TNA Impact Wrestling opened with clips from last week's apparent reveal that something romantic was going on between Brooke Hogan and Bully Ray, Wes Brisco facing the Gutcheck Judges and Aces & Eights taking out Eric Young on Thanksgiving night.
Hulk Hogan came to the ring. He said there is no doubt that as the TNA General Manager, he runs the show so he was demanding answers from Bully Ray. Ray came down. Hogan demanded to know what was going on. Ray said that Hogan doesn't trust him, but he wants to know what was going on. He said Hogan didn't trust him when he was Sting's partner and he didn't trust Ray when he was here every week for TNA but now he wants answers.
Hogan demanded Ray to cut the crap and tell him what was going on. Ray asked him if he really wanted answers over who the number one man is in his daughter's life. Brooke Hogan came to the ring and got in between them. Hogan asked her what the hell was going on. She said she isn't 18 anymore and asked why he is doing. She said it wasn't what he thinks.
Hogan said that as long as he is alive, he doesn't want to see her with another wrestler, especially him. Austin Aries appeared on the screen and said that all the Hogan drama was out for the world to see. He was on the desk in Hogan's office, standing and asked when Hogan was going to stop messing around in the ring and work as the General Manager of TNA. He said there were four wrestlers waiting to find out who was going to get their shot at the X-Division title tonight.
Kenny King, Kid Kash and Zema Ion were in the office with him waiting and Kash asked Aries where Hogan was. Aries said he was standing there in the ring instead of taking care of business. Aries said he was going to lay on the desk and wait. He then said it was uncomfortable and asked Brooke how she does it. Brooke was beside herself and Hogan stormed off.
They showed Mickie James warming up as we went to commercial.
Gail Kim vs. Mickie James
Kim controlled James early and worked her over in the corner. She nailed several kicks and hit a nice leaping splash against the turnbuckles. Kim worked her over and scissored James on mat, trying to force a submission. Kim covered her for a two count.
James kicked Kim off and nailed her with a flapjack. James went to the rop for the Thesz Press but Kim evaded her and nailed a big dropkick into the corner. Kim covered her and used the ropes but the referee stopped her.
James nailed Kim in the ribs and nailed the Chick Kick. James nailed a series of dropkicks and played to the crowd. Kim grabbed her by the hair but James nailed her with a neckbreaker for a two count. She went for a DDT but Kim shoved her against the turnbuckles. Kim responded by battling back and nailing a tornado DDT.
Your winner, Mickie James!
Real good back and forth match.
Backstage, James Storm was doing an interview. He said that he has to live with his choices but when someone brings his daughter into it, that's what pisses him off. AJ Styles cut in and said that isn't something to be bitter about, unlike someone who can't get a shot at the title for a year. Storm told him to stop worrying about the past and get himself back on track and he can start tonight with their tag match. Styles walked off, sort of blowing off Storm.
Backstage, Hulk Hogan stormed into his office, where the X-Division challengers were waiting. Aries told him to calm down because he's the GM. Hogan said he's also Hulk Hogan the father. He told Aries to sit down. Hogan began asking Kenny King why he should show him any respect since he hasn't done a thing in the business yet (OUCH) when King is laughing at Aries' jokes. King said that it was a funny joke, but he wasn't meaning any disrespect. He said that since he walked into TNA, he was making waves and pointed out his Destination X performance. Hogan turned to Ion and asked him to plead his case. Ion said he's the former X champion and is the natural choice. Kash stood up and said he started the division and is a two time champion. Aries said that means he lost the belt three times. UH, How? Hogan booted Kenny King from competition. Long flight from Las Vegas for that cameo! Hogan threw the rest of them out. Aries said he was Hogan's guy as he left and commented, "Aries knows best." That was funny!
Bobby Roode came out to cut a promo and said that last week, he came out and made a statement - and that statement was that he would be the new champion at Final Resolution. They played clips of the attack on Jeff Hardy last week. Roode said that Hardy was called out last week by a nobody, a Gutcheck rookie. Roode said that Hardy was close to losing to a rookie but Roode took him out with one move. He called Hardy a paper champion and said he would prove it at Final Resolution. He said that if you want to make a name for yourself, you don't call out Hardy but the most dominant champion in TNA history.
Christian York, who Roode was referring to, came out and hit the ring. Roode told him to calm down and said he would give him some advice. Roode said it was his time and no one interrupts him. He told York to get out of his ring. York slapped him in the face. Roode ran off. York said that since Roode wanted someone to call him out, York is calling him out. Roode lost it at ringside.
Bobby Roode vs. Christian York
York controlled Roode early. They battled to the floor, where York reversed a whip into the stairs. Back in the ring, Roode cut him off and smothered him in the corner with his boot.
Roode whipped York into the corner but was caught with an elbow. Roode cut him off with a quick clothesline. Roode nailed a snap suplex and went to the top. Roode came off the turnbuckles but was kicked in the face. Roode did the Flair flop.
York unloaded with a series of elbows and a clothesline on Roode. He flapjacked Roode and went to the top. Roode cut him off but was nailed and went down. York nailed a double stomp and hit a cannonball in the corner for a two count.
York went for the Moodswing but Roode cut him off. York small packaged him for a two count. Roode tried to leave the ring but York pulled him back in. Roode nailed him and hit the Northern lariat. Roode locked in the crossface and got the submission.
Your winner, Bobby Roode!
Another good match. York looked great and had he gone over, it may have made him a player. He looked that good.
Roode grabbed a chair and teased going after York with it, but Jeff Hardy hit the ring and backed him off. So, the focus is on Roode vs. Hardy for the PPV.
They showed highlights of Aces & Eights destroying Eric Young. We will hear from ODB later tonight.
We go to Aces & Eights. They were talking and said Doc would face Kurt Angle. Devon cut a promo saying if he gets a shot at the TNA TV title he never lost, he gives their word no one would get hurt tonight.
We came back from commercial to see clips of Wes Brisco in the Gutcheck from last week. The Judges discussed Brisco. Bruce Prichard said he made a lot of mistakes in the ring. They talked about his heritage. Taz pointed out that Kurt Angle put his stamp of approval on Wes. Prichard said that Angle isn't making the call.
All that must have been taped last week, because we went live backstage to Prichard and no one has seen Al Snow all day. D-Lo Brown said he's been calling and looking for him, but there's no response. Prichard said it isn't like Snow to be so late. Angle showed up and said he wanted to talk to Prichard about Brisco, saying he needs a TNA contract and Bruce knows his father and Uncle. Prichard said that no one knows their family better than he but they need to find out where Snow is. Angle left, offering to look for him.
Kazarian cut a promo and said he was sorry about AJ's luck. He said in ten days, he is going to hear the words that will haunt him for the rest of his miserable, redneck life...and announced Daniels as the winner "forever."
Daniels and Kazarian vs. AJ Styles and James Storm
Styles and Kazarian started and locked up. Kazarian went for a go behind but Styles backed him into the corner. They grappled on the mat, where Kazarian locked in a front facelock. Styles leapfrogged Kazarian but missed a dropkick.
Storm tagged in and tagged Kazarian with some offense before hitting a neckbreaker. Daniels tagged in but was hit with a big back bodydrop. Styles tagged in and they sent Daniels into the ropes but Styles didn't go for an elbow at the same time as Storm to show they weren't on the same page. That allowed Daniels and Kazarian to overwhelm Styles and nail some double team maneuvers.
Storm tagged in and nailed a series of big punches on their opponents, then drilled Kazarian with an enziguiri. Storm went for the Backstabber but Daniels saved his partner and Storm crashed to the mat. Kazarian nailed a springboard into a legdrop. Daniel drilled Storm with a headbutt. Daniels and Kazarian are now known as Bad Influence.
Styles ended up arguing with the referee, allowing Daniels and Kazarian to double team Storm. Influence danced Gangnam Style. Taz said that thing sucks. Storm made the hot tag after avoiding them. Styles went nuts with offense and hit a springboard splash but missed a dive to the outside on Kazarian.
Daniels and Kazarian worked over Styles on the floor. Kazarian knocked Storm off the apron, then hit a powerbomb, neckbreaker combination on Styles for a two. Styles fought back as Storm dragged Kazarian out of the ring and whipped him into the guard rail.
Daniels set up for Angel's Wings on Styles but Storm drilled him with the Last Call superkick and pinned Daniels. Styles was upset Storm saved him and pinned Daniels, so he just walked out, looking heartbroken.
Your winners, James Storm and AJ Styles!
Another good match with a lot of good wrestling and a good story about the upset and lost Styles trying to rebound and failing after losing his chance at the TNA title for a year.
We went backstage to the X-Division challengers. Kid Kash said he's fought RVD all over the world. He said he's beaten Rob and Rob has beaten him, so he deserves one last shot, if that's what it is. Ion was kissing up to Hogan in an arrogant way. Aries mocked them both and said that if Hogan needs a stick to stir things up, he should pick the best stick. Hogan picked Aries, saying he to see RVD kick Aries' ass. Hogan was pissed off and a lot more genuinely intense than usual, as opposed to his frenetic on screen character. Kash said he was tired of this. Hogan told him that his day is coming.
Backstage, Samoa Joe responded to Devon's challenge. He said Devon wasn't beaten for the belt but he abandoned it. He said Devon couldn't hack it, so Joe took over. He told Devon to come get the belt and next week, he will get beaten.
Douglas Williams vs. Matt Morgan (with Joey Ryan)
Ryan gave Morgan a big introduction. Morgan is now wearing what was claimed to be Hogan's old cape from when Hogan was a heel managed by Freddie Blassie in the WWWF.
Morgan killed Williams with a clothesline and then a big elbow in the corner. Morgan showed a lot of angry fire, stalking Williams. He used his boot to choke Williams in the corner. He caught Williams with a big sideslam.
Williams kicked off several charges in the corner but was grabbed and nailed with a chokelam. Morgan set up for the Carbon Footprint for the win.
Your winner, Matt Morgan!
An effective old school squash to showcase Morgan.
Backstage, D-Lo Brown and Bruce Prichard were talking. There was still no sign of Al Snow Brown said he watched the match and offered to judge if they needed him too. Prichard said that might not be a bad idea. He noted he was going to call Snow's wife Cyndi (who some of you may remember as the former WWE Hardcore champion the Hardcore Ho). I this the start of an angle where Brisco, a covert Aces & Eights member, gets voted in thanks to Brown, who is on their side?
Announced for next week:
*TNA champion Jeff Hardy & James Storm & AJ Styles vs. Bobby Roode & Kazarian & Daniels.
*TNA TV champ Samoa Joe vs. Devon.
*Doc vs. Kurt Angle.
It was time for Wes Brisco to be judged. Bruce Prichard noted that Al Snow did not show up and no one, including his family, have heard from him. He explained that D'Lo would be sitting in for Snow.
Prichard said that if he was judging Brisco based on last week, he wouldn't make the decision he is going to make, because it wasn't a good match. But, he believes in Brisco and gives him a yes. Taz said that he respects Brisco but the answer was no.
They gave Brisco the chance to speak. He said that all he's ever wanted to do was being in the ring. He said he was doing it for his fans and his family, especially his late uncle Jack (Brisco, the former NWA champion).
It came down to Brown's decision. The crowd chanted, "Yes." Brown thanked the others for letting him stand in for Snow. He said that Brisco laid out some powerful words and he's known Brisco' family for a long time. The match last week left him conflicted and he doesn't know if Brisco is ready to be on the roster. He pointed out that he has Kurt Angle and Bruce Prichard sticking up for him and that's good enough for him. He says Yes.
Brisco dropped to his knees as if he was praying and celebrated. Kurt Angle and Garett Bischoff embraced him. They said that Brisco's father Gerald must be watching proudly.
Backstage, Hogan was asked why he made the double elimination. He said he wasn't himself today. Bully Ray grabbed him and said he wanted to ask Hogan a question. He asked if Austin Aries offend him, his daughter and Bully Ray, He said yes, yes, and yes. He asked why Hogan didn't come to him if they wanted his head kicked in. He said that maybe for the first time, he's confusing business and personal. Hogan accused Bully of being the one doing that and stormed off.
They plugged that Jeff Hardy would be on Inkmaster on Tuesday.
Backstage, ODB said that Eric Young is in the hospital with a shattered ankle. She was too upset to talk more and walked off.
They plugged the Final Resolution PPV card.
TNA X-Division champion Rob Van Dam vs. Austin Aries
They noted it was their first ever meeting. Jeremy Borash did the big time ring introductions.
They went back and forth. RVD went for the Rolling Thunder but Aries rolled out of the ring., RVD dropkicked him into the guard rail and hit a dive to the outside as they went to commercial.
When we returned from commercial, Aries backdropped RVD over the top to the apron. Aries nailed a dropkick, sending RVD to the floor. RVD set him up on the rail and went for the corkscrew legdrop but Aries moved and RVD's foot was caught on the rail. Aries nailed him with a neckbreaker on the rail.
Aries brought RVD back into the ring for a two count. Aries rolled him up again for another two count. Aries dove down with a nice forearm smash and covered RVD for another two count.
RVD fired back with several kicks but Aries ducked one and nailed a DDT for a two count. Aries mocked RVD by nailing him with a variation of the Rolling Thunder for a two count. He then tried to mock the Five Star Frog Splash off the top but Van Dam moved.
RVD came back with a series of shoulderblocks and a spinning kick in the corner. RVD nailed Rolling Thunder for a two count. RVD nailed the Hollywood Star Press but Aries placed his foot on the ropes. Aries ducked the windmill kick and nailed a roaring forearm. He mocked RVD again and ended up nailed.
RVD went to the top for the Five Star Frog Splash but Aries shoved him off the top to the rail, Aries dragged him in and took the mic. He began ripping Van Dam and said he was laying there all sweaty with his hair a mess, kind of like Brooke Hogan. He said he was going to win the X-Division title. Bully Ray hit the ring and tried to attack Aries. DQ city.
Aries escaped and said Ray cost him the match, calling him a son of a bitch. He tried to back off but Hulk Hogan came out. Aries was trapped between the two but Hogan just stared at Ray. Ray walked towards Hogan and said, "You still don't trust me, do you? You still don't trust me? What's it going to take?"
And..........we are off the air.
Thumbs up show all the way. Good storytelling. Lots of good wrestling up and down the show with clean finishes and the main event was solid with the finish meant to build the issues between Hogan, Ray and Aries, so you can give them a pass on the DQ. Hulk Hogan and Brooke Hogan were way better tonight than any other time I can remember them on Impact. You can see they are slowly building lots of possible/eventual reveals and the pacing was great, far superior to Raw of late. If you haven't been watching Impact, now is a great time to start.