It’s been tough for the TNA roster to find anything to be thankful for this holiday season. Well, that’s not entirely true. A select few do have something to be thankful for.
The likes of Jeff Hardy, Tara, RVD, Samoa Joe, Hernandez, and Chavo Guerrero are thankful for their championships. What’s the rest of the roster thankful for? For not being the guy chosen on the Aces and Eights’ anonymous hit list/dart board?
This edition of IMPACT would be special for two reasons. 1.) It’s Thanksgiving, obviously and 2.) It’s Open Fight Fight. This Thanksgiving OFN would feature all previous Gut Check winners on the show. Though thankful for the opportunity, the five Gut Check winners were looking to capitalize on the moment.
They had the power to call out any member of the TNA roster and attempt to further impress TNA management. Also, as per tradition, TNA’s turkey suit challenge match made its return! It’s a TNA Thanksgiving, and here are my thoughts on the show.
The joke going around is: Was this a Gut Check for Wes Brisco? Or was this a Gut Check for Garett Bischoff? All jokes aside, I actually found this match quite enjoyable.
Sure, neither guy is your wrestling-cyborg like Kurt Angle (who was ringside to cheer on his friend, Wes), but this match wasn’t necessarily bad. It might’ve had a rough spot or two, but it was evenly matched and decent to watch.
Wes Brisco made history by becoming the very first Gut Check participant to defeat his TNA opponent, and that has gotta have some effect on the judges decisions. Angle and Bischoff were quick to congratulate a surprised Brisco on the accomplishment.
If you hated this match, just think that the show could’ve started off with your usual promo or segment.
— Backstage, Al Snow is with 4/5 of the Gut Check winners. Snow gives ‘em a brief pep talk then cues them in on the OFN concept. It’s their time to shine.
Chavo Guerrero def. Joey Ryan by DQ
The sleazy one himself, Joey Ryan, made his way to the ring and reminded everyone of the fact that he too is a Gut Check winner. It being a Gut Check-themed OFN, and him being a Gut Check winner, he’s going to call someone out.
Before that, however, Joey Ryan says that Hulk Hogan is trying to split him apart from Matt Morgan. Joey Ryan says that Hulk can’t split the tag champs and that’s just what he and “The Blueprint” plan on doing; becoming TNA Tag Team Champions. Joey Ryan calls out Chavo Guerrero.
The match itself is more of a brawl, which is odd considering that these two are capable high flying X-Division style wrestlers. With that said, it’s a back and forth brawl. Whenever Ryan drops Chavo, he’ll put his foot on the middle rope and start rubbing his chest; taunting the crowd.
After one or two X-Division style moves, Chavo is back in the driver’s seat. He readies for a Frog Splash, but Matt Morgan is quick to run out and deliver a choke slam to one half of the Tag Team Champions. Hernandez runs out to prevent any more of an attack and it’s announced that Chavo is the winner via DQ.
With Ryan and Morgan chasing tag team gold, who’s available to challenge RVD for his X-Division title? TNA only has two weeks to find an opponent and create a match for RVD. Even with Van Dam as champion, the title is nothing more than filler on pay-per-views. Fix that! Use Kenny King, Zema Ion, Sonjay Dutt, and Kid Kash. Jesus Christ, make an attempt at least.
— Backstage, Austin Aries is discussing who he’s going to call out later. He says this person doesn’t need a Gut Check, but a reality check. He laughs before walking away.
Sam Shaw def. Alex Silva
Sam Shaw comes out and says that he wants to call out the very first Gut Check winner, Alex Silva. As Silva walks down the ramp, Mike Tenay discusses Silva’s time in OVW and how he can be characterized as a hot-head. Just as Silva steps into the ring, he takes Shaw down to the mat and mounts him.
To the surprise of many, Silva starts raining down punches and Taz reflects on the ‘hot-head’ statement Tenay made just seconds ago.
Silva dominates Shaw in the early going and parades around the ring before asking, “We finish this now? Huh?” Silva nods his head, but Shaw continues to fight.
Silva wears Shaw down and proceeds to recite the Canadian National Anthem on the Thanksgiving episode of IMPACT! While Silva continues to showboat, Shaw is able to catch his breath and mount a comeback. Shaw hits a series of drop kicks, then a backbreaker/neckbreaker combo before delivering a big leg drop, which he calls Breaking Point, off the top rope for the win.
I enjoyed this match between the young Gut Check winners. Silva was very dominant in this match (unlike he was during his Gut Check in April) and proved that he could be quite the character in the X-Division. Shaw’s move-set alone displays his X-Division ability, and he was even able to get the crowd’s support in this match.
It’s funny because these two are a tag team in OVW, Team Gut Check, and are chasing the Tag Team Championships right now. Good showing by both guys.
— We’re now backstage in Hulk Hogan’s office. Eric Young is accompanied by ODB and the classic TNA turkey suit. EY asks for permission to do a turkey suit challenge match, and Hulk grants it. The married couple excitedly leaves the GM’s office before commercials.
Returning from commercials, we’re still with EY & ODB; this time they’re walking down the hall. The couple bumps into Robbie E and Robbie T, where the two see that EY is carrying the turkey suit.
Robbie E says that the turkey suit scarred Bigger Rob for life, bro, and dares EY to call him out so he can humiliate him this year. Tara and Jesse happen to be walking by and EY gets the idea of calling both guys out for a TNA Turkey Bowl Extravaganza later.
Aces and Eights Thanksgiving
The members of Aces and Eights are huddled around the table of their clubhouse, as usual. They have a big turkey on the table and each of them have a beer. Devon says that he ordered some strippers for desert, but they need to get their work done first.
Devon asks the VP to do the honor of selecting their next victim.
The VP stands up and grabs a dart. The TNA roster page is hanging on the wall and the camera zooms in on Magnus‘ picture, which has a big X drawn through it. Camera pans out to the rest of the A&8s gang as you hear the dart hit the wall.
The gang laughs at the target and Devon says that it’ll be a good Thanksgiving.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Hardy def. Christian York
The latest Gut Check winner, Christian York, comes out and wants to call out someone who he has respect for. York decides to call out the top dog in TNA, the World Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Hardy.
The two have a great match; definitely the match of the night. York and Hardy go back and forth and, surprisingly, York gets a lot of near falls on the World Champion. Hell, he even used Hardy’s own finisher against him.
In the end, Hardy mounts his usual comeback sequence and picks up the win via Swanton Bomb. York congratulates Hardy on his win, as the two shake hands. York applauds Hardy as he stands on the top rope, just as Bobby Roode sneaks into the ring.
Roode spins York around and delivers a big Double-R spine buster. The, “It Factor” camps in the corner and waits for Hardy to climb down from the top rope and, when he does, gets clobbered with a spear from the longest reigning TNA World Champion in history.
Roode grabs the World title, the shiny gold one, and raises it above his head. Roode taunts Hardy before exiting up the ramp. Bobby Roode and Jeff Hardy are scheduled to clash at TNA Final Resolution for the World Heavyweight Championship on December 11.
Tara def. Taeler Hendrix
Taeler Hendrix came to the ring and said that she wants to see how she measures up to the gold standard. She wants to see how much she has improved since her Gut Check match, and calls out her old Gut Check opponent, Tara.
The Knockouts Champion overpowers Hendrix at almost every turn, but one quick distraction caused for a turning point in the match. As Tara was busy with her boyfriend, Jesse, this opened the window of opportunity for Hendrix.
Taeler nearly had the champ beat, but the veteran Tara made offense out of defense when countering one of Taeler’s moves. From there, it was Widow’s Peak and Tara once again defeated Taeler Hendrix.
It was a solid showing for Hendrix, and she maybe just what the Knockouts division needs considering the lack of new blood.
Side note: Taeler Hendrix and Knockouts referee, Taryn Terrell, are currently feuding over the OVW Women’s Championship.
Turkey Suit Challenge
Eric Young def. Jessie Godderz & Robbie E
In the first half of the match, “Mr. PEC-Tacular” Jessie Godderz and Robbie E doubled teamed Eric Young. Their alliance broke after both guys attempt to steal the victory by pinning EY while the other wasn’t looking.
Godderz muscled Robbie into the corner, only to get hit with a drop kick by EY. As Jessie rolled out of the ring, EY took it to Robbie E. A pin attempt was broken up by Godderz, who then choked EY against the middle rope. As that was happening, Tara stepped into the ring for whatever reason, but was attacked by ODB.
The two Knockouts steamrolled the referee, Brian Stiffler, which distracted Mr. PEC-Tacular. EY tossed Godderz from the ring and caused Robbie E to knock his own bouncer off the ring apron before tossing him from the ring as well. By then, Godderz came back in and attempted his finisher on EY. Eric pulled a roll-up pin out of nowhere to win. Fun match for all it lasted.
As the Robs left, the former Big Brother star was reluctant to put the giant turkey suit on. EY and ODB were celebrating in the ring when the Aces and Eights showed up.
The group handcuffed ODB to the rope, and held down EY as Doc went to work with the hammer. They targeted EY’s foot and ankle until help arrived. EY was stretched out of the IMPACT Zone.
AJ Styles def. Kazarian
The former Tag Team Champions come out, and Kazarian challenges AJ Styles. Daniels leaves the ringside area as the match gets underway.
Kazarian is dominant much of the match, but AJ picked up the win by hitting the Pele out of nowhere. It was a good match while it lasted, but it would’ve been even better if they were given more time.
For the first time since Turning Point, AJ Styles is starting to pick up momentum going into his, as billed, “Final Battle” with Christopher Daniels at Final Resolution on December 11.
Aries Opening Pandora’s Box?
Austin Aries, clearly not dressed to wrestle, comes out for Open Fight Night. He’s been hyping this moment all night long. Aries says that the deck is always stacked against him and there’s only one person to blame: Hogan.
Aries calls out Hogan’s fake-tanned, bleach blonded, ugly ass to the ring. More specifically; Brooke Hogan.
Aries says that he’s tired of the Hogan name and bets that Brooke is too. Brooke starts to deny what Aries is saying as the former World Champion runs down new possible names for Hulk’s daughter. Aries says she could be Brooke Trump or Brooke McMahon, yet she’s trying to be Mrs. Bully Ray?
#TGMTEL second guesses himself and says that the Hulkster won’t allow that. If anything, it’ll have to be Bully Ray Hogan. Aries has two videos played to support his claims.
The first has Brooke and Bully talking backstage as Aries passes by while on his cellphone. The second, as seen last week, had Jessie & Tara unexpectedly walking in on Brooke Hogan and Bully Ray in Brooke’s office.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Aries says that he’d give Brooke Hogan all the stuffing she wants. Hulk Hogan’s song comes on and the GM walks to the ring as Bully Ray runs past him, and chases Aries from the ring.
Hogan says Aries is a dead man, then awkwardly stares at Brooke and Bully as the show ends.
For a Thanksgiving episode, this IMPACT was pretty enjoyable. The Gut Check winners finally got some recognition, which might silence anyone asking, “Who, what, where, when, why, and how?” about them. And all the Gut Check winners delivered a good performance.
Even with the spotlight on the Gut Check winners, TNA did manage to hype Final Resolution in some ways. Roode attacking Hardy, Ryan announcing his ambitions for tag gold, AJ facing Kazarian, etc.
With only two weeks left, however, TNA needs to hype Mickie vs. Tara and find something for RVD and his X-Division title.
I enjoyed seeing the Gut Check people and will continue to follow them in OVW, it was great seeing the TNA turkey suit tradition continue, and I’m almost certain that Brisco will get himself a contract.
TNA has a lot of work to do in hyping Final Resolution, and I look forward to seeing how they’ll do that.