Man, did that PPV leave a sour taste in my mouth. So here we go, 9 months of Aces & Eights and counting. So I'm going to condense the shit out of this. Maybe I'll feel up to full-recapping next week. But for now, we're going the short recap route.
We look back at what happened last Sunday at Lockdown, as Bully Ray reveals he's behind the Aces & Eights...which would have been a great reveal five months ago back at Bound For Glory. As it is, it's a freakin' circlejerk. Let's start show now.
We are LIVE from Chicago, IL and HOLY COW, it's a surprisingly hot crowd! Your hosts are Todd Keneley, Mike Tenay, and Taz. I already want someone to bash Taz's skull with a baseball bat. Tonight, we hear from Bully Ray. Plus, we get Brooke Hogan's reaction after Lockdown. Oh boy, I bet that's chock full of ACTING! Plus, AJ Styles returns. No, really! They mean it this time! But first, it's time to put the tag titles on the line!
HERNANDEZ & CHAVO v. MY PATIENCE No match, because the ACES & EIGHTS are here to timewarp us back to 1996 for an nWo beatdown. Why do I get the sense that this is going to be the whole show?
Devon talks and says nothing. He brings out world champion BULLY RAY, who comes out to the Aces. Goddammit, he had one of the best theme songs in all of wrestling and they scrapped it to give him the fucking Aces' theme. Let's see if he can get back in my good graces. You get one transcription, Ray. Make it count.
"DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I'M BULLY RAY! I...AM THE PRESIDENT OF THE ACES & EIGHTS! And I am the TNA World Heavyweight Champion! I'm the guy that used Sting. I'm the guy that screwed Brooke. I'm the guy that made a fool out of Hulk Hogan. But you know what? I'm also the guy that made a fool out of every frikkin' one of you. For 9 months, you bought into it. For 9 months, we pulled the wool over your eyes. For 9 months, you bought it. Devon, I cannot tell you how proud I was of you and the rest of my brothers when I saw you climb to the top of the cage, when I saw you come in, take that hammer, throw it to me...and when I took that hammer and drilled Jeff Hardy in the back of my head, I never felt so proud. But I gotta tell ya, it wasn't supposed to go down that way, was it? Let me let you in on a little something. Remember at Lockdown during the cage match? Remember when Wes and Garrett came over the top of the cage? That was the plan. That's when I was gonna leave the cage. That's what was supposed to happen. But it didn't. You know why? Because of Hulk Hogan. Because an hour before that match, Hulk had to sit me down and have the big father-to-son-in-law talk with me. Hulk had to sit me down, 'You know, Bully, I used to get a piece of advice..." Pause for "Hogan" chants. "You talk about how Andre the Giant gave him advice to do something memorable. Hulk, I couldn't give a damn about your advice. But I did do something memorable. I did something with my brothers in the Aces for one night that the nWo couldn't accomplish forever. Hulk, I know you're here somewhere. I'm beggin' ya, Hulk. If you got the balls, come out here and fire us. I dare you to come out and fire us! It won't happen! It won't happen! You can chant his name all you want. He won't fire us. We're the Aces & Eights. And when you ride with the Aces & Eights, you never walk alone."
That explanation...makes no sense. But DAMN, if Ray's delivery wasn't something great. He IMMEDIATELY gives credibility to this sad sack of a stable and that has to mean...SOMETHING, right?
Let's go backstage to Sting the Giant Idiot, fresh off having earned his "Biggest Idiot in Wrestling" title back. He's shocked, SHOCKED that Bully Ray turned on him! He certainly didn't see that one coming. No sir!
Coming up next, Gail Kim teams with Tara to face Velvet Sky and Mickie James.
GAIL KIM & TARA (w/JESSIE) v. MICKIE JAMES & VELVET SKY We get a Wrestling Challenge promo with Gail Kim, revealing that Taryn Terrell is on probation for her actions at the PPV.
It's late, so we FFWD to the end. Sky hits Tara with a Russian legsweep for 2, but Gail breaks up the pin. Gail piefaces Taryn Terrell. Terrell slaps her and Mickie comes off with a top-rope senton. Tara nails Mickie with the Widow's Peak, but Sky's legal, so Sky finishes with the Carpet Muncher.
WINNERS: Mickie James & Velvet Sky - Angle advancement.
Later tonight, Brooke reacts with ACTING! Let's look at the Aces again!
We go to the Aces Super Happy Funtime Clubhouse, where everyone drinks beer. Ray leaves a voicemail on Brooke's cell phone and tells her to say hi to "Dad". Yup.
ROBBIE E v. ROB TERRY We look back at the saga of these two. E grabs the mic and says what happened at the PPV was a fluke, bro. He says Terry won't be so lucky tonight.
Terry no-sells all of E's offense. Fireman's carry to spinebuster (sloppily executed) finishes in about a minute.
WINNER: Rob Terry - SQUASH!
Post-match, Terry dances!
Sting busts into Hulk Hogan's office! INTRIGUE! (No, not really.)
At the Aces & Eights Super Happy Funtime Clubhouse, Ray demands more Aces merchandise. And he offers to take someone out tonight. Another random name is picked out.
Backstage, Hulk Hogan blames everything on Sting and kicks him out. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen!
Your hosts are Todd Keneley, Mike Tenay, and Taz. Taz laughs like a braying jackass. Announcers then shoot it off to a recap of the AJ Styles saga.
Up next, AJ Styles returns! We think.
Backstage, Sting comes across Bobby Roode and Austin Aries. The champs make fun of Sting, but he's in no mood for it. He wants to offer a challenge, to which Aries laughs off...until he realizes that Roode has slickly exited the picture. Looks like we have Sting/Aries for tonight.
Next we're joined by...holy crap, it's ROAD WARRIOR DANIELS and ROAD WARRIOR KAZ, it's the LEGION OF BOOM! So Kaz mocks AJ Styles some more, but announce the return of THROWBACK THURSDAY! Kaz says they're making an homage to the second-best tag team ever. Daniels does a great Hawk impression, noting that the Road Warriors were fake tough guys, like AJ Styles and all of Chicago. "OHHHHHHHHH, WHAT A TUSH!" HA!
Interruption comes from JAMES STORM HAS NOTHING BETTER TO DO TONIGHT, so he defends the honor of AJ Styles and the Road Warriors. Storm wants a match right now. Hey, when did Earl Hebner show up?
"COWBOY" JAMES STORM v. ROAD WARRIOR DANIELS This match goes all too quickly, as Storm polishes off Daniels with the backcracker in about three minutes.
WINNER: James Storm - This felt all kinds of rushed. I'm guessing the Aces ran long.
Post-match, the beatdown is on. But here's AJ STYLES, in street clothes with no music, making his return to make the save. Hit his music! Storm mouths off to Bad Influence, so STYLES WIPES OUT STORM! Announcers are completely confused as to why Styles would take out Storm. Gee, I don't know. Why would Styles be angry at the guy that pinned him to take him out of the title chase for a full year? Durrrrrrrrrr....
We look back at the Angle/Brisco abomination from last Sunday.
Backstage, the Aces have laid out Kurt. Wait, did they draw his name AGAIN? What are the odds?
We look back at what we just saw with AJ Styles, as the idiots behind the announce desk still wonder why he attacked Storm.
Here's JOSEPH PARK for our next promo, because wrestling's for suckers. Park stumbles around and says nothing of note. Interruption quickly comes from "THE BLUEPRINT" MATT MORGAN. Morgan says that he's here to erase all of Hulk Hogan's mistakes, as he makes fun of him for falling for Bully Ray's ruse. Morgan wants to start by erasing Joseph Park, saying he's an abortion to wrestling. Park starts to leave, but changes his mind and tries to stand up for himself. Unfortunately, he makes the mistake of turning away and Morgan kills him dead with the Carbon Footprint. Morgan says the match is on for next week. Hit his music!
Coming up next, Sting faces Austin Aries...but not before we see Brooke Hogan's reaction to Lockdown.
We go back AGAIN to the Aces & Eights Super Happy Funtime Clubhouse. Ray again calls out Hulk Hogan and tells him to fire them. "Don't think we won't destroy your show." WAY too late for that one, guys.
Let's look at Brooke Hogan after Lockdown and HOLY COW, she's in RARE form, with running makeup and absolutely HIDEOUS acting! Sigh...she's our main event angle, people. And I'm hearing out the calls out there that the next step is to turn her heel and have her reveal that she was working with Bully Ray all along. YOU STOP THAT, PEOPLE! STOP THAT RIGHT NOW! The LAST thing this show needs is to give Brooke Hogan EVEN MORE chances to talk!
AUSTIN ARIES (w/BOBBY ROODE) v. "THE ICON" STING We FFWD this recap again, since it's getting late.
We move forward to about the 15 minute mark. Stinger Splash misses and Aries nails the running corner missile dropkick! Aries hits his own Stinger Splash! Brainbuster is countered with the Scorpion Deathdrop! IT GETS 2! Second Stinger Splash hits! Scorpion Deathlock is on, but here are the ACES & EIGHTS for the nWo finish! Welcome to 1996!
WINNER BY DQ: Sting - Holy hell, this was a much better match than it had any right to be, but we're treated to ANOTHER nWo finish. And strap yourselves in, because there are going to be A LOT of these from here on out.
Ray grabs the mic and calls out for Hogan. Time to take our final...
Finally, the nWo porno music brings out HULK HOGAN. Hogan says it'd be too easy to fire the Aces. So he's simply going to sic the roster on him. Here are JEFF HARDY, SAMOA JOE, MAGNUS, CHAVO GUERRERO, HERNANDEZ, ROB TERRY, JOSEPH PARK and KURT ANGLE all out to get a piece of the Aces. The Aces look to be on the losing end of another brawl, so of course, Bully Ray has to do everything himself, as he SINGLE-HANDEDLY LAYS OUT EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF THE TNA ROSTER systematically with his chain. Hey, it's a wonder what an actual COMPETENT wrestler will do for your heel stable! Ray mocks Hogan and notes that all of his guys are down. "That was your army! That was your cavalry! And your cavalry just got killed by the Aces & Eights! What are you gonna do now...Dad?"
Closing credits are up and we're out!
I am so beyond sick of the Aces angle, but it's a miracle that they look like an actual THREAT now. And it's all thanks to Bully Ray, who ups the entire stable's credibility through his mere presence.
That still doesn't make up for the timewarps back to 1996. And I get the sense that this is going to be the norm from now on. Because hey, this sort of thing worked out for WCW, right?
On the upside, that was a REALLY hot crowd throughout the night. TNA's going to have a good time going out on the road...provided they don't piss away the fans' goodwill through Aces fatigue.
Hogan brow beating Sting for being a giant trusting idiot and convincing him to become one too was really funny. The Knockout match was fine thanks to Velvet barely being in the match. Kaz and Daniels as the Legion of Boom ws tremendous. The fans chanting feed me more at Rob Terry was a highlight of the night and funny since Ryback gets Goldberg chants.Very strange that Jeff Hardy got almost no air time and didn't cut a promo or anything. Bully Ray was great tonight and it's so fun to have him as a top heel again, but man he has no talent around him in his group. Sting Vs Aries was a really good match really Sting's best match in years and I'd love to see Sting and Aries feud down the line. Sting seemed more motivated and like a bigger star in front of a big crowd as did everyone that was on the show. Man it's like no matter what Matt Morgan and Abyss aka Joe Park will end up feuding. So AJ is pretty much Sting circa 1996 now. I think he needed a change and maybe just maybe they could reinvent the stale character. All in all, this was a rather solid show after a month or so of pretty bad shows.The only complaint is the continued push of Rob Terry with many more talented wrestlers in TNA why bother with him? This is TNA's third or fourth attempt to get him over and it won't work as he's a garbage wrestler and has zero charisma.
I don't know if Bully salvaged this Storyline, but he sure is doing his best. I thought the TNA beat down was much needed. TNA has kicked their ass in almost every match, so Aces finally get their revenge. The sad part is Hogan is going to be the savior of this storyline even though it'd tailored made for Aries, Bobby, Joe or AJ.
The Wee Baby Sheamus.Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
It just goes to show that Bully Ray should have been the first reveal. He could have given every ham and egger that was revealed afterwards the proper build up and they would have been able to feed off the atomic heat he naturally gets. If anything Devon should have been the last reveal as co-captain or something and the one that betrayed TNA, he was already a semi face anyways. They could have still dragged this out by having Bully do the old Raven thing where he gets announced for a match but decides he doesn't want to wrestle so here is Doc.
... and yes, it was comical to watch Sting get chewed out by Hogan especially when you consider their history.
I appreciated Aces and Eights sparing us the LAX3.0 match. Bully Ray losing his awesome theme made me sad. Aces and Eights now have lyrics in their song. "Do you know who I am?" I missed hearing him say that line during his tepid face run. Bully really should have given a longer explanation about his masterplan though. This was no where close to the gold standard of evil masterplan unveilings that Immortal set on 10/14/10.
Hogan caught onto the Sting trusts everyone meme, I see.
Again in the recap video, wasn't that an Aces and Eights guy shown talking to AJ before the stalker TNA cameramen showed up? The guy's jacket sure looked Aces and Eightish.
This was like the third time where AJ tried to turn heel only to have Bad Influences ruin his moment by trying to outheel him. I love how obsessed Bad Influences is with AJ. Their feud went from fun to stale to absurd to awesomeness as Daniels being insecure about AJ became a defining part of his character. Props to AJ for finally being able to ignore Bad Influences long enough to turn heel.
There were good signs tonight. The "I trust Joseph Parks" and "I miss Traci" ones were especially memorable. Traci Brooks' brief returns to TNA were rather curious. I wonder how her character feels about her husband being part of Bad Influences.
Anderson was full of life tonight. Watching his antics were one of my favorite parts of the Aces and Eights segments.
I liked the fake out at the end of the show, where Hogan calls in the TNA roster to beat down the Job Squad only for the Job Squad to prevail decisively. Unexpected!
I kind of loved this episode. Granted I haven't watched TNA in years so I've missed all the Aces and Eights. It definitely looks like a pretty terrible group but everyone is right that Bully Ray is fantastic.
The guys on the TNA production team are fantastic. That opening promo made it seem like Aces and Eights was an amazing angle. I love the set they have for the show, the production of the backstage segments. I even love most of the logos they have for their wrestlers. If there was anybody in Aces and Eights that I actually liked I would absolutely buy a shirt with their logo on it.
I like the scraggly jeans and leather jacket AJ Styles even though I don't usually like the down-on-their-luck gimmick. My favorite part was when he took his hood down and attacked Kaz. Then when he turned and clotheslined Storm his hood magically popped back on. It was the best headgear magic since Super Calo.
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Shawn used to (co-)run a school in San Antonio in 1999, during his back injury abscene, co-running it with Rudy Boy Gonzalez. HBK mentor Jose Lothario was also involved. In 2001, there was a falling out between Shawn and Gonzalez (and Lothario)