Impact opens this week with a video package, containing highlights of last week’s attacks by Aces and Eights on several TNA roster members.
Sting comes out to kick things off. He says because of Aces and Eights, Hulk Hogan is lying in a hospital bed right now. Sting continues that Dixie Carter asked him to step in as interim GM tonight and he then calls out the faction. Instead of Aces and Eights, Austin Aries comes out. Aries takes exception to this group trying to make a statement on him last week. He adds that he’s here to make a statement on them tonight. Kurt Angle then comes out, and says that Aces and Eights not only tried to hurt him physically last week, but also tried to take away his opportunity at winning the World Title, so therefore, Angle says he wants a piece of them too. Bobby Roode then comes out and tells everyone in the ring to relax. He says he’s not here to fight anybody or to have any of their backs. Roode says he’s here to point out the obvious and claims that he knows who the man is behind these attacks. For some reason, Angle offers Roode another microphone. Roode says the man behind the attacks is a man who has been in the World Title picture for quite some time. He says it’s a man who hates Roode, is jealous of Aries and was scheduled to face Kurt Angle last week. Roode goes on to accuse James Storm, who wastes no time blindsiding Roode and the two of them get into the ring and beat the hell out of each other, while everyone else just stands back and watches. Eventually, Angle steps in to break it up.
A bunch of wrestlers are interviewed by the Reaction crew about Chavo Guerrero debuting tonight. Everyone is so excited that he’s here.
Roode is then questioned by Jason Hervey about him accusing Storm of being behind the Aces and Eights attacks. Roode says if nobody wants to believe him, that’s fine, but the truth will come out. Roode then grabs his suitcase and takes off.
Match #1: Madison Rayne and Gail Kim vs. Tara and Mickie James
Tenay notes that while these four knockouts are competing in a tag match tonight, they will be involved in a four-way next week, with the winner getting a Knockouts Title match against Miss Tessmacher at Hardcore Justice. Mickie delivers a low dropkick on Gail for two. Gail responds with an armdrag off the top rope. Madison tags in and immediately starts flirting with Earl Hebner, while still keeping her focus on Mickie. Madison misses an attack in the corner, allowing Mickie to tag Tara. Tara delivers a spinning sidewalk slam out of a firewoman’s carry, but Gail breaks the pin at two. Tara and Mickie then apply a double-team Boston crab on Madison. Gail then comes in and the babyface team applies a double leg grapevine. Mickie then rolls up Madison with a Backlund slide, but ends up with her own shoulders on the canvas, which leads to Hebner counting the three and awarding a very controversial decision to Madison and Gail.
Winners: Madison Rayne and Gail Kim by pinfall
Sting is backstage with Austin Aries, saying his focus is entirely on Aces and Eights tonight, but he was also supposed to address the X-Division and make some cuts. Sting tells Aries that he won’t have the time for that this week, so he asks Aries to go and make cuts for him, since he knows the X-Division better than anyone (huh?).
There are more backstage comments about Chavo Guerrero’s debut tonight from Gunner, Hernandez and Bully Ray.
Match #2: Sam Shaw vs. Douglas Williams in the Gut Check challenge
Shaw lands on his feet after a back body drop attempt and reigns some blows down on the Brit. Shaw attempts to scale the turnbuckles, as Joey Ryan is spotted at ringside with a sign that reads “87%.” Security and Al Snow are trying to get Ryan to leave, which leads to Ryan sucker punching Snow. As the security tries chasing Ryan out of the building, Shaw is distracted by this and gets the rug pulled out from under him by Williams. Williams follows up with the rolling chaos theory for the win.
Winner: Douglas Williams by pinfall
Austin Aries is with the X-Division stars. He says it’s up to him to decide who’s getting the title shot against Zema Ion tonight. All of them are very outspoken, and then Aries kicks Ion out of the room, saying that he’s not being helpful at all. Sonjay Dutt makes a convincing argument that Ion had to use hairspray to beat him and if it wasn’t for his injury, he’d be the X-Division Champion right now. Aries eliminates Rashad Cameron for being the least convincing of the four contenders in the room (so apparently, they are not being eliminated from the roster, which is what I thought would happen).
Ben Saunders from Bellator is spotted at ringside.
Chavo Guerrero then comes out in a suit (I thought it was supposed to be a match). He says he is very humbled to be allowed to be in a TNA ring. Chavo says that the Guerrero family has held titles in every continent and every company that they’ve ever been in, except one, which is Impact Wrestling. Chavo says he’s here to beat the best, and it’s time for him to be a champion in Impact Wrestling. This is interrupted by Kid Kash and Gunner. Kash runs down the entire Guerrero family, and takes exception to Chavo basically saying that the Guerrero family is wrestling royalty. Kash goes on to insult Chavo’s father, asking if he’s not here because he’s too old, or too drunk. Chavo apparently considers these fighting words and he levels Kash with a right hand, but the two-on-one disadvantage is too much for Chavo to handle, so Hernandez comes out to make the save.
Kurt Angle is backstage with James Storm and asks if there is any truth to what Roode said earlier. Storm says Roode is full of it. Angle says he believes Storm, but asks if Storm can be counted on if the group attacks again tonight. Storm gives Angle his word that he’ll be there.
The Gut Check judges are backstage, and Snow is losing it over what happened with Joey Ryan. Pritchard and Taz are trying to calm Snow down, but they all seem to like what they saw in Sam Shaw.
Up next is a highlight packages, focusing on the ongoing saga between AJ Styles and Claire Lynch.
Match #3: AJ Styles vs. James Storm in a Bound for Glory Series match
As the match starts, Claire Lynch is shown at ringside, as AJ tries a victory roll, but only gets two. Storm delivers a modified butterfly suplex, followed by a back body drop. Storm delivers a facebuster, but eats an explosive dropkick on the rebound, giving Styles a two-count. AJ then delivers a snap suplex for two. Storm hotshots AJ and follows up with a flying forearm for two. AJ retaliates with a belly-to-back suplex for two. Storm delivers the eye of the Storm for two. Storm tries a tornado DDT, but AJ blocks it and delivers a release Northern Lights suplex into the buckle for two. AJ then delivers the springboard flying forearm for two. Storm then blocks the Styles clash and delivers the Alabama slam for two. The fight spills to the apron, where Storm plants AJ on the corner edge with a DDT and then rolls him back in for two. AJ responds with the Pele. He then tries the Styles clash again, but Storm shoves him away and drills him with a facebuster. Storm then goes for the Last Call super kick, but AJ sidesteps him and hits another Pele. Aces and Eights then hit the ring and drop AJ with a powerful clothesline and put the boots to him. The camera pans to the floor, to show that some of the security guards have also been taken out by the group.
Winner: No Contest (both men get two points)
Jason Hervey asks James Storm about Bobby Roode’s accusations earlier and points out that Storm is the only man who has escaped these attacks. Storm forces Hervey against the wall and tells him that if he wants to throw out accusations, he better make sure he knows the truth.
Sam Shaw then joins the Gut Check judges in the ring. Shaw says he has the determination and the intensity to be one of the best. Al Snow says, because of Joey Ryan, he was unable to see Shaw perform tonight. He says because of that, he has no choice but to say no. Bruce Pritchard says that Shaw did a hell of a job tonight and he says yes. Shaw says if he could show half the fortitude that Taz showed in ’99, when he wanted to get into the big leagues, that same fortitude resonates in him. Taz says Shaw took his eye off the ball during the match, but he adds that he likes Shaw’s intensity and Taz votes yes. Shaw then celebrates like he just won the lottery.
We return backstage, where Austin Aries is with the remaining three contenders in the X-Division. Dutt is still using his hairspray and injury arguments. Kenny King says if given the ball, he’d be their Emmitt Smith. With that, Aries decides to cut Dakota Darsow, because he isn’t as flashy as the other two (didn’t he just lose to Ion two weeks ago anyway?).
After the break, Aries is backstage with King and Dutt. He says the doctors are still not sure about Dutt’s shoulder, and therefore, Aries is giving the title shot to Kenny King.
Match #4: Zema Ion vs. Kenny King for the X-Division Championship
King hotshots Ion in the early going and follows up with a springboard high crossbody for two. Ion responds with a hands-free somersault plancha. He then delivers a missile dropkick. King tries an elevated sunset flip out of the corner for two. Ion responds with a belly-to-back facebuster. King comes back with a spinning front kick to the back of Ion’s neck and then a t-bone suplex. King then delivers a corkscrew plancha. King looks to be setting up a springboard attack, but Ion has the referee distracted, which allows Bobby Roode to sneak up on King and send him face-first into the ring post. Roode then tosses King back in the ring and Ion scores with a springboard moonsault for the win.
Winner: Zema Ion by pinfall
As Roode stands on the ramp to admire his work, he is attacked from behind by Austin Aries. Roode then escapes through the crowd.
Bully Ray tells the Reaction crew that he isn’t too worried about Aces and Eights and then warns Kurt Angle that while he may have a lot of respect for him, Ray is still taking seven points tonight (funny how nobody wants to get a submission).
Up next is a recap of the Roode versus Aries match at Destination X. Tenay then announces that next week on Impact, Bobby Roode will team with Zema Ion against Austin Aries and Kenny King.
Match #5: Bully Ray vs. Kurt Angle in a Bound for Glory Series match
Ray drives a double axe handle into Angle’s back, but it opens the door for Angle to go for the ankle lock. Ray escapes to the ropes, but Angle maintains control. Ray fights back with a piledriver (it’s been a while that we’ve seen that in wrestling). Ray continues to target Angle’s neck with a neckbreaker for two. Angle responds with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for two. Ray comes back with the Bully bomb for two. Angle then delivers the rolling German suplexes. Angle then applies the ankle lock, but Ray rolls through it. Ray then delivers a urinage for two. Ray misses a mafia kick, allowing Angle to deliver the Angle slam, but only gets two. Angle then attempts the moonsault, but misses his mark. Ray tries an ace crusher, but Angle avoids it, but then Ray finally hits the mafia kick for two. Ray charges at Angle in the corner, but catches nothing but turnbuckle, leading to the Angle slam and the victory for Angle.
Winner: Kurt Angle by pinfall (34 points)
After the match, Angle is attacked by Aces and Eights. This leads to Austin Aries, AJ Styles and Sting coming out for the save. The babyfaces are still outnumbered, but then James Storm comes to the ring. As soon as the Aces and Eights faction see Storm, they bolt out of there. The rest of the babyfaces then look at Storm and continue to have their doubts, as the show leaves the airwaves.
It was a rough start, but I thought it got much better in the second hour. The two BFG Series matches were great; especially Storm versus AJ. This whole thing with everyone having their doubts about Storm is good, but it reminds me of when the NWO first started, and everyone doubted Sting. I like how the X-Division is now being positioned as a major attraction, and next week, two X-Division stars are going to be in the same match with two main event guys. I kind of liked the debut of Chavo Guerrero, and I somewhat agree that they shouldn’t immediately position him in the main events, because the way they handled his debut, it kind of looks like they want to try and gets some of these other guys over, using a former WWE guy. The two BFG Series matches were enough to boost this week’s rating significantly, and I’m going to give this show an 8 out of 10.