We open on a video from "earlier today", where-in Garret Bischoff arrives at Universal Studios in an open top jeep. The camera crew ask him about what happened last week with Ric Flair, to which he replies he appeciates the warning, but he's not going anywhere. Garret continues to mumble his way through promos, whether there's a crowd or not. There's no way such a green worker should be opening the show.
Knockouts Tag Team Championships
Gail Kim & Madison Rayne (c) vs ODB & Eric Young
Before the match begins, Taz and Tenay recap the events of last week, replaying footage of Gail Kim making half-arsed attempts at aiding her partner Madison and eventually costing her the match. All of this building tension towards their upcoming Knockouts Championship match at Victory Road in ten days. As such, their future as Tag Team Champions doesn't look too rosey!
An otherwise impressive Knockouts tag match, the only downside being Eric Young's involvement, as he was unable to play anything other than a comedy role for fear of striking a woman. While I enjoy the pairing of ODB and Young, I do question whether they can function as Champions, with one half being incapable of truly competing.
Winners - ODB & Eric Young to become the NEW Knockouts Tag Team Champions
After the match, EY gets down on one knee in the centre of the mat. Taking ODB's hand, he produces an engagement ring from his trunks (he wrestled with a ring in there? ouch!). Coming back from commercial, we find EY now has a mic and asks his trailer park lover to marry him. She thinks about it for a second and motions to leave. All of a sudden, she turns and proposes to him! EY happily accepts and does a victory lap around ringside in celebration. A really dopey angle, but I like the occasional cheesey segment.
Outside, at the main gate, a security guard checks the credentials of one Joseph Parks. It's clearly the Monster Abyss (aka Chris Parks), sans mask, wearing a goofy suit, looking ALOT like the magician Penn Jillette. It even looks as though they've cut his hair. I have absolutely no idea what to think of this development! Have they put the Abyss gimmick to rest or are they gearing up for a split personality angle (good luck booking the eventual match for that!)
X Division Championship
Austin Aries (c) vs Zema Ion
A wonderful X Division match, with both men getting in several impressive moves. The clear victor being Austin Aries, as he dominated the match from start to finish and proved himself a champion like no other. If they're as interested in young talent as they say, TNA should take advantage of this and push Aries all the way into the World Title picture. Right now, no one deserves it more than him.
Winner - Zema Ion via disqualification (title doesn't change hands)
Backstage, the mysterious Joseph Parks enters the makeup room and finds Velvet Sky being tended to. Introducing himself, he asks if she might know where Abyss, HIS BROTHER, might be. He's been "missing" for several months (clearly someones not watching Ring Ka King!). She apologises to "Joseph", as she hasn't seen Abyss in a while either. He thanks her and leaves without incident. Not knowing Abyss had a brother in the first place, Velvet exclaims "you learn something new every day!". Two segments in and this angle is truly bizarre. I hope there's a point to all of this.
World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode vs Bully Ray
Before coming out to the ring, we see Roode arguing with Sting over having to defend his title at such short notice. Sting, not wanting to ruin the Lockdown main event, never said that this would be a title match! Roode exits towards the stage, calling Sting all different kinds of crazy and the General Manager thanks him in return.
A fantastic match for Bully Ray continuing his late blooming career revival. Despite several prolonged periods taking punishment from the Champion, he showed phenomenal conviction and it's no wonder the crowd got behind him. The only thing I'd pick fault with is that being a heel vs heel match, the crowd didn't have the slightest clue what they were meant to do. They eventually settled on supporting Bully, only at the end to find him chased off by the actual face, James Storm. With Bully inspiring such a fierce reaction from the audience, it was unwise to send the Cowboy in after him. If not for the superkick to Roode at the end, they might've accidently turned their biggest hero.
Winner - World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode via disqualification
We cut to the locker room area, where Garret Bischoff is getting ready. He's sat in his supposed ring gear, otherwise known as a vest and some tracksuit bottoms (I've done PE at school in more elaborate gear than he wears to the ring!). The camera crew try to coax the reveal of his mystery tag team partner, but he point blank refuses to spoil the surprise. Firstly, we know it'll be Jeff Hardy, purely due to the fact he's feuding with Kurt Angle, who's going to be Gunner's partner. Secondly, will somebody shave those damn mutton chops off his face, they're beginning to annoy me!
Number One Contenders Match
Crimson & Matt Morgan vs Robbie E & Robbie T
Rather curiously, E & T come out wearing matching pink cardigans. Is that meant to be in style? Because they look horrendous! (Rob Terry looks none too happy about it either)
A short, silly affair that didn't really do any of the four men much good. The only thing of note was the screwy ending, setting up a probable heel turn for Crimson. I don't want it to sound as though I'm picking on Crimson and Morgan, but the two of them have consistently failed to engage me for the past six months, whether it be in singles or tag team competition. If their feud wasn't working back then, why do the bookers think it'll work now? However, I am happy to see them steer Crimson towards the dark side, as he's failed to get over as a face and the fanbase are noticably resentful of his undeserved monster push. Maybe a run as a heel will freshen up his act. Until then, we have at least one more Tag Team Championship match at Victory Road between them and the new champions, Samoa Joe and Magnus.
Winners - Crimson & Matt Morgan via pinfall to become number one contenders to the Tag Team Championships
A new segment begins as AJ Styles music hits the Impact Zone and he makes his way to the ring. He enters to rousing fan support, which doesn't go unnoticed by the Phenomenal One, as he puts over how essential the fans have been in getting TNA to their ten year anniversary. Styles takes a walk down memory lane and reminices about various angles, including an odd mention of Bully Ray being a member of the Frontline standing against the Main Event Mafia. Before he can go any further, he's interrupted by Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. Mocking AJ's nostalgia, Daniels points out that he returned to TNA last year in support of AJ. Ultimately, in all the time they've been friends, Styles has soared and Daniels has been punished. That's why he's decided to put himself first for a change and encouraged Kazarian to do the same thing. Handing the mic off to Frankie, he calls AJ transparent and gullable. He builds up to the point that with all the friends who've turned their back on AJ, maybe the problem doesn't lie with them, but with himself. Responding to that, AJ swears off any future friends, but instead will associate with...Assholes! Mr Anderson's music hits and the four men erupt in violence. Eventually, Styles and Anderson clear the ring and celebrate their new alliance! A curious confrontation that tried to explain the continued hostilities between AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, but the reasoning seemed too generic to have any real significance. Also, Styles calling in Mr Anderson for assistance seems totally random. Basically, they needed a way to get him back on television and he's been inserted into this placeholder of a feud until they can think of something better.
Kurt Angle & Gunner vs Garret Bischoff & TBA
Unsurprisingly, Garret's mystery partner turns out to be...Jeff Hardy! Even Angle's son Cody could've seen that one coming a mile away.
With the heels already in the ring, Garret shakes Jeff's hand on the ramp and follows the Charismatic Enigma down to the ring. Hardy plays to the crowd in a major way, while Garret just stands there looking like a moron. After the customary introductions by Jeremy Borash, the supposed-faces unwisely turn their backs on Angle and Gunner, who take the opportunity to jump them from behind. The referee restrains Garret as the opposing team double up on Jeff Hardy. Eventually order is restored and Gunner is forced out of the ring, leaving Angle to officially compete against Hardy. Following several submissions and suplexes, Angle unsuccessfully covers Hardy for a two count. Fighting back, Hardy comes off the ropes with a clothesline to Angle. Not waiting for the hot tag, Gunner enters the ring prematurely and attacks Garret, sending him crashing to the floor. While this is going on, Angle pulls Hardy back towards his corner and applies a submission hold to Hardy's leg, isolating him from Bischoff Junior's aid. Such games go on for quite a while, as Angle and Gunner whale on the ailing Hardy and occasionally make a play for Garret in the corner. There was a brief moment whereby Hardy had Angle in a rollup, but Garret's own protests distracted the referee from seeing the count. After a solid ten minutes of Hardy being the legal man, a free leg to Angle allows him the hot tag to Garret, who rushes into the ring, hitting several sloppy clotheslines on Angle and Gunner both. He hits what I assume was a botched jawbreaker on Angle and goes for the pin, but is broken up by Gunner. Both heels grab Garret and whip him into the ropes, but after an initial duck, are met with a piss poor double clothesline from their intended victim. Angle lands in just the right position and Hardy hits the Swanton Bomb for the win. We go off the air as the referee raises their hands in victory.
A ridiculous main event that was lob-sided at best. Jeff Hardy spent an insane amount of time as the legal man, which was almost the entire match, bar a last minute tag to Garret. It's clear the match had the duel purpose of putting Garret Bischoff over and yet hiding his inadequacies in the ring, of which there are many! It's ludicrous to think TNA wasted a television main event on putting over the producer's wannabe-wrestler son. The sooner someone tells the Bischoffs that what they're doing is shameless nepotism, the better.
Winners - Garret Bischoff & Jeff Hardy via pinfall
In conclusion, this was an extremely hit and miss episode of Impact Wrestling. For every brilliant match, there was a terrible one. For every wonderful promo, there was a disasterous one. It's rather easy to pinpoint what was wrong with this week's show, namely - TOO MUCH GARRET! Hell, even when he wasn't on-screen, they were still talking about him! He lacks ring presence, promo ability and botched the most basic of moves. That this green rookie can dominate the opening, the closing and a fair percentage of what came inbetween is insane. However, that's not to say this week was a complete loss, as I thoroughly enjoyed everything involving Austin Aries, marvelled at Bully Ray's progress and even had a chuckle at EY's expense. If TNA can get their priorities straight and remember the World Heavyweight Championship is the most important thing on the show, not the producer's son, they could improve in a heartbeat. But this week, it was not to be.