Tonight, not only do we get the return of AJ Styles, but it’s also the first show after Lockdown, one of the most predictable cards TNA has put on in years. More on that throughout the recap. For now, the show is actually opening with a match.
Oops. My bad. No, it isn’t. What was supposed to be a tag title match with Aries and Roode defending against Chavo and Hernandez turns into Aces and Eights attacking Chavo and Hernandez right after they get into the ring. Oh, and the show is in Chicago tonight, BTW. Just pointing that out. Watching D’Lo and Knux (formerly Mike Knox) blubber it up in the ring is embarrassing. Devon grab the mic, and he tells the crowd to sit down and shut the hell up. This is the group that will dominate from now on. So, without further ado, let him introduce to you, the NEW World Heavyweight Champion, his brother, Bully Ray.
Ray makes his way out through the crowd, and some generic lyrics have been added to the A and E theme. Not only is Ray the new champion, but he was announced as the president of A and E. Big surprise there. D’Lo puts a vest on Ray, and Ray asks if we know who he is. Not a damn clue, no. He’s Bully Ray. He is the president of A and E. And he is the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. He’s the guy that used Sting. He’s the guy that screwed Brooke. He’s the guy that made a fool of Hulk Hogan. But you know what? He’s also the guy that made a fool out of every frickin’ one of you. For nine months, you bought into it. For nine months, they pulled the wool over your eyes. For nine months, you bought it. Devon, he cannot tell you how proud he was of Devon & A and E when they threw the hammer to Ray and he drilled Jeff Hardy in the back of the head. Ray never felt so proud. But it wasn’t supposed to go down that way. Remember at Lockdown when Wes and Garett came over the top of the cage? That when he was supposed to leave the cage. That’s when it was supposed to happen. Why didn’t happen? Because of Hulk. An hour before that match, Hulk sat him down and had a “father-to-son-in-law” talk. Hulk started to ramble about how Andre the Giant gave him advice to do something memorable. Ray couldn’t give a damn about Hulk’s advice, but he did something memorable. In one night, he did something the nWo could never accomplish during their entire run. Hulk, if you’ve got the balls, come out here and fire them. He dares you. It won’t happen. You can chant his name all you want, Hulk’s not firing them. They’re A and E, and when you ride with them, you’ll never walk alone.
MATCH 1: Gail Kim and Tara (w/Jesse) vs. Mickie James and Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky
Velvet Sky is still the Knockouts Champion, yet they showed Gail Kim with the belt in the opening graphic. Gotta love TNA and their screw-ups. Kim does a cut-away promo about Taryn Terrell being put on probation for putting her hands on Kim at Lockdown. Mike Tenay calls this a hometown welcome for Tara, despite the fact that she is from California and runs a business in Kentucky. Chicago is in neither of those states. Kim and Sky start the match. Sky blocks a kick and applies a side headlock. Kim shoves her off and shoulders her off the ropes. Sky dodges a legdrop, hits a Japanese armdrag and a standard version. She blocks a hip toss and hits a short-arm clothesline before tagging in James, and the faces his the old Tajiri/Whipwreck double leg whip. In the corner, James hits a kick to the gut and some mounted punches before knocking Tara from the apron. Enziguri by James for 2. Commercials.
We’re back, and the heels are in control with Tara being legal. She hits some shoulder thrusts in the corner on James, but James fights out with punches, but Tara manages to apply the Tarantula for a 4-count. Outside, Kim throws James to the ground before rolling her back in the ring. Tara goes for a pin, getting 2. Kim tags in and the heels hit a double slingshot suplex for 2. In the corner, Kim applies a foot choke before getting in Taryn’s face. James uses the distraction to hit the Tunacanrana, and the two hit simultaneous clotheslines. Tara and Sky tag in. Sky hits a pair of jumping clotheslines and a back elbow. She ducks a clothesline and hits a headscissors into a side-Russian legsweep for 2. Petey Williams, she isn’t. Kim breaks up the pin before shoving Taryn down. Taryn slaps Kim, and James comes off the top with a Thesz Press on Kim. Tara back in, and she hits the Widow’s Peak on James. She turns around and gets hit with In Yo Face for 3.
WINNERS: Mickie James and Velvet Sky.
We’re now in the A and E clubhouse, and they’re drinking beer. Ray says Hulk doesn’t have the balls to fire them, but if he does, he wants to propose a toast to all them and to the guys who stuck by him, A and E. Ray then remembers he hasn’t heard from his wife in a while, so he calls her. It immediately goes to voicemail, so he leaves a sarcastic message, then puts the phone on speaker so A and E can say “hi”. He tells her to tell her dad “hello”.
Before the next match, Robbie E tells Robbie T that what happened on Sunday was a fluke, bro, and tonight, T won’t be so lucky, bro.
MATCH 2: Robbie E vs. Rob Terry
E tries to attack from behind, but Terry shoulders him down before hip tossing him out of the corner. Pancake by Terry, and E goes to the corner. T hits a running back elbow and a delayed vertical suplex into a powerslam. He grabs E on his shoulders and hits the Freakbuster for 3.
WINNER: Robbie Terry. Terry does some stupid fist-pumping and dancing after the match to music that would make Fandango embarrassed.
Sting goes to the elevator.
Back in the clubhouse, Ray is complaining about no A and E merchandise at the tables tonight. He tells one of the guys to open up a TNA roster book, and whoever the page is opened to pays the price tonight.
We see Sting and Hulk Hogan in an office. Hulk is pissed and blaming Sting for everything. He knew all along Ray was rotten to the core, and now he has the World title. Now A and E has the whole company hostage. Now, his daughter is married to Bully. Sting says he has an idea. Don’t fire A and E yet, especially Bully. Let him have Bully tonight. Hulk says there is no more “we” anymore. He knows how this movie ends. This is the end. A and E has the title and his daughter. The movie is over, and so is Sting. Hulk has business to take care of and he doesn’t want to see Sting right now. Get out. You make him sick.
We see Austin Aries and Bobby Roode approach Sting as he’s leaving. Aries says you can’t blame Hulk for being upset, because it really is all Sting’s fault. Everyone told Sting Bully Ray was no good, and he didn’t want to hear it. He’s the reason why A and E are running things right now, and also the reason why they can’t wrestle tonight, thanks to their opponents being attacked by A and E. After that match, they were going to give Sting and Hulk a title match, too. Sting cuts them off and says he’s tired of talking, but instead wants to fight. He wants one of them, and Roode slowly backs away. Sting challenges Aries at that point.
Christy Hemme welcomes AJ Styles into the ring. His music hits, but no one is coming out. After a few moments, Bad Influence’s music hits instead, and they come down to the ring, dressed like The Road Warriors, Daniels as Hawk and Kaz as Animal. Kaz says that tonight isn’t just the first live Impact on the road, and it’s definitely not the first time AJ has disappointed his fans, but tonight Bad Influence brings back “Throwback Thursday”. Since they are in the “Second City”, they’re paying homage to the second-best tag team in wrestling history. Tell ‘em Chris! WELL…those warriors, that Legion of the Past, they were fake tough guys. Fake tough like AJ Styles and fake tough like every one of you. Bad Influence, however, are the real deal. They’re the original “ring warriors”, and they are the “Legion of Boom”. Oooh…what a tush! And on that note, you have permission to worship them now.
James Storm comes out, mic in hand. He tells BI they don’t have to run. He was listening to them run their bottle suckers, mocking AJ Styles and mocking one of the greatest teams in history. He’s pretty sure AJ will come out and let them know what he thinks of them. As for LOD, they’re bigger and more over than BI will ever be. And unlike these two douchebags, they were actually from Chicago. Now, onto the tough part, he can help with that. He’s going to decide which one of them wants to have the crap kicked out of them. Before they can decide, Storm slingshots Daniels into the ring.
MATCH 3: Christopher Daniels (w/Kazarian) vs. James Storm
Storm blocks a hip toss and hits his own before nailing a corner uppercut and a back body drop. He blocks a kick and hits a discus punch. Storm sends Daniels into Kaz on the apron and rolls him up for 2. Kaz trips Storm behind the ref’s back, and Daniels connects with a running knee. He stomps Storm down in the corner, then sends him hard into the opposite corner. Double stomp to the back, followed by some kneelifts. Daniels applies a waistlock, but Storm elbows out. He runs right into a shoulder, and Daniels follows up with a snapmare and a split-legged moonsault for 2. They trade some punches, and Storm comes back with a forearm, inverted atomic drop and a bulldog. He calls for the Eye of the Storm, but Daniels escapes and hits an uppercut, followed by a standing uranage. BME misses as Daniels lands on his feet. Storm hits Closing Time and calls for the Last Call, but Kaz causes a distraction. Daniels attacks from behind, but Storm sees him coming, ducks and hits a backcracker for 3.
WINNER: James Storm. BI double teams Storm after the match, stomping him down. AJ Styles walks down to the ring, still trying to look drunk and strung out. He clocks Kaz, and Daniels bails. AJ then nails Storm before heading towards the back.
Wes Brisco stops Kurt Angle in the back. As he turns, A and E jump Angle from behind and beat him down.
Joseph Park makes his way out. He says it’s an honor to be standing here tonight. It’s no secret it’s been a couple of crazy months for Park. In the UK, he got his first big win over Robbie E, and he even won again last weekend at Lockdown. With all of this early success he’s had, it’s made him reflect on the highlights of his life. Number one has to be graduating law school at the top of his class. Number two would have to be when he finally made partnership at the law firm of Park, Park & Park, who are here tonight in the nosebleeds. The highlight of his life to this point, though, has to be right here in front of his hometown of Chicago, IL. He grew up watching all of the Cubby games, which results in boos from the crowd. He panders to the Blackhawks fans after that before saying nothing has been as exciting as his time in Impact Wrestling, and he can’t wait for what’s next.
Matt Morgan interrupts things. He tells Park to back off before saying that Hulk making mistake after mistake is an understatement. Did the Bully Ray situation turn out the way you hoped? That being said, with all of the mistakes Hulk has made, none are bigger than this walking joke standing in front of him. The fact that you signed this clown to a pro wrestling contract on Impact is an abortion to the sport of wrestling. Here’s what he’s going to do, old man. He’s going to start eliminating Hulk’s mistakes one-by-one, starting with Park. So, unless Park wants his teeth knocked down his throat, he is strongly advised to get the hell out of Morgan’s ring now. Park starts to leave, but hesitates after Morgan calls Chicago a “dump city”. Park tells Morgan that, in Chicago, they never back down from a fight. So, if you want a fight, let’s do it right now. Morgan asks if he’s serious then says they don’t do things on Park’s time; they do them on Morgan’s time. Morgan leaves, but as Park turns around, he gets back in the ring and drops Park with a big boot. You can tell he was going for the Carbon Footprint, but they botched the spot. Morgan then tells Park his time is next week.
Back in the A and E clubhouse. Ray asks Hulk if he’s going to fire them. Chavo’s out. Hernandez is out, and now so is Angle. Grow some balls and fire them. If Hulk doesn’t come to them, they’ll go to him. They destroyed his family, and they’ll destroy his show as well. In fact, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s start right now.
MATCH 4: World Tag Team Co-Champion Austin Aries (w/Bobby Roode) vs. Sting
Sting immediately backs Aries into a corner and shoves him down. Aries takes Sting down and spins across his back before posing in the corner. Aries boots Sting in the midsection before applying a side headlock. Sting counters by picking Aries up and setting him across the top turnbuckle, where he punches and kicks him in the gut. A running kick causes Aries to hotshot himself and Sting goes for the Stinger Splash. However, Aries sees it coming and rolls to the outside. Back in the ring, Sting blocks a kick and strikes Aries several times before hitting an inverted atomic drop. Behind the ref’s back, Roode trips Sting and pulls him to the outside. Sting fights back with punches and throws Roode into the guardrail, where he hits a Stinger Splash. Aries comes off the top with a double axe handle, but Sting moves and Aries hits Roode. Sting throws Aries into a chair before celebrating on the apron. Commercials.
We’re back, and Sting is still in control. Go figure. Aries forearms him to the back off a Roode distraction, but Sting comes back with punches before clotheslining Aries to the floor. Roode causes another distraction, so the ref ejects him from ringside. Aries kicks the ropes as Sting is climbing back in, essential low-blowing him. Sting rolls to the outside, where Aries nails him with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Aries goes for the cover, getting 2. Aries hits a jumping elbow drop for another 2. Foot choke near the corner by Aries before nailing Sting with a left jab, hitting a snapmare and a missile dropkick from the middle rope for 2. Spinal tap by Aries for another 2. Sting begins to fight back out of the corner with his weak-looking backhands, but Aries dropkicks him in the left knee before stomping it for 1. Aries boxes the ears, and Sting does the same to him. He goes for a dropkick, but Aries holds onto the ropes, sending Sting back-first to the mat. Aries goes for the scorpion deathlock, but doesn’t know how to apply it. Sting kicks him off, hits more backhands and turns him inside out with a clothesline. Sting hits an uppercut and goes for the scorpion, but Aries escapes and rolls to the apron, where he hits a hotshot. Up top, Aries hits a missile dropkick. Sting no-sells as Aries mocks him. Sting boots him in the gut and hits a weak gorilla-press slam. Aries crawls to the corner, where he dodges a Stinger Splash and follows up with a running corner dropkick. Aries hits a Stinger Splash of his own, then goes for the brainbuster. Sting counters into the Scorpion Death Drop, but only gets 2. Aries crawls to the corner again, and Sting connects with a slo-mo Stinger Splash. He applies the scorpion deathlock, but A and E attacks.
Hulk’s music hits. Why do I get the sickening feeling they’re building to a Hulk/Ray match for the title? Oh, because it’s TNA and Hulk Hogan. Duh. Anyway, Hulk comes out on crutches and stops on the stage. You know something, brother? Firing you would be the coward’s way out. It’d be too damn easy. For everything you’ve done to everyone, you’re not getting the easy way out, brother. Every dog has its day. It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow. Live by the sword, die by the sword. And from this day forward, Hulk is empowering everyone in the TNA locker room to band together, to fight, and to eliminate A and E, brother. Jeff Hardy’s music hits, and he, Magnus, Samoa Joe, Joseph Park, RVD, Kurt Angle, Rob Terry and Hernandez. After a few moments, A and E dominate the TNA roster. Chavo Guerrero is also in tere apparently, and they get rid of him pretty quickly. Angle gets back in the ring after being beaten down by Ray, but they beat him down as Ray climbs back in. He has a mic, and he asks “dad” if this is what he meant by something memorable. How’s this for memorable, you old bastard? Ray begins whipping the TNA guys with his wallet chain before heading up the ramp towards Hulk. He says that was Hulk’s cavalry, and they just got killed by A and E. What are you going to do now, dad?
End of show.
Well, for that being TNA’s first live Impact on the road, it was pretty much a throw-away show. Not a good start.
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