By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Intriguing opening segment featuring Sting, Kurt Angle and AJ Styles. Most people assumed Styles would be the third man in the six-man tag team match, so it was nice to see Sting and Angle make the offer only for Styles to refuse. Styles continues to be one of the best booked acts in TNA at the moment, so I'm glad he has yet to pick a side. His brawl with Angle leads me to believe that those two might be feuding with one another going forward. Although their matches are always excellent, it's hard to get excited about a feud we've seen countless times before.
Nice tag team match with Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky and Mickie James defeating Gail Kim and Tara. The action was fine for what it was, but it definitely could have gone longer than three minutes given the star power involved. I was expecting tension to be teased between Sky and James at some point in the bout, but it ended being between Tara and Kim instead. However, I'm not complaining, Kim's attack on Tara was well done and a logical way of writing her off television if she is indeed taking time off for the foreseeable future.
Decent match with Magnus defeating D.O.C. It was given much time, but it served its purpose in furthering the D'Lo Brown story-line. Brown has always felt like an awkward addition in Aces and Eights, so I wouldn't mind if he was eventually removed from the group. It's also nice to see Magnus score a victory here, despite the fact it was overshadowed by the drama surrounding Brown.
Entertaining number one contender's tag team match with Bad Influence taking on the tandem of Bobby Roode and Austin Aries with James Storm serving as the special guest referee. The match started off with the exchanging of the heel tactics, but the action was fun to watch down the stretch. Storm ruling the bout a no contest made sense, but it could also be seen coming from a mile away. I'm interested to see how Storm fits into all of this, but it's a shame that there's so few tag teams to contend for the straps.
Good segment featuring X-Division Champion Kenny King and Chris Sabin. King played his role as the cocky heel well, while Sabin made for a sympathetic babyface. This is the most invested I've been in an X-Division feud in a great while, so I was glad to see them devote some time to these two and their rivalry. The Triple Threat gimmick still needs some tweaking, but I look forward to Sabin contending for the title on next week's show.
Solid match with Sting, Kurt Angle and the returning Abyss defeating TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray, Television Champion Devon and Mr. Anderson. The in-ring action was mediocre at best, but they did a nice job of building suspense for who the mystery third person would be. I, for one, am excited to see Abyss return, as he hasn't been seen on TNA television in over a year and now feels fresh. I don't know how he'll fit into this story-line with Aces and Eights, but I highly anticipate where they go from here.
Overall, a great show that wasn't high on in-ring action, but it certainly delivered in terms of sheer entertainment and logical booking decisions. For the first time in recent memory, I'm satisfied with the direction TNA is taking and find myself looking forward to Slammiversary. The live aspect of the show played a major factor in that, so here's hoping they can continue the strong momentum in coming weeks.