Tonight is the "Turning Point" themed iMPACT. Ken Anderson challenges Bully Ray, with his career on the line. But if Anderson wins, Aces and Eights is done for good and must disband. Who will come out on top? Also, we get more matches in the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Who will advance?
Show Open, Live in Orlando, FL
We get a cold open with Tenay and Taz setting up a video package of Bobby Roode attacking James Storm in a bar last evening. They move on into the show opening, hyping the TNA Championship tournament matches, the Wheel of Dixie, and the Anderson vs. Bully Ray match. This show has a Turning Point theme.
Dixie walks up to Samoa Joe and tells him that she rewatched the segment from last week. She says she was great but he was horrible and if he addresses her again like he did last week he will be working in foreign countries wrestling for pesos. She also tells him if he does win the title, he won't be facing AJ Styles because he will never be back in TNA. She says the people want to see her first, so she leaves to make her ring entrance.
Dixie comes out and we get our first look of the new studio. Small, but decent. She gets a mic and thanks Sports Illustrated for the article they did on her. She addresses AJ Styles, saying he is working around the world for no money. She feels disdain for him because he took her intellectual property and she has lawyers all over the world working to prevent any company from making Yen off of her again.
James Storm comes out and has a bullrope in hand. Storm says he knows Dixie knows what happened to him last night. Dixie simply says "And?" Storm holds the rope up and says the wheel picked a bullrope match but he wants more. He says he wants chairs, tables, barbed wire, and "that woman's dentures and that man's false leg." He wants a Florida Death Match.
Dixie says no and Storm says he refused to press charges last night. He says if he doesn't get the match, he will call the police back, press charges, and there won't be a match. She tells him to not take that tone with her. Storm calms down and politely reiterates his request, and Dixie gives him the match since he asked nicely. Storm drops the mic and leaves.
Tenay and Taz give us hype for Joseph Park vs. Abyss and Anderson vs. Bully Ray in a "club vs. career" match.
A good opening. Dixie was pretty missable, but Storm had good energy to cover up for that. A note on the set - this is the first show in the new iMPACT Zone in Orlando (if that's what they're calling it). It is smaller for sure, but it looks good. It feels like an arena rather than a studio.
Match #1 - Samoa Joe vs. Magnus; TNA World Heavyweight Championship Tournament, Falls Count Anywhere
Magnus comes out, and Joe is introduced but he doesn't come out. He appears on the screen and says he came to fight, and invites Magnus to the back. Magnus leaves and heads to the back, and the bell rings as we go to break.
Backstage, Joe beats up Magnus and they show us what happened during the break. The men fight their way back to the stage and Magnus takes control. They battle to the ring and trade blows getting in the ring.
They trade powerslams, with Magnus getting the second one in and following with a snap suplex. Taz puts Magnus over big as he hits the top rope elbow. He tries a cloverleaf submission but Joe kicks him away. Magnus rolls to the floor, and Joe hits a rough looking dive.
Joe mouths off at the camera and Magnus drives him to the apron. Magnus grabs a chair and puts it between the ropes, but Joe grabs him and locks on the rear naked choke. Magnus slams into the apron again and staggers over to the corner, chair in hand. Joe charges and Magnus sidesteps it. Joe takes an ugly chair bump and falls down, and Magnus pins him.
A very mediocre hardcore brawl with a bad finish spot. If they're so high on Magnus, why did they not have him go over clean here?
We get a shot of Joseph Park talking himself up before his match with Abyss.
Bad Influence comes out in street clothes. Kaz puts them over and says they're going to watch Abyss vs. Joe Park from ringside. They leave the ring and Park comes out. Park tells Bad Influence to shut up and sit down. Park says he has been looking for his brother for 18 months now and tonight he will face him in the ring. Park says he will prove he isn't a loser, even if that means he has to get beaten by his brother.
Christy Hemme introduces Abyss twice but no one comes out. Bad Influence gets back in the ring and Kaz tells Park to do a truffle shuffle to entertain people. Daniels says that Park's story should be uplifting but it wasn't because he isn't a man and he's a bag of mayonaise with a law degree. Daniels keeps up the insults and begs Park to do something.
Daniels says he knows what Park needs and that's blood. Kaz dumps a bucket of fake blood on Park and he stands there. Daniels says that nothing will happen because Park is a loser. He keeps berating him until Park sulks his way to the back. Daniels keeps hurling insults as Park leaves.
Dear lord, what did that accomplish? That had to be the most confusing thing I ever saw. Let's see if this story goes anywhere else tonight.
Match #2 - Gail Kim (w/Lei'D Tapa) vs. Candice LeRae
Gail Kim comes out with Lei'D Tapa. Kim calls out her challenger for the night in LeRae. LeRae gets some offense in, but Kim hits Eat D'Feet for the win.
This is getting boring. I hope they get to the point of this, or the big reveal of someone they signed or brought back. Those of you who don't know, LeRae has worked in Chikara and PWG, and has managed the former NXT talent Chris Hero.
Storm is shown getting weapons for his match.
The "Friends of AJ" show a commercial of AJ working matches in Japan.
JB interviews Mr. Anderson. He says Bully tried to take away his family and his life, but tonight he will take away from Bully. He says tonight he will end Aces and Eights and storms off.
Simple and to the point promo from Anderson. Well done.
Elsewhere, Gunner checks on Storm and asks if he's alright. He says Storm didn't need the weapons to beat Roode's ass. Storm agrees, and says he wants to use the weapons for what Storm did to him. He thanks Gunner for being the partner Roode never was. Gunner tells him he has his back tonight and every night. They shake hands and Storm gets ready to make his entrance.
I smell a rat with Gunner. Just let Storm beat on Roode - no gimmick finish.
We get a video package to recap Storm's history with Roode.
Match #3 - James Storm vs. Bobby Roode; TNA World Heavyweight Championship tournament, Florida Death Match rules
Roode's music hits, but Storm gives him no chance to make the entrance. He attacks Roode with a kendo stick on the stage. Storm beats him with it a few more times, then Roode shoves Storm to the post. Storm's bleeding already. They get in the weapon-filled ring and continue the beating.
Storm puts a trash can between Roode's legs and hits it and Roode sells it like he got his nuts shot off. The official starts a ten count, so is this a last man standing match? Storm throws a trash can at Roode and it barely clips him. They rinse and repeat the spot and Storm gets a near fall.
Storm teases Eye of the Storm onto a trash can, but Roode escapes and hits a spinebuster instead. They each hit each other with trash can lids and sell. Roode gets to his feet and tries to beat Storm with a crutch but Storm hits Last Call in a nice spot. Roode rolls to the floor and pulls out a beer bottle and hits Storm with it when he comes over.
Storm gets to his feet and Roode hits an AA looking move on chairs for another nine count. Roode hits him with a crutch and yells at Storm to stay down. He pulls out a board laced in barbed wire and picks Storm up. Gunner runs out and throws in a towel to stop Roode from hitting the move.
What the hell kind of finish was that. The match was its own typical hardcore brawl and was very entertaining, but clearly they're looking to go to a Storm/Gunner feud. This was a weak way to get there. Just bad.
Storm yells at Gunner then shoves him away and went to the floor. Gunner tries to plead his case but Storm wants none of it. Gunner tells Storm he was trying to stop Roode from ending his career. Storm stomps off.
We get a video package of Christy Hemme interviewing Sam Shaw, who wants to be called Samuel. He shows her artwork in a sketchpad, then asks Hemme out to dinner. She jots her number on a pad and leaves. Shaw looks a tad irritated and puts the pen and notepad back in their original spots.
Looks like an OCD gimmick. That'll put asses in seats!
EC3 walks in to the locker room and visits Furnum and Barnes. He tells them that he flew in just to tell them they suck and his legacy continues tonight.
JB starts an interview with Bully Ray, but Knux runs him off and Brooke conducts the interview instead. Ray says he has never met someone more ungrateful than Anderson. He says TNA left him high and dry but he brought Anderson back, but tonight Ray will be the guy to take him out for good. He tells Anderson to not worry because he will take care of his pregnant wife.
Simple, yet effective. There is so much of this that is missing in wrestling right now.
Kurt Angle starts to cut a promo on facing Magnus. Someone enters the frame and tells Kurt that Dixie wants to see him immediately.
Match #4 - Ethan Carter III vs. Shark Boy
EC3 comes out and says he is facing a returning legend tonight. Oh Shell Yeah! It's Shark Boy, and he gets a big reaction.
Shark Boy gets some quick offense in, but Carter hits his 1 Percenter finisher to get the win.
I guess it's better than another re-run of Furnum and Barnes....
We get a video recap of the Anderson vs. Ray feud.
Angle and Roode start arguing as Dixie walks up. She says that next week, there will be an eight-man elimination tag match, and Roode and Angle will each be captaining teams.
Elimination match on Thanksgiving...hmm, where have I heard about that before in wrestling....?
Time for the main event, and Anderson and Ray make their entrances. JB starts to do the introductions, but the iMPACT theme plays and talents from the back come out to watch. JB does the introductions, but Anderson isn't waiting to get this started and he attacks Ray.
Match #5 - Bully Ray (w/Brooke) vs. Ken Anderson; No-Disqualification match, if Ray loses Aces and Eights disbands, if Anderson loses his career is over.
Anderson hits a pair of low bows and does his own intro. Ray rolls out to escape and tries to use Brooke as a shield. He is able to attack Anderson. He grabs a table and throws it in the ring.
He sets the table up in the corner and Ray continues the beating. Ray rips off Anderson's shirt and chops him. Ray mouths off at Anderson, and Anderson slaps the crap out of him. Ray hits a corner splash then whips him with the chain. He then wraps the chain around his elbow and tries an elbow drop but Anderson moves. Anderson grabs the chain and whips him with it, then tries a punch but Ray hits a Rock Bottom.
Anderson rolls out. Ray pulls up the ring padding and tries a piledriver, but Anderson counters with a backdrop. Anderson tries a piledriver but Knux makes the save. No one came out to stop Knux...huh? Anderson throws him into the stairs then hits a piledriver on the floor on Knux. He yanks Knux's cut off and celebrates, giving Ray a chance to attack.
They roll in the ring and Anderson hits another low blow. He hits the Finlay Roll on the chain, then cues the Mic Check. Ray escapes and throws Anderson into the table for a near fall. Brooke gets the hammer from Taz and goes to throw it into the ring. She overshoots it though, and Anderson intercepts. He hits Ray with the hammer, then follows with the Mic Check to get the win. Aces and Eights is done.
Afterward, Anderson yanks off Ray's cut, then has the guys collect Taz's cut as well. He holds both of them in the ring to close the show. They run a video to hype up next week's show and the elimination tag match as well as Anderson's funeral for Aces and Eights.
The ending of this match was predictable, but it was well done. I can't believe we got no referee bump here! That's a TNA tradition they went away from!
This was the right finish also. Aces had a good run that got sluggish at times and did start to overstay its welcome. I don't think they had any major damage from that fact to any one character though so it shouldn't be hard to move forward. Besides, Ray cuts one promo and gets his heat back, gang or not. There are better ways to have gotten here, but this was fine.
I gotta tell you - iMPACT was a better show than anything on WWE this week, even the past few weeks. I think the new space is well designed, and they certainly don't look as bad in the new studio as they did in the old iMPACT Zone. This show was far from perfect, but TNA has some good momentum rolling. Let's hope this continues.
With next Thursday being Thanksgiving, look for a post-show report either late Thursday night or early Friday morning. We won't be covering the show live with the holiday. But look for that report coming out on next week's show right here on Ring-Rap.com.