OPENING THURSDAY NIGHT NFL RECAP Really not much to write home about here. Cam Newton had nothing tonight, as the Giants defense was all over him from the start. Jason Pierre-Paul is a beast! I know the guy's won two Super Bowls, but I'm still stunned that we're living in a world where Eli Manning is an elite quarterback. The scab referees are just BRUTAL now, as we're inching closer to an all-out brawl with every passing game. GIANTS 36, PANTHERS 7
PREVIOUSLY ON IMPACT WRESTLING! James Storm comes after Booby Roode! Joseph Park has unconvered something about the Aces & Eights! Hulk Hogan has locked the Impact Zone down, but will that backfire? Plus, Jeff Hardy conquers Bully Ray a second time to cement his main event spot at Bound For Glory!
Backstage, Hulk Hogan runs into Shaquille O'Neal! Shaq offers to have Hulk's back tonight. Shaq shows off his biceps to the camera.
Opening pyro! Gut Check returns tonight, plus it's Open Fight Night!
Let's begin proper with "THE PHENOMENAL" AJ STYLES and KURT ANGLE, called the Dream Team by Mike Tenay. Kurt grabs the mic for our opening promo. Kurt notes that they were screwed out of their titles by Kaz and Daniels and they were screwed again at No Surrender. But AJ beat Kaz last week, so they get another shot...but so do Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez. For Open Fight Night, Kurt calls out the Mexican contingent for a match right now!
"THE PHENOMENAL" AJ STYLES & KURT ANGLE v. CHAVO GUERRERO & HERNANDEZ Styles and Chavo start off, as Chavo tries to rally the crowd on his side. Wrestling sequence ends in a standoff. Tags are made on both sides. Kurt suckers Hernandez in and goes to work on him. Hernandez asserts his power to take control. Hernandez tags Chavo and slams Kurt to set up a Chavo senton. Now both men exchange blows before Chavo hits a drop toehold and grabs the headlock. Kurt gets control with a belly-to-belly suplex, as we see CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & KAZARIAN on top of the ramp to take us to our first ad break of the night.
We come back with Styles grabbing the chinlock on Chavo. Chavo comes back with a back body drop. Tag is made and Hernandez hits Styles with the slingshot shoulderblock. Styles tries to come back, but Hernandez swats him like a gnat! Kurt comes in to help his partner, but Hernandez takes both men down with a double clothesline. Chavo tags in and hits a double seated top-rope dropkick. Chavo takes Styles down with headscissors. Three Amigos is blocked and an enziguiri takes Chavo down! Kurt gets the tag and it's a German for Chavo and a German for Hernandez! Anklelock on Chavo is broken up by Hernandez before Chavo takes Hernandez down with the Pele Kick! Chavo tries for a sunset flip, but Kurt rolls through and grabs the anklelock! Chavo pushes out of it and Styles tags in with a springboard forearm! Hernandez hits Styles with a CRAZY gutwrench inverted torture rack drop! Here's an Angle Slam for Hernandez! Three Amigos for Kurt, before Styles breaks it up! So Chavo gives HIM the Three Amigos! Kurt tries to stop the Frog Splash with the pop-up superplex, but Hernandez catches him and they both get sent out. Frog Splash on Styles misses! Pele Kick hits, but here come the World Tag Team Champions of the World for the DQ!
WINNERS: No Contest - Great match up until the finish, which should set up the three-way.
Post-match, the beatdown is on, as the champs work over Styles and Chavo. Hernandez chases them off. Champs sound triumphant until the "Not the nWo" porno music hits to bring out HULK HOGAN. Hogan sets up the three-way tag match for Bound For Glory. Hit the porno music!
Backstage, Al Snow gets asked about his haircut. Snow says that tonight's Gut Check is the definition of what the whole thing's about. Annoying Backstage Guy badgers Snow about Joey Ryan, to which Snow says he'll find out what the fallout is.
Backstage, we see Evan Markopoulos warming up for his Gut Check later tonight.
Ad break - Countdown to Bound for Glory promo
Backstage, Hulk Hogan is on the phone with Joseph Park. Hulk says he'll send security over to greet him. We find out that Park has the evidence in his hand right now. Ohhh, he's SO getting a beatdown tonight, isn't he?
BOUND FOR GLORY MEMORIES: 2008, Samoa Joe recalls jumping off the skybox!
Here's a video package on Evan Markopoulos. His Gut Check is later tonight.
Ad break - Sneak peek at Dredd 3D
Backstage, Dixie Carter complains to Bruce Pritchard about Aces & Eights. Look at her try to act. Isn't that cute? Aaaaand the audio and video have desynced. D'oh.
Let's go to the ring for tonight's Gut Check, as Jeremy Borash introduces EVAN MARKOPOULOS and his opponent...
EVAN MARKOPOULOS v. DOUGLAS WILLIAMS Man, why is it that these Gut Check segments are the only times I ever get to see Douglas Williams on my TV?
Evan rallies the crowd to start. Williams wrestles circles around Evan. Here's a nice slap in the face, leading to a lock-up. Williams slaps him again, as we go to the other corner. Now here's a kick in the nuts, followed by a clothesline. Williams is just toying with him. Evan tries for a sunset flip, but Williams rolls over and knees him in the chin. Williams toys with him some more. Evan comes back with a dropkick and a crossbody, so Williams takes his head off with a clothesline! Williams tears him apart some more, nailing him with a big vertical suplex. Corner charge misses and Evan makes a brief comeback before Williams picks him apart some more before finishing him with the Anaconda Vise.
WINNER: Douglas Williams - SQUASH! Evan looked very vanilla, but he didn't look actively bad.
James Storm is walking backstage. He joins us next!
Here's a video package on the recent events surrounding James Storm and Bobby Roode.
"COWBOY" JAMES STORM joins us for our next Open Fight Night segment. I wonder who he's calling out? Storm grabs the mic and says that he wants pain and blood. Storm tells Roode that this won't be a wrestling match, but an ass-kicking match. Storm formally calls out Roode.
BOBBY ROODE comes out in full suit with a mic. Roode says he's ready to fight and tells Storm that he will never be as good as him. Roode also vows that Storm will be world champion as long as he's around. Roode declines the fight and declares that their issue is officially over.
Backstage, Hulk Hogan runs into Roode and demands he go out there and fight. Roode declines, so Hulk threatens him with a year-long suspension without pay. Hulk gives him three minutes to get ready.
We come back with Storm still in the ring and still calling out Roode. So let's hit the music again! Here's BOBBY ROODE, still in full suit. Roode takes off the jacket, so Storm rushes him up the ramp and starts beating the shit out of Roode with his own shoe! Storm chokes Roode with his shirt, with some nice goofy facials from Roode. Storm tries to mount a comeback, but Storm bashes Storm against the stage. The fight moves towards the announce table! Roode catches Storm coming in and he bashes Storm's head near the ramp. Fight now moves towards the ring, as Roode chucks Storm at the guardrail. Here's the bell to start the match!
"COWBOY" JAMES STORM v. BOBBY ROODE Storm starts with the ten count corner punches. Roode tries to escape with an atomic drop, so Storm hits a clothesline. The fight moves outside the ring, where Storm chucks Roode into the steel steps. Roode chucks Storm into the guardrail again. Another whip into the guardrail! Now Roode grabs a beer bottle, takes a swig and shakes it at Storm. Storm nails Roode, takes a drink of the beer, pours the beer in a fan's mouth, and goes to work on Storm. Roode shoves Storm into the steel post. Now Roode has a chair, but it's a swing and a miss! Storm hits a clothesline. Storm asks fans to put their feet up on the guardrail, so Storm drive Roode's head into them! That's kinda cool. Roode comes back by slamming Storm's head into the steel steps. Another whip into the guardrail is reversed. Storm slams Roode's head into the fan's boot AGAIN! That dude's either a plant or these fans just LOVE to play along. Storm's suplex is reversed by Roode! We finally get back into the ring where Roode nails Storm with a clothesline. Roode shoves the ref before tossing Storm out again. Now STORM shoves the ref! Brian Hebner has had enough and calls for the bell!
WINNER: Double DQ - Can't blow this off just yet! Nice preview of the brawl to come at the PPV.
Post-match, the fight continues and Roode shoves Hebner again! The fight moves into the crowd, where Storm chucks Roode into the wall. Hebner tries to get between the two, so Roode chucks him into the wall! Now the fight moves backstage! And that's it!
Backstage, Hulk Hogan argues with backstage personnel, because apparently, Joseph Park is now lost! Hulk gets a call and it's the Aces & Eights. The Aces tell Hulk that they now have a corportate lawyer. Hmm...can YOU see where this is going? Hulk offers to play their game and hangs up, as he notes that he knows where Park is.
Backstage, Austin Aries approaches Jeff Hardy. Aries tells Jeff that he wants everything Jeff has had, including a Hall of Fame career, bank account, and fans. Aries says he can only get those things by beating Jeff and that Aries is the one chasing Jeff.
TARA joins us for our next Open Fight Night segment, as we see the oh-so-subtle heel turn from last week. Tara grabs the mic and tells the fans that they used her. She even tells a fan with a Tara sign that he used her just to get on TV. Tara says she saw the truth thanks to her new boyfriend from Hollywood, who helped her see clearly. Tara tells Tessmacher that she used her, too. Tara calls out...Christy Hemme. Huh...didn't see that one coming. Christy pleads her case that she's not a wrestler anymore. Tara gets in her face and demands to know who Christy's favorite Knockout is. Christy says Tessmacher, so Tara grabs a handful of hair. MISS TESSMACHER makes the save. Good to see that Tara still does the psycho bit very well!
Hulk Hogan walks through the backstage area and joins us next!
Backstage, Brooke Hogan confronts Tara about what just happened. Tara says she's all about the title. Brooke says "There are going to be rep...consequences!" Yup.
BOUND FOR GLORY MEMORIES: Rob Van Dam recalls his first BFG match with Abyss and his match with Jerry Lynn from last year. Van Dam says he'll only whip out the Van Terminator at the big events, the PPV's.
Next week is Championship Thursday, where the Television Championship will be decided. The name "Devon" is not mentioned.
The "Not the nWo" porno music once again brings out HULK HOGAN. Hulk says that the Aces & Eights are holding Joseph Park hostage. Hulk offers to move into Aces & Eights territory next week, but in exchange, he wants Joseph Park released. Or if you're Hulk Hogan, "Joseph Parks." Here's Bane on the ImpactTron, who thanks Hogan for accepting the invitation. Bane says he's brought Park to the clubhouse, where he found the evidence on Park's computer. So we pan over and see another Aces guy smash the laptop. Park says he's still got everything in his head, so Bane instructs another guy to see to that, so another Aces guy BOPS PARK OVER THE HEAD WITH A HAMMER! YEOWCH! Let's take our next...
We look back at the Aces & Eights hammering Joseph Park's laptop before hammering Joseph Park.
Here's a video package on Jeff Hardy.
AUSTIN ARIES joins us for our next Open Fight Night segment. Considering that he said he wanted to match Jeff, I'm pretty we can guess who he's calling out for tonight's main event. Aries grabs the mic and reminds everyone that he's the one hunting Jeff Hardy, before he opts to try and outdo Jeff by calling out Bully Ray. We see Ray in the back, shocked that he was just called out. BULLY RAY comes out with the mic, looking incredulous that he just got called out. Ray says he's beaten the crap out of Aries before and offers to do it again. Ray says that people don't call HIM out, but he calls other people out. Ray tries to ask if Aries knows who he is, but Aries cuts him off mid-sentence with a corkscrew tope! Aries beats the crap out of Ray with ten-count punches on the guardrail. Aries slams Ray's head on the steps. Ray loudly asks for time, but he only gets the bell to start.
AUSTIN ARIES v. BULLY RAY: NON-TITLE MATCH Aries works over Ray in the corner. Aries climbs to the top rope, so Ray shoves the ref into the corner to knock him down before nailing Aries with the Hook 'Em Horns big boot (MOOOOO!) to take us to our final ad break of the night!
We come back with Ray nailing clubbing blows. Now Ray rakes the eye for a good bit to send Aries out. "COUNT HIM OUT, YOU OLD STINKIN' BASTARD!" Ray brings Aries in the hard way for 2. Ray clamps on the keylock and yells a lot. Here's a standing splash for 2. "CAN YOU COUNT ANY SLOWER?" Bodyslam gets 2. Ray measures an elbow for 2. Ray talks more trash, so Aries comes back with lefts before Ray puts him down with a back elbow. Ray comes down with a big elbow. "DAMN, THAT WAS TIGHT!" It was tight, but only gets 2. Now Ray talks trash to Earl Hebner, so Hebner gets in Ray's face. All this allows Aries to try and make the comeback. Ray puts Aries down with chops, but Aries keeps coming. Ray stops that flurry with a big eye rake. Aries hits a discus elbow and hangs Ray on the top rope. Missile dropkick gets 2 for Aries. Aries wants the brainbuster, but Ray counters with a backdrop. Aries tries a sunset flip and Ray misses the fat ass seated splash. Aries tries to whip Ray, but it fails and here's a ref bump! Aries hits a dropkick to the knee and clamps on LAST CHANCERY~! (Hello to you too, CM Punk!) Tap out, but no ref! Ray grabs the chain and nails Aries coming in! Ray wakes up the ref and gets the pin!
WINNER: Bully Ray - Interesting result. Didn't see that one coming, but it was a fine match, nonetheless.
Post-match, Ray is so ecstatic that he homoerotically hugs Earl Hebner! Uuuuuuhhhhh...kinda REALLY homoerotically! Ray calls for the belt and poses with it! Now he measures Aries for a beltshot, but JEFF HARDY makes the save. Now Jeff picks up the belt, just in time for Aries to come to! Hit Jeff's music, as Aries takes umbrage to the premature celebration! Closing credits are up and we're out!
I'm still not convinced we aren't going to end up with a three-way at BFG, especially now that Ray has a win over the champ. Whatever we end up with, it should be fun.
A lot less focus on the Aces this week. I was slightly less annoyed by the storyline's stagnation, but maybe that's because I saw the Park bit coming a mile away. Still, they need to really go somewhere with this, because now things are starting to drag.
Great matches this week, starting with that awesome tag opener. Another quality show for Impact!
Aries isn't turning heel. You just can't wrestle as a full on face against Jeff Hardy. TNA does guy gets angry, but doesn't fully turn better than the WWE so I am not worried.
Really solid ring work this week. Not a whole lot happening storyline wise, but they didn't really need to do much either. Sometimes just having people fight is enough.
I was really surprised with the Bully Ray win, but it's smart Hardy can handle Ray and Aries can't so he probably can't handle Hardy either. Hopefully, they keep Ray out of the title match and have him be the main challenger after the PPV.
Also good mic work by him before the match. I love when he gets pissed and takes it out on everyone, fans included.
I'm continually impressed by just how much better this show has become in 2012. It may have its flaws, but this is easily my go-to show for a dose of wrestling this year. Here in the UK we get Impact and the PPVs for free on Challenge TV: it's a pretty good deal.
Does anybody know how TNA is faring on PPV this year buy rates-wise? Sorry, I know it's probably somewhere else on the Internet bit I'm not web-savvy enough to find it!
They are still drawing rather anemic PPV buyrates around 8-9 thousand buys for their regular PPV's and around 15-20 thousand for their bigger PPV's. Russo killed PPV's for them and it will take time to recover. While Impact has impoved ten fold they still aren't all that good t building to PPV'sThey really need to get out of their PPV contract and just have four PPV's a year and do like clash of the champions specials on Spike 4-5 times a year.
They we bad at building to No Surrender, but BFG already has two definite matches locked in, and two more (Roode Vs Storm; Tara Vs Tess) all but being official. Plus the BFG series was essentially a 4 month build to PPV.
Personally I think TNA should drop PPV altogether and try building a strong relationship with Spike now that their UFC gravy train is gone.
About the upside down flag. It is a distress signal. But to be honest a lot of wrestling fans don't know that. They will either think or understand the point VKM is getting across. Vince has to be careful.