By Graham "GSM" Matthews
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray Addressed the Aces and Eights
Lather, rinse, repeat. Seriously, I have lost track of how many times we seen segments similar to this one in recent months. While Ray is a great promo cutter, these segments are never anymore interesting. It is good to see that an end to Aces and Eights is in sight, but it is hard to care when the only members remaining are Garrett Bischoff, Wes Brisco and Knux (what kind of name is Knux anyway?). Needless to say, this wasn't the most exciting opening to the show.
Knockouts Champion ODB, Eric Young and Joesph Park def. Gail Kim and Bro-mans
This was your basic comedic relief that was much more tolerable than last week. Thankfully, the match was kept short and sweet and wasn't a colossal waste of time. Will Park ever be revealed to be Abyss, or is TNA simply treading water with the angle at this point? I don't wish to see Kim contend for the Knockouts title yet again at Bound For Glory, but perhaps the debuting Lei'd Tapa will target ODB upon her arrival.
Austin Aries def. Kenny King
Aries' promo nicely recapped his participation in the Bound For Glory Series that led into a great promo from King. He has always been talented on the mic and in the ring, so it was nice to see him reintroduced on television in a meaningful manner. It was also logical since King explained how Aries cost him the X-Division Championship a few months back. The match was fun while it lasted, but it definitely could have gone on longer than it did. Originally, I thought these two would be feuding going into BFG, which is why I was initially angered by the fact that Aries won clean, but it looks like that this match was simply a one-off.
Hulk Hogan Addressed AJ Styles and Dixie Carter
This was yet another rambling promo by Hogan that served very little purpose. You would think TNA management would know better by know to not give him a live microphone. This was just to set up his appearance for later in the night, meaning that this segment didn't even need to happen to begin with. So, when is Hogan's TNA contract set to expire again?
X-Division Champion Manik def. Chris Sabin
Sabin didn't receive much of a heel reaction upon his entrance, but he garnered some heat from the crowd after faking the knee injury. As I said last week, I'm not in favor of turning Sabin heel right now, but if TNA is going to do it, at least they are putting an effort into it. That being said, I liked the fact Sabin used his girlfriend Velvet Sky to protect himself from Manik, so that will help him garner even more heat going forward. Manik does nothing for me as X-Division champion, but I didn't expect him to lose the belt here anyway. Based on what happened after the match, it appears that Sabin will be taking on Aries at BFG, a match I, for one, am highly anticipating.
Sting, Samoa Joe and Magnus def. Knux, Garrett Bischoff and Wes Brisco
The match itself was nothing noteworthy and consisted of decent action, but the main focus was once again on Magnus, who was attacked by EGO and taken out of the bout. I surely hope this isn't heading towards a Magnus heel turn, but rather a match with EGO at BFG. I can't stress how happy I am that this match didn't happen at BFG, as the lack of star power in Aces and Eights right now is just embarrassing. If Bischoff and Knux didn't want to kick Brisco out of the group, then why didn't they just rebel against Ray? Granted, Ray mentioned that he pays them, but that was the first time that was mentioned throughout the entire course of this storyline. Here's hoping Bischoff is kicked out as well sooner rather than later.
AJ Styles Confronted Hulk Hogan
Dixie Carter's promo this week was an improvement over last week's, but I still have zero idea what this storyline is supposed to accomplish. I am glad they are finally acknowledging the fact that Carter is not well liked by the fans and are transferring that to television, but she isn't facing Styles at BFG, so she shouldn't be feuding with him. Instead, Styles should be focused on the world title and feuding with Ray. As for Hulk Hogan, I have my fingers crossed that this is the end of the road for him in TNA. There is no better time than now to have Carter fire him from the company (in kayfabe), which would explain his legitimate departure from TNA. If nothing else, Carter's ultimatum to Hogan made for an intriguing hook for next week's show.
Although this week's show was not nearly as bad as last week's edition, TNA still has plenty of issues at the moment that they need to address, both in storyline and in kayfabe. Bound For Glory, their biggest show of the year, is mere weeks away and only one match is being advertised for the event. to make matters even worse, that match isn't even being built correctly, so why should I care about anything occurring on television right now? Some feuds seem to be in the works, but the execution of angles in TNA in recent weeks has been atrocious and they don't seem to have any direction as to where they go from here.