4/26 Kester's TNA Impact Wrestling Live Coverage Review: The debut of Open Fight Night with the first Gut Check and the Eric Bischoff Appreciation ceremony
By Ryan Kester
Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Taped earlier in Orlando, Florida.
[Q1] The show opened with a video package laying out what Open Fight Night is all about…
After the video package, Hulk Hogan addressed "his" champions backstage and he recited what Open Fight Night is all about. Hogan put over the champions individually before announcing that Samoa Joe and Magnus needed to step up and defend their belts tonight.
Hogan said he is going to listen to a lot of whining and complaining from tag teams tonight about who deserves the title shot, and he listed the potential contenders for later in the evening. Hogan said their opponents would be a surprise later on in the evening. Hogan turned to the camera and welcomed the fans to Open Fight Night…
The new Impact Wrestling opening video aired…
Devon made his way to the ring. Devon said that as the TV Champion, he had to defend his belt every week on Impact. He called out "Bubba" Ray to be his challenger.
Bully ray was shown standing with the rest of the TNA wrestlers in the locker room. His music sounded and he reluctantly made his way to the ring. Ray demanded that his music get shut off before he mocked Devon for challenging him. Bully Ray talked about their history and made the claim to carrying their team. Ray said he refused to make Devon a star again.
Bully ray told Devon to go to hell and he went to walk away, but Devon chased him down and fought him back to the ring.
1. Devon vs. Bully Ray for the TV Title.The two men brawled on the floor briefly. The fight spilled into the ring and Bully Ray attempted to beg Devon off, but Devon elected to punk Bully Ray. Devon attempted to go to the top rope and Bully Ray dove on the ropes, causing Devon to land uncomfortably going into the commercial break…
[Q2] [C] Back from the break, Bully Ray dropped an elbow on Devon and Tenay set up a recap of what happened during the break. Ray continued his assault and focused his attacks on Devon's neck.
Devon called for the crowd to help him up and they indulged him. Devon and Ray exchanged a series of punches. Devon got the upper hand and hit a neckbreaker on Ray. Ray responded with a big boot for a near fall. Ray set up for the Bully Bomb, Devon fought out, so Ray had to settle for a cutter.
Devon hit his spinebuster out of nowhere for the pinfall victory…
Devon defeated Bully Ray to retain the TNA TV Title in 9:36.
Austin Aries cut a brief promo backstage about how Ray can't win without cheating and he flirted with the idea of getting his hands on Ray by the time the evening was done..
Elsewhere, Ric Flair said he is going to rock Orlando in honor of Eric Bischoff all night long…
Ryan's Reaction: Solid opening that led into a very well-wrestled and entertaining match. I hope they don't go crazy with the brief backstage promos all night long, but Aries did a great job of giving fans that were watching early a reason to stick around for later in the show.
[C] Backstage, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian went to speak with Kurt Angle, who quickly bit their heads off for interfering in his match last week…
Jeremy Borasch made his way out to the ring. Borasch reminded everyone that it was Open Fight Night. Borasch called out Eric Bischoff. Luckily, TNA knocked off the obnoxious beep for Bischoff's name. He referred to him as a prick and mocked his recent drunken tweets.
[Q3] Borasch told Eric Bischoff to get his ass out to the ring. Bischoff indeed made his way out, with his name blurred out on the video wall. I'll admit; that made me smile. Bischoff sardonically clapped for Borasch as the crowd chanted the goodbye song.
Borasch continued to ridicule Eric Bischoff for his tweeting habits until Bischoff cut him off. Bischoff cut a promo about Borasch being an idiot while Bully Ray snuck up on Borasch from behind and low blowed him. Bischoff called a referee down to the ring.
2. Eric Bischoff vs. Jeremy Borasch. Eric Bischoff covered Borasch for the three count…
Eric Bischoff vs. Jeremy Borasch in 0:03.
Ryan's Reaction: That was a waste of time. TNA really didn't establish the Borasch vs. Bischoff mini-feud before Lockdown and if feels forced now. Call me crazy but I would rather see tonight focus on the wrestlers considered the theme, and we're for sure going to be getting more Bischoff with the appreciation celebration hyped for later in the evening. TNA has its priorities skewed.
[C] Backstage, Mr. Anderson spoke about Eric Bischoff. Anderson said that Bischoff is a douchebag and needs to go buh-bye…
Anarquia and the rest of Mexican America were in the ring. Anarquia said Mexican America is tired of being overlooked. Anarquia made an open challenge, and Kurt Angle answered the call.
3. Kurt Angle vs. Anarquia. Anarquia got a cheap shot in early, but Angle quickly came back with a German Suplex, the Angle Slam, and the ankle lock submission hold for the submission victory…
Kurt Angle defeated Anarquia in 0:54.
Alex Silva, tonight's Gut Check participant, got a brief video package covering how he is full of heart and passion and is wrestling in honor of his father.
Al Snow and Alex Silva made their way to the ring…
Ryan's Reaction: TNA needs to take a breath between segments. They're blitzing from one thing to the next and it makes everything lose impact in the process. Normally I would bemoan a short match, but Angle looks like he's still wrestling on a bum leg. Is Angle a babyface now? He turned away Kazarian and Daniels earlier, but it if that was intended to be his turn it was a very anticlimactic one.
[Q4] [C] Al Snow introduced himself as the lead judge of the Gut Check and he recapped the idea behind the Gut Check challenge. Snow implored interested talent to go to Impact Wreslting.com for their chance for a Gut Check.
4. Robbie E (w/ Robbie T) vs. Alex Silva.Robbie started off on offense, but Silva quickly came back with a flurry of strikes. Robbie quickly reestablished control and he slammed Silva repeatedly.
Silva came back with a powerslam for a near fall. Robbie came back with an Impaler DDT for the 1-2-3…
Robbie E defeated Alex Silva in 2:16.
Al Snow set up the Gut Check hashtag for Twitter so fans can help Hulk Hogan decide if Silva should get a job or not…
Hulk Hogan was shown backstage checking his phone…
Ryan's Reaction: That was it? That was a terrible way to kick off the Gut Checks. Robbie E basically squashed Silva here, which would be fine if they were attempting to build Robbie. However, TNA needs to be building this new Gut Check concept, and what they just told me there is that it's a joke.
[C] Dixie Carter cut a brief promo backstage about why she doesn't like Eric Bischoff…
Hulk Hogan was shown backstage welcoming the tag team contenders to Open Fight Night. Hulk Hogan asked the teams why they thought they deserved a title shot. Daniels took control and tried to make his team's case by putting the other teams down. Hogan called his words sewage.
[Q5] Motor City Machine Guns said they've proven themselves everywhere. Mr. Anderson and Jeff hardy mocked getting along and Hogan asked them to be serious. Eric Young and ODB tried to get the shot by Young saying Hulk could have ODB for a night.
Hogan said that the Motor City Machine Guns are out of the running because he is concerned Sabin's knee may still be weak…
Miss Tessmacher made a beeline for the ring. She grabbed a mic and said that everyone in the wrestling world is talking about how she pinned Gail Kim last week. She said they are going crazy and calling it a fluke. She laughed uncomfortably before declaring that she is a legitimate threat to Kim's championship. Tessmacher said she's calling Kim out tonight. Kim quickly obliged.
5. Gail Kim vs. Miss Tessmacher in a non-title match. Kim attacked Tessmacher early and she had an earl pin but lifted Tessmacher's shoulders.
Kim continued dissecting Tessmacher. Kim hit a gutbuster and blew kisses to the crowd. Tessmacher started to fight back and hit a series of clotheslines and a dropkick. Kim cut her momentum off with a series of kicks before shoving the title in her face and declaring that Tessmacher will never be a champion. She said Tessmacher is just a piece of ass.
Kim went for a missile dropkick and missed. Tessmacher hit a belly-to-back facebuster for the pinfall victory…
Miss Tessmacher defeated Gail Kim in 3:43.
Ryan's Reaction: Odd booking. Kim was getting a ton of heat with her actions in that match only for Tessmacher to pick up the victory and dissipate it all. This helped to get Tessmacher over, but Kim is currently feuding with velvet Sky. I like the idea of Open Fight night, but matches like this can cause problems for feuds in TNA's actual storylines.
[Q6] [C] Christopher Daniels and Kazarian spoke briefly backstage about tonight's shot at the TNA Tag team Titles. Kazarian promised to expose AJ Styles' secret next week if he doesn't show up…
A video package recapping RVD becoming the number one contender to the TNA Title aired…
A recap of Silva's loss to Robbie E aired…
Al Snow spoke with Silva backstage and he said he would get with the other judges and Silva's fate would be revealed next week. Bobby Roode showed up and he put himself over while mocking Silva before punching him in the gut…
Back in Hulk Hogan's office, Hogan talked about something Young and ODB did in their hotel room and he said that made it easy for him to determine to eliminate them from contention. Hogan told Daniels and Kazarian and Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson to meet him in the ring for his final decision…
Ryan's Reaction: The multiple backstage segments with Hogan eliminating people from contention are an interesting idea, but they are coming off as extremely awkward for this viewer. I like the idea of using hooks throughout the show as I feel it can help boost the title that's being defended on these fight nights, but TNA needs to come up with something a little more natural than what they went with tonight.
[C] Garett Bischoff cut a promo backstage about his father. He said Impact will be a better place without him…
Joseph Park found Bully Ray. Park said he was looking for answers and Bully ray told him off. Park gave him a business card and told him to contact him if he hears anything about his brother. Ray told Park to shove it…
[Q7] Samoa Joe and Magnus made their way to the ring. They were quickly followed by their two possible contenders and Hulk Hogan. Hogan put over Open Fight Night as a ton of fun. Hogan said his decision tonight was a tough one. Hogan agreed with Daniels and Kazarian that they are indeed a great team and he said Anderson and hardy are a great set of talent that doesn’t get along. Therefore, he said Hardy and Anderson were getting the shot. Wait, what?
6. Samoa Joe and Magnus vs. Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson for the TNA Tag Team Titles. Anderson went on offense early and took Samoa Joe down. Anderson refused to tag in hardy so Samoa Joe made it to Magnus. Hardy got slapped into the match.
Hardy and Anderson bickered as the show went to break around 2:09 into the match…
[C] Back from the break at 6:38, Samoa Joe and Anderson were locking up. Both men tagged out and Samoa Joe attacked Hardy. The tag champions began working some quick tags while they wore Jeff Hardy down.
Hardy hit Whisper in the Wind on Joe and the two men slowly crawled to their partners. Anderson hit a neckbreaker on Magnus and the two spilled to the floor. Joe and Hardy battle din the ring. Hardy hit a Twist of fate on Joe, but Magnus threw Anderson into the steel steps on the floor.
Hardy flew from the apron and took out Magnus. Back in the ring, Joe reversed a roll-up from Anderson into the rear naked choke for the submission victory.
Samoa Joe and Magnus defeated Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson in 10:39.
After the match, Daniels and Kazarian attacked the tag champions and left them laying on the ramp…
Ryan's Reaction: Good back-and-froth match. Hogan's logic to set it up hurt my brain, but I appreciate the wrestling we got as a result. With the Gut Check and the first championship defense both ending unsuccessfully, the Open Fight Night concept hasn't made the greatest first impression. Tonight's idea was innovative, but it has been presented with a whimper when it needed a bang.
[Q8] [C] A throne, a podium, and a picture of Eric Bischoff were set up on a red carpet in the ring. Ric Flair made his way to the ring with Bully Ray, Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, and Gunner. Flair took his place at the podium and said tonight is a celebration. Flair said no one alive knows how to celebrate more than him.
Flair put over Bischoff's legacy and the fans started singing the goodbye song again. Flair grumbled at them before welcoming Eric back to the ring. Bully Ray hugged him before Bischoff took his seat at the throne.
Flair returned to putting over Bischoff. Flair reminded everyone that Bischoff is the reason Hulk Hogan is in TNA and he said that everyone in the ring knows what Bischoff has done for the business. Flair rook the picture and had it given to a woman in the audience. Flair thanked Bischoff a final time and handed the mic to Gunner.
Gunner referred to Bischoff as a father figure. Flair produced a gift box with a Rolex watch to Bischoff. Bully Ray told Bischoff that he is the wind beneath his wings.
Garett Bischoff, Jeremy Borasch, The Motor City Machine Guns, Austin Aries, and RVD appeared on the stage. They presented Eric Bischoff with a parting gift, a port-o-potty, which Borasch referred to as the Shed of Shame. The two groups brawled and Garett dragged his dad to the port-o-potty. Borasch and Garett locked Eric inside and they pushed the shed over.
Eric Bischoff emerged covered in what looked like chocolate syrup while everyone sold the smell. Eric nearly vomited while Garett and Borasch celebrated to close the show.
Ryan's Reaction: Ugh. That was a colossal waste of time and served so little purpose. TNA will continue to do their damnedest to get over Garett Bischoff, but he just does not have what it takes to back up the push he is getting. Worse yet, that segment simply dragged on and on and served as a lackluster end to what should have been a very hot show. I see potential in the Open Fight Night concept, but TNA didn't do enough to sell the concept tonight. Coming out the idea feels more like a distraction than an event. TNA has plenty of time to reverse that, but they need to slow down with the pace and find a more natural way of eliminating contenders than a group discussion in Hogan's office.
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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