The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact – 07.26.12 Live from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Mike Tenay & Taz Sting joins us to start, acting as GM tonight in Hogan’s place. And he’s calling Aces & Eights out! But first, Austin Aries answers, and he’s on Sting’s side. And so is Kurt Angle. Bobby Roode comes out as well, but it’s because he knows who’s behind the attacks: James Storm. He’s apparently jealous of Aries winning the title first, and he was scheduled to face Angle when the attack happened. Makes sense, actually. Storm of course comes out and beats the hell out of Roode for that kind of slanderous accusation, while the other guys just kind of let them go. Meanwhile, some of the guys talk up Chavo Guerrero, who debuts TONIGHT. Meanwhile, Bobby Roode defends his accusations against Jason Hervey’s probing questioning and leaves the arena in a huff. Gail Kim & Madison Rayne v. Mickie James & Tara The faces double-team Kim and Mickie gets two, and they trade armdrags before James gets a Thesz Press. Cheapshot turns the tide and we get some weak double-teaming in the heel corner, with Rayne getting a clothesline for two. Madison stops to flirt with Hebner and misses a charge, and it’s hot tag Tara. Sideslam gets two. The faces put her in a double crab, and then Kim gets put in one as Rayne keeps talking with Mickie and this thing breaks down in a hurry. Mickie rolls up Rayne with a bridge, but Earl counts the pin for Madison at 3:43 instead. HOW MUCH FOR THE PLASTIC SURGERY, MEAN GENE?! DUD Meanwhile, Sting recruits A-Double to do some coaching of the X-Division geeks. Meanwhile, Sam Shaw is ready for his Gut Check. Gut Check Challenge: Sam Shaw v. Douglas Williams Shaw looks like the usual tattooed MMA douchebag fighter, but with sweat pants and sneakers. Shawn backflips out of a backdrop and puts Williams down with elbows, then hits Orton’s backbreaker for two. He goes up and gets yanked down, while Joey Ryan gets chased off by security. What is with the 87% signs in the crowd? Suplex and Chaos Theory finishes at 2:33. Shaw showed good fire to start and then the match fell apart. *1/2 Meanwhile, Aries presides over the traditional reality show segment, trying to decide who gets the shot at Zema Ion. Rashad Cameron talks himself out of the shot. Chavo Guerrero makes his debut, talking about how people in TNA are hungry and he’s going to be a champion. Kid Kash and Gunner come out with differing opinions on the matter, pointing out that Chavo doesn’t have his family with him. Because his dad’s too DRUNK. This prompts an attack by Chavo, but Hernandez makes the save to chase them off. Well I guess he needed a new partner anyway. Meanwhile, Angle confronts James Storm. Meanwhile, the Gut Check judges hotly contest the Sam Shaw match. Although Snow admits he didn’t actually watch the match because he was busy with Joey Ryan. Bound For Glory Series: AJ Styles v. James Storm Storm gets a quick backslide for two, while Claire Lynch FURROWS HER BROW at ringside. My 2 year old daughter gets a similar look when she’s mad and she’s probably a better actress, too. Storm goes to the chinlock and AJ slugs out, so Storm puts him down with a butterfly suplex for two. Storm blocks the dropkick with a facecrusher, but Styles hits it on a second try and gets two. They battle for the go-behind and AJ runs him into the corner. Storm makes the comeback and slugs away in the corner, then hotshots AJ into a flying forearm for two. AJ with a backdrop suplex for two. AJ misses the blind charge and they fight to the top, but Storm crotches him. Storm brings him down with the EYE OF THE STORM slam for two. Why doesn’t he do that move anymore? Corner clothesline and he sets up for a Diamond dust DDT, but AJ suplexes him into the turnbuckles for two. AJ springboards in with a clothesline for two. Styles Clash is reversed to a whiplash slam for two, and they fight to the apron. Storm hits him with an apron DDT for two. The crowd is going crazy for these near-falls. AJ hits the enzuigiri out of NOWHERE, but the Styles Clash is reversed AGAIN, into a codebreaker. Storm tries the superkick and AJ blocks with the Pele, but the Aces & Eights hit the ring for the no-contest at 10:00 or so. They do not, however, attack James Storm. Awesome match ruined by that finish. This had BETTER have a mind-blowing payoff considering the goodwill they’re burning through with it. ***1/2 Gut Check Decision: Snowman says NO, Rio Rogers says YES, and Lord Littlebrook says YES to give him the contract. They need to start changing this formula up a bit. Meanwhile, Aries goes over the ethnicity of the remaining guys (“Was your dad Russian?” “Well, he was a sympathizer…”) and quizzes them on why they deserve the shot. Darsow points out that he’s not flashy and he’s not pretty, and Aries is like “Well, the X Division is about being flashy AND pretty” and cuts him. That’s pretty funny. X Title: Zema Ion v. Kenny King King slugs away in the corner and necksnaps Ion for two. Snap suplex gets two. He goes up and Ion pushes him to the floor, then follows with a somersault dive. Back in, Ion chokes him out to take over, then whips him into the corner and slugs him down. Holy cow is Ion boring on offense. King sunset flips him for two, but Ion hits the facecrusher for two. King comes back with a leg lariat and a nice spinning enzuigiri to set up a suplex, and Ion bails to the apron, allowing King to hit him with his own dive. However, Bobby Roode returns and runs King into the post, and Ion finishes with a moonsault at 6:00 to retain. Wonder what motivated that? Ion is not a terribly great worker. ** Aries runs out to beat on Roode, as Tenay clarifies that Roode was trying to f--- with Aries’ choice of challenger. Thanks, Mike! Next week: Austin Aries & Kenny King v. Zema Ion & Bobby Roode. See, I can forgive the crappy finish because it’s leading to a match next week. Bound For Glory Series: Bully Ray v. Kurt Angle This is kind of an interesting matchup. Angle goes for an early anklelock, but Bully makes the ropes, and Angle works the arm instead. Bully with a piledriver for two, but Angle bails to escape and we take a break. Back with Bully dropping an elbow for two and working the count. Bully tries a lariat, but Angle blocks with his own clothesline and both are down. Angle makes the comeback with an overhead suplex for two, but Bully hits the Bubbabomb for two. Or Bullybomb, whatever. Angle comes back with the rolling germans and the straps are down. Anklelock, but Bully actually rolls out of it and hits a Rock Bottom for two. Angle Slam gets two. He goes up and misses the moonsault, and fans are getting behind Bully Ray! Angle blocks the Bubba Cutter, but Bully gets the big boot for two. Bully misses a blind charge and it’s Angle Slam for the pin at 11:44. And then another Aces & Eights beatdown for Angle as Bully runs away. But this time the babyfaces charge out and a huge brawl erupts, until James Storm comes out…and the masked men promptly drop everything and leave peacefully. Huh. ***1/2 The Pulse First hour was kind of weak sauce for a while, but much John Cena, the show overcame the odds and delivered a HELL of a second hour, with two ***1/2 matches and the intriguing James Storm angle to save the day. Thumbs up!