3/21 Shore's TNA Impact Wrestling live coverage: Bully Ray explains the past nine months, Kenny King defends the X Division title in a triple threat, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode vs. Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez for the tag titles
By Chris Shore
TNA Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Taped on 3/14 in Chicago, Illinois.
[Q1] The video TNA released earlier opened the show…Todd Keneley, Mike Tenay, and Taz checked in on commentary, and Hulk Hogan made his ring entrance. Hogan said Aces and Eights fooled everyone. He said when he saw the TNA guys beat down he realized he was in a war. Hogan said there were four men who were the leaders of the charge. He introduced Samoa Joe, Magnus, Kurt Angle, and Jeff Hardy. All of them came out to the Impact theme (I think that's what it was.)
Hogan said he needed these men to take out Aces and Eights and bring the title back. He said he needed to know if Hardy was ready for his rematch. Hardy said he was beat up but he wanted the title Bully Ray stole back so he wanted to prove he was the best by winning a fourway with the men in the ring for a title shot. Hogan agreed and booked the match for later as a number one contender's match…
Shore's Slant: Hi, my name is Jeff Hardy and I'm a dope. I have an automatic rematch, but I'm going to put it on the line because…what? I realize this is supposed to make him look tough, and plenty of people fall for it, but I always hate it when a guy puts his title shot on the line.
Plan A was win BFG and then the title. He noted the night BFG started was the same nigh Aces and Eights showed up. He said they made James Storm look like the leader to throw people off and provide Bully cover in the BFG series. He also took credit for manipulating Bobby Roode into interfering in his match with Storm. He gave Hogan credit for locking out the gang at BFG, and then put Hardy over as being tougher than he had thought. He said Plan A was derailed, but Hogan brought him Plan B…
Shore's Slant: So far, so good on the explanation. The tough plot holes haven't come up yet, but this is a good start.
[Q2][C] Chavo and Hernandez made their ring entrance while a video showed Aces and Eights beating them up last week. The champs were out next…
1. Chavo and Hernandez vs. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode for the World Tag Team Championships. Chavo and Roode started. Hernandez tagged in quickly and Aries hit him from behind to give the heels control. Hernandez reversed a double suplex to get the hot tag. Chavo hit two drop kicks and sent the match to break…[C]
Shore's Slant: As our correspondents reported, Chicago is tired. They were up for the opening segment, but the energy is way down from last week. Hernandez hit a big splash and got almost no response.
Back from commercial, the heels worked over Chavo on the floor. Hernandez got the hot tag and knocked down both heels. He backed down the ramp and then ran and dove into the ring on both men. That got the crowd hot for a second. Hernandez tagged Chavo and picked up Aries for a double team move, but Aries head scissored Hernandez to the floor.
[Q3] Chavo hit three amigos and called for the frog splash. Kazarian ran out and distracted the ref while Daniels pushed Chavo off the top. Aries rolled Chavo up and grabbed the tights for the win…
Austin Aries and Bobby Roode retained the World Tag Team Championships by pinfall at 11:55.
Post-match, Bad Influence attacked the champs and left them lying in the ring…A video package announced the new X Division rules: 230 pound weight limit, all matches are triple threats, even title matches. Kenny King complained about the rules for a second and said he needed extra energy, 5 Hour Energy to be exact. He even showed a bottle. His match is next…[C]
Shore's Slant: The crowd finally got into the tag match, but just at the end. No real surprises in the match as the heel vs. heel feud has been brewing for some time. The X Division finally gets a weight limit? Good. I also like the all threeway matches. It sets the division apart from other cruiserweight style divisions and their nothing but spotfests anyway. The more men in those, generally, the better. I mean no disrespect when I say "spotfest" either. I think there is a place for that and that's what I have always liked about the X Division.
2. Sonjay Dutt vs. Zema Ion vs. Kenny King for the X Division Championship. The crowd liked Sonjay, even when he initially botched a moonsault setup. He recovered nicely and hit it, but King hit the blockbuster on Dutt for the win.
Kenny King retained the X Division Championship at 4:50.
[Q4] Brooke Hogan arrived and refused to answer any questions about her family. She said she was there to do business as the head of the Knockouts division…[C]
Shore's Slant: Fun match. Tenay said Dutt has now been eliminated from championship contention. Does that mean Ion will be in the next match since he wasn't involved in the finish? That could be a cool gimmick and lead to some neat story telling. So far, this show is much better than last week's.
Bully Ray explained Plan B in another video. He recapped the kidnapping of Joseph Park and said when he shook Hogan's hand, he knew he had him. He said he took the loss that led to the gang getting full access to Impact by taking the table spot from Devon. He said then he set his eyes on the prize of Brooke, but he got caught. He said he knew how Hogan would react and it worked in his favor because Brooke rebelled against her dad…[C]
Shore's Slant: The table spot was probably the first problem to solve, though not a big one. They glossed over it on some level, but again, that one isn't a big deal. The big one is the wedding attack, which has to be next. There's a lot of explaining to do there. They hit him with a pillar for goodness sake. But again, so far, so good. Next video will be the most important. I also like how they are laying this out within the show.
Sting walked into Hogan's office and asked to get his hands on Bully again. Hogan told him to sit in the rafters and disappear. Sting said last week was about apologies, this week was about revenge. He said he wanted Bully Ray. Hogan mumbled that Sting wasn't the only one…
[Q5] A video recapped the feud between Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell. Terrell made her ring entrance. Wait…what? She took a mic and cut a promo (wait…what?) about having to retaliate when Kim put her hands on her. She said she was ready to face her consequences. Gail Kim's music hit and she came to the ring in street clothes.
Kim took the mic and Terrell has finally learned you don't mess with Gail Kim because she was the greatest Knockout of all time. She said there would be no Taryn if there wasn't a Gail Kim. She called out Brooke Hogan and demanded Terrell be fired.
Brooke walked down the ramp and said this was the toughest decision she ever made. She said she loved Taryn, but she had to do what was best for business. She said she was terminating Terrell as the Knockouts ref. Gail celebrated. Brooke said she had also decided to sign her to a Knockouts contract, so she could get physical with anyone at any time. Terrell speared Gail and Gail rolled to the floor with Taryn chasing.
Brooke watched them fight to the back, so she didn't notice Bully Ray sneaking up behind her. She turned and saw him and said she loved him as a question. Ray showed her his ringed finger and said "till death do us part." She shoved him away and said she hated him. He said, "Love ya honey" and the show went to break…[C]
Shore's Slant: No real surprises with what played out with Terrell. I can't say I'm excited, but this doesn't hurt them either. I like the interaction with Bully, and I think they do turn Brooke Hogan heel. Or rather, I think they should. Who knows what they will decide to do, but I do think they are sowing the seeds for that here.
Another Bully Ray video explained how most everyone in the gang was disrespected by Hulk Hogan. Most of them were petty things, like not giving Garett Bischoff a title shot, but others were OK. He showed that he was the guy who hit Hardy with the hammer. He explained how they manipulated Wes Brisco into getting a contract. He said at that point, it was the time to pull the trigger on the final part of the plan…
Shore's Slant: They glossed right over all of the difficult plot holes. I'm disappointed, but not surprised. What a shame. They have probably done enough with these videos to make a good chunk of the audience forget about the plot holes, but not everyone.
It's also disingenuous for TNA staff to brag about their long term planning and still have giant plot holes like these.
[Q6] The quarter hour change occurred halfway through the video package. Backstage, Kurt Angle gave himself a pep talk…Matt Morgan made his ring entrance. Joseph Park was out next…
3. Joseph Park vs. Matt Morgan. Morgan shoved Park around, punking him a little, even making him flinch in the corner. He shoved Park and Park shoved him back. Morgan punched him in the stomach and pounded on Park while yelling insults at him. Morgan finally setup for the Carbon Footprint, but Park moved and Morgan got tied up on the top rope. Park hulked up, but he missed his big splash and Morgan hit the CF while falling on his ass for the win…
Matt Morgan defeated Joseph Park at 5:11.
A video recapped AJ Styles return and hyped his interview with Mike Tenay for next…[C]
Shore's Slant: That match needed some build on this show, especially considering Morgan's stated purpose of "fixing Hogan's mistakes." The announce team mentioned it, but that doesn't help Morgan as much as it would if he was the one saying it.
[Q7] Mike Tenay came to the ring and recapped Styles's recent history and then called Styles to the ring. Tenay asked him for an explanation of his actions and Styles didn't say anything. Taz interrupted Tenay as he started asking about drug and alcohol abuse. Taz offered Styles a prospect cut and said they would replace his moped.
James Storm cut Taz off and came to the ring. Styles wouldn't turn around and Storm called him out on it. He asked if this was the new AJ Styles. He said the old Styles would say what he thought. He said this may be the new AJ Styles, but he was the same old James Storm. He got in AJ's face and said he could sucker punch him again, but he would cram his teeth down his throat. Styles backed away and Storm asked where he was going…[C]
Shore's Slant: I liked the whole segment and what they are doing with Styles, but I though Storm was particularly bad here. His delivery was awkward and disjointed.
Another video had Bully recapping Ray's continued weaseling into Hogan's life. He did finally address the wedding and said it only appeared like he got hit with a stone pillar, but then turned around and said everybody has to take a beating every once in a while. He said he knew if he took one in front of Hogan he would be in, and he was right. He said he had fooled everyone for nine months, and he was the leader and president of Aces and Eights…
Shore's Slant: Well, they finally addressed the wedding. I withdraw my disingenuous comment from earlier. That doesn't mean it was a good explanation, though. They equivocated on it instead of just going all in for either "it was fake" or "sometimes you have to take a beating." As I said earlier, they have done enough with these videos for most people, but there's still some flimsy logic in places.
[Q8] 4. Samoa Joe vs. Magnus vs. Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy to become the number one contender to the World Championship. Joe dove on all three guys on the floor to send the show to a quick break…[C] Back from commercial, Magnus caught Jeff Hardy off the top rope and pushed him into a suplex for two. Magnus continued to work over Hardy while the crowd chanted for Angle and Joe who were out at ringside. Funny.
Joe crashed into the ring, but Magnus hit a driver on him and went back to work on Hardy. Hardy started his comeback and hit Twist of Fates on everyone. (Twists of Fate?) He went to the top, but Magnus punched him off and Hardy landed hard. Angle took out Magnus and hooked the ankle lock on Joe. Joe powered out and Hardy hit an immediate swanton on him to win the match…
Jeff Hardy became the number one contender by pinfall at 12:12.
Shore's Slant: Just an OK match, but a hot finish, Very creative. I don't get the reason for the match though. It seems like a whole lot of work just to get Hardy right back to where he started at the start of the show: the guy with the title shot. They didn't tease any dissention between the four, so no real advancement on "team TNA" either. It doesn't hurt, but it sure does feel like a waste of time.
Overall a much better Impact than last week. Even though there are some plot holes still big enough to drive trucks through, I absolutely appreciate the videos explaining everything. It was the right call, and a very smart move. Now they have to deliver going forward, and that is always the concern with these groups. We've seen them stall again and again. Let's hope the long term planning includes an exit strategy for Aces and Eights. I'll have more tomorrow on the hitlist and Will Pruett will be along with an All Access audio review as well. Thanks for watching along tonight.
Questions? Comments? Anyone, anyone? Let me hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @TheShoreSlant with whatever is on your mind.
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