[TV Review] IMPACT Wrestling – 9/20/2012

Last night, IMPACT Wrestling not only continued the build to Bound For Glory (adding a title match to the upcoming PPV), but it also had the benefit/detraction of Open Fight Night and the latest TNA Gut Check. How did this show fare after a really good show last week? Click “read more” to find out!

Quick Match Results:

  1. AJ Styles/Kurt Angle and Chavo Guerrero Jr./Hernandez fought to a no-contest after Christopher Daniels/Frankie Kazarian interfered at 12:26.
  2. TNA Gut Check: Douglas Williams pinned Evan Markopoulos in 4:04.
  3. Open Fight Night Challenge: James Storm and Bobby Roode fought to a no-contest in 6:25.
  4. Main Event/Open Fight Night Challenge: Bully Ray pinned [TNA World Champion] Austin Aries in 12:20

The Segments:

  • Hulk Hogan ran into Shaquille O’Neal backstage before the opening pyro. O’Neal said he had Hogan’s back if the Aces and 8’s ever showed up. And that was the last anyone saw of him.
  • A camera man caught up with Al Snow, who was on his way to a meeting with Dixie Carter regarding his actions against Joey Ryan a few weeks ago.
  • James Storm called out Bobby Roode for Open Fight Night. Roode initially resisted but Hogan forced him to go through with it.
  • Hogan got a call from the Aces and 8’s, who kidnapped Joseph Park en route to the Impact Zone with evidence in hand.
  • Austin Aries caught up with Jeff Hardy backstage. Aries said that it’s not just about Hardy’s quest for the gold at Bound For Glory; it’s also about Aries proving he is just as good as, if not better than, Hardy. He said he could do anything Hardy could do and would prove it tonight.
  • Tara calls out Christy Hemme for Open Fight Night, but Miss Tessmacher makes the save before any damage was done…or a match occurred.
  • Brooke Hogan chided Tara for her actions and said she would face consequences for said actions next week.
  • Hulk Hogan hit the ring to speed the audience up on his phone call with The Aces and 8’s. He said that agreed to meet them at their “clubhouse” in exchange for Park. “The President” appeared on the Impact Tron and he had one of his minions bust Park’s laptop that contained the evidence. Park, trapped in a cage of some sort, said he would just remember it instead. One of the Aces and 8’s members proceeded to hit him in the head with a hammer. No I didn’t make that up.
  • Austin Aries came out and in an effort to prove he could do everything Jeff Hardy could do, challenged Hardy’s opponent from the BFG Series/last week’s show, Bully Ray, for Open Fight Night.
  • After winning the match by using his chain, Bully Ray threatened to hit Aries with the TNA World Title before Jeff Hardy came out to make the save. Aries and Hardy argued with one another as the show faded to logo.

Updated Lineup for Bound For Glory:

  • Austin Aries (c) Vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA World Heavyweight Title
  • Christopher Daniels/Frankie Kazarian (c) Vs. AJ Styles/Kurt Angle Vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr./Hernandez for the TNA World Tag Team Titles

*What Worked*

AJ Styles/Kurt Angle Vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr./Hernandez: The best match of the show also happened to be the opening contest. Not only was it fun to watch, but it was the first time Guerrero/Hernandez really gelled as a team (i.e. Guerrero didn’t botch anything and they actually communicated with one another). There were some issues (the run-in at the end plus something I’ll mention in the “What Didn’t Work” section) but overall a strong way to begin the show.

Austin Aries/Jeff Hardy Build Goes Somewhere: With Bound For Glory only three weeks away, it was time to build up some sort of the story for the main event other than the “dream match” angle. Tonight they did just that and in the beginning I thought it was pretty dumb but after chewing on it for a little bit, I sort of like it. The story is a good one to tell: Hardy has been champion everywhere he’s been and has been to heights few others get to go, and although Aries is World Champion, he still feels a bit inferior and has a chip on his shoulder. But they also seemed to start on the path of an Aries heel turn so this could easily get torpedoed as we get closer to the event.

Bully Ray Wins: There are two ways to look at this: first, it made Aries look weak to lose even though it was a screwjob and the man should be getting wins since he’s the World Champion. However I prefer the second way: losing to Ray helped make the chip on Aries’ shoulder bigger and inferiority complex stronger. Sure he’s beat Ray before so it probably shouldn’t matter but it also could be a sign to Aries (in character) that he’s losing his touch and that Hardy is ready to surpass him. Plus there’s the fact that BULLY RAY WON which is great because he’s one of the best characters in TNA. Nice to see him get the nod…and it could lead to something in the next few weeks.

*What Barely Worked*

TNA Gut Check: After the disaster known as Kris Lewie, Evan Markopoulos didn’t have to do much to be seen as improvement so he had the power of lowered expectations. But while he did look good in some respects, making an excellent bump machine for Douglas Williams, there’s the fact that the match itself was really dull and didn’t really make it seem like he was deserving of the TNA contract. He came off bland.

Tara’s Open Fight Night Heel Promo: This was Tara’s first shot at cutting a heel promo after officially turning last week and…it was okay. It got the point across and trying to beat up innocent Christy Hemme was a nice heelish move. Her mentioning her “Hollywood” boyfriend was intriguing as well. Someone new debuting? Eric Young getting to finally change up his character (remember, he disappeared for awhile because he was “in Hollywood”)? Some possibilities there. Nice to have a legitimate Knockouts feud, even if the others have been relegated to X-Division status (i.e. missing in action).

*What Didn’t Work*

The Aces and 8’s Kill Joseph Park With a Hammer: Look I can deal with the corniness of this storyline to an extent but bringing a hammer into the mix is really stretching the believability of everything. Having them crack Park in the skull with a hammer, which would kill a man, was bad enough but the fact that they bait and switched us into extending the angle another week is something else entirely. Come on guys, seriously; at least reveal one member or give us something to go on here. I feel like we’ve been treading water for weeks.

James Storm Vs. Bobby Roode: The build-up before it was alright when Storm called out Roode (not enough to place on this list though), but the segment/”match” felt like it would never end. It dragged and dragged and dragged, and the match was just the same “punch/kick/guard rail” stuff over and over again. On one hand it made sense; they’re going to be doing battle at Bound For Glory probably so they didn’t want to actually do a wrestling match tonight and spoil the whole thing. On the other hand though…should they have even had a “match” to begin with? Kind of took some of the thunder out of it. But I will say this: their feud seems like it should be the one for the World Title. Feels weird that it isn’t.

Flub City, Flub Flub City: It may have just been me but it sounded like everyone was flubbing their lines tonight, from saying words wrong to adding letters to words (Hogan called Park “Joseph ParkS” a lot) to just getting mealey-mouthed at random points. Aries and Brooke Hogan were the most obvious but a lot of the other wrestlers did so as well.

Eddiesploitation Continues: Chavo’s character is constantly revolving around the fact his uncle was Eddie Guerrero. I understand the marketability but it’s circling around exploitation; it’s one thing that Chavo uses Eddie’s moves as tribute (Eddie himself used the Frog Splash as tribute to his fallen partner Art Barr), but the announcers even continually hammer it in that Chavo and Eddie were related and how awesome Eddie was. Unless this leads to a Chavo heel turn where he finally snaps, I think it’s just counterproductive. He’s got to have something going for him other than the fact Eddie Guerrero was his Uncle. At least give him the chance to stand on his own and cut down on the constant Eddie talk.

Where The F*ck Is The X-Division?!?: Once again, the X-Division has gone missing. Zema Ion has a personality, let him use it. And did Kenny King fall off the face of the Earth? Expect me to ask this question every week they don’t show up on television because frankly it’s ridiculous they would leave their calling card division off the only damn mainstream television show they have.

Overall Show: This week of IMPACT Wrestling didn’t go by as quickly as last week and there just seemed to be something missing; the in-ring quality was down and the segments were very hit or miss. Plus it felt like a mess transition-wise. Definite drop in quality from last week. Damn shame.

Overall Show Grade: C

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