build to the biggest show of the year, one of only four pay-per-view (PPV)s on your calendar. Put the whole angle in the hands of someone who can't not screw up a Twitter account.
Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Bobby Roode will be great, though. Can the rest of the supporting cast keep up with them and balance out the main event banality?
Let's hear from you in the comments, and come on back for tonight's live blog. We're Bound for Glory, don't ya know.