This week’s edition of Impact Wrestling is unique for a number of reasons. First of all, it promises to feature TNA Knockouts Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim in a main event ladder match for a shot at standout champion Mickie James. The final member of the new Main Event Mafia will also be revealed, joining Sting, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, and Magnus to oppose Aces & Eights. The majority of Impact will be dominated by the Joker’s Wild challenge — a series of tag matches between Bound For Glory Series competitors ending with a gauntlet match between the winning wrestlers for a valuable 25 BFG series points. Below is a full rundown of advertised segments:
TNA Says: Who will be the next member of the Main Event Mafia? Find out on IMPACT! Magnus joined the alliance this past week – and one slot remains! Who will join Sting, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe and Magnus to battle the Aces and Eights? Tune in and find out as the final member is revealed!
Dave Says: I’m pretty sure every person with an internet connection and the vaguest interest in TNA already knows who the Mafia’s final member is — but you won’t find spoilers here!
Best Case Scenario: The Mafia’s final member is a wrestler of stature and card position somewhere between Magnus and Joe. There were some complaints last week that Magnus lacks the championship credentials to be a Main Event Mafioso, but the fact of the matter is a team of former champions does little to help build the future of TNA, which this storyline needs to do or it’s just a vanity project for Sting and Angle.
Worst Case Scenario: Kevin Nash returns and a 60 minute Iron Man match is announced for Destination X between Big Sexy and Knux of Aces & Eights.
TNA Says: Speaking of the Aces and Eights, they will hold a club meeting to select a new VP! With the war against the Main Event Mafia heating up, who will the Aces pick to back up the club president and World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray?
Dave Says: In case you’ve forgotten, the now-disgraced D’Lo Brown was the previous Veep of everybody’s favorite pretend motorcycle gang. This could be interesting, as Devon has the most experience and most established connection to club president Bully Ray, but Ken Anderson has had a more visible leadership role in the last two months and D.O.C. has looked increasingly sinister and powerful over the last two episodes of Impact.
Best Case Scenario: D.O.C. is named new VP of Aces & Eights and has a much-increased TV presence between now and Bound For Glory. D.O.C. has potential, as he pulls off the motorcycle thug gimmick far better than any other member of the gang, and he’s by far the freshest choice of the credible A&E members.
Worst Case Scenario: Devon continues his 15-plus year run as Ray’s second banana, claiming the V.P. role and holding a spot that could actually help a wrestler with more upside.
TNA Says: The ongoing “Bound For Glory Series” will feature a “Joker’s Wild” competition on Thursday night, with a HUGE 25 points going to the winner! All of the BFG Series participants will be randomly paired up for tag team matches, with the winners advancing to the main event that night – a Six-Man Gauntlet Match! Whoever wins the Gauntlet Match will earn the 25 points and take a big leap in the point standings!
Dave Says: On the surface, this seems like a cool idea because it brings up all kinds of new dynamics for top TNA wrestlers to interact with each other as “strange bedfellows.” However, the fact of the matter is that the Joker’s Wild format asks wrestling fans to forget about all the storytelling that goes into forming a tag team and just crams people together for a one-shot deal. Good idea for a non-storyline pay per view, bad idea for an episodic installment of a story-driven TV show.
Best Case Scenario: The competition yields at least two compelling tag team matches, and the gauntlet allows one or two wrestlers to really shine, looking strong against multiple opponents. Bobby Roode wins and jetpacks himself from non-contention to a top position in the BFG series leaderboard.
Worst Case Scenario: Every single one of the tag team matches is built around the tired “can they coexist?!” formula. The gauntlet is a total mess that ends with Joseph Park turning into Abyss and winning with the Black Hole Slam to elevate himself from -10 points to +15.
TNA Says: Also on Thursday is the much-anticipated Knockouts Ladder Match with Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell, and the winner will be the new #1 Contender to the Knockouts Championship! After their acclaimed war at Slammiversary, you don’t want to miss Gail vs. Taryn in a Ladder Match on Thursday night!
Dave Says: These two had a show-stealing match at Slammiversary, so this follow-up should be interesting. On one hand, Kim and Terrell have set expectations high, but on the other, you always hope wrestlers aren’t thinking about topping their last match over telling the appropriate story in their next. It’s great to see the Knockouts slotted in the main event slot of Impact, as they’re a consistent ratings draw and showcase a major positive difference between TNA and the WWE.
Best Case Scenario: Terrell wins a hard-fought match to set up for a shot against Knockouts Champion Mickie James. TNA books the match for Bound For Glory and spends the rest of the summer slowly building up the feud between champion and challenger to make their BFG feel like a truly special World Title match.
Worst Case Scenario: B-O-T-C-H-A-M-A-N-I-A. TNA takes the safe route and has the more talented, well-known wrestler (Kim) go over, setting up what should be a well-worked, but nonsensical heel-heel title match, which they promptly give away on TV with minimal build.
TNA Says: Also on the broadcast, Chris Sabin has to officially hand over the X Division Championship to Hulk Hogan to confirm he is cashing in the title for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship against Bully Ray on the July 18 “Destination X” IMPACT special on SpikeTV! More news on the “Destination X” event will be announced on Thursday night as past and present X Division stars collide for a night of high-flying action!
Dave Says: I pray to God there is more build for Destination X on this week’s Impact than just this segment. You’d think that a week before what’s supposed to be an X Division showcase that TNA might book a show that highlights the X Division. That would give people something to talk about and might even lead to a casual viewer or two tuning in to see something different. Instead of doing the right thing by the X Division, TNA chose to do Joker’s Wild this week, which they easily could have held for the July 25th show.
Best Case Scenario: There are multiple video packages throughout the show telling the story of Chris Sabin’s long, successful, and emotional career in TNA. Sabin turns in the belt and cuts a driven, honest babyface promo about how he’s not scared of Bully Ray and ready to be World Heavyweight Champion. Hulk Hogan doesn’t Bigfoot all over Sabin’s TV time (as he has done ever since Slammiversary) and simply accepts the belt, wishing him luck.
Worst Case Scenario: The story that should be about Chris Sabin turns out to be about Hulk Hogan. Hogan talks for at least twice as long as Sabin during the segment. TNA doesn’t establish who Chris Sabin is and what he stands for to the fans who discovered Impact during the last two years when Sabin was largely out of action.
Well, that’s all that’s advertised for this week’s Impact! Remember to follow me @DaveTheMark for blow-by-blow coverage and smart aleck remarks.