Felt like doing something for the site’s fifth anniversary, and since no-one else seems to be covering Impact, I thought I’d give it a try.

This will be more of a review than a recap of the whole show, as I’m sure the BWF anniversary show will be packed.  So I will keep it brief.

First off, let’s look at the wrestling.  Our first match was Chavo Gurrero vs. Hernandez.  It looked like the first five minutes of what could’ve been a decent 15 minute match – minus the last ten minutes.  Hernandez wins after Chavo tried a sunset flip, and Hernandez rolled out and hooked his legs for a press.  Over way too quick to make any kind of lasting impression, and I think Hernandez might’ve botched the finish slightly, as it took him a few seconds to hook Chavo.

Our second match of the night was Samoa Joe PRISON RAPING Robbie E.  Robbie got in an eye gouge and a few shots to the head and that was it.  Joe never let up for a second, and got the win w/his cradle-neckbreaker combo.  It was the kind of straight up squash we haven’t seen since the days of the original WWF Saturday morning syndicated programs.

We had a six-man tag between newly crowned Tag Team Champions Gunner and “Cowboy” James Gunn w/new X-Division Champion Chris Sabin against former tag champs “The IT Factor” Bobby Rude and “The Greatest Man who Ever Lived,” Austin Aries w/former X-Division Champ Kenny King.  Not a lot of double teaming in this match, just paring off of two men from each team every few seconds.  The match breaks down into a spot-fest ending w/Sabin getting the pin on Kenny King.  Not a bad match in any way, shape or form, but nothing I haven’t seen before either.

TNA Knockouts Champ Mickey James took on Taler Hendrix in a knockouts match.  James spent the first half of the match selling Hendrix big, and applauding for her every time she hit a move with a less than sincere smile.  James wraps this up by selling an arm injury and hiding behind referee ODB, then hitting an uppercut on Hendrix when she gets too close.  James gets the three with an unconvincing spin-kick to the shoulder.  I might become a Taler Hendrix fan, but not because of this match.

And now, our main event of the evening; Champion Bully Ray faces Jeff Hardy in a ladder match!  However the title is not on the line, so instead, a hammer will be the prize hung from the roof.  Whoever gets to it first gets to use it as a weapon. 

The match was a botchy, clumsy affair, with some scary spots, like Ray just yanking the ladder out from Hardy, who went straight down hard, and landed ugly.  Ray gets the hammer but takes a “twist-of-fate” stunner.  The hammer goes flying right into Jeff’s hand.  Ray runs away and Jeff collapses trying to chase him.  A ref helps Jeff to the back and we get NO DECISION MADE ON THE MATCH!

Now let’s look at some other aspects of the show.

First off, the show’s major storyline was the Hogan, Brooke, Bully angle.  The show opened with Bully bragging about his win over Sting at Slamerversary, and demanding to be put in the TNA Hall of Fame.  General Manager Hulk Hogan came out to “give the Devil his due,” and congratulate Ray on winning with nothing but the help of the entire “Aces & Eight’s” stable, and a hammer.  Hogan announces the “Bound for Glory” series will start this month, and he brings out Jeff Hardy.  Hogan books the ladder match right then/there, with Hardy getting NO mike time and NO dialogue.  Hardy does get to pull the hammer out of his pants, and Hogan did mention this would be Hardy’s chance at payback for things that happened to him earlier. 

We get a backstage segment where Bully is talking to another A&E member I don’t know over a few dozen beers.  He wonders why Hogan would put the beloved Jeff Hardy in a match this dangerous, and why A&E doesn’t have a rep in the BFG series.  The other guy hints at wanting to be “Vice President” of the group, and Ray walks off.

After the match, Bully runs backstage to breath heavily, yell for his belt, and plop his ass down on the ground.  Hogan sneaks up behind Ray with a hammer in his hand.  He raises it over the unsuspecting champ.  Brooke Hogan screams “NO” and runs into frame.  Brooke is between her father and her husband.  Hogan stares at Brooke, Brooke stares at Ray, and Ray stares at both of them, then runs off.  So basically, Hogan was ready to STRAIGHT-UP MURDER HIS COMPANY’S CHAMPION ON NATIONAL TV, and his daughter had to stop him. 

Another major storyline was Devon trying to get his belt back.  Devon comes out demanding Abyss return the TV title that he won at Slamerversary.  Joseph Park comes out instead, saying he won’t be bullied anymore, and taking Devon down.  Joseph wails away on Devon, but when the fight spills outside, Devon gets the upper hand and beats Park into a bloody mess.  Abyss’ music hits, and Devon jumps back in the ring, ready to face him.  When Abyss doesn’t come out, Devon decides to go look for him.  Devon spends the whole show checking for Abyss backstage w/another A&E member I don’t know.  Eventually Abyss catches up with them and leaves them both laid out, saying he’s taking the title into the Abyss.

Ummm… Isn’t Joseph Park supposed to be Abyss?  I thought it was a “split personality” gimmick.  Is everyone supposed to go along with the idea of them being two people?

Side Note: To my knowledge, this is the most success anyone in TNA has had against “Aces & Eights.”

Former MMA star and failed Mr. T impersonator “Rampage” Jackson made his TNA debut tonight.  He came out to the ring saying he wanted to face the best in TNA.  Kurt Angle came out to accommodate him.  This ended with some heated words, but without incident.

So we’re setting up an untrained rookie to fight a guy in his 40’s with a history of neck injuries?

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

Mickey James is working Eve Torres’ old “two-face” gimmick.  We had a segment of her apologizing to Velvet Sky for standing around like a deer in headlights when Gail Kim jumped her last week, and totally blowing off her challenge for a title match.  She did work in a plug for the Lottery game that has her and Gail Kim as “mascots,” so that was nice.

This specific episode should thank its lucky stars that the past ten years of Impact have sucked so badly, because they make this episode look so much better by comparison.  Compared to a good wrestling show however, it’s still lacking.  The show wound up being all about the Hogan-Brooke-Bully Ray triangle while the few people I might’ve cared about were regulated to filler matches.  I’ll give the show a C minus because it at least kept the pace moving along, and most of the stuff on the show did actually lead somewhere, but so far I am NOT impressed.

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