By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sting Interrupted Dixie Carter
I will give credit where credit is due by saying Carter has certainly improved as a heel over the last two weeks, but her promo here could have been better. She talked too fast and she didn't allow any of the information to digest enough before moving on. Sting's involvement in this storyline is questionable, as I have no desire of seeing another power struggle in TNA (especially if it means a Hulk Hogan return). However, kudos to Carter for garnering an immense amount of heat in the opening segment. By the way, I would rather not hear Carter slam (let alone reference) the McMahons in her promos. TNA has been doing it for years and it makes them come off as bush league.
Austin Aries def. Jeff Hardy
As expected, this was an excellent match filled with extremely exciting action and great intensity from both men. These two are simply incapable of having a bad a match together, and this bout was pure proof of that. It would have been nice of the commentators to make reference to the fact that this was the main event of Bound For Glory last year to make it feel more important. Nonetheless, it served as a nice preview of what is come in Ultimate X at the pending pay-per-view. I am happy to see Samoa Joe added to the match, but not only did Kenny King get overlooked again, but throwing Joe in there is rather random and gives the impression that Creative has nothing better for him to do at the event, sadly.
Knockouts Champion ODB def. Jesse by Disqualification (Non-title)
Are Bro-Mans still feuding with that joke of a tag team Eric Young and Joseph Park? You have got to be kidding me. Anyway, the match itself was actually better than expected and proved that ODB is more than capable of hanging with the male talent. Lei'd Tapa interfering was a nice touch and established her want of the Knockouts title. I was also glad to see Tapa not look so animated in her ambush of ODB like she did last week when she was attacking Velvet Sky.
Bad Influence Inducted Bobby Roode Into the EGO Hall of Fame; Kurt Angle Returned
Plain and simple, I love EGO. They are a highly enjoyable trio and their segment on this show was an absolute riot. The best part of the entire thing was the video package for Roode, which was equally entertaining. Roode set up his upcoming match with Angle nicely, and Angle's return came off as big of a deal as it should. Angle looked to be in great shape and I hope has fully recovered after attending rehab. I wasn't a fan of the build for Angle vs. Roode two years at BFG, but the role reversal this time around definitely makes for an intriguing twist.
Brooke def. Velvet Sky to Qualify for the Knockouts Championship Match at Bound For Glory
Sky and Brooke are two of the greenest workers in the division (could you even call it a division by this point?), so this match was basically what one would expect it to be. Thankfully, it was kept brief and Chris Sabin played his role at ringside well. Teasing tension between Sabin and Sky is a good foreshadowing tool, but they haven't been establish enough on television to break them up yet. I have no desire to see Brooke compete for the Knockouts title at BFG, but I guess it adds more gold to Aces and Eights if she wins. By the way, how in the hell did Gail Kim earn a title shot?
Sting and Magnus def. Bad Influence
I liked the idea of the match between Sting and Magnus at BFG being on the line in this contest, as it made it feel more meaningful. The teasing of tension between the two Main Event Mafia throughout the bout as well as toward the end was only logical as their high profile encounter nears. The action was solid, but I surely hope the plan isn't to turn Magnus heel, as I strongly believe that would be a colossal mistake right now. As for Bad Influence, they could benefit from a tag team title run, so here's hoping they win the gauntlet match on the BFG pre-show.
AJ Styles def. Garrett Bischoff and Knux in a Handicap Match
This match definitely should have received more time to make Bischoff and Knux seem more like a threat, but the bout was fine for what it was. Styles picking up the win made sense from a storyline standpoint, but having Bully Ray viciously attack him after the contest was smart booking. Ray should gain most of the momentum going into the bout in order to establish Styles as the ultimate underdog.
With Bound For Glory a little over a week away, it was crucial for TNA to make the event as must-see as possible. I can't say they succeeded in doing that just yet, but I do give them credit for putting forth a strong effort in building the card for the show. The card on paper looks great and I am anticipating an enjoyable event if booked correctly. Most of the matches for the pay-per-view were hyped nicely on this show, but one can only hope next week's go-home show will be even better.