The main focus was on the Bully Ray/Hulk Hogan storyline and there was some decent progress there.
However, for a show called “Championship Thursday,” there should’ve been more than one Title on the line.
It’s still not explained what makes “Championship Thursday” any different from “Open Fight Night.”
At least the Aces and Eights took a backseat this week.
The TNA product as of late hasn’t been stellar, but not horrible either. It’s been stuck in the middle.
- Video package opener focused on Wes Brisco, The Aces and Eights attack on Eric Young and Austin Aries’ callout of Brooke Hogan as he outed her recent interactions with Bully Ray.
- The Hulk Hogan/Brooke Hogan/Bully Ray segment wasn’t bad per se. It did take into account Hulk’s previous trust conflicts with Ray, but TNA has to be careful this “what are Brooke and Bully up to?” thing doesn’t tread into A.J./John Cena territory. Austin Aries’ argument that Hulk should run the show instead of worrying about his daughter was true. It made the crowd cheer for Hogan, so mission accomplished. Aries’ desk quip on Brooke was great though.
- Mickie James def. Gail Kim: Good match that showcased the talents of the two established Knockout veterans. James hit a Second-Rope Tornado DDT to get the pin. “Hardcore Country” is still an awful nickname. James has been decently pushed, but the Knockouts Division feels like it lacks any real direction.
- Is A.J. Styles really in a position where he could yell at James Storm about whining? Alright interaction between the two that put focus on their match later on in the show. The big question after all was if they would coexist.
- Hilarious exchanges between Hulk Hogan, Austin Aries, Kid Kash, Kenny King and Zema Ion. Kenny King could’ve used more of a rub there and Hogan’s early dismissal of him buried him on television.
- The best part about Bobby Roode’s promo was Christian York’s interruption of it. This is the perfect way to use York. It seems random and his mic skills are still horrendous, but it’s all about what he brings in the ring.
- Bobby Roode def. Christian York: A good match, as York brought the intensity level and Roode matched it. The problem with York is that even though he’s looked impressive in the ring and for challenging both Hardy and Roode the last two weeks, he’s still yet to pick up that one credible victory. He needs to win, fast.
- Post-match, Roode grabbed a chair and hit the ring, but Hardy came down and attacked Roode, who slipped out of the ring and stared Hardy down. Okay interaction between the two but for a World Title feud, it should feel more important than it’s been.
- Great to see that TNA followed up on the fact that Devon never actually lost the Television Title and used it as a way to get a Devon/Samoa Joe match (as average as it will be) with a storyline stipulation that no one will get assaulted.
- The Gut Check Judges discussion of Wes Brisco included his family ties, in-ring inexperience and Kurt Angle’s stamp of approval. Smart conversation that didn’t cross into the “insider” territory. They sounded like pure judges.
- Nobody has seen Al Snow. This already smells like Aces and Eights.
- Kazarian and Christopher Daniels make such an obnoxious duo, anything they do or say gets them heat. (See: Kazarian/Daniels do Gangnam Style)
- A.J. Styles/James Storm def. Kazarian/Christopher Daniels: Solid in-ring action, although the Styles/Storm disagreements served a big distraction and took a page out of the Kane/Daniel Bryan book. Storm hit the Last Call on Daniels to get the pin.
- So Hogan chose Austin Aries to face Rob Van Dam. Kid Kash looked great there, Zema Ion? Not quite.
- Intense, serious promo from Samoa Joe. Perfect.
- Matt Morgan def. Douglas Williams: Morgan’s first match since last June and this just basically showcased his skills. Ryan has a good presence at ringside. Morgan hit the Big Boot for the win.
- D’Lo Brown told Prichard he would step in as a Judge on the decision. That was it.
- Decent promo by Wes Brisco in the Gut Check. Snow’s mysterious absence still overshadowed everything, but at least this made Brisco look charismatic.
- Big intensity between Hulk Hogan and Bully Ray. curious where it will lead. Hopefully not a match.
- ODB discussed how Eric Young was in a hospital bed because of Aces and Eights after they were going strong when they were reunited. This should lead to some kind of good confrontation.
- Thumbs down to the production team for the awkward moment where a random Bobby Roode promo was heard during an Austin Aries/Hogan segment. Aries brought up a good point when he looked at the X Division belt as the key to the World Title. What if A.J. Styles is X-Division Champion by Destination X? Will he get that same stipulation? Loophole.
- X-Division Championship- Austin Aries def. Rob Van Dam via DQ: Good match despite the lame finish. This also played out too much like the segment on Raw where Punk stood between Ryback on the ramp and Cena in the ring. This didn’t really advance things beyond where they were at the show’s start.
Final Thoughts: Three great matches announced for next week is definitely a reason to tune in. We’ll get more of the Hogan/Bully conflicts, as well as the next step in the Aces and Eights storyline. Maybe we’ll also find out where Al Snow went. Way to follow up on that, TNA.