This week’s edition of Impact Wrestling represents TNA’s last chance to build a paying audience for Slammiversary — their quarterly pay-per-view — as well as their return to the 9PM Eastern timeslot. Join Juice Make Sugar’s mononymous Dave on a magical mystery tour across the equally twisted planes of his mind and TNA booking.
Advertized Segment Rundown:
TNA Says: Thursday’s broadcast will feature the final countdown to Slammiversary with a huge main event match that will start the broadcast at 9/8c: “The Icon” Sting will team with Joseph Park to battle World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray and Devon of The Aces and Eights! With just days before Slammiversary, will all hell break loose when Sting and Park battle one of the greatest tandems in wrestling history in Team 3D? Will Bully Ray try to eliminate Sting before their World Title main event? With Joseph Park in action – will “The Monster” Abyss make another unexpected appearance? Don’t miss the opening to Thursday’s broadcast!
Best Case Scenario: Devon submits to the Scorpion Deathlock as Ray brawls outside with Park. Sting looks good heading into the pay per view, but only goes over Devon, which leaves the crowd wondering how he would fare against the World Heavyweight Champion.
Worst Case Scenario: Sting and Ray spend a ton of time in the ring together, destroying any chance their match at Slammiversary will seem special. Ray and Devon hit the 3-D on Park with a developmental wrestler playing Abyss making an appearance.
Dave Says: Last week, I complained about Ray and Devon using the 3D because it draws attention to Bully Ray’s history as a midcard tag team wrestler. TNA called my bluff by booking what is essentially a full-fledged Dudley Boys match.
TNA Says: After spoiling the patching-in ceremony by the Aces and Eights this past week, AJ Styles will be in action on Thursday against Mr. Anderson! However, plenty of questions still surround Styles – despite burning the Aces, AJ also blasted Kurt Angle! After being made a fool, will Anderson try to get revenge on Styles? Will AJ explain his actions from this past week? Just when we think we know the answers – AJ changes the question!
Best Case Scenario: The advertized match for Slammiversary gets changed (Note: I rarely advocate for this kind of last-minute change, but it feels necessary) to A.J. & Angle against Anderson & Doc. This takes the inherent pressure off Styles and Angle to have an over the top match that puts either man in physical danger, and also unites the good guys against the bad guys.
Worst Case Scenario: Angle is so mad at A.J. that he joins Aces and Eights. The only thing worse would be a drug addict claiming A.J. got her pregnant and then disappearing from TV. Oh, wait, they already did that to him.
Dave Says: This has been the angle of the month (fiscal quarter?) for me. With that said, it’s too much A.J.-Angle and not enough A.J. & Angle against Aces and Eights. Put the faces against the heels, not against each other while the heels stare and laugh.
TNA says: Also on IMPACT, it will be mixed tag team action with Chris Sabin and Taryn Terrell taking on X Division Champion Kenny King and Gail Kim
Best Case Scenario: Sabin, King, and Kim all look strong while Terrell looks adequate. Sabin gets an out-of-nowhere win over King, planting seeds that the heel champion is in danger going into the pay per view.
Worst Case Scenario: B-O-T-C-H-A-M-A-N-I-A. Also, Sabin blows out his knee (I will list this as a “worst case scenario” for any of his matches for years to come).
Dave Says: Wow, lumping the X Division and the Knockouts together sure cheapens both of them, doesn’t it?
TNA Says: Also, a HUGE 8 man tag team match will occur this Thursday on IMPACT as Chavo Guerrero, Hernandez, James Storm, and Gunner team to take on Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Daniels, and Kazarian.
Best Case Scenario: Chavo sells. Hernandez cleans house. Storm stays healthy and hits one big move. Gunner looks ready to take on the world. Roode does his Triple H impression (the good one). Aries does a suicide dive onto the entire other team. Daniels sells. Kaz calls someone a juvenile insult.
Worst Case Scenario: Chavo hits his (and by his I mean Eddie’s) moves of doom. Hernandez blows one (or all) of his big spots. Storm gets injured. Gunner is the same ol’ Gunner. Roode does his Triple H impression (the bad one). Aries puts his crotch in someone’s face. Daniels is underappreciated. Kaz blows one (or all) of his big spots.
Dave Says: I’m so confused over how hurt James Storm is at this point. Will his ring time be next to nil, or is injury a big (well-executed) work to make him look like a million dollars at Slammiversary?
TNA Says: Plus, more news and updates on Slammiversary, Thursday on SpikeTV at the NEW START TIME of 9/8c!
Best Case Scenario: Magnus, working unadvertised, looks strong in a match or on the stick and sneaks onto the Slammiversary card. (Possibly in the tag match with Joe against Bischoff & Brisco that I speculated about last week.)
Worst Case Scenario: A lot of Hogan.
Dave Says: Normally I wouldn’t bother reacting to a line like this, but with relatively little advertized, I’m interested to see what surprises are unveiled heading into Slammiversary. It’s worth noting that the release doesn’t advertise Hulk Hogan at all, so I suspect one (or, god forbid, many) of the unadvertised segments will feature him prominently.
Well, sports fans, this seems like a do or die edition of Impact between the time change and Slammiversary. Let’s see what TNA produces in what should be their most compelling two hours of television in three months. I’ll be attending Sunday’s Slammiversary event in Boston, so don’t forget to follow me @DaveTheMark for thoughts from the arena, and every Thursday as I go where no (reasonable, or at least no ostensibly well-adjusted) man has gone before: live tweeting Impact.