TNA Impact Wrestling, Jan. 17: Taz Joins Aces & Eights, Aries/Roode and More

Kyle SchadlerChief Writer IJanuary 18, 2013

TNA Impact Wrestling went on the air with footage from earlier that day. Bully Ray was getting ready for the wedding when both Spike Dudley and Tommy Dreamer came into the room. Elsewhere, Brooke revealed her bridesmaids as Mickie James, Christy Hemme and Miss Tessmacher.

I was not expecting to see Spike Dudley as one of Bully’s groomsmen. With Rob Van Dam a member of the roster, I figured that he would be one of them, so Spike was a nice surprise. Dreamer was a good surprise, too, especially since he just appeared on WWE Raw last month.

This wedding is actually shaping up pretty well so far. As for Brooke’s segment, there were no real surprises there. Since Velvet Sky is now in the title hunt, that really only left Mickie, Tessmacher and Christy for bridesmaids.


Opening Segment

Jeff Hardy would make his way out for the opening segment in the ring and he talked about Genesis. He thanked the fans and said that he fought for his Creatures. That brought out Bad Influence, and Christopher Daniels and Kazarian bragged of Daniels’ accomplishments. Hardy soon attacked them with James Storm coming out to help.

This was a good opening segment, thanks mainly to Daniels and Kazarian. Hardy was his usual self on the mic, which is rarely entertaining. Bad Influence, on the other hand, were great. Their mic work was strong and they delivered a good, and very entertaining promo.

Daniels and Kazarian are two of the best in TNA right now. The Fallen Angel truly deserves the world title shot he’s getting next week, and I really hope he wins it. Giving him the title would not only be different, but it would create some great moments!

As for Storm, his feud with Bad Influence is obviously not over yet. Keeping the feud going also keeps him on the edge of the title hunt, but could put him right back into it if Daniels wins.


Bad Influence vs. Jeff Hardy and James Storm

The faces picked up the win here after Hardy hit the Twist of Fate on Kazarian. This was an overall good match with some nice back-and-forth action. All four wrestlers performed well here, but it seems to me like Storm is slowing down. He can still get it done in the ring, it’s just that he doesn’t move as quickly as he used to.

His team with Hardy is developing into a decent unit. They’re learning to work with one another and it’s transitioning well in their matches as a team. I can’t see them as a permanent pairing vying for the TNA World Tag Team Championship, but they will at least be able to have a good match when they get put together.

Daniels and Kazarian were great here, but that really is no surprise. Bad Influence are one of the best pairings in the business right now. They are great on the mic and excellent in the ring, both in singles and tag team action.

If TNA doesn’t give Daniels the TNA World Heavyweight Championship next week, then they better at least put them back into the hunt for the tag titles. I would much prefer if Daniels stays in the world title picture, though, with Kazarian maybe getting in there as well.


Backstage Segments

Footage was then shown from last week of the Gut Check judges discussing Jay Bradley and Brian Cage backstage. They went over the pros and cons of each before cutting away to both of them looking nervous.

I was never much of a fan of the backstage deliberations with Gut Check. What they’re saying backstage could just be said in the ring during the actual segment. I suppose if they do it here, though, the in-ring segment won’t go too long.

Since Gut Check has a new format, the backstage deliberation could end up working out better in the end.

Back live, Spike apparently broke his shirt as Joseph Park entered to congratulate Bully Ray with a box of cigars. Before he left, he asked “Prenup?” while giving a thumbs up and then down. The prenup bit was a little funny. Brooke is Linda’s daughter after all, and look what she did to Hulk.

In all seriousness, I thought Park was entering because he was going to be Bully’s best man, or at least be part of the wedding in some form. He ended up not being involved, and Bully’s best man would be revealed later.


Gut Check

After Bruce Pritchard eliminated Brian Cage, the judges gave Jay Bradley their answers. Taz immediately said “no,” while Al Snow and Pritchard voted him in after a strong promo.

I was personally hoping for Cage to get the contract, but I’m overall fine with Bradley getting it. While I felt that Cage was more impressive last week in the match, Bradley seems like a solid worker, so he is a good choice.

I find the new format interesting. I thought they would be evaluating both of them with the guy getting the majority vote winning the contract. Instead, the one that got the majority vote still had to go through the “yes, no” process.

I would have liked to see Cage at least get to defend himself and maybe change their minds. Maybe something like that will be included in future Gut Check segments.


Christian York vs. Kenny King

Kenny King picked up the victory here after executing the dreaded Rollup of Doom. That rollup may be the greatest finisher in professional wrestling history!

Anyway, Christian York and King had a decent match here. It saw York control the majority of it before King got in a few of his kicks and the rollup. These two had a very good match at Genesis. In fact, their match was a glimmer of light in an overall boring pay-per-view event. They were one of three matches out of the nine that actually delivered.

I would say I was disappointed with this match, but I get why it went the way it did. At Genesis, York defeated King to become the challenger for Rob Van Dam’s X-Division Championship. Before the title match took place, though, King attacked York and ultimately cost him the title.

York was looking for revenge here, but King was too much of a crafty heel for him. King as a heel is just great. He’s cocky, arrogant and just plain full of himself. He plays the role very well and is the best thing going in the X-Division right now.


Heading Backstage

Backstage, Bully Ray would approach Sting. The Icon was the only one that trusted him, so he wanted the Stinger to talk Hulk Hogan into walking his daughter down the aisle. Sting would agree and that was it.

Most fathers would just be happy that their daughter’s happy, but then there’s Hulk Hogan. His obsession with Brooke’s love life is just weird.

With Sting getting involved, it gets me more interested in the wedding. My reason being is that the Icon is the archenemy of the Aces & Eights. Wherever he is, the biker gang can’t be too far behind.

Elsewhere, Austin Aries was getting ready for the wedding when Bobby Roode appeared. They argued over not being champion before getting on the same page and deciding to crash the wedding.

Aries and Roode are so great together. They work off of each other very well, and their chemistry together is only seconded by Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. They haven’t been working together as a unit for long, but it’s like they’ve been teaming for years.

Hulk Hogan then finally arrived at the Impact Zone. The talking camera asked him if he was there for the wedding, but Hulk just told it to go away. Way to show up late for the show that you run, Hogan.

I have no doubt that he’ll walk Brooke down the aisle, but what he’ll do when he gets there is another story. That would all be found out later, though.

Back in the building, but still backstage, Taz entered Bully Ray’s locker room. He asked Bully if he called Paul to which he said “yes,” but that Paul would call back in “five minutes.” Obviously, talking about Paul Heyman, I take it that was an inside joke targeted at him going back to the days of ECW.

So that answers the question of who the best man was. Now that I think about it, Taz was the obvious choice since Van Dam would be too spaced out to give Bully the ring.


Back in the Impact Zone

Sting would then make his way out to the ring. He felt tension in the air and called out Hulk Hogan. Hulk said that when he looked in Bully’s eyes he would see something bad, and that social media told him not to trust him. The Icon told him to just do it for his daughter, and Hulk responded with “I always do the right thing.”

Yes, Hulk, social media told you he’s untrustworthy, so it must be true.

I think this segment was better suited for backstage. In fact, they would do another segment backstage later on talking about how the business tainted their minds, and Hulk saying “I always do the right thing” again.

Did we really need both of them to come all the way out to ring just to talk for five minutes when they were just going to talk about it again and then some later on?

I was hoping the Aces & Eights would at least come out here and attack them. That way, everyone would have had to been on high alert for the actual wedding instead of having their guard completely down.


Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky: No. 1 Contenders Match

Before the match, Gail Kim approached Taryn Terrell backstage about her mistake at Genesis. Because of that mistake, Velvet Sky would have to earn her No. 1 contender spot again.

It’s always good to see the Knockouts division getting the spotlight. My fears have come true, though. When Gail’s foot ended up under the rope during the pinfall, I feared that Velvet would get screwed out of her title shot. At least she’s getting the chance to earn it back.

Earning it back is exactly what she did, too, when she pinned Gail after the In Yo Face. Velvet and Gail had a decent match here as they went back and forth for the time they were given. The match was a bit slow, though.

Both Gail and Velvet are good in-ring talents, especially Gail, so I was surprised when the pace was slower. Perhaps they were having an off night.

The important thing is, though, that Velvet Sky is the No. 1 contender for the TNA Knockouts Championship. After getting screwed in her title reign in 2011 due to the return of Gail, she’s finally getting the much-deserved spotlight.

Sticking with the Knockouts, Dixie Carter was backstage with Brooke. Brooke thanked her for the support, and the TNA President told her that poppa Hulk loved her no matter what.

Well that was a nice little segment. I wonder why Dixie wasn’t a bridesmaid since she apparently supported Brooke so much.


Before the Wedding

Before the wedding bells began to ring, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode made their way to the squared circle. Talking about how they carried TNA during 2012, and bashing the current champions of TNA, Aries and Roode gave great promos here. TNA has struck gold by putting two great in-ring talents together, especially since they are great mic workers as well.

I liked how they mentioned how it seemed like TNA took a step back to “10 years in the past.” With guys like Jeff Hardy, Devon, Rob Van Dam and Chavo Guerrero holding titles, it does seem that way sometimes.

That’s actually one of the main criticisms I’ve noticed in comment sections here on Bleacher Report and all over the Internet. TNA is pushing the “old guys” while TNA originals and independent talent coming in take a back seat.

Sometimes it’s good to have a veteran as champion, and TNA sometimes does it well, but I can see where people are coming from and really noticed it when Aries and Roode brought it up.

Their statement brought out Guerrero and his partner Hernandez and that led to Mexican jokes from the heels before the champions attacked them. Aries and Roode would get away, though.

I think I am getting my wish here. With Aries and Roode getting attacked by the TNA Tag Team champions, it seems like a feud over the belts may be taking place.

That means Aries and Roode are sticking together! Imagine if they won the titles and began feuding with Bad Influence. The entertainment value would be through the roof!


The Wedding of Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan

After Hulk Hogan appeared to walk Brooke down the ramp, both she and Bully Ray exchanged their vows and said “I do.” Just when it looked like a wrestling wedding was actually going to be successful, Taz stopped things before the minister said “I now pronounce you man and wife.”

He soon took off his jacket to reveal an Aces & Eights vest and then all hell broke loose. As DOC and Mike Knox held Brooke and forced her to watch the assault, the biker gang took out everyone in the ring except for the Knockouts, who were looking absolutely gorgeous during the wedding.

With the last few reveals being a bit lackluster, TNA has thrown a curveball into the mix. I did not see Taz as a member of the Aces & Eights coming. Not even just a little. I was expecting Bully Ray to signal the troops, or maybe even Hulk Hogan. Taz’s membership to the biker gang is a shocking one, but I love it!

When he’s not being annoying on commentary, Taz is great on the mic, especially when he’s heel. Devon was doing well as the Aces & Eights mouthpiece, but Taz is going to be able to give intense promos that only he could give.

This also brings up some questions about certain things. Will he still be a commentator? Will he still be a judge for Gut Check? Then there’s the big question: why did he join the Aces & Eights?

I am once again excited for this storyline, and cannot wait to hear what Taz has to say next week!


Final Thoughts

Overall, I thought this was a good episode of Impact Wrestling. After two lackluster episodes, and a boring PPV event, TNA has stepped up their game. While only one match was good, the segments this week were great.

Whether it was Bad Influence, the build to the wedding, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode or the closing moments of the wedding, TNA made up for the other matches in a big way.

Even though they haven’t started the proper build to their next PPV event yet, the Road to Lockdown has gotten off to a great start. I haven’t been able to say this the past few weeks, but now I can: I can’t wait for next week to see what happens next!


Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter, where I always follow back fellow wrestling fans and usually tweet during the shows! If your bio doesn’t say you’re a wrestling fan, please tweet me so I know.


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