After building last week’s edition of Impact Wrestling around a controversial World Heavyweight Title change, TNA goes into this week promising to resolve another title situation by introducing a new X-Division Champion. Along with the surefire title change, TNA is advertising a big time Bound for Glory Series matchup between A.J. Styles and Jeff Hardy along with two other BFG series contests.
TNA Says: Witness the aftermath of the Destination X event, as NEW World Heavyweight Champion Chris Sabin will speak about his epic win! What will Sabin have to say about his career moment at Destination X? How will Bully Ray and the rest of the Aces and Eights react to the loss?
Dave Says: Destination X ended with Chris Sabin having a great moment with the title in the ring. If he’s going to be a real World Heavyweight Champion, though, Sabin has to be allowed to cut promos on his own without Hulk Hogan coming out and “helping him get over.” TNA has to stop muddling his story with the story of the Hogan family – It’s the last thing he needs if he’s going to establish himself as a main event star.
Best Case Scenario: Sabin cuts a spirited, victorious promo and connects all the dots, sharing the story of his journey to the top in his own words. Bully Ray comes out, demanding Sabin returns the title, which he refuses. Hulk Hogan comes out simply to announce that there is a rematch between the two of them booked for Impact three weeks down the line – enough time for TNA to build a worthy angle going into Sabin’s first defense..
Worst Case Scenario: Sabin comes out and speaks for ten seconds before the Hulkster limps down the ramp to congratulate him, bringing Brooke along. Hogan attempts give Sabin “the rub, brother” by using hackneyed catch phrases and cheap pops. Bully Ray then comes to the ring and, in a storyline straight out of the year 2000, immediately gets the belt back because of the screwy finish.
TNA Says: Also this Thursday night, a NEW X Division Champion will be crowned as the Ultimate X Match makes its return to IMPACT on SpikeTV! After winning last week’s quailing bouts, it will be Sonjay Dutt vs. Manik vs. newcomer Greg Marascuilo in the Ultimate X with the X Division Championship hanging high above the ring! The first superstar to successfully scale the steel structure and navigate the high-wires to bring down the gold will be the NEW X-DIVISION CHAMPION! Don’t miss the return of the most daredevil match in wrestling on Thursday night!
Dave Says: TNA devoted a great deal of last week’s Destination X to setting up this match, presenting three matches of varying, but generally good, quality. The issue here is that all three of these men have been portrayed as babyfaces on TV. It’s nice to have three worthy challengers who would all be reasonable champions, but that story alone isn’t enough to make this a great match. For this match to be more than a thrown together match to get an empty title on someone, somebody needs to do what Rockstar Spud did last week – shamelessly play heel.
Best Case Scenario: Greg Marascuilo cuts a promo before the match establishing that he isn’t in TNA to make friends, he’s there to win titles. Throughout the match he works as a clear heel, constantly trying to clear his opponents from the ring so he can sneak across the truss and grab the title belt. All three men are able to shine and show off their signature offense, but the match tells a logical story and isn’t just “guys getting their [stuff] in.” Dutt ultimately takes advantage of a man down, hits his moonsault double-stomp, and shakes the “greatest X Division competitor never to win the title” tag.
Worst Case Scenario: B-O-T-C-H-A-M-A-N-I-A. Nobody wastes anytime portraying a character, they just go right into a long sequence of crazy, meaningless spots. Manik wins the title because he somehow deserves it after being bullied and unmasked by Austin Aries. Marascuilo and Dutt disappear from TNA TV.
TNA Says: The “Bound For Glory Series” continues on Thursday night with THREE HUGE matches with points up for grabs! In the main event, “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy will battle AJ Styles in a BFG Series bout! Plus, Samoa Joe takes on Christopher Daniels, and the new VP of the Aces and Eights, Mr. Anderson will be in action against Hernandez! Can anyone catch the current BFG Series leader, Magnus?
Dave Says: This is promising, as TNA was very successful in their presentation of a three-match said last week during Destination X. Two of these three matches contain must-watch competitors, and the other at least contains wrestlers being presented in major storylines. The only thing these matches need to be entertaining is adequate time.
Best Case Scenario: All three of these matches at least get close to ten minutes, with Samoa Joe scoring ten points via rear naked choke, Jeff Hardy getting seven points by pinfall, and Anderson hitting his Mic Check for another seven. Chavo has an opportunity to help Hernandez but doesn’t, building their eventual feud. Daniels, Joe, Hardy, and Styles all put on the classic performances of which they are capable.
Worst Case Scenario: These matches get lost in the shuffle of the other main storylines and aren’t given adequate time. Jeff Hardy and A.J. Styles both slip on the ropes and smash their beautiful faces. Joe and Daniels’ match winds up being rushed so TNA can give more TV time to Anderson. Chavo turns on Hernandez, getting him disqualified and costing him points in the Bound for Glory Series.
TNA Says: The war continues between the new Main Event Mafia and the Aces and Eights! What started at Destination X continues on Thursday night – and both alliances won’t stop until the other is eliminated from TNA! Both factions will appear on IMPACT as the battle for supremacy continues between the most powerful alliances in pro wrestling!
Dave Says: Last week’s edition of the Aces & Eights vs. Main Event Mafia feud promised a lot and delivered little. This week, TNA definitely shied away from advertising too much, give a very vague description of what might happen. This segment needs to explain, or at least address, Kurt Angle’s short abduction from Destination X. Could they be planting seeds for him to be a turncoat down the line?
Best Case Scenario: The Main Event Mafia come to the ring first and cut a promo (with Magnus doing the bulk of the talking) in which they claim victory for making sure Bully Ray could not retain the TNA World Heavyweight Title through shenanigans. They say they’re not finished yet, though – their new goal is to eliminate Aces & Eights permanently.
Ken Anderson responds, once again from backstage, telling the Mafia not to underestimate Aces & Eights. An actual match between members of the two groups is booked, possibly Joe and Magnus against Bischoff and Brisco.
Worst Case Scenario: TNA presents another confrontation/non-confrontation like they did last week, with members of the groups suddenly and senselessly brawling backstage. Aces & Eights kidnaps another member of the Main Event Mafia, and Ken Anderson and Devon break Magnus’ arm by slamming a car door on it.
TNA Says: The Knockouts Championship will also be at stake on Thursday as Mickie James will defend the gold against Gail Kim, who earned a shot at the gold by winning the recent Knockouts Ladder Match! Can Gail capitalize on her shot to regain the title, or will Mickie James continue her domination of the Knockouts Division?
Dave Says: TNA actually dedicated a healthy chunk of time in the second hour of Destination X to promoting this match. The last two big matches of the Knockouts division have both been gimmick matches, so it’s interesting to see how TNA will do presenting a straight-up women’s match and making it seem important. Also looming over this match is the question of whether or not Gail Kim will be playing a full-fledged babyface character.
Best Case Scenario: Kim and James have a strong fifteen-minute straight-up match. Kim looks poised to win the Knockouts Title when Mickie wins with a slight bend of the rules, pinning her with her feet on the ropes. Kim comes out of the match a bigger babyface because she’s been wronged by the heel champion and it deepens James’ character by adding a new wrinkle – she’s officially willing to cheat to win. (I know I’ve previously said that I don’t like the idea of Gail Kim as a face, but if she’s going to have a good, long feud with Mickie, the angle needs it.)
Worst Case Scenario: After last week’s build toward a big title match, the contest goes less than ten minutes. Kim continues to play her undetermined tweener character. Gail Kim reverses Mickie’s pin attempt into a roll-up to end the champ’s strong title reign.