OPENING THURSDAY NIGHT NFL RECAP This was a slightly better game than what we've been treated to the last few weeks. The Bucs showed up this week and the Vikings tried their best to keep up with them. Peterson had a great game and Jared Allen energized the place, but Ponder's going to be that "Alex Smith" kind of quarterback that just can't play from behind. This was a bad loss for the Vikes, but the Bucs might secretly be good. BUCCANEERS 36, VIKINGS 17
PREVIOUSLY ON IMPACT WRESTLING! The Aces & Eights have full access to the Impact Zone and Bully Ray still wants his revenge on Devon. Meanwhile, Austin Aries brings cookies for Jeff the Giant Dick, who slaps away the tray like a giant dick. Aries spits on Jeff's vanity belt and gets his ass kicked for his troubles. Impact Wrestling starts right now!
Backstage, Hulk Hogan credits Jeff Hardy for what he's done and says that now the world is watching Impact Wrestling again! He must not have seen the ratings. Tonight, Hulk wants to put Jeff to the test against one of the four guys mentioned from last week (Storm, Anderson, Bully, or Angle). Hulk sends Jeff on his way, thanking him for everything he's done for the company, without mentioning anything Jeff's done TO the company, of course. Jeff exits and as he passes by the four title contenders, we get a look into his inner monologue. Kurt's a machine, Storm's great but he drinks too much (Really? JEFF HARDY is going to throw stones?), "Once an asshole, always an asshole" for Anderson, and Bully's preoccupied. Jeff notes that they all have a weakness.
Opening pyro! We are LIVE from the Impact Zone! Your hosts are Jeremy Borash and Todd Keneley for the first hour, as it now looks like we're dividing our announce teams, just like the old Nitro days! Tonight is Championship Thursday and we have three championship matches.
ROB VAN DAM v. ZEMA ION: X DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH This is a return match from Bound For Glory, as Ion's exercising his rematch clause.
Big "RVD" chant. We start with a wrestling sequence, which ends with Ion begging off in the corner. We go back to the wrestling sequence, ending with a Van Dam military press drop and standing moonsault. Van Dam rolls into a second-rope moonsault for 2. Ion takes a breather and Van Dam tries to pursue, only to get shoved into the guardrail. Ion sees a tope opportunity, but Van Dam gets on the apron and meets him with a kick. Back in, Van Dam tries for a crossbody, but flies to the outside. Now Ion catches him with a tope con hilo! Ion poses on the apron, but Van Dam grabs him by the hair! Ion hangs Van Dam and nails a tornado DDT (called a "vertical DDT" by new guy Keneley. Hoo boy...it's gonna be one of THESE nights...) for 2! Ion goes up top and misses the corkscrew moonsault! Van Dam responds with literally the exact same finishing sequence from BFG (leaping kick, Rolling Thunder, 5-Star) to retain the title in about five minutes!
WINNER: Rob Van Dam - That should emphatically put an end to the Zema Ion experiment for good.
Post-match, Van Dam celebrates but here's MATT MORGAN out of nowhere to destroy him with the Carbon Footprint! He's quickly followed by JOEY RYAN, who's parading with the X Division title. Oh God, is THIS going to be a feud now? Morgan grabs the mic and tells Hulk Hogan that now he's going to see a different side to Matt Morgan.
Backstage, Austin Aries derides the other challengers for kissing up to Hulk Hogan. "Oh, Mr. Hogan, 'Mr. Nanny' was so much better than 'Mrs. Doubtfire'! That's not true. Man, where do these guys come up with this stuff?" HA! Aries says he's going to stand outside Hogan's office and get some kicks by talking to the challengers as they're eliminated. Oh, this could be FUN!
We're joined by CHRISTOPHER DANIELS and KAZARIAN for our next promo segment. To my complete and utter dismay, they have new music and it's significantly less awesome than Daniels' old music! Kaz grabs the mic and channels the spirit of R-Truth (last year's awesome heel Truth, not that...thing that's prancing around now) by crying out CONSPIRACY! Kaz accuses Hulk Hogan (Mr. Nanny References: 2) of altering his travel schedule last week so that he'd miss the show. He pauses for the "You Suck" chant before noting that their titles were illegally taken by a pair of illegals. Daniels quickly cuts in and takes the mic, because he wants to take things a little slower. Daniels addresses "Suburban Commando" and says tonight's supposed to be Championship Thursday, noting that Zema Ion ("Vidal Sassoon's favorite wrestler" HA!) and Miss Tessmacher ("Mrs. Back End") are getting their rematches, but they aren't. Daniels accuses Chavo of using his family for cheap heat and notes that Chavo and Hernandez only exist because Dixie Carter wants to court a Latino audience. Daniels suggests sombreros, a tequila bottle, and that they call themselves "Dos Stereotypicos." Now Daniels explains the clipboard: He wants to pass around a petition. Oh lord, that's TWO angles from The E stolen in one segment.
Kaz looks to pass the petition, but interruption comes from CHAVO GUERRERO and HERNANDEZ! Chavo says they're happy to help with the petition and are eager to give the former champs their rematch. Hernandez clears out the ring for fun. Chavo and Hernandez sign the petition and says their rematch can come at any time. Hit their music!
Backstage, Hulk Hogan talks to the four challengers and wants to know why they deserve a shot. Storm says everyone saw what he's capable of at BFG. Bully says he's still steamed about what happened with Devon. Kurt says his injury means he isn't champion. Anderson says he doesn't know what else Hogan wants from them. Hogan eliminates Anderson.
Anderson then walks into Austin Aries. Aries sympathizes with Anderson and points out that he was going to give him a title shot if he was still champion. Anderson doesn't want handouts, to which Aries says he would have easily beaten him anyway. Aries even says he's a bigger asshole than Anderson and chucks water in his face to prove it. Anderson knocks Aries on his ass. Both men go at it until Anderson bops Aries over the head with a picture frame! Why, I believe we have ourselves a match tonight! And then someone yells "CUT!" Oh, for fuck's sake, it's the Ghosts of the Crack WCW Production Crew! What the HELL, guys? THIS IS WHY PEOPLE STILL THINK YOU'RE BUSH LEAGUE!
Backstage, Devon gathers the Aces & Eights for a meeting. Devon has spoken to the President (because naturally, we need our NEXT arbitrary rank), who told him that the masks should not come off under any circumstances. Considering that no one on the TNA roster is ever smart enough to actually go for the masks, I don't think that'll be a problem. Devon says he's got some ladies coming in to entertain them tonight, but says they have to take somebody out first. One of the Aces tosses a dart at a board of the TNA roster. We don't see who it lands on, but Devon says they have their next target.
ROBBIE T (w/ROBBIE E) v. "THE SAMOAN SUBMISSION MACHINE" SAMOA JOE: TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH We see what happened last week with Robbie E getting murdered by Joe, followed by T getting more of the same. T wasn't too pleased with this, so that leads to tonight's match.
We start with a lock-up and T misses a blind charge. Joe hits a chop, but T no-sells it, to Joe's chagrin. Shoulderblock gets Joe nowhere. T nails Joe with an axehandle and T hammers away with his 'roided-up offense. Joe hammers back, but T nails him with a spin kick and yells a lot. T misses a clotheslines and grabs the GOOZLE! Joe fights out of it, but T grabs it again! Chokeslam is countered with the Kokina Clutch! E provides distraction and T backs Joe into the corner. Undaunted, Joe grabs the Clutch again! T backs Joe into the corner a second time! Now Joe jumps on T's back, so T falls back on him. As T catches his breath, here's a ZOMBIE SITUP with Joe grabbing the Clutch and that'll do it in a two-minute special!
WINNER: Samoa Joe - SQUASH!
Later tonight, Jeff Hardy defends his title against one of three remaining guys.
Here's a video package on the Tara/Tess feud. Tess vows to get her title back tonight and send Jessie back to Hollywood.
Backstage, Hulk Hogan continues to try and pick a challenger. Hulk asks Kurt about Bully. Kurt says Bully's too preoccupied with Devon. Hogan asks Storm the same question. Storm empathizes with Ray, remembering getting stabbed in the back himself. Ray admits that he's not focused on the title tonight. Hulk tells Ray to go take care of his brother tonight.
Backstage, Anderson tells a random production guy that he's stick of Aries walking around like a peacock. They face off next!
MR. ANDERSON v. AUSTIN ARIES Anderson only gets half an entrance, which should tell you how much of a chance he has here.
Lock-up starts us off and a shoving match ensues. Anderson gets a right hand, so Aries takes a breather. We're off to a VERY slow start here. Another lock-up. Another shoving match. Anderson goes to the mounted punches. Aries rolls out and stalls. Ok, we've established the lock-up, the shoving, and the stalling. Can we get started now? Aries grabs a waistlock and Anderson elbows out of it. Now that appears like a clean sequence to the naked eye, BUT...Aries demonstrates some SLEIGHT OF HAND, because he manages to stuff something in Anderson's crotch! It's a pair of brass knuckles, which the ref promptly takes away, as Aries pleads his case. While the ref takes care of the brass knuckles, Aries attacks Anderson from behind and demands a DQ! The ref says no, so we continue. Aries misses a corner charge and Anderson makes the babyface comeback. Aries tosses Anderson out to cut the flurry short and nails the suicide dive to take us to our next ad break.
We come back with Aries in control with a corner elbow and a round of lefts. Aries mocks the crowd chants and Anderson comes back. Corner charge eats boot, however. Kneedrop gets 2. Anderson tries to come back, but runs into a left. Aries comes off the ropes, but an Anderson clothesline sends him into the Hennig oversell! Anderson makes the babyface comeback. Anderson sends Aries to the outside, where he nails him with a plancha. Anderson grabs the fireman's carry, but Aries grabs the ref to pull himself down! Aries frisks the ref to grab his brass knuckles! The POWER OF THE PUNCH~! misses and Aries eats a right hand. Aries drops the brass knuckles and Anderson picks them up LIKE AN IDIOT and gets caught by the ref! Shockingly, this does NOT cause a DQ, as Brian Hebner simply takes them away. During the distraction, however, Aries pulls out a SECOND pair of brass knuckles and nails Anderson with the POWER OF THE PUNCH~! Anderson's out on his feet, so Aries pulls him down on top, just for the hell of it. Anderson's pin shockingly gets 2! Aries clamps on LAST CHANCERY~! for the academic submission at 12 minutes.
WINNER: Austin Aries - This one was all over the place. They tried way too hard to be cutesy with the knuckles. This one's also notable for Jeremy Borash confirming that we're getting the Hardy/Aries rematch at Turning Point. Remember that one for later.
Backstage, Tara, Big Brother Jessie, Brooke Hogan...yeah...FFWD!
Your hosts are now Mike Tenay and Taz. Todd Keneley is like the bastard child of Josh Matthews and Matt Striker and I mean that in the worst possible way. Later tonight, Jeff Hardy faces either Kurt Angle or James Storm.
MISS TESSMACHER v. TARA (w/JESSIE): KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH Tess knocks Tara off the apron in mid-kiss to start. Tess is a ball of fire, knocking Tara around. Jessie runs distraction, allowing Tara to get a cheap shot. Tara works Tess over on the outside and nails her with a field goal kick. Slingshot legdrop misses and Tess makes the babyface comeback. My bum is on your lips! My bum is on your lips! Corner carpet muncher hits! Tess runs the ropes and gets lowbridged by Jessie. Widow's Peak finishes in a two-minute special.
WINNER: Tara - Blech.
Post-match, here's BROOKE HOGAN, who doesn't look pleased with what just happened. Brooke reminds Tara that next week is Open Fight Night and notes that she just got off the phone with ODB. Brooke says that next week, ODB wants to challenge...JESSIE! Huh...well, ok then. Hit Brooke's music, as Jessie looks apopleptic!
Backstage, Bully Ray heads to the ring. We hear from him next!
Backstage, Joseph Park enters Hulk Hogan's office and wants to talk about their conversation from last week. Hulk says that Park's only had one match, but Park says that he was the one who was kidnapped. Park accuses Hulk of worrying about liability issues, so he passes him a waiver absolving TNA and Spike of liability. Hulk says he'll think about Park's request.
BULLY RAY comes out for our next promo. Ray thanks Sting for Bound For Glory. He then turns to Devon and says he was shocked by the unmasking. Ray's unsatisfied with Devon's explanation from last week, so he calls out Devon for the REAL reason.
The Aces theme brings out DEVON and ACES & EIGHTS, who quickly fill the ring. Ray grabs his chain, as Devon positions himself behind the other Aces. Devon says he doesn't owe Ray an explanation and that they aren't family anymore. Devon says this has nothing to do with Ray, but it's all about Hogan. Devon says he never got any calls from Hogan and that Hogan's Tweets were full of crap, but the Aces picked him up when he was down and out. Devon says they'll pick off every single person that's wronged them and tells Ray to get out of their way, because their issue is over. Ray says things are over when HE says they're over. Ray says it IS about him and says they should have retired two years ago. Ray recalls their final match with the MCMG two years ago and says that Chris Sabin kicked out of the 3D, which no one ever did. Ray reminds Devon of what Devon said to him after their match when Ray had his head down. Devon said "What does it matter? We're rich! Screw the fans!" and Ray cites THAT as the original reason for turning on Devon two years ago! Devon doesn't deny any of this. Ray says they're doing too much talking and wants to fight right now. "I want to kick your ass so bad, I can taste it!" Um...ew? Devon declines that request and says it's on his time, so he's going home. Devon and the Aces bail, as Ray says Devon's always been a coward, hiding behind him their entire career. Ray tells Devon that next week is Open Fight Night and he's challenging him for next week. Hit Ray's music!
Point of logic: If the Aces are an outsider group and don't technically work for TNA, why does Devon have to abide by the Open Fight Night rules?
Up next, Jeff Hardy's first title defense!
Annoying Backstage Guy catches up with Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan and asks about their attack on RVD. Ryan says the rules don't apply to them and says it's time for X Division gold. Morgan tells Hulk Hogan that he started this with his laundry list. Morgan says he's going to do whatever he wants.
Next week, Gut Check returns! Holy shit, it's CHRISTIAN YORK! York's cited as a 16-year veteran and here's some footage of the very first TNA show, where he tagged with Joey Matthews (now Mercury). Man, it's so weird to look at Matthews without the 'roids. York blames himself for not going down Matthews' positive path and says this may be his last chance.
Backstage, Hulk Hogan is with Kurt Angle and James Storm, but he wants to give Jeff the test of his life, so he picks Kurt. As Kurt exits to his music, Hulk tells Storm that he needs to talk to him about something huge.
"THE OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST" KURT ANGLE v. "THE CHARISMATIC ENIGMA" JEFF HARDY: TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH Jeff comes out with BOTH the world title AND the vanity belt. That just seems excessive. Christy Hemme gives us our championship intros.
Lock-up starts us off and we get a clean break in the corner. Jeff gets an armdrag and goes to the armbar. Kurt works over Jeff in the corners, as dueling chants start up. Jeff comes back in the corner and hits the corner seated dropkick for 2. Corner charge eats boot, but Kurt jumps into an atomic drop. Jeff hits the wishbone legdrop and seated dropkick for 2! Kurt catches Jeff in the corner and crotches him before sending him out to send us to our final ad break of the night!
We come back with Kurt grabbing the chinlock. Clotheslines lead to a double KO. Jeff makes the babyface comeback. Headscissors sends Kurt out and Jeff follows with an apron clothesline! Whisper in the Wind gets 2! Twist of Fate is countered with the Rolling Germans for 2! Angle Slam is countered with the Twist of Fate! Swanton attempt is caught with the pop-up superplex for 2! Powerbomb pin gets 2 and Kurt quickly shifts into the anklelock! Jeff pushes off and nails the mule kick! Swanton Bomb misses! Angle Slam hits for 2! Jeff elbows out of a German attempt and nails double Twists! Swanton Bomb gets 2! If I was a bitter man, I'd point out that that's more than Aries got at the PPV. Jeff charges in and gets backdropped over the top rope. Kurt rolls Jeff back in and DOWN COMES THE STRAPS! Angle Slam is countered with a sunset flip for the sudden pin at 15 minutes!
WINNER: Jeff Hardy - Very nice TV match and damn good TV main event.
Post-match, AUSTIN ARIES wipes out Jeff during the replays. Now THAT'S some sleight of hand, eh? Aries grabs the mic and says he'd like to announce where he wants to have his rematch. But he doesn't want to do it here and he doesn't want it on free TV, so he says he wants his match at Turning Point. That would have been a novel annoucement if BORASH HADN'T ALREADY RUINED THE ANNOUNCEMENT EARLIER! Aries says he'll be going back to the penthouse and says he's SO confident in his win, that he'll take the belt with him for safekeeping. Hit Aries' music! We see the replay of Aries' attack, where he wiped out Jeff from behind and laid him out with the vanity belt (but not before spitting on it first, of course). As Aries exits triumphantly, we suddenly get word of an incident in the back.
And we see Kurt Angle getting mugged by Devon and the Aces. This would look like a much more convincing beatdown if any of Devon's punches looked like they were anywhere close to connecting. Save is made by Garrett Bischoff with a pipe, as Wes Brisco comes in and calls for help. Closing credits are up and we're out!
They're not even pretending with Aries anymore and he's just a flat-out heel now. At least Aries is entertaining as a heel, but it's still annoying to see them go back to the Same Old Crap with top babyface Jeff Hardy. Aries is at least going to make the feud fun with his antics.
And speaking of the Same Old Crap, I'm beyond sick of the Aces. And now on top of everything, we have an Aces "President" that we're going to be fixated on for the next "x" number of months. Ray and Devon both gave good promos and their end is going to be entertaining, at least. You know...until Devon actually has to wrestle.
The rest of the show was...there. Joe's match was fun, as it's always fun to watch him kill lesser men. RVD/Ion was a carbon copy of their PPV match, Aries/Anderson never really got going, and the Knockouts are going to be DEATH until the Tara/Jessie angle gets blown off.
Well, until next time! Take us home, Samoa Joe!
The Robbies call me Berlin cause I take their breath away. Successful title defense, now back to HQ #YeahISaidIt
The KO division is getting dangerously close to WWE's women's division. It used to be the highlight of the show now its just three random women vying for the title and that is it. I understand Bruce Pritchard doesn't like women's wrestling, but it was one of their few ratings winners. I have heard Sky is coming back, but we will see. They have had years of good women wrestlers walk in and out of that door. Yet, they find some way to fuck it up.
I also liked Devon and Bully's promo. That is what last week needed to be. I think Devon and Bully can have a wild match that could be good. I did like Hardy's inner monologue even if the drinking comment was the biggest pot calling the kettle black in the history of man. Aces and Eights was at least kept in somewhat check with the rest of the show.
I really like championship Thursday. Its nice to see the X-Division be showcased and put on someone people sorta care about. I would have preferred to see the tag team belts defended, but Kaz and Daniels' promo was probably better than a match between the two teams. Joe is a monster again, so I can't say they are too off the rails. I did like Austin getting a tap victory. It just feels that this Jeff experiment was done to make the fans at BFG happy which it didn't and now its time to move it back to the star of the show, Aries.
The Wee Baby Sheamus.Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
I presume that there have been twenty Royal Rumble matches in the past. 30 people in 20 Rumbles works out to 600 competitors. But Mick Foley entering the Rumble three times in the same year lops two appearances off, giving us the number 598.