The show starts off on a classy note, as TNA sends their condolensces to the families of the victimes of last week's school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Then we look back at last week as Hulk Hogan and Bully Ray's mistrust continued, Austin Aries paid for the services of Aces & Eights in his quest to regain the TNA World Title, leading to Hardy-Aries III tonight with the title on the line.
We look back to earlier today as both Jeff Hardy and Austin Aries arrived at the Impact Zone. Also tonight: Tara will defend against one of four possible contenders for the Knockouts Title. But first, we open the show with Kurt Angle coming out to the ring to challenge Devon to defend the TV Title against him. Devon comes out with Aces & Eights, so Angle brings out his crew of Samoa Joe, Garett Bischoff, and Wes Brisco to even the odds.
TV Title Match: Devon vs Kurt Angle
Devon starts brawling right off the bat, and Angle shows that he can brawl too by hitting a kitchen sink and then unloading with right hands of his own. Angle dodges a charge and Devon tumbles out to the floor. The two gangs come around to where Devon is and a big brawl breaks out at ringside as Angle stands in the ring watching the fun unfold. Unfortunately, he lost sight of Devon, who came in the ring behind Angle and clipped his knee out as we go to commercial.
We're back, and Devon is working over Angle's knee. Devon gets a spinning toehold, Angle gets out and fires off some right hands and then hits a series of clotheslines. Angle pops Devon up with an overhead release suplex that gets him 2, he goes for the Hacker Slam but Devon slips out and hits a spinebuster for 2. Angle comes right back with rolling German suplexes, the straps come down, and he gets Devon in the anklelock. Do they really expect us to believe that Angle is going to be the TV Champion? Indeed, Aces & Eights and Team Angle run out for another confrontation as yet another member of Aces & Eights pops up on the ring apron and hits Angle in the back of the head with an aluminum bat. Devon makes a cover and gets the biggest singles win of his career.
We go backstage to Brooke Hogan's office as she tries to decide whether Velvet Sky, Brooke Tessmacher, Mickie James, or ODB will get the title shot. Let's see what wacky reasons they come up with to eliminate people this time. They all argue their case until ODB decides on her own to walk out and tell Brooke to kiss her ass on the way out. We'll get to the next elimination later on.
Kenny King is backstage saying that he beat Rob Van Dam last week, and now he gets to team with Rob because TNA is just that great a place.
Joey Ryan & Matt Morgan vs X Division Champion Rob Van Dam & Kenny King
RVD and Ryan start us off, and RVD kicks the crap out of Joey, does the pointing chant, and moonsaults onto Ryan for 2. King comes in almost takes Ryan's head off with a superkick, but Joey ducks and tags in Morgan, who instead takes King's head off with a clothesline. Morgan methodically stalks King and slowly dishes out punishment, then tags out ot Ryan so he can choke King over the ropes and suckerpunch RVD off the apron. Ryan distracts the referee so Morgan can reach in from the apron and do like an inverted chokeslam so he dumps King face first on the top turnbuckle. That looked real painful. Morgan comes back in, chokes King in the corner with his boot, then nearly breaks him in half with a side suplex. Ryan tags back in and drools on himself (literally) before King catches him with a sunset flip for 2. King tags out to RVD, who takes Ryan apart with a series of martial arts kicks. RVD and King double dropkick Morgan off the apron and go to work on Ryan, but Morgan comes back in. King sees him and decides to take a walk and leave RVD to take the Carbon Footprint instead. Ryan covers and that's all she wrote.
Winners: Matt Morgan & Joey Ryan
King is halfway up the ramp and yells "watch out!" to RVD.
We go back to last week when AJ Styles said he's tired of being the corporate janitor and doing what everyone wants him to. From here on out, he's doing his own thing. We then go to Frankie Kazarian, who says he doesn't care that AJ Styles is walking away, he cares that we're five days away from Christmas and he has a surprise for his fans. He gets a call from his friend "Nick" and leaves the interview to ask him how Donner's doing.
Hulk Hogan comes out to the ring and says that it's been a great year for TNA, and he remembers seeing a teeny tiny company become a huge monster (I assume he means TNA). There's a ton of great talent in the back and it's tough to figure out who the best of the best is, so that's why they're letting the fans vote for the TNA Wrestler Of The Year, with the winner being announced on January 3rd. Aces & Eights crashes the party, and Devon says Hogan syas so many lies he thinks Hogan believes them. 2012 wasn't Hogan's year, it was the year Aces & Eights beat the hell out of TNA's entire locker room. They represent the truth, not like the lies Hogan's been telling the fans, and 2013 will also be the year (Devon pauses to make angry faces at a Hogan chant) that Aces & Eights will be revealed and their goal will be accomplished. Unfortunately, Hogan won't be around to see it unfold, and the entire gang gets on the apron and surrounds Hogan. Bully Ray runs out with a chain and Aces & Eights hightails it, and Hogan looks torn between being angry at the gang who has been attacking the company all year, and being angry at the guy who's tossing his daughter. They have an uncomfortable staredown before Hogan makes angry faces at Bubba and walks off. Okay, that was kind of a dick move on Hogan's part.
Jeff Hardy is backstage talking with his mouth instead of his mind for a change. He says he used to respect Austin Aries until Aries showed his true colors, and now he has no respect for him and is going to beat him tonight.
We go back to Brooke and the girls as Tessmacher says she hasn't left and come back like the others, she's been here the whole time and deserves another shot. Mickie say she hasn't had a fair shot at the title, and Velvet says she and Mickie came back at the same time and neither of them had a fair shot. Brooke decided that since Tessmacher has been working so hard, she's going to eliminate her and bring it down to Velvet and Mickie. That makes total sense.
Frankie Kazarian is backstage, and he's...carrying a present!
We look back at the crappy year AJ Styles has had, then Frankie Kazarian comes out to the ring with presents in hand. He tells the ass goblins in the crowd that they can't ruin his mood because we're only days away from Christmas, he's in the spirit, and his tree that he brought to the ring has two stars on top of it (a picture of Christopher Daniels and himself). He brings Daniels out to the ring, with Daniels stopping to take an Appletini from someone at ringside (that's never a good idea) before getting in the ring and sitting in the Santa seat Kazarian thoughtfully had set up in the ring. Kazarian says that with Daniels beign such a good friend and a huge winner, he's going to bring out another good friend of his, the man with the biggest sack he's ever seen, Santa Claus! Gee, whoever's in that Santa suit looks to have an awfully athletic build. Kazarian sits him in the chair and says that since he's so good to everyone, they got him a present: a pair of Zubaz pants. Santa has Daniels sit on his lap, with Daniels handing Kazarian his iPhone to take a picture, then Santa asks Daniels if he's been a good boy this holiday season. Daniels says he's been really good because he got rid of the biggest loser in TNA. Santa says he's going to grant Daniels a holiday wish, and Daniels says that it's about giving gifts and not receiving them, so he asks Santa to get something for AJ Styles' kids because their dad is a loser.
James Storm comes out and says that he was standing in the back listening to them, and they can run down AJ Styles if they want to, but he's not going to let them talk bad about Christmas. Daniels tells Santa that Storm is the man who made it so AJ can't get a title shot ofr a year and to put him on the naughty list, so Storm comes in the ring and takes his jacket off. Storm tops to check out Santa and questions whether he's really Santa, then lists off a bunch of stuff he never got for Christmas when he was a kid. He knows Santa is busy this time of year, but he asks Santa what Storm asked for last year for Christmas. Santa says it must be something country like a Travis Tritt CD, Storm says he's close but he actually asked for a case of beer. He superkicks Santa out of his chair, then tells him to put that in their pipe and smoke it. Storm steals Santa's sack and tosses the presents that were supposed to be for all the good kids out to the ass goblins in the crowd as Daniels and Kazarian hightail it.
Aries is backstage asking the camerman if he could hear his thoughts, then says that this isn't a ladder match, it's a wrestling match and that's his specialty. He's going to prove why he's the best wrestler in the world today and regain his World title.
Brooke Hogan is backstage, and she's...WALKING!
Sting is returning on 1/3/13, he wants his bat back and he's coming for Aces & Eights, and Doc in particular. We go to the Aces & Eights clubhouse where the Vice President says they need more muscle so they don't get run off again like they did earlier. Devon says he knows someone he thinks would be smart muscle, and he says the guy can be kind of arrogant but might be just pissed off enough to work out. They vote on having a sit down meeting with this person next week, and they unanimously decide to see what Devon has up his sleeve.
Brooke Hogan is backstage and decides that Mickie James will get the title shot. She tells Velvet to watch Tara since she might be next in line to get a title shot, but Velvet doesn't seem satisfied for some odd reason.
Knockouts Title Match: Tara vs Mickie James
Mickie catches Tara with several rollups right off the bat, but fails to put Tara away. Jesse trips Mickie from the floor and Taryn Terrell misses it completely, counting 2 as Tara makes a cover. Tara tosses Mickie across the ring by her hair and goes for a couple of pinfall attempts, but can't put Mickie away just yet. Tara gets Mickie in a surfboard and Mickie escapes and gets another rollup, but Jesse distracts Terrell and Tara manages to recover and powerslam Mickie. Mickie gets her knees up on the ass shaking moonsault, and they trade right hands on their knees until they get to their feet and Mickie gets an advantage. Mickie gets a DDT and tries a cover, but Jesse again interjects himself and drags Tara out to the floor. Mickie wipes Jesse out with a dive off the top rope and then rolls Tara back inside. Jesse hold her ankle on the way in and distracts Mickie just long enough to hit what looked like an inverted atomic drop except that Mickie's jaw came down on Tara's knee. Tara makes a cover and gets the win.
Austin Aries and Jeff Hardy are backstage, and they're...WALKING!
We take a look at OVW where Danny Davis is trying to train Joseph Park to wrestle and chewing him out for not quite getting it. We see Park screw up a drop toehold and throw really weak forearms until his training partner accidentally bloodies his nose. Park loses his mind and flattens him with a Black Hole Slam, then snaps out of it as Davis asks him if he's okay.
It's main event time!
TNA World Title Match: Jeff Hardy vs Austin Aries
They tie up and Aries takes Hardy to the ropes, but breaks clean. Hardy takes Aries to the corner and goes to break clean, but Aries kicks him in the gut and puts the boots to him. Hardy quickly recovers and launches Aries across the ring into the corner and slams him for a quick 1 count. Aries slams Hardy and goes out to the apron, but Hardy gets the knees up on a slingshot senton attempt. Hardy with a snapmare and ropkick to the back for 2, then climbs Aries in the corner for the ten punch count. Hardy stops to gyrate at the crowd before pummeling Aries until he falls out to the floor. A bewildered Aries looks for a time out on the floor, carefully evading any crazy dives Hardy might try. He comes back inside and gets a series of knees to Hardy's gut and whips him to the ropes for a hard back elbow. Hardy immediately recovers and clotheslines Aries out to the floor, but Aries dodges a running dive off the apron and Hardy smashes into the barricade. Aries rolls in as the referee counts, and we go to commercial.
We're back as Aries hits a slingshot senton for 2 on Hardy, then punts him in the back before stopping to mouth off to the fans. Aries starts working over Hardy's back with forearms, but Hardy catches Aries with a flying headscissors that sends him crashing headfirst into the corner. Hardy comes off the second rope for a splash, but Aries gets the knees up. Aries tries for the brainbuster, Hardy blocks and counters to a gourdbuster. Hardy begins mounting a comeback and hits the second rope splash the second time around, but Aries kicks out at 2. Hardy sets up for the Twist of Fate, Aries shoves him off into the corner and charges in after him, Hardy tries leapfrogging into the headscissors again, and this time Aries is ready and shoves Hardy off, dropping him groin first on the top rope. Aries with a charging, roaring elbow in the corner and then hits the IED for 2. Aries can taste it now as he picks Hardy up for the brainbuster, but Hardy slips out the back and gets a powerbomb into an overhead flapjack and covers for 2. Aries dodges the Whisper In The Wind and tries another brainbuster, Hardy fights him off and hits the Twist of Fate. He tries another, but Aries blocks him and comes off the second rope...right into a Manhattan Drop. Hardy picks up Aries' legs, Aries kicks Hardy off and sends him crashing into the referee, wiping him out. Aries takes advantage and hits a low blow, followed by the brainbuster, then folds Hardy over and makes a cover as a second referee runs in to make the count. Bobby Roode runs out of the locker room and pulls the second referee out of the ring, then flips Aries off and gives him a spinebuster before heading back up the ramp. Everyone's back up now, but Aries goes right back down with a Twist of Fate, then Hardy hits the Swanton and completes his clean sweep of the series with Aries.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Bobby Roode stands at the top of the ramp smiling at Aries as Hardy grunge ties his shirt around his waist.
Hulk Hogan is in the parking lot telling the annoying cameraman that he plans to get the World Title situation and Aces & Eights figured out in 2013, then he looks across the parking lot and sees Bully Ray and Brooke make out. Hulk ignores any further questions from the cameraman and just gets in his car and drives away.
Thank you for following PWInsider.com's coverage of Impact Wrestling, I'll be back tomorrow to talk about Impact and more with Dave Scherer on the Stu & Pid Show!