Samoa Joe made a dramatic return to Impact Wrestling last Thursday, as he squared off with the newly formed heel stable of MVP, Bobby Lashley and Kenny King.
The 35-year-old Samoan Submission Machine has not been seen in TNA since his unsuccessful set of challenges to the World Heavyweight Title, held at the time by Magnus. Joe blamed MVP, at the time acting under the pretence of trying to rid TNA of its problems, for failing to secure him a fair title shot which avoided the interference of Abyss.
It seemed only a matter of time before the Samoan would return to challenge the now villainous MVP’s reign, and with only two weeks remaining before the Slammiversary pay-per-view, he has done just that – aligning himself with the likes of World Champion Eric Young, Bully Ray, Austin Aries and The Wolves.
The night began with Bully Ray revealing six tables to the Impact Zone, each listing a name of an intended target. The names unsurprisingly read: MVP, [Bobby] Lashley, Kenny [King], EC3, [Rockstar] Spud and Dixie [Carter].
Both fractions of the heel stable – MVP’s alliance and the Carter’s – then emerged, surrounding Ray and threatening to put him through a table. EC3 and Spud retrieved the table meant for the latter, and brought it to the ring. However, out came EY, Aries and The Wolves – including Davey Richards, complete with a bandaged stomach following the injury sustained against Lashley one week earlier.
The quartet chased the heels out of the ring, with the Wolves preventing Spud from escaping. Young tossed a terrified Spud up the ring ropes to Bully Ray, who crashed him down through the table already brought to the ring. In response, MVP, Lashley and King cruelly roared with laughter, while EC3 seemingly held back tears of distress.
Following the clash, an unscheduled six-man tag match broke out, with MVP, Lashley and King accepting a challenge from Aries and The Wolves. Despite the latter trio dominating large portions of the match, MVP claimed his desired win when he took advantage of the injury already sustained by Richards to leave him flat-out on the canvas before completing a simple pin.
Shortly after the match, Dixie Carter and MVP once again debated the ownership of the company, with Carter claiming MVP needed her influence, and that if he did not accept her offer of help then TNA’s board of directors might have to step in to halt his abuse of power.
The pair were interrupted by Young and Ray, who furiously remonstrated with their rivals. MVP responded by placing the duo in a match with each other later that night, complete with EC3 as special guest referee to ensure the two wrestled properly. If either did not, they were to be fired.
As it turned out, EC3 was not the only man at ringside – King was made special guest ring announcer, Lashley emerged as the special guest enforcer, and MVP dubbed himself the special guest time keeper. The match proceeded until Ray hit EC3 with a surprise kick to the face, when Carter attempted to pull him up on the use of an elbow.
The heels flooded the ring as the Young v Ray match came to a sudden halt, surrounding the pair aggressively.
But as they closed in, so hit the music of Samoa Joe, who raced down to the ring to send the heels scampering away. King was too slow, and Joe hit him with the muscle buster as Young and Ray watched on. A dazed King rolled away, and the two rival stables squared off as the broadcast came to an end.
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