Tonight, TNA presented This is your (Thug) Life, Bully Ray. (Ok. They called it The Rise of Bully Ray). Ray explained the rise of Aces and Eights and how he manipulated his way to the World title. In addition, two titles were on the line.
The show got right to the “tribute” to Bully Ray. Ray said people have been wanting to know how Bully Ray pulled off the biggest hoax, swindle, swerve in pro wrestling history. Ray said he would pull back the curtain and show how they sawed the girl in half. Ray said this plan took 9 months to come to fruition. Ray had to change his plans but it worked out so much better. Ray said he destroyed everything, including the Hogan family, in his plan for domination. Ray said Sting was just collateral damage in this battle.
Impact was still in Chicago, this week. Hulk Hogan hobbled out to the ring on his crutch. The crowd chanted for the Immortal One. Hogan couldn’t believe how Aces and Eights fooled everyone, including Hulk and his family. Hogan felt this was a war of survival. Hogan picked out four warriors that led the assault on Aces and Eights, last week. First out was Samoa Joe. He was followed by Magnus. Kurt Angle was the third man to come from the back. Finally, Jeff Hardy joined the party. Taz continued to taunt the men in the ring for losing to Aces and Eights. Hogan said Jeff Hardy, in his opinion, was still the World Champion. Hogan said this talk wasn’t just for these four but everyone in the back. Hogan wanted the World Title back in TNA. Hogan turned to Jeff Hardy and questioned him if he was up for the rematch against Bully Ray. Hardy admitted that he was down and in bad shape. Hardy, however, wanted his title back, for himself and the Creatures. Hardy suggested a four way match between the men in the ring, with the winner getting Bully Ray. Hogan made it official Magnus vs Samoa Joe vs Kurt Angle vs Jeff Hardy…Number One Contender Match.
Another Bully Ray segment. Ray explained his Plan A. It all revolved around Bound for Glory. Ray created Aces and Eights to inflict Shock and Awe. Ray said he told Bobby Roode it was “Cowboy” James Storm who was behind Aces and Eights. Ray said he and his crew manipulated things to make sure it looked like Storm was the mastermind. Ray called Bobby Roode and ignited the Roode vs Storm feud. Hogan threw Ray a curve by locking out Aces and Eights. Add to that, Jeff Hardy beat Bully Ray. That led to a change of plans…
Dirty Heels (Bobby Roode and Austin Aries) vs Chavo Guerrero, Jr. and Hernandez
World Tag Team Championship Match
Chavo and Roode started. Chavo took Roode down but Roode came back to Hammerlock Chavo. Chavo flipped around to get free but Roode with hard strikes. European Uppercut by Chavo. Tilt-a-Whirl Head Scissors by Chavo. Chavo pounded on Roode, in the corner. Tag to Hernandez. Hernandez Scoop Slammed Chavo onto Roode. Roode with a Kneelift. Roode pounded Hernandez into the enemy corner.
Tag to Aries. Roode choked Hernandez. Bell Ringer by Aries, who was getting some decent cheers. Tag back to Roode. Double Team as Aries tagged in. It backfired as Hernandez Suplexed both men and tagged to Chavo. The champs went to the floor as Impact went to break.
Roode pitched Chavo into the ring and Aries threw him back out. Roode slammed Chavo’s face into the ring post. Aries flew off the top rope to nail Chavo. Back in the ring, Aries tried for a foot on the ropes pin. Earl Hebner caught him. Aries quipped “Since when can you see anything?” Roode tagged in and hit a Back Drop Suplex for two. Rear Chin Lock by Roode. Chavo Elbowed his way out. Roode blocked the Monkey Flip but not the Tornado DDT.
Twin tags. Shoulder Tackle by Hernandez. Double Sledges to both champs. Roode flipped Hernandez to the outside. Shoulder Block by Hernandez. He then went up the ramp for a Running Double Spear Plancha, into the ring. Sweet. Hernandez went for the Border Toss but Roode got involved. Roode with Knife Edge Chops. Pounce by Hernandez. Aries flew off the ropes but got caught. Aries flipped himself and Hernandez over the top rope to block the Powerbomb. Aries wanted the Brainbuster but Chavo converted it into the Three Amigos. Chavo started up the ropes but Kaz distracted the ref. Daniels rushed up and pushed Chavo off the top turnbuckle. Chavo’s throat struck the top rope and Aries with the easy Roll Up.
Your Winners: Bobby Roode and Austin Aries
Grade: B (85%)
After the match, Bad Influence attacked Roode and Aries.
An X-Division profile video ran. I so love the X-Division. These guys are what makes wrestling. The Evolution has arrived. From now on, all X-Division title matches will be Triple Threat Matches. The person who gets pinned is out of the title picture. Kenny King grumbled, a bit, and then pushed 5 Hour Energy. He gets his bonus check, this week.
Kenny King vs Zema Ion vs Sonjay Dutt
Triple Threat Match for the X-Division Title
Another new rule for the X-Division is that all competitors have to be 230 pounds or under. Dutt whipped Ion into King. Dutt with a Head Scissors on Ion. Kenny whipped Dutt. Dutt flew over King to take down Ion, awkwardly. King and Ion ran into each other. Double Hurancanrana by Dutt. Too cool. Ion and King tripped Dutt and pulled him to the outside. King ran Ion into the barrier and then hit a modified Whisper in the Wind to send Ion into the railing. King whipped Ion to the corner, took out Dutt and choked Ion with the boot. King with a Rollover Suplex into hard punches off the Full Mount. King snapped Dutt’s neck over the top rope. Ion blocked the Royal Flush. Spin Kick by King. Dutt came back in with a Springboard Dropkick. Dutt to the top rope but King pushed Dutt off to the ramp. Ion with brutal fists. Enziguri by King that rocked Ion. Flying Tornado DDT off the ropes. Flip Hurancanran by Dutt. Dutt slipped getting up on the turnbuckles but recovered and hit a Moonsault, to the floor. Scoop Slam to Ion. Dutt went up top but a distraction by King almost cost Dutt his move. Backwards Warriors Way to Ion. King with a Springboard Buffbuster to retain, as he took out Sonjay Dutt. Dutt is now out of the title picture.
Your Winner: Kenny King
Grade: A (94%)
Brooke Hogan arrived and said she was not there to talk about Bully Ray or her dad. She was there as the VP of the Knockout Division.
Ray was back to discuss the next stage of his plan. He used Joseph Park to draw Hulk and Sting into the web of lies and deception. Ray blamed Hogan for making Ray rethink his plan. Ray came out to protect Brooke Hogan, to get close to Hulk. Ray said he did warn Park to be careful. Ray said it was Devon that tortured Park. Ray said no one mistreats his brother, Devon. Ray got Hogan to shake his hand. He knew, right then, that he had trapped Hulk in his web. Ray laughed at how he played up the frustration at losing to Devon. Again, all part of the plan. The Seduction of Brooke Hogan was the next piece of the puzzle.
Sting stood outside Hulk’s office. The Icon was ready to try and talk to Hulk, again.
Hulk and Sting had another negative confrontation. Sting wanted a shot a Bully Ray. Hulk just wanted Sting to get out of his office. Sting did say that he didn’t care about the World title. Hogan mocked Sting for his history of disappearing acts. He also reminded Sting that Sting always seemed to bring problems with him.
The Gail Kim vs Taryn Terrill feud was profiled. The Knockout Ref has been getting mistreated by Gail, for weeks. Taryn ended up on probation, because of her actions. A Pie-Face by Gail was the last straw. Taryn exploded on Gail.
Taryn came out to music that really sounded like “Rag Doll” by Aerosmith. Even the singer sounded like Steven Tyler. Taryn knew she was on probation. She was supposed to stop the chaos, not make it worse. Taryn got pushed too far and reacted. She was ready to accept her punishment.
Gail Kim, not Brooke Hogan, came from the back. Gail told Taryn that she was happy that Taryn finally learned not to mess with Gail Kim. Gail crowed about how great she has been and still is. Gail was there to witness what was about to happen to Taryn. Gail was ready to see Taryn get fired. Brooke came out to the ramp and said she had a tough decision to make. Brooke fired Taryn…as a ref. Brooke then let Gail know that she had another bit of good news to share. Taryn Terrill is now the newest Knockout! Taryn can know get physical with any other female, anytime. Spear by Taryn. Gail took off running.
As the girls took off, Bully Ray came out to confront his “wife”. She tripped out and then went off on him. He showed off his wedding ring and said “Til Death do us Part”. Death or Annulment, whichever comes first, I’d say.
Speaking of the Knockouts, I do want to send my happiest of congratulations out to Madison Rayne. Through the grapevine, I’ve learned the Madison and her hubby are expecting. May your little one be blessed with forever happiness and good health.
Slammiversary will be in Boston, this year. It’s June 2nd, this year. Todd and Tenay updated the fans where TNA would be in the next week or two.
Another Bully segment. Ray pushed Knox and DOC. Ray said Hogan disrespected Garett Bischoff, which led to him getting passed over. Ray brought up that Wes Brisco’s dad and uncle helped train Hulk. Ray also said Hogan didn’t check on Anderson when he got beaten down. Ray explained that the assault on Anderson was a two-step attack. One: It got Bully in the middle of the title picture and Two: Convinced Anderson to turn. Ray said he recruited D’Lo to get Hogan to open the doors to Aces and Eights. Ray said the Wes Brisco vs Garett Bischoff match to get Wes his contract was a set-up, including having D’Lo replacing Al Snow on judgment day. Ray said it was his decision to get rid of the masks, except his. Ray knew that Hogan and the fans never saw it coming.
Kurt Angle talked about his upcoming match was the most important match in the past 18 months. He wanted to destroy Aces and Eights. The first step…take the World title.
Matt Morgan vs Joseph Park
Park got a huge pop, because he was from Chicago. Morgan yawned at Park. Collar and Elbow and Morgan pushed Park to the mat. Morgan Pie Faced Park. Park missed a punch. Park backed off. Morgan psyched out the former lawyer. Morgan punched and Boot Washed Park. Forearm Club to Park’s back. Back Elbow by Morgan. Morgan said Park was a joke. Morgan whipped Park to the corner and Clotheslined the back of the head. Park ducked a Corner Rush and nailed the Body Blows. Park bounced off the ropes and fell to a Discus Clothesline. Morgan pulled on Park’s nose and hair. Bow and Arrow, in the ropes, by Morgan. Morgan loaded on the leg for the end of the match. He missed. Park bounced the ropes to ram the ropes into Morgan’s nethers. Park with a series of punches and a Clothesline. Spear-ish move by Park. Park was ready for the Closing Argument finisher. He missed and then Morgan nailed the Carbon Footprint.
Your Winner: Matt Morgan
Grade: C (75%)
Bring Back Abyss!
The return of A.J. Styles was profiled. Styles was set for an interview, next.
Jeff Hardy talked, backstage. Hardy said it would mean everything to get the title back. If Hardy wasn’t ready, Jeff knew one of the other three would be.
Mike Tenay was in the ring. He called for A.J. Styles to join him in the ring. Taz noticed that Styles had a new, darker look. Tenay said he has considered Styles his friend. Tenay waned to know what was going on. Styles refused to speak. Taz interrupted the interview. Taz said he wanted to talk with Styles. Taz wanted to make Styles a “Prospect” for Aces and Eights. Taz said it was all about opportunities. Before Styles could respond, “Cowboy” James Storm came from the back. Storm wondered if this was the new A.J. Styles. Storm mocked Styles for the new look and attitude. Storm got right in Styles’ face. Storm said Styles might want to sucker punch him, again, but Storm said he was going to knock Styles’ teeth down his throat. The two had a frigid stare down. Styles just backed off. He never said a word. Storm wanted to know what Styles was up to. No answers.
The next, and hopefully final, Bully Ray segment looked at the road to the World Title. Ray knew Hulk never trusted him. The suspension drove Brooke to Ray’s arms. Ray manipulated Sting to bring Hulk into the fold. The marriage was a total sham. Bully Ray wanted Taz to make an impact (pun intended). Then he was ready for the End Game. Ray took a beating, on purpose, to seal the deal. Devon took a beating for the team. Ray manipulated his injury to get chosen as the Number One Contender for the World title. Ray said he played off Hogan’s ego, Hulk’s biggest weakness. Ray was so proud of pulling off the biggest con in wrestling history. Ray knew no one could stop Aces and Eights…or him.
Samoa Joe vs Magnus vs Kurt Angle vs Jeff Hardy
Fatal Four Way to determine the Number One Contender to the World Title.
All four exploded on each other. Kurt and Joe. Magnus and Hardy. Joe with hard punches and kicks. Magnus with a European Uppercut. Hardy ducked Magnus’ fists and went to town on the Brit. Joe with Clotheslines on Magnus and Hardy. Joe whipped Kurt to the corner. Standing Enziguri on Kurt. Snap Mare by Joe. Hardy and Magnus fought on the floor. Kneedrop by Joe. Knife Edge Chop by Joe to Kurt. Joe pitched Kurt out to the floor. Magnus went after Kurt, as did Hardy. Kurt tried to fight out but Joe took out all three with a Suicide Dive. Impact took a quick break.
Kurt and Magnus traded blows. Inverted Atomic Drop by Joe to Kurt. Magnus with a Running Boot to Kurt. Backsplash Senton, on Kurt. Joe clocked Magnus. Universal into a Magnus Clothesline. Joe was down and Kurt took the fight to Magnus. High Knee by Magnus on Kurt. Crossbody by Hardy but Magnus stayed on his feet. He drove Hardy into the canvas. Elbow Drops by Magnus for a two count. Rear Chin Lock by Magnus, on Hardy. Taz felt none of the four men in the ring could beta Bully Ray for the title. Magnus dropped Magnus. Flying Back Elbow to Hardy’s neck. Magnus kicked Kurt in the face. Magnus stomped Hardy’s chest. The crowd was divided in their support. “WE Want Angle! WE want Joe!” Joe with Headbutts on Magnus. MDD (Mack Daddy Driver) by Magnus on Joe! It a Scoop Driver. Magnus ran Hardy into the corner and threw a Forearm. Hardy with the Flying Headscissors into the Inverted Atomic Drop. Double Leg Drop by Hardy. Twists of Fates on all three opponents. Hardy was knocked off the top turnbuckle. Kurt with the Snap Suplex on Magnus and the Release German on Joe. Angle Lock on Joe. Joe pushed Kurt into Magnus. Swanton by Hardy onto Joe!
Your Winner: Jeff Hardy
Grade: A (94%)
Taz said Jeff Hardy made a mistake by winning this match. He would now have to face Bully Ray. Joe shook Hardy’s hand, after the match. Hardy absorbed the love of the Chi-Town fans. Fade out.