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This blog predates Jack Swagger's gimmick shift by a year. I named it after Hulk Hogan's entrance theme.

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The Point of Impact – 05/24/12

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After a stellar episode of TNA Impact Wrestling last week, the stage was set for the second monthly episode of Open Fight Night on Impact.  Last week we saw some great matches between Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy and Ken Anderson and Rob Van Dam and Bully Ray and as a result of last week’s episode, we knew coming into tonight that Robert Roode would be forced to defend TNA’s top championship against either Bully Ray, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, or Kurt Angle.  On the verge of becoming the longest reigning champion in the ten year history of TNA, all eyes would be on the promised world title match to see if Roode could continue his seven month title reign or if one of his four potential challengers could wrestle the title and the record out of his grasp.

The rules for Open Fight Night are simple.  Either the TNA World Title, Tag Team Titles, Knockout’s Title or X-Division Title is going to be defended at some point in the night and slowly throughout the night, General Manager Hulk Hogan systematically eliminates one of the potential four choices to challenge for the title until he ultimately settles on one of the choices and sends his choice out to compete for the title. On top of that, an up and coming star competes in the TNA Gut Check segment for a chance to win a TNA contract.  And throughout the night, anybody under TNA contract can demand a match with anybody else on the roster and they will be forced to accept.  Not too bad, right?  It’s certainly the most entertaining concept TNA has come up with in several years.  It definitely beats all we and they the “mystery” storylines about the Immortal and Fortune factions that bored the living crap out of us for the past two years.  It took awhile after the “Wrestling Matters” campaign that TNA launched for wrestling to actually matter on their show again, but they’ve finally started living up to it.

Coming into the night, Bully Ray was the only potential challenger for Roode’s title that had not already been a singles World Champion previously.  The other potential contenders included 5-time TNA Champion Kurt Angle (6-time champion in WWE), 2-time TNA Champion Jeff Hardy (3-time champion in WWE) and 4-time TNA Champion AJ Styles.  Of the four potential challengers, only AJ Styles was never previously pushed by the WWE and it would be Styles’ record for longest title reign that Roode looked to eclipse.  Styles is also currently under attacks on his character by Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, who have systematically begun exposing an alleged romance between Styles and TNA President Dixie Carter.

We start off the night with the four potential contenders in a locked room with Hulk Hogan and segments like this have usually been a bit too melodramatic for my taste.  At times, Impact Wrestling tries to be a bit too much like a reality show.  This segment, I don’t think was so bad.  There was some really good back and forth between Bully Ray and Kurt Angle and Angle and Styles with Hardy keeping his mouth shut for the most part.  I think Angle and Ray come out ahead on the verbal game, at least based on this segment and I think Bully Ray has been the most entertaining part of Impact Wrestling in 2012, but unfortunately, Bully Ray was the first name scratched off the list by Hogan, leaving Hardy, Angle and Styles to still potentially challenge Roode for the title.

In the first challenge of the night, the Knockout’s Champion Gail Kim came out with Madison Rayne and put herself over before calling out ODB and Eric Young or as she called them “Mr. and Mrs. ODB” for a tag team match.  Eric Young is a funny guy and his segments are usually pretty entertaining and he’s also a pretty good wrestler, but we know from past experience that the only things he’s going to do in one of these Knockout’s Tag Matches is take his pants off, tie-up with the referee and maybe put the girls in an Airplane Spin or two.  He’s not going to throw any other offensive moves and ODB and the other two girls are going to carry the offense for the match.  This match played pretty much true to form and in the end, Rayne was able to interfere from the outside tripping ODB and holding her feet down, which allowed Gail to pin ODB for the win.

Rob Van Dam would make the second challenge of the night and he would call out Gunner to settle some “unfinished business” between the two of them.  Their unfinished business dates back to Genesis this past January when Gunner put RVD on the shelf with a DDT on the concrete floor.  It’s a good thing they showed the video reminding us of what happened because it certainly wasn’t an important enough even for me to remember.  Goes to show you just how memorable or useful the push Gunner got earlier this year with Ric Flair as his manager really was.  (Not very)  Tonight, Gunner made the mistake of bringing a chair into a match with RVD and so of course he got it kicked into his face.  RVD then flew 80% of the way across the ring to deliver the Five Star Frog Splash and beat Gunner.  It was a pretty short match that didn’t do much to showcase Gunner’s talents.  It really only served to put RVD over some more, but I don’t think RVD could ever go over any more than he already is or lose any of his credibility.

The Television Champion Brother Devon then called out Garrett Bischoff for his weekly Television Championship defense, giving Bischoff props for eliminating him in a Battle Royal last week which was ultimately won by AJ Styles to earn his spot as one of the four potential contender’s for Roode’s title tonight.  I believe this was the first title match in Bischoff’s career.  However, the match was interrupted by Robbie E and Rob Terry or “Big Robbie and Bigger Robbie” as they like to be called.  Devon and Bischoff then dominated the intruders and threw them out of the ring.

From there, it was time for Hogan to make his second elimination from the three remaining potential World Title challengers – Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle and AJ Styles.  For me, I’ve already started to lose interest because while Bully Ray probably doesn’t have the wrestling ability of Angle, Hardy or Styles, he’s definitely been the most entertaining and he’s already been eliminated.  Plus, we’ve already seen Roode vs. Hardy and Roode vs. Styles done several times during Roode’s title reign.  Angle or Bully Ray were easily the two best options to me.  Jeff Hardy was the next one eliminated by Hogan, which to me was definitely the right call.  Hardy has squandered too many opportunities and given in to his personal demons too many times and I question whether or not there is anything Jeff Hardy has left to give us that we haven’t already seen before.

Bully Ray, aka “Calfzilla”, then would make his way to the ring for our next challenge of the night.  Bully Ray cuts a promo about how he’s in a bad mood after being eliminated and antagonizes everybody and then starts talking about Joseph Park (Abyss’s brother), who is sitting in the crowd with a bag of popcorn watching the show, and Bully Ray challenges him to a match.  Park very slowly and reluctantly gets over the barricade with some peer pressure from the crowd, but then asks for a mic instead of getting in the ring.  Park then tries to talk Bully out of fighting him and asks the crowd of whether or not Bully Ray is guilty of making Abyss’ disappear, despite the fact that Abyss showed up on Impact two weeks ago.  Bully then punched Park in the gut and whipped him with the chain before leaving.  By the way, for those of you that don’t already know, Abyss and Joseph Park aren’t actually brothers – they’re the same person. And the reason Abyss has not been on Impact for most of the last several months is because he’s been making various appearances for AAA wrestling in Mexico and for TNA’s Ring Ka King promotion over in India.  He’s currently one-half of the AAA tag team champions with Chessman.

We then find out that Joey Ryan, a former Wrestling Society X and Ring of Honor performer, would be competing in the Gut Check segment this week.  Alex Silva competed in this segment last month and despite losing to Robbie E, he was awarded a contract.  Ryan’s opponent was announced as the X-Division Champion Austin Aries.  Throughout Aries entrance, Ryan leaned back against the corner and stuck his pelvis out, immediately showing us all that his character is a real douechebag and a poor imitation of some kind of porn direction and that image is enhanced by the scarf he wears around his neck.  Aries himself wears that ridiculous miniature cape that kind of makes him look like he belongs in a gay wizard porn film.   However, Austin Aries is probably the best wrestler on the TNA roster right now in my opinion and he’s right up there with Ken Anderson and Bully Ray as the most entertaining talkers that TNA has on the roster.  Aries has earned the right to dress however weirdly he wants.  Ryan however, not so much.  Aries and Ryan have actually been in the ring together before and probably more times than we’re aware of because they’ve competed in Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla at the same time.  So, their match was pretty decent and Aries ultimately beat Ryan with his Brainbuster.  If TNA stays true to form, Ric Flair, Al Snow and Bruce Pritchard (formerly Brother Love in WWE) will determine whether or not Ryan gets a contract on next week’s show.  In my opinion, neither Silva or Ryan measure up to what TNA already had on the roster before they showed up.  Neither one was all that impressive to me, but they only had one chance to prove themselves.  Maybe they’ll prove me wrong.  However, the fact that we haven’t seen Silva compete on Impact since he was given his contract last month leads me to think that my first impression was probably right.

Bobby Roode then makes his way to the ring for the Main Event, but there’s still 40 minutes left in the show, so it’s looking like we’re going to get a pretty great Main Event title match.  At this point, with all things considered, it’s looking to me like they’re going to give the title match to AJ.  It’s his record on the line, Angle’s still wrestling a little hurt with his knee taped up every week and giving AJ the title match would give Daniels and Kazarian further ammunition to use against Styles to continue their storyline.  And sure enough, Hogan ultimately awarded the title shot to Styles.  And I like to see AJ wrestle just as much as the next guy.  He’s one of the most talented in-ring performers to ever step into the squared circle.  However, I was hoping for something a little more unique out of the title match tonight and Roode vs. Styles already headlined two Pay Per Views at the end of last year.  I can’t really find any fault in the title match, but it was far from a classic.

The title match wrapped up with 12 minutes left to the end of the show, so you could kind of feel something else was going to happen and maybe even something big.  They’d hinted that Hulk Hogan had a guest arriving at the arena, so I’m thinking that perhaps TNA is going to debut a new signing like King Mo or somebody might be making their return or something.  Roode grabs some champagne and starts his celebration and he orders his confetti to be dropped from the ceiling, but there is still five minutes left to go.  So, what’s actually going to happen?  Hogan finally responds to Roode’s invitation to the ring and takes a glass of champagne and congratulates Roode, but informs him that somebody else wants to join in the celebration.  The lights then go out and Sting returns to the Impact Zone and beats the hell out of Roode and knocks him out of the ring and Roode scoots away to the back and Hogan lets him know that when Impact changes time slots and moves up an hour next week, Roode is going to have to have to face Sting in a Lumberjack Match.  Not the biggest of announcements, but I’m sure everybody is going to be happy to see Sting compete some more and extend his legendary career.

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Written by I Am a Real American

May 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Abyss, AJ Styles, Al Snow, Alex Silva, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Brother Devon, Bruce Pritchard, Bully Ray, Christopher Daniels, Eric Young, Gail Kim, Garrett Bischoff, Gunner, Gut Check, Hulk Hogan, Impact Wrestling, Jeff Hardy, Joey Ryan, Joseph Park, Ken Anderson, King Mo, Knockout's Championship, Knockout's Tag Team Championship, Kurt Angle, Madison Rayne, ODB, Open Fight Night, Ric Flair, Rob Terry, Rob Van Dam, Robbie E, Samoa Joe, Sting, The Point of Impact, TNA, TNA Championship, TNA Tag Team Championship, TNA Television Championship, Wrestling Matters, WWE, X-Division Championship

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Real American Top 10 – WWE vs. TNA Dream Rivalries

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10) Sheamus vs. James Storm – James Storm’s affinity for a cold beer is well known and drinking and fighting are the two traits most associated with the Irish.  These two men could go beer-f0r-beer and have it be just as entertaining as a wrestling match between the two.  Both characters love a good fight and are among the best brawlers still in the business.  You wouldn’t see a whole lot of mat wrestling or submission attempts in a match between these two brutes, but sometimes a good old-fashioned brawl can be more entertaining than a wrestling match.  If only Stone Cold could be involved somehow.

9) Chris Jericho vs. Christopher Daniels – Jericho and Daniels are both masters of the Moonsault.  Jericho has been using his Lionsault to put away some of the all time greats for many years while Daniels professes himself to be the master of the Moonsault, labeling his finishing maneuver the Best Moonsault Ever.  These two also possess great technical wrestling skills and any match between these two men would include some of the best mat wrestling you’ve ever seen combined with some tremendous aerial maneuvers.

8) Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode – The Show Off vs. The It Factor and what would be a match-up of two of the best young performers WWE and TNA possess.  Roode’s time in the spotlight has been a long-time coming and it’s only a matter of time before Dolph Ziggler becomes the go-to-guy for great performances in the WWE.  Both of these men appear to have long and successful careers ahead of them and putting them in the ring together would have the potential to measure up against some of the greatest matches of all time.

7) Jack Swagger vs. Kurt Angle – These are two great amateur wrestlers who have an affinity for the Ankle Lock.  While Swagger certainly doesn’t have the credentials that Kurt Angle does (2-Olympic Gold Medals, Double Digit World Title Reigns, King of the Ring Winner), Swagger would have a better chance of keeping up with Angle’s amateur wrestling than anybody currently on the WWE or TNA roster, with the possible exception of Brock Lesnar, who has “quit” the WWE.  And you know Angle wouldn’t take kindly to Swagger trying to use his own Ankle Lock against him.

6) John Cena vs. Samoa Joe – Perhaps John Cena’s greatest set of matches against a big man were against “The Samoan Bulldozer” Umaga, which included one of the greatest Last Man Standing matches of all-time at the 2007 Royal Rumble.  So, why not put Cena in the ring with another Samoan Wrecking Machine like Samoa Joe?  A match with Samoa Joe could go a long way to showing us all what progress Cena has made or could make in his mat wrestling.

5) Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles – Nobody makes flying through the air at rapid speeds look easier than Rey Mysterio and AJ Styles.  The torque that these two have been able to put on some of their aerial maneuvers is rarely seen anywhere else in the business.  Rey has slowed over the years due to a series of injuries, but he can still run circles around some of the much younger competition in the WWE.  Styles does possess a big advantage in mat wrestling over Mysterio, but in a match between these two men, nobody would want to see the match go to the mat.  High spots galore should these two men ever square off one-on-one.

4) Kane vs. Abyss – These two behemoths are some of the most underrated performers in their company despite their size.  I think a lot of people look at these guys and think that they’re just another big body, but Kane has been wowing crowds for years and he plays the psychology of his character perfectly.  Abyss is one guy similar to Mick Foley in that he’s willing to put his body through anything.  Throughout the years, these two have been probably the most mysterious and intimidating characters that WWE and TNA have put in a ring and they certainly have what it takes to tear the house down in what likely would not be just your typical battle of two big men.

3) Daniel Bryan vs. Austin Aries – These are two of the best wrestlers to come out of Ring of Honor.  They are both great mat wrestlers who also have the ability to fly and strike.  Both of these guys are the total package when it comes to ring work, but up until this year, they hadn’t been given a lot of big opportunities, which probably has to do with their small stature.  Aries is still competing in the X-Division, but he’s starting to step out and get more involved with TNA headliners like Bully Ray, whom he beat this past Sunday at Sacrifice and was also involved in Lethal Lockdown.  Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan held the World Heavyweight Championship for nearly 4 months and remains in contention for either the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship at any time.  Both men are more than capable of hanging with guys two or even three times their size, but just imagine what these two men could do if we were able to put them in the same ring at the same time.

2) CM Punk vs. Rob Van Dam – These guys were on ECW at the same time in 2006-2007, but RVD was reaching the end of his rope with WWE and Punk had just arrived on the scene.  Since then, Punk has skyrocketed while RVD has fizzled a little bit in TNA.  However, these guys both throw some of the best kicks the wrestling industry has ever seen.  Plus, you have the added clash of lifestyles with RVD being well known for his laid back lifestyle and use of marijuana while Punk remains “Straight-Edge”, meaning he doesn’t smoke, doesn’t use drugs and doesn’t consume alcohol.  This could be very similar to Punk’s rivalry with Jeff Hardy in 2009, but with the potential for even better matches.

1) Undertaker vs. Sting – Rumors were flying last year about Sting signing a deal with WWE to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania 27, but it obviously never materialized and Sting returned to TNA.  Both men are clearly in the twilight of their careers, but these guys have helped carry the torch for opposing companies for a large part of the last two decades with Undertaker becoming perhaps the most respected star in WWE history and Sting being the top face of WCW and then providing a huge verteran presence in TNA.  There were plenty of other headliners along the way, but Undertaker and Sting outlasted them all and this is one match that it’s a shame we never got to see and almost certainly never will.  We can still hold out hope though that maybe Undertaker has 1-2 more Wrestlemanias left in him and pray for Sting to sign a deal with WWE, even if it’s just for one match with Taker.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

Posted in Abyss, AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, Christopher Daniels, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, James Storm, John Cena, Kane, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, Pro Wrestling, Real American Top Ten, Rey Mysterio, Rob Van Dam, Samoa Joe, Sheamus, Sting, Stone Cold Steve Austin, TNA, Undertaker, WCW, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, WWE, WWE Championship

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