SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following was originally published five years ago this week on PWTorch.com…
TNA Impact review
July 25, 2013
Taped 7/18/13 in Louisville, Ky.
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– Highlights of the Destination X show aired, including a brief shot of those fighting for a shot at the Ultimate X match tonight. More focus was on Chris Sabin cashing in his X Division Title, and the Main Event Mafia watching his back. Plus, Mickie James and Gail Kim’s situation. Tonight, we’ll find out the next X Division champion, how the Bound for Glory tournament continues to shake out, and what Bully Ray will do for revenge.
– Inside the arena, the Main Event Mafia walked to the ring. Jeremy Borash was still on commentary with Mike Tenay. Sting got the mic and said it was his best night ever since he got into pro wrestling because he got to see Chris Sabin win the TNA Title. There’s hyperbole, then there’s…whatever that was. It was Hulk Hogan-level hyperbole, brother. Sting said it’s MEM 1, Aces & Eights 0.
Kurt Angle got the mic next, saying they weren’t here for a fight but a celebration. Angle said they were formed to destroy Aces & Eights and to make sure Ray loses the World Title, with number two being accomplished last week. Angle put Sabin over and brought him out. Sabin thanked the Mafia, saying if it wasn’t for them fighting off A&E, he may not be World Champion. He said it feels like he’s living a dream. He talked about the target on his back now that he’s champion. Sabin said he’s going to make history again next week: He laid down a challenge to the winner of the Ultimate X Match for a champion vs. champion match next week. The Aces & Eights music then interrupted. Ray and an older, well-dressed gentlemen walked out. He looked a bit like Kevin Nash, which someone in the crowd actually yelled.
Ray said it was his attorney. The attorney said that they’ve been forced to file a lawsuit against Impact Wrestling due to the injustice Ray suffered last week. Hey, he even sounds a little like Nash! The attorney said the suit can be avoided if Sabin simply hands the title back over to Bully Ray. He said if not, the effects of the suit will be felt throughout the wrestling industry and will crush TNA. The attorney said Sabin has until the end of the show to turn the title back over to Ray. The last thing TNA needs right now is a lawsuit, am I right?
– Tenay and Borash were shown on-camera and they both again wondered where Tazz was. Tonight, in the Bound for Glory series, it’s Jeff Hardy vs. A.J. Styles.
– Next though, it’s the Ultimate X Match between Sonjay Dutt, Manik, and Greg Marasciulo. A brief video aired on the former Trent Barreta. Man, if I had remembered he was wrestling tonight and I had to type his name as much as I’ll have to, I wouldn’t have volunteered to cover for James tonight.
– A shot of the Ultimate X contraption was shown. The match is next.
– The roving cameraman caught up to Hulk Hogan, who was on the phone. He asked if TNA had a defense set up for the lawsuit, so Hogan responded that he doesn’t comment on pending litigation. Then he walked away. That sounds like a line the Hulkster has had to utter before.
– A video package aired on Manik/T.J. Perkins, as Perkins was telling his life story sans the mask. He talked about why he used the alter ego. Good job by TNA to address that, as it was strange acknowledging Perkins was the guy, yet having him go back to the character and mask the next week after Hogan outed him.
1 – SONJAY DUTT vs. MANIK vs. GREG MARASCIULO – THREE-WAY ULTIMATE X MATCH FOR THE X DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Dutt was the first one thrown to ringside, though Marasciulo was back-dropped onto the ramp by Manik soon after. Dutt was back in and Manik gave him an uppercut. Dropkick through the ropes by Dutt on Manik. He hit a moonsault off the structure and onto Manik. Marasciulo got back into it and worked over Manik on the ramp. Dutt tried to climb to the title, but Marasciulo stopped him. Dutt was stopped again trying to climb the structure. He took Manik and Marasciulo down with a DDT/face-plant combo. Neck-breaker by Manik on Dutt. All three men were in the ring and Manik took both men down. Manik was down too and they cut to break at 4:36 of the match.
Back at 8:37 of the match. Marasciulo crushed Manik on the ramp with a move similar to Kazarian’s Fade to Black. However, Marasciulo sold a knee injury. He climbed up to the wire and came close to the title belt. Dutt, who was in the ring, pulled him down by the foot. Running boot to the face in the corner by Dutt, but Marasciulo caught him with a running knee. The feverish exchange ended with Dutt superkicking Marasciulo and all three men down again. Another referee came out to check on Manik, who still hadn’t gotten up from Marasciulo’s move out of the break. Dutt and Marasciulo climbed the steel support tower in the corner. Marasciulo got to the top first and crawled atop the structure. Soon after, Dutt met him there where they exchanged kicks and punches. Borash harped on Marasciulo’s inexperience in matches like this. Marasciulo went for a suplex in the middle of the structure. A series of headbutts allowed Marasciuloo to stand on the cables. Manik, from out of nowhere, sneaked in to reach the belt. He hung upside-down and Marasciulo was able to drop down onto the wires and work his way over the Manik. He was knocked off and to the mat, while Manik pulled the title down to win.
WINNER: Manik, at 14:03. Not really an impressive match by Ultimate X standards. It was okay, but nothing memorable about it.
A replay of the finish aired, and they briefly showed Manik celebrating in the ring.
– Bully Ray was talking to Mr. Anderson backstage. Ray said he has Hogan right where he wants him. He said he’s proud to have Anderson as vice president, and while he didn’t vote, if he did, he would’ve voted Anderson. Ray emphasized the importance of Anderson winning the BFG series. So he told him to go out there and get the job done.
– Tonight, we’ll hear from Hogan regarding his decision as it pertains to the TNA Title.
– Also, A.J. Styles takes on Jeff Hardy in a BFG Series match.
– Next, also in a BFG Series match, Anderson vs. Hernandez.
– Miss Tessmacher is Tweeting during this show for a second-screen experience for viewers.
2 – HERNANDEZ vs. MR. ANDERSON – BOUND FOR GLORY SERIES MATCH
They showed the BFG standings when Hernandez came to the ring. Neither man budged on a shoulder tackle. Anderson faked hitting the ropes again for another, and instead punched Hernandez. Wise move. Hernandez came back with a leaping shoulderblock. Anderson tried to suplex Hernandez out of the ring, but instead it was reversed. Big splash in the corner from Anderson. Hernandez lifted himself to the top rope, where Anderson slammed him off. Back elbow by Anderson for two at 3:10 of the match. Slingshot into a shoulderblock by Hernandez. He hit his signature moves, including a back-breaker for a near-fall. He again knocked Anderson off his feet with a shoulderblock. Hernandez missed Air Mexico and Anderson hit the mic check for the win and seven points.
WINNER: Anderson, at 5:01. A better match than I expected, and I liked the finish.
– Gail Kim vs. Mickie James for the Knockouts Championship is next. With as much positive buzz as this division has generated lately, I would’ve liked to have seen a little more hype for this one.
– Tenay narrated a video of what happened earlier with Ray’s lawyer threatening to sue TNA if Sabin didn’t hand over the title.
– The roving reporter asked Dixie Carter (who was with a young blonde woman) about the legal situation. “You’ll know when I know,” she said.
– Eric Young was showing a video to Joseph Park backstage. He showed Park what cost him ten points in the BFG series. Park said he blacked out and didn’t remember it, presuming he’s talking about turning into Abyss. Young said he was basically a scientist and offered to help Park get to the bottom of it.
– Velvet Sky came to the ring. Sky admitted a recent mistake, that being letting Mickie James know she was injured. Mickie took advantage of the situation to get what she wanted, but she’ll never make a mistake like that again. Sky said she was going to watch from ringside as Mickie and Gail Kim tear into each other. “Ladies have at it,” she said. She took a seat at ringside (right in front of the announcers). The match is next.
3 – GAIL KIM vs. MICKIE JAMES – KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
A long lock-up led to both women pulling each other’s hair and ODB having to separate them. Both women had offensive opportunities on the other in the corner, and both used a thumb to the eye just to further establish they’re both heels. A hair-pull take-down and a seated dropkick led to a one-count for Mickie. Kim swatted aside a weak dropkick attempt by the champion. A dropkick of her own led to a pin attempt. The crowd chanted for ODB. Kim went for a corner attack then taunted the crowd. Back kick by James sent Kim to ringside. I don’t think they’ve shown Sky at ringside once in the first four minutes of the match. James kicked Kim away as Gail tried a figure-four on the post. James with the Thesz Press off the apron onto Kim. Neck-breaker by James back in the ring. Both women’s finishers were countered and Mickie got the better of it. She went to the top but missed…something. Kim went for a submission move, but James got to the ropes. James locked in a submission of her own and Kim got the ropes as well. I think they’re mirroring each other. Kim powerbombed James out of the corner and went for a pin with her feet on the ropes, but ODB saw it. James was thrown to ringside right in front of Sky. Kim got in ODB’s face in the ring. Kim slapped ODB across the face and James scurried into the ring to roll Kim up for the win.
WINNER: James, at 7:04. I liked this match – it didn’t have a terribly high energy or anything, but it was sound and told a decent story.
ODB and Gail Kim again went face-to-face in the ring. Brooke Hogan came out with a mic – she had an issue with Kim. She said she thought Kim learned her lesson the last time she slapped around a ref (Taryn Terrell). Hogan reminded Kim that ODB is an active wrestler. Then why is she a ref in the division she’s competing in? Kim left the ring when ODB looked ready for a fight.
– Clips of Sabin vs. Ray from last week aired. They briefly showed, I presume Dixie Carter, hugging Sabin backstage.
– Dixie and Hogan were talking backstage, and Hogan didn’t want to back down from Ray again. Dixie almost teared up talking about being backstage when Sabin tore his ACL his second time. Carter talked about the responsibility she has on her shoulders and how she doesn’t want to mess with Sabin’s title win, but she doesn’t have much of a choice. Hogan apologized and neither person appeared to want to tell Sabin the news. They cut away to show a graphic of Hogan’s decision, still to come tonight.
– Tenay and Borash ran down the Impact Wrestling World Tour dates and locations coming up.
– The updated BFG leaderboard was shown.
4 – CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. SAMOA JOE – BOUND FOR GLORY SERIES MATCH
Tenay said Daniels has never beaten Joe in a one-on-one match in TNA. Daniels played to the “Joe’s gonna kill you” chants. Arm-drag by Joe, followed by a hard back-elbow. Joe peppered Daniels with rights in the corner. Back splash and a kick to the head from Joe, working particularly tight it appeared. Face-wash to Daniels. Daniels came back with a clothesline. He stomped away at Joe, but Joe came back with chops. Daniels used a unique move to choke Joe in the ropes. Snap-mare into a submission maneuver. The crowd was into Joe as he broke free of the hold. Belly-to-belly suplex by Joe. A couple hard clotheslines, inverted atomic drop, and a running boot from Joe. Snap powerslam registered a two-count. The men traded open-hand slaps, and as you’d guess, Joe won out in that particular exchange. Joe caught Daniels in the corner and gave him a uranage. He tried to give Daniels a muscle buster, but Daniels held on to the top rope. Anderson came down to the ring to distract Joe. Daniels clipped Joe from behind and hit the BME for two. He connected on a second, and that was enough for the win.
WINNER: Daniels, at 6:18. Good enough match.
– A.J. Styles was walking backstage. Hey, Jeff Hardy was, too. Their match is next.
– They plugged Joseph Park Tweeting during Impact.
– Sting sat down with Kurt Angle backstage. He wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. Angle was concerned about the legal situation. Sting wasn’t buying that Ray had a case. Sting reminded Angle that their goal to take Ray out remains.
– Borash implored fans to visit tnawrestling.com to book a card of BFG Series matches that will appear on Impact.
5 – A.J. STYLES vs. JEFF HARDY – BOUND FOR GLORY SERIES MATCH
The bell rang to start the match at 10:33 EST. Hardy elbowed Styles down, then sent him face-first into the turnbuckle. Back kick by Hardy sent Styles into the corner. Hardy hit a dropkick to the chest, then they went to break at 1:31 of the match.
They were back at the 5:33 mark of the contest. All throughout the show when plugging this match, the announcers have talked about this being a “BFG series dream match.” Styles was in control and had slowed the match down. Hardy hit the ropes to grab momentum, but Styles took him and flung him out of the ring under the bottom rope. Rear chin-lock applied by Styles once Hardy came back into the ring. Tenay said he misses the old A.J. Styles. Hardy went for a powerbomb on Styles but instead just rotated Styles all the way over his head. With both men back on their feet, Hardy’s explosive offense won out. Styles stopped Hardy with a dropkick. Corner splash missed and Hardy slammed Styles. Second-rope splash by Hardy for two at 10:28. A.J. suplexed Hardy right into the corner, with Hardy nearly landing on his head. Whisper in the Wind by Hardy for two. Twist of Fate was no good, and Styles hit the Pele kick. Many of the fans were firmly behind Styles, strangely enough. Styles rolled through into his Calf Killer submission. Hardy tapped, earning Styles 10 points.
WINNER: Styles, at 12:55. A.J.’s offense still takes some getting used to when we’re so familiar with his high-flying matches. It was still a solid match, though.
After the match, some in the crowd chanted “you tapped out” at Hardy. Hardy offered a hand to Styles, but Styles simply walked right past him.
– Hogan was approached again by the cameraman. He said he and Dixie are on the same page. He doesn’t want to do “this,” but it has to be done. Hogan’s decision regarding the TNA title is next.
– Bully Ray came to the ring first during the final segment. His lawyer was not with him. Ray said he had been wronged and suffered a major injustice. He was offended that everyone can sit back and praise Sabin. He was wearing a bandage over his right eye, the result of the hammer attack in last week’s match. Ray said Sabin has no choice – he’ll sue Sabin and everyone in the company. He said he’d right the wrong that was bestowed upon him. He asked Sabin to come down, take the World Title, and hand it over to him. Sabin then came out.
Once Sabin entered the ring, Ray said he wouldn’t say anything negative toward him. The crowd chanted Sabin’s name. Ray said obviously Sabin is out to do the right thing. He said he’s out there because Sabin is highly intimidated by him. Great line and delivery. Sabin instead said he came out to see what a big, fat crybaby Ray has become. Sabin said his career was almost ended due to injuries, but he didn’t whine like Ray. He said the only way Ray is getting the title is if he pries it from his dead hands.
Ray said the way he’ll get the title back is by suing him. Ray asked Sabin how he can look at himself in the mirror. I know we’re supposed to hate Ray for being all high-and-mighty about the hammer thing when he has used it to win himself, but why is no one calling him out on that fact? Hulk Hogan’s music interrupted and he walked out holding a piece of paper. He didn’t come to the ring, but said he’d been going back-and-forth with his lawyers. He said he has a counter for Ray, but it comes with no negotiations. He ripped up the piece of paper and said he can do that because he’s the law around Impact Wrestling. Hogan said Chris Sabin is the champion and he’ll remain the champion.
Hogan did say that Ray has a rematch clause, and he knows Ray doesn’t want interference from the Main Event Mafia. On August 15, Ray will get his rematch. Hogan said there will be justice on that day. Sid Justice? Oh no, it’s only Hardcore Justice. Hogan said Aces & Eights won’t be involved, and neither will Main Event Mafia. Hogan said the TNA Title will be defended inside a steel cage. The announcers briefly reacted to that announcement before the show went off the air.
Greg Parks has been covering WWE Smackdown for PWTorch.com since January of 2007. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks for live Tweeting during Raw, Impact, and PPVs, as well as other bits of wisdom. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOW CHECK OUT THIS RECENT FLASHBACK: 5 YRS AGO – TNA IMPACT TV REPORT (7-18-13): Hulk Hogan, Bully Ray, Kurt Angle, Sting, Magnus, Samoa Joe, Roode, Sabin, Aries, Homicide