Previously on Impact Wrestling
A night that featured the semi-finals of the World championship tournament kicked off with a hype video that looked like some interns from a film school decided to mash up the old Apple 1984 commercial with The Matrix and a documentary about WCCW.
All four semi-finalists took turns talking through their issues, then Jeff Hardy and Bobby Roode got down to business. The Charismatic Enigma advanced with a kick that put Roode through a table, in an odd match that required that to win, yet favored psychology over spots.
Dixie Carter remains incensed that AJ Styles has a TNA title belt and is flaunting it by defending it all around the globe and getting footage of those contests aired on her show, Impact Wrestling. She believed that her legal maneuvering had resulted in the belt being sent back to her, but Styles sent her a cardboard belt for her to give to her new "paper" champion. BURN.
The other Carter, Ethan, defeated a referee. Yeah, Earl Hebner is a legend, but while the former Derek Bateman got some quality heeling in, his segments are still dying on the vine. Even the deliciously smarmy Rockstar Spud (as Dixie's Chief of Staff) couldn't save this one.
Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian are finally going to solve the Joseph Park/Abyss mystery, in a way that involves more tag matches with him and Eric Young. Tag champs The Bro-Mans are being used to further the story about the break-up of former champs James Storm and Gunner.
Gail Kim remains adrift, but she's winning. The Knockouts champ got her husband to yell at someone other than people running their family restaurant into the ground, too. In other relationship news, Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky are headed for a Three's Company-esque miscommunication, while Sam Shaw and Christy Hemme have been on a date for two weeks.
Magnus won his semi-final by being the last man standing. But that was after a ref bump and Bobby Roode hitting a big neckbreaker on Kurt Angle to keep their feud going. So the battle to replace the champ-in-exile (who may or may not still be with the company to pay off his angle) is between a guy who can't leave the country due to legal issues and another who couldn't beat a middle-aged guy with a broken neck.
So many tapings! If you want spoilers from the last month's work of stuff they've filmed in Orlando, head over to the Impact Wrestling section of the site and poke around. I know you'll find everything you need.
FEAST OR FIRED! Six men, four briefcases. Three contain title shots, one is the equivalent of third prize in a Premiere Properties sales contest. Samoa Joe, James Storm, Gunner, Chavo Guerrero, Mr. Anderson and Zema Ion will climb ladders to get those cases tonight.
AJ is back from his world tour, and he's told Dixie to come get the belt from him at his home in Georgia. Is the President desperate enough to go after the title on Styles' home turf?
Magnus and Hardy circle one another ahead of their match for the top spot in the company next week. And somebody remembered that Sabin has the X-Division title, and they woke Austin Aries up to face him for it!
Expect to pop for:
AJ Styles. So the way I see it, the "he's not re-signed/ing" news is one of two things:
- WORK! If for nothing else but the sake of avoiding more LOLTNA jokes, I hope this is the case. It would be a good way to create some suspense about whether or not he returns to face the tournament winner, though.
- The best thing for all involved. Yes, AJ is a "TNA Original". It sucks for him to have to leave the company he is synonymous with. But Impact with Styles at the top didn't make too many waves on the pro wrestling scene. And having been there a couple of different times, in a few different kinds of stories and roles, there's probably not a new way for the 36 year old to be portrayed by the promotion. Sometimes in team sports, the talking heads will say of trading a player that "a change of scenery will do him good". Seeing AJ stretch his legs in Japan and the US indies like Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla where he first made his bones might rejuvenate him and start an amazing third act of his career.
The heat is on:
Chavo Guerrero. On the list of things that I forgot about until advertising reminded me of them? That Chavito wasn't retired, and was in fact still drawing a paycheck from a pro wrestling promotion in 2013.
TNA has never known exactly what to do with him, and their longest lasting idea - team him with the other Mexican! - wasn't much of an idea to begin with. A nice thing about Feast or Fired is that you can go out on your shield; you can "win" the match and still get the case with the pink slip. There's no kayfabe or legit shame for Guerrero or TNA in moving on from a relationship that never did much for either partner.
Is Impact feeling like a wrestling feast for you, or are they in danger of being fired from your weekly playlist?
Let us know, and catch the show with your fellow Cagesiders in tonight's live blog!