“Has a TNA Original finally turned his back on the company and the fans? The Aces and Eights have announced that on Thursday’s IMPACT from Tampa, they will hold a “Patching In” ceremony to officially welcome AJ Styles to the group!”
Best Case Scenario: A.J. goes along with the ceremony just long enough that the first drop of excitement pee begins to moisten the collective pants of Aces & Eights. Then, suddenly, he beats all of them down and they’re left with drawers containing full-fledged fear pee.
Worst Case Scenario: A.J. joins, shakes everybody’s hand, and is a permanent member of Aces & Eights. He spits on the American flag and pledges allegiance to Aces & Eights, Jane Fonda, and Adnan Al-Kaissie.
Dave says: I thought the build toward this segment was the strongest part of last week’s edition of Impact. The question is, does TNA?
“How will TNA General Manager Hulk Hogan react to the news that AJ is joining the Aces? Hogan will be on IMPACT in Tampa to address the situation!”
Best Case Scenario: Hulk gives a short preamble to A.J.’s decision, asks him “whatcha gonna do?” and gets out of the way of the people who can, you know, wrestle.
Worst Case Scenario: Hulk makes the whole angle about himself. He gives phony bologna rah-rah speech number 56,732. He will talk about “being on the same page,” “going to the dark side,” and if we’re lucky, he’ll treat us to a discussion of how he tried to take A.J. Styles to “a whole ‘nother level” by pairing him with Ric Flair.
Dave says: Of course Hulk’s girthy fingers need to be firmly placed in every pie, and this angle is no exception. Knowing he will be a big part of these segments somewhat dulls my excitement.
“In a huge match Kurt Angle will take on Mr. Anderson from Aces and 8s renewing their rivalry.”
Best Case Scenario: They have a solid match, which they’re both wholly capable of having. Angle looks like a driven, pure babyface and Anderson looks like a slimy, short-cut taking heel who can’t match Angle’s wrestling skill. Angle wins clean with his ankle lock.
Worst Case Scenario: They have a 4-minute TV special in which we see their signature moves which minimal storytelling between. The match ends with either (1) Angle getting hit in the head with a hammer or (2) Bischoff and Brisco jumping Angle for the 20th time.
Dave says: Three and a half years ago when Anderson arrived in TNA, this was one of the match ups you were hoping to see – Anderson in a star-making vehicle against the great Kurt Angle. Regrettably, both men’s stars have fallen, not risen, since that point.
“The final countdown is on to Sting vs. Bully Ray for the World Heavyweight Championship at Slammiversary! Both champion and challenger will be in attendance on Thursday’s IMPACT – will Bully Ray and The Aces attempt to eliminate Sting before their title match?”
Best Case Scenario: Ray repeats a pattern he’s shown in the last few weeks and tells the gang that Sting is his and his only. The Aces & Eights lackeys are disappointed they can’t “help the boss” by softening Sting, but follow his orders. (Seriously, if Bully Ray is going to stay a main event wrestler after this title run, he needs to stand on his own in his title feuds – otherwise he’s just Right to Censor Stevie Richards [Sorry, Mr. Manna. You seem very nice.])
Worst Case Scenario: Sting either (1) takes a beatdown from the entire gang or (2) fights off the whole gang. Seriously, these things are equally awful.
Dave says: Given that Ray and Sting signed a legally binding contract last week, it wouldn’t seem very sporting for Ray to allow his friends to jump Sting. Oh, wait. This is post-Vince Russo pro wrestling.
“James Storm announced last week on IMPACT that he will be in the Tag Team Title Match at Slammiversary. Who will “The Cowboy” select to be his partner? Find out this Thursday on Impact!”
Best Case Scenario: Storm announces Magnus as his partner. Magnus has an as-of-now unadvertised singles match in which he goes over very strong, so strong that he looks like a threat to carry the hobbled Storm at Slammiversary.
Worst Case Scenario: Three words: Wildcat. Chris. Harris.
Dave says: This is an interesting situation (and not in the good way) because of Storm’s heavily publicized injury at the Tupelo tapings. It remains to be seen whether Storm will opt out of the match, pick a partner who will do all the lifting while he stands on the apron, or opt out of the match and pick a team to take his place.
“The TNA Knockouts championship will be on the line on Thursday’s huge broadcast as Velvet Sky will defend the gold against her friend (and former titleholder) Mickie James!”
Best Case Scenario: Sky wins by the skin of her teeth in a match where it looks like Mickie should win by a landslide. Mickie shows her frustration and beats down Velvet after the match, setting up a full-fledged heel-face title match for Slammiversary.
Worst Case Scenario: Gail, Taryn, Sensational Sherri, or the Spider Lady gets involved. Velvet the “female John Cena” act that she pulls off when she looks too strong. Mickie is fine with losing.
Dave says: I don’t think the title changes hands on tonight’s Impact, but I do think they eventually go with Mickie as champion. Working in a heel role, she could really freshen up the division, which has been dominated by Velvet and Gail Kim. Kim’s a top heel, but has been overexposed in recent months by working on TV seemingly every week putting over Sky and Taryn.
“The GutCheck Tournament continues on Thursday for a spot in the upcoming “Bound For Glory Series”, as Sam Shaw battles Alex Silva”
Best Case Scenario: The match happens. Nobody gets hurt. Somebody connects with the crowd, maybe.
Worst Case Scenario: The crowd is as disinterested in this match as I am the prospect of this match. They try to make up for their lack of name value by doing big spots which mean nothing because nobody knows who they are.
Dave says: I watch Impact every week, and I’ll admit to barely remembering these two. I think one of them has a pseudo-MMA gimmick and the other has Cody Rhodes low kneepads. I think.
“The mysterious masked X-Division superstar SUICIDE makes his return IMPACT WRESTLING on Thursday as well!”
Best Case Scenario: Suicide returns in a one-on-one match against, let’s say, Robbie E. Suicide wins a quick “welcome back” squash in which he gets over his signature offense and looks strong.
Worst Case Scenario: Whoever plays Suicide blows all his signature spots (probability rate: 80%). Suicide wins an X Division qualifier and asserts himself into the title match with Kenny King and Chris Sabin at Slammiversary.
Dave says: I’m not sure if the braintrust at TNA actually thinks Suicide was an extremely over character, or if some individual wrestler or “creative team member” has just been pushing hard for him to return. Either way, this isn’t happening because the fans have been clamoring for it. The intriguing question, which surely won’t be acknowledged on TV is who will be under the mask this time, as Daniels, Kaz, and Kiyoshi have already had runs as the masked man.