TNA has decided to start joining matches in process to start the show. There’s a four-way tag match between Ink Inc, Beer Money, Generation Me and the Motor City Machine Guns. But with Ric Flair on announce the focus is entirely on Hogan and Bischoff being forced out and not here tonight. Sabin has to Crossbody two guys off the top of the ladder to get the announce team to actually start talking about the match. This new ref is becoming the middle of storylines as he counts the pin Ink Inc scores on Beer Money and that leads Fortune to want to rough him up. Matt Morgan takes Flair hostage to save the ref. Jackson James is the ref’s name.

Mickie James will perform later and Eric Young auditions with his cowbell. Orlando Jordan’s blue floral outfit is… is… unfortunate. I don’t like country music as a general rule, so maybe I’m not the best judge, but Mickie doesn’t sound very good. When Tara attacks mid-song I’m relieved.

Jackson wants to ref Matt’s title match but Matt still hasn’t made up his mind. I guess Flair is in charge at the moment as he’s threatening to name the ref himself if Morgan doesn’t do it tonight. One candidate, Douglas Williams, has another match with Kazarian now. Both these guys are better in the ring than out so it’s a decent enough match for TV. Williams beats Kazarian, and has a number of times before. Later, Morgan tries to talk to Williams but AJ Styles leads a Fortune attack that the road agents have to break up.

Brother Devon is back in the Impact Zone but Brother Ray won’t answer his callout until Devon calls him a coward. The crowd doesn’t care until Ray insults Taz. That gets their attention. But Bubba still won’t enter the ring to meet Devon face-to-face. This is a weird crowd. The latest chant is “He sells tickets” in honor of Devon. I’m not sure that’s true but it’s a nice sentiment. Ray uses So Cal Val as a shield to escape his half-brother’s wrath.

Enemies Samoa Joe and The Pope have to tag team together tonight. Sarita, Madison Rain and Angelina Love have a three-way match. Sartia hides outside until Rain takes out Love then Sarita steals the pin. Winter tries to comfort Angelina after the match and actually gets Love’s attention.

Ric Flair’s hand picked opponent for Matt Morgan is Rhino. Is the free agent market so weak we need to make a big deal about Rhino? Morgan blades his forehead early on to demonstrate Rhino can make a man bleed before the First Blood Match with RVD on Sunday. The hot crowd is totally behind Morgan. Rhino has never really impressed me so neither does this match. Morgan finally hits the Carbon Footprint after bleeding a crimson match. Just as he’s about to score the pinfall Fortune attacks and draws a DQ. RVD looks to make the save but goes after Rhino. Fortune continue the beat down until Jeff Hardy arrives. Hardy looks to hit Morgan in the back of the head with a chair, just like he did to Mr. Anderson. Isn’t it convenient that Anderson makes his return at that moment to drive off the heels? Steel pipes make good equalizers. Anderson’s mic skills look to be as solid as ever as he takes his customary microphone. And thus the payoff to the mystery ref storyline. Anderson offers, Morgan accepts.

Among the reasons I hate Robbie E is he forces me to watch things like “The New Jersey Fist Pump Competition”. Even Jay Lethal can’t salvage this no matter how charismatic he is. At least the brawl that follows is watchable.

If you were wondering who Samoa Joe and The Pope have to face it’s fairly obvious, Abyss and Jeff Jarrett. The early story is the faces not working together. Then we switch gears at the end when the ref gets knocked out, Jarrett tries to use a guitar, Joe kicks it to pieces but, when Joe picks up the remains of the guitar, the ref sees it and thinks Jow cheated. So they get DQed. The heels try a beat down but Kurt Angle is hiding in the casket to make the save.

TNA has to lug about nine matches at once for their PPVs. WWE gets to split their feuds between two shows so they have a lot more time to build them. Yet, this did not seem like a great show on the cusp of the PPV. I’m not particularly upset that I won’t see Final Resolution.