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Impact: The end of Hulkamania?
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on Impact Wrestling: Bobby Roode's run through his Fortune stablemates continues as he faces former world champion AJ Styles. Elsewhere, Hulk Hogan has a big announcement to make. Could this be it for the former long-time world champion?

Like usual, tonight's taped show emanates from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Fla. "The Professor" Mike Tenay and The Tazz are our hosts.

Sting is out to start the show and he is wearing, of all things, a Hulk Hogan shirt. He asks Bobby Roode to come down to the ring. He tells Roode he's got momentum and pretty much gives him a big pep talk. He tells him he has to stay focused, though, and can't let Kurt Angle get in his head. He tells Roode he needs to convince him he's ready for Angle at Bound For Glory.

Roode says he really appreciates the words from Sting because Sting is a freaking man. He says he knows Angle is trying to get in his head but he knows opportunities like this don't come around every day. He says he's going to be world champ. He asks Sting to make him a promise, though: That he'll take care of Hulk Hogan, and if they each win their matches, they'll finally get the company back to where it belongs.

This brings out AJ Styles. He tells Roode to beat Angle because unless he's friends with the right people, brother, you never know when you'll get another shot at the title. Styles is interrupted by Angle. Angle says he's upset Sting's former boss made him look like a jackass. He tells Styles if he beats Roode tonight, he'll get his shot at the title after Bound For Glory. Let the games begin, he says.

(Ads)

Match #1 - X Division No. 1 Contender Ladder Match - Alex Shelley (Detroit, Mich.) vs. Kid Kash (Nashville, Tenn.) vs. Jesse Sorensen (Kady, Texas) vs. Brian Kendrick (Venice, Calif.) vs. Zema Ion

Predictable train wreck early. Sorensen drops Ion with a CrossRhodes onto the ladder and is the only man standing. He sets up a ladder and starts climbing only to have Kid Kash throw a chair at him and power bomb him off the ladder. Kash climbs only to be pulled down by Kendrick. Kendrick climbs with Shelley on the other side but is able to hold him off and grab the contract.

Winner via contract grabbing: Brian Kendrick

(Ads)

The King and Queen of the Mountain are out. Jeff Jarrett calls out Kazarian "and his skanky old lady." Jarrett runs down Kazarian, about how he's given him chance after chance in his company. He tells Traci Brooks that he's the only one in the wrestling business to give her an opportunity and then she disrespects his wife. Jarrett says both Kazarian and Traci are ungrateful bastards. Kazarian shoves Jarrett but the agents and referees come running in. Jarrett says he should fire both of them but instead he's going to make their lives miserable starting tonight.

Jarrett calls Traci a "10-cent whore" and this sets Kazarian off. They brawl but security comes down. As they have those two separated, Gunner comes out, the security parts like the Red Sea and Gunner lays Kazarian out. Hilarious.

(Ads)

Match #2 - Jesse Neal (Orlando, Fla.) vs. Hernandez (Houston, Texas)

Ink Inc are making their way to the ring when they both are attacked by Mexican America. It's a total beatdown outside the ring. Anarquia brings Shannon Moore into the ring and hits a slam and Hernandez comes off the top with the big splash. They repeat it on Neal. Now Rosita and Sarita grab cans of spray paint and spray "MA" on their backs.

(Ads)

Match #2 - Queen's Qualifier - Madison Rayne (Seattle, Wash.) vs. Tara (San Bernadino, Calif.)

Rayne takes advantage of referee Earl Henber, hitting on him and using it to take the match over when things weren't going her way. Hebner finally catches on to her act and tells Tara to get her. Snap suplex and a tree slam for Tara. She goes for the Widow's Peak but Madison scoops Tara's legs out and covers Tara with her feet on the ropes. Hebner can't see it and counts the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Madison Rayne

(Ads)

Crimson is out. He calls out Samoa Joe so they can finally settle this. Joe's music hits and he comes out on the ramp. Joe says Crimson is lucky Joe let him come out here, that he's still not in a hospital bed. He says the only reason he allowed that is because if Crimson isn't in TNA, who else is going to be his b----.

Crimson leaves the ring and spears Joe on the ramp. Joe takes over, though, in the ring and locks in the heel hook on Crimson. Crimson is struggling as Joe threatens to break it off. He lets it go when Matt Morgan's music hits. Morgan comes and cleans house on Joe. He goes for the Carbon Footprint but Joe bails.

Morgan offers Crimson his hand to help him up. After a few moments, Crimson accepts. Morgan pats Crimson on the chest and takes off.

(Ads)

Match #3 - The Pope (Harlem, NY) vs. Mr. Anderson (Green Bay, Wisc.)

They brawl out in front of Devon's sons and one of them hooks Anderson's. And then shoves him. Now Devon runs out and gets in their face and asks them what they're doing. As they're all arguing, including the referee, Bully Ray comes in from behind and drills Anderson with a kendo stick. Pope comes back in the ring and pins him.

Winner via pinfall: The Pope

(Ads)

Match #4 - AJ Styles (Gainesville, Ga.) vs. Bobby Roode (Toronto, Ontario)

Styles in control early on and he has Roode in quite the predicament with a great submission maneuver. Styles gives it up and the two start slugging it out in the centre of the ring. Styles, though, after an exchange, steps back and cracks Roode in the back of the head with a kick. Roode stands up and Styles comes toward him only to be grabbed for a uranage

Roode puts Styles onto the top rope. Styles punches Roode off the ropes so Roode comes back and punches Styles to the outside. Styles gets on the apron, lands a shot of his own and then hits the springboard forearm for two. Backbreaker for Styles and he goes out for the 450 but Roode rolls out of the way. Roode misses a move and Styles counters into the Styles Clash but can't get it. They start countering each other and Styles goes for the Pele but Roode avoids it and locks in the Crossface. Styles taps.

Winner via submission: Bobby Roode

(Ads)

It's the moment everybody's been waiting for. Hulk Hogan is out for his big announcement. Hogan says he feels like a ton of weight has been lifted off his shoulders. He says he's been doing a lot of soul searching lately and realized that the run of Hulkamania has been the best run of all times. He talks about coming up in the business and what he did in the 80s, facing Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant, etc. He says he had the chance of a lifetime to come to TNA and when he came here, all the eyes were hungry. He mentions a bunch of names and realizes every moment he spent here was worth it.

They cut to Sting backstage watching on a monitor. He talks about Hogan doing an acting job.

Hogan says enough is enough and this is the end of the road for him. He says he's telling the fans this first before anybody because when he bottomed out in life, the only people he had left were the fans. They were the only people who didn't turn their backs on him. That's it. He's done.

Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@msu.edu. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. Should be a good one!.