We go right to Hulk Hogan's office, as the Hulkster is thanking Jeff Hardy for taking Impact Wrestling where it's never gone before. There's four contenders tonight and he's going to pick one, but he wants Hardy to know that he's ready for his first title defense. Hogan wishes Hardy the best of luck, and says to get ready since it's championship Thursday. Hardy walks out into the hallway where his contenders are hanging out waiting for their audience with Hogan, and we are somehow able to hear Hardy's thoughts as he thinks that Angle is a machine, Storm drinks too much, Anderson is always going to be an asshole, and Bully is dangerous but his mind is preoccupied.
Jeremy Borash and Todd Kenely are our new announcers for the first hour of Impact, and Taz and Mike will join us for hour two. Let's go right to the ring for our first title match!
X Division Title Match: Rob Van Dam vs Zema Ion
They do a quick back and forth sequence early on, trading dropkicks and takedowns, but neither guy gets an advantage. Another back and forth ends with RVD press slamming Ion, the only time I ever remember seeing him do that, and Ion rolls out to the floor where RVD baseball slides him into the barricade. Ion rams RVD into the barricade and tries a dive of his own, but RVD pops up on the apron and spinkicks Ion in the face. Ion ducks a running crossbody and RVD flies over the top rope to the floor, followed closely by Ion as he takes RVD out with a somersault dive. Ion springs off the bottom rope as he comes back into the ring and uses the momentum to hit a tornado DDT for 2. That looked great. Ion goes up top and goes for a Spiral Tap, but RVD rolls out of the way and the count is on. RVD with a slingshot thrust kick, Rolling Thunder, and the Five Star Notebook Splash, and that's all she wrote.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
One would assume that Ion is completely out of the title picture at this point, which I find a little strange given that I thought the big showdown he eventually has with Jesse Sorensen would be for the title. One way or another, Matt Morgan runs in and takes RVD out with the Carbon Footprint, then Joey Ryan slips in after him and takes the X Division Title, dangling it in RVD's face as Morgan says that Hogan wanted to see a different side of Matt Morgan, but to be careful what you wish for because he's not gonna like it.
Austin Aries is listening outside Hulk Hogan's office window, saying he doesn't have to do all the lip smacking these guys do since he has a rematch in the bank. He makes fun of Mr. Nanny, then says he's going to hang around outside Hogan's office and get people's reactions after Hogan tosses them out.
Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian come out to the ring, and Kazarian says they're the victims of a conspiracy because Mr. Nanny altered his travel arrangements last week to keep him away from the Impact Zone where he could stand by his partner, and (as the fans chant that they suck) at Bound For Glory, their titles were taken from them illegally by two guys who are probably in this country illegally. Daniels says they need to slow it down because the fans are a little slow, and he tells Suburban Commando that it's not really Championship Thursday because Zema Ion got his rematch, Miss Tessmacher is getting her rematch, but the best team in the world (who tells the truth and aren't liars or manipulators like Chavo and Hernandez) isn't getting their rematch. Chavo comes out here and mentions every member of his family they need to to get the fans to chant like Pavlovian dogs, and Dixie Carter is so determined to court the Spanish-speaking audience that they come out here in ponchos and with Mexican tattoos. He suggests they go the full nine yards and wear sombreros, drink Margaritas, and call themselves Los Stereotypicos. Daniels says they're done messing around, and Kazarian goes out to ringside with a clipboard to get the fans to sign a petition to get them a rematch. Hernandez and Chavo's music hits, and Los Stereotypicos come out to the ring to say they'll be happy to sign their petition because nothing would make them happier than to give them a rematch and shove those title belts down their throats. Hernandez shoves both Daniels and Kazarian on their asses, then they sign the petition because they'll give Daniels and Kazarian a rematch anytime, anyplace.
We go to Hogan's office and, as usual, he lets each man plead their case as to why they deserve a title shot. Storm says he'll whup somebody's ass because he's tired of taking backseats, Bully is still steaming over his brother, Angle says he'd still be champion if he didn't get hurt and he wants the title back, and Anderson doesn't know what Hogan wants unless Hogan wants him to grovel at his feet. Hogan says he made it easy, and Anderson is out first. Aries catches him on the way out and asks him if he didn't train enough or say enough prayers, and says that he's a better wrestler, better dresser, and even a bigger asshole than Anderson. He throws his water in Anderson's face, and Anderson proceeds to kick his ass, break a table over his head, and proceeds to get on top of Aries and punch him in the face while Aries goes "YOU'RE A BIGGER ASSHOLE, HUH?" Anderson gets up and walks off, and Aries challenges him to a match tonight. Anderson says he's on, then the director yells "CUT!" and we go to commercial.
We go to the Aces & Eights Clubhouse, where Devon says he talked to the President, who says that the masks don't come off under any circumstances since those are their identities. Devon says he brought some ladies so they can have some good times like in the old days. But before that, they need to take someone out, and they need to do it tonight. The Vice President gets up and throws a dart at a board with pictures of the TNA roster on it, and Devon says it looks like they figured out who their target is tonight.
TV Title Match: Samoa Joe vs Robbie T
T powers Joe into the corner, and Joe tears into him with a pair of hard chops. A shoulderblock doesn't budge T, and T takes Joe out with a double axhandle before pummeling him with forearms in the corner. Joe responds with forearms of his own, but T hits a leaping spinkick (!) and goes for a chokeslam, Joe fights his way out but T gets him a second time and lifts him up. Joe floats out behind T and gets the Kokina Clutch, T backs Joe into the corner, Joe gets the hold again and T fights out again, so Joe jumps onto T's back and gets the hold again. T falls backward and drops all his weight on Joe to break the hold, but Joe goes right back to the Kokina Clutch and T taps out.
Winner: Samoa Joe
We look back at Tara beating Miss Tessmacher for the Knockouts Title at Bound For Glory, then we go to Tessmacher as she says she couldn't wait to get her hands on Tara so she can win the title and send Tara and Jesse back to the D-list where they belong.
Back to Hogan's office, as he asks Angle what he thinks of Bubba. Angle says he thinks Bubba is too focused on his brother, and he understands it, but he'd want to kick his brother's ass. Storm says he got stabbed in the back by his brother, and he doesn't think Bubba is focused on the title match. Bubba says he sure is focused on his brother, and he wants to get ahold of him and get some answers out of him. Hogan says that just gave him the answer he needs, and tells Bubba to go take care of his brother. I guess he's eliminated too.
We go to...somewhere in the back, as Ken Anderson is yelling at some guy (presumably the director we heard before) and says that he's sick of Aries walking around like some kind of peacock, and since Hogan says it's okay, to go get him right now.
Oooooh, Anderson's already in the ring as we come back from commercial, that's not a good sign.
Ken Anderson vs Austin Aries
Anderson takes Aries to the corner, breaks clean, and goes "COME ON, BITCH!" Well, I guess we know his mindset. Aries takes Anderson to the ropes and takes a swing, but Anderson blocks and drills him back, sending Aries scurrying out to the floor. Aries takes a long count to break the momentum, then comes in and takes Anderson to the corner, shoving him on the break and getting drilled in the face in return. Anderson gets on top of Aries and drills him with more punches, but Aries rolls out to the floor to avoid an elbowdrop. He again takes a walk to break Anderson's momentum, then comes back in and catches a back elbow to the face. Anderson pulls brass knucks out of his tights and stares at them for a moment, and Aries swoops in and nails Anderson before he decides what to do. Okay, looks like Aries planted the knucks on Anderson and I missed it. Regardless, Anderson goes back to unloading on Aries but winds up getting dumped out to the floor where Aries takes him out with a heat-seeking missile through the ropes as we go to commercial.
We're back, and Aries is beating Anderson up in the corner. Anderson starts firing back and whips Aries hard into the corner, but charges right into his boot and is down again. Aries with a kneedrop to the back of the head for 2, then he drills Anderson with forearms but gets turned inside out with a clothesline. Anderson with more back elbows and a discus clothesline, followed by a rolling neckbreaker. Aries blocks a Finaly roll, misses a roaring elbow, and gets nailed with a spinning enziguiri from Anderson that sends Aries out to the floor. Anderson comes over the top rope and takes Aries out with a crossbody, then rolls Aries inside and covers for 2. Anderson tries the Finlay roll again, but Aries holds onto the referee and falls on top of him. He gets the brass knucks out of the referee's pocket and goes after Anderson with them, but Anderson gets the knucks and the referee sees and takes them out of his hand. While the referee is busy disposing of the knucks, Aries takes another set of knucks out of his tights and drills Anderson with them...then pulls Anderson on top of him and magically kicks out at 2. Anderson is out cold, and Aries quickly gets him in the Last Chancery and the referee stops the match when he sees that Anderson is out.
Winner: Austin Aries
Tara and Jesse are backstage telling Brooke Hogan about how many tomato baths they had to take after getting touched by ODB last week. Brooke tells Tara to get to the ring for her title defense, but tells Jesse to stay put and to watch out because she heard ODB had an eye on him.
Mike Tenay and Taz take over on commentary as we head to the ring for our next title match!
Knockouts Title Match: Tara vs Brooke Tessmacher
Jesse comes out with Tara anyway, but Brooke dropkicks Tara on her way into the ring and starts kicking the crap out of her. She hits a snapmare and connects with repeated indy kicks to the back before slamming Tara's face into the mat repeatedly. Jesse gets up on the ring apron and takes his shirt off to distract Brooke and allow Tara to nail her from behind. Tara goes out after her and rams Brooke's face into the apron, then rolls her back inside and now slams Brooke's face into the mat several times before gouging at her face. Tara stops to make out with Jesse, then goes back to working Brooke over. Brooke starts coming back, but Jesse pulls the ropes open as Brooke runs into them and Brooke goes to the outside. Jesse rolls Brooke back inside and Tara hits the Widow's Peak for the win.
Tara and Jesse make out a bunch, and then Brooke Hogan's music hits and she comes out to tell Tara that next week is Open Fight Night, and she just got off the phone with a very feisty ODB who wants to challenge Jesse to a match. Jesse looks really unhappy at this and cowers at Tara's feet.
Bully Ray is backstage, and he's...WALKING!
Joseph Park comes into Hulk Hogan's match to follow up on their meeting last week, and Hogan doesn't want to let him get in the ring with Aces & Eights, but Park says Hogan wasn't the one who was denied his basic human rights. Hogan says he's responsible for everyone who works there, and Park hands him a contract and says that he's free to do whatever he needs to and tells Hogan to help him if he wants, and otherwise just stay out of his way.
Bully Ray comes out to the ring and says he's been in the business for over 20 years and nothing shocks him anymore, but when the mask came off and he found out that Devon was behind Aces & Eights, he was shock. Devon said a bunch of nothing last week, so he tells Devon to come out and tell him why he did what he did face to face. Devon comes out with the entire group in tow, and hides behind them as he says he doesn't owe Bubba an explanation. They are no longer a team, they're no longer family, they're nothing. Devon did what he did two years ago, and he did what he did, enough said because it has nothing to do with Bubba. It all has to do with Hogan (crowd starts a you sold out chant), because he said he wanted Devon back because he's such a great wrestler and a great champion, but he never called or texted Devon. Hogan and Dixie did nothing for him when he was down and out, and it was Aces & Eights who had his back and picked him up. It doesn't end here, and when everything is said and done, they'll take out each of the people who wronged them one by one. He tells Bubba to go home and leave it be because it's done and Bubba isn't even a threat anymore. Bubba says it's over when he says it's over, and as far as what he did to Devon two years ago, Devon knows exactly why he did it and it is between them. Devon is hiding behind Aces & Eights and is a lying sack of crap, because they had planned to retire as champions, but Chris Sabin kicked out of their finish, and nobody ever kicked out of their finish anywhere they've ever been, but Sabin kicked out on him. The part nobody knew that nobody ever thought Devon would tell the world is that when Bubba had his head down and felt like crap, Bubba will never forget that Devon asked him what the big deal was because they're rich and to screw the fans. Bubba tells Devon to go ahead and deny he said it. Devon said it is true and says to screw these idiots because he doesn't care about them, but Bubba says they're doing too much talking since they were always about fighting, so he tells Devon to get rid of the guys they're hiding behind so they can fight right now. Devon says no because it's not on Bubba's time, and to get his head out of his ass because the world doesn't revolve around him. Devon says he's going home, and Aces & Eights heads to the back. Bubba says this is so typical of Devon because he's a coward who hid behind him, he had no balls then and he has no balls now. Bubba tells Devon to do himself a favor because next week is Open Fight Night, and Bubba doesn't have to think about it because he's challenging Devon. Somebody's going to get his ass kicked, and somebody's going through a table.
The Mystery Cameraman catches up backstage with Matt Morgan and Joey Ryan, who says that the rules don't apply to them, and maybe it's time to get some X Division gold around his waist. Morgan says that Hogan's days of holding him down are over, and Matt Morgan will do what he wants, where he wants, and where he wants, and dares Hogan to try and stop him.
We look at this month's contestant in the Gut Check...and it's Christian York! How about that? He says that he's been wrestling for 16 years and had a chance in TNA ten years ago, and he teamed with Joey Matthews and watched him go to OVW and wind up on TV, and wishes they had been able to do it forever. He knows he's not getting any younger and needs to make his mark, and he plans to do it next week in the Gut Check.
Hulk Hogan is backstage with James Storm and Kurt Angle, and he says that Storm has been through a war and he has a big plan for him, but that Angle's getting the title shot tonight. Hogan tells Storm they need to talk as Angle makes his way out to the Impact Zone for the main event.
World Title Match: Jeff Hardy vs Kurt Angle
Angle takes Hardy to the corner and breaks clean, then they tie up again in the middle of the ring and Hardy takes Angle down with an armdrag. Hardy bars the arm and Angle gets to his feet and takes Hardy to the corner, but this time he drills him in the jaw and Hardy goes down like a ton of bricks. Angle continues working Hardy over in the corner, but Hardy comes back and stomps Angle down in the corner and hits the springboard basement dropkick in the corner. Angle tries coming off the second rope but leaps right into an inverted atomic drop, and Hardy does the double leg takedown/basement dropkick/double legdrop to the crotch combo for 2. Angle responds by crotching Hardy on the top rope and charging with a forearm that sends Hardy tumbling out to the floor as we go to commercial.
We're back as both men wipe each other out with a double clothesline. Hardy recovers first and dumps Angle out to the floor and then wipes him out with a clothesline off the apron. They go back inside and Hardy hits the Whisper In The Wind for 2, Angle blocks the Twist of Fate and gets hits a trio of rolling German suplexes for 2. Angle goes for the Hacker Slam, but Hardy counters to the Twist of Fate and goes up top for the Swanton. He takes about six years to get up there and gives enough time for Angle to pop up to the top rope and hit a release suplex for 2. Angle powerbombs Hardy for 2 and catches Hardy in the anklelock on the kickout. Hardy rolls through and hits an inverted enziguiri, then he goes back up top and goes for the Swanton, but Angle rolls out of the way and Hardy crashes and burns. Angle hits the Hacker Slam and covers for 2, he goes for another German suplex, but Hardy shoves him off and hits two Twists of Fate, then goes back up and hits the Swanton, but only gets 2! Wow, this is a hell of a match, and the crowd is really into it too. Angle backdrops Hardy out to the floor, and immediately goes and rolls Hardy back inside. The straps come down and Angle goes for another Hacker Slam, but Hardy shifts his weight and comes out behind Angle, rolling him up for 3.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Great match, these guys really kicked ass out there. Speaking of kicking ass, Austin Aries runs in and knocks Hardy out, then gets a mic and said with all the pairs of eyes he has, he thought he'd have some in the back of his head. He says that he'll cash in his rematch at Turning Point, not for the Hardy belt, but for the World Championship he had. Hardy's going back to the outhouse and Aries is headed back to the penthouse, and he's so confident that he's going to win at Turning Point that he's taking the original title belt with him for safekeeping.
Wait a minute, something's going on in the back1 Aces & Eights is kicking the crap out of Kurt Angle, and they run off when Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff come in and chase them off. Wes Brisco yells for help for Angle as we call it a week.
Thanks for following PWInsider.com's live coverage of Impact Wrestling, I'll be back tomorrow afternoon to discss Impact and more with Dave Scherer on the Stu & Pid Show!