TNA Says: New TNA Wrestling superstar RAMPAGE JACKSON will be LIVE on IMPACT on Thursday night! What plans does Rampage have in TNA? Don’t miss the TNA debut of the MMA superstar!
Best Case Scenario: Rampage cuts a spirited promo about how happy he is to be part of the TNA family and establishes his mission as rising through the ranks as quickly and systematically as possible, with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship as his ultimate goal.
Worst Case Scenario: Rampage gets involved physically right away and either potatoes the bejesus out of someone or throws some lousy work punches that show a ton of light. Either one of these scenarios is equally bad for wrestling, although the former would give Rampage a ton of credibility.
Dave Says: Rampage is an interesting addition to the pro wrestling world, but he would have been a far more interesting addition five years ago. He definitely takes Bellator to “a whole ‘nother level,” but it’s hard to say how he will perform in TNA.
TNA Says: After a wild and chaotic No Holds Barred main event, Bully Ray is STILL the World Heavyweight Champion – meaning Sting cannot challenge for the title! What will Bully Ray have to say about his win on Thursday? How will Sting react to the major loss? Despite the Aces and Eights taking several hits at Slammiversary, their leader retained the championship AND the power in TNA!
Best Case Scenario: Ray gloats like a self-indulgent jerk, celebrating his tainted victory over Sting. Hulk Hogan (or another top babyface) comes to the stage and talks about how Ray should be ashamed of himself. Ray responds by saying “All that matters is I won, I’m the greatest World Heavyweight Champion of all time, and no one can stop me.”
Worst Case Scenario: Ray goes completely milquetoast and talks about all the respect he has for Sting and what an honor it was to end his run.
Dave Says: I’m trying to think of a situation where it was more necessary for a heel to gloat. Ray ended the main event run THE perennial top star outside of the WWE for the last twenty-five years, and he did so in a completely unfair manner. He needs to act like he beat Antonio Inoki clean in the Tokyo Dome.
TNA Says: Chris Sabin capped off his amazing comeback at Slammiversary, winning The Ultimate X Match to once again become the X Division Champion! After the win, Hulk Hogan told Sabin that like last year, the X Division Champion will get a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship at the upcoming Destination X event! Austin Aries made history last year – will Sabin follow the same path? Tune into IMPACT to see the new X Division Champion!
Best Case Scenario: Sabin gets the big babyface victory promo that he didn’t get to cut at Slammiversary. Hulk Hogan waits his turn and makes the Destination X announcement after Sabin is done.
Worst Case Scenario: Sabin blows out his knee on the way to the ring. Hogan doesn’t let the X Division Champion get a word in as he tells the crowd again that they should act like Sabin is him (a puzzling statement, considering that they are alike only in the fact that they are professional wrestlers).
Dave Says: Sabin deserves a big celebration, given his legacy in the X Division and the legitimately hard road he has traveled to get back on top. Hopefully this will be a segment all about him tying together the past, present, and future of the X Division.
TNA Says: “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy made his return on Sunday at “Slammiversary”, teaming with Magnus and Samoa Joe to beat The Aces and Eights in a six-man war! What’s next for Hardy as he rejoins TNA in the war against The Aces? Tune in and find out!
Best Case Scenario: Hardy cuts his signature 90-second promo about how “sick” it is to be back in TNA and how much he missed the “creatures.” He is interrupted by A.J. Styles, who refuses to talk to him, but beats him down and gives him the Calf Killer submission to start a feud.
Worst Case Scenario: Hardy cuts a 91-plus second promo and enters into a feud with (a) any former WWE superstar or (b) a lower-tier member of Aces & Eights (oh wait, most of them are former WWE superstars!)
Dave Says: Hardy’s return at Slammiversary was relatively unhyped, considering he was the company’s centerpiece prior to losing the title to Bully Ray. This episode of Impact needs to get him back on track with a clear mission statement, whether it’s chasing the title, and by extension Aces & Eights, or working in a more personal secondary feud where he can be the whole story.
TNA Says: Six Man Tag Team Match: World Tag Team Champions James Storm and Gunner and X Division Champion Chris Sabin vs. Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and Kenny King
Best Case Scenario: These guys have a good, long, fundamentally sound six-man tag ala The Shield. Storm is protected heavily, but gets in one meaningful spot where he doesn’t need to move around much. Sabin does a nice long sell, ultimately setting up hot offense for both himself and Gunner. Roode, Aries, and King all take turns beating down Sabin, then get bounced around by the good guys. (Seriously, as I’m writing this, I’m trying to think of a better “bump-taking heel” team that TNA could put together without including members of Bad Influence.)
Worst Case Scenario: The match doesn’t get the time that it deserves, going less than ten minutes. James Storm does too much, worsening his clearly nagging injuries. Gunner is put in a position where he has to sell more than he should at this point in his build. Kenny King kicks someone’s head off
Dave Says: I’m not a huge Teddy Long fan, but, playa, if you were going to put together three upper-midcard babyfaces and three upper-midcard heels in TNA, these are the guys to go with.
TNA Says: Also at Slammiversary, it was announced that Kurt Angle is the 2013 inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame! Tune into IMPACT to see the multi-time World Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist and soon-to-be Hall of Famer!
Best Case Scenario: We see some tasteful, out-of-character interviews from various TNA stars discussing Kurt Angle. Angle gets a full entrance with colorful streamers and the whole shebang. Hogan, Sting, and Dixie all raise his hand as he smiles and looks moved.
Worst Case Scenario: Hulk Hogan cuts a 15-minute promo on the greatness of Kurt Angle, brother. Angle cuts a longer form promo, which sounds forced and unnecessary after his elegantly short speech at the pay per view.
Dave Says: This should be interesting, as Angle already delivered a nice, humble acceptance speech at Slammiversary. If I were putting this together, I would have video packages throughout the show of different wrestlers talking about what Kurt Angle means to them.
TNA Says: With “Bound For Glory” coming in October, the annual “Bound For Glory Series” is set to begin! Which superstar will win the summer competition to earn a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship at TNA’s biggest event of the year in October? Tune into IMPACT for the latest!
Best Case Scenario: Jay Bradley gets a few minutes to cut a heel promo on what it means to be the first man in the series. The usual suspects of Angle, AJ, Joe, Roode, Storm, and Aries are in the mix, but there’s also a healthy peppering of potential rising stars like Magnus (who started his breakout in last year’s series), Hernandez, Matt Morgan, and even an X Division star or two.
Worst Case Scenario: The Series is introduced by Mike Tenay explaining the rules and points in a way that makes it sound like not even he understands. The series is entirely made up of the same ol’ guys with nobody new in the rotation.
Dave Says: I really, really like the Bound For Glory Series. If someone asked me for a short list of things that make TNA stand apart from the WWE, I would include the series in my list. I look at it like this: what if instead of happening on one night in January, the Royal Rumble was stretched out for three months, giving rising stars and top guys the chance to wrestle meaningful, built-up matches at each TV taping and even house shows. Hopefully they don’t screw this up.