This week’s edition of Impact Wrestling will feature TNA’s immediate follow-up to their biggest show of the year, Bound For Glory. The centerpiece of the show will be the World Heavyweight Championship rematch between Bully Ray and new champ “The Phenomenal A.J. Styles.” Below is a rundown of all advertised segments.
Huge News: Dixie Carter orders the AJ vs. Bully rematch for Thursday on IMPACT Watch exclusive footage now – after Bound For Glory went off the air on Thursday night, TNA President Dixie Carter ordered that the World Heavyweight Title rematch between new titleholder AJ Styles and Bully Ray will take place LIVE this Thursday at 9/8c on SpikeTV from Salt Lake City!
Best Case Scenario: These two have a ten-minute match which A.J. wins clean to cement his status as a strong champion. Bully Ray is thoroughly disgraced, leading to the long-awaited dissolution of Aces & Eights and a temporary write-out for their former president.
Worst Case Scenario: After three ref bumps, four run-ins (including two by Dixie Carter), and a hammer shot, A.J. goes over Ray in the most convoluted possible manner, ensuring that (1) he has no babyface credibility as an honest, proud champion and (2) he and Ray will continue to feud.
Dave Says: As I said at the end of my Bound For Glory review , TNA needs to get their top title away from Bully Ray in the worst possible way. On one hand, scheduling the rematch for tonight gives hope that Styles will win so he can move onto feuding with other heels. On the other, this could just be a pretext to present something screwy in order to prolong the feud between Styles and Ray.
Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle will appear on IMPACT LIVE to discuss what happened at Bound For Glory! After shocking the wrestling world and respectfully declining his HOF induction, and then his controversial loss to Bobby Roode in which he was injured, what is next for Kurt Angle? What is Angle’s condition after the match? He appeared to suffer an injury and was prone for several minutes, but climbed off the stretcher and walked out on his own power! What will Angle have to say to the fans on IMPACT?
Best Case Scenario: Angle does his “warrior” routine, saying that while he was injured at Bound For Glory, he couldn’t bear the idea of being stretchered out. He tells the crowd that his body just isn’t in a position to be the standard-setter he talked about being at BFG. He says that he is going to step away from TNA temporarily in order to train and become the greatest wrestler in the world once again. He sets his sights on A.J. Styles, saying that at the next pay per view in three months, the two of them will face off to see who is truly the best wrestler in the world.
Worst Case Scenario: Angle cuts some long, awkward worked-shoot promo about how people within TNA were trying to disgrace him at Bound For Glory because of their jealousy. He calls out none other than Jeff Jarrett, who he claims came up with that finish just to make him look bad. This tears the last thread of kayfabe, causing TNA to become Vince Russo’s ultimate wet dream: a soap opera about a professional wrestling company.
Dave Says: Angle’s abdication of his Hall of Fame spot and the finish to his match with Bobby Roode were, well, weird. The booking aspect of both of them was fine. It’s definitely not a good idea to celebrate the legacy of a guy with multiple recent DUI arrests, and it also makes sense to put a star in his prime over a fading one. However, the execution of both led to some really uncomfortable moments that destroyed the morale of the live crowd. Can TNA possibly present a follow-up that isn’t just uncomfortable? We’ll see…
On Sunday night, Chris Sabin regained the X Division Championship in the Ultimate X Match! Now that Sabin is back on top of the X Division, what does he have planned next?
Best Case Scenario: Sabin comes out to cut a gloating victory promo when he is interrupted by “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy. Hardy says that he never understood how much he wanted the X Division Title until it was snatched away from him by Sabin and his dirty tricks. The two of them have a pull-apart brawl igniting a feud.
Worst Case Scenario: Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky do a cheap imitation of the “Live Sex Celebration”, leading to none other than Manik coming to the ring to break things up. Sabin and Manik engage in the most forgettable feud of 2013.
Dave Says: The Ultimate X match at Bound For Glory was a little anticlimactic, but it did get the title on the right person. Sabin has an array of interesting insta-feuds ready at this point, even if he doesn’t move past his opponents from the X match, Hardy, Joe and Aries. (Those were the only people in that match. Don’t argue.)
Also on Sunday, new Tag Team Champions were crowned as The Bro Mans (along with their new Bro addition Mr. Olympia) captured the gold, plus Gail Kim regained the Knockouts Championship with a big assist by the juggernaut Lei’D Tapa! Now that Gail and Tapa have seemingly formed an alliance, can any Knockout stop them? Tune in to IMPACT for the latest on the new titleholders!
Best Case Scenario: The BroMans get themselves over through (imagine this) an actual match in which they cleanly defeat another team rather than some goofy, homoerotic backstage segment.
Gail Kim comes out and does her best Mickie James impression, and cuts an over-the-top promo about her own greatness and her unbeatable nature. She clearly establishes that with Tapa at her side, nobody will ever take the title away from her.
Worst Case Scenario: Since both divisions are so weak, the tag team and Knockout angles are combined, with The BroMans defending their titles against Kim and Tapa. The Knockouts win clean when Tapa powerbombs Jesse and screams, allowing Kim to pick up the win.
Dave Says: I don’t know if TNA thinks that bringing in Mr. Olympia will lead to some kind of crossover publicity, but the fact of the matter is that the last thing wrestling needs is a conspicuously gassed-up looking maniac standing next to champions. What year is this that someone in the writer’s room said, “You know what’ll get these guys over?! A bodybuilder!” Seriously, does Vince McMahon book TNA?
As for the Knockouts Division, Gail Kim and Lei’D Tapa seem like a solid faction, but who on earth do they feud with? ODB? A face-turned Tessmacher? A returning Mickie James? There’s so little to hold onto in the Knockouts Division right now.
Plus, where do “The Icon” Sting and Magnus stand after battling each other at Bound For Glory? Both superstars will be on Thursday’s broadcast!
Best Case Scenario: These two have a man-to-man face-off in the ring in which Sting calls out Magnus for being disrespectful. Magnus runs down Sting and the Main Event Mafia, explaining why they don’t deserve an ounce of respect from a winner like him since they all lost their matches at BFG. Sting gets heated and tries to teach Magnus a lesson, but the younger man quickly overcomes him, delivers a big beatdown, and stands victorious again over the fallen Stinger.
Worst Case Scenario: See the Kurt Angle Worst Case Scenario. A bunch of worked-shoot garbage about how Magnus “didn’t appreciate what Sting did for him.” Just when you think it’s a promo segment, in classic TNA fashion the bell rings, signifying the start of an impromptu match. Sting defeats Magnus cleanly in under three minutes “getting his win back” and ensuring that Magnus never gets over ever.
Dave Says: I think when people look back at Magnus vs. Sting from Bound For Glory they’ll find that the match was actually better than it seemed at the time. With that said, Magnus has some ‘splainin’ to do. When did he actually turn heel? Was it before the match? During the match? When he realized he’d won? The audience needs to be let into Magnus’ head to see his thought process in order for his new character to get over.