The Four-Point Stance for March 21, 2013: Footage and Results from Thursday's IMPACT WRESTLING broadcast on SpikeTV
1. The Rise of Bully Ray: World Heavyweight Champion. President of Aces & Eights. And now, The Mastermind of what he calls "the greatest con in the history of professional wrestling." Bully Ray used his bully pulpit on Thursday's IMPACT WRESTLING from Chicago to detail the nine-month march to his capturing the championship...and demoralizing the IMPACT roster (not to mention his bride Brooke Hogan and her world-famous father) along the way. What does it say about a man willing to take so many twists and turns and, yes, beatings at the hands of his now-revealed brothers in the Aces & Eights to get what he wants? It says Bully Ray is a man you don't want to trifle with, and the Aces may well be unstoppable.
2. The New No. 1 Contender: That doesn't mean there weren't plenty of IMPACT Superstars ready to step up to challenge the new champ. General Manager Hulk Hogan called out four men he knew (thought?) he could trust, and it was the most recent former world champion Jeff Hardy who suggested the four-way bout to determine the new No. 1 contender. Every man in the match had something to prove: Kurt Angle's desire to climb back up the mountain, Samoa Joe wanting live up to the rowdy support of the IMPACT fans in Chicago, Magnus eager to show he belonged with the very best TNA has to offer. In the end, it was Hardy's Twist of Fate trifecta, followed by a timely Swanton, that moved him back to the front of the line. But can he deliver redemption for himself and to TNA, and when will Bully Ray allow that attempt to happen? The Mastermind may have shown some of his cards tonight, but still holds all of them.
3. The Next Generation of the X-Division: The evolution of professional wrestling's most exciting division continues, with three new twists that amp up that excitement even more. The 230-lb. weight limit. The "every match a triple threat" stipulation. And the most important new aspect...take the loss, go to the back of the line. Kenny King, Zema Ion and the returning Sonjay Dutt debuted the new format, with every bit of the high-octane action you'd expect from the X-Divison. Dutt took the pin from King, and now moves back into the pool to get back into the X-Division title race. Meanwhile, King remains the champ, Ion waits patiently (yeah, right) for a new second contender to be named, and the X-Division landscape gets that much more frenetic.
4. Goodbye, Taryn...Hello, Taryn: Despite the turmoil filling her personal life, you've got to hand it to Knockouts VP Brooke Hogan for showing up and taking care of business Thursday night. The physical altercations between Gail Kim and Knockouts official Taryn Terrell were taking attention away from the competition in the ring (not to mention hair off of Taryn's lovely head.) Brooke did what she had to do, and relieved Terrell of her officiating duties, much to the delight of the very first Knockouts champion Kim. That delight was short-lived, as @MizzHogan named Taryn to the Knockouts roster, giving her carte blanche (or is that carte blonde?) for physicality whenever she saw fit. Which was about five seconds later, as Terrell launched a picture-perfect spear into Kim's midsection. The Knockouts division just got a little more physical, folks.
In other IMPACT WRESTLING action from Chicago:
- The self-described "dirty heels" (no, really, it says so right on their shirts) Bobby Roode and Austin Aries held onto to their Tag Team Championships, defeating Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez...albeit via the "influence" of Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, who then attacked the champs as well for good measure. If you thought these three teams were through with each other at LOCKDOWN, think again.
- The Blueprint Matt Morgan continued his quest to eliminate what he called Hulk Hogan's "mistakes" as IMPACT GM, this time taking out the still-green, but-improving Joseph Park. The Windy City's battling barrister showed signs of hanging with the gold-clad giant, but once again, Morgan's Carbon Footprint stomped out Park's dream.
- And finally, speaking of IMPACT's GM, the tension between the Immortal One and The Icon over Sting's trust in and endorsement of Bully Ray over the latter part of 2012 and into this year continues to build, with Hogan angrily telling the Hall of Famer to "go disappear for a couple of years." The animosity between IMPACT's most decorated names isn't going away any time soon.