Backstage, Christy Hemme interviewed The Nasty Boys. Brian Knobs said that they know why they are here, but everyone assumes they know why. Knobs 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.
The Nasty Boys vs. Team 3D
The Nastys cut off 3D as they charged the ring. They worked over 3D early. 3D made a comeback so the Nastys powdered to the floor. It settled down into a traditional tag with Brother Ray and Jerry Sags starting out. Sags caught him with a clothesline in the corner. Knobs cut off Ray as he tried to fire back. The Nastys tagged in and out. They tried to do the Pitstop on Ray but he shoved Sags into Knobs, knocking Knobs off the apron.
Devon tagged in. They took out Sags but Knobs pulled him out of the ring as 3D called for the Dudley Death Drop. Fans began chanting for tables. Knobs returned to the ring, where he ate a Devon clothesline. Devon rebounded off the ropes but Sags pulled the rope down and he crashed to the floor. Sags worked over Devon on the floor.
Ray came out of nowhere and drilled the hell out of Sags from behind, sending him flying into a cameraman. That was awesome. The announcers noted the cameraman was down. It was obvious it was a mishap but was one of those accidental moments that ended up being the best thing thus far in the match because it was so stiff.
Back in the ring, Sags and Knobs continued working over Devon as Ray kept trying to get in the ring and help. Knobs locked in an abdominal stretch. Sags tagged in and nailed Devon in the ribs. Sags whipped Knobs into Devon in the corner but Devon avoided him and then nailed Sags.
Devon made the tag to Ray, who began cleaning house with slams and punches on the Nastys. He sandwiched the Nastys in the corner and nailed a running splash on both. Ray went for an uranage on Sags and it fell apart. Ray elbowed Knobs in the head. 3D nailed the wazzup headbutt on the Nastys. They were about to call for Tables when Sags charged them. They nailed him with the Dudley Death Drop.
Ray covered Sags but Jimmy Hart ran out (the camera missed this) and handed Knobs a motorcycle helmet. Knobs drilled Ray with it and put Sags on top. He scored the pin as Knobs held Devon to prevent him from breaking the pin.
Your winners, The Nasty Boys!
They tried hard but it didn't come together. There were a few moments that were OK here but it's obvious it wasn't the Nasty Boys of old (and how could it be, with age, weight and injuries holding them back?) and at times, there were some cringe worthy moments. Knobs really looked like he was hurting bad and was out of place. Way too much stalling. It was obvious 3D were trying to do everything they could to get the Nastys over.
The Jimmy Hart addition is an interesting one, but I suspect people who aren't fans of the Hogan regime will roll their eyes at this one. You can't ask for a harder working guy for your company than Hart though.
Backstage, Eric Bischoff was talking to Samoa Joe. Joe said the most important thing for a company is a champion they can believe in. Bischoff agreed with him and talked about how much he hated Flair and said he was going to handle it right down the middle. They are pushing it so hard that I almost expect Bischoff to screwjob Joe and be behind the other screwjob from a few weeks ago. Bischoff asked Joe to keep his Samoan temper in check. Joe told Bischoff to take care of Flair and he'd handle Styles like he has in the past.
8 Card Stud Semi-Final: D'Angelo Dinero vs. Matt Morgan
Dinero tried to use his speed and offense to keep Morgan off balance early. He attempted to whip Morgan but Morgan just pulled back and sent Dinero over the top to the floor. Morgan followed to the floor. He threw Dinero back into the ring and nailed a Fall Away Slam. Morgan was showing some arrogant heel swagger in the ring.
Morgan stepped on Dinero's chest, forcing the air out of his chest. He then choked Dinero against the ropes. Morgan nailed the old Big Bossman charge across the ring and land across the opponent draped on the ropes. Morgan cinched in a bearhug. Dinero escaped and unloaded with offense.
Pope nailed a drop toehold on Morgan, snapping him into the ropes. Dinero rebounded off the ropes but was drilled with a discus clothesline for a two count. Morgan began beating down Dinero with headbutts. He measured and charged but Dinero avoided the Carbon Footprint and crotched himself in the corner.
Dinero nailed the former Elijah Express in the corner, hit a splash off the ropes and scored the pin.
Your winner, D'Angelo Dinero!
Morgan threw a fit in the ring after the loss.
Match didn't stand out in my opinion.
Jeremy Borash interviewed Ken Anderson. Borash said he had defeated Kurt Angle. Anderson said he doesn't like when people repeat themselves but had Borash say it again. Anderson said he beat the best wrestler in the world. He noted he beat Abyss last month and would be the guy that's going to do it again tonight and get the title shot, then win the title. Anderson said everyone is waiting for him to carry the company into the future and he would. He was hilarious doing his "ANDERRRRRRRSON" bit into Borash's face at the end.
8 Card Stud Tournament: Abyss vs. Ken Anderson
They slugged it out in the center of the ring. Anderson attempted a high cross bodyblock but bounced off. Anderson called for a test of strength but when Abuss went for it, he punched Abyss. Abyss grabbed him for a slam but Anderson escaped and they faced off.
Anderson got nailed with a big boot and clotheslined over the top to the floor. Outside, Abyss slammed him into the ring steps. Anderson fired back with a right hand. Anderson went to slam Abyss into the guard rail but Abyss overpowered him and it was Anderson who ate steel. Abyss did the running charge in the corner but Anderson dropkicked him in the knee. Anderson worked over Abyss with punches and tried to unmask Abyss. Abyss rushed himself backwards into the corner and fixed the mask.
Anderson came from behind with a chop block, taking out the knee again. Abyss punched off Anderson but was tied up in the corner. Anderson nailed a dropkick to the knee. Abyss tried to make a comeback but couldn't get the chokeslam. He backdropped Anderson and began drilling him with right hands. Abyss nailed the running charge in the corner and hit a sideslam for a two count.
Abyss called for a chokeslam. Anderson kicked him in the gut but was unable to get the Mic Check. Abyss went for and nailed Shock Treatment for a two count. Abyss went for a chokeslam but Anderson pulled the mask out of alignment. Abyss was blinded and grabbed at the referee, allowing Anderson to nail him low and score the Mic Check for the pin.
Your winner, Ken Anderson!
Anderson vs. Pope in the final. Crowd was way down for this and the last match. I didn't think this match really stood out either.
Christy Hemme interviewed TNA champ AJ Styles, who now has blonde frosting in his hair and Ric Flair. Styles said that there wasn't anyone who could shine his boots, including Hulk Hogan and the Funk Brothers. Styles said wrestlers like him only come around once in a lifetime. Styles is trying to find himself as a heel promo but it wasn't bad at all. He looked like he was having the time of his life. Flair told Hemme he was sorry for his anger earlier and promised that Eric Bishoff would call it right down the middle. He did his typical Flair promo, putting over himself and the champ. The only problem there was it showed Styles isn't all the way there yet. Still, I am enjoying this.
TNA champ AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe with Eric Bischoff as the special referee: The Prelude
I can't believe this isn't going on last. Anderson and Dinero, working their third match in one night, going on after Joe vs. Styles is just unfair. There has to be some sort of angle set here, especially since we haven't seen Hulk Hogan yet.
Oh whoops, there's Hogan. He stopped Bischoff backstage and told him he and Ric Flair needed to let it all go. Hogan said that after 15 years, there's no reason for any of the animosity and they both needed to tone it down a few notches. Hulk said he knew what Bischoff was up to tonight and it wasn't going to happen. Hogan told Bischoff there were to be no shenanigans and no ga-ga after the Earl Hebner situation. Hogan said they the wrestlers and the fans needed to believe in the ref and demanded Bischoff call it right down the middle. When Hogan walked off, Bischoff looked pissed and said, "damn it!"
They showed an intense Joe walking out with his briefcase. Joe's work lately has been inspired and he's really an MVP when it comes to putting guys into good wrestling situations, so I am really looking forward to this one.
Backstage, Flair had dressed Styles in an old school, Flair style robe. Styles strutted down the hallway but then stopped and pulled a hood over his head. I am sure some fans will cry they are making Styles a Flair knock-off but I have no problem with this. Buddy Rogers gave way to Ric Flair and TNA is doing a solid job with the idea of Flair giving way to Styles. Fine by me.
Jeremy Borash was back with the big time Jimmy Lennon style ring introductions.