This episode of Impact Wrestling was brought to us from Hulk Hogan's hometown of Tampa, Florida. It was designed to further build storylines leading to the Slammiversary pay-per-view. Also, the show heavily concentrated on AJ Styles being patched in as a member of Aces and Eights.
Typical Hulk Hogan start to the show, which included a long exchange between himself, Sting, Brooke Hogan, and Bully Ray. The only thing that I saw relevant out of this is that Bully made mention that he still loves Brooke. Possibly, this could lead to Hogan being the valet of Aces and Eights. Worth a shot.
Suicide vs. Joey Ryan vs. Petey Williams was actually a really good match. The cadence was just right, and Ryan added an interesting dynamic to the quick styles of Suicide and Williams. This version of Suicide, obviously not Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, or Kiyoshi, is probably the best as far as fitting in with the current X Division style. Looking forward to seeing more of him.
Wes Brisco is in need of major improvement in the ring. His timing is incredibly off, and he needs to loosen up. Placing him in singles matches right now is not a good decision whatsoever. Teaming him with Garett Bischoff is not much better, but at least it can help him hone his skills more. His match with Magnus was embarrassing at times. Good to see Samoa Joe return, though. I've always been high on the Joe/Magnus team. Excellent chemistry.
Anderson vs. Kurt Angle was booked properly for the most part. Another AJ Styles distraction, which led to Anderson getting to roll-up victory after a low blow. The match between the two at Slammiversary should be phenomenal, pardon the pun.
The segment where James Storm picked his tag team partner was odd, confusing, and hilarious. I was certainly hoping that is would be someone from the past. Namely, Chris Harris. Shark Boy appearing was quite funny, and I'm glad he is still using the Steve Austin-esque gimmick. Robbie E had no purpose out there but to be someone that Gunner took out to prove his dominance.
Speaking of Gunner, the choice to make him Storm's partner was quite odd. Gunner is known as being a legitimate heel, and the semi-turn was a bad spot to place him. With his new look, he could have either been a member of Aces and Eights, or could have just made an impact by appearing during a random match, taking both members out. Although a Storm/Gunner team is not outlandish, Gunner as a babyface does not have a good ring to it.
Mickie James vs. Velvet Sky was another match that had so many miscues. It was a bit surprising to see how many there were, especially coming from two people that have been wrestling for a considerable amount of time. Good decision to have Mickie James win the Knockouts title, though. Velvet Sky's reign have been overshadowed by the Taryn Terrell/Gail Kim feud, and hopefully James can bring back legitimacy to the title.
The final segment of AJ Styles becoming a "member" of Aces and Eights was a bit predictable, but properly displayed. It was quite obvious that AJ was going to pull some kind of swerve, but how it happened was good. This could very well lead to a Styles/Bully Ray match at Bound for Glory, which should be impressive. This journey of how AJ Styles has been booked shows that there still is hope for good storyline development in pro wrestling.
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