The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact – 09.20.12 I’m reading the side of a bottle of bubble mixture today, and it says “Non-toxic. Do not drink.” Well, which is it? Like, talk about your mixed messages. Live from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Mike Tenay and Taz Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan meets up with Shaq, who assures Hulk that a Shaq Attack will be imminent if anything goes down. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle to stopping Aces & Eights! Tonight: It’s Open Fight Night! I thought they got rid of that and changed it into the Championship Thursday or whatever it was called instead? AJ Styles & Kurt Angle are out to recap the storyline thus far, and Angle having trouble holding the mic without it shaking is kind of scary. Anyway, they call out Chavo & Hernandez to see who the real #1 contenders are. What a wacky concept. AJ Styles & Kurt Angle v. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez Chavo takes Angle down with an armbar and they have a stalemate on the mat and tag out. Angle slugs away on Hernandez and gets nowhere, allowing the Mexicans to trap him in the corner. Chavo grabs a headlock, but Angle escapes with an overhead suplex. Crowd seems to enjoy that. We take a break and return with AJ holding a chinlock on Chavo, but it’s hot tag to Hernandez. AJ & Angle bump all over the place for him and Hernandez fights off a double-team with a clothesline on both guys, and Chavo comes in with a missile dropkick on both. Chavo tries the Three Amigos, but AJ spinkicks him to block it, and it’s hot tag to Angle now. He suplexes the crap out of both guys and ankles Chavo, but Hernandez breaks it up. AJ hits him with the Pele and Angle goes back to the ankle on Chavo, who reverses out of it. AJ springboards in, but Hernandez takes him out, and then Angle takes HIM out with the Angle Slam, and Chavo gets the Amigos on Angle and then another set on AJ. Chavo goes up and Angle tries the suplex to block, but Hernandez cuts him off. This gives AJ time to recover and dodge the frog splash, however, and the Pele sets up the Styles Clash, which brings the dastardly tag champs in for the DQ finish at 12:18. Normally I hate that kind of finish, but you don’t want to beat either team, and this way the heat is on the heel team for ruining the match anyway. So I can deal with it. They were building to a hot finish before the shmoz. *** Hulk comes out to interrupt the heel celebration, and books the obvious three-way for Bound for Glory. Meanwhile, Al Snow chats with Jason Hervey about Gut Check and Joey Ryan. Meanwhile, Dixie Carter and Bruce Pritchard argue over how to handle Aces & Eights, and the conversation is so heated that they knock the sound out of sync! Dixie wants them locked out, and Pritchard wants them let in so they can find out their identity. Hmm. Gut Check: Evan Markopolous v. Douglas Williams Man, Doug gets to work with another green rookie on these things? Williams smacks the kid around and puts him down with a short clothesline, then goes to work on the ribs, really kinda laying into him. Evan tries a sunset flip and Williams knees him down to block and drops a vicious looking knee. I don’t know if he’s working really stiff or just snug, but it’s a rough night for Markopolous. Even Taz is impressed at the ass-kicking he’s taking. Williams cuts off another comeback and hits a delayed suplex, but he misses a blind charge and Evan slugs back, only to run into a knee and another thrashing. Williams finishes with a neck crank at 4:00. Well he certainly squashed the ever-loving f--- out of that 18 year old kid and gave him nothing to work with, so congratulations? Markopolous looked fine on his brief offensive flurries and sold well, and this was a real match and everything, but I would have liked to see more than a few punches from him. * James Storm is out to stress that he backs up his trash talk. He naturally calls out Bobby Roode, but Bobby is in far too nice of a suit tonight for that. However, Hulk confronts him and gives him until after the commercial break to choose either accepting the fight or never getting another title shot again. So after the break, Roode goes out and takes his beatings like a man, and they brawl up the stage and finally into the ring. James Storm v. Bobby Roode Nope, back outside already, as the ref is unable to keep them from tumbling to the floor at every opportunity. You know what I like about TNA right now? The crowd just chants for Cowboy because he’s a babyface booked strongly and they like him. They’re not having to rebel against the wishes of the promotion or engage in ironic detachment, they’re just cheering for the good guy to beat up the bad guy. Roode finds a bottle of beer under the ring, but that just gets Storm RILED UP and he uses the POWER OF MALT to come back on Roode. Roode sends him into the post and takes a swing with a chair, but misses, and we get an awesome spot where Storm gets a fan to put his boots up on the railing so he can run Roode into them. And then Roode gets into an argument with A LITTLE OLD LADY at ringside. This could not be any more Memphis and I LOVE IT. Roode suplexes him on the floor and they finally head back in after 5 minutes of great brawling, and Roode immediately tosses Storm again, which results in poor Brian Hebner getting beat on by both guys. He calls for the DQ at 6:28. They fight into the crowd again and then backstage, where they disappear to end the segment. This was TREMENDOUS. And best of all, it left you wanting more without giving away the meat of the match. Meanwhile, Aces & Eights call Hulk and inform him that they have a corporate lawyer handling their business matters. Uh oh… Meanwhile, Austin Aries clarifies to Jeff Hardy that he wants everything that Jeff has already accomplished, and Jeff is just the first step towards that goal. Tara is out to explain her heel turn, because her new boyfriend from Hollywood made her realize that she’s the most important thing. And then she calls out…Christy Hemme? Tara does an awesome job of bullying her before Tessmacher runs out for the save. Good guys and bad guys, I love it! Hulk Hogan is out to rage against Aces & Eights because they’re holding Joseph Park hostage. I’m wondering if that’s actually the case. Hulk demands they release Park, because he’s just an innocent caught in the crossfire, and he agrees to visit their clubhouse next week in exchange. The Leader appears on the screen and notes that Park actually did have the dirt on them, so they smash his computer and then whack him with a hammer. That’s gonna end badly for someone. Generally, when someone has split personality problems and a homicidal secret ID, you don’t want to provoke them with head injuries. If comic books have taught me only one useful thing, it’s that. Austin Aries v. Bully Ray This is step one in AA’s plan to match Jeff Hardy’s accomplishments. Aries goes after him with a dive and slugs away on the floor, and into the ring to start proper, where Bully boots him off the apron and into the railing. We take a break and return with Bully holding a surfboard and slamming Aries for two. Elbow gets two. Bully pounds him down and drops another elbow for two. Bully stops to berate Earl Hebner, and that allows Aries to make the comeback until Calfzilla cuts him off. Aries keeps fighting with a discus forearm and necksnap, and a missile dropkick gets two. Bully fights out of the brainbuster, but misses a butt splash, and Aries comes back again. Ref is bumped, thus proving that Bully was correct about his shortcomings as an official, and Bully taps to the Last Chancery to no avail. Bully gets the chain and knocks Aries out for the pin at 12:13. Even Bully is shocked by that one. *** He’s so excited that he even makes up with Hebner! Bully grabs the title and tries to attack again, but Jeff Hardy makes the save…and gets caught by Aries holding the belt. Ah, the old slow burn jealous champion heel turn. Not a huge fan of champions doing jobs on TV, but they’re making an effort to elevate Bully with it so I can at least see what they’re shooting for. The Pulse: Spectacular episode. The crowd was rabid all night and it gave everything a real old-school energy that I loved, and the two hours flew by. The Roode-Storm brawl in particular was great, and the pacing on the show is just right this week. Thumbs up!