Impact Wrestling – May 24, 2012: Sting Returns. Again.
Date: May 24, 2012
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tazz
It’s Open Fight Night II and the world title is going to be on the line tonight. There are four candidates and presumably we’ll have a fourway match to determine Roode’s opponent. Other than that, we have (I think) another Gut Check Challenge deal, which hopefully has a better outcome than last time. Let’s get to it.
We open with Hogan in his office with the four possible opponents for Roode. He shows them a copy of the script for tonight and says that according to what it says, he’s supposed to explain the concept of Open Fight Night. This devolves into a debate about what would happen if Roode becomes the longest reigning world champion. Hogan talks about the evolution of the company and how they need to change the way things are done.
They need to explain why they should get the title shot tonight. You know, instead of competing for it in the ring. Ray talks about how he’s the most legit because people fear him because of a possible shoot. Hulk asks Angle if that’s true and Angle says Ray doesn’t intimidate him. AJ says that he’s been around longer than anyone else including Roode.
Angle says that he beat AJ in their last match so he should get the shot (that makes sense). Kurt asks Jeff why he should get the shot. Is it because everyone loves him? Jeff: “Your son does.” Hogan says that Roode has to be stopped because he’s taking over the company. He thinks that AJ, Jeff and Angle can beat him but he knows Ray can beat him, so Ray is out of the running. Ray says Eric was right about Hogan and leaves, taking us to the opening sequence.
Here are Gail and Madison to open the show. Gail talks about how great she is. We look in the back to see mostly men and Angelina watching. ODB is there too but I wasn’t sure what category to put her in. Madison is checking her hair in this. Gail says she’s the most important woman in the company but there’s a blemish on her resume. She doesn’t like the Knockout Tag Titles being on a man and a thing though. So tonight, she and Madison are calling out ODB and Eric for the titles.
Eric Young/ODB vs. Gail Kim/Madison Rayne
This is non-title. Gail and Eric start and trade wristlocks. Eric picks her up and literally drops her before tagging in ODB who chest bumps Gail down. She knocks Madison to the floor and we take a break. Back with Gail working on ODB as Madison looks bored. Madison comes in for some covers and a lot of screaming. ODB spears her down and makes the tag. Time to strip and Eric slams both girls. ODB tells him to put his pants on and it’s back to her. Running powerslam gets two on Gail but the Bam is escaped. ODB loads up a fallaway slam but Madison trips her up and holds her feet for the pin at 9:46.
Rating: D+. You know, it’s AMAZING how much more bearable Young is when he’s not being all zany. Then he took his pants off and it was the same stuff we’ve seen a million times from him. The match wasn’t bad, but is there a reason it wasn’t for the titles? If you’re going to challenge a champion, challenge them for their belts.
Hogan is on the phone and someone says they’re coming.
Here’s RVD who has a small cut under his right eye. He has unfinished business so Gunner, get out here.
Gunner vs. Rob Van Dam
We get an explanation of why this match is happening: Gunner hurt Van Dam in JANUARY. On one hand, points for giving it some closure. On the other hand, did anyone really remember that? Gunner throws in a chair to start things but the referee kicks it into the corner. He takes Van Dam down but when he whips him into the corner, van Dam comes back with a spin kick. Van Dam hits one of the longest Five Stars I’ve EVER seen for the pin at 2:50. This was a step above a squash.
Here’s D-Von who says he’s a fighting champion. Joseph Park is watching in the crowd. D-Von credits Garrett Bischoff for eliminating him last week and offers him a TV Title match tonight.
TV Title: Garrett Bischoff vs. D-Von
D-Von takes him down with a headlock but misses a headbutt to give us a stalemate. And here are the Robs for the DQ at 1:50.
Garrett and D-Von clear the ring. Seriously, with the roster they have is there NO ONE but E and T that can fight D-Von?
Time for another elimination. Hulk talks about Angle having a game face and being Olympic crazy. Jeff has a lot of fans that love him. Angle says that if you want the athlete, pick AJ. If you want the popular one pick Hardy. If you want the best, pick him. That’s a good line. Somehow this results in Jeff’s elimination because his victories have been too close.
We get the same video from Sacrifice which is the news reel kind of deal about Abyss and Joseph Park.
Here’s Ray, who apparently sent a text to Tazz saying that he was livid. He’s tired of hearing about Joseph Park but he hears he’s here tonight. Park is in the crowd eating a box of popcorn. Ray calls him in for a fight but Joseph says that he’s not a fighter. Park says he’s never been in a fight and that he’s intimidated. The fans chant YES. Park talks about how he’s defended people that are guilty and not-guilty. The fans chant guilty and Chris talks about how in Article X of the US Constitution (which doesn’t exist) Ray is entitled to a trial by a jury of his peers. The fans can be the jury and they decide guilty, so Ray takes him out.
Joey Ryan, the Gut Check contestant tonight, talks about growing up a wrestling fan.
Austin Aries vs. Joey Ryan
Ryan looks like Ben Stiller trying to look like a 70s action star. His tights say Hollywood and he slaps Aries before heading to the floor. Aries dives on him and they head back in. I think Ryan is supposed to be a 70s actor or something. Aries takes him down with a spinning forearm but Ryan comes back with a pumphandle suplex for two. Aries hits the running dropkick in the corner followed by the brainbuster for the pin at 4:06.
Rating: C. Not bad but WAY better than Silva. Ryan has charisma but his ring work is only ok. Since apparently wrestling doesn’t matter as much as talking to Hogan anymore though he should be fine. Apparently he’s a bigger deal on the indy circuit so that’s probably why I’ve only heard his name in passing. Not bad but I’d like to see these Gut Check guys WIN. It might actually make me believe they belong.
Moment #6 is Sting beating Hogan at BFG and Hogan Hulking Up to save it.
It’s 10:20 and Roode is coming out for the main event. AJ and Angle come out first to determine who the #1 contender is. Hogan comes out and says it doesn’t matter who he picks because either is a great choice. Hogan picks AJ because he knows Roode better.
TNA World Title: AJ Styles vs. Bobby Roode
It’s 10:25 so this has the potential to be the longest Impact match in…..dang years probably. AJ sets for his drop down/dropkick spot but Roode avoids the kick. AJ sends him in again and this time it knocks Roode to the floor as we take a break. Back with AJ getting knocked to the floor and sent shoulder first into the post. Roode has apparently demanded a celebration if he wins tonight, because he’ll secure the longest reign in title history. I knew they weren’t giving this 35 minutes.
Roode works on the arm for a good while until AJ breaks the hold and sends him to the floor. There’s a HUGE chest extending dive to the floor as AJ is looking at……someone the camera doesn’t bother to show us. Roode uses the distraction to hiptoss Styles onto the steps which gets two in the ring. Hogan is watching in the back and we take another break. Back with Roode hitting a suplex and knee drop for two. Roode stays on the shoulders but AJ fights out of the hold with a right hand.
Styles tries a springboard move but Roode drops him onto the top rope throat first. Roode walks into a shoulder block and the springboard forearm gets two. Missile dropkick gets the same. The Clash is countered but AJ counters the catapult into a moonsault, but gets speared down for two. Crossface goes on but AJ rolls through for two. Bridging Indian Deathlock has Roode in trouble but he makes the rope. AJ tries to speed things up but gets caught in a spinebuster and fisherman’s suplex for two. Pele puts Roode down but AJ looks to the entrance again, making the 450 hit knees. Fisherman’s suplex pins Styles at 21:30.
Rating: B. Good stuff here and for awhile I was thinking there was a chance AJ could win. On a side note, it says a lot that I didn’t remember what Roode’s finisher was until about halfway through the match. I really would have liked to see a match determine who fought Roode but this is a talking company so it doesn’t really matter. This was very good though.
Daniels and Kaz were on the stage, but we didn’t see them until after the match.
Roode says it’s time to celebrate and wants his champagne. He wants another glass though and calls out Hogan. After a break we get confetti and Roode rolls around in it. Hogan comes out and drinks some champagne. He says he was proven wrong and Roode has done some impressive things. Hogan’s surprise guest is Sting, who is back after being gone again. Sting pops up behind Roode and beats him up. Starting next week the show is live and at 8pm. Next week, Roode can’t run away because at 8pm at the start of the show, it’s a lumberjack match with Roode vs. Sting.
Overall Rating: B-. It was certainly better than last month’s Open Fight Night, but the problem again here is nothing has actually happened in the first two shows. Yeah Sting is back, but that could have happened on any episode. Also is that where we’re going again? Sting vs. Roode? The main event was good and the Gut Check guy was ok, but they need to either have the Gut Check guy win once or have someone win a title on these specials, because otherwise they’re going to lose their appeal fast. Good show overall though.
Gail Kim/Madison Rayne b. ODB/Eric Young – Kim pinned ODB while Rayne held her feet
Rob Van Dam b. Gunner – Five Star Frog Splash
D-Von vs. Garrett Bischoff went to a no contest when Robbie E and Robbie T interfered
Austin Aries b. Joey Ryan – Brainbuster
Bobby Roode b. AJ Styles – Fisherman’s Suplex
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Solid show but two big gripes that I have: 1. The Robs/Devon feud. PLEASE end this. You said it in your review, are these REALLY the only guys they can think of to use in a feud for the TV title? Ridiculous. 2. Scrap the reality show BS. They could have just had a 4-way between AJ/Angle/Ray/Hardy at the beginning of the show but no, we have to have Hogan talking for a good bit of the show with corny “dramatic” music in the background.
Nothing happened this episode because they’re saving surprises for live shows. First live OFN will have a title change, and I’ve a feeling that Devon drops the TV title next week.
I only watched the last half of Impact this week (was watching KOTR 1996) and nothing jumped out at me. The World Title Match was ok but I knew Roode would keep it to surpass AJ as the Longest running TNA Champion. Oh boy Sting is back (again) to have a Match next week. Am I the only one who has noticed that they are 2 Weeks away from Slammiversary and haven’t made any Matches for the freaking PPV? And they wonder why nobody buys them.