Last night’s Impact saw the Bound for Glory series continue, a newcomer advance to Destination X, and a Monster meet an Icon. Some former X Division stars returned to their home, knockouts brawled throughout the arena, and some ECW originals exchanged heated words. A tag team stepped back into the ring. Immortal may have found a new member. Boring old Hulk Hogan didn’t appear. Read all about it after the jump.
- Eric Bischoff opened last night’s show by calling out the former World Champion. The Stinger quickly answered the call and went on his “bring the real Hulk Hogan back” shtick. Look, I don’t care about Hogan no matter what he’s doing. I don’t care if he’s Hulk or Hollywood, I don’t care if he passes his wife around the locker room, and I don’t care how many stupid tattoos he wants to get. All I care about is my ability to watch wrestling without having to see his old carcass involved in major storylines, and unfortunately, it looks like his role is going to be expanding in the coming months. Meanwhile, Sting is goofy as hell these days. After his promo, one that made me wonder if it was Jim Carey behind the face paint, he dropped Eric Bischoff with a Scorpion Death Drop and rubbed red paint all over him. He tied him up in the Scorpion Death Lock before the segment ended, which was all right I guess. I don’t know, something about Sting beating up Eric Bischoff just seems so 1997 to me. And I don’t get the face painting gig at all.
- The Bound For Glory series doesn’t only encompass television matches; apparently wins and losses matter on house shows too (for the first time in history?). We were shown a brief recap of the BFG series matches from over the weekend, which included Gunner getting a clean win over AJ Styles. Wow, this Gunner push is ridiculous. The dude has no character whatsoever and is completely devoid of qualities becoming of a main eventer. Moreover, there has been no story to explain it. He’s just pinned Sting, Mr. Anderson, and AJ Styles cleanly over the past three weeks, and that’s it. He’s the bottom man on the oversized heel stable’s totem pole, and he’s just pinning guys at the top of the card. It’s like if Viscera pinned Austin, The Rock, and Mankind when he was in the Corporate Ministry, or if Stevie Ray notched victories over DDP, Goldberg, and Sting while he was a throwaway member of nWo Hollywood. Garbage.
- Bully Ray defeated Scott Steiner in a BFG series match after hitting him with the chain. Is Scott Steiner a heel or a face? I seem to remember him being a heel last week, and working as a heel in the clips from the weekend that they showed just prior to this match, but he definitely played the face last night. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t really matter to me if Scott Steiner is a good guy or bad guy – his appeal is the same either way. He’s good for being absolutely ridiculous and unintentionally funny on the microphone and little else regardless of his role, but you’d think they’d chose one persuasion for him and stick to it. At any rate, I’m thankful that Ray won, and I think I’m not-so-secretly pulling for him to win this whole series.
- Velvet Sky and Miss Tessmacher partnered up again, this time in a losing effort to ODB & Jackie Moore. There was a LOT of Tessmacher in this match, so it gets my seal of approval, but damn do I hate Jackie. I wish Paul Heyman was in charge for no other reason than to keep her aged self off of television. The heels worked over Tessmacher for most of the match until she finally got the hot tag to Velvet, who was pinned after a low blow from Jackie. Seriously, a straight kick to the groin. Mike Tenay referenced a “running spear” at one point, as if there were any other kind.
- Tara & Madison Rayne had a mini-brawl backstage. Actually, it was more Tara running Madison into a wall than it was a brawl. So I guess this feud is still going.
- Welp, it looks like the ambiguity surrounding Steiner’s allegiances might be intentional after all. The Freak broke into Immortal’s locker room, swinging a chain in circles over his head and backing Abyss, Ray, & Gunner into a corner. This man is ridiculous. The trio of stablemates offered Steiner a spot in Immortal as a way to calm him down, an offer that Scott said he’d consider. Like I said, it doesn’t matter to me what role Steiner plays in Impact Wrestling, so obviously, I really don’t care if he joins Immortal as not. He’s going to cut hilariously bad promos either way, and that’s what he does best.
- Robert Roode returned to the ring, and to Beer Money, to compete in a Bound For Glory series match. He and James Storm lost to Crimson & Matt Morgan after Morgan hit the Carbon Footprint on Roode. It was really good to see Beer Money back together again – their chemistry is unrivaled among TNA tag teams, and they certainly know how to work a crowd. I was hoping for Bobby Roode to nab the points here, but I’m not going to complain about Matt Morgan. I don’t think he stands a chance at winning the tournament (despite being the current points leader), and at least he kept Crimson from putting himself on the board. I have a nagging suspicion that Crimson could fare well in this tournament, and I’d really prefer if he didn’t.
- Eric Young was searching for Popeye, yes, the Sailor Man, in hopes of defending his Television Title against him. This deal where Young thinks he has to defend his Championship against a TV star each week is going to get old fast. I’ve never been much for his style of comedy, and this angle isn’t doing much to change my opinion.
- AJ Styles officially announced the return of the 6-sided ring at Destination X and pledged his allegiance to the X Division once again. His address was interrupted by Samoa Joe, who reminded him that he wasn’t the only one who contributed to the division’s success. After a friendly exchange, Christopher Daniels hit the ring, brushed Joe off, and challenged AJ to a match at the pay-per-view. Styles reluctantly agreed, and a snubbed Joe stood disgusted in the ring. Afterwards, Kazarian expressed concerns with the match backstage. After Kaz insulted a passing Samoa Joe, Joe leveled him and walked off in frustration. The prevalent rumor has Joe being added to the Styles vs Daniels match to make it a triple threat, although it looks like Joe vs Kazarian is a possibility for Destination X too. I’d absolutely prefer the former, and I think TNA is really missing the boat if they don’t host a match between the three godfathers of the X Division. As for the segment itself, it was awesome to see Joe find his mean streak again. After his recent disappointing programs with the Pope and Crimson, I’m firmly in favor of the old “Joe’s Gonna Kill You” Joe to reemerge. Meanwhile, Fortune seems to think it’s weird that Daniels wants to fight AJ for whatever reason, so I guess they might be playing up a heel turn of sorts.
- In the second Destination X qualifying match, Shiima Xion defeated Frederico Palacio and Dakota Darsow in a triple threat. The ring attires in this one were ridiculous. Palacio was in tights, but Dakota was wearing pants reminiscent of the Disco Inferno and approached the ring in a sleeveless winter jacket, while Xion wrestled in one-legged chaps. One-legged chaps, people. At any rate, no one in this match outperformed what Austin Aries put forth last week, although it was a neat little contest. I was pulling for Darsow, who I believe has a future with the company despite losing this one. Shiima Xion was moderately impressive, but he strikes me as more of a spot-fest guy than one who knows how to work a match. I’m not familiar with his work outside of this match, so I could be jumping to conclusions.
- Rob Van Dam was being interviewed backstage about Destination X, claiming that the X Division guys have been trying to be him since the division’s outset. Jerry Lynn overheard his comments and took exception, lending some credence to the rumors that RVD vs Lynn will be added to the Destination X card. Hell. Yes. I know that most of the times when old rivalries like this one are revisited years after they ran their course, they don’t live up to expectation. And yes, I know that these guys enjoyed their primes a decade ago. But I’m sure of the fact that I’ll jump from my seat after their first exchange that ends with each of them in a defensive pose, surely how their match will open. It’s going to be surreal.
- Mickie James took on Winter in a Street Fight that was joined already in progress with the pair of knockouts brawling in the backstage area. Winter was in control, whipping Mickie with a belt, until they made their way into the Impact Zone. There, Mickie turned the tides and dominated until just before the match’s conclusion. With the referee distracted, Angelina Love interfered and laid Mickie out, allowing Winter to drape herself over the Knockout Champion and pick up the win in this non-title contest. Funny, Mr. Anderson hit a blatant low blow in front of the ref at Slammiversary, and nobody cares. Angelina interferes in a street fight, in which interference is legal, and they make sure Hebner has his back turned. Also, I’d like to take a second to direct your attention to how underrated a commodity Mickie James is. She can talk, she can wrestle, and she’s really, really sexy. She easily falls in my top five women wrestlers all-time (not that there are a whole lot of good ones), and I think she’s criminally underappreciated. Now if only she’d quit pushing that country music.
- Sting got himself disqualified against Abyss in the main event. After Abyss introduced a barbwire wrapped glove into the match, Sting used it to bloody his opponent. There was nothing to see here, just your standard main event without a definitive winner. After the match, Mr. Anderson appeared and started walking down the ramp towards Sting, who was still pummeling Abyss in the ring. The show ended on that note, without providing any closure as to what would happen when Anderson reached the ring. There was really no point to this main event outside of getting Abyss and Sting both on the show, and although it had potential, the non-ending kind of squashed it.
Overall, Impact was less than stellar but all right. The Knockouts Street Fight was pretty decent and it was good to see Beer Money back in action. I popped for Jerry Lynn interacting with Van Dam. Destination X is shaping up nicely, especially if Joe is added to the Styles vs Daniels match. I’ve got my fingers crossed we don’t have to endure a Gunner World Title match at the event.