I can’t even think about talking about anything else other than the final segment to start things off here. That was probably the best segment or “promo” by AJ Styles and he never spoke a word. Everything about that was done perfectly in my eyes. They 100% had me there and if you read these every week you know I’ve said for months there is no way in hell AJ is joining Aces & Eights, but when AJ hit Angle with that hammer I legit said out loud “damn they’re going through with it.” Everything from AJ’s facial expressions to the reactions from the crowd were perfect. People have called AJ everything from a “ripoff Sting” to a “poor man’s Sting” since this thing started and there is no doubt that Sting’s “Crow” persona was definitely the mold for this, but they just took a big left turn here. I don’t recall Sting ever hitting a top babyface with a hammer (or Sting’s case a bat), he was still the guy fighting for the “cause” even when he was the crow. AJ has taken this “I don’t care about anything or anyone other than myself” to the next level and I’m loving it. Character and persona has been something AJ Styles has struggled with his entire career and it really looks like they may have found something here with him. If he can continue to deliver in the ring the way he always did but also continue to grow with this character it could be really special.
The opening segment had too much damn Hogan in it but I was a little confused with the “I love you” stuff from Bully. It very well could be just the Bully Ray character toying with Brooke again (which would be great) or they are going to go with Brooke turning on Hulk (which I really hope not).
Solid X-Division action but the crowd didn’t have much of a response to Suicide which isn’t surprising since other than some vignettes they haven’t been given a reason to respond before. Hopefully Suicide can get himself over with his offense because the character won’t be talking unless they get him a mouthpiece. I think it’s a certainty that it was TJ Perkins/Puma under the mask which is a good thing. I really like Perkins and he has a ton of experience working under a mask as both Puma and Sydistiko in Lucha Libre USA. He has legit Lucha training as well (trained by one of the best in Negro Casas) so he can bring that type of style to the X-Division.
The tag team segment was a bit funny but damn sure a bit random. Shark Boy was a nice little surprise especially seeing how long he had been in TNA before, but Gunner? What was Eric Young busy? I cannot think of a single person that wants to see Gunner in anything let alone a title match at one of the biggest PPVs of the year. I don’t know what was funnier Kaz’s reference to the Christy Hemme-Aries incident (which probably drew him some heat backstage) or James Storm’s “there’s nothing women love more than a tag team…wrestler.”
Anderson & Angle had yet another good match but it seems like we’ve seen that match at least 100 times and unlike AJ & Angle that isn’t a match I want to see over and over.
The Knockouts Match was okay minus a couple of clunky spots (from Velvet) and I liked Mickie going after the knee finally. They really sold that well with Mickie playing it up like she would do the “noble” thing and not go after it until the very end. Please, for the love of God let this be the start of the heel turn.
– Promo/Segment of the Night: AJ Styles/Aces & Eights
– Match of the Night: X-Division (**1/2)
– Overall Grade: B –
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