The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact – 05.02.13 Taped from Indiana, Pennsylvania. Your hosts are Todd Keneley, Mike Tenay & Taz Hopefully I can get through THIS show without getting bombarded by badly-executed prank calls. For those wondering why I seemed so grumpy for RAW, there was a good reason. Speaking of making me grumpy, Hulk Hogan and his midlife crisis back tattoo are out to start the show. You know, I had nothing but praise for the way they were using Hogan last year, because he would come out and get the pop, make whatever minor managerial decision that was needed, and then go back behind his desk away from the action. It was the PERFECT way to use him. Now, he’s the star of the show again, wrinkly tattoos and all. So anyway, Hulk decides to man up and apologize to Sting for the whole Bully Ray deal and how he handled it. But first, he has to decide who gets the title shot at Bully Ray, and it’ll be whoever wins between Sting and Matt Morgan tonight. What have EITHER guy done to deserve a title shot? Morgan hasn’t even WRESTLED in two months! Meanwhile, Kurt Angle has an open challenge to any member of the Aces. Sonjay Dutt v. Zema Ion v. Chris Sabin I’m pretty over this three-way format for the division. Ion gets tossed by the other two, and Sabin hits Dutt with an enzuigiri for two. Ion comes back in with a sunset flip on both guys at once, but Sabin comes back with chops and backslides Dutt for two. Dutt gets a standing shot star press for two, but Ion DDTs him for two as the Refer-Eye Camera gives me motion sickness. Sabin takes over on both guys with a double powerbomb on Dutt, dropping him on Ion, and he hits Ion with a low dropkick and the Future Shock (I think that’s what it was called) at 4:00 to finish. Just a quick little TV match. ** Meanwhile, the Aces fight over who’s gonna get to fight Kurt Angle tonight, and D-Lo Brown makes the winning pitch because he’s fired up and wants to beat him. Were this presented by WWE Creative, they would all decline the challenge like giant cowards until Vickie Guerrero spun a wheel and forced the most unlikely one to take the match as payback for making fun of her. So that’s one thing Aces & Eights has over WWE’s heels, no matter how drawn out the storyline has become. Rob Terry v. Joey Ryan, Robbie E & Jessie Godderz This heel group is such a perfect pairing. They should just turn Terry back again and have them be the Four Bros-Men or something. Our heroes manage to triple-team Terry in the corner, but he fights off the clown squad and finishes Joey with whatever his finisher is supposed to be at 3:33. Terry is going nowhere, the other guys are the money. DUD Austin Aries & Bobby Roode are out to complain about Bad Influence getting all up in their bidness, and Chris Daniels clarifies that there’s no increased bloodflow in this (points to crotch) general area over the Dirty Heels. Awesome. So next week they fight for the #1 contendership and SPOILER ALERT, they both think they’re gonna win. But the special referee will be James Storm, so that might an issue for Roode. D-Lo Brown v. Kurt Angle And this is an I Quit match according to a challenge from D-Lo. Angle immediately ties him up with an STF, but can’t get a submission. D-Lo pulls him out and tries to use the hammer, then settles for running Angle’s arm into the post instead. Back in, D-Lo works on the arm and puts him down with a leg lariat and goes to an armbreaker, but Angle powers into the anklelock. D-Lo escapes and tries a cobra clutch, but Angle snaps off the rolling germans. And he uses it as a submission move, doing five of them and asking for the submission. D-Lo says no, so it’s anklelock time again, but D-Lo reverses into a samoan drop this time. He goes for the SKY HIGH to finish, but Angle rolls into another anklelock and this time it’s the GRAPEVINE OF DEATH and D-Lo quits at 8:00. Surprisingly great TV match here, although D-Lo’s cartoonish Attitude-era selling was pretty distracting. ***1/4 After the break, Angle calls out AJ Styles, who is looking a bit more coifed this week. Angle wants AJ’s decision NEXT WEEK. Somehow I don’t see that. Gail Kim & Tara v. Taryn Terrell & Mickie James The heels run away to start and Gail gets double-teamed, as Mickie gets two. Dull heat segment with Mickie getting worked over in the heel corner and the announcers kind of drift in and out of the match along with the crowd. Mickie and Gail collide on a bodypress attempt and it’s hot tag Taryn, who goes up with a flying bodypress that gets two. Rollup finishes Tara at 6:30. This Taryn push is what it is, I guess. They’re obviously building to some big underdog thing with her, but Velvet Sky is the champion, so I don’t really see the path there. *1/2 Gail gets a pretty good beatdown on Terrell afterwards, laying her out and applying the ringpost figure-four. Sting v. Matt Morgan Morgan pounds away on Sting and puts him down with a short clothesline, and adds a chokeslam for two. And we take a break, as we’re already past the point you like to see with Morgan matches. Back with Morgan choking away. Sting comes back and drags him outside for some abuse, but Morgan comes back with a sideslam for two. Sting fights back, but runs into a big boot when trying the Stinger Splash, and Morgan gets two. Morgan tries it again and looks ridiculous in the attempt, and Sting puts him in the Scorpion Deathlock. To put this in perspective, it looks like Morgan is slightly bending his knees and we’re supposed to think he’s in tremendous pain. Sting gets the move again, SORT OF, and this time Morgan passes out at 13:20 to give Sting the title shot. Really? Was he just as bored of participating in this match as we were of watching it? I feel like Joe Pesci in Casino when he was ranting “REALLY? YOU’RE PROTECTING THAT PIECE OF SHIT?” after seeing that cop-out finish, especially with Sting half-heartedly pulling on his legs instead of actually applying the move. Morgan is terrible, but Sting should know better. Shame on both of them for this. ½* And yes, Sting gets ANOTHER title shot on PPV. In 2013. The Pulse Man, that last half hour nearly killed the show for me, but the rest was pretty good this week as compared to, say, last week’s show.