3/28 Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling live coverage: Open Fight Night, Jeff Hardy calling out an Aces & 8's member, A.J. Styles appearance
By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Aired live from Jonesboro, Arkansas at the ASU Convocation Center
[Q1] An Impact recap video opening the show... Todd Keneley, Mike Tenay, and Taz were on commentary...
Jeff Hardy made his entrance and shook hands with the fans at ringside. A fired up Hardy addressed his creatures and said he's not 100 percent, but he's feeling better after testing himself last week. He said he's now the No. 1 contender.
Bully Ray interrupted Hardy with a second mic. Bully headed to the ring from the opposite side of the ramp with the rest of Aces & 8's with him. He told the fans to shut up. Ray asked if Hardy was getting ready to call him out (for Open Fight Night). He said they are not in Corpus Christi so the title would not be on the line.
Mr. Anderson took the mic and asked if Hardy was "getting another second chance." The live crowd delivered loud "Hardy" chants. Anderson said he and Ray never got all those chances because they don't need them. He said that Hardy can keep burning down buildings along as he keeps selling "that merch."
Anderson said Hardy is a disappointment who lost to Ray fair and square, and would be again in Corpus Christi. Hardy charged at Ray and Anderson and knocked them off the ring apron. The rest of the gang hit the ring and attacked Hardy as Devon yelled for them to "get him." Ray pulled out a chain.
Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Magnus, and Eric Young ran out and Aces & 8's quickly left the ring. Ray told them not to worry about it and said "let's go." Hardy took the mic and said he was calling out Anderson tonight...
Highlights aired from last week of Austin Aries and Bobby Roode beating Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez and then being attacked by Daniels and Kazarian, who helped them win the match... Backstage, Chavo complained to Hernandez about Bad Influence interfering. They noted that it was Open Fight Night...
Chavo and Hernandez made their entrance. Keneley said viewers would find out who they are calling out after the break...
Powell's POV: Another good, lively crowd. They definitely have that party atmosphere to start the show. Hardy was more energetic and confident on the mic than usual. He needs to avoid emphasizing the last word of his lines. There are times when it works and other times when it seems awkward depending on what the last word is.
[Q2] [C] Chavo and Hernandez were in the ring. Chavo said they were robbed last week. He said this was all about paybacks. He said that it was Open Fight Night and they talked to Hulk Hogan and he added the stipulation that the winner of the tag match would become No. 1 contenders to the tag titles. They called out Bad Influence.
1. Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez vs. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian in a No. 1 contenders match. The crowd was hot for the match and popped big for the babyface duo running down the ramp, diving over the ropes, and connecting with Bad Influence with simultaneous shoulder blocks. Bad Influence isolated Chavo heading in the break. [C]
After the break, Chavo fought off the heels and made the hot tag to Hernandez, who performed crowd pleasing power moves on Daniels and Kazarian. Daniels caught a charging Hernandez with a boot to the face and tried to use the ropes for the leverage, but the referee spotted it and stopped his count.
[Q3] Hernandez performed a sit-out powerbomb and tagged in Chavo, who went tot he top rope. Kazarian recovered and shoved Chavo down. Daniels got a two count. He went for Angel's Wings, but Hernandez caught him with a shoulder block. Chavo followed up with a frogsplash and got the pin...
Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez defeated Daniels and Kazarian to become No. 1 contenders to the TNA Tag Titles in 12:10.
Powell's POV: The three team tag division and the repeated title matches for Hernandez and Chavo are getting tiresome, but the match was entertaining and the crowd was definitely into it. Plus, I love watching old white people try to be hip while dancing and bobbing their heads to Chavo's entrance music.
Backstage, Taryn Terrell answered the locker room door and spoke while holding clothing in front of her chest. She said she was excited because it was Open Fight Night, she knew who she was calling out, and she knew what she was wearing... [C]
A TNA Slammiversary pay-per-view ad aired. Tickets go on sale tomorrow... A TNA "Insta-Fact" graphic touted that a bunch of people showed up at TNA Lockdown...
Powell's POV: Great, TNA has it's own version of the WWE "Did You Know?" graphic. Ugh.
Highlights aired of Brooke Hogan firing Taryn Terrell from her referee gig and announcing that she's been hired as a Knockout, which led to Terrell attacking Gail Kim...
Taryn came to the ring and said it was her first night as a Knockout. She mentioned her issues with Kim and said it was no secret that she was calling her out. Kim's music played and she eventually made her entrance. Gail arrogantly told Taryn that she made a rookie mistake by calling out the greatest female wrestler who ever lived. She questioned whether she really wanted to embarrass herself like that on television.
Gail said Taryn has rubbed others the wrong way, including one person who wanted to call her out tonight. Gail called for Tara to come out and help her take care of business. Tara and Jessie walked to the ring together. Gail took a cheap shot at Taryn. Tara hit the ring and joined Gail in beating up Taryn.
Velvet Sky's music played and she ran in to help out Taryn. Velvet and her furry boots cleared Kim and Tara from the ring... [C]
Powell's POV: Kim and Tara's strategy appeared to be kicking Taryn in the vagina, but I perhaps I'm mistaken. Kim is much better on the mic in her arrogant role than she has been in the past. It took a long time, but she finally seems to be growing into this role. Meanwhile, Taryn is a bubbly and likable babyface, and Jessie has a pretty sweet gig.
[Q4] Backstage, Velvet Sky was talking a mile a minute with Taryn next to her. Taryn ran off and attacked Gail Kim and Tara as they were walking by. Velvet had to pull Taryn off of her...
The announcers hyped the return of Gut Check for next week's television show... A Gut Check video focussed on the past Gut Check winners (and loser Joey Ryan)...
Backstage, Jeremy Borash hyped Gut Check and said the match will feature Adam Pearce vs. Magno. Both men were there and they had a brief staredown...
Powell's POV: Pearce was in tremendous shape at the Jerry Lynn retirement show on Saturday. I know TNA officials are high on the Gut Check concept, but they should just sign him and introduce him as a big deal right out of the gate. That said, I suppose there's more than one way to skin a cat. However, the company should be forced to shut down if they consider sending Pearce to developmental training.
Highlights aired from earlier in the night of Jeff Hardy calling out Mr. Anderson...
Backstage, Hulk Hogan spoke with Jeff Hardy and hyped the Bully Ray vs. Hardy rematch for April 11. Hogan said Hardy stepped up and proved that he was the man to lead the company. He apologized to Hardy for his mistake of putting him inside the cage at Lockdown because it helped Aces & 8's steal the title. Hardy said he lives for the future. Hogan told Hardy to pick the stipulation for his match with Bully Ray...
Powell's POV: They are doing a good job of mentioning Corpus Christi while hyping the rematch. It's more effective to have the talent talking about an upcoming host city than it is to only show it in a graphic.
Sting came to the ring (Hogan heard Sting's music during the backstage segment). Sting spoke about the mistake he made and the problem he's trying to fix. He said the only way to solve it was calling out Hogan.
[Q5] Hulk Hogan made his entrance and received a strong reaction from the live crowd. Sting said he's apologized twice already and things could get nuclear if he doesn't accept his third apology. Hogan said he should have listened to his gut because he knew Ray was rotten, but people like Sting and Dixie Carter told him otherwise.
Hogan said he made a decision that screwed up the company and Sting was to blame. Sting said the key words were that Hogan made the decision. He told Hogan to be accountable for it. Hogan owned up to walking his daughter down the aisle and giving Ray the title shot. Hogan said he's tired of having Sting get in his face.
"Get the hell out of my ring, brother," Hogan said to Sting. The crowd booed. "Make me," Sting replied. Atlas Security immediately entered the ring to keep them apart. Well, two Atlas security guys stood in front of Sting and eventually led him backstage. Tenay said he never imagined it would come to this...
Powell's POV: The live crowds get a rise out of seeing Sting and Hogan in person, and Sting was pretty good here. I'm not sure how long they can keep this interesting for the television viewers when Hogan can't (or at least should not) wrestle. It feels like they are giving valuable real estate (top of the second hour) to the old guys without incorporating today's stars. No, Brooke Hogan does not count as a star of today.
Tenay ran through the upcoming shows graphic... Highlights aired of Sting being led through the backstage area. Matt Morgan clapped and said it was yet another Hulk Hogan mistake. Sting stopped, clenched his fists, and then started walking toward the door...
Powell's POV: Okay, Morgan counts as a star of today. That was encouraging.
Highlights aired of the recent A.J. Styles saga and Taz offering him a spot in Aces & 8's...
Powell's POV: I wasn't a fan of Taz offering Styles a spot in Aces & 8's. The basic idea is fine, but they really telegraphed it by having Taz insult Styles by telling him that he would have to start at the bottom of the club.
James Storm came to the ring in his gear and took the mic. Storm called out A.J. Styles for Open Fight Night. Styles didn't come out. "Maybe he's at the bar," Taz quipped. Keneley said he was pretty sure it was a dry county (the worst kind of county, by the way). Styles showed up in the crowd and glared at Storm.
Storm told Styles it was nice to see he showed up. Storm said they are both from the south and they could handle it in one of two ways. He said they could drink about it or fight about it. Storm removed his gear and waited for Styles, but Aces & 8's members DOC, Wes Brisco, and Garett Bischoff entered the ring and attacked Anderson. Styles walked off through the crowd.
[Q6] Eric Young's music played and received no response. Young hit the ring and was quickly beaten down. Kurt angle ran out to a modest reaction and helped clear the Aces & 8's members from the ring. Angle took the mic and challenged the trio to a six-man tag match for Open Fight Night...
2. Kurt Angle, James Storm, and Eric Young vs. DOC, Garett Bischoff, and Wes Brisco in a six-man tag match. The heel trio was working over Young in their corner heading into the break. [C]
Powell's POV: Yes, that was WWE Champion The Rock throwing a weight at TNA star Kurt Angle's head in the Pain & Gain movie commercial.
After the break, Young was still selling for the heels. The crowd was livelier after the break and Young quickly made the hot tag to Storm, who ended up selling for the heels for a stretch too.
[Q7] The crowd fired up as Storm made the hot tag to Angle, who performed German suplexes on all three opponents. D-Lo Brown came out and distracted Angle. Bischoff wrapped a chain around his first, but Angle tackled him and applied the ankle lock. Brisco rolled up Angle, held the tights, and got the pin...
DOC, Garett Bischoff, and Wes Brisco defeated Kurt Angle, James Storm, and Eric Young in 14:25.
Backstage, Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson, and Devon toasted to their trio winning. Devon reminded Ray not to forget D-Lo. Ray said it's true and that they never walk alone. Ray brought up Jeff getting to pick the stipulation. Anderson blew a gasket and said Ray won't have to worry about that because he's going to take him out tonight... [C]
Powell's POV: The live crowd wasn't as receptive to the last match. They really came to life for Angle taking the hot tag, though. It's hard to say whether it was just a case of the crowd not being as fired up for seeing all of those wrestlers for the second time or if they've been burned out a bit by the lack of wrestling on the show. There has only been two matches thus far, though the combined match time is close to 27 minutes.
An X Division video package aired and focussed on the new rules and champion Kenny King...
Backstage, Borash hyped the One Night Only pay-per-view featuring the best of the X Division. Borash interviewed Sonjay Dutt and noted that Dutt would have to win next week's qualifying matchup over Mason Andrews and Petey Williams, who were both on the interview set...
Powell's POV: It's cool to see Williams working with TNA again even if it turns out to be a short term situation. I thought he got a raw deal when they let him go. He received a nice reaction from the crowd when he was introduced. The only negative is that this is the second time (Gut Check preview) that I wanted to hear from the wrestlers and only heard from Borash.
The announcers spoke at ringside. Taz said Ray will take out Hardy in Corpus Christi regardless of the stipulation... A video recapped Bully Ray winning the TNA Title at the Lockdown pay-per-view... Jeff Hardy made his entrance for the main event...
[Q8] Mr. Anderson made his entrance for the main event...
3. Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson. Hardy got off to a fast start and the crowd was into the action. They fought to ringside and cut to break once the match returned to the ring. [C] Tenay spoke about the history involving Hardy vs. Anderson.
There was a hokey ref bump at 10:15 when Anderson intentionally backed into Earl Hebner. Garett Bischoff came out and handed Anderson a hammer. Anderson swung and missed. Hardy hit the Twist of Fate and picked up the hammer. Hebner recovered and warned Hardy not to use the hammer, but he did anyway and was disqualified.
Mr. Anderson defeated Jeff Hardy by DQ in 10:45.
Hardy also struck Bischoff with the hammer and knocked him off the apron. Hardy went to ringside and pulled a chair out from underneath the ring. Hardy went to Anderson on the ramp and struck him with the chair. He set up a chair on the ramp, got a running start, and used it as a springboard to knock Anderson back inside the ring.
Hardy motioned for a ladder. He went to ringside and grabbed a table, which he set up in the ring. Hardy went back to ringside and pulled out a ladder and then set it up inside the ring. Anderson recovered and kicked Hardy, but Hardy came back with a Twist of Fate. Hardy placed Anderson on top of the table and then climbed to the top of the ladder.
Bully Ray ran out and pulled Anderson off the table. The crowd booed as Ray and Anderson left the ring. Hardy sat on top of the ladder and said he'd made up his mind. He said there would be no rules in Corpus Christi on April 11. He said tables, ladders, and chairs would be legal in the Full Metal Mayhem match. Ray vented at ringside to close the show...
Powell's POV: A solid main event that the live crowd made so much better. Imagine if that same overplayed matchup had been held in the Impact Zone. The setup for the Full Metal Mayhem (TLC) match was predictable, but that's not such a bad thing. This week's main event would have been more compelling if Anderson had a chance to help Ray pick the stipulation. They could have just as easily had Anderson DQ'd to set up Hardy with the right to choose the stipulation.
Most viewers will be more excited about the April 11 event than next week's show. Granted, I am looking forward to seeing Adam Pearce and the return of Petey Williams, but most of the focus was given to the April 11 main event. Fortunately, the live crowd was receptive to all the hype for a show that will take place in another city. The atmosphere was really good in Jonesboro. The crowd was hotter than the Raw crowds have been for the majority of WWE's three-hour marathons. Overall, a solid edition of Impact that could have used more meaningful wrestling, though I never got bored despite the low match count.
We will have results of the taping for the April 4 show later tonight (Thursday). Check back on Friday for Will Pruett's Pause review of Impact, Ryan Kester's Impact Rundown, and Will Pruett's audio review of Impact Wrestling. Thanks for watching along with me.
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