This week’s edition of Impact Wrestling is built around an awe-inspiring wrestling match-up featuring Jeff Hardy in X Division competition and a cringe-inspiring promo showdown between new top contender A.J. Styles and his doe-eyed boss who knows nothing about wrestling. Below is a rundown of all advertised segments:
This past week, AJ Styles beat Magnus and won the “Bound For Glory Series” to earn a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship! AJ is set to face Bully Ray in the main event at October’s “Bound For Glory” – but what about AJ’s comments directed towards TNA President Dixie Carter after the match? What does AJ have planned? How will the TNA President react?
Dave Says: A.J. Styles is the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship headed into Bound For Glory. Impact Wrestling fans should be able to get excited about that. The only problem is that rather than telling the simple, time-tested “good vs. evil” or “road to redemption” stories, TNA has chosen build A.J.’s run at the title around the worked-shoot idea that he is getting back at owner Dixie Carter and Hulk Hogan for pushing him out of the main event and turning their backs on him. Wait, isn’t he wrestling Bully Ray..?
Best Case Scenario: A.J. cuts right to the chase, and rather than reading off the litany of bad angles he’s been part of since Hulk Hogan’s arrival, jumps directly into explaining to Dixie why he’s going to be the best thing to happen to the TNA World Heavyweight Title and the worst thing to happen to Bully Ray. He states that his mission is to regain the title and become the greatest wrestler in TNA history.
Worst Case Scenario: A.J. makes a series of supposedly-cutting worked-shoot comments directed at Dixie and Hulk Hogan which make a small, stupid portion of fans ooh and ahh but do nothing for TNA, their title, or the idea that wrestling is anything more than a soap opera written by petty, jealous middle-aged men. Dixie gets all “a very special episode of Blossom” with her acting and cries tears that would make Big Show blush.
Speaking of Bully Ray, he retained his World Title against Mr. Anderson this past week at “No Surrender”, even annihilating Anderson after the match to prove his point! What is the status of Mr. Anderson after the attack? Are the Aces stronger than ever now that Bully Ray has solidified his control over the group?
Dave Says: “Speaking of Bully Ray, he was in a terrible match last week against an opponent nobody cares about! Is that guy gone? Maybe if we’re lucky!”
Best Case Scenario: Bully Ray rants to his remaining flunkies about how great he is and brags about destroying squeaky wheel Anderson. Cracks in the foundation of Aces & Eights become even more apparent, as the remaining members of the gang seem increasingly skeptical of Bully Ray as a leader. Nobody says anything this week, but seeds are sown for the beginning of the end for everybody’s least favorite biker gang. Ken Anderson goes on to have bit parts in D-level action movies.
Worst Case Scenario: Bully Ray cuts a promo in which he asks, “Do you know who I am?” no fewer than four times. He strongly implies that he has killed Anderson off camera, leading to looks of concern from Garrett Bischoff, who still isn’t sure which aspects of his life are real and which are a work. Ken Anderson goes on to have starring roles in D-level action movies.
Also on Thursday, X Division Champion Manik requested a chance to take his career to the next level in match against “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy – and Hulk Hogan agreed! It’s a huge opportunity for the masked superstar to battle Hardy – and no doubt a match you don’t want to miss as two of wrestling’s premiere high-flyers collide for the first time on IMPACT!
Dave Says: If a show ever needed to be saved on paper, this is it… This is a non-title exhibition, the goal of which is to get over Manik, but consider this: what if Jeff Hardy won the X Division Title? Hardy would bring huge name recognition, star power, and prestige to the X Title while also being able to put on worthy X Division matches. It’s exactly what TNA thought they were getting with Rob Van Dam!
Best Case Scenario: (Above scenario aside…) Hardy and Manik work a long, athletic match that emphasizes what makes both of them special. Manik shows off some signature offense, even adding one or two new wrinkles to his repertoire to try and knock off the well-established Hardy. Hardy sells his butt off, but ultimately gets his comeback, hits the Twist and the Swanton, and pins Manik to a big pop.
Worst Case Scenario: Manik turns on Hardy, hits him in the back of the head with a hammer, and joins Aces & Eights. If you think this is the worst idea possible, you’re right. If you think it’s impossible, you haven’t been watching the last year of Impact.
In addition, the Knockouts Championship will be on the line as Mickie James defends against ODB! Will Mickie continue her domination of the Knockouts Division – or will ODB walk out the new champion?
Dave Says: Mickie is still playing one of the best characters going in wrestling today, but her “here she is, here she isn’t” infrequent appearances on Impact over the last month or so have hurt her and the Knockouts Title a great deal. When she won the title, it felt like there would be great heat on her reign, but TNA has booked themselves out of a good thing.
Best Case Scenario: Mickie and ODB’s match tells a story about a hard-working, determined babyface taking on a big-game talking, cheap shot artist heel. ODB comes within a hair’s width of winning the Knockouts Title, but is cut off and rolled up by James.
Worst Case Scenario: ODB wins the Knockouts Title just as the last bit of excitement fades from her push. She goes on to defend the title against… uhh… whoever’s left at Bound For Glory.