AJ Styles locks in the Calf Killer on Jeff Hardy.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Bully Ray Interrupted Chris Sabin's TNA World Heavyweight Championship Celebration
This was a solid segment for the most part where everyone involved played their respective roles well. The Main Event Mafia took a bit too much credit for Sabin's victory, but aside from that, this was a decent way of kicking off the show. Sabin cut a good promo, which is crucial if TNA hopes to get him over as a big star. Bully Ray's interruption was logical as well, but his attorney looked liked a skinnier version of Kevin Nash.
Manik def. Greg Marasciulo and Sonjay Dutt in an Ultimate X Match to Win the X-Division Championship
There weren't enough crazy spots for this match to feel memorable, but there didn't need to be. I'd rather to see them play it safe than for them to risk anything insane, and that's exactly what they did. Manik winning the belt doesn't do anything for me, especially since we know who is under the mask at this point and the mask gimmick is unnecessary. Dutt deserves to win the title at some point, and I hope to see Marasciulo stick around as a mainstay in the X-Division going forward.
Mr. Anderson def. Hernandez to Earn 7 Points in the Bound For Glory Series
This was a pretty standard match that accomplished what it needed to do. Hernandez is a complete afterthought in the BFG Series, so the fact he lost here shouldn't have come as any surprise. It's good to see Anderson being built back up again and having him win clean was a nice touch.
Knockouts Champion Mickie James def. Gail Kim
These two always work well together and this match was no exception. After seemingly turning face last week, Kim was back to her evil ways in this bout. She works better as a heel anyway, so there was no need to turn her. The match was well wrestled and featured some entertaining antics by both ladies. I'm not sure what the point of Kim and ODB feuding is, but at least it gets Kim out of the title picture. Velvet Sky was overshadowed in this match, but will she rekindle her rivalry with James in the near future? I would hope that it's only a placeholder feud before Taryn Terrell contends for the belt at Bound For Glory.
Daniels def. Samoa Joe to Earn 7 Points in the Bound For Glory Series
While it wasn't given much time, the match was fun while it lasted. They have history together and Mike Tenay did a good job on commentary reminding viewers that Daniels had yet to defeat Joe in a one-on-one match. This made Daniels' eventual win feel much more meaningful. It came after Daniels hit two BMEs, so Joe looked strong in defeat. Not only that, but Anderson's interference helps further the feud between Aces and Eights and Main Event Mafia.
AJ Styles def. Jeff Hardy to Earn 10 Points in the Bound For Glory Series
I've always wanted to see these two face off and this bout most definitely lived up to my lofty expectations. They have great chemistry together and the back-and-forth action was highly enjoyable. I'm not sure what story is being told by bringing up Styles' old babyface maneuvers, but he shouldn't revert back to his gimmick any time soon. Hardy tapping out clean to the Calf Killer was a pleasant surprise and helps give credibility to the gold. Styles is my pick to win the Series, so this win was a good start.
Hulk Hogan Addressed the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Similar to two weeks ago, Bully Ray and Chris Sabin had another strong exchange on the mic. Ray has always had excellent promo skills, but Sabin is quickly coming onto his own, which is good to see. The fact the title rematch will be held inside a Steel Cage makes zero sense given the fact that's how Ray won the belt in the right place with help from Aces and Eights. A rematch needs to be held, of course, and while the match might be good, it will ultimately end with Ray winning back the title. Nonetheless, I'm glad they are starting to build towards Hardcore Justice now instead of waiting until the last minute.
After last week's phenomenal Destination X event, there was no way this show was going to top that. However, they put forth a nice effort by featuring a number of solid matches and effective segments. I'm not thrilled with the current direction TNA is taking, but things should start to get more clear as Bound For Glory approaches.
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