By Graham "GSM" Matthews
BroMans def. Eric Young & Joesph Park, Bad Influence, and Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez in a Gauntlet Match to Become the No. 1 Contenders to the World Tag Team Championships
I have seen enough Gauntlet matches in the recent months to say me for the next decade, so I can't say I was all that excited for this match going in. However, the four teams managed to piece together a good match. Weren't Chavo and Hernandez feuding with James Storm and Gunner a month ago? I am glad they didn't win here, but it was odd for that to even happen to begin with. Bad Influence should have won in my opinion, but at least we ended up getting them later on in the show. Young and Park were protected (why?) via the attack from Bad Influence and BroMans picked up the "shocking" win. The pre-show was well done, but I can't imagine it sold many pay-per-view buys.
Chris Sabin def. Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, Manik and Austin Aries in an Ultimate X Match to Win the X-Division Championship
There were several cool spots from various competitors, but this match definitely didn't live up to my high expectations (which would be a common theme throughout the show). I was initially angered this match was kicking off the show given the fact four out of five of the combatants were former world champions, but the flat finish made me reconsider. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact Sabin captured the title and is the new champion, but seriously, none of the four other wrestlers could have stopped Sabin from reaching the belt? At least Sabin winning back the gold puts Aries in chase mode and allows them to feud.
Abyss Returned to Save Eric Young From Bad Influence
As previously mentioned, it was good to see Bad Influence make an appearance on the show despite losing the No. 1 contender's tag team match on the pre-show. Young interrupting them made sense given the fact he was the one who eliminated them from the bout, and Abyss making his return was a pleasant surprise. I figured they would finally reveal that Abyss is actually Joesph Park on this show, but it wasn't meant to be. Even still, Abyss is fun in small doses and bonus points are awarded to this segment for the return of his old entrance music.
BroMans def. James Storm and Gunner to Win the World Tag Team Championships
The match was decent early on and wasn't any different than any of their past bouts, but they definitely picked up the pace down the stretch and the crowd was into the action. Honestly, I didn't think Robbie E and Jesse were capable of putting on a match of this caliber, but they proved me on this show. I would have rather seen Bad Influence as tag team champs instead, but anything is better than Storm and Gunner at this point. I enjoy Storm, but he doesn't belong in the tag division and his pairing with Gunner is random. By the way, what was the point of Mr. Olympia being in the corner of BroMans if he didn't do anything at all to affect the outcome?
Kurt Angle Declined Entry Into the TNA Hall of Fame
I understand Angle has been through tough times this past year, but to see him decline entry into TNA's Hall of Fame was shocking. I thought Sting would say something to change his mind, but apparently not. The crowd was left puzzled and confused and didn't seem to know how to react, and who can blame them? I feel bad for anyone who paid to go to Angle's "induction" the night prior. Some pay-per-view buyers might have felt ripped off if they paid to see Angle get inducted only for it not to happen. If nothing else, it was an intriguing occurrence and I am curious as to how it will play out in coming weeks.
Gail Kim def. ODB and Brooke in a Triple Threat to Win the Knockouts Championship
This match received very little build-up in the weeks preceding the event, so the fans had zero incentive to care about the bout. That being said, this match was actually exception for what it was and Brooke, who normally isn't all that great in the ring, held her own against ODB and Kim. Lei'd Tapa appearing was pretty predictable, but I didn't expect her to align with Kim. ODB won the title only a month ago, so to take the title off her that quick devalues the belt in a sense. I don't mind the pairing of Tapa and Kim, but does this mean we are in for another series of ODB vs. Kim matches?
Bobby Roode def. Kurt Angle
Personally, I wasn't a fan of the Angle vs. Roode match from 2011's Bound for Glory, as I found it to be rushed and forgettable. However, with the roles reversed two years later, this was a much better outing from these two. In fact, some would argue that it was match of the night. I was glad that Bad Influence didn't interfere (not that I was anticipating it) and it was kept a straightforward wrestling match. They had an excellent match with several suspenseful near-falls and reversals. Despite the fact it came out of nowhere, I liked the clean finish with Roode going over. No one saw it coming and it gives Roode his first victory at BFG in nearly five years. It also furthers the story that Angle is in a slump right now and can't buy a victory. The post-match angle (no pun intended) with Angle refusing medical attention indicates he won't be taking time off again, which would be odd anyway since he just recently came back.
Ethan Carter III def. Norv Fernum
I realize TNA has aired several vignettes in recent weeks for the pending debut of Ethan Carter, but he still received little to no reaction during his entrance. However, I think his "relation" to Dixie Carter will help him garner more heat over time. He was impressive in the short time he was allotted and I am happy to see the former Derrick Bateman in TNA. He has a lot of untapped potential that goes along nicely with his new nickname, look and entrance theme. This served as an effective buffer match after the hot Roode vs. Angle match.
Magnus def. Sting
I expected a much better match out of these two than what we ended up getting. I understand Sting is 54-years-old, but he has been able to have good matches in recent months, so I don't know what the problem was here. I guess he and Magnus don't have the best of chemistry, which is why I fear the continuation of this program. Magnus forcing Sting to tap out clean was a pleasant surprise, but the fans didn't seem to agree. I have stated in the past that I am not high on the idea of turning Magnus heel, but it might be in TNA's best interest if the reaction (or lack thereof) he received during and after the match was any indication. Besides, it is bound to happen anyway based on Magnus' mannerisms following his victory.
AJ Styles def. Bully Ray in a No Disqualification Match to Win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Ray entering to the lyrical version of his theme song and Styles entering to only "Evil Ways" (in order to save "Get Ready To Fly" for later) were some really nice touches and added to the big fight feel of the match. Since it was no disqualification, it was only a matter of time before Garrett Bischoff, Knux and Dixie Carter interfered, although I expected past members of the group to return based on Ray's interactions with the group backstage prior to the bout. Both competitors put forth a strong effort and excellently executed a handful of memorable spots. I liked the fact Styles won with the Spiral Tap, but I had the feeling Ray was going to kick out, so it felt a bit anticlimactic. Regardless, Styles winning back the belt for the first time in three years made for a monumental moment and an awesome visual when he celebrated with the fans. On an otherwise disappointing show, this ended the event on a high note.
Despite having four months to build toward this pay-per-view, TNA waited until the last possible second to confirm most of the card, which cost them greatly in the end. This show wasn't bad by any means, I would actually say it was good all things considered. However, this event had potential to be much better than it was, which is why I classify it as a disappointment. The four title changes made the show newsworthy and the main event and Roode vs. Angle were the matches of the night, but everything else fell flat for this viewer. I liked some booking decisions more than others, but it is hard to say how much of an impact they will have until the next edition of Impact Wrestling. Nonetheless, I am very glad that Hulk Hogan didn't end up returning to the company on this show as expected, as it would have taken away from Styles' historic title victory. Furthermore, the fact that a majority of the arena was vacant is pretty pathetic seeing how this is TNA's biggest event of the year and past installments had higher attendance from what I understand.