Hogan really turned the wrestling world upside down this week. Whether he was serious when he spoke with The Guardian, or not, he sure knows how to get the fans riled up. All the complaining I do about Hogan, he proved in that he can still work the fans in a big way. In this moment, it doesn't matter if he wants to get back in the ring, what matters is people are talking about the fact that he might get back in the ring and what that could mean to everyone involved, down to every last fan. I don't know if it was planned or not, but Hogan stirred up the industry and got everyone talking about him, and that's brilliant!
Now, if he's serious about getting knee surgery, getting back in the ring and going after the TNA WHC, I think there will be serious issues. Of course there's the members of the roster who would be screwed over, then there's the fans who would be so totally pissed, but also think about Hogan's body. It was only a couple months ago that Hogan was on Today and was backed into a corner by a woman of less than 120lbs, and had a true look of fear in his eyes through it all. If Hogan's body is so bad that he can't handled a petite woman like that, there's no way he should be in a wrestling ring between bells. It would be a travesty and possibly the end of TNA. Hogan and Bisch have done a lot of terrible things to TNA, but that would be taking it too far. I'm not sure I'd ever watch TNA again if that happened.
I want to again thank everyone for bearing with me this week through the holidays. I've stepped back from wrestling and took some time for my family, but now I'm back and really feel excited about it. I think I showed than in both this week's RIB and the TTTT Blog. I do feel like a bit of a traitor as I'm still sitting here wearing my "YES!" "YES!" "YES!" Santa hat as I'm watching Impact, but it's so warm and comfy! TNA will just have to deal, or put out some sexy Santa hats than I can't live without! Heck, any hats that I would love, and I'd be right there.
Video > C
It does become annoying that they feel they have to start every episode on imp with basically the same video. Maybe they're in a rut, maybe they think it's the right way to start these shows, but I find it both annoying and boring.
In Ring Segment > A-
Interesting way to start Open Fight Night – a called out conversation. Even better is that Brooke came out to the ring. Not sure how I feel about Bully not wanting to admit anything to the world, not wanting anyone to know about him and Brooke. Why is it that he doesn't want to admit it? He doesn't really care about her? He doesn't want the crap about her age and her father? There's so many reasons out there, and I hope they go with a really good reason that actually makes some sort of sense – not TNA sense, but real sense.
In Ring Segment > B
Aries was a bit blah from the start, but he built to a lovely crechendo and that worked really well. I'd normally want to see Aries face Roode, but he built it to be something greater, and now I'm on the edge of my seat to see them face off in the main event. Hardy means nothing, it's all about Roode and Aries!
OFN Match – Joe vs Masked A&8's Guy > B-
Moped riding bitch? That was a great line! So, is that Mike Knox under that mask? Joe worked him over like he wasn't any bigger than himself. Joe works so much harder than so many wrestlers, both speed and strength, something few wrestlers have. I will admit I was quite annoyed that Joe didn't take his opponent's mask off. He had more than enough time, but stalled until the rest of A&8's were almost to the ring. Joe looked great and worked the match well, as short as it was, and his opponent wasn't bad, but they really need to unmask another member of A&8's to keep things fresh and flowing in the right direction. It's been too long since they've unmasked a member, or showed something unexpected, so things are getting stale with the group. I know they keep giving opportunities and not using them to keep us on our toes, but it's past time to show another member of the group.
Winner – Joe (2:58)
Backstage Segment > F
What the heck was that? I loved that even Jessie didn't have a clue what Robbie E said, but other than that, this segment blew!
Backstage Segment > B-
Kenny King is really developing his ego and persona. I like how he's building to something big, but slowly and in layers. I'm actually really liking it. Even better is Christian York, but I've liked him all along.
Bro Down > D+
Open Bro Night? The fake Robbie E? One Robbie E wasn't enough, and now there's Jessie. Lucky us. But then Robbie E did his little dance and I realized that this man cannot take himself too seriously if he did all that with a straight face. I have to admit that E kind of impressed me in how he was a total goon without batting an eye.
Jessie didn't shock me in the least, but then there was Robbie T. Looks like Terry's back and better than ever. That man threw down in a big way, and all that by lifting E by his crotch! I've been waiting for this to happen for way too long. Terry's been dealing with Robbie E's crap for way too long. Hopefully we'll be seeing Terry beating down E for a while here. (Please understand that I graded this for E's ability to be a total goon without batting an eye, and Terry's impressive show and turn. Other than those things, this sucked up way too much time and brain cells.)
Winner – Rob Terry, Bro!
OFN Match – RVD vs York > B
I can't agree that RVD has elevated the X Division, but at least he still has his delusions. Dang, York really hit some solid moves on RVD! He shocked me at almost every turn. A couple of those moves really had me worried about RVD because they were kind of sick! Actually, right before the 5 star frog splash, RVD looked a little pissed off. He looked really annoyed about something, so maybe not all of the moves were hit as gently as he thought they should have, but I have to say it's the best X Division match we've seen in weeks, if not months. Absolutely the best we've seen since RVD became X Division Champ. I know I've been hard on RVD as Champ, but he's done nothing with it. Maybe it's time for him to drop it to someone younger, someone with drive to really push the Division, not someone who's been off his mark for months and has been phoning it in. RVD just hasn't been up to snuff lately, but York sure showed some passion and creativity in this match. Time for RVD to either step up or step back, because even in this match with some wonderful and creative moves, RVD was the least interesting thing happening in the ring.
Winner – RVD (4:07)
Backstage Segment > D
Great, A&8's has another group of bimbos. Yawn.
Video > B-
Joseph thinks he's great, yet Danny Davis thinks he's got nothing – except when he bled and snapped. They kept it short, that's why it worked so well.
Backstage Segment > C+
Kaz and Daniels were talking merch. Does that mean that they're bringing out those wonderfully horrible pants I want so much? I'm so there! Wow, I just looked at TNA's shop online, I can't get over how many freaking Hardy shirt there are!
Video > C
So, TNA trying to keep up with the WWE some more with their own awards.
Backstage Segment > C
Roode was solid on mic, but not at all memorable. What happened to the passion and heart that made Roode so amazing on mic?
Video > A-
Now this is a memorable wrestler. Sting isn't just memorable for the amount of time he's been in the industry, he's memorable for his passion for the industry and all he's done. I love this video and how they're continuing to add onto what has already been shown and built upon. I'm expecting a lot from Sting next week, and I know he's going to deliver.
In Ring Segment > B
Both Daniels and the announcers so over played AJ coming to the ring, and Kaz wasn't in the ring, so it was obvious what was going to happen. I have to admit that when Kaz wasn't going too Yogi Bear, he gave a pretty decent AJ impression. So, is that their thing? "You have permission to worship us now?" It's pretty lame in my opinion.
It's about time we actually see the Tag Champs. Sad when the ones wearing gold are barely seen on TV!
OFN Match – Chavito & Hernandez vs Kaz & Daniels > C
While not being on TV has done well for Hernandez's ink, it hasn't done well for the team's timing! Both Hernandez and Chavito really seemed to be off their marks and out of synch with each other. Chavito tagged in, then just stood there and stared at Hernandez who help their opponent's arm up and waited – then Chavito finally realized he was supposed to be doing something and climbed.
That was a lovely delayed vertical suplex. Both men worked hard to hold up there for as long as they did, and Daniels sold the move really well, but then they were back to ring work that wasn't overly impressive. Further, much of the audience was absolutely dead through most of this match and that further killed the match.
Right toward the end Chavito hit some solid moves on Kaz, but then went back to sloppy ringwork. Kaz looked like he was dropped on his head in the ring, and seemed to be hurting a bit from it – a bit more than usual I mean. Then there's the way Kaz had to put himself in the right spot for Chavito's 5 star frog splash. There was just too much sloppiness in this match for me to really like all that happened. It's not like these guys are rookies!
Winners – Chavito & Hernandez (14:31)
Backstage Segment > C+
Hardy doesn't like selfishness and arrogance? Pot, kettle, hello? I know he says he's changed, and he's been proving it, but that just grated on my nerves.
Video > C+
A&8's did a lot to help TNA grow as a company, bring up the ratings, and really make Impact a lot more watchable recently, but sadly they've hit a lull. It feels as though A&8's are stuck in a rut. Hopefully something big will happen next week with Sting's return. It's time everything gets shaken up again, and who better than Sting? When better than the start of the new year?
Honestly, the production value of this video was better than the grade it received, but that's because I feel like A&8's have been watered down recently and really need to bring things back up to refresh the excitement. No one new has been unmasked, and they really haven't done anything different or exciting for weeks upon weeks. It's time for a curve ball.
Backstage Segment > A-
Well, I said all that, and they did something interesting! I will give them credit for Anderson coming in looking quite scruffy and not very clean cut. It also helps that he's been off TV for quite a long time, and the brief time he was back, was quite brief. What I don't like is that Anderson didn't seem quite sure of it all, but has no trouble being led into the group by his dick. Then again, dicks and assholes are usually quite close.
OFN Match – Gail Kim vs Tessmacher > A-
They just brought back Mickie and Velvet, yet they're suddenly putting Kim and Tessmacher back on TV after how long? This doesn't make much sense to me. Honestly, they need to give us more wrestling and less talking. That includes more Knockouts matches, and of the style that make the Knockouts the most watched female wrestlers on TV. They have a great female roster, why not put them to work and bring back the Knockouts Division to its former glory? Then again, I feel the same way about the X Division and they're floundering as well.
Gail Kim is one of the best female wrestlers in this country, and she proves it almost every time she's in the ring. She tossed Tessmacher around that ring like she was nothing. Not saying Tessmacher didn't kick butt in her own right. Actually, Tessmacher hit harder than we saw her when she was Champ. Kim took one serious bump, and I honestly wondered if she was working fuzzy at first, but she seemed to have most of her faculties.
Okay, some of the bum and crotch moves were a bit much, but other than those, these women worked that ring hard! That was a fantastic Knockouts match. I didn't know Tessmacher had that in her, and while I knew Kim did, it's been so long since we've seen it that I wondered if she still had it. She does, and so does Tessmacher. I want to see a Hardcore Match between those two. I think the two of them could do some serious and sick work in that ring in a more creative match as neither seem afraid to bleed or leave it all out there. For the first time in a long time, I want to see more of the Knockouts. I know I've been giving the Knockouts better and better grades because their matches have been so much better than they were, and so much better than the Divas, but this was a whole new level of work. This was the type of match that we saw when Kim, Kong, Roxxi and ODB were ruling the ring. I want more!
Winner – Kim (5:24)
Video > B
This wasn't as good as the earlier video by Sting, but it was still solid. They're well executed videos and are getting me pumped up for his return, and hopefully something big happening with A&8's.
OFN Match – Roode vs Aries > A-
Aries and Roode really started off this match in a solid way. They worked hard, but didn't throw down in any crazy ways, or take any needless risks. They're both so sure of their dominance over the other that they really haven't pushed the envelope yet. There's so much more that they could give, though I'm not sure they really should bother in front of such a dead crowd! Most of the night they've been unresponsive, but when there's two men of this caliber in the ring, they should wake up and show their respect. It's really annoying when the fans don't react to the beauty in the ring in front of them. I'd absolutely love to be down there at that show, and it has nothing to do with the ten inches of snow that fell today!
Ugh, they couldn't just go to commercial, they had to climb into Hardy's head. Neither of them deserve to be WHC, but Hardy does? Why? Please, someone give me a legitimate reason why? I'm looking for something beyond Hardy being deep and brooding, beyond Hogan, Bisch and Dixie are hot for Hardy, something tangible, something that makes some sort of sense!
The moves and reversals between the two of them haven't always been graceful, but they've been creative and entertaining. Some people, obviously most of the ones in the Zone, aren't concerned with creative matches if they're not showy, or filled with high spots, but I thought they were so intriguing to watch. They're both great wrestlers, but they can make the small moves look as bold as the big moves because of how good they are. Having two men of this level in the ring makes the possibilities endless.
That both of them attacked Earl shocked me. I understand that they're both heels, but that was a bit much. Then again, they needed to find a reason for Hardy to enter the ring and take them both out, so why not have them attack Earl. And what was up with Hardy? After his first couple moves he was holding his left buttocks with one hand, and his left groin area with the other while limping around. He still managed to hit his twist of fate, but then he couldn't seem to put any weight on that leg. Not sure what might have happened, but he tried to play through it and act like there was nothing wrong.
Winner – N/A (14:17)
Even though I think Impact was not at all as good as it could be, or as it has been lately, it's still better to be sitting here watching it that being out there with Stacy shoveling and snow blowing out our drive and walk ways. I would gladly take bad wrestling any day of the week than being out in the cold and snow.
I will say that I'm happy the final two matches were really worth watching, even if much of the rest of the show wasn't. I was a little bummed that they did nothing more with Bully, Brooke or Hogan, as they really set up for more to go down. I felt like we were left hanging after the opening segment. I'd have rather seen a short little backstage moment between Bully and Brooke, rather than them make such a big deal about their relationship, while they were in the ring, but then do nothing else with it for the rest of the night. I'm hoping they do more with it next week, but I felt they screwed up with it on this episode in a huge way.
Other than that, they did a decent job pushing their storylines and feuds forward during this episode, even if there was little solid wrestling on the show. There's so much they could do with their roster, but it seems like they only give us about half the wrestling each show deserves. There's so much more they can give, but they're holding back for some reason. It's about time they let go and give the fans what we want – wrestling!