Kester's TNA Impact Wrestling Live Coverage Review: Hulk Hogan has a major announcement, Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles, Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson to determine the number-one contender for the TNA Title
By Ryan Kester
Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Taped earlier in Orlando, Florida.
[Q1] A video package recounted the end of the Lockdown main event…
Bobby Roode gingerly made his way to the ring sporting a new, short haircut. When Roode made it into the ring, he said that although his appearance has changed, the champ is still the same. He ran through his catch phrases and said he is still the world heavyweight champion. The crowd chanted for him to shut the hell up.
Roode said he kept his promise from weeks ago that he could defeat James Storm in his own hometown. He gave Storm credit for living up to the fact that he did hit him with the Last Call superkick, but with that kick he destroyed his dreams. The crowd chanted that he still sucks.
Roode ran down the men he's beaten over the past few months and he said he's beaten everyone there is to beat. He said the crowd has no more heroes left.
Mr. Anderson took this as his personal invitation to come to the ring. Anderson told Roode to shut up and he said he was going to beat Roode's ass and take his belt. Roode laughed a bit and mocked Anderson's "asshole" title before putting himself over as the most dominant champion in TNA History.
Cue Jeff Hardy, and the crowd lost their damned minds. Good on you, Hardy. Hardy joined Anderson and Roode in the ring and said now that he got past Kurt Angle, he deserved a title shot. Anderson he was there first and Roode comically backed him up on that. Anderson said he loves hardy like a brother and the two began yelling at each other while Roode told them to fight.
Hulk Hogan appeared on the screen, announced a meeting with all of the champions later on tonight, and told everyone that there would be a number one contender's match for the TNA Title for tonight's main event…
Ryan's Rant: I'll get this out of the way here because I don't feel like doing this the entire night; Hogan should not be placed as the most over figure in the company and that's exactly what TNA is continuing to do. Other than that, the opening segment did a good job of catching up those that missed Lockdown and hyped the main event with a clear direction for the TNA title storyline.
[Q2] [C] 1. Bully Ray and Crimson vs. Matt Morgan and Austin Aries. Aries chased Bully ray out of the ring while Crimson and Morgan started things off. Morgan took and early advantage and went for the Carbon Footprint but crimson ducked and Morgan got hung up on the ropes.
Crimson hit a suplex on Morgan and tagged in Bully Ray. Ray went to work targeting the leg Morgan injured at the PPV. The heels continued to work quick tags as they wore down Morgan.
Morgan eventually got the hot tag to Aries, and the crowd cheered for him as he out-maneuvered both heels. Aries hit a suicide dive on Crimson and set Bully Ray up for the Brainbuster, but Bully Ray countered with a roll-up complete with tights pulling to secure the victory…
Bully Ray and Crimson defeated Matt Morgan and Austin Aries in 6:00.
Garett Bischoff was shown walking backstage with a pleased expression on his face…
Ryan's Rant: Solid match that was absolutely enhanced by the live crowd. Impact already feels like a bigger deal than Lockdown did simply due to the crowd that is into what they are being presented with.
[C] Jeff Hardy talked backstage how he beat the man that prevented him from being the TNA Champion so he deserves a shot at the title. He said Anderson does as well and he put over Hogan's decision as fair…
[Q3] Garett Bischoff made his way to the ring with Mr. Anderson, RVD, and AJ Styles. Garett said Lockdown was one of the biggest nights of his life and he said as a team they went out there and fought a hell of a fight. He said they were victorious and got rid of his old man once and for all. Garett thanked his team mates.
Styles took the mic and told Garett that he has balls. Styles put over Garett's performance at Lockdown. Ric Flair had apparently heard enough as he made his way to the stage. Flair told the crowd to shut up and pay attention. Flair pointed out how nervous Garett Bischoff was and Flair said the talent standing next to Garett was around simply because of Eric Bischoff.
Flair called Garett a disrespectful disgrace. Flair mentioned his Hall of Fame rings and he said the guys standing next to Garett made themselves look like punks simply by being next to Garett. Flair said he was throwing a party for Eric Bischoff next week, but the production team bleeped the Bischoff name…
Backstage, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian held a piece of paper that housed the dirt they have on Styles…
Ryan's Rant: Oh, Garett. He is still unable to cut a convincing promo and even when he can remember the liens the corpses the entire time he's talking. Again, I would have no issue with the push he was getting if he actually had any of the talent required to back it up. As far as Daniels and Kazarian, I am looking forward to seeing what the final reveal will be as it looked like TNA had simply moved on from the storyline.
[C] Devon spoke with Magnus & Samoa Joe backstage and they questioned why Hogan wanted to speak with all of the champions.
2. Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles.The two men traded control several times in the early going and the picture suddenly cut to commercial…
[Q4] [C] Back from the break, Styles was in full gear and hitting Angle with a series of clotheslines. Taz informed us Styles was suplexed over the ring before the break even though it wasn’t shown on TV, at least not on my TV.
Christopher Daniels ran down and showed Styles the envelope he had backstage and Styles was so distracted that Angle rolled him up for the three count…
Kurt Angle defeated AJ Styles in 6:25
Joseph Park ran into Gunner backstage. Gunner tried to run off but park informed him that there was a lawsuit pending against him. Gunner again denied knowledge of Abyss's whereabouts and he told Park to talk to Bully Ray…
Ryan's Rant: There was barely any match that actually made it onto TV and it was cut short by a copout on the reveal. Not the hottest way to progress that storyline.
The champions of TNA began making their way to the ring and another loud beep coupled with the SpikeTV logo signaled an awkward cut to commercial…
[C] Bobby Roode was the last champion to make to the ring. Hulk Hogan and RVD were shown speaking backstage and Hogan told RVD he was adding him to the number one contender match later in the evening, brother.
[Q5] Hogan made his entrance. Hogan said when he's right, he's on the money. Hogan said change was in the air. Hogan said the changes start next week. Hogan said once a month TNA would have "Open Fight Night" with a new talent getting an opportunity to come on the show and wrestle. Hogan said there would be a panel of three judges.
Hogan said if his judges like what they see and he does as well, the new talent gets a contract. Hogan said anyone on the TNA roster has to fight if they get challenged. Roode got pissy and asked Hogan who he thinks he is. Roode said it was his show. Hogan informed Rood that champions would have to defend their titles on Fight Night because if they get called out they have to answer the call.
Gail Kim was also unhappy and asked who decides this. Hogan said he does. Hogan asked for tweets to hear from fans on what they want to see. Devon stepped up and said he agrees with Hogan's idea and said he was a fighting champion.
Hogan said good, because the TV Title has to be defended each and every week, and starting now, so does this. Devon did his testify line. Hogan said everyone fights, brother...
Ryan's Rant: Interesting. It's certainly a departure from the norm, and I am looking forward to seeing the results. If all we get a slew of screwball finishes this could be a train wreck, but TNA has the opportunity to do something fun here. This will make it a bit more difficult to properly hype a PPV, but TNA could very well be trying to make these fight nights bigger than their shows considering their PPV numbers. Either way, it will be interesting to see where this goes going-forward.
The participants for an eight-Knockout tag team match made their way to the ring...
[C] 3. Miss Tessmacher, Tara, Velvet Sky, and Mickie James vs. Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Sarita, and Rosita. Velvet Sky and Sarita stared the match, but Sky quickly attacked Gail Kim and was attacked form behind.
[Q6] Kim worked over Sky for a spell until Sky went for her finisher and Kim darted from the ring.
James tagged into the match and went to the top rope but got distracted. Rayne took control of James and the heels worked a quick series of tags as they worked over James.
James managed to tag in Tara, who slammed Sarita around the ring. Tara did her standing moonsault complete with, um, theatrics for a near fall. Tessmacher and Kim tagged in and Tessmacher dropped Kim on her face.
Match broke down and everyone began battling each other. Kim attempted to steal a win with her feet on the ropes, but Sky knocked her feet off of the ropes. Tessmacher rolled Kim up to get the pin for her team…
Miss Tessmacher, Tara, Velvet Sky, and Mickie James defeated Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Sarita, and Rosita in 5:26.
Backstage, Mr. Anderson got a bit too comfortable with the camera as he discussed how he was going to win the number one contender's match tonight and go after Bobby Roode…
Ryan's Rant: The match was a bit of a train wreck, but the clear thing to garner from everything is that Sky and Kim's feud will continue for at least another month. It was nice seeing Tara back on TNA television.
[C] ODB and Eric Young were sunbathing by a pool with their KO tag team titles. A Guy walked up and Young got jealous, so he took his pants off…
James Storm was shown walking backstage…
[Q7] 4. Devon vs. Gunner for the TNA TV Title. Gunner attacked Devon early, and he worked Devon over with a series of knee drops.
Devon had a few hope spots but Gunner managed to stay in control. Eventually, Devon made his comeback after a spear and hit a spinebuster to put Gunner away…
Devon defeated Gunner in 4:04.
Ryan's Rant: Quick and painless match and the crowd was absolutely crazy about Devon.
James Storm made his way to the ring as Devon headed to the back. They exchanged a brief hug and Tenay hyped Storm for after the break…
Ryan's Rant: Good hook from TNA there. They have a ton going on tonight and are trying to get a lot on the show, so brief little moments like this work well to keep viewers viewing.
[C] James Storm said he was sorry to everyone that he felt he let down at Lockdown for not living up to his promise of winning the TNA Title. Storm said he was trying to hurt Bobby Roode and he let his pride and ego get in his way. Storm said he thought he was satisfied with making paramedics attend to Roode.
He said once he got to the back he had a long think about whether or not this was something he wanted to do. Storm said he took a log drive home and when he tucked his daughter into bed he had to tell her why he didn't have the world title in his hands.
Storm said Roode may have won the match, but Roode did not beat him. Storm looked in the camera, seething, saying he beat himself. Storm talked about wrestling injured and how hearing people chant his name was like his own piece of heaven. Storm said he could go on and on, but he wanted to apologize to his father who was looking down and he knew that despite it all, he was still proud of him.
Storm said something Roode said to him stuck with him. Maybe his luck had run out. The crowd was completely silent but booed when he said his luck was gone. Storm dropped the mic and walked away with his head hanging as the crowd chanted "Cowboy" repeatedly…
Ryan's Rant: Wow. Storm just killed that promo and had everyone in that arena hanging on his every word by the end. Very powerful performance and I am happy to see that despite TNA moving on to a new number-one contender, they are not done telling Storm's story.
[Q8] [C] 5. Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson to determine the number one contender for the TNA Championship. The three men got their range for a minute before Anderson's caught RVD with a sudden clothesline. RVD hit Anderson with a step-over enziguri and he caught Jeff hardy with a monkey flip.
Hardy battled right back and hit RVD with a sitout front suplex. He went for the cover but Anderson broke the pin and threw hardy into the steel post.
Hardy sold as Anderson hit RVD with a DDT. Anderson went for his cover but Hardy broke the pin. Hardy hit Whisper in the Wind on Anderson. Anderson responded with a neckbreaker. RVD hit Rolling Thunder on hardy and Anderson hit RVD with the Green Bay Plunge.
Hardy caught Anderson with the Twist of Fate and the Swanton Bomb. RVD took out Hardy and hit Anderson with the Five-Star Frog Splash. Hardy attempted to hit RVD with the Twist of fate, but RVD reversed it into a roll-up for the pinfall victory.
Rob Van Dam defeated Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson to become the number one contender for the TNA Championship in 5:19.
RVD celebrated in the ring to close the show.
Ryan's Rant: That match had some good spots, but I find it disappointing that every single match on this show sans the TV Title match ended with a roll-up. RVD as the number-one contender doesn’t do much for me unless TNA has managed to find a way to get him motivated again. He is capable of an occasional good match, like he was here tonight, but it's a bit disconcerting to see TNA going right back to another well-established name rather than continuing with the Storm storyline.
Still, tonight was a hectic night that laid the ground stage for TNA going-forward. I'm still not the craziest about a lot of what TNA is doing at the moment, but I am willing to give this "Fight Night" concept a chance as that has the potential to make for entertaining television and it could allow for TNA to make the product feel fresh again.
If you have any questions or comments or just wish to chat with a fellow wrestling fan about whatever, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter at @TheRyanKester.
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