Impact Wrestling starts with narrating the Impact Wrestler of the Year segment from last week, Bully Ray getting suspended for no reason, and Sting’s return, Mister Anderson’s defection, and Mike Knox being unmasked.
LIVE inside the Impact Zone, Todd Kenely welcomes us to Impact before “The Icon” Sting’s music plays. Sting comes out armed with a baseball bat with Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe behind him. Sting told the world that he would come back on 1-3-13, but that’s only the beginning, and Sting is “feeling a little bit frisky!” Sting brought his best friends, the bat, Shooter (Angle) and Killer (Joe) and invites Aces and Eights to come get some. Joe gets the microphone and said last week when the cage door closed, they may have had him outmanned, but they didn’t have him outdone and that Joe is going to choke them out. Angle tells the world that in 2013 he made a promise that all the masks are coming off, and they will expose Aces and Eights as the cowards they are. He says before that, he wants to expose a coward that was standing at the entrance and he wants to know where this man stands. Angle demands that Mr. Anderson comes out and explains exactly where he stands. With no delay, Mister Anderson comes out through the regular entrance in a TNA ball cap and black shirt.
Anderson says that this is rich and asked where the three were a few months ago when Aces and Eights were kicking his teeth in and where were they Aces and Eights were tapdancing on a pallet that was on top of his skull. Anderson noted that he was on his way to the ring not to fight Sting, but stand by his side when that happened. Sting not only left him there, but replaced him with Bully Ray, so he doesn’t know what their problem is. Angle says he doesn’t have a problem, because it’s this simple: either Anderson is with them, or they’re going to fight. Anderson walks the rest of the way to the ring and gets right in Angle’s face and says he doesn’t have to answer to him, and in fact, he never did like him. Angle says that that the feeling is mutual before punching him in the face and then getting on top of Anderson to unload with punches. Anderson rolls out of the ring and powerwalks to the back as Angle yells after him that this is his ring.
Jeff Hardy and James Storm will face Bobby Roode and Austin Aries, and Gut Check returns! Justin Bradley is one of the men competing in this month’s Gut Check, and we see a video package where he talks about how he’s seen some of the guys he broke into the business with go on to become stars, and this is his opportunity tonight. He says it’s nothing personal, but it’s either him or Brian Cage, and he needs this opportunity.
Camera man waits for Brooke Hogan like paparazzi on Bieber in the parking lot as she drives up in her golf cart. As much money as she’s getting paid, she couldn’t get a used car? Brooke said that Hulk won’t return her calls or her texts and they haven’t talked since Impact last week, so they’ll air their laundry in the ring as usual before she walks off to take a call from Bully.
Ion’s already in the ring and King gets a televised entrance. The two trade punches until King backdrops Ion out to the apron and sends him to the floor with a cartwheel kick. Ion manages to draw King out to the floor and take him out with a dive, King gains the advantage when they get back in the ring. Vertical suplex and a roll-through by King, but he doesn’t cover. Several right hands lead to a two count by King. King takes Ion to the corner and nails him with a back elbow, but misses a second cartwheel kick and Ion floats through the ropes with a tornado DDT for two. Ion gets a small package for two, but he misses a 450 splash and King nails him with Shotgun Knees before finishing him with the Royal Flush.
Winner by Pinfall and Advancing to Genesis: Kenny King
King grabs Christy Hemme’s microphone on his way to the back and says that this weekend, Christy is going to announce him as the new champion.
We go to the back where Robbie E is complaining about his favorite show Jersey Shore getting cancelled, then Robbie T shows him up in the Bro Off, and now Tara and Jesse are challenging him to a mixed tag. He wants to know if the mystery person will join up with him, but Brooke Tessmacher suddenly comes into view and says that Robbie disgusts her. Robbie says he’ll do anything, and she says fine, she’ll do it as long as she can tag with a winner and looks at Robbie T. Robbie E looks on in shock as Tessmacher takes off with bigger Rob.
Joseph Park is on his way into the building and he’s ecstatic to be back after training at OVW. He thanks the partners at Park, Park & Park for allowing him to put his legal career on hold to take care of business, and says that when he sees Hulk Hogan tonight, it’ll be as a wrestler. He then tries to go inside and the door is locked so he can’t get in. ((Jarrett’s Jab – It’s not as funny as when Jericho did the exact opposite in 97 on Thunder, but still pretty comical. HELLO LEXINGTON!!))
Tara & Jesse Godderz vs. Robbie T & Miss Tessmacher
Jesse tries to cheapshot T, but T no-sells and just starts tossing him around like a ragdoll. Jesse tags out to Tara, and she slowly comes into the ring as Tessmacher comes in to take her out with a series of clotheslines and a charging forearm. Tessmacher mounts Tara in the corner and basically humps her face. She must have realized she was doing it the wrong way, so she stinkfaces her in the corner. Tara crawls to the safety of her corner and tags in Jesse, who promptly get chokeslammed into the corner and powerbombed. Robbie T covers Jesse and gets the win.
Winners by Pinfall: Robbie T & Miss Tessmacher
Robbie E comes in and tells Taryn Terrell to get lost so he can raise their hands, but Robbie T won’t do it…and then some music starts playing and he starts dancing with Tessmacher, even bumping rears before doing doing some Dirty Dancing (From the film you perves) and planting a big kiss on Tessmacher, who faints to the mat. Robbie E’s jaw in on the mat as he stares after Robbie T as he walks to the back.
Brian Cage always wanted to be a pro wrestler, he got his opportunity and lost it, but this was all he ever wanted to do. Tonight in the Gut Check, he has the chance to prove himself to everyone, and with only one contract being awarded, he has to have it.
The Gut Check contestants are shown on a split screen warming up for their match…NEXT!
Gut Check: Jay Bradley vs. Brian Cage
Some mat wrestling and pinning combinations start off this match. They trade forearms before Bradley flattens Cage with a big boot. Bradley commences with beating the crap out of Cage, then lifts him up for an easy bodyslam before hitting a running kneedrop. Bradley prepares for a lariat with his “Boom Stick” elbowpad, but Cage catches him coming in with a dropkick and then climbs to the second rope to suplex Bradley into the ring. That takes power. Cage comes off the top rope with an elbowdrop for two. Bradley hits the lariat on a second try and picks up the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Jay Bradley
((Jarrett’s Jab – The crowd was really into this match. I’ve seen some of Cage’s work in the past and he’s pretty impressive. I’m disappointed that Cage didn’t get to hit a whole lot of his signature spots, the 180 moonsault for example. As far as Bradley, the lariat is a nice finisher, but the Boom Stick doesn’t make much sense. If they announcers speculate that the elbow pad was loaded, or he had a metal plate in that arm like Luger, it would come off better and make him more heelish. Just a thought. Either one would be a great pick-up for TNA and if Bradley can talk, TNA can print money.))
Inside the Aces & Eights clubhouse, Ken Anderson yells at everyone to stop paying attention to the girls and states that there is a time to have fun, but right now isn’t it. Anderson says that something needs to be done about Kurt Angle. The VP says tonight isn’t about personal stuff, it’s about business. The gang walks into the boardroom and closes the door behind them. The VP can chews Mike Knox out for losing his mask, especially since last week he said they need to keep the masks on at all costs.. Knox starts to explain himself, but the VP doesn’t want to hear it. Sounds like my sisters teacher when she tried to explain she wasn’t sick yesterday. The VP goes on to say that Doc lost his mask and earned his spot back at the table. Now Knox can either earn his spot tonight or he can be gone.
Joseph Park is in the ring, and he’s back from wrestling camp. He thought passing the bar was tough, but it was nothing compared to what he did in OVW, but he’s back now and he’d like to talk to Hulk Hogan. Hogan comes out to the ring and congratulates Park on getting through wrestling school, but Hogan has some business to get on to. Park just wants to stop and thank Hogan for giving him the motivation to put his legal profession aside so he can go to wrestling camp, thank Danny Davis for training him, and he realizes he’s still considered a greenhorn, but he’s begging Hogan to let him be a wrestler. Hogan says he got beat up for two years by Hiro Matsuda and to take some time, but Park says he did everything Hogan asked him to do and his business is now here at Impact Wrestling with Aces & Eights, and he wants that match he wanted. Hogan agrees before hearing what the match is, but Park hugs him anyway and says he won’t disappoint him. Park leaves, but Brooke is on the Tron and says she’s left him voicemails and emails and she hasn’t heard back, so she’s coming out to the ring to straighten this thing out…RIGHT NOW!
Brooke Hogan comes out, and gets a televised entrance and completely states almost word for word what she said before the break. She asks know what’s up with her dad totally dissing her by ignoring her. And she asks a question that will determine their relationship for years to come and that’s if he’s going to reinstate Mark or keep doing this like it’s some kind of personal vendetta, but Hulk says he’s not reinstating Mark and walks off while Brooke cries in the ring.
Bobby Roode and Austin Aries are backstage talking about who has better merch on and arguing over what they’re going to wear to the ring. Roode said that if Aries wore his shirt, he would wear his robe, and if Aries wore his cape, Roode would wear his shirt. Aries says the one thing they can agree on is that they both deserve to be champion more than Hardy or Storm, and that they’re the “Wet dream team.” They’ll deal with their problem and then deal with their problems, and they go back to arguing over who’s wearing what. ((Jarrett’s Jab – Please, let them have a segment with Daniels and Kazarian. That would be comedy gold.))
We go to a video package where Austin Aries talks about how he needs to be a World Champion, Hardy says Aries can’t be because he’s an egomaniac who went crazy after losing it. Aries says that WHEN he wins the title at Genesis, it’s going to be all about him.
TNA World Champion Jeff Hardy & James Storm vs Bobby Roode & Austin Aries
For anyone who wanted to know, Roode wore his robe and Aries wore his shirt AND his cape. Roode and Hardy start us off as Mike Tenay tells us about all the titles Hardy won in TNA and WWE. What about the other three men in this match? Hardy flattens Roode with a shoulderblock and then Roode and Aries bicker. Aries is tagged in and takes Hardy down before unsurprisingly outwrestling the world champion with ease before bickering with Roode while keeping a front facelock locked in on Hardy. Hardy comes back with a headscissors, inverted atomic drop for both opponents, then tags in Storm for a double back elbow on Roode. They double team Aries in the corner as well and Hardy hits Poetry In Motion to send Aries out to the floor where Roode yells at him. Roode and Aries argue and get into a shoving match as we go to commercial.
Roode is back in the ring getting beat up by Hardy as we come back from the break. Hardy goes for the Whisper In The Wind, but Roode hits the ropes and Hardy crashes hard as Roode start stomping a mudhole in him. Aries tags himself in and yells at Roode to get out of his way as he starts to work over Hardy’s leg. Aries and Roode tag in and out and beat up Hardy. Hardy gets a sunset flip on Roode but Aries distracts the referee to save Roode from being pinned. Roode responds by pasting Hardy with a couple of big kneedrops before Aries tags in and plants Hardy with a big bodyslam before hitting a kneedrop off the second rope. Roode tags himself in so he can come off the second rope with another kneedrop, but Hardy gets the boot up and creates enough of an opening to tag Storm in. Storm cleans house on Aries and Roode, planting Aries with a Tennessee Slam before drilling Roode with an enziguiri and a running neckbreaker for two. Storm hits the Closing Time Codebreaker on Aries to send him out of the ring, then sets up for the Last Call Superkick on Roode. Daniels and Kazarian run out and get in a fight with Storm on the floor while Hardy hits the Twist of Fate on Roode, but Aries prevents him from hitting a second Twist of Fate by nailing Hardy in the back of the head with the title belt and gets himself disqualified.
Winners by Disqualification: Jeff Hardy & James Storm
Aries and Roode each hold one of Hardy’s title belts up in defiance of each other, each trying to grab the belts out of the other’s hand.
((Jarrett’s Jab – Brutal match to watch for so many reasons. The match wasn’t bad, it was how the match played out. At the end of the match, it was two on one and Hardy still almost won. They also had Bad Influence make a brief cameo, and it would have meant much if Storm has more of a part in this match. Almost like they forgot Storm had a match at Genesis and decided to put that in at the last second. Hardy looks as weak as ever as a champion in the sense that the title doesn’t look prestigious. Roode and Aries’ bickering takes presidence over the World Title, and it wouldn’t be so bad if one of them were actually the champion.))
Brooke Hogan is backstage on the phone with Mark and tells him it’s not a good idea for him to come to the arena, but finally at least lets him pick her up outside the office. Well that’s nice of her.
Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan are backstage starting to cut a promo on Chavo Guerrero Jr and Hernandez about this weekend’s title match at the PPV, but then the champions run in and the four of them start brawling.
Ken Anderson vs. Kurt Angle
Anderson bails to the floor as soon as the bell rings, but Angle gets a microphone and tells him that he thought he was an asshole, not a pussy and to get his ugly ass in the ring so they can do this. Mike Knox runs into the ring while Angle has his back turned and hits Angle in the back of the head with a ball peen hammer. Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco run out to chase Knox off, and Aces & Eights celebrates while Angle’s pals check on him.
We see replays of the attack as medical personnel check on Angle and carry him out on a stretcher. Sting comes out to the ring and tells Devon that if he calls off the troops, he’ll call off his troops so he can fight Knox right now. Devon and the rest of the gang tell Mike Knox to go get Sting as we go to commercial.
We’re back, apparently Knox travels at half the speed of snail, it took him the whole break to get into ringside. Knox finally gets in the ring and Sting nails him with his bat. The referee takes the bat and the hammer out of the ring so he can start the match.
Sting vs. Mike Knox
Knox overpowers Sting with heavy forearms and chokes him on the middle rope before hitting the Boss Man Straddle. Sting tries to escape to the floor, Knox goes after him but Sting fires back and rams Knox into the ring steps. Sting continues ramming him into the steps over and over before ramming him into the guardrail and following him in with the Stinger Splash. They go back inside where Sting continues to destroy Knox, Knox kicks Sting off on a Scorpion Deathlock attempt, but Sting no sells and hits a Stinger Splash and a Scorpion Deathdrop for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Sting
Sting has the hammer and he stands over Knox with it before smashing his hand with it. He prepares to continue destroying Knox, but Aces & Eights comes out with Brooke Hogan held captive and Devon says that if he keeps going, he’ll never recognize Brooke again and tells the “bitch” to shut up. Devon said that 2013 would be Aces & Eights’ year, and he guarantees they’ll reign supreme like they did in 2012. Bully Ray runs out with a chain and takes out a couple of members of Aces & Eights to rescue Brooke, and he gets her away from Aces & Eights as Hulk Hogan comes out to the top of the ramp to observe as we go to commercial.
Hulk Hogan says he guesses he’s supposed to thank Bully for putting his daughter in danger, but he doesn’t like Bully, he doesn’t believe him, and he’s not the man for his daughter. Bully says Hogan is so wound up that he’s even talking crap to his best friend Sting. Bully’s been in the business for 20 years and it’s his life, and all he ever cared about was being the best he could ever be, whether that’s as good as Sting or as great as Hogan. The business means everything to him, and he never thought he’d love anything as much as he loved pro wrestling until Brooke came into his life. The crazy thing is that she came into his life because she was apologizing for Hulk being a hardass even when he had Sting’s back until the end. Bully doesn’t even know what to say, and this is all happening entirely too quick, and he’s not good at feelings and emotions because he knows he’s a hardass, but things are different with Brooke. Bully gets down on one knee and takes out a ring as Sting and Hulk look on in shock. Bully puts the ring on Brooke’s finger and says he loves her, and he wants everyone to know how much he cares for her and loves her and wants her to marry him. Brooke says yes, and Hulk looks pissed as Ray suggested to do it right here on Impact next week. Hogan is about to explode as he walks to the back and Brooke makes out with Bully in the ring.
((Jarrett’s Jab – This was one shocking confession away from being the Jerry Springer show. Say what you will about Claire Lynch, she’s a better actor than either of the Hogans. They might as well buy a tombstone for Bully Ray, his career is dead. No matter what happens, he won’t be as over as he was the past year. They killed Aries and Storm this way last year, and they started early with Bully Ray this year. Speaking of Tombstones, bury Aces and Eights because they’re already dead. They’ve got the credibility of Three Count or 3MB. They need some wins to be a threat, and those have been few and far between.))