By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Kazarian def. Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles and Austin Aries in a Ladder Match to Earn 20 Points in the Bound For Glory Series
An absolutely awesome Ladder match that made for an electric opener. The action was intense and exciting throughout and everyone involved managed to hit their signature spots. They were a few scary spots (see: Aries powerbombing Hardy off the ladder), but that was to be expected coming from a group of extreme individuals. Bobby Roode and Christopher Daniels helping Kazarian pick up the win made the most sense and it's nice to see Kazarian with some points in the BFGS after being an afterthought for most of it.
Aces and Eights Confronted Main Event Mafia
First and foremost, props to Dixie Carter for handling the Kurt Angle situation in the most professional way possible. I'm glad they told the truth here instead of concurring some sort of storyline explaining his absence. It also made for a nice hook throughout the show as to who would be replacing Angle on Team Main Event Mafia. Magnus cut a decent promo and the subsequent brawl helped hype the huge matchup for next week. Aces and Eights getting the better of Main Event Mafia was smart booking, as they in desperate need of heat at the moment and enhances the fact that they have strength in numbers.
ODB def. Gail Kim and Knockouts Champion Mickie James in a Triple Threat Hardcore Match (Non-title)
This was originally supposed to be a tag team match involving Velvet Sky, so I was a bit confused when this bout was announced instead mere minutes before it took place. Anyway, the action was enjoyable and was one of the better Knockouts matches in recent months. It was given a substantial amount of time and they made the most out of the hardcore stipulation. I'm sure if ODB's win grants her a shot at the Knockouts title, but at least it furthers her feud with Kim.
Rampage Jackson Called Out Tito Ortiz
I was pleasantly surprised by just how good Jackson actually is on the mic. Sure, his promo wasn't phenomenal, but he seemed comfortable talking in front of a large audience. Ortiz's promo was short and sweet and Jackson gave good reasoning as to why they should join forces. This was obviously done to promote their fight (more on that later), but it's understandable from a business standpoint.
Bobby Roode def. Magnus, Samoa Joe and Mr. Anderson in a Tables Match to Earn 20 Points in the Bound For Glory Series
While it wasn't as great as the Ladder match from earlier in the evening, this was still an entertaining Tables match that featured plenty of cool spots. I'm not usually a fan of Tables matches, but they managed to engage this viewer in all the action with many suspenseful spots and close calls. After Kazarian won with interference in the opening bout, it was only logical for the same to be done with Roode. I'm not looking forward to all this interference in future BFGS matches, but at least it was done to put over TNA's latest stable.
Bully Ray def. Chris Sabin in a Steel Cage Match to Win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
The early part of the match was actually better than their initial encounter and was very solid. Despite being a Steel Cage match, the average viewer had to know there was going to be interference at one point or another. With that in mind, I wasn't at all surprised by the ref bump or Mr. Anderson's interference, as I didn't have much faith in TNA Creative pulling off a clean finish. Tito Ortiz turning on Rampage Jackson and joining Aces and Eights was pretty predicable, but with their fight looming, it makes sense to put the two in opposing factions. I'm happy Ray won back the TNA title, as he's the best choice right now and should be champion going into Bound For Glory. As for Sabin, I hope they find something for him to do going into the event and hope maintains his position at the top of the card.
These free events (Destination X, Hardcore Justice, etc.) that TNA does on a monthly basis are way better than the meaningless One Night Only pay-per-views they produce. This was probably the best edition of Impact since Destination X and was quite noteworthy for Ortiz turning and Ray winning back the belt. The creative direction of the company seems to be better than it was a few weeks ago, so here's hoping they can keep up the good work in coming months.