8/30 Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Live Coverage Review: Jeff Jarrett vs. Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam vs. James Storm, and Samoa Joe vs. A.J. Styles in important BFG Series matches
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Live from Orlando, Fla.
[Q1] The show opened with a recap of last week's show... Mike Tenay (with Taz) checked in on commentary. Highlights aired of the Aces & 8s drama from last week...
Austin Aries headed to the ring and held the TNA Title belt over his head. He also showed off a black wrap on the right hand that the Aces & 8s faction attacked last week. He said they called in the cavalry to create a diversion while six men attacked him in the ring. Aries said people have asked whether he will be forced to forfeit the title due to his injury.
Aries said he has not been medically cleared to wrestle, but he doesn't need to be medically cleared to fight. Aries said he's left handed and they hurt his right hand. Aries put the belt over the top rope and said that he and the belt are there waiting for them. He called on the person behind Aces & 8s to fight him. He said he would sit in the ring all night until someone answered his challenge.
Hulk Hogan's entrance theme played. Hogan and Sting walked out with baseball bats in their hands and received a great reaction from the live crowd. Hogan said Aces & 8s have attacked his friends and family and he's ready for a bloodbath if that's what they want. Aries told Hogan he wants a member of Aces & 8s in the ring.
Aces & 8s appeared on the screen. They were drinking beer. The wannabe Bane guy has been promoted to Vice President based on his patch. He said they say what they're going to do and they do it. He asked the other members if they're ready to have fun tonight. They were. He said they would be at the Impact Zone later tonight and people would see what they are all about...
The announcers previewed the Bound For Glory Series matches and said James Storm vs. Rob Van Dam was up next... [C]
Powell's POV: A solid opening segment that gave viewers the update on Aries and put the Aces & 8s saga front and center. Aries threatening to stay in the ring until Aces & 8s responded didn't make much sense if we're to believe they are a biker gang and have no real loyalty to TNA. In other words, why would they care if he sat it the ring for two hours? It's good to see the VP patch on Bane. As I've pointed out in the past, it's been odd that all of the mebmers we've seen wear prospect patches.
[Q2] Footage aired of ODB leaving Eric Young messages threatening that he better call her back or they are finished. She kept setting deadlines and he never responded... The announcers spoke briefly and then a narrated video focussed on the BFG Series matches...
1. Rob Van Dam vs. James Storm in a Bound For Glory Series match. Tenay explained that Van Dam had to win one of his last two matches to make it to the final four or he'd be on the outside looking in. Not coincidentally, that's exactly how the BFG scenarios article reads on the TNA website. What a pro. Sigh.
The announcers also noted that they are using the same format for the BFG Final Four as last year, with what is essentially a four-man tournament at No Surrender with the winner challenging the TNA Champion at Bound For Glory. Van Dam dove onto Storm at ringside at 3:15 and the show went to break. [C]
After the break, Storm caught RVD with a kick, ran the ropes, and dropped him with an DDT for a really good near fall. Tenay noted that if Storm maintains the lead in the BFG Series, he can handpick his opponent for the semifinals at No Surrender. RVD came back a short time later with a monkey flip.
Stupid ass Van Dam did the thumb point routine and then went for Rolling Thunder. He ended up rolling into a Last Call super kick, which led to Storm getting the pin and keeping his first place BFG Series spot...
James Storm defeated Rob Van Dam in 11:15 to earn seven points in the BFG Series.
[Q3] After the match, Christy Hemme interviewed Storm at ringside briefly. He said he's going to win the BFG Series and take back the TNA Championship... A shot aired of Madison Rayne backstage... [C]
Powell's POV: Once Tenay stopped reading copy, he did a good job of making the BFG Series match seem important, as did Taz when he chimed in. I like the touch of Hemme interviewing an excited Storm at ringside afterward. How stupid is the Van Dam character? His thumb point routine comes back to haunt him constantly these days. In fact, it's happening so frequently that I'm left wondering if it's by design and he's turning heel. If not, he looks like the world's dumbest wrestler.
Madison Rayne came to the ring. Taryn Terrell was already in the ring wearing her referee gear. Rayne cut a promo in which she said Brooke Hogan called her and told her she'd be having a match. She assumed that the match was off and she'd be named No. 1 contender. She also blamed Terrell of costing her a match. ODB came out and said Brooke also told her she had a match...
2. ODB vs. Madison Rayne. ODB took a swig from her flask and spat it in Madison's face. ODB hit her finisher and scored the pin...
ODB pinned Madison Rayne in a 0:25.
After the match, Eric Young's music played and he walked out wearing a suit and shades. Young was carrying a bucket of chicken and a small beer keg (which is what ODB has been asking for). She asked what he's been doing. He said he has a successful TV show, but he brought her chicken and beer.
She pointed to the suit and asked who the hell he is. "Where is the husband that I married?" she asked. "Where is EY? This is not who I married." Young told her she's right. He said he'd fix it. Young took off his clothes. Taz said Young had a rash on his back and questioned what that was all about. Young stripped down to his briefs and then made out with ODB...
Powell's POV: It sounded like 20 percent of the crowd loved this and 80 percent were bored by it. I get a kick out of a lot of the Young and ODB silliness, but I felt like I've seen this bit before.
A video recapped the Claire Lynch nonsense... Backstage, Styles said he's not done with Daniels and Kazarian yet. However, he said he has to do what Sting and Hogan tell him by making the Final Four at No Surrender. He said he has to go through Samoa Joe and that's easier said than done, but he's going to make it happen...
A clip of the Gut Check judgment segment was shown with Bruce Prichard telling the other judges that if a guy is going to get his Gut Check, he should show up prepared and in the best shape of his life... [C]
Powell's POV: Did they bring in Kris Lewie because he has a sob story and now they want to show that it's about more than that?
Footage aired from last week of the Gut Check judges. Snow said he was disappointed. Prichard's line from the preview occurred. Taz talked about the sob story. Prichard said they should keep an open mind and think of the total package. Snow said he thinks he has made his decision, but he will keep an open mind...
Powell's POV: What was it about Lewie's two-minute loss to Gunner that was worse than the two-minute match losses endured by the Gut Check winners?
Backstage, Sting and Hogan were talking about Aces & 8s. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian entered the room. Kazarian reminded them that they have ironclad contracts. Daniels talked about how they were all friends. Hogan said he and Sting hate their guts and they are everything that's wrong with the business today. Hogan said he doesn't know how, but they are going to fight. Hogan said he would tell them when and where... [C]
Powell's POV: Hogan and Sting have solid chemistry in the backstage segments. In case you missed the point, Hogan and Sting are pissed at Kazarian and Daniels because of the Claire Lynch nonsense. Hogan was good here as he reamed out the tag champs. I assume he can't give them the match yet because it will involve A.J. Styles and will be at No Surrender, meaning Styles has to be eliminated from the BFG Series first.
A video set up the Styles vs. Joe match and how it fits into the BFG Series... The announcers discussed the BFG Series leader board briefly...
[Q5] 3. A.J. Styles vs. Samoa Joe in a BFG Series match. Tenay noted that Styles must win and needs help to make the final four. There was a cool spot early with Styles jumping toward Joe on the floor only to take a kick to the chest. Back in the ring, Joe went to work on Styles.
Styles came back later with a Pele kick that hit Joe's arm. The announcers said Joe blocked the move with his arm. Styles applied a cross arm breaker and the announcers said he was going after the arm that was struck by the kick. Nice storytelling. Joe came back with a big slam in the corner. Styles locked him in the submission hold again, but Joe broke free and ended up on top of Styles and scored the pin in the process....
Samoa Joe defeated A.J. Styles in 8:05 to earn seven points in the BFG Series.
Powell's POV: They did a good job of explaining that Styles was going for submission holds because he needed the ten points that are awarded for a submission win. This was a big improvement over last week when they had Mr. Anderson score a pinfall victory when he needed a submission win and the extra three points that come with it in order to remain in the hunt. It's probably confusing some viewers because they are throwing a lot at them and they haven't taken this approach until tonight. Perhaps a pre-match graphic listing what's at stake for the wrestlers and the ramifications of winning by pinfall or submission would be helpful. Either way, this is a step in the right direction.
Highlights aired of the opening segment... A shot aired of Kris Lewie getting pumped up for the Gut Check segment backstage... [C]
[Q6] Backstage, Kurt Angle talked about his match with Jeff Hardy and how it's win or go home for both men. Angle said Hardy can't beat him in this match...
In the ring, Jeremy Borash introduced Gut Check judges Taz, Bruce Prichard, and Al Snow. Taz and Snow received nice reactions, Prichard got some boos. The judges all laughed it off. Borash introduced Kris Lewie, whose wife and baby were shown sitting at ringside. Borash asked Lewie if he put forth his best effort for the judges. Lewie said he did, but he gets better every day.
Taz was up first. He asked the crowd to "hold on." He said respects anyone who tries to make a career as a wrestler as he is. He said Lewie has an extremely interesting life and he commended him for sharing it with the world. Taz said Impact Wrestling his a little above his head right now so he has to vote no.
Prichard yelled "Gut Check" for the second time (he did it during the backstage bit). Prichard also voted no. Lewie's wife look disappointed at ringside. Joey Ryan showed up at ringside with a megaphone and called one of the judges a corporate stooge. He threw a drink at Al Snow. Prichard held Snow back. Ryan broke free and Snow eventually broke free and chased after him...
Backstage shots of Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy were shown... [C]
Powell's POV: It looks like Lewie was the fall guy as they even went so far as to put his wife and newborn at ringside. I think TNA was hoping for a lot of online buzz about Joey Ryan. He got some attention initially while some were wondering whether his verbal exchange with Taz was a shoot, but it doesn't seem like people are really talking about his ringside antics. Meanwhile, Prichard apparently repurposed a bad tablecloth. It looks like he slapped a few buttons on it and uses it as a shirt.
Backstage, Joseph Park spoke with Hulk Hogan and Sting. Park said he's been doing some research on Aces & 8s and they are guilty of assault and battery, grand larceny, and perhaps a RICO violation. He said he wants to investigate Aces & 8s on TNA's behalf. Hogan gave his blessing, then he and Sting exchanged looks after Park left the room...
The camera showed a group of Bellator fighters at ringside. Tenay introduced them by name for viewers at home... The announcers spoke about the BFG Series leader board... A video set up the Angle vs. Hardy match that noted it is do or die time for both men...
[Q7] Hardy and Angle were introduced. Borash replaced Christy Hemme for the in-ring introductions for the main event...
Powell's POV: Multiple readers have pointed out that the Bane wannabe guy in Aces & 8s looks like D-Lo Brown. Even if it is him under the mask, I'm not reading too much into it. After all, he works as an agent for the company and it's possible they would have him play the part now and have it be someone else once he's unmasked.
4. Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle in a Bound For Glory Series match. The announcers immediately stressed the significance of the match and the "must win" aspect for both wrestlers. Angle knocked Hardy down with a clothesline and the show cut to commercial at 3:00. [C]
After the break, Hardy scored a near fall after a dropkick on a seated Angle. He followed up later with a Whisper in the Wind for a good near fall. Angle came right back, lowered the straps, and suplexed Hardy for a near fall of his own. Hardy came back, removed his shirt, and performed a Swanton for a good near fall. Later, Angle ran up the ropes, but Hardy shoved him down and followed up with a Swanton for the clean pin...
Jeff Hardy defeated Kurt Angle in 11:15 to earn seven points in the Bound For Glory Series.
After the match, Angle sold the loss by looking introspective. Highlights played. Angle rolled out of the ring. Borash stood in the middle of the ring and said it was time to introduce the final five. He introduced Hardy, Van Dam, Joe, Bully Ray, and James Storm. Borash said Storm is guaranteed to be in the final four.
Borash added that Hardy will face Joe, and Ray will face RVD next week in the final BFG Series matches. Pyro shot off as the opponents for next week went face to face... A shot aired of Austin Aries walking backstage... [C]
Powell's POV: It was near fall city after the break. It worked for me because there was something at stake with both men needing the win to remain in the BFG Series. Tenay and Taz put it over huge by talking about how it was an honor and privilege to call. The post-match bit seemed a bit premature with the pyro since it's all about the final four and not the final five, but they are doing a good job of making the BFG Series feel prestigious while also setting up Hardy vs. Joe, and Ray vs. RVD as big matches for next week's television show.
Austin Aries came to the ring and called out Aces & 8s to "come on out here and get your ass kicked." Hogan's music played. Hogan and Sting walked onto the stage and were followed by Bully Ray, Storm, Hardy, Van Dam, Styles, and Joe. Hogan said they were only there for support for Aries, who once again called out Aces & 8s.
Members of Aces & 8s entered the studio. Hogan said their finest is in the ring. He said they could have a bloodbath or send their finest to meet TNA's finest in the ring. The leader motioned and two men walked to ringside and opened the guardrail to let a big member enter.
The big man got the better of Aries briefly. Aries fired back, which led to Aces & 8s hitting the ring. The TNA wrestlers followed and they all brawled at ringside while Aries got the better of the big man in the ring. A man climbed onto the ring apron and pulled a mask over his face and then hit Aries from behind with an object. The new guy rolled out the big guy and the Aces & 8s left.
Taz questioned why the man put a mask on his face after he entered. Bully Ray complained in the ring that the new guy hit Aries with a slapjack. Aries sold it as if he'd been shot while Hogan and others looked on with concern to close out the show...
Powell's POV: For a moment there I thought they had a wardrobe malfunction, but Taz questioned why he covered his face after he entered the ring in a way that suggests it's something we're supposed to be asking ourselves. The slapjack bit wasn't all that hot, but the brawl was short, sweet, and kept things moving along with the TNA vs. Aces & 8's saga. By the way, it was odd to have the show end only to have the WWE logo pop up (The Marine 2 aired immediately following Impact). I'll have more to say about Impact in audio on Friday. Thanks for watching along with me.
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