TNA Impact returned last night (Feb. 2, 2017) with Open Fight Night where everyone who earned briefcase earned a briefcase gets to choose their match for it.
You can find all the results in the live blog here.
Open Fight Night
This episode was Open Fight Night, which was the payoff to the Race for the Case and all the briefcases won during that. They advertised that this would shake the foundation of Impact, but ads like that are always hyperbole and it was no different here. Not that they didn’t use it to change things around. There was a title change and the DCC benefitted from tonight. Here are the happenings from each of the four cases:
Hardy’s Quest for Gold
After a fun promo from Matt Hardy, who claimed the Hardys are going to win all the titles and even calls out the Bucks of Youth, Day of New, and the Wyatt Family (despite two not having titles currently), Jeff Hardy used his briefcase to challenge Bobby Lashley for the TNA title.
Lashley gladly accepted and defeated Jeff. Brother Nero had a good showing against the Destroyer, even hitting two Swanton Bombs, but it wasn’t enough. While Lashley withstood two of Jeff’s finishers, it only took one spear for him to defeat one half of the tag team champions.
The Destroyer looked dominant tonight. He powerbombed Jeff on the steel steps outside in a brutal looking spot and despite Jeff having him against the ropes, it never felt like he was really in trouble. This win was just another notch in the champ’s belt.
Post match, Eddie Edwards came out to remind us why his strengths are in the ring and not on the mic. He called Bobby “Triple B” and after saying it a bunch of times, Lashley eventually asked what that meant. Eddie explained that stood for “Bitch Boy Bobby.” It was a dumb insult and didn’t do Edwards any favors in looking cool as he had to use a stupid name to try to insult the Destroy. I kind of wish Bobby never even asked what he meant, like you do with that person who says something wanting you to ask about it that you just ignore.
Lashley got a bit flustered at the dumb insult and almost threatened not to grant Eddie his rematch because of it. However, he decided he would but this is Eddie’s only chance. If Bobby wins, he’s done with him and he can move on in destroying.
DCC’s Revenge (Kinda)
The DCC used their briefcase to challenge Decay in a Falls Count Anywhere match. (We learned earlier that since Jeff had a match, he couldn’t be challenged so the tag team titles weren’t an option for the Death Crew Council.)
I was initially worried that this would be a lame match that was just brawling on the outside as tornado style matches can be, but it ended up being pretty enjoyable.
The fight made it’s way into the crowd where Steve jumped from the bleachers onto all three of the DCC. Because of that, the Decay were able to isolate Kingston in the ring. They introduced the Abyss classics such as the tacks and barbed wire board.
Kingston initially fought out of an attempted Abyss chokeslam into the barbed wire, but a misting from Rosemary lead to a chokeslam onto the tacks instead. Storm almost got chokeslammed into the barbed wire, but Bram hit Abyss over the head with a beer bottle and Storm superkicked the Monster into it instead.
That left Steve, who fought for a bit, but was piledriven through a table.
This was a fun match. It still doesn’t do much for the state of the DCC, who are just still three dudes who opted to start fighting together. Not that that spells doom for the trio. The BDC from years back started that way and ended up being a really fun stable (until they all left TNA). But right now, the DCC are still in that early “So why should I care about these guys?” stage.
They didn’t even play into Bram’s history with Decay at all here, which I figure is the basis of this feud. So while this was enjoyable, DCC still have some work to do as a trio. However, they would get some time in the main event as well, which looked to help with that.
And New X Division Champion
The third briefcase was Trevor Lee’s and it lead to an X Division title ladder match against DJ Z, who had his leg injured at the hands of the Helms Dynasty last week.
The X Division had a strong showing tonight. DJ Z played up his injury from last week really well, selling the leg the entire time. And it was the leg, and Lee’s viciousness targeting it, that ended up costing Z his title.
When DJ Z hit his ZDT (hurricane DDT) off the ladder, a move that doesn’t require his feet, it looked like Lee was down for the count. But Helms was able to slide his protege a chair and DJ took too long to climb that Lee was able to attack the champs bad leg with that chair. Then he put the chair over his leg and placed the ladder past that, in essence trapping DJ Z in the ladder. In a cruel finish, the champion could only watch as Trevor Lee climbed the ladder to get his title.
This was all really good with villainous character building and working a story in the match instead of just getting thems flips in. Though pardon me if I’m a bit hesitant to get excited thinking this is a sign of good things for the X Division since they’ve had flashes of true division building in the past and have abandoned it for the random multi-man matches.
Hopefully this will be the time it leads to a story between Lee and DJ Z (and mayble they’ll start building other characters in the division), but I won’t be holding my breath for it.
Eli Drake was the final man to use his briefcase. Tyrus, who is speaking for Drake now, told his partner, that he’s got someone good for him. He chose EC3.
Apparently, EC3 was already injured, though we had no hint of that coming into this match. The champ limped to the ring and revealed a nasty bruise on his oblique.
Despite being injured he still defeated Drake with a quick cover. Post match, Eli used a bat to beat down the former champ when the lights went out and the DCC appeared. They then beat down EC3 but then also beat down Drake and Tyrus.
There were things about this that were strong but also things that could have been better.
Drake choosing EC3 is a good move, playing back to their history at the end of 2016. (Though the fact that Tyrus chose him and made it known that he changed the original plan hurts that plot point some.) Carter coming down in his street clothes is a great attention to detail as he should have had no idea he was wrestling here.
The phantom injury could have been hinted at prior. Even during the YouTube exclusive interview between EC3 and Josh Mathews they really didn’t hint at the fact that Carter was injured. They touch upon the fact that he was mentally fatigued from the recent losses, but a physical injury was never mentioned. Without us knowing that prior to Drake (or Tyrus) choosing Carter as the opponent, it seemed like a retroactive explanation more than smart storytelling.
While I don’t like to complain wins or losses, it is curious that they didn’t use this chance for Drake to finally get that elusive win over EC3. Carter sold that he was hurt the entire time and he was caught unaware that this match was even taking place. This was the perfect time for Drake to get the win without hurting Ethan. There’s only so many times that Drake can lose to EC3 before his stock starts to drop in the minds of the fans. Drake is great, but I can’t think of the last legit feud win he’s had. I recall him losing to EC3 a bunch, losing to Eddie Edwards, losing to James Storm, and losing to Grado in the early part of 2016. (I think it was Bram he defeated for the King of the Mountain last year, being the one big win I can remember.)
The ending with the DCC brought cautious enjoyment. This could be what they use to finally get this group going. However, I recall them having a really cool Impact ending moment just like that towards the end of last year and then dropped the ball with it.
It’s a good start though. Showing them as a vicious take no prisoners (good or bad) stable is a way to get them going. Let’s hope they’re able to gel and feel less like three guys thrown together coming out of this.
Drew Galloway’s Title
Drew Galloway’s villain run has been on point.
He’s always an above average promo but has been even better lately since turning to the dark side. He talked up that people aren’t fully behind the Grand Championship (true story) but it’s because he wasn’t healthy when they crowned Aron Rex champ (not as true story).
The champ went on to say he’d defend this title anywhere, in any company, in any country and tonight was no different.
Of course, Moose’s music hit and the big man told the Scot that after last week, he owes him an ass whooping. But Drew had something else in mind. He claimed that if he is to make this title the best, they couldn’t run that match again. Anyway, he had another person ask for a match and he’s going to give that person an opportunity.
Out comes a guy named Rob Ryson who quickly got his ass kicked by Drew. The dude didn’t make it out of the first round.
Drew was on point here. Denying Moose, who had been screwed two weeks in a row, after saying he’d fight anyone and then fighting some no name is perfect heeling. It does the job to make us want to see Moose give Drew what’s coming. (At the same time, I don’t want Drew losing the title any time soon because he’s great with it.)
They still need to do a better job with explaining the rules of the matches and keeping it consistent, but Drew Galloway holding the Grand Championship really does make the title bigger.
All the Rest:
Sienna def. Brooke
After Brooke was attacked by Sienna recently, she had a match last night with Maria’s enforcer. Maria was at ringside, injecting herself into the match enough that despite showing a bunch of fight, Brooke was defeated.
It was an OK match served to tell the story of the power of Maria’s group. (Though Brooke’s chancery doesn’t look painful at all and there was a part of the match built around that.)
Brooke still feels like a bit of an outsider in the new look Knockout’s division but it’s still early and there’s plenty of time for her to find her place in a new landscape.
A Day in the Life of Aron Rex
They showed a few videos of Aron Rex and Spud doing their Liberace stuff. It ended with them setting up a match with Robbie E.
Remember when people thought Rex could be a champion if WWE didn’t hold him back?
Pros of the Show:
- Drew Galloway’s villain run
- Solid story from the X Division tonight
- DCC had a good showing tonight, hopefully a start of building them
Cons of the Show:
- Main event with Eli Drake and EC3 could have been built better
- The Aron Rex stuff is still stupid
Tonight was a pretty good show but they’ll need to pay off what they started building in future episodes.
Sound off below.