I thought hour 1 was fairly poor, but thought hour 2 (or rather minute 50 something onward) was good.
I wasn't fond of the opening segment. They need to figure out a different way to determine who gets a title shot on OFN because these Hogan vignettes are often too goofy, have too much insider lingo, and are full of weird logic, and like last month, they shouldn't spend so much time of a show called "Open Fight Night" on Hogan talking.
RVD/Gunner was a nothing match. It was strange that it took RVD this long to try and get revenge on the guy who "injured" him and kept him off TV for months. Speaking of which, that win over RVD all those months ago sure did wonders for Gunner.
They managed to find a way for me to enjoy the Devon/Robbies feud even less than I already did, which is quite the feat. Congratulations? Garrett is so bad. Imagine a match between him and Rob Terry? UGH!
Joey Ryan vs. Aries was fun while it lasted. Whatever happened to Alex Silva? Do they expect people to care about the 2nd Gutcheck challenge given how the 1st one was presented and played out?
I wonder how many of the 10 greatest moments in TNA history will involve Hogan. They're halfway through, and I believe he's already been in 2. I figure he'll be in at least in one more--the Hulk/Dixie MSG announcement. The idea of Hogan being involved in 30% (or more) of the company's 10 greatest moments is ridiculous.
Once again, I found Hogan's reason for who should get a title shot on OFN illogical. That said, Roode/AJ was great. They got 25 minutes and told a good story althought the commercial break hurt the flow. Styles sold well that he was distracted by the whole Dixie storyline and that's why he couldn't put Roode away.
They're going back to Roode/Sting? Meh. I can't believe there are only 2 Impacts until TNA's big 10th anniversary PPV, and there is no clear PPV main event and they have announced zero PPV matches.
I like Joey Ryan, but I was unimpressed with him last night. He seemed a step slow and was sloppy. He seemed very nervous which is understandable. I think he's a really good sleazy type heel and would be a nice addition to the roster, but since Silva got the contract last gut check I figure Ryan won't get the contract next week. Hogan and his insider talk is so tired. It is no good for nothing. Speaking of no good that Bischoff_Devon match was no good and a Devon-Garrett feud with the Robbies is no better. None of these guys belong on TV and three of them should be released. I really enjoyed the Styles-Roode match. It was surprising to see them get twenty-five minutes. Long matches on free tv don't always hold the fans interest or draw good ratings. I wonder how a match that took up two quarter hours will draw. Glad to see Roode win cleanly as he's been booked pretty strong the past month after being booked weakly the previous five months. Roode's post match antics were great. Not excited for Roode_Sting, but I suspect it will be a short feud, as Garrett is due back soon and likely looking for revenge on Sting for firing him. No idea why they haven't announced any matches for their anniversary show. All in all, last night show was fairly solid.
Great first segment. It was a fun change of pace to have the main characters hanging out together without a brawl breaking out. We got a great chance to see the various characters express their values.
For Hogan it was a desire to innovate professional wrestling, by breaking from the script. At the same time, we saw the Hogan character's limitations by how despite expressing his desire to move beyond the format for the show he still ended up following that format. I took that as symbolic for man wanting to achieve transcendence while being restrained by our earthly limitations.
Angle, Calfzilla, and AJ's conversation revolved around how they each constructed their self-concepts of manhood. An innocent comment by Hogan about the importance of preventing Roode from breaking AJ's title reign record set off Angle, and it led Angle to question why that record even mattered. Angle's warrior character prides himself as being the best in the world, but that drive to be the best leads him to devalue accomplishments that he does not have. If having the longest title reign makes someone the best, and Angle does not have the longest title reign that means that he is not the best. Clearly, Kurt cannot accept the value of title reign length, because he knows that doing so would force him to accept that AJ is better than him. That he cannot do. (Incidentally, Angle used to have the longest TNA title reign of 180 days before Joe surpassed it with 182 days. Sting surpassed that at 189 days before AJ's 211 day reign conquered that. Since then Angle's reigns have never come close to getting back in contention for the record.)
AJ symbolizes a less intense form of manhood than Angle. AJ honestly stated that the title reign length record mattered to him. While Angle refuses to be less than perfect, AJ accepts his own limitations. AJ's world would not be shattered by losing the record, but he still refuses to lose it without a fight. Angle argues that he has had more title reigns than anyone else there, and that that should be the measure of worth. (This could imply consistency over a period of time in which there are many worthy challengers is worth more than a long reign in which the quality of challengers is weak.) Here, Angle seemed to be alluding to his respect for Ric Flair and how Flair values his large number of title reigns. Flair is said to have had 16 world title reigns, while Angle had 5 TNA title reigns, 1 IWGP reign, 4 WWF title reigns, and 2 Big Gold Belt reigns. Its reasonable to imagine that Angle's character thinks he can get 5 more reigns and break Flair's record. AJ however brings Angle down a peg by dismissing the WWF/WCW reigns as not worthy compared to TNA reigns. While AJ is an easy going guy, he has shown a willingness to lash out against those who do not respect his home turf. After all, a man's home is his sanctuary.
Bully Ray embraces the contradictions in manhood. When Angle remarked that one's worth is dependent on having a lot of title reigns, and that he had more than anyone else there Bully Ray felt a furious need to dispute that notion. Bully Ray reminded Angle that he only possessed more singles title reigns. Bully refused to let the worth of his 23 world tag team title reigns be forgotten. So, here we see that while Calfzilla is intent on achieving his destiny by winning his first singles World Heavyweight title, he still values his years of tag victories done alongside his brother. He is alone, and yet he will always be his brother's brother.
Ray also was in a unique position as the only man in the room (other than the unseen cameraman, presumably) who had never been a singles world champion. Perhaps that led him to place a greater aspect of his self worth upon the quality of the men he had fought. As such, when AJ derided the worth of winning an Olympic Gold Medal, Bully Ray was quick to defend that pinnacle of Angle's self-achievement. This also led Ray to be the only one to pay attention to Jeff Hardy who remained silent throughout these proceedings.
Ever-popular Jeff Hardy represented the male role of leadership and virility. Of the four challengers, he was the only one to not describe his worth in terms of winning titles. Hardy drew strength from his role as an idol, and reminded Kurt that even Kurt's son idolized Jeff Hardy. Jeff summed up his value system with his simple phrase: "Let the fans decide."
Ignored throughout these proceedings were two dark elephants in the room. The first was that the current TNA title reign record had been set by an AJ Styles who had spent half of his reign retaining his belt through the same means of chicanery that Roode was utilizing. If Roode was unworthy of winning the record due to his actions, than why was AJ worthy of keeping the record considering how he set it? Does it matter who holds a record set through interference victories, eyepoking, and getting thrown through a ring?
Secondly, while they kept describing AJ's record as being the longest world title reign in TNA history, it was not. The exiled Jeff Jarrett retains that record with his 347 day 2004-2005 reign as TNA's NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Jarrett may have won Kurt's wife, but it appears as if Kurt has triumphed in the war of history. Silent symbolism here is that taking another man's wife is the worst form of chicanery. It turns other men against one's self, and traps one's self in forgotten failure. This theme closed out the main part of the show when AJ lost his record to Roode. AJ had the match won, but he was distracted out of fear of an attack by Daniels and Kazarian who turned against him due to his alleged affair with Serg's wife, Dixie Carter.
I may or may not be reading too much into that segment. I think at least half of what I picked up on really was intended though.
I also liked how they read out the episode number, and mentioned that the show was being taped over a week before its airdate. That was a good change of pace to the typical pretentions of being "live".
Part of the threat Roode plays to to company was described at how he was "setting the pace" of everything. That implies that the fictional TNA management prefers to see shorter reigns so as to more frequently rotate the title challengers. I found that to be interesting.
Sting's return was built up well. I figured it would be Storm, Sting, or Jarrett. So, it was kinda predictable but still unexpected.
Glad to see the Knockouts Tag Titles back in the hands of women.
I enjoy Jackson James' music, even if his match with Devon wasn't quite my Anarchia/Devon dream match that I had been hoping for. Big Robbie's sweater is fun.
Bully Ray's music is wonderful and adds a lot to his segments. His chainshots on Joseph Parks looked brutal.
I was happy to see Roode get his brief moment of celebration and confetti. He didn't even attack Hogan while they were drinking champagne. How charitable of him.
Has Pope challenged Devon for the TV title yet? That will be my new dream match, since Anarchia is no longer available.
I'm guessing that Angle's drafting is a sign that ECW is going to focus as much on actual wrestling as they are on the hardcore aspect. Heyman knows how to book Angle and guys like him (Royal Rumble '03 against Chris Benoit.