8/23 Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Live Coverage Review: Open Fight Night, Sting and Hulk Hogan call out Aces & 8s, Gut Check Challenge segment, Bound For Glory Series continues
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Live from Orlando, Fla.
[Q1] The show opened with the Sons of Anarchy, er, Laffing Devils, er, Aces & 8s driving their motorcycles... A video recapped last week's show with the narrator talking over the clips... Mike Tenay and Taz checked in on commentary from their perch on the stage...
Sting's music played and he walked to the ring. He was followed by Jeff Hardy, Devon, Austin Aries, Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson, Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles, Gunner, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, Robbie E, and Robbie T. The last four wrestlers remained on the floor.
Sting said he told security to leave the gate wide open for Aces & 8s. Updated: Sting paid tribute to the victims of Aces & 8's. There was a "We Want Hogan" chant. Sting called out James Storm and noted that the questions were answered last week when he was attacked. Sting acknowledged "We Want Hogan" chants."
Two scrubby looking guys dressed like Aces & 8s came to the ring and got their asses kicked by the TNA wrestlers. The masks of the two men came off quickly. The skinnier of the two was no one of note. Sting got upset and asked if that's all they brought. Sting said he knew better. The man thanked Sting for the attack and said he was just patched in. He said the TNA wrestlers are in for a long, painful night. Sting punched the guy in the stomach... [C]
Powell's POV: As I've noted before, all of the Aces & 8s members we've seen so far have had "prospect" patches. It's possible the guy who has been doing the talking isn't even a leader.
The previous segment was recapped... Miss Tessmacher made her entrance. Footage of Taryn Terrell's (a/k/a Tiffany from WWE) debut as a referee was shown.
[Q2] Once in the ring, Tessmacher said the question of whether she can beat her mentor and friend haunts her. Thus, she called out Tara...
1. Miss Tessmacher vs. Tara in a non-title match. Taryn Terrell was the referee. She gets her own entrance. Tessmacher stumbled a bit on an early leapfrog, but they recovered quickly. Tara came back and superplexed Tessmacher, rolled into a pin, and pinned her clean. They hugged after the match...
Tara defeated Miss Tessmacher in a non-title match in 2:45.
Powell's POV: I thought they were setting up a program between the two of them last month when Tara won the battle royal. I was disappointed at the time that they went with the Madison Rayne and Earl Hebner silliness instead. I assume Tara will turn at some point. Either way, I like the teacher vs. student dynamic.
The announcers recapped Aces & 8s recent attack on D'Angelo Dinero and noted that he was out with a broken collarbone...
Backstage, Sting told A.J. Styles, Rob Van Dam, and Robbie E that they would have a three-way match since they were all slated to wrestle Dinero in the BFG Series. He said a pinfall is worth seven points, a submission is worth ten points... [C]
Powell's POV: That's logical given that they all would have had a chance to earn those same number of points in matches against Pope. Meanwhile, Dot Net reader Shawn Colonna notes that he believes the unmasked Aces & 8s prospect is Florida-based indy wrestler C.J. O'Doyle.
Introductions for the three-way match took place...
[Q3] 2. Rob Van Dam vs. A.J. Styles vs. Robbie E in a three-way Bound For Glory Series match. After some routine three-way action, they cut to break. [C] After the break, they showed footage of Van Dam monkey-flipping Styles out of the corner. Back live, Styles was getting the better of Robbie E with RVD at ringside, but it didn't last.
Tenay said they were just moments away from finding out the results of A.J.'s paternity test. They said it has to be stressful for him with that looming as he wrestles a match. Styles came back with a big dive onto RVD and Robbie E at ringside, which got a rise out of the crowd. Styles got up limping and the announcers said he hit his shin on Robbie's head.
Later, Styles performed the flip off the middle rope and tried to go right to the inverted DDT, but Van Dam stumbled. Once he stood up, Styles hit the move for a near fall. Van Dam and Styles fought on the top rope. Van Dam shoved Styles off the top rope and Frogsplashed him. Robbie snuck in and pinned Van Dam, who was selling the punishment he takes while performing his finisher...
Robbie E defeated Rob Van Dam and A.J. Styles in 12:55 to earn seven points in the BFG Series.
The announcers showed the leader board. Robbie moved ahead of the injured Pope with 12 points... A shot aired of Jeff Hardy walking backstage. Tenay questioned whether he was going to call someone out as part of Open Fight Night... [C]
Powell's POV: The match was entertaining after the break and I like the upset of Robbie E winning. It was similar to the SummerSlam Triple Threat finish in that the heel snuck in and took advantage of the babyface executing his finisher. By the way, a second Dot Net reader has noted that the Aces & 8s wrestler was "Irish Lionheart" C.J. O'Doyle.
[Q4] Jeff Hardy headed to the ring and said recent history is his explanation. He called out Robbie T and noted that it was not a Bound For Glory Series match...
3. Jeff Hardy vs. Robbie T. Terry used power moves early, including a slam for a near fall. Hardy came back with a Whisper in the Wind for his own two count. Hardy knocked Terry down after three clotheslines. T came back briefly, yet missed a clothesline attempt. Hardy hit the Twist of Fate and followed up with the Swanton for the clean pin...
Jeff Hardy defeated Robbie T in 2:35.
Powell's POV: Quick and painless. The live crowd loves Hardy. Rob Terry didn't look as clunky as usual, but no one will confuse his in-ring work for Ric Flair's anytime soon. I've been getting emails from people who are worried that Hulk Hogan will be revealed as the Aces & 8s mastermind. I'm hopeful that creative wants viewers to think that.
Backstage, Daniels and Kazarian delivered a brief promo. Daniels said Styles thinks all of the answers are coming tonight, but he hasn't heard all of the questions yet... [C]
Backstage, Sting looked into the camera and taunted Aces & 8s. He said he's not hiding and he's easy to find and challenged them to find him...
[Q5] A video recapped the A.J. Styles drama... In the ring, Jeremy Borash introduced A.J. Styles. He cut a promo apologizing to his friends, fans, and family for having to suffer through "this crap." He said there's a night in his life that he can't remember and he wishes never existed. He said something happened that night with Claire, but he doesn't know what.
"If I am the father of Claire's baby, our baby, I will accept responsibility of that child," Styles said. He said that if it's not his child, he doesn't want Daniels and Kazarian to say another word to him as long as they live. Borash introduced Claire Lynch, but Daniels and Kazarian came out instead.
They accused him of being more concerned with his own brand, being responsible for the bullying problem, and turning his back on Claire. Daniels said Claire Lynch was not in the building because she suffered a placental disruption as a result of the stress that Styles put her through. Daniels said it's touch and go for her.
Daniels said he knows his fans join him in wishing Claire a speedy recovery. Daniels got in Styles' face and said every second Styles spends in the hospital is because Styles is a selfish bastard. A woman walked to the ring and introduced herself as the attorney for Claire Lynch. Daniels walked toward her and tried to take the mic. The woman told him to get his hands off her. Funny.
The woman read a statement from Lynch that revealed she was approached by Daniels and Kazarian with the goal of framing and blackmailing Styles. She admitted to taking part in "numerous illegal and unethical activities" including adding a sedative to a cola beverage that rendered Styles unconscious. She admitted that photos were taken to perpetuate the fraud.
Lynch's statement noted that she instructed her attorneys to contact authorities. She also revealed that she is not, nor has she ever been pregnant. The crowd cheered as Daniels and Kazarian threw a fit. Lynch's statement included saying that she hopes Styles and his family can someday forgive him, and added that Styles is and always has been the man his fans have known him to be.
They attorney handed the mic to Borash, who held up the ropes as she left the ring. Styles caught Daniels with a kick to the head. The heels fled the ring. Styles played to the cheering fans...
Powell's POV: The only thing really surprising about the reveal was the reaction of the live crowd. They were actually into what the lawyer was saying and enjoyed rallying behind Styles. That said, I still wish this would have played out in the "Maury" studio.
Video footage aired of the Gut Check contestant stressing that there are no writers and this is real. He said he can't provide for his family without winning the contract. He said he'll show the judges that he has charisma and talent in the ring. He said he'd kill himself to get a contract and will blow the roof off the house if he gets a match...
Backstage, the Aces & 8s looked for Sting, who approached them from behind and acted crazy. He had they play 52 Card Pickup. As they were distracted, Sting threw his bat to Hulk Hogan, who was standing behind them. Hogan knocked one of them down with a bat.
Hogan told the man that if he ever looks at his daughter again, he'll cut his heart out and feed it to his dog. Hogan made a bunch of weird snorting noises. Sting calmed him down and then said, "Hollywood, you're back!" Hogan had the stubble and Hollywood Hogan look...
Powell's POV: Why didn't Hogan pull the mask off the guy's face while he had him knocked out? Why would Sting be excited to see Hollywood, who is the evil incarnation of Hogan?
[Q6] [C] Footage aired of the previous segment with Sting and Hogan... A video package showcased Alex Silva, who talked about what winning Gut Check meant to him. It also showed him training at OVW...
Powell's POV: Alex Silva lives! For those who don't recall, he was the first guy to tell a sob story and get a contract.
In the the ring, Jeremy Borash introduced contestant Chris Lewie. Borash said, "This is your gut check!!!" Gunner made his entrance...
4. Kris Lewie vs. Gunner. Gunner mocked Lewie, who took him down with an arm drag. Later, Lewie missed a top rope move, and Gunner put him away with his finisher. Taz said Lewie showed intestinal fortitude, desire, and heart, but he was giving up way too much experience to Gunner.
Gunner pinned Kris Lewie in 2:50 in the Gut Check match.
A shot aired of Mr. Anderson walking backstage... [C]
Powell's POV: It was obvious Lewie's early flurry of offense wasn't going anywhere because the announcers were busy talking about how great it was to have Hollywood Hogan back. I still can't understand why that's a good thing considering that it was less than a year ago that they were happy to have Hollywood replaced by the red and yellow Hogan. As for the Gut Check match, they're all the same. The rookie gets a little offense, but the veteran eventually puts them away and wins clean.
[Q7] Backstage, ODB spoke on the phone with Eric Young. She said he needed to stop finishing and catch his wife. After she hung up, she called out to someone off camera and asked how old the guy was...
Mr. Anderson made his entrance and his mic dropped down once he was in the ring. He said he was having his last BFG Series match. He introduced Bully Ray as his opponent...
5. Mr. Anderson vs. Bully Ray in a Bound For Glory Series match. The announcers looked at the standings. Anderson was ten points down from the cutoff line. Taz said he needs points. Bully Ray took control and they cut to break at 1:40. [C]
After the break, Ray was still on the offensive. Anderson came back and got a two count even though he needs ten points. Good lord.
[Q8] They cut backstage to show Gunner, Robbie T, and Kurt Angle attacking members of Aces & 8s. Back in the ring, Anderson kicked out of a Bully Bomb and then dropped him with a DDT. Anderson went to the top and performed a Swanton for a two count. He came back a short time later with the Mic Check and scored the pin...
Mr. Anderson defeated Bully Ray by pinfall in 11:45 to earn seven points in the BFG Series.
Powell's POV: Goddamn, these announcers, writers, and Anderson look like morons. If Anderson was ten points down and this was his last match in the BFG Series, then he needed to win by submission in order to have any chance to make the top four. Granted, guys can lose points in the BFG Series, but given Anderson's place in the standings, it was idiotic of him to bank on that. A good match with embarrassingly flawed logic and a missed storytelling opportunity.
The announcers showed the standings and noted that Anderson was just short of the cut off line. Yeah, no shit...
Backstage, the Bane guy of Aces & 8s said the TNA wrestlers want to fight, but they're playing their game. He said that in about three minutes in 30 seconds, they were going to unleash hell and give out the Dead Man's Hand... [C]
After the break, Sting led a long line of TNA wrestlers to the ring as the announcers gushed over how they are all coming together to fight the common enemy of Aces & 8s. Sting recalled the Bane wannabe saying it would be three and a half minutes until they did their thing. He called them out and got no response initially.
Finally, members of Aces & 8s emerged from different points in the building. The TNA wrestlers beats up the Aces & 8s prospects. Anderson had to be censored as he talked smack while pounding on one of the Aces & 8s members. Backstage, Hogan was shown swinging and missing with a bat. Meanwhile, James Storm and A.J. Styles were beating up other members of the gang.
Back in the Impact Zone, Aries, Van Dam, and Jeff Hardy stood in the ring. They cut backstage where the fight continued with Hogan, Storm, Styles, and the guys they were fighting with. The fight continued in another part of the building. A group of Aces & 8s members showed up at ringside. Aries dove onto them.
The cameras cut to various parts of the building where the fight continued. One of bigger guys got the better of Aries. A big group of the gang set up a pice of the guardrail on the top rope and held Aries arm on top of it while the Bane wannabe guy slammed a chair on it. The guys in the ring stood over the fallen Aries.
Bully Ran out with a chair and the Aces and 8s members ran off. Outside the building, the members were shown getting on their motorcycles and driving away to close the show...
Powell's POV: A wild brawl, yet there were so many guys that it became kind of numbing. Plus, I don't understand why they didn't make Aries a bigger part of the show if they were going to have him attacked at the end. I want to like this, but I also hope they settle down and tell a story that focusses on a handful of guys from each team rather than this 25 on 25 gimmick (or at least that's how it felt). Check back on Friday for Will Pruett's All Access audio review of Impact Wrestling, as well as hit Pause written review, and perhaps a TNA Impact Wrestling Rundown from Ryan Kester, assuming he's feeling better. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.
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