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Impact: Hardy returns to win battle royal
By NOLAN HOWELL - SLAM Wrestling


Ever since losing the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, Jeff Hardy has been overtaken by the alter-ego of Willow. However, Kurt Angle has a special request for Willow tonight prior to his entry in the number one contender battle royal. Tonight on TNA Impact, what will become of Willow as he prepares to fight for a title shot in the main event? Plus, three TNA titles are on the line! All that and more on this week's edition of TNA Impact!

Preview of tonight's episode.

We are on tape from Bethlehem, Penn. Mike Tenay and Taz have the call for this week.

TNA Executive Director of Wrestling Operations Kurt Angle kicks us off. Angle calls this the TNA championship showcase. TNA Tag Team Champions The Wolves will defend against Bram and Magnus. TNA Knockouts Champion Gail Kim defends against Brittany, Madison Rayne, and Angelina Love. TNA X Division Champion Sanada puts his belt on the line against Austin Aries and a battle royal will determine the number one contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for a match next week.

Angle then moves on and asks for Willow to make his way to the ring. Angle understands what Willow is all about, as Willow was created so Jeff Hardy couldn't be taken advantage of anymore. However, Dixie Carter and MVP are gone and Angle wants the most competitive wrestler to compete in the battle royal tonight. Angle wants to see Jeff Hardy for tonight at least. Willow agrees to it and Angle thanks him.

TNA Tag Team Champions The Wolves are making their way to the ring.

Austin Aries asked about his thoughts on his TNA X Division Championship shot tonight. Aries thinks Sanada is a very good champion, but he is a great champion. Aries plans to have all the options in his hand come TNA Destination X.

(Commercials)

Match One for the TNA Tag Team Championships: The Wolves (c) vs. Bram & Magnus

Davey Richards starts out with Magnus. Richards ducks an attack from Magnus and lands a boot on Bram. Magnus charges and works Richards in the corner. Richards comes back with a springboard enzuigiri. Eddie Edwards in and he knocks Bram off the apron. The Wolves working a double-team on Magnus as Bram comes in to help. Chops and kicks landing on Bram now. Magnus charges and falls to a drop toehold right into the groin of his partner. Double-team offense on Magnus gets a nearfall.

Bram tagged in and Edwards lands strikes before bringing Richards back in. Richards landing strikes and kicks. Mahnus with a clothesline from the apron that knocks Richards down and Magnus ties him up in the apron cover to land shots to the kidneys. Bram with a nearfall off it and applying the front facelock. Magnus yanks Edwards down from the apron to hit a scoop slam. Richards looking for the tag, but he gets splashed in the corner by Bram for a nearfall.

Magnus brought in and the team striking him down. Richards coming back with right hands and kicks, only to get dropped and hit with an elbow drop from Magnus. Bram with an uppercut and stomps. Magnus in and a suplex on Richards turns into a small package that nearly retains the belts. Side suplex from Magnus is countered by elbows from Richards, who lands an enzuigiri that has both men down.

Bram in and prevents the tag temporarily. Richards dives to bring in Edwards. Chops landing and a spinning heel kick. Edwards sent into the corner and he ducks to the apron. Enzuigiri to the back of the head of Magnus and a missile dropkick connects inside. Edwards runs into a boot from Bram in the corner. Enzuigiri catches Bram as Edwards counters and a top-rope hurricanrana lands for a nearfall.

Magnus steps in and the double-suplex is stopped as Richards catches his partner. Bram and Magnus sent outside and the team hits a suicide dive in stereo. Richards up top and looking for the double-foot stomp. Richards misses and Bram looking to ste him up. Backslide from Richards sets up Edwards to get the jackknife cover.

Winners by pinfall and still TNA Tag Team Champions: The Wolves

Bobby Roode shown entering the arena. Roode says he didn't get who he wanted in Kenny King and he wants to call MVP out tonight.

(Commercials)

Bobby Roode asks the crowd if they have ever wanted something so bad that they'd do anything to have it. Roode knows they have and says that was how he was about the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Roode was suspended and he knows MVP sees him as a threat. Tonight, that threat is standing in the ring and MVP isn't his boss anymore. Roode doesn't care about MVP and his doctor's note and he will give him to the count of ten before he comes looking for him.

MVP rolls out in a wheelchair. MVP says Roode has some gall to come out and whine about what MVP took from him. MVP says Roode assaulting him cost him weeks of recovery. Roode doesn't care about that and starts walking up the ramp. Kenny King attempts an attack from behind, but gets clotheslined. Roode catches MVP and wheels him to ringside. King back up and he cracks Roode from behind with a chair after Roode tipped MVP out of his wheelchair. The duo assaulting Roode. Eric Young out to make the save and he takes King out and corners MVP. TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley hits the ring and spears EY to save King and MVP.

"Cowboy" James Storm meets with TNA X Division Champion Sanada. Storm tells Sanada that him losing the belt would be a disgrace to his culture and his mentor, The Great Muta. Muta is even coming to see him defend the belt next week. Storm tells Sanada he likes what he sees and wants him to get the win tonight.

(Commercials)

Kurt Angle backstage. Angle thinks he got to Willow tonight. Willow is all about violence, but he thinks Jeff Hardy has the best chance to get a shot at the belt and that's who he wants to see tonight.

Match Two for the TNA X Division Championship: Sanada (c) vs. Austin Aries

Lockup sees Austin Aries hit a lateral drop to the mat. Both men exchanging armlocks now. Sanada with an armlock into a side headlock takeover and a dropkick to close. More chain wrestling exchanged. Aries with a side headlock takeover and Sanada counters with the headscissors. Aries out with a dropkick for a nearfall. Backslide also gets Aries a nearfall.

Last Chancery applied by Aries and Sanada forced to get the rope break. Aries trying to whip Sanada and Sanada pulls him into an abdominal stretch. Sanada with a rolling cradle for a nearfall and Aries sent to the apron. Sanada clotheslines him outside and tries a dive, but skins the cat to stay safe on the apron as Aries reenters the ring. Springboard attack pushed back by Aries and Sanada falls outside. Double sledge from the top to the floor connects for Aries. Slingshot senton to a jumping elbow get Aries a pin attempt.

Shots to the midsection from Sanada. Sanada sent into the corner and Aries backdropped to the apron. Aries up top and he comes down on a dropkick from Sanada. Aries sent into the corner, but Sanada backdropped to the apron. Sanada with a kick to the head as Aries tries a shoulder ram. Running senton from the apron lands for Sanada. Back inside, springboard chop from Sanada gets a nearfall.

Aries going for a kneebreaker, but Sanada turns over for a crossbody nearfall. Tiger Suplex attempt from Sanada countered by Aries running him into the corner. Chop lands for Aries and Aries charges into a boot from Sanada. Backbreaker from Sanada lands and he heads up top. Aries catches him and alley-oops him into the top turnbuckle. Brainbuster attempt countered by the bridging Tiger Suplex that nearly retains the belt for Sanada.

Scoop slam from Sanada connects and Sanada up top. Moonsault lands and Aries kicks out. Sanada frustrated and tries another moonsault for a nearfall. Sanada misses and Aries converts on the discus forearm. Sanada sent into the corner and the running dropkick lands. Brainbuster connects, but Sanada kicks out. Aries up top and hits on the 450 Splash.

Winner by pinfall and new TNA X Division Champion: Austin Aries

(Commercials)

Bully Ray asked about Rhino and Bully ready to confront him face-to-face. Bully upset at the question. Bully screams and asks how he should feel about someone he thought was his longtime friend betraying him.

Ethan Carter III and Rhino backstage. EC3 says it is time for Rhino to explain about the man Bully truly is.

Bully Ray makes his way to the ring. Bully remembers advice that Bam Bam Bigelow gave him, saying he'd only need one hand to count the friends he made in this industry. Bully wants Rhino in the ring right now for an answer.

Ethan Carter III, Rockstar Spud, and Rhino make their way to the ring. Bully tells Rhino that he knows he should beat him down right now. After all the history the two made, Bully wants to know why. Rhino insults Bully and the fans, calling Bully a conman. Rhino says Bully cons people to further his career, saying he conned both Dixie Carter and Paul Heyman. The two go back and forth.

Bully says he is a hall-of-famer because the fans decide who is. Rhino is the one who got himself fired from WWE and TNA. EC3 takes the mic and says Bully stealing the spotlight is taking away from the family of Rhino. EC3 paid Rhino and will continue to pay to take Bully out. Bully plans to take EC3 out and he is hit with a Gore in turn. The three beat Bully down until Tommy Dreamer comes out to make the save with a kendo stick.

Angelina Love and Velvet Sky backstage. The Beautiful People upset about their flirting not working on Brian Stiffler and Kurt Angle this week. The Beautiful People declare all of this unfair, but Angelina Love plans to get her belt back and break her own record reign.

(Commercials)

Willow shown contemplating in the rafters.

The Menagerie backstage. Knux explains to Crazzy Steve and The Freak what they have to do in the battle royal tonight and Rebel and Knux are pretty confident in their chances tonight.

Four-Way Match Three for the TNA Knockouts Championship: Gail Kim (c) vs. Brittany vs. Madison Rayne vs. Angelina Love (w/Velvet Sky)

The match starts with Brittany attacking Madison Rayne from behind as she makes her way to the ring. Gail Kim makes the save as Rayne is ganged up on. Gail Kim sends The Beautiful People into each other and lands on Brittany.

Action moves inside and Rayne and Gail Kim team up on Angelina Love and Brittany. Love sent out and Gail Kim with a running crossbody in the corner. Clothesline and dropkick from Rayne. Gail Kim and Rayne exchanging now. Rayne with a nearfall off a cruicifix. Bridging Northern Lights Suplex from Rayne gets a nearfall as well.

Rayne flapjacked to the mat and Love sweeps Gail Kim to the floor. Brittany inside with a DDT on Rayne. Love convincing Brittany to work with her on Rayne and the two double-team Rayne. Sidewalk slam from Love lands and Brittany with a Russian legsweep. Love points Brittany to Gail Kim and sneaks a nearfall.

Brittany and Love shoving and now exchanging until Gail Kim hits a missile dropkick that takes both women out. Clothesline on Brittany lands and a back elbow out of the corner gets a crossbody for Gail Kim that nearly takes the match. Love taken out with a kick to the head by Rayne. Brittany with a springboard somersault moonsault on Gail that is met by a Rayne Drop by Rayne. Botox Injection lands on Rayne and Love taken out by Eat Defeat.

Winner by pinfall and still TNA Knockouts Champion: Gail Kim

(Commercials)

TNA X Division Champion Austin Aries now celebrating his power. Aries calls the belt his key to a title shot. Aries plans to use his belt to cash in at TNA Destination X and calls out TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley.

Bobby Roode says the business between him and MVP is just getting started, despite the battle royal tonight.

Video package shows the training regimen of TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley hyped by MVP.

(Commercials)

Number One Contender Battle Royal Match Five

Crazzy Steve is the first elimination at the hands of Jessie Godderz. Jessie Godderz eliminated by The Freak. DJ Z eliminated by The Menagerie. The Freak eliminated by Bram and Magnus. Knux eliminated by Magnus and Bram. Tigre Uno and Sanada are the next eliminations. Magnus eliminated soon after. "Cowboy" James Storm eliminates Mr. Anderson and Gunner. Bram eliminated by Jeff Hardy.

Bram wielding a steel turnbuckle and going after Hardy and Abyss comes out to fight Bram up the ramp. Manik eliminated by Kenny King and Ethan Carter III is in peril as we break.

(Commercials)

We return to James Storm being eliminated by Bobby Roode. Rockstar Spud eliminated by Bully Ray. Bully Ray eliminates himself as he eliminates Ethan Carter III.

Kenny King, Bobby Roode, Eric Young, and Jeff Hardy are the final four. Bobby Roode has Kenny King up for the Roode Bomb. MVP with a crutch to the midsection of Roode and King sends him out. King celebrating and EY from behind sends out King.

Eric Young and Jeff Hardy are the last two left. They start off with a handshake and lockup sees Hardy grab a side headlock. Shoulder block lands for Hardy. Young nearly hip tosses Hardy out, but Hardy saves himself. Young sent to the apron and Hardy up top. Missile dropkick sends Young down.

Winner: Jeff Hardy

Jeremy Borash with Jeff Hardy in the middle of the ring. Hardy promises to be the next TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Hardy says Lashley is tough, but he can get rougher than most and promises to get the belt next week.

The show closes with TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley and Jeff Hardy staring down in the middle of the ring.

Nolan Howell can be reached at nth993@gmail.com for any questions or comments.