2/2 Powell’s TNA Impact Wrestling TV Review: Open Fight Night with Jeff Hardy challenging Lashley for the TNA Championship, DCC, Trevor Lee, and Eli Drake cashing in briefcases

By Jason Powell

TNA Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped in January in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios

[Q1] Impact opened with shots of Jeff Hardy, DCC, Trevor Lee, and Eli Drake holding their briefcases while Josh Mathews spoke about Open Fight Night… A video recapped Lashley defeating Eddie Edwards to win the TNA Championship last week… The broadcast team was Mathews and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero, and Jeremy Borash was the ring announcer…

TNA Tag Team Champions Broken Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy made their entrance. Dinero explained that Hardy has the No. 1 briefcase, which gives him a shot at the title of his choosing. Matt called it “the night of open fights” and said the spotlight shines on Brother Nero. Matt said the voices of the seven deities are growing louder for them to win gold “again and again and again…”

Matt said he and Jeff must go on an international expedition of gold. He said the Bucks of Youth and the Day of New and the Family of Wyatts didn’t have the guts to show up at Total Nonstop Deletion. The deities told Matt that since they “didn’t come to us, we must go to them.” Jeff took the mic and spoke about how the briefcase presents opportunity. Jeff said he was stepping back into the solo dimension for the night so that he could challenge Bobby Lashley for the TNA Title. “Wonderful!” Matt responded.

Lashley’s theme played and he walked out wearing the TNA Championship. Mathews said that since the Jeff won a briefcase, the other briefcase holders can’t challenge for the tag titles tonight. Lashley entered the ring and said he is ready for war and questioned whether Jeff is. Jeff asked Matt to enjoy the show backstage. “I am on my own,” Jeff said. “No excuses.” Lashley told him he had no problem putting the title up against him… [C]

Powell’s POV: More of the same with Matt talking about their quest for tag gold. The idea is for the duo to work independent shows and challenge for tag team titles, and then show the footage on Impact. I hope they start working some of that in soon because it will become very repetitive if he cuts the same promos all month long before the tapings next month. Meanwhile, Lashley was a little too sportsman-like at the end. I was hoping he would do something to put some heat on himself going into the match, but perhaps that will happen within the actual match.

[Q2] 1. Lashley vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA Championship. Mathews noted that Lashley is a four-time champion. Hardy connected with a dropkick. Lashley fled to ringside. Hardy kicked him through the ropes and then performed a double ax-handle off the apron. Lashley came back and powerbombed Hardy onto the ring steps. Lashley slammed Jeff’s head into the steps a couple times and was rolling him back inside the ring heading into a break. [C]

Hardy rebounded and caught Lashley with a Twist of Fate at 11:30. Hardy sold pain as he slowly went up top, but he still managed to hit the Swanton for a two count. Fans chanted “that was three.” Hardy performed another Swanton and covered Lashley, who put his foot on the bottom rope to break it. Hardy brought Lashley to ringside and then ran up the ring steps and threw a dropkick at Lashley against the barricade.

Lashley avoided Hardy going for a flip over the top rope. Lashley brought Hardy back to the ring and waited for him to stand up and then speared him. Lashley covered Hardy and got the win…

Lashley defeated Jeff Hardy in 14:30 to retain the TNA Championship.

[Q3] After the match, Eddie Edwards made his entrance to a flat reaction that Mathews referred to as a tremendous ovation. Edwards said he knew Lashley went through a war and he wasn’t there to fight him. Edwards said he was there to congratulate him on winning and now retaining the title.

Lashley thanked him and said it’s about time Edwards realized how great he was. Lashley said he didn’t need his thanks because he already knows how great he is. Lashley asked him what he wanted. Edwards called him Triple B and asked for a rematch. Edwards asked what Triple B means. Edwards said it means “Bitch Boy Bobby.” There were some cheers and a Triple B chant that Lashley shut down by telling the fans to shut up.

Lashley said Edwards made him jump through hoops to get his title back. Lashley said he should just say no. Edwards said he would be living up to his nickname. Lashley said he would give Edwards one chance and one chance only. Lashley told him to go play with the little kids. “This is the big boy title,” Lashley said. Edwards said he only needs one shot…

Backstage, Tyrus spoke while Eli Drake stood by. Tyrus held the briefcase and said they would shock the world with what they intended to do… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good title match with the live crowd buying into Jeff’s near falls off the Swanton. It was nice to see that it only took one spear from Lashley to put Hardy away, as it makes the move and the champion feel more dangerous. The verbal exchange between Lashley and Edwards was puzzling in that the rule in wrestling has become that champions can use their rematch clauses. Thus, the entire exchange felt unnecessary, though not as unnecessary as the silly Triple B gag. Lashley’s character is the baddest man in the TNA universe and a hot head, so watching him stand there and take it without getting physical felt out of place.

Mathews recapped a Facebook video of Brandi Rhodes declining Rosemary’s invitation to join Decay. Backstage, Brandi finished a conversation and was confronted by Rosemary, who called her “pretty one.” Rosemary said she may have been too aggressive. Brandi said they won’t be friends. Rosemary reached out and touched Brandi’s face. Brandi told her not to do that again. Rosemary said Brandi needs their guidance and gave her one last chance to follow Decay into the darkness. Brandi pushed her back and said she’s not interested, and told Rosemary to leave her alone. Rosemary said “we” decide when it’s over, not Brandi…

A Day in the Life of Aron Rex video aired. Rockstar Spud drove him in a golf cart. Spud wore a chauffeur’s outfit, and Rex was wearing his robe. Spud laid out a pice of cloth for him to walk on…

[Q4] 2. Sienna (w/Maria) vs. Brooke. Madison Rayne was on commentary for the Knockouts match. Maria climbed onto the apron early on. Brooke chased Maria around the ring and then into the ring where Sienna hit Brooke with a poor clothesline. Maria distracted the referee while Sienna choked Brooke with something she tucked into her gear.

Brooke came back with some forearms and performed a nice leg sweep that slammed Sienna onto her knee. Brooke awkwardly applied a soft looking submission hold where she laid on Sienna’s back and pulled up on her neck. Sienna escaped and then Brooke hit a neckbreaker. Brooke went to the ropes only to be shoved off by Maria while the ref was distracted. Sienna hit the Silencer (a/k/a Pounce) and got the win…

Sienna defeated Brooke in 5:00.

Backstage, DCC delivered a promo. James Storm said everyone would find out what their Open Fight Night decision would be… [C]

Powell’s POV: A rough match between Sienna and Brooke with some really clunky moments. Hopefully it’s just a case of Brooke being rusty after a long layoff.

Backstage, Aron Rex plugged his ears because he doesn’t like confrontation while Spud scolded a makeup lady. They also spoke about him having fictitious media appearances with major news outlets. They agreed he looked “Rexcellent” and both looked into the camera while saying it simultaneously…

DCC delivered a brief promo. Storm claimed they run the place. Storm announced that they wanted Decay in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Mathews explained they couldn’t challenge for the tag titles due to Hardy winning a briefcase, so they opted to face their other rivals…

3. Abyss and Crazzy Steve (w/Rosemary) vs. James Storm, Kingston, and Bram in a Falls Count Anywhere match. The teams brawled at ringside and once Decay came out.

[Q5] They introduced the barbwire board and thumbtacks. Rosemary sprayed mist into the eyes of Kingston, who was chokeslammed onto the thumbtacks by Abyss. Abyss had him pinned, but Storm broke it up. Later, Bram smashed a beer bottle over the head of Abyss, and then Storm superkicked Abyss onto the barbwire board. Later, Bram piledrove Steve through a table that was hanging on the ring apron and the guardrail, and then Storm pinned Steve…

DCC beat Decay in 6:00 in a Falls Count Anywhere match.

A shot aired of Drew Galloway walking backstage. Mathews said Galloway would put the title on the line during the broadcast… [C]

Powell’s POV: I don’t know if DCC opting to pass on challenging for the Grand Championship in favor of a hardcore handicap match with Decay makes them look stupid for giving up a title shot or smart for declining because the Grand Championship is awful. This was basically a Monster’s Ball handicap match. We’ve seen a lot of Monster’s Ball matches, but they really should have put some distance between this and the women’s monster’s ball we saw last week. Meanwhile, Aron Rex did an impersonation gimmick in WWE and was considered underutilized, so he came to TNA and is now impersonating Liberace.

An ad aired with Don West hyping a merchandise deal…

Backstage, Mike Bennett and Maria approached Braxton Sutter. Maria congratulated him on his date with Laurel Van Ness and thought he was joking when he said it went horribly. Maria told him he will propose to Laurel or he knew what would happen. Bennett told Sutter there’s no downside to having a strong woman in his corner and he would throw him a huge bachelor party…

Drew Galloway headed to the ring as footage aired of his win over Moose to become Grand Champion. Galloway recalled saying he wants to make the Grand Championship more valuable than the World Title. Galloway said people haven’t warmed up to the title yet, but he is going to put it on the map. Galloway said he will defend the title wherever he goes in any company.

[Q6] Moose came out and said the first time Galloway beat him for the championship, he kicked him in the nuts (his actual wording). He said he gave him the benefit of the doubt because he respected him. Moose said Galloway kicked him in the nuts the second time he beat him and that earned him an ass kicking. Galloway left the ring to avoid Moose and then announced he already had an opponent. Galloway introduced “this guy” as his opponent. Rob Rizen made his entrance to no reaction…

4. Drew Galloway vs. Rob Rizen for the Grand Championship. Galloway performed a piledriver with just over a minute left in the round. Galloway followed up with a Future Shock DDT for the win…

Drew Galloway defeated Rob Rizen in round one to retain the Grand Championship.

Backstage, Gregory Shane Helms said Trevor Lee, who was standing next to him, would head to the ring and make his challenge… [C]

Powell’s POV: It’s time for my weekly complaint about Galloway being miscast as a heel. It’s not that he can’t play the role because he certainly can. It’s that TNA lacks top babyfaces and he is a very good one. I hope they rectify this at the next taping if they didn’t do so at this back.

Lee and Helms headed to the ring. Lee said he wanted DJZ in an X Division Title shot for his briefcase cash-in, and mocked how they took out his knee last week. Helms added that they wanted it to be a ladder match…

5. DJ Z vs. Trevor Lee (w/Gregory Shane Helms) in a ladder match for the X Division Championship. Mathews played up how the odds were stacked against Z due to his knee injury. Z limped, but he was able to hit Lee with a ladder early on.

[Q7] Later, both men fought on the ladder. Z knocked Lee off, but he regrouped and pulled him down and it looked like he hit the offensive move, but it was actually Z performing a DDT. Z climbed the ladder slowly. Lee hit his bad leg with a chair to knock him down. Lee wrapped the bad leg in a chair and placed it under the ladder so that Z couldn’t escape. Lee climbed the ladder and pulled down the title belt for the win…

Trevor Lee defeated DJZ in a ladder match in 6:15 to win the X Division Title.

Backstage, Tyrus spoke again about how the dummies would have to wait. Eli Drake remained silent… [C]

Powell’s POV: The story was easy to follow and created a scenario for Lee to win the championship and get some heat. I’d prefer he simply defeat Z in a competitive match, but this was fine and they have the title on the right guy if nothing else. It was odd that TNA wouldn’t have Jeff Hardy wrestle twice, yet Z worked despite being injured. By the way, it’s even more awkward that they had Galloway wrestle before this match since Lee had the option of challenging for either title, and Drake still has his briefcase. This is a weird show.

Backstage, Spud sang Rex’s name while Rex held up signs that had his first and last name on them. Robbie E showed up and said this was the stupidest thing he’s ever seen (he never watched BroMans as babyfaces?). Robbie challenged Rex to a match. Rex didn’t want the match and told “Ruby” that he would face him next week once he had a chance to prepare spiritually, mentally, and physically…

Eli Drake and Tyrus stood in the ring with the briefcase that Drake won. Tyrus told the fans that because they don’t know how to act right, they would not be hearing from Drake. Tyrus told Drake he was going to love it, but it’s not the one they talked about. Tyrus announced EC3 as Drake’s opponent, and Drake smiled and nodded. Tyrus labeled EC3 as E Cripple 3 and said he saw him walking with a walker earlier in the day.

[Q8] EC3 walked out in street clothes and was moving gingerly. Once EC3 entered the ring, Tyrus had him remove his shirt to show the ladies his abs. EC3 removed his shirt and showed off a nasty bruise. Mathews said he and EC3 talked about what happened on the TNA Facebook page and are a result of him going through various matches…

Powell’s POV: I’m all for the company pushing their social media platforms, but it’s foolish to frustrate readers by withholding relevant information from them. Surely there are other ways to drive traffic to the company’s Facebook page.

6. Eli Drake (w/Tyrus) vs. EC3. They went to an early break with Drake on the offensive. [C] After the break, Drake whipped EC3 into the guardrail while Mathews questioned what beating EC3 in this condition would do for Drake. Tyrus distracted the referee while Drake tried to use a bat, which EC3 avoided.

Back inside the ring, Drake continued to work over EC3. He drove his shoulder into the abdomen near the area where the giant hip bruise was located. EC3 came back with a clothesline, but he went for a corner splash and ran into a clothesline from Drake. In the end, Drake avoided another clothesline, but EC3 spun him around and performed a takedown into a sunset flip for the win…

EC3 defeated Eli Drake in 10:45.

After the match, Drake grabbed the baseball bat worked over EC3 with it. Drake performed an inverted Stunner and then went back to beating Drake with the bat. The lights went out and when they came back on, DCC stood in the ring with their suits and masks on. They took off the masks and ended up putting the boots to EC3. They also turned on Tyrus and Drake. Tyrus tossed Bram and Kingston around, but he ended up running into the ring post when one of them moved. Back in the ring, Kingston and Bram teamed up for a spike piledriver on EC3 while Storm watch and Mathews questioned why…

Powell’s POV: The message I took from the main event was that wounded EC3 is better than Eli Drake. Is this going to lead to Drake and Tryus joining forces with EC3? I have no idea what’s happening and I don’t mean that in a good way. DCC has been terrible thus far and it looks like TNA is doubling down on them rather than pulling back. Overall, this show was a huge mess. The Open Fight Night concept peaked with Lashley vs. Hardy and it was all downhill from there. Creative should do themselves a favor by ditching bad gimmicks like Open Fight Night and their annual briefcase matches. I will be by in the morning with a member exclusive audio review, and John Moore will be by with his TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List.



The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features the WWE Survivor Series audio review co-hosted by Jake Barnett. Normally exclusive to ProWrestling.net Members, Jason and Jake discuss the full show including Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Bayley in a non-title match, Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio in a No Holds Barred match for the WWE Championship, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Universal Title, and more...


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