Pre-Show Notes: The belief among the wrestlers is that tomorrow's announcement will indeed be Impact going to Mondays, but we'll see.....2 Cold Scorpio, who lives in the Orlando area, is backstage. I haven't heard he's coming in but would certainly be a great hand to add to the company...TNA filmed a lot of vignettes last night, so expect tons of backstage segments.
The PPV opened with Ric Flair storming in the building with Christy Hemme trying to calm him. Flair was irate about Eric Bischoff being added as the special referee tonight. He said that everyone knows he hates Bischoff and when he gets his hands on Bischoff, he's going to get the respect he deserves. He said that he's not going to let Bischoff hate for him spill over to AJ Styles and effect Styles' run as TNA champion. Flair told Hemme to go tell Bischoff he's looking for him and Bischoff and Hulk Hogan are going to show Flair the respect he deserves as "a God around here" or else.
TNA aired a video feature on tonight's event.
8 Card Stud Tournament: Pope D'Angelo Dinero vs. Desmond Wolfe
The crowd was strongly behind Dinero. They did some nice back and forth opening sequences early. Wolfe began using his European style on Dinero, who reversed several unique moves. Wolfe nailed him with a European uppercut but Dinero nailed him with several clubbering elbows and a flying forearm.
Wolfe tossed Dinero to the floor and when he returned to the apron, snapped him over the ropes. Wolfe went for the Tower of London but Dinero escaped. Wolfe took out Dinero's legs and began focusing on his shoulder, driving him shoulder first into the corner. Wolfe followed it up with a modified armbar. Dinero tried to make a comeback but snapped into a DDT for a two count.
Wolfe tied up Dinero in a cravate headlock and scissored Dinero's leg with his own. Dinero broke free and nailed a series of forearm shots, followed by a clothesline. He nailed an inverted atomic drop and a flying forearm. Dinero hit a flying bodypress off the top rope for a two count.
Wolfe nailed a catapult into the corner but Pope stopped himself and clocked Wolfe with a back elbow. He ascended to the top but Wolfe cut him off and nailed a superplex. Wolfe covered Dinero for a two count. Wolfe went for a lariat but Dinero ducked and rolled him up from behind. Wolfe yanked Dinero's shoulder. He missed a charge into the corner. Dinero used the ropes to snap Wolfe's neck to the mat.
Dinero nailed the Dinero Express in the corner and scored the pin.
Your winner, advancing, D'Angelo Dinero!
Real good opener. Some nice wrestling here as both continue to impress inside the ring.
Ric Flair stormed into Eric Bischoff's office. He demanded to know why Bischoff added himself to the main event and said that Bischoff can't act like God, because Flair is the only wrestling God around here. He told Bischoff any changes have to go through Flair because he's AJ Styles' manager. Bischoff said he thinks Flair is mad Styles has to defend against Samoa Joe tonight. Flair said he didn't care about that because Styles is the best and the best always wins, plus he has Flair in his corner. Bischoff said he will call the match down the middle and warned Flair to "keep his distance tonight." Flair looked like he wanted to jump Bischoff but instead walked off. Bischoff started rubbing his face out of frustration. Good stuff from both men.
Jeremy Borash interviewed the TNA Tag Team champions Hernandez and Matt Morgan. They basically said that they would still be the champions after tonight but they have to face each other due to the luck of the draw. They wished each other well.
8 Card Stud tournament: TNA Tag Team champion Matt Morgan vs. TNA Tag Team champion Hernandez
They locked up at the bell with Morgan forcing Hernandez into the corner. Clean break. They lock up again, this time with Morgan being backed up. Deja vu with the clean break. Morgan grabbed a side headlock but was shoved off. He rebounded off the ropes and took Hernandez down with a series of shoulder blocks. Hernandez responded in kind and Morgan went down.
Morgan came back with a kick to the gut but missed the Carbon Footprint. Hernandez went for the Border Toss but Morgan escaped. He nailed his rapid fire back elbows in the corner. He charged Hernandez in the corner but was kicked in the gut. Hernandez went to the top for a bodypress. Morgan was supposed to catch him but they ended up crumbling to the ground and Hernandez covered him for a near fall.
Hernandez was selling his ribs as Morgan nailed an Avalanche in the corner. Morgan nailed a side slam for a two count. He choked Hernandez's throat against the top rope then launched himself atop Morgan, clotheslining his partner over the top rope. Morgan drops a guillotine legdrop across Hernandez' throat on the apron.
Morgan covered his partner but Hernandez kicked up. Morgan yelled at him to stay down. Hernandez tried to escape a side headlock but was blasted in the ribs. Morgan maneuvered Hernandez onto the apron but was hit with a slingshot shoulderblock into the ring. Hernandez exploded with offense, including a splash in the corner for a two count. Hernandez avoided a backdrop attempt and picked up Morgan for a delayed vertical suplex.
Morgan rolled out onto the rampway to the ring. Hernandez hit a dive over the ropes onto Morgan. Hernandez grabbed his shoulder as he landed and immediately went down grabbing his shoulder. Hernandez was almost counted out but Morgan stopped him, saying he didn't want to win that way. Morgan held the ropes for his partner to get in the ring, then ran him into the corner shoulder-first and rolled Hernandez up, hooking the tights.
Your winner, Matt Morgan!
Morgan held up Hernandez' arm after but Hernandez shoved him off and walked out. Really solid match that set the stage for a teased heel turn from Morgan at the end when he cheated to win by taking advantage of his partner and hooking the tights to boot. You can't expect Malenko vs. Guerrero from guys of this size but for what it was, minus that one miscue, I thought this was really enjoyable.
So, Pope vs. Morgan in Round Two. Weird mix on paper.
They aired a video feature on the Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles feud.
Christy Hemme interviewed Kurt Angle. Angle said that he owed a huge apology to Hulk Hogan. He said that last Thursday, Hogan had his back when the Band attacked Angle. Angle said that as a man, he knows Hogan has his back. Hemme asked Angle about mental preparation for tonight given his beating on Thursday. Angle said he's a pro and is going to burn through the tournament and get his title shot. He said he's going to introduce Ken Anderson to TNA the only way he knows how, by beating his ass in the ring. Oh it's real, it's damn real.
8 Card Stud Tournament: Mr. Anderson vs. Kurt Angle
Anderson introduced himself as the winner of this match and the one after that and the one after that. Great line.
In the ring, they started out slow with some back and forth wrestling. Angle worked a side headlock on Anderson early. Angle charged Anderson in the corner but Anderson moved and Angle drilled his shoulder into the ringpost. Anderson began mocking him, then began digging the medal Angle wore to the ring into Angle's face, busting him open. Anderson began stomping Angle's face and worked him over with punches in a corner.
Angle tried to battle back with several rights but was caught with a DDT. Anderson cinched in a rear chinlock. Angle made his way back and nailed a belly-to-belly overhead suplex. Angle drilled Anderson with a clothesline for a two count. The storyline the announcers were pushing were how long Angle could go while losing so much blood. Angle began drilling Anderson with a series of German suplexes.
Angle went for the Angleslam but Anderson avoided it and hit his rolling forward Samoan Drop for a two count. Anderson began unhooking a turnbuckle pad. When the referee began fixing it, Anderson ripped a second one off. He tried to slam Angle's face into it but Angle held him off and drilled an Angleslam for a two count.
Angle pulled the strap down and cinched in an anklelock. Anderson kicked him off. Angle charged Anderson into a corner but Anderson moved and Angle ran headlong into the exposed turnbuckle. Anderson hit the Mic Check and scored the clean pinfall on Angle.
Your winner, Ken Anderson!
After the match, Anderson draped the medal on Angle's chest and snotted him. Match was solid and told a good story. It was obvious TNA was trying to springboard Anderson as a player here.
Backstage, Eric Bischoff told Mick Foley and Abyss he was sorry he put them in this situation but when you run a wrestling company you have to give the fans the best entertainment. He warned them to kill each other, not to work in collusion or else Abyss would have to unmask. Foley asked him how they knew he wasn't going to pull something on them. Bischoff said he would make it a No DQ match so they could use a barbed wire bat, but if he didn't think they were treating this as their most important match, Abyss' mask was a goner. Abyss didn't want to have to beat up Foley but Foley was fine with doing what had to be done.
8 Card Stud Tournament: Abyss vs. Mick Foley - No DQ.
Interesting to see them making this more or less a hardcore match on paper since you would think that would be what's planned for 3D vs. Nasties, but we'll see.
Foley came out with the barbed wire bat and was dressed in old school Cactus Jack leopard print. Abyss grabbed a headlock on Foley, then shoulderblocked him down. Foley went to grab the bat but Abyss kicked it away from him. Abyss nailed a splash in the corner. Fans chanted for Abyss to use the bat but he had his doubts after he picked it up, so he dropped it back down.
Abyss told Foley he didn't want to use the bat, so Mick slapped and punched him. He dared Abyss to use the bat while punching him, trying to fire up Abyss. Abyss began drilling Foley with right hands. Foley went to the floor. Abyss followed. They brawled around ringside. Foley grabbed a fan's chair and beat Abyss over the back with it. Foley worked over Abyss, screaming at him to use the bat and asking him if he wanted to lose his mask.
Back in the ring, Foley grabbed the bat but Abyss kicked him as Foley charged. Abyss choked Foley against the ropes. He shot Mick into the ropes but Foley caught him with a swinging neckbreaker as he rebounded. Foley worked over Abyss with a series of forearms in the corner. He grabbed a sack of thumbtacks and spread them across the ring. Foley tried to punch Abyss into the tacks but was grabbed by the throat. Abyss teased slamming him on the tacks but instead slammed him in the corner away from them for a two count. The announcers wondered if that could be what Bischoff needed as ammunition.
Abyss grabbed Mr. Socko away from Foley for the Mandible Claw but was hit with the double arm DDT. Since he had no sock, Foley pulled one off the referee. Abyss and Foley used the Mandible Claw on each other at the same time but eventually only Foley had it cinched him. Abyss faded down to the mat. The referee checked Abyss' arms to see if he was out. Meanwhile, red Mike Posey is walking around the ring with one foot barefoot. Sheesh, put the sneaker back on!
Foley grabbed the barbed wire bat but Abyss grabbed him and nailed the Black Hole Slam into the tacks for the pin. The storyline was that Abyss was going on instinct and didn't "want" to hurt Foley.
Your winner, Abyss!
After the match, Abyss was checking on Foley and removing tacks. This was OK (nothing memorable) but it told a good story. Actually, I think all the first round matches told a basic but solid story in each bout, although whether you were going to be into it or not was subjective.
Backstage, Christy Hemme interviewed The Nasty Boys. Brian Knobbs said that they know why they are here, but everyone assumes they know why. Knobbs said that everyone knows they are Hulk Hogan's longtime friends and he told them to go through the TNA Tag Team roster and show them what real tag teams are all about. He said they went right after Team 3D because they are the top tag team here and if they can't beat 3D, why are they even here? Promo was fine.