For tonight, on the 5-24-12 edition of Impact Wrestling, we get the returns of the ill-fated “Open Fight Night” and “Gut Check”. The good news? Independent standout and a personal favorite of mine Joey Ryan gets the “Gut Check” spot. The bad news? This is TNA, so even he gets hired, the company won’t have clue #1 what to do with him.
The show starts with “highlights” of the thing between AJ Styles and Dixie Carter, as well as the whole Joseph Abyss angle with Bully Ray.
We are in Hulk Hogan’s office, and he’s standing there with Ray, Styles, Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle. He’s shows them the show’s format tonight, and says there will be a lot of changes for tonight’s OFN. He shows them some papers and says that’s what’s supposed to happen tonight. Basically, he’s breaking the fourth wall and telling everyone the show is scripted. Genius. The conversation then segues to Bobby Roode, who is on the verge of becoming the longest-reigning World Champion in company history, which is important to Hogan. Angle questions its importance, so Styles questions the importance of a gold medal. He then talks about everyone coming on board with the company, and it’s causing them to fast-forward things. The normal show format isn’t working. Why should Angle break Roode’s streak? Angle says because he’s won more titles than anyone. Ray questions that, since he has more overall titles. Styles questions it because he has more TNA championships than Angle. Hogan then talks about Ray’s singles career, and he’s the only one who hasn’t won the “big one” yet. Why does he deserve a shot? Ray puts Hogan over (and actually uses the words “put over”) before saying he reminds Hogan more of the guys Hogan worked with in his day than anyone else. He’s the most legit, and people fear him for a “straight-up shoot”. He could intimidate Hogan, but he has respect. Angle then challenges Ray to intimidate. Ray says he hasn’t backed down from Angle in the past, and he won’t now. Styles’ case is that he’s been here longer than anyone else. He doesn’t want Roode to become the longest-reigning champion, and he wants to stop that from happening. Angle reminds him that he beat Styles in their last match. Styles accuses him of having help from Kazarian and Christopher Daniels. Ray then yells at Hardy, who hasn’t said anything this whole time. Hardy says let the fans decide who gets the shot. Hogan says that, as much as the fans hate him, he’s good for the company. However, he’s controlling the pace of the company, and he needs to be stopped. Hogan thinks each guy can beat him, but Ray gets eliminated since he’s only been a singles wrestler for a year. Hogan says the decision feels right. Ray says Eric was right about him before storming off. Once again, Hogan looks stoned out of his mind.
This segment was so stupid. TNA thinks they’re being edgy with this crap. We watch wrestling to ESCAPE reality, dumbasses. Did you learn nothing from WCW?
After that long-winded rambling by Hogan and company, we finally go to the Impact Zone, where Knockouts Champion Gail Kim and Madison Rayne are making their way out. We see the rest of the locker room looking on in the back. Kim says that being her is great as Rayne checks herself out in a compact mirror. Kim says that, not only is she the champion, but she’s the most dominant Knockouts Champion in the history of this company. She built this division, and she IS this division. Everything revolves around her. Rayne is still ignoring her. Kim calls herself the most important woman in the company. There is one blemish on her resume’, and one she has a big problem with. It’s the fact that that Knockouts Tag Team titles are being carried by a man and a so-called woman. In honor of OFN, she’s taking this opportunity to make a challenge. She then yells at Rayne for being distracted before finally calling out ODB and Eric Young. The “champs” make their way out, accepting the challenge.
Young and Kim start with a lock-up. She gets him in an arm wringer, and he reverses. She breaks it with a kick and a side headlock. Young reverses. She knees him in the back before going into a waistlock. Young reverses into one of his own before dropping her on her ass. ODB tags in and punches Kim repeatedly. A chest bump knocks Kim down, and ODB follows up with a fall-away slam. ODB knocks Rayne off the apron as we go to commercial.
Impact Wrestling goes live every week next week, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a glorious train wreck of 2000-2001 WCW proportions.
Back from the break, Kim takes ODB down with a clothesline for 2. Kim forces Rayne to tag in, who stomps ODB before screeching incoherently at her. Rayne takes ODB down with a boot to the face for 2 before screeching some more. Kim tags back in and they hit a double corner whip. Kim throws Rayne into the corner before ordering her to get out of the ring. ODB comes back with a spear out of the corner before tagging in Young. Rayne also tags in, and she hits some weak forearms to the back before slapping him. He decides to pull his shorts off before hitting hip tosses and bodyslams on the heels. ODB yells at him for taking his pants off before tagging back in. She hits Kim with a couple of clotheslines and a running powerslam for 2. She picks Kim up for the Bammm!, but Kim slides out. ODB catches her off the ropes for another fall-away slam, but Rayne trips her behind the referee’s back, causing Kim to fall on top of her and get the 3 as Rayne held the leg down.
WINNERS: Gail Kim and Madison Rayne.
We see World Champion Bobby Roode entering the building.
Hogan is still in his office, and he’s talking to someone on the phone, who is apparently on their way to the building. “It’s been way too long, my brother. I’ll see you soon. Holy shiz.” Apparently, Hogan thinks he’s about 12 years old.
Rob Van Dam makes his way out now, I guess to challenge someone. This is one of the (many) reasons I hate OFN-we need a long-winded explanation before every match as to why it’s happening. Since RVD has been back, he’s been so focused on regaining the World title and giving people a good role model for a change (*laughs*). As a result, he’s let some unfinished business fall to the side, so Gunner, get out here.
MATCH 2: Rob Van Dam vs. Gunner
In case you forgot (and you did, because no one really pays attention to this show), Gunner put RVD on the shelf 3 months ago with a DDT on the floor. RVD hits a baseball slide before Gunner even gets in the ring, and they’re now brawling at ringside. Gunner throws RVD into the ring apron before throwing him in the ring. Gunner grabs a chair and throws it in the ring. Earl Hebner pushes it to the side. The two trades some blows, with RVD eventually catching the step-over spinning heel kick and Rolling Thunder. RVD misses a roundhouse in the corner, and Gunner hair-whips him down before hitting some punches. Back elbow off the ropes by Gunner gets 2. Gunner drops an elbow to the forehead. RVD gets to a corner. Gunner whips him across the ring, but RVD counters with a spinning heel kick. Gunner grabs the chair, which results in a Van Daminator. RVD goes up and hits a long distance Five-Star Frog Splash for the 3.
WINNER: Rob Van Dam. Mike Tenay: “And RVD gains revenge!” No, revenge would be RVD laying Gunner out for three months. Somehow, I don’t think a frog splash and a pin is going to do the trick.
Ric Flair is still featured in the commercial for Slammiversary. Might want to update that, TNA.
World Television Champion Devon makes his way out to the ring. A few weeks ago, Hogan gave him the opportunity to defend the belt every single week (except last week), and that’s exactly what he’s going to do. We see Joseph Abyss in the audience. Last week, he had a chance to become #1 contender to the World title in a battle royal last week. And he has to give someone credit, because Garett Bischoff had Lady Luck on his shoulders. Bischoff eliminated him last week, so let’s see if this week, Bischoff still has some of that luck left.
MATCH 3-World Television Championship: Devon vs. Garett Bischoff
The fans in the crowd don’t give a damn about Bischoff. I love it. Tie-up to start, with Devon going into a side headlock and a hip throw. Bischoff gets back to his feet, and Devon botches a spinning back elbow. Another tie-up, and Bischoff goes into a side headlock. Devon reverses into a bodyslam, but misses a jumping headbutt. Bischoff with a swinging neckbreaker. Another tie-up, and another side headlock by Devon. Robbies E and T come down to the ring and attack both guys, ending the match.
WINNER: No contest. Taz complains about them ruining a “great match”. I guess we were watching a different show. Devon eventually comes back with a double clothesline on the heels. Bischoff throws E into T in the corner. Devon whips Bischoff into them, then Devon charges as well before sending them out of the ring. What a stupid and completely useless segment. With four asshats like these eating up TV time needlessly, is it any wonder I’m the only one who watches this show anymore?
Up next, Hogan’s second elimination for the World title match. Open Fight Night! Where you can challenge anyone and if you’re a champion, you have to accept the challenge as a title match, except we’ll only do one title match a week (not counting the TV title), and Hogan still decides who gets the shot! Innovation! Except it’s not! Hulk Hogan! It’s still 1988 in his head! Brother!
We’re back in Hogan’s office with the three remaining contestants for the World title match. Hogan says eliminating Ray was tough, and this elimination is going to be even tougher. He says Styles probably knows Roode better than anyone. As for Angle, he’s been beating everyone lately. However, he’s distracted by his ill-fated Olympic dreams and crazy dieting. Hardy has been a consummate professional since the return, and the fans love him. Angle says if you want the toughest guy, you pick Angle. Hogan wants someone who is a constant, and that isn’t Hardy. Hardy’s been shaky lately, and he needs someone who is 190%. Before he makes his final decision, he wants Angle and Styles to go to the ring, and he wants to make his decision in front of everyone. He then makes some remark about moving a segment to make more time, because this “isn’t going to work”. I should mention that overly dramatic music has been playing in each one of these stupid Hogan segments.
We get the same video of the Abyss/Bully Ray feud that we saw last week, because it’s necessary we see it again. Except that it’s not, because no one cares about this feud.
Speaking of Bully Ray, he’s out now to make his totally unpredictable challenge to Abyss or Joseph Park, or both. Ray introduces himself to us, because that gimmick works so well for Randy Orton. Only Ray does it louder and more obnoxiously, so he’s clearly an innovator. Hogan must’ve forgotten who he was, since Hogan decided he would be the first one eliminated. So, he’s in a bad mood. He’s pissed off. And if he’s both of those things, he’s going to take it out on every single one of the fans. Then, as if his life wasn’t bad enough today, someone came up to him and told him Joseph Abyss was in the audience. We then see Abyss sitting there, eating popcorn. Ray is tired of him showing up here, he sickenenandtirened (his words) of looking at him, he’s sick and tired of him sitting in the audience with the fans. He then challenges Abyss to come down to the ring. Joseph Abyss pretends to be scared as he comes down the ring. The crowd is chanting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Somewhere, Daniel Bryan is putting a brick through a television set. Abyss grabs a mic and says he’s not a fighter or a wrestler, and in fact, he’s never been in a real fight. Quite frankly, he’s a little intimidated right now. Ray yells at him to admit he’s intimidated, even though he just did. Ray backs off to let Abyss into the ring. He says all he ever wanted was answers on the whereabouts of himself. Ray tells him to “knock the bass out of his voice right now”. After all the facts Abyss was able to gather, they all led back to Bully Ray. But let’s sidebar that for a second. No table this time? He’s defended a lot of people in courtrooms, some guilty and some not guilty. After years, he can look in someone’s eyes and tell if he’s guilty or not guilty. That doesn’t matter right now, though. Luckily for Ray, under article ten, section six of the Constitution, Ray is entitled to a trial in front of a jury of his peers. Abyss says we have our jury right here, talking about the fans. How are the fans the peers of a wrestler? Fans chant “Guilty”. So, in the case of the “Mysterious Disappearance of My Brother, Chris”-this angle has become an Encyclopedia Brown book, I guess, who here thinks Ray is not guilty? Everyone boos. Who thinks Ray is guilty? Everyone cheers. Ray then punches Abyss in the stomach before whipping him with a chain. Ray then says “Not guilty” into the microphone before Sabu’s entrance music hits and he leaves the ring.
We get an interview with Joey Ryan, who is here for this week’s “Gut Check”. Ryan talks about getting the chance to live out his dream as we see footage from “NWA Live From Hollywood”. Ryan says he’s never stopped being a fan, and when he became a wrestler, he’s never lost his fandom. Ryan’s chance to become a TNA star is next. If Alex Silva’s worthless ass can land a contract, but they overlook Joey Ryan, I don’t think I can ever watch this show again.
I hate to break it to Dave & Buster’s, but showing a close-up of an ugly blonde licking her teeth is not enticing me to come spend money at your establishment.
After the break, Jeremy “Toolbox” Borash is in the ring with Joey Ryan and Al Snow. He reminds us all of the “Gut Check” as Joey Ryan is playing up his gimmick. I’m digging the scarf. Turns out Ryan’s opponent will be Austin Aries. This has the potential to be awesome, if it’s been booked right.
MATCH 3: Joey Ryan vs. World X-Division Champion Austin Aries (non-title)
Tie-up to start, with Ryan snapping off a quick armdrag. Another tie-up up, with Aries hitting his own armdrag. He follows up with a drop toehold before taunting Ryan. They shove each other a couple times. Aries slaps Ryan, then lands some elbows. Ryan slides to the floor to avoid a back elbow, and Aries comes down on him with a plancha. Back in the ring, Aries goes up top, and Ryan crotches him. Aries falls to the mat, and Ryan gets 2. Ryan with some punches before taunting the crowd. Aries grabs him by the chest hair and yanks down. Ryan comes back with a dropkick for 2. Ryan gets Aries in a pumphandle, but Aries fights out with elbows. Aries ducks a clothesline and drops him with a rolling elbow. Aries charges into the corner, but Ryan slides the apron. He goes for a sunset flip, but Aries rolls through and lands a dropkick. Aries goes for the brainbuster, and Ryan backs him into the turnbuckles, where he fires off some punches. Ryan slides through the legs and hits a pumphandle suplex for 2. Ryan goes up top, but Aries sees him coming. Aries hits a Mexican armdrag into the corner, follows up with a corner dropkick and the best brainbuster in the business for the 3.
WINNER: Austin Aries. Wasn’t Ryan’s best performance, but he still looked great. There is absolutely zero reason why he shouldn’t get hired, but since TNA does everything ass-backwards, I get the feeling they’ll make a bad decision.
We see Slammiversary moment #6, which saw two way over-the-hill guys have a “match” as Sting took on Hulk Hogan last year in a total pile of crap.
Bobby Roode makes his way out, as we’re going to find out his opponent for the evening. AJ Styles then makes his way out, who currently own the record that Roode is trying to break with his current title reign. It’s then Angle’s turn to come out, followed by Hogan, of course. Can’t have one of the possible challengers or even the champion himself be the last one to come out. Hogan decides to stay on the stage while everyone else is in the ring. He’s been in the crossfire all night long, because he thought this would be the toughest decision of the night, but the reality is, he can’t make a wrong decision here. Angle’s track record is impeccable, and Styles is neck-and-neck with him. At the end of the day, he can’t make the wrong decision, so he’s gotta go with his gut. Since Styles knows Roode better than anyone, he’s gotta go with him. Styles gets the match. Angle shakes his hand before leaving the ring.
MATCH 4-World Championship: Champion Bobby Roode vs. AJ Styles
Styles with a tie-up and a side headlock. A shoulder off the ropes gets 1 for Styles. Roode goes for a test of strength, and kicks Styles in the gut instead. Criss-cross sequence sees Styles land a back elbow and a nice dropkick, sending Roode to the floor as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Styles whips Roode into the corner and follows up with a jumping corner clothesline. Styles whips him again, but jumps right into a back elbow. Roode then sends Styles shoulder-first into the ring post, causing Styles to fall to the floor. Roode follows him out, gets him in a hammerlock, and sends him into the post again. Back in the ring, Roode goes for the pin, but only gets 2. Roode ties Styles’ arm up over the middle rope. Arm wringer into an armbar takedown gets another 2 for Roode. Roode goes into a top wristlock before stomping the arm. Roode stomps the arm again as an incoherent dueling chant breaks out. Roode goes back into the top wristlock. Styles fights out with some punches, but Roode quickly lands a strike to the bad arm, followed by a chop to the chest. He charges in, and Styles backdrops him to the floor. Styles follows up with a slingshot plancha, then sends him into the steps. Styles looks up on the ramp, as if Kazarian and Daniels were up there. The momentary distraction allows Roode to hip toss him onto the steps before rolling him back in the ring for 2. Styles has some blood on his chest. Not sure where that came from. We go to split screen, where we see Hogan watching the match in the back. A production assistant tells him that his “guest has arrived” as we go to commercials yet again. Even during a match not involving him in any way, we still have to deal with seeing Hogan on TV.
Watching this commercial for Miller Lite, I have to ask something to beer drinkers: Are you all really so stupid that you need special cans and bottles for you to drink your beer out of? Is just taking a cap off or pushing down a pull-tab not enough to get the liquid from the bottle into your stupid mouths?
Back from the break, Roode hits a suplex and a jumping kneedrop for 2. Roode drops an elbow to the back of the neck before attempting to humble Styles the old country way with a camel clutch. Roode turns it into a modified surfboard stretch before driving his head between the shoulders. Styles elbows and punches his way out. Roode backdrops him over the top rope, and Styles lands on his feet on the apron. Styles goes up for a springboard, and Roode trips him up. Roode charges in, and Styles meets him with a shoulder before hitting the Superman for 2. Styles goes for the Clash, but Roode backs him into the corner. Roode sets him up top and chops him in the chest. Roode climbs to the middle rope, then the top for a superplex. Styles fights him off, taking him down with a headbutt. Styles comes off the top with a nice delayed missile dropkick for 2. Styles goes for a clothesline, but Roode kicks the bad arm. He goes for the Payoff, and Styles counters into the Clash. Roode blocks it and slingshots Styles into the corner. Styles lands on his feet on the middle rope and comes off with a dive. Roode ducks, Styles lands on his feet and gets speared by Roode for 2. Roode locks in the Bowflex, but Styles fights out and eventually counters with a submission hold of his own, the inverted STF. Roode manages to get a rope break and crawl to the corner. Styles begins kicking him in the back before dragging him to the middle of the ring. He goes for the Styles Clash again, but Roode back drops him. Styles rolls through and charges at Roode, but Roode catches the spinebuster. He hits the Payoff, but Styles kicks out at 2. Roode goes for it again, but Styles slides out and lands the Pele. Styles rolls to the apron, then looks up to the stage again. He goes for the springboard 450, but Roode gets his knees up. Roode hits the Payoff one more time, and gets the 3.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Bobby Roode. Roode is still champion, and will now break Styles’ longevity record. We see Kazarian and Daniels are indeed on the stage this time, and they are mocking him for coming up short. Good match here. If TNA could put matches like this on more regularly, they wouldn’t be such a joke in the industry.
Roode gets on the microphone and announces he’s officially the longest-reigning champion in the history of the company, and now, it’s time to celebrate. SoCal Val brings him some champaign with two glasses. Roode wants someone to join us. In order for the “celebration of domination” to take place, Hogan needs to come out and celebrate with his champion. Of course, we have to go to commercial again before this happens. How many want to bet Hogan’s “special guest” is Sting? If you bet against me, you obviously haven’t been paying attention to this company. And really, who could blame you for that?
Back from the break, Roode is still in the ring by himself. He says he’ll party without Hogan before ordering the confetti to be dropped from the ceiling as he drinks champaign. Hogan’s musi finally hits after another minute or so. He slowly makes his way down to the ring, mic in hand. He calls Roode’s performance impressive. He’s glad he’s not a betting man, as he had the deck completely stacked against him. He knew Roode was good; he just didn’t realize how good. Roode hands Hogan a glass of champaign before taking a swig off the bottle. Hogan says he has to thank and congratulate Roode, and he’s glad he was called out here to celebrate. Hogan shakes his hand and says Roode has done things he never thought possible, and did it with hard work. But, with the hard work Roode put in, it’s just begun. Roode is the company’s champion, and the hard work has just begun. There’s someone else here who wants to celebrate with him, and he apologizes for the late arrival. The lights go out, and when they come back on, of course, Sting is still in the ring. Sting then punches Roode a bunch, hits the Stinger Splash and clotheslines him over the top rope to the floor. Because we really need Sting’s 50 year-old ass back on this show. Hogan then announces that starting next week, Impact Wrestling starts at it’s new timeslot at 8pm. And he’s going to start the show with a Lumberjack Match between Sting and Roode. Oh, and he said “Spike TV” and “8pm” about 157 times each in just a couple of minutes, just in case Impact fans are so brain dead they didn’t get it the first time and can’t look on their on-screen guide for the information. I mean, that’s clearly what Hogan and Dixie Carter think, judging by how this show is normally booked.
End of show.
The “Gut Check” this week was good. The main event was good. However, there was still way too much talking, and the entire opening and closing segments were insulting.
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Thanks for reading, and as long as Spike TV still fronts the bill, I’ll see you next week.