AJ Styles forces Kazarian to tap out to the Calf Killer.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Hulk Hogan Interrupted Austin Aries
Aries did a good job of establishing himself as a tweener with his promo. Hogan and Chris Sabin also played their roles well here. Hogan set up the main event match for later in the night while Sabin made it clear just how important the X-Division title was to him. It's nice to see the Suicide character renamed to Manik, but why is TJ Wilson still under the mask despite having his identity revealed last week? He didn't receive much of a reaction when he was introduced.
AJ Styles def. Kazarian in a Bound For Glory Series Match to Earn 10 Points
These two have always worked well together, so I was disappointed to see the match shortened to only four minutes. Nonetheless, they put forth a nice effort and made the most out of the time they were given. As entertaining as Bad Influence is, I would have rather seen Kazarian wrestle in his regular attire, making the match feel a bit more important. Styles' new submission maneuver will do him quite a bit of justice in the BFG Series.
Knockouts Champion Mickie James Discussed Taryn Terrell vs. Gail Kim Next Week
James has been on fire since turning heel a few weeks ago. She seems much more motivated and it shows in her promos and matches. She cut an effective promo here building towards the Ladder match between Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim next week. I was already looking forward to that match and James made me even more excited for it.
Hernandez def. Jay Bradley in a Bound For Glory Series Match to Earn 7 Points
I'm not a fan of either competitor in the squared circle, so I couldn't care less who won. The in-ring action was sloppy and they did not mesh well together at all. Thankfully, the match was over within mere minutes and it seemingly teased tension between Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez. Their team has been over for awhile now, but I hope their friendship comes to an end at some point so they can feud going into Bound For Glory.
World Tag Team Champions James Storm and Gunner def. Robbie E and Jesse (Non-title)
This was a much better match than I originally expected. No, it wasn't a five-star classic or anything, but it featured fun action and helped establish both newly formed tandems. Although their mic skills are horrendous, Robbie and Jesse as a team make sense and Storm and Gunner showed good chemistry here. I'm not sure if the feud between the two teams will continue beyond this point, but I wouldn't mind it if we get more matches and less promos.
Magnus was Revealed to be the Newest Member of the Main Event Mafia
Sting, Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe as the first few members of the Main Event Mafia were logical since they were all in the original incarnation, but they were forced to add fresh faces with Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash and Booker T no longer in the company. Magnus was a fantastic choice. He has history with Joe and he was incredibly impressive on the mic here. I wanted the Main Event Mafia to showcase new talent and they are certainly doing that by adding Magnus into the stable.
Jeff Hardy def. Joesph Park by Disqualification in a Bound For Glory Series Match to Earn 3 Points
I knew this wasn't going to be much of a match going into it, so I didn't have high hopes. However, they managed to have an enjoyable contest together. Park nearly scored the upset victory at certain points and having his Abyss transformation cause the disqualification finish was a nice way of protecting him. Speaking of Abyss, why is hardly ever on television these days despite being the Television Champion and returning a few months ago?
Ryan Howe Failed to Earn a TNA Contract in Gut Check
I realize the Big O is not a great in-ring competitor, but he was a hell of a lot more entertaining than Howe. Howe was practically doomed once Big O was eliminated, since he was the obvious fan favorite. Howe was a reject from WWE Tough Enough who showed no potential there, so why would I want to see him compete in TNA? I'm beyond glad he was denied a contract. Gut Check is a glorified joke anyways and the whole concept should just be abolished.
Chris Sabin def. Austin Aries and Manik in a Triple Threat to Win the X-Division Championship
The match was fine at first, but it got a lot better once it transitioned from a Triple Threat to a singles match between Sabin and Aries. They had great chemistry with one another and the live crowd was extremely hot for the ending sequence. Sabin hitting his finisher off the top rope for the three count was an awesome finish and concluded one of the best X-Division matches I've seen in a long time. Aries winning the title last week was practically pointless, but it still set up this special moment with Sabin challenging Bully Ray for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in two weeks. The feud between Main Event Mafia and Aces and Eights was furthered here as well.
I expected this to be an edition that wouldn't be worth watching given the fact it aired on a holiday. However, I was ecstatic to discover that this was a way better show than I had originally expected. There plenty of noteworthy moments, solid matches, and strong segments that kept this viewer extremely entertained. This more than made up for last week's mediocre episode and I highly anticipate where TNA goes from here in coming weeks.