TNA Impact returned to SpikeTV last night (Mar. 28) with a live show coming out of the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro, AR.
TNA continues its run of putting on a damn good show.
Click here to get full results and the running live blog. But now, let's get to the reactions!
♠ The show opened with Jeff Hardy touting his #1 Contendership and getting beat down by Aces & 8s. This led to a match being set up between Hardy and Mr. Anderson for the main event. The beauty of Open Fight Night is we don't need an authority figure to come out and book the obvious match. The talent just does it themselves. It's a smart gimmick that speeds things along.
Hogan informed Hardy later in the night that the championship match will be on April 11, and he will be able to pick the stipulation. I'm not 100% sure why Hardy gets to do this, but if we're going to let the inmates run the asylum once a month then why not just go the full nine yards?
Hardy vs. Anderson was a strong main event. Hardy looks like a damn rag doll, and Anderson knows how to chuck someone around the ring. The go-home saw a member of Aces & 8s pass Anderson a ball peen hammer, just for Hardy to hit the Twist-O-Fate and take the weapon. The ref confronted the #1 Contender, to which Hardy replied "Screw it!" and started smacking Anderson with the hammer. He would go grab a chair to a nice flying leg drop spot, then set up a table and ladder for the sky high Swanton. Bully Ray rushed in to save Anderson, but Hardy's decision was clear.
Tables. Ladders. Chairs. Full Metal Mayhem.
The thought of Hardy and Bully going full daredevil for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship is absolutely perfect.
♣ In the era of the four pay-per-views (PPV's) a year schedule, TNA is going to be hyping up the occasional television shows as if it was a PPV quality card. Which is a fun change of pace. Instead of being locked into dates, TNA is free to move things around. It can take a month to build up a championship match, it can push things back if the feuds haven't reach their natural conclusions, or move it forward if there's no reason to wait.
The problem with TNA's travel schedule is one episode is live and the second is taped, so it limits what the promotion can do if it wants to keep title matches from being spoiled. But we'll see how things go moving forward.
Mr. Anderson flipping the [explicit] out before his match with Hardy was just beautiful. The dude seemed legitimately insane, which is a good thing. It's a shame that he had to lose the "mic dropping from the ceiling just so he can scream asshole" gimmick. I liked that.
♦ Sting calling out Hulk Hogan and demanding he accepts his apology makes no sense to me. When you say sorry, it means you are full of sorrow. It's hard to express sorry when you are threatening physical harm if the opposite party does not forgive you. I don't get the logic behind, other than Sting is old and angry that those kids won't get off his damn lawn.
That being said! When Hulk and Sting were in the ring together, they were...actually really good on the mic. Hulk was excellent, but Sting more than held his own. It's amazing what they can do when they're actually invested instead of sitting on their mountain tops. There is some real hatred between them, and it clearly shows.
My only fear is that we get another proxy war between these two, which would just be pitiful and painful to watch. As a stand alone segment, though, it was very entertaining.
♥ AJ Styles is still being silent and mysterious, and James Storm is getting pissed off. Storm called out Styles, who appeared in the audience -- which might not have been the best idea when he's surround by empty seats. Storm offered a choice; a beer or a fight. Styles instead chose to watch as he was jumped by DOC, Garrett Bischoff, and Wes Brisco before walking away. It looks like Styles is really going to stick with the gimmick. We got a little ways to go before he is going to do anything. I hope TNA knows how to keep this from getting very boring.
♠ Kurt Angle and Eric Young ran out to make the save for Storm, and we suddenly got a six-man tag team match. It was a solid match overall, certainly nothing terrible to watch. Bischoff and Brisco were hidden well, and Angle looked strong in the brief moments in the ring. Garrett rolled up Angle after D-Lo showed up for the distraction, which is how it's supposed to work. The heels look strong and get their heat, while the faces can say they were screwed out of a win. Simple booking is simple.
♣ Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez took on Bad Influence -- Christopher Daniels & Kazarian -- to determine the #1 Contender for the Tag Team Championship. It was actually one of the better matches these teams have had together. Daniels & Kaz continue to be some of the best heels in the game. Chavo seems to actually have found some rhythm in the ring, and Hernandez is a freak. No man that big should be throwing himself around like he does. Chavo & Hernandez picked up the victory, and they will challenge for the titles in two weeks (April 11).
This looks to be a long, drawn out feud between these two and Dirty Heels -- Austin Aries & Bobby Roode. It's nice to have a real tag team division to watch.
♦ Taryn Terrell attempted to call out Gail Kim for a match, but Kim informed her there was another Knockout with a problem. This lead to Tara -- Eeee! -- and Jessie Godderz -- EEEEEE!!! -- coming down to the ring. But it was a trap! Kim attacked Terrell, and Tara joined in the beat down. Jessie sat back and watched, because when you have two women double teaming a third that's really all you should do. However, Velvet Sky rushed down to the ring to make the save. In a single sweep, TNA brought together Sky vs. Tara and Terrell vs. Kim.
If only there were some type of title that these teams of Knockouts could fight over. It's a shame, really.
♥ The show featured only three matches, which is really low. I understand that TNA is taping two shows at once, and it doesn't want to kill the talent by having them go out there and wrestle multiple matches. Right now the format is working. But I can see potential for it to wear thin if the surrounding segments start to sag.
♠ Next weeks Gut Check performers will be Adam Pearce and Magno. Those names mean something to some of you, and nothing to the rest of you.
♣ Did you know that TNA's One Night Only: X-Travaganza is next Friday (April 5)? That is some really poor planning, considering what is going on with the other promotion.
TNA comes in with another really strong episode of Impact this week.
This has to be the most bi-polar promotion in pro wrestling history. When things are good, it's the best show on television. When it's bad, it's basically unwatchable. Right now we're in a manic phase. I'm hoping this lasts for awhile.
What say you, Cagesiders? How are you feeling the new TNA? Is it up to your standards, or am I being far too kind? Let me know how right -- or how wrong -- I am in the comments.