5/23 Shore's TNA Impact Wrestling live coverage: AJ Styles gets patched in to Aces and Eights, Gut Check tournament continues, Suicide returns, and Mickie James vs. Velvet Sky for the Knockouts title
By Chris Shore
TNA Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Aired live from Tampa, Florida.
[Q1] A graphic opened the show with thoughts and prayers going to those in Oklahoma affected by the tornadoes and plugged the Red Cross donation line…
A video recapped the Joseph Park, Sting, and AJ Styles storylines…Hulk Hogan made his ring entrance. Todd Keneley, Mike Tenay, and Taz tried to put the pop over as bigger since this was Hogan's home, but it wasn't any bigger than normal. Hogan rambled to start. He talked about drinking beer at his bar and Shark Boy joining him. Hogan got down to business and said AJ Styles had decided to join Aces and Eights and said Jeremy Borash was his witness.
Shore's Slant: Wut?
Hogan called out Sting and he got a decent pop. Hogan said he didn't like the stipulation that Sting can never challenge again if he loses and since he is the GM, he can change the stipulations. Sting started to say something but he fumbled his lines. He recovered by saying he wanted it so bad he couldn't talk. He finally said if he couldn't beat Bully and take his title and power then he didn't need to ever challenge for the title again.
Hogan said that was nice and all, but he was running the show and he didn't like it. Brooke Hogan's music hit and she came to the ring. Brooke blamed herself for the mess and said she didn't want to see the two professionals have to shoulder the blame and she should resign as the head of the Knockouts.
Hogan tried to argue and with her when the Aces and Eights music cut him off. Bully Ray came to the ringside area alone and asked why they were all blaming themselves. He said the only person at fault for the way things are is him. He said he did blame Brooke for one thing. He blamed her for making him fall for her. He said they had a connection and he would never stop loving her and would never take his wedding ring off. He walked away and Brooke cried…A Suicide hype video aired…
Shore's Slant: A lot going on here. I don't understand the "JB is my witness" line from Hogan just to have him dismiss it as unimportant a second later. Then Sting came out and struggled, though he did recover nicely. Then Brooke comes out and offers to resign, like that would somehow makes things better from a storyline standpoint. And then Bully Ray comes out and finally sets the stage for Brooke's heel turn. I don't know if the segment did anything other than fill time, but it managed not to stink up the joint.
[Q2][C] Kenny King had joined the announce team. Ring introductions occurred and the match started the second the final guy was in the ring…
1. Joey Ryan vs. Petey Williams vs. Suicide in an X Division qualifier. Petey dumped both guys to the floor and Ryan slid back in. Ryan hit a pumphandle toss. Suicide climbed to the top rope and Ryan walked over to the SAME CORNER and completely ignored Suicide while he got his baby oil and squirted it on his body. He then turned into a missile dropkick. That was terrible. Suicide hit a gut buster on Ryan for the win…
Suicide won an X Division qualifier at 4:01.
Backstage, Chris Sabin walked into James Storm's locker room and made his case for being Storm's partner. Storm said he appreciated it, but Sabin should win the X Division title and then cash in for a world title shot. Sabin said he understood and they parted friends…A graphic hyped Mr. Anderson vs. Kurt Angle and AJ Styles's decision…[C]
Shore's Slant: That match was craptastic. Suicide's win got no response from the crowd. In fact, I don't even think his entrance got a response. Kenny King was sleep inducing on the headsets. It was a complete failure as a segment.
[Q3] Backstage, Brooke confronted Bully about what he meant earlier. He said he still loved her. Which is also what he said earlier, but apparently Brooke understood this time and cried…Backstage, Mickie James asked Velvet Sky if she wanted to postpone the match since Sky was still hurt. Sky told her she appreciated it, but no. Mickie asked again and Velvet called her a good friend and again said she would compete. Mickie hugged her and left…
Shore's Slant: DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!
Sam Shaw made his entrance for the Gut Check tournament. Alex Silva was announced next, but he didn't come out. Aces and Eights music hit and Wes Brisco walked out with Doc and Garett Bischoff. Wes took credit for knocking out Silva backstage and complained about being a Gut Check winner but not being in the tournament. The gang rushed the ring and beat up Shaw. Magnus made the save and said Wes would get his match right then against Magnus…
2. Magnus vs. Wes Brisco (w/Aces and Eights). Magnus tossed Wes all over the ring and Wes went to the floor to regroup…[C] Wes was in control when the show returned and Keneley asked again for people to donate for Oklahoma. Wes went for a crossbody, but Magnus caught him and powered him over into a suplex. Magnus climbed the rope and the gang interfered to cause the DQ…
Magnus defeated Wes Brisco by disqualification at 7:51.
[Q4] Post-match, the beat down continued until Samoa Joe ran out and cleared the ring….[C]
Shore's Slant: Wow. We saw maybe two minutes of actual wrestling in that match, and the Samoa Joe save was there and gone even faster. TNA's pacing is still a concern at times, and this is the best example. We get no time to digest Joe's return. They will probably revisit it after the break, but I have always thought that fails to capitalize on the moment.
A video recapped Sting's induction into the TNA Hall of Fame last year and said the newest member would be revealed at Slammiversary…Backstage, Bully talked about Brooke to the gang and then said he didn't want to talk about his personal life. Anderson asked when AJ was going to be there. Ray said even though they had had some disappointments, AJ wouldn't disappoint them. He snuck a peak at D-Lo and they all toasted. Well, except for D-Lo…
A video recapped Kurt Angle attending a wrestling event at Grand Central Station in NY that was promoted to save Olympic wrestling…Angle made his entrance to a crazy pop. Anderson was out next…[C]
Shore's Slant: You gotta think the Hall of Fame person is a Jarrett, right? Who else could it be at this point?
[Q5] The bell rang as soon as the show returned, but the camera was showing backstage where AJ arrived on his motorcycle. I guess AJ will lose his right to ride a bike once he's patched in…
3. Kurt Angle vs. Anderson. Both men went back and forth, hitting big moves. Angle hit his rolling German suplexes and went for the ankle lock, but Anderson kicked away. Anderson hit the Mic Check, but Angle kicked out. Anderson went to the top and Angle flipped him off with a belly to belly.
Angle dropped the straps and AJ walked out to ringside. Angle went nuts and tried to leave the ring while Taz hugged AJ. The ref stopped Angle, and that allowed Anderson to hit a low blow and roll him up for the win…
Anderson defeated Kurt Angle at 8:29.
Post-match, AJ went to the back with Anderson behind him, but still gave no real sign that he was aligned with Aces and Eights other than a slight back pat on Taz when Taz went all bromance on him…[C]
Shore's Slant: An OK match, but one it feels like we have seen a thousand times now.
Backstage, IQG asked Gail Kim about her match at Slammiversary. Kim talked about all the women she had beat up recently. Taryn Terrell ran in out of nowhere and attacked Kim. She knocked her around until an official pulled Taryn off so Kim could escape…A video recapped how Storm ended up in the tag division again.
[Q6] Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez had joined the broadcast team as Storm made his ring entrance. Storm put over his tag team success in TNA and said he got to pick his partner for Slammiversary. He said women love a good tag team…wrestler.
Shore's Slant: Ahhhhh…HAHAHAHAHAHA…ehem…No. Bad James Storm. Bad.
Bobby Roode and Austin Aries cut him off. Roode said his time in Beer Money the worst four years of his life. Storm said it was because Roode couldn't hang with him. Roode said it did make the moment when he hit Storm with the beer bottle that much sweeter. He demanded Storm tell them who is partner is.
Before he could answer, Bad Influence cut him off again. Daniels said they were the best tag team and had proved it. Kazarian said they were screwed out of their title match, so they were the only ones who should be upset. He said it didn't matter who Storm picked, they were going to beat all the other teams.
The heels started to argue and Storm yelled at them to shut up. He tried once again to introduce his partner, but Shark Boy and Robbie E came out to make the case of why they should be his partner. Out of nowhere, Gunner slid in the ring and clotheslined both men. He lifted Robbie E in a torture rack and then dropped him. He stood face to face with Storm and Storm said, "See you at Slammiversary." The heels sold being upset…[C]
Shore's Slant: A decent talking segment, minus the Robbie E and Shark Boy silliness. It gave Gunner some guys to kill so it's passable, and I like how he looked like a total badass. I'm not sure his return had any impact, no pun intended, but if they follow it up next week it will be a good start. Here's the odd part of the segment though, what the hell was Chavo doing on commentary when there was no match? Why not just give them a mic like the other teams? Weird.
[Q7] Backstage, Joseph Park talked to Sting about "getting the strap," and said it scared him. Sting promised him it was a good thing and said he wanted Abyss to show up to tag with. Park said he didn't think he could set that up. Sting shook his head and said something about Park running with the story to the end. Sting said if it couldn't be Abyss, he wanted it to be someone close. Park got all flattered that Sting meant him…
Shore's Slant: The Park gimmick of misunderstanding wrestling terms is funny, but when they try to plug him into a serious storyline, it comes across as very un-serious.
4. Mickie James vs. Velvet Sky for the Knockouts Championship. Both women traded blows and then Mickie hit a scary looking full nelson slam that Velvet landed awkwardly on her hip. Mickie held the full nelson into the break…[C]
Back from commercial, Mickie worked a rest hold for just a moment, and then Velvet hit an arm drag to start her comeback. The crowd didn't react at all, even when Velvet hit a side Russian leg sweep for two. Velvet hit a spinning head scissors, but grabbed her knee afterward. Mickie recovered and clipped the knee and the crowd woke up a little. Micke hit a DDT when Velvet crawled to her knees and covered for the win…
Mickie James won the Knockouts Championship at 8:42.
Shore's Slant: Pretty typical Velvet Sky match, and you could see Mickie's win coming from miles away. My guess is she plays a character similar to CM Punk did when he cashed in his MITB contract on Jeff Hardy. In other words, a "What did I do wrong?" position. Tampa has been a weird crowd. They died for this match, and only half woke up for the title change, even though the Knockouts have been very good as of late.
[Q8] A video recapped AJ Styles's return. Backstage, Bully Ray toasted the gang and the man they were about to patch in…[C]
The Aces and Eights made their entrance and Bully Ray put over Anderson for recruiting AJ Styles. Ray called out Styles, who made his entrance through the crowd. Ray said everyone wanted AJ, but AJ knew where the power in TNA was. He handed AJ a beer and said AJ had never drank, but he wanted Styles to raise his bar and rink with him. He said AJ could give his heart to Jesus, but his soul belonged to the club. AJ lifted his bottle and guzzled the whole thing down.
Bully Ray got very excited and welcomed AJ to the club. He had Anderson hand him a cut. AJ looked at it and then said something to Anderson. Ray told Anderson to hold the cut open for him. Anderson did, but Kurt Angle's music hit before he could put it on.
Angle came to the ring with a mic and said AJ had just flushed his legacy down the toilet. He asked AJ if this was really what he wanted. Ray said of course it was. Angle said he was talking to AJ. Ray said Angle was talking to one of his brothers. He yelled for AJ to put the cut on, and AJ did.
Suddenly, Angle rolled into the ring. The camera missed Doc attacking him from behind. Nice production work, there TNA. The gang attacked Angle and then held them up. Ray handed AJ the hammer and told him to take Angle out. AJ hit Angle with the hammer in the leg and then kicked him from the ring. As the gang celebrated, AJ suddenly attacked them with the hammer. He knocked out two of the lower guys before fleeing the ring and dumping his cut. He held his gloves up so they made the symbol and yelled something to the gang but I couldn't make it out…
Shore's Slant: Hot closing segment and a good hook for next week's go home show. I'm really digging AJ's character. It is certainly the most compelling he has been in a long time and the best heel work I think I have ever seen from him. I'm interested to see what he says once he finally says something, but for now, I like the silence as well.
Overall a week show with AJ's story and Gunner's return being the only things that stood out. Suicide was a bust. The Knockouts title switch was flat. Hogan, Sting, and Brooke had a sloppy exchange that led to a weird moment backstage where Brooke finally understood the same words Bully Ray had said just a few minutes before. Not a great final live show heading into the PPV. They still have one more week to build the show, but I have to believe that interest is way down for Slammiversary. Jason Powell and Will Pruett will have more tomorrow. Thanks for following along tonight.
Questions? Comments? Anyone, anyone? Let me hear from you. Email me at email@example.com or tweet me @TheShoreSlant with whatever is on your mind.
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