Previously on Impact Wrestling
A show subtitled Hardcore Justice opened with...a hardcore match! What a concept. It featured blood, barbed wire and lots of tacks. In the end, a busted open Bram had Abyss' beloved Janice and, after a gut shot with that nail-studded board, a pinfall victory over the Monster.
Executive Director Kurt Angle's trip to the pokey for Ethan Carter III, Spud and Rhino provided EC3 with a "moment of clarity". In his moment, he realized that paying Rhino to protect Dixie Carter got him bupkis. When the man-beast took umbrage with that, Carter tossed him into the barricade repeatedly - and tossed Spud to the floor for trying to interfere.
The X-Division saw the rekindling of an old rivalry when Low Ki challenged Samoa Joe for his strap. It wasn't the first Muscle-buster Ki has taken, but the latest one ended this challenge, and Joe is still the king of the division. Team 3D and the Hardys so enjoyed re-starting their old competition that they teamed up to suggest continuing it, and getting tag champs The Wolves involved. Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards agreed, so Angle booked a three-way series between the six men. The first team to win two matches will be the champs - and the winner of each bout can pick the stipulation for the next.
Animosity was more the name of the game for Mr. Anderson and Samuel Shaw. The Asshole got the psycho to say "I Quit" with an armbar, but even that wasn't enough to get him to break the hold. Gunner finally convinced him to...no word yet if that's finally the end of the feud. Two wrestlers with a little more heat between them, and who worked a stiffer match, are Angelina Love and Gail Kim. Following Love's backstage ambush of the champ last week, they were booked into a Last Knockout Standing match. It took a Samoan drop off the top rope onto a chair to keep the Beautiful Person down, and for Gail to keep her crown.
Mike Tenay visited Dixie Carter in the hospital, where we were reminded that our hero Bully Ray broke her back. And that Carters never forget.
Six men entered the Six Sides of Steel to determine who would become the #1 contender to Bobby Lashley's TNA title, while MVP gloated that the winner didn't stand a chance against his man. We'll find out about that later, because for now, we don't even have a winner. Bobby Roode and Eric Young escaped the cage at the same time as Magnus & Austin Aries and Gunner & James Storm went down in stereo Towers of Doom. The referees couldn't come to a decision as the screens faded to black.
Filmed at the beginning of August in Manhattan, if you're a Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning-type, you can find out what happened already by clicking right here.
Kurt Angle will reveal his decision regarding the finish of the Six Sides of Steel match, and let us know whether Eric Young or Bobby Roode will be the next challenger for Lashley. Even with the benefit of a week to look at slow motion footage, I bet it's still to book them in a singles bout.
The champ is also booked for some action, but his opponent hasn't been announced. Gail Kim was in action last week, and tonight she'll find out who will challenge her next - the winner of Taryn Terrell vs. Madison Rayne.
The greatest tag team on the planet will be decided when the Wolves face Bully Ray & Devon and Jeff & Matt Hardy for the first time ever. The winner gets to pick the next match type, and set an early tone for the series.
Rhino gets EC3 one-on-one, and a chance at revenge against his elitest former boss. Plus, TNA's inspirational veteran Sergeant Chris Melendez will debut in New York on this show.
Expect to pop for:
James Storm. I don't want to put the whammy on it - the last TNA angle I was this giddy about was The Menagerie, and the booking of Knux's crew makes The Wyatt Family look strong. But I am loving Sensei Storm and his "revolution".
Never been the biggest fan of the Cowboy. I believe I have called him a dollar store knock-off of Stone Cold Steve Austin on more than one occasion. But if the times that I've like him have been was a heel and part of a team or group. So this new/old role is an example of returning to what worked, a philosophy I'm always a fan of.
More than that, though, it is a departure from the cowboy hat wearing, beer drinking Storm that has been a staple of Impact for years. I give the bookers and the man himself a ton of credit for that, the former for going for it and the latter for commiting to it. I'm intrigued as to where the malevolent mentor's revolution might take us, because it's new territory for him.
And it's a way for an establised name to work with newer talent that doesn't involve jobbing to them. There's certainly a place for that, and this will hopefully get there when Storm puts over Sanada or another recruit as a babyface when they rebel against his corporal motivational techniques. But in the meantime, guys get a rub working with him in a way that doesn't require either to take a pin.
Of course, they may just screw it up, as TNA and every other wrestling company likes to do with at least 50% of the angles they book. But in the meantime, I'm looking forward to tonight's debut of the Great Sanada.
The heat is on:
Not really heat, but if reports are true that he's done with the company, a tip of the gimme cap to Bully Ray. I wasn't a fan of much of the story you were involved in past your face turn (you know the one, right after you threatened to murder Anderson's newborn twins?), but you were often the most passionate and entertaining thing about Thursday nights. So thank you, sir.
Are you among those that have followed Impact to Wednesdays?
If so, watch along with your fellow Cagesiders in our live blog tonight!