Sunday’s Turning Point is set: James Storm, Bobby Roode and AJ Styles will fight it out for a future shot at the title. Will Austin Aries who claims to be the real Heavyweight Champion put his ego aside and face Jeff Hardy in a Ladder match? And what’s in store for the former Luke Gallows now his identity has been revealed as a member of Aces & Eights?
Doc given ultimatum to prove himself:
Impact begins out of the Aces & Eights club house. As good as TNA are with logical camera work, it still annoys me that somehow this footage can appear on a live broadcast. All it takes is a little explanation. Perhaps the company pays one of their TMZ style paparazzi to sneak around and get any footage that would help with ratings? Perhaps Aces & Eights use a mole in the truck to broadcast their message? Or maybe they use their vast Motorcycle Club blood money to purchase airtime through Spike TV?
The former Luke Gallows now going by DOC, the Director of Chaos (a little cheesy) is getting a grilling for revealing his identity. He’s given a one week ultimatum to prove himself to the club and earn his stripes. Devon suggests they do it tonight against Kurt Angle and Sting. Doc says he won’t let them down. Good simple booking.
Bobby Roode def. AJ Styles:
In the Impact Zone Jeremy Borash and Todd Kennely begin calling the action, they’re joined by “the Cowboy” James Storm and a technical error leaves a dopey looking crew member on camera trying to hook Storm up to the broadcast. The trio sell the PPV match well, as Roode and AJ go at it in the ring.
After after some intense back and forth action, The Phenomenal One tries to end the bout with his signature Styles Clash, but Roode manages to smash his heel in to AJ’s face. AJ then goes for the Pele, but again Storm gets out of dodge. It looks to be it, Roode wraps AJ up in the Fisherman’s Suplex, but to his frustration he can’t get the 3. He’s had enough, Roode exits the ring for a chair, but a righteous Storm makes his way down the ramp to preach some Trash to his adversary. The distraction allows AJ to hit a springboard dive to the floor, but as he rolls Roode back in for the pin, he also gets distracted by his Turning Point opponent. Roode capitalizes for the 1…2…3.
A solid opener with no definitive winner, making the odds even going in to the PPV 3-way and turning up the heat between Styles and Storm, who cost him the match.
Hogan confronts Aries:
Backstage Impact GM Hulk Hogan confronts Austin Aries, reminding him that he’s NOT the Heavyweight Champion. If he doesn’t hand back the belt tonight, the Hulkster has no choice but to give the title shot at the PPV to somebody else. Aries reiterates that he’s a professional wrestler, not a ladder climber. He angrily walks off spouting that Hulk Hogan is drinking the “Jeff Hardy Koolaid”.
Why does Hulk have to be GM? That’s a WWE-branded phrase. Since they’re playing them at their own game, why not call him the commissioner? Or even booker? That’s never been used before.
The camera then cuts to Kurt Angle schooling Wes Brisco on ring timing. Sting joins in saying “its all about Showtime timing timing timing”.
Joseph Park wants Aces & Eights:
In the ring Joseph Park continues to campaign for a match with Aces & Eights at Turning Point. He delivers a well executed emotional promo, saying that it’s not about wrestling or PPVs, but that it’s about “being a man”. I really like the Park character, the former Abyss is good at those little colorful character nuances that a lot of wrestling is lacking right now. Park pleads to Hulk Hogan to sanction the match. On a side note wouldn’t it be hilarious if Abyss was a member of Aces & Eights? (Sorry I’ll stop giving them crazy ideas).
Hulk hits the ring and suggests that as an attorney, Park should know that he has his hands tied. Park is not a wrestler and its too big of a liability to give him a match. (Good element of logic here). Bully Ray soon interrupts and says he believes in Joseph Park. “He has guts and is one tough son of a *****!” He points to the audience and says the fans believe in him too, and that Hulk should say yes to a the match. Daniel Bryan “Yes” chants erupt.
It doesn’t take a lot to convince the Hulkster. The match is set! Joesph Park gets Doc at Turning Point this Sunday. Perhaps a more logical angle would be for Hogan to give it his blessing, but not that of the company’s. Make Park sign a waiver? Or make it an “unsanctioned” match?
In the back the “wannabe TMZ Hollywood douchebags” are lauding over each other and exaggerating Jesse Godderz’s in-ring arsenal. ODB calls them on their BS and challenges Tara and Godderz to a handicap match.
Outside AJ is arguing with James Storm in the hallway. Storm calls AJ the face of Impact Wrestling but warns “what’s that face gonna look like when it gets kicked in” at the PPV?
ODB def. Tara & Jesse Godderz:
Godderz certainly doesn’t look as bad as you might expect in the ring. There’s no clumsy bumping or botched moves, although the bout has probably been heavily choreographed. Then again he doesn’t need to look like a good wrestler anyway; his character is a deluded egomaniac and he played that well in the ring with help from the Veteran females.
After lots of comedy spots ODB manages to coordinate Tara’s head landing in Godderz’s crotch. She then hits a double Bronco Buster and finishes the bout with a spear to Tara. After the match Jesse goes for a beat down but chickens out. The distraction however allows Tara to hit the Widow’s Peak and the pair pour ODB’s flask over her unconscious body.
I think we’ve reached the point where Tara’s emo “broken” theme needs to be changed to something a little more LA Club friendly.
No other complaints here, Godderz plays his role well. Haters gonna hate.
Where’s Eric Yong?:
After the commercial break backstage ODB is leaving a voice-mail on Eric Young’s phone, calling him to appear at the PPV. We know he’s on his way out of the company, so it looks like ODB’s gonna have her heart broken. Will he stand her up at Turning Point, or will they have one last hurrah?
Next we get a Gutcheck recap for Christian York. Good reality element here. Wrestling fans know York can get it done in the ring, but the judges raise a good point. Why hasn’t York been able to make it in the big leagues? Why have his tag partners always been the ones that have stolen the limelight? It’s a good question.
Doc & Devon vs Kurt Angle & Sting ends in a No Contest:
Doc looks good in the ring and was not overly Festus or Luke Gallows looking. The pair worked over Sting, building up Angle for the hot tag. When he gets it he nearly wins with the Angle Slam, but Doc makes the save. This isn’t about a win however…the match is soon cut short when Devon brings Sting’s bat in to play. Bully Ray hits the ring to attack Devon, before setting up a table. Devon hightails it leaving Doc on his own, but before Sting can put him through the table, other Aces & Eights members hit the ring and attack Sting with a hammer. Doc then Chokeslams the legend through the table.
Doc is given the hammer (time to earn those stripes). He goes nuts, washing away the last remnants of his WWE personas. A Perfect angle to get him over and give him heat.
Christian York is given an unheard of unanimous Yes, and earns himself a TNA contract after 16 years of toiling on the Indys!
Aries looks for loophole:
Austin Aries is backstage on the phone looking for a loophole in Hardy’s title win.
Joey Ryan brags to Hogan:
Hogan finishes a conversation on the phone about Sting’s condition and is met by an arrogant Joey Ryan asking for Hulk’s praise for getting an X-Division title shot. Hulk brushes him off and approaches Matt Morgan to tell him that he will NOT be in Ryan’s corner at the PPV. Morgan stares him down and says Hulk still has no idea who he’s messing with. As they leave the Hulkster laughs under his breath “…but I do know”. A member of Aces & Eights?
Magnus, Kazarian & Christopher Daniels def. Chavo, Hernandez & Samoa Joe:
Big six-man tag building the TV title match between Magnus & Joe (c), and the tag title match between Chavo & Hernandez and Kazarian & Daniels (c). Magnus gets the win here with a top rope elbow on Joe, revealing that he’ll probably be on the losing end at Turning Point.
In the back Bobby Roode hypes the PPV and says he’s going to become the number One Contender and then recapture the Heavyweight title.
Austin Aries in the ring with a ladder:
Austin Aries has a ladder setup in the ring. He disputes Hardy’s claim that he’s the best pro wrestler in the world, saying its an overplayed phrase. Aries claims he’s the greatest professional “wrestler” in the Universe and that 3 seconds at Bound For Glory didn’t change that. He suggests Hardy wants a Ladder match because there’s no way he could beat him again, one on one in a proper “wrestling” contest. Aries says when he wins the match he’s going to melt Hardy’s personalized title in to a belt buckle.
Like CM Punk in WWE, Aries likes to play off the hardcore Internet fans. A lot of them see Aries as a legit worker and Hardy a spot monkey, they also see Hardy’s belt as a gaudy-looking insult that lowers the value of Championship. On a deeper level many of us feel Aries was screwed out of the title so the office could please Hardy and get him to re-sign with the company. The best storylines have elements of realism and little references to these three points are adding a lot to the feud.
Despite Hogan’s demand that Aries needs to relinquish the original belt, Austin says if Hardy wants it he has to come and take it!
Hardy runs to the ring and the pair begin a high paced brawl. Aries escapes the Twist of Fate and high-tails it, leaving Hardy to pick up both belts. He raises them above the ladder for the babyface pop.
Aries is not done!
He knocks Jeff off the ladder and climbs it himself for his own pose. The heat is back on Aries, but will the company stay with Hardy or give the ball to the real “wrestler”?
While TNA is never going to look like the big league in terms of production and arena size, this week’s Impact was much more enjoyable than WWE’s bland programming. It built the PPV well and offered some solid in-ring action. Neither company is cutting edge right now, but Impact is the more traditional TV product that fans have lost in WWE’s PG era. Roll on the PPV!
Turning Point Card:
LADDER MATCH: WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Austin Aries vs. (c) “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy
#1 CONTENDER’S MATCH
Bobby Roode vs. James Storm vs. AJ Styles
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. (c) Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez
NO DQ TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Magnus vs. (c) Samoa Joe
Devon vs. Kurt Angle
X DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Joey Ryan vs. Rob Van Dam
Tara & Jesse vs. ODB & Eric Young
DOC from Aces & 8s vs. Joseph Park