lock-up and counters. Hey, couldn't this be a PPV level match? It feels like something could be built here. Angle dumped to the outside, and down comes Christopher Daniels and short-haired Kaz. Daniels has a paper and encourages Kurt to get him, but Kurt seems annoyed and surprised they are here. This leads to Angle eating a move from A.J. as Daniels and Kaz sell concern. Daniels hops up on the apron as the referee politely asks him to step down. A.J. then grabs the paper as Angle rolls him up for the win. Overall, serviceable while it lasted, but this was clearly a vehicle for an angle, which is a shame.
Afterward, Angle tells A.J. he had nothing to do with the shenanigans as A.J. puts the paper in his tights. That's what I always do when I get handed important information.
-- It's announced that Rob Van Dam is also in the main event for the #1 contender. The ring girl dumps two microphones next to me on a chair. Super tempted.
-- After the break, TNA tag champs Samoa Joe and Magnus are out. They are joined by... Knockouts Gail Kim? Gail's outfit does not look appropriate for ring work, but I'm sure it's okay and perfectly normal. TV champ Devon comes out to a big pop. As in, surprisingly big. Gail has a mic. I just clued into that this is all of the champs coming to the ring. I had a really strange idea of what match was getting set up. X Division champ Austin Aries is out next, weakest pop thus far. Finally, TNA World Hvt. champion Bobby Roode. Roode is still perfecting the slow walk.
Out comes Hogan. Biggest pop and pyro thus far. Gail has ceded her mic to Roode. Hogan announces that change is in the air, and starting next week change is coming. Once a month, Impact will be called "open fight night." Basically, a talent from outside TNA will show up to have a match. There will be three judges (smells like "The Voice") and Hogan who will decide if the person get a contract or not.
But, there's more!
On open fight night, anyone can come to the ring and make a challenge, and whoever the person challenges must come to the ring to fight. Roode is pissy. Hogan tells them that any champion must be ready to fight. Gail asks who decides this. Hogan decides. And, the crowd randomly chants for Miss Tessmacher. Hogan says he wants to hear who the fans want to see. Clearly, it's the responsibility of someone to call out Hogan next week. Just saying.
Devon talks about how he promised to be a fighting champ. (Really? Wasn't he MIA between PPVs?) Hogan announces that from now on, the TV Title will be defended every single week. Devon likes it. Hogan closes the segment with a statement that on open fight night, everyone fights. Roode looks dismayed. I shrug. Roode shrugs. We have a moment. Everyone leaves but Gail. It looks like it's time to test that outfit.
-- Mid-Show Thoughts: It dawns on me that if I'm seen on TV, it's going to be this guy in dress clothes typing frantically. The women next to me seem both nonplussed and very bored. What is their story? Mystery of the night. The crowd is clearly hoping for Tara here. By crowd, I mean the two guys with the Team Tara t-shirts on and cardboard Knockouts belt.
-- Next out are Madison Rayne and Sarita & Rosita. Whichever one in the green can't figure out how to stand. Out come Tara and Tessmacher. Finally, Mickie James. No wait, Velvet Sky. Eight-woman tag? I'm getting why the Knockout matches are popular with the collection of 13 year-old boys at ringside.
(3) Team Tessmacher beat Team Rayne in a Knockouts tag match. Sky starts off with various spots and clubbering. James comes in and looks basically solid. Wasn't she told to lose weight in the WWE? Sheesh, this isn't a ring masterpiece, but I'd take this over Kelly Kelly in the ring any day. This whole match reminds me of a slutty version of the cruiserweight matches in WCW during the '90s. A lot less talent, but spots that the crowd likes and some genuine engagement from the crowd. I suppose Eric didn't know what to do with them back then either. It turns into a Jr. High School cheerleader brawl, and Tessmacher rolls up KO champ Gail for the win, and presumably sets up a match down the road.
Afterward, there's some bickering in the ring as Gail gives her best scowl and points to the belt. More bickering. Madison wants to go again, and the crowd is interested. Instead, they all leave.
-- After the match, some guys come out to wipe down the ropes. What kind of message is that sending? Borash is giving away some tickets to meet people later, then Hemme enters the ring. apparently there is a massive U.K. contingent here tonight.
-- Back from the break, it's Gunner. Zero reaction. Meanwhile, the crowd is being urged to cheer for tickets. Out as Gunner's opponent is Devon, who again gets a strangely loud pop. Sure, why not.
(4) TV champion Devon beat Gunner. Gunner attacks him from behind and the ring girl takes the belt with some really good scared selling. Some of the better selling tonight. Also, she let me take a photo of the belt, so she's a good egg. This isn't such a good match. Also, both men seem blown up after 60 seconds. TNA encourages a "Devon" chant as he tries, but he's no Kurt Angle, and Gunner is no sack of flour. Devon wins. Apparently he will be defending the title every week going forward. Testify!
-- James Storm is out next, looking sheepish, as if he recently lost a big match in his hometown. I know this because of the nice recap at the start of the show. Thanks, TNA. James Storm is sorry. The crowd says it's okay. Very supportive crowd. Storm said he wasn't just trying to hurt Roode, but cause him pain. Um...okay. Storm starts talking about tucking his daughter into bed, then she asked him where the belt was. Sadly, he had to tell her that he lost. Didn't she order the PPV?
Storm says that Roode didn't beat him, but that he beat himself. Storm then cites the crowd for his inspiration, and thanks his dad up in Heaven, who was killed... (Continues on next page)