This week’s edition of Impact Wrestling is the final episode before TNA presents a World Heavyweight Title match on August 15th’s Hardcore Justice. Below is a rundown of all advertised segments:
MMA superstar Tito Ortiz shocked the wrestling world with his appearance on IMPACT the past Thursday night! Why has Ortiz come to TNA? What are his future plans? We can confirm that Ortiz will appear on Thursday’s huge IMPACT – the question is, will he explain his actions? Don’t miss it!
Dave Says: It will be interesting to see how much of what Ortiz says relates to TNA and how much of it will relate to Bellator. TNA needs to do a clear job defining what Tito’s role is in storylines on Impact, or fans will be unable to connect with him in spite of his fame.
Best Case Scenario: Tito talks up his fight with Rampage and talks about how he “needed to see what Rampage was doing with his time.” He heels on pro wrestling, saying that he is better than Jackson because he would never engage in such silliness.
Worst Case Scenario: Tito cuts a promo in which he tries to tell an over-complicated back story about how he’d been watching Aces & Eights for some time, gradually planning his arrival in TNA; talks for more than five uninterrupted minutes.
Thursday’s IMPACT will feature the official World Title Contract Signing between champion Chris Sabin and challenger Bully Ray of the Aces and Eights! The anticipated Steel Cage rematch will take place on August 15 on the special “Hardcore Justice” edition of IMPACT LIVE on SpikeTV!
Dave Says: Another contract signing segment feels too soon considering TNA has already featured two this summer. “But this one is for a cage match,” replies TNA. Also, if we’re going to get really nerdy, this is Bully Ray’s “rematch clause” match, which according to kayfabe is part of his previous contract as champion and therefore does not require any new contract to be signed.
Best Case Scenario: Sabin cuts another spirited babyface promo to continue establishing who he is as World Heavyweight Champion. Ray, in return, discusses how much being Champion meant to him and describes exactly what he’s willing to do to get the title back. They sign the contract and have an intense face-off, but do not touch.
Worst Case Scenario: Hulk Hogan comes out to facilitate the contract signing between the two in an attempt to give Sabin “the rub, brother.” Hogan and Ray talk over Sabin until Brooke Hogan emerges from the back to also talk over Sabin. The segment ends in a brawl, during which Ray powerbombs Sabin through a table and stands over him.
Speaking of champion and challenger, Thursday’s IMPACT Main Event will feature Sabin and a partner of his choice from the Main Event Mafia battling Bully Ray and Devon from the Aces and Eights!
Dave Says: This segment makes a pretaped Impact extra intriguing, as recently-DWIed Kurt Angle seems the logical choice to give the rub to Sabin in this match. TNA have had time to edit the show and control how much of Angle is seen, so it will be interesting to see how they approach the situation.
Best Case Scenario: This match works effectively to put Sabin over, with him saving Angle on at least one occasion and holding his own against both Ray and Devon. The good guys win when Sabin kicks out of the 3-D for the second time in his career, hit his finisher on Devon, and scores the pin.
Worst Case Scenario: Sabin is paired with Angle and works a heavily-edited match in which TNA only shows Angle selling for Devon. Ray and Devon get the win when they hit the 3-D on Sabin and he fails to kick out for the second time.
Plus, the “Bound For Glory Series” continues on Thursday featuring matches selected by YOU – THE FANS! The BFG Series bouts scheduled for Thursday are:
“The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe
Magnus of the Main Event Mafia vs. Mr. Anderson of The Aces and Eights
Christopher Daniels vs. Kazarian – battle of the Tag Team partners!
Dave Says: These feel like the right match-ups for the six wrestlers in question. Wrestling Samoa Joe gives Jeff Hardy the ability to do his signature selling without reducing himself to over-selling for a lower-card act (as he recently did for Joseph Park). Magnus and Anderson wrestling continues the MEM vs. A&E storyline, and allows the most charismatic member of each team (barring Bully Ray) to do their best to get their team identity across as TNA builds toward their big match at Hardcore Justice. Finally, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian may have a platform to steal the entire show, given their long history together and their considerable in-ring skills. Don’t sleep on their ability to tell the in-ring story of the night.
Best Case Scenario: Joe and Hardy have a competitive, back-and-forth match that ends when an overconfident Joe goes for the 10-point submission win instead of the pinfall and Hardy reverses him into a pin and a 7-point win of his own. Magnus beats Anderson cleanly with his Michinoku Driver to continue his big push and make the Main Event Mafia look capable of potentially taking out a member of Aces & Eights. Daniels and Kaz have a strong, athletic match, which the Fallen Angel narrowly wins by outsmarting his partner.
Worst Case Scenario: Hardy and Joe brawl outside the ring to a double-countout, costing both of them BFG Series points (right?). Mike Knox comes to the ring with everybody’s favorite ball peen hammer and helps Anderson get a dirty win over Magnus. Kazarian goes over Christopher Daniels when the match goes home abruptly after a belly-to-belly piledriver spot goes wrong.