This week’s episode of Impact Wrestling is the “go home” show before Lockdown, which I will have predictions for later tonight.
Last week, we learned last week who will make up the teams for Lethal Lockdown, and man, is that match going to suck.
Kurt Angle enters the building and AI asks who the VP of Aces and Eights is. Angle said he’ll reveal the identity of the VP later tonight. This is a TNA problem, and no on in the company is safe.
In the Impact Zone, Austin Aries makes his way out. He and Roode will defend the World Tag Team titles in a 3-way match against Bad Influence and Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez. He says that, if there’s a better way to start Impact than him, it hasn’t been discovered yet. You’re looking at the common denominator of greatness, and that means wherever Austin Aries is, greatness is sure to follow. He can’t seem to get a hold of Bobby Roode, but that’s okay because, last week, without Roode being here, he still got the job done. Aries took out Hernandez and proved that being “Supermex” isn’t as good as being “the greatest man that ever lived”. After his victory, he graciously went out and found Buddy Ray & Jeff Hardy, and he gave them some words of confidence for their big title match in a few short days. Now, he didn’t have to do that, but he did. Did they appreciate it? No. They disrespected him. Now it’s a whole new game. Last week, Buddy Ray told him he’d never again be the World Champion. Well, guess what? He’s about to prove Ray wrong, because he’s calling out the World Champion Jeff Hardy, and he’s challenging Hardy right now to a match right here, and if Hardy is half the champ he says he is, he’ll meet Aries in the ring and prove it.
MATCH 1: World Tag Team Co-Champion Austin Aries vs. World Champion Jeff Hardy (non-title)
Aries attacks Hardy before the bell with a suicide dive. He throws Hardy’s custom belt on the ground before stomping Hardy and throwing him in the ring. The match officially starts, and Aries continues the attack with lefts. Aries sends Hardy into the corner, and lands a running elbow. Aries gets 2 off a snapmare, then hits a jumping knee for another 2. Aries fires off some more lefts, then chokes Hardy over the bottom rope for 2. In the corner, Hardy begins to fight back with kicks and rights. He stomps Aries down in the opposite corner. He hits 10 corner punches and follows up by reversing a corner whip and going for a headscissors. Aries catches him and shoves him over the top rope and to the floor. Aries mocks Hardy in the ring as we go to commercials.
We’re back, and Aries is still in control. Hardy starts to fight back with rights. He ducks an elbow and goes for a sunset flip, but Aries rolls through and hits a dropkick for 2. Aries hits a series of elbows to the back of the neck, then goes for the brainbuster. Hardy reverses into a small package for 2, and Aries pops back up and hits a clothesline for 2. Aries boxes the ears in the corner, then lays in some open-hand chops and lefts. Hardy fights back, sends Aries into the corner, but misses an avalanche. Aries mounts the middle rope, mocks Hardy once more and hits a splash for 2. He screams at the ref for a supposed slow count, and Hardy sneaks in a schoolboy for 2. Aries gets back up, Hardy ducks a clothesline and hits a reverse enziguri. Aries recovers and runs into a sit-out jawbreaker. Aries goes to the corner, where Hardy hits an avalanche. Hardy hits some boots and a flying clothesline. Aries reverses a corner whip, but runs into a knee. Hardy mounts the middle rope and hits a splash for 2. Hardy calls for the Twist of Fate, and Aries shoves him off, but runs into a headscissors that sends him to the floor. Hardy dropkicks him through the ropes and hits a running cross-body from the apron. Back in the ring, Hardy calls for the swanton, but Aries cuts him off and knocks him to the apron. Aries goes for a suplex, but Hardy escapes, hits the sit-out Twist of Fate, then follows up with the standard version. Matt Morgan runs into the ring and drops Hardy with a Carbon Footprint, leading to the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Austin Aries. After the match, Morgan drags Hardy outside, props his head against the ring post and goes for another Carbon Footprint, but Buddy Ray runs down and steps between the two, challenging Morgan to a fight. Morgan backs off and begins heading up the ramp, telling Ray this has nothing to do with him.
In Sting’s office, he’s talking to Team TNA, encouraging each man individually to work their hardest in Lethal Lockdown. Sting then starts screaming and says he feels better. Tonight, he’s going to kick things off against anyone who gets in his face. His team, save for Eric Young, all look less than thrilled.
Kurt Angle is headed out to the Impact Zone, and he has the mask of The Black Scorpion in his hand.
AI stops Matt Morgan to ask what just happened. He says he knows what he wants and deserves. Jeff Hardy is the World Champion. Buddy Ray is the hand-picked #1 contender. Morgan made a promise when he came back that he would gut the roster until he got what he deserved, and he’s just getting started.
Wes Brisco makes his way into the Impact Zone. This should be stunning. Brisco says that, before Angle can come out and reveal the VP of A and E, he has to get something off his chest. His dad and uncle were one of the greatest wrestlers (oh yeah, this should be amazing), and they told him Angle was the best wrestler they have ever seen. Wes believed it and wanted to be Angle until he got the chance to meet him. Then he realized how worthless Angle really is, just like that tin medal around his neck for some sport the Olympics kicked out. This Sunday in the cage, Wes Brisco will be on top and Kurt, he will use you as a stepping stone, and the whole world will know that a Brisco is better than an Angle.
Sadly, I am relieved to see Kurt Angle interrupt things. Listening to Brisco is painful. Angle says he remembers things differently. He remembers the snot-nosed kids asking questions all the time. When he grew up, he called Angle all the time for advice. Wes isn’t like his dad or uncle. If you don’t respect Kurt Angle, you don’t respect the business. Angle made a mistake by trusting Wes, and he will rectify that at Lockdown by beating Wes within an inch of his life. Before he reveals the VP tonight, he’s going to whip Wes’ ass right now. Angle immediately takes Wes down and fires off some rights to the head, knocking Wes to the floor. The Elite Beat Agents run down and try to break up the fight, throwing them back in the ring to do so. That makes sense. Angle charges in, and D’Lo Brown kicks him in the balls. He knocks Al Snow to the floor as Wes Brisco does the same to Pat Kenney. Yes, D’Lo Brown, yet another retired wrestler, is now part of Aces and Eights. Man, this group is just the most elite faction I’ve ever seen. Brown gets a mic and says he came down to reclaim a little “club property”, holding the mask as he says it. He’s going to spoil Angle’s surprise by revealing that he is the VP of A and E. Recognize that, Angle.
We see A and E celebrating in the back as they hand Brown his vest. Brown says he’ll never take the vest off again, then tells Devon to get out to the ring and take care of business. Brown then says that, when he joined A and E on day one, he was told he’d never walk alone. He knows he can trust every member with his life. Sting, can you say the same thing? Can you trust the guys you’ll be in the cage with? He doesn’t think so. Aces and Eights forever, dawg. I hate this storyline so very, very much.
MATCH 2: World Television Champion Devon vs. Sting (non-title)
I’m so glad Devon defends his title all the time. He’s added such prestige to such a valuable belt. Sting attacks Devon before the opening bell, hitting some chops to the chest. Apparently, this is the first in a 3-match series tonight to determine who will have the advantage in the Lethal Lockdown match. Devon comes off the ropes with a spear. Rights by Devon, and he backs Sting into the corner, punching him down to the mat. Clothesline by Devon gets 2. Neck vice is applied by Devon, but Sting fights out. Devon rakes the eyes, then hits a neckbreaker for 2. Devon chokes Sting over the middle rope, then hits a bodyslam before mounting the middle rope. Devon misses a headbutt, and now Sting comes back with a pair of clotheslines and a slo-mo Stinger Splash. Sting clotheslines Devon to the floor and follows out, where he rams Devon into the guardrail a couple of times. He slams Devon into the steps, then back to the guardrail and the apron. Someone from the crowd throws something in Sting’s face and flees. Devon shoves Sting into the ring post and splits him open in the process. Back in the ring, Devon hits a big boot and gets the 3.
AI asks Velvet Sky how it feels to be KO Champion again. Gail Kim interrupts her as she gushes, saying she should split the belt with Taryn Terrell. Kim says she’s beaten Sky before and is undefeated at Lockdown. Sky slaps her in the face and walks off.
We see Bruce Prichard and Al Snow talking about Gut Check. Prichard informs Snow that Hulk Hogan has pulled Taz from being a Gut Check judge, and his replacement is “Nightmare” Danny Davis. Prichard notes that Davis trained John Cena without saying his name. Davis talks about Ivelisse, saying she’s gorgeous and a great fighter. Snow moves onto Lei’D Tapa, saying she has size, charisma and presence, plus is 2nd generation. Prichard says Tapa looked uncomfortable, and both Davis & Snow agree on that.
We now see the judges with the contestants in the back. Prichard calls this the toughest Gut Check they’ve ever had to decide on. Only one of them gets a contract, and he said it was tough, but they have to do it, and the decision is that Lei’D Tapa gets the chance tonight while Ivelisse Valez gets sent home. Wow. Didn’t see that coming. Then again, Prichard’s a dumbass, so I shouldn’t be too surprised.
MATCH 3-6-Person Tag Team Match: Chavo Guerrero, Hernandez and Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky vs. Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels & Kazarian) and Gail Kim
Hernandez and Kaz start the match with a lock-up. Hernandez shoves Kaz into the corner before going back to the lock-up. Hernandez backs Kaz into the corner, and Kaz thumbs him in the eye before throwing him to the heel corner. Daniels tags in and fires off some forearms. He goes for a bodyslam, but Hernandez easily reverses into his own. Chavo tags and hits a seated dropkick off a Hernandez snapmare. Hernandez back in, who hits a bearhug suplex. He goes for the delayed vertical suplex, but Kaz runs interference. Hernandez ducks a double clothesline and hits one of his own. Chavo back in, and he dropkicks Daniels off a slingshot and follows up with a hilo. Chavo hits a European uppercut, nearly falling on his face in the process, then hits a spinning headscissors. Rights by Chavo, and Kim trips him off the ropes. Daniels boots Chavo down, then gets tripped by Sky. Chavo now fires off rights in the corner before getting hit by an apron clothesline from Kaz. Daniels chokes Chavo over the middle rope as Kaz tags in. Kaz hits a flipping neckbreaker, getting 2. Daniels back in, and he stomps Chavo down in the corner. Kim and Kaz take turns choking him behind Taryn Terrell’s back. Chavo fights out of the corner, but Daniels punches him before tagging in Kaz, and Bad Influence hits the slingshot elbow/leg combo for 2. Kaz applies a rear chinlock, but Chavo fights out before running into a dropkick. Daniels makes the fake tag, dropping an elbow for 2 before going back to the rear chinlock. Chavo fights out once more, but is clubbed down by Daniels. Daniels knocks Hernandez off the apron, and turns around into a dropkick. The knockouts tag in, and Sky hits a pair of clotheslines, followed by a spinning headscissors. Spear by Sky gets 2 as Daniels breaks it up. Sky slaps him, but Daniels blocks a second one, getting hit with a Pounce by Hernandez in the process. Hernandez turns around into a seated missile dropkick by Kaz. Chavo backdrops Kaz to the floor and heads outside, where Daniels hits a springboard moonsault, missing Chavo and hitting his partner. Hernandez follows up with Supermex. Back in the ring, Kim hits Eat Defeat for the 3.
WINNERS: Bad Influence and Gail Kim.
In the back, Sting is throwing a fit, hitting a chair with a bat as he’s surrounded by his partners. He screams about not trusting anyone, and wants to know if they can trust each other. Joe says he can trust him, and Magnus takes offense to that before saying sometimes he doesn’t even trust himself. Tonight, he shows everyone just who he is.
Up next, we get another AJ Styles update. Wonderful.
This time, we see a cameraman in a car pull up to some house where AJ Styles is hanging out. He grabs the driver and slams him into the side of his truck, tells him to leave and throws him in the driver’s seat before covering the camera lens with his hand.
MATCH 4-Garett Bischoff and DOC vs. Magnus and Samoa Joe
This is match #2 in the series tonight. A and E is up 1-0 right now. I miss Joe and Magnus as a team. They had surprisingly good chemistry despite just being thrown together. Joe starts the match by locking Garett in an arm wringer. Garett tries to reverse, so Joe immediately reverses the reversal. Garett tries to tag out, but Joe yanks him back to the middle of the ring. Joe beats Garett down in the corner until Garett rakes the eyes. Joe shakes it off and knocks Garett down before tagging in Magnus aggressively. Magnus gets a rake to the eyes by Garett, but also shakes it off and forearms Garett in the face. Garett rolls to the floor off an Irish whip, and Magnus follows, where DOC forearms him from behind. Back in the ring, Garett hits some double axe handles to the back. He fires off some rights, then chokes him over the top rope as the crowd chants, “You can’t wrestle”. At least I can agree with the Impact Zone on something for once. Garett grinds Magnus’ face across the top rope before tagging in DOC, who whips Garett in for an avalanche, then follows up with his own. DOC hits some body blows and a short-arm clothesline. Jumping splash to the back gets 2. DOC drops some elbows to the shoulder before applying a rear chinlock. We are informed AJ Styles will return next week. Magnus fights out with elbows, but runs into a goozle. He escapes the chokeslam, ducks a clothesline, then hits one at the same time DOC does. Joe and Garett tag in, and Joe hits an exploder suplex on Garett, and then double-teams DOC with Magnus, hitting a running senton for 2. Garett breaks up the pin before getting hit with a misdirection clothesline by Magnus. Magnus tags in, and Joe & Magnus hit the snapmare/flying elbow combo for 3.
WINNERS: Magnus and Samoa Joe, who tie the series at 1-1.
Kenny King is in the back, talking about how he is the main event and the star of the X-Division. RVD, you are legend, but King is a rising star. Bring it on, as it doesn’t matter to him. He’ll shut whoever down he has to face, and will do what he can to hold onto this belt.
We see Eric Young, ODB and James Storm talking in the back. Sting approaches and Young says he has to pick one of them for this last match. Young says he’s funny, but what A and E did to him was not funny. They tried to take what he loves, that being wrestling. Sting had a feeling about him, so put him in the match tonight so Young can show him he made the right choice. Sting says thanks, but he has to go with Storm. Well, that was pointless.
It’s Gut Check time, and the judges are in the ring. Lei’D Tapa makes her way out, and it’s decision time. JB asks if she showed her very best last week as the crowd dumps all over her. They dumped all over Prichard too, BTW. Tapa says that, last week, she came out and showed everyone what she is capable of doing. She didn’t win the match, but her character showed, and what she’s capable of in the future. Obviously, mic work isn’t on that list. Up first is Danny Davis. The crowd is saying “no”, but what they’re missing is what he’s seen. He sees a future in Tapa, and his answer is yes. Prichard is up next, and before he gets to his decision. He sends a shout-out to William Moody, who passed away a few days ago. That was a nice touch, I will say. Now, back to business, Prichard says she has a great look and a great pedigree, and being in a ring looks natural for her. Believe it or not, though, for the first time, the crowd agrees with Prichard, and the answer is no. Tapa has 30 seconds to convince Snow the answer should be yes. She says that, 2 years ago, she started in the business. Last week, she came out to show everyone what she’s capable of. She may have lost, but she knows what she can bring to the KO division. She can dominate and bring something great. Snow takes the mic and also gives a shout-out to “Uncle Paul”. He knows where Tapa comes from and can see her talent. She clearly invokes a reaction from the crowd, so his answer is yes. Lei’D Tapa is now a member of TNA.
Up next, Storm/Anderson in the final match of the series.
We see Robbie E in the back. He rambles on about “The Book of Bro”, then goes onto ramble about facing Rob Terry at Lockdown.
MATCH 5: Mr. Anderson vs. James Storm
Mike Tenay reminds us Anderson is a former 2-time World Champion. I think that was more to remind us that Anderson was once considered a main eventer and is now nowhere near that level, rather than as a way to list his accolades. Lock-up to start, and Storm applies a rear chinlock. Storm shoulders him off the ropes, blocks a hip toss and hits one of his own. Anderson thumbs him in the eyes out of the corner, then hits a clothesline. Anderson beats Storm down in the corner, then sends him hard into the adjacent corner for 2. Anderson with more punches and kicks before applying an arm wringer. Storm armdrags him off, but gets dropped with a clothesline for 1. Anderson goes back to the arm wringer and turns it into an armbar. Storm punches out, and now they’re trading rights. Storm hits a forearm off the ropes, followed by an inverted atomic drop and a bulldog. Anderson backdrops him to the floor, but Storm lands on his feet, hits a kick to the back of the head, then hits a running neckbreaker. Storm blocks a clothesline and counters a swinging neckbreaker into Closing Time. We see Aces and Eights come out through the crowd and form a line near the ring. Team TNA comes out and stands between the ring and the guardrail. In the ring, Anderson hits the Mic Check and gets the 3.
WINNER: Mr. Anderson. Aces and Eights now how have the man advantage in Lethal Lockdown. Because that really means much.
Buddy Ray and Brooke Hogan are heading out to the ring, as is Jeff Hardy.
Ray and Brooke make their way out for this face-to-face confrontation first. Hardy is next, and Ray tells him it’s three days until they’re locked inside of a steel cage. Word on the street is this will be the biggest TNA PPV of all time. Three days until Hardy and Ray do what they do best, and that’s making professional wrestling history. They’ve done it before and will do it again. The fact that Hardy holds the belt is a big deal, but the fact that he’s battled back from so many personal demons is a bigger deal. Ray speaks for every fan as well as himself when he says he’s proud of Hardy. Hardy takes the mic and lists off his challengers, but he’s remained the champion. He knows Ray will beat the hell out of him on Sunday. Will it be enough? Whatever happens at Lockdown, he wants Ray to know he’s proud of him, too, for everything he’s done. Ray takes the mic back and says he’s proud of himself and their history, but he can honestly say he’s not proud of himself. Huh? He’s never looked back and said he’s proud of himself. The only way he can do that is to beat Hardy. He’s not going over the top of the cage or through the door; he’s going to beat Hardy with his best move. When he beats Hardy for the belt and declares himself new champion is when he’ll be proud of himself.
Hulk Hogan’s music hits, and he comes out on crutches. He tells the audience this is as big as it gets right now. There are a lot of guys in the back who want the spots Ray and Hardy have right now, but they are the best of the best. At the end of the day, this small company became a good little company. Now, this little company is ready for a change and will go onto greatness. Everyone in the back and in the company is looking for the next leader to take the company into the future, and we’ll find that out this Sunday at Lockdown. Hardy, you’ve been a great champion since October. Ray, he believes in you and everyone loves him like a brother. At the end of the day, may the best man win, brother.
We see Aces and Eights return to the ring. Ray pushes Brooke aside as he, Hardy and Team TNA begin brawling with A and E.
End of show.
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