5/24 Barnett's TNA Impact Open Fight Night Live Coverage: What is the fate of Bobby Roode's TNA Title? Who will get a shot at a contract for the Gut Check this month?
By Jake Barnett
TNA Impact Open Fight Night Live Coverage
Taped in Orlando, Florida
[Q1] A video package aired that recapped the previous week’s Impact. It specifically focused on AJ Styles angle and Joseph Park. Hogan was shown backstage with the 4 competitors he has to choose from to face Bobby Roode going over the show format sheet. Hogan handed AJ the script for the show, who then handed it around the room. Everyone “agreed” to it, and then Hogan went on to say that he was going to open it up to the forum as to whether or not they would stick to the script.
Hogan said Roode was on the verge of becoming the longest reigning TNA Champion ever, and said in his mind that makes him the greatest ever in TNA. AJ, Bully Ray, and Angle bantered back and forth about their credentials, and Hogan demanded to know why they deserve the shot. Angle said he’s won more titles than anybody else in the room. AJ said he’s the current longest reigning champion. Bully Ray said he’s the most legit guy in the business, and everyone fears him.
Bully Ray eventually pointed out that Jeff Hardy hasn’t said anything, and that it must be his plan to let them tear each other down. Jeff said they should let the fans decide. Angle said he has more respect for Hogan than anybody in the company, and deferred to him. Hogan eliminated Bully right away, and as Bully left he said Eric was right about him. They then cut to the OFN intro video for Impact.
Tenay welcomed us to the show, and said the Gut Check and a World Title match would happen tonight. Gail Kim’s music hit and she and Madison Rayne entered the ring. Gail said that being Gail Kim is great, and that she is the most dominant Knockouts Champion in the company’s history. She said she built the division, and that everything revolves around her. Gail then said she was the most important woman in the company.
Gail said her only problem is that the Knockouts Tag Titles are held by a man and that “so-called woman”. She then said in the spirit of OFN she would call out Mr. and Mrs. ODB. Eric Young and ODB then made their way to the ring. Eric Young grabbed the ref around the ankles, and then we got started.
[Q2] 1. Gail Kim and Madison Rayne vs. ODB and Eric Young: Young and Kim started the match and traded off headlocks. Kim went for a waist lock, but couldn’t cinch it in and Young easily powered out. He tagged in ODB, who quickly took over with a fallaway slam…[c]
Barnett’s Brief: I have no idea why the script of the show has to be involved in the opening segment, as well as the continued use of “insider” language regarding putting people over and what not. It wasn’t a bad opening segment, but that part of it just irked me. There were pretty good performances otherwise. Kim’s promo was passable but nobody reacted to it.
Kim hit ODB with a clothesline and made a cover for a two count. Kim tagged in Madison, who hit a kick and screamed at ODB. Madison hit a mafia kick and made a cover for a two count, and then covered again immediately for the same result. And ODB chant was piped in while Kim made a tag in. Kim and Madison argued until ODB hit a spear on Kim and made her corner for the hot tag. Kim also tagged and Eric Young didn’t want to fight her. Eventually he took off his pants to reveal tights and hit some body slams. ODB demanded a tag and told Eric to put his pants on.
ODB hit a nice powerslam for a two count on Kim. She patted her chest and lifted Kim up, but Kim fought out. ODB lifted up Kim for a fallaway slam, but Madison pulled her legs out from the apron and held her legs down to prevent the kickout for the cheap finish. EY was too busy pumping up the crowd to notice the screwjob.
Gail Kim and Madison Rayne defeated ODB and Eric Young at 6:36.
Bobby Roode was shown walking into the building and Tenay said we’d find out who his opponent is later tonight…[c]
Barnett’s Brief: That match was brutal. Nothing exciting to remark about, and the comedy bits weren’t really all that good. They seem to already be playing up dissention between ODB and Young, which was the most interesting thing we saw here.
[Q3] Hogan was shown backstage on a phone and said he made his first cut and it was not pretty. He asked whoever it was on the other side of the phone if they were still coming, and then said he’d see him soon. RVD made his entrance next. He said since he’s been back he’s been so focused on regaining his title he has completely ignored some unfinished business. He then called out Gunner, who made his way to the ring.
2. RVD vs. Gunner: RVD kicked Gunner off the apron into the railing to start the match. Gunner raked the eyes and threw RVD into the apron and into the ring. Gunner grabbed a chair and threw it into the ring, but the ref tossed it immediately. RVD hit a nice heel kick followed by rolling thunder. He then went for a heel kick in the corner but Gunner avoided and threw some punches. Gunner followed up with a clothesline and some elbows to the head of RVD.
Gunner charged at RVD in the corner and ate a kick. Gunner then grabbed a chair, but RVD surprised him with a Van Daminator. RVD then went up to the top rope and hit a Long Distance 5-Star Frog Splash for the victory.
RVD defeated Gunner at 2:54.
Barnett’ Brief: Decent match while it lasted. Both men looked good but I wish they would have had time to get in some more of Gunner’s offense. He didn’t’ need to lose so decisively so quickly without much offense.
Devon was in the ring and reiterated his desire to be a fighting champion. Joseph Park was briefly shown in the crowd. Devon continued and said that last week he was in the Battle Royal and Garrett Bischoff eliminated him. Devon said he wanted to see if lady luck was still on his shoulder, and demanded a match.
3. Devon vs. Garrett Bischoff for the TNA TV Title: Both men locked up and Devon locked in a side headlock and transitioned to a hammerlock and then a headlock takedown. Garrett worked back to his feet and sent Devon off the ropes, only to get hit with a spinning elbow. They locked up again and Garrett grabbed a side headlock, but Devon quickly worked out and hit a body slam. Devon hit the ropes and missed a dive, and Garrett capitalized with a spinning neck breaker.
[Q4] Devon locked in a side headlock again just in time for the Robbies to interfere and lay a beating on both men. Devon and Garrett turned the tables after a double clothesline by Devon and cleared the heels from the ring.
The match ended in a no contest at 1:48.
Barnett’s Brief: GAH! The match between Garrett and Devon was basic, which is fine and what you’d expect, but the Robbies looked terrible there and managed to botch the double clothesline during the interference. The whole thing lost steam there and never got it back.
Hogan had to make another cut backstage. He told AJ he knows Roode better than anybody. He told Angle that he’s beaten everybody lately, and then told Hardy that he’s been nothing but professional since his return. Angle told Hogan that if he wants somebody who can get the job done, pick him. Hogan said the reign of Roode must be stopped, and then eliminated Hardy.
A video package was shown explaining Abyss’s disappearance, and the introduction of the Joseph Parks character. It recapped the story thus far and how Abyss told Parks that he was getting too close to the fire. Parks thinks that fire is Bully Ray, and that was followed by Bully Ray’s music as he entered the arena.
Bully Ray asked the crowd if they knew who he was in a condescending tone. He then repeated himself, just a bit louder. Ray then said Hogan must have forgotten who he is, since he decided he would be the first one eliminated. He then said he was pissed off, and that means he was going to take it out on the audience. He then threatened to smack everyone around in the crowd, and said someone told him that Joseph Park was in the audience.
Park was shown and Ray said he was sick and tired of him. He then demanded that Park get in the ring, and Park obliged. A yes chant greeted Park and he made his way into the ring. Park adjusted his tie and sheepishly asked for a microphone. He stayed on the floor and told Bully he was intimidated and asked for a little space. He then got in the ring gingerly and the crowd chanted for him.
[Q5] He went on to say that all he wanted was answers about his brother, and said that all the facts that he could gather pointed him to Ray. Park said that he’s represented a lot of people, some guilty and some not. He said he can look in someone’s eyes and determine their guilt. The crowd changed “guilty”, and Park insisted he didn’t tell them to say that. Park said that he was entitled to a trial, and then pointed to the crowd as a worthy jury.
Parks surveyed the crowd and asked who thought Ray was not guilty. There was about 2 responses. He then asked who thought he was guilty, and everybody else cheered. Ray then punched Parks in the gut and grabbed a chain form his wallet. He hit Park over the back with it and bent down and told him that he was not guilty. Park continued to sell the chain shot as Bully Ray left. Joey Ryan was shown talking about how he got into wrestling, and really put over the opportunity of TNA Gut Check. A video was shown of one of his indy matches, and he said that Pro Wrestling is the only constant in his life…[c]
Barnett’s Brief: I’m interested to see how Ryan performs. Bully Ray continues to be excellent, and I’m interested to see where this is going with Park. Eventually Abyss will need to save his brother, and hopefully they can do it in a way that isn’t completely obvious.
Jeremy Borash was in the ring with Al Snow and Joey Ryan. He reiterated the Gut Check concept and asked Joey Ryan if he was ready to meet his opponent. Austin Aries made his entrance and the crowd popped big.
4. Austin Aries vs. Joey Ryan: Ryan hit a hip toss and did a little showing off in the corner. Aries then hit a drop toe hold and did a few floatovers and did some bragging himself. Ryan rolled out to escape and Aries dove on him. Aries threw Ryan back into the ring and went to the turnbuckle, but Ryan knocked him off by hitting the ropes. Aries grabbed Ryan’s chest hair, but Ryan shoved him off. Ryan hit a nice clothesline and made a couple of covers for two counts.
Aries hit a rolling elbow to come back, and set up for a charging corner drop kick, but Ryan avoided. Ryan and Aries traded strikes until Ryan hit a T-Bone Suplex. Aries made a comeback with a clothesline in the corner, and followed up with a running dropkick and a brainbuster for the win.
Austin Aries defeated Joey Ryan at 3:53.
Barnett’s Brief: That match was below my expectations. It didn’t feel like Ryan was on his game and the match came off a little sloppy. Aries looked great and continues to show that he’s main event material.
[Q6] A video was shown of last year’s Slammiversary where Hogan and Sting destroyed Immortal. Bobby Roode then made his way to the ring. He was followed by AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, and finally Hulk Hogan. Hulk had a mic and praised both AJ and Angle, and said he couldn’t make a wrong decision. He then said that because AJ knows Roode better than anyone in the company, he gets the shot. This puts the current longest reigning champ against the guy attempting to break the record.
5. AJ Styles vs. Bobby Roode: AJ hit a shoulder block out of the gate and Roode rolled to ringside to regroup. Roode climbed back in and both men hit the ropes and AJ hit a pretty drop kick and sent Roode back out to the floor…[c]
[Q7] AJ dove at Roode in the corner and ate a back elbow. Roode dumped AJ to the outside and sent his shoulder into the ring post. Roode then threw Styles back in and covered for two. Roode locked in a hammer lock with Styles’ arm over the ropes, followed by a arm breaker. Roode then locked in an arm bar on the ground for a moment and played to the crowd. Styles got back to his feet, but it was short lived, as Roode quickly took his legs out from under him and locked the arm bar back in.
Styles got back in it with a drop kick that sent Roode to the outside. He then threw Roode into the steps. Styles took a run at him, but Roode hip tossed Styles onto the steps. Roode dumped Styles back into the ring and stomped on him. A split screen was shown of Hogan backstage and an assistant told him his guest was here…[c]
Roode hit a nice vertical suplex and an elbow to the head for a two count. He then locked in a chin lock, stopping briefly to drop his weight on Styles’ back. Styles came back with a beautiful springboard clothesline that got nice near fall. Roode hit some chops in the corner and placed Styles on the top rope. AJ knocked Roode off, and hit a nice looking missile dropkick for another believable near fall.
[Q8] Roode hit a boot and went for a fisherman buster, but Styles slipped out. Styles went for a catapult, but Roode caught himself and hit a spear. Roode then locked in a crossface, but Styles maneuvered out. Styles then locked in a reverse STF, but Roode reached the ropes after a moment. Styles went for another Styles Clash, but Roode avoided and hit a spinebuster. He followed up with a Fisherman’s Suplex for a near fall.
Roode went for another Fisherman’s Suplex, but Styles avoided and hit a Pele Kick, but he couldn’t capitalize. He climbed to the top rope for the Spiral Tap, but Roode got the knees and legs up at the last moment. He followed up with the Fisherman’s Suplex for the win.
Bobby Roode defeated AJ Styles at 22:23.
Barnett’s Brief: Very nice match from both men. I really enjoyed the intensity at the end, but most of the match felt pretty slow, and it wasn’t helped by the numerous commercial breaks. Roode and Styles did pretty well with the limited amount of TV exposure the match got. We had a 22 minutes of match and about 11 made it on TV.
Roode exclaimed “I DID IT!” He said he was officially the longest reigning Champion in the history of Impact Wrestling. He said he was going to celebrate his domination. He grabbed a couple of plastic glasses and Champagne and invited Hulk Hogan to join his celebration…[c]
Roode said if Hogan didn’t want to join him, that’s fine, he’d celebrate without him. Roode said “Hit my confetti!” and the Impact Zone was completely littered with it. Hogan walked out and clapped for Roode. Hogan said he was glad he wasn’t a betting man. Hogan said he had the deck completely stacked against Roode, and he didn’t realize how good he was. Hogan said he had to thank and congratulate him, and let him know that he’s glad he called him out to celebrate. He then said he had a lot of respect for him, and he said Roode has done things he didn’t expect him to do.
Hogan said what he did was because of hard work, but Roode needs to realize that the hard work has just begun. Hulk then said there was somebody else who wanted to celebrate, and that he was sorry for his late arrival. The arena went black, and when the lights came back on, Sting was in the ring behind Roode. Sting hit a Stinger Splash and a clotheslined Roode over the top rope. Hogan said next week at 8pm, in TNA’s new time slot, the show would open with a Lumberjack match between Sting and Bobby Roode. Sting celebrated and Roode cried foul as the show went off the air.
Barnett’s Brief: Uh, okay. I guess that 20 minute match from Roode and Styles was only to setup the return of the antiques roadshow, as Sting is moving right into the #1 Contenders spot against Roode. I’m not sure what reaction they were going for, but Sting wasn’t away long enough for this to feel special, and after the shine of his return wears off I can’t imagine anyone will be excited to see him in the title scene.
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