Brooke Tessmacher aligns with Bully Ray.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
James Storm and Gunner Interrupted The Extraordinary Gentlemen Organization
I've been liking the stable of Bobby Roode, Daniels and Kazarian thus far, and it was interesting to see them kick off the show. However, I don't understand why Storm and Gunner of all people decided to interrupt, despite the fact they aren't even a part of the Bound For Glory Series. Storm foreshadowed Roode turning on Daniels and Kaz down the line, which was nicely done, but the tie-in to the match was strange and it felt like the bout should have been held later in the night.
Bobby Roode and Kazarian def. World Tag Team Champions James Storm and Gunner (Non-title)
Wasn't the whole point of splitting Beer Money all those years ago to push them as top stars in singles competition? Anyway, Storm and Roode have great chemistry in the ring together, so this was a good match. I still don't at all understand the pairing of Storm and Gunner, who haven't been regularly featured on television as of late. With this win, I hope Roode and Kaz take the titles off them at some point, for no other reason that they would make for much more entertaining champions than Storm and Gunner would.
X-Division Champion Manik def. Sonjay Dutt (Non-title)
First and foremost, I'm very happy that TNA has now abolished the Triple Threat format for the X-Division. It overstayed its welcome and simply wasn't working. That being said, it will still take some time before the X-Division matches start meaning something again. Manik does nothing for me as champion, personally. The match was fine for what it was, but I'd much rather see the belt on Sonjay Dutt, who can connect with a crowd and is much more deserving of a title run at the moment.
Joesph Park def. Daniels, Jay Bradley and Hernandez in a Street Fight to Earn 20 Points in the Bound For Glory Series
If you couldn't already tell, this match basically consisted of the leftovers from the BFG Series, aside from Daniels. Although the match wasn't all that exciting, they did a nice job of swerving the average viewer by having Bobby Roode and Kazarian come out. I thought for sure Daniels would win here, but Austin Aries turning on the faction to allow Park to pick up the victory works for me. I don't want to see Park in the final four, but I'm glad Aries is feuding with the faction and has now cemented his babyface turn.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray Severed Ties with Brooke Hogan
For those unaware, Brooke Hogan has since been released from TNA (thank god), so they had to find a way to write her out of storylines somehow. I thought this was an effective way of doing it. We haven't seen that smoking hot body of Tessmacher in quite a while, so this is a nice way of utilizing her on television. I'm not sure how she'll enhance Ray's act, but at least she's back on television in a prominent role.
Gail Kim def. ODB
I'll start off by saying that it's a shame Taryn Terrell won't be on television for the foreseeable future. She was just starting to get over with the audience, but her apparent pregnancy has since forced her to take a leave of absence from the ring. ODB is a nice consolation prize, but I'm not excited to see her contend for the Knockouts title any time soon. The crowd couldn't have cared less for this match, which might have been due to the fact that the Triple Threat Hardcore match involving these two as well as Mickie James was taped that same night. The match was decent, and it gives Kim a pleasantly surprising clean victory.
The Main Event Mafia def. Aces and Eights in a Loser Leaves TNA Match
I'm torn on AJ Styles' babyface turn on this show. On one hand, his heel persona was fantastic and was getting over quite well. On the other hand, the crowd popped big when he made his "transformation" before the main event match. I just can't but think, though, that it was too soon Styles to revert back to being the Phenomenal One. However, I guess Styles will need to be a full-fledged babyface if the plan is for him to win the BFG Series and contend for the TNA title against Bully Ray. The five-on-five tag team match was solid, but pretty much what you would expect it to be. Devon getting pinned comes as a surprise, as he was a key member in the faction dating back to last October. With Tito Ortiz and Mr. Anderson taking his spot, I guess Devon was no longer necessary.
This continuation of Hardcore Justice was a mixed bag for sure. None of the matches were worth watching in the sense that the action just wasn't as entertaining as it was last week. However, the babyface turns of Austin Aries and AJ Styles made for cool moments and were the highlights of this show. I'm not sure what to think of TNA's current direction, but I hope they can get it together as Bound For Glory quickly approaches.