IMPACT Wrestling: Open Fight Night Wrestlers of the Week 4.26.12
By Neil Borenstein
Each week here at 1wrestling.com, I will select three of the top wrestlers from TNA’s IMPACT Wrestling and present them to you in inverse order as the show’s Wrestlers of the Week. In choosing the show’s top three superstars, performances from that week’s IMPACT Wrestling and any relevant preceding programming – such as Pay-Per-Views – will be taken into consideration.
IMPACT Wrestling: Open Fight Night Wrestlers of the Week for April 26, 2012
3. Brooke Tessmacher – for following up her pinfall over Gail Kim in eight-Knockout action last week with a singles victory over the TNA Knockouts Champion:
Brooke Tessmacher made an impressive return to TNA during last week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling. As a member of an eight-woman tag team matchup, she managed to secure the victory for her team (with a little help from Velvet Sky) by scoring a pinfall over the current Knockouts Champion, Gail Kim. That is no small feat for Tessmacher and is one she very much hoped to build off of coming into this week’s show.
She came to the ring and took advantage of the Open Fight Night theme of offering up challenges that must be accepted. In hoping to prove that last week’s result was not a fluke, she called out Kim for a non-title bout. Kim accepted the challenge and would soon find out that she’s possibly taking Tessmacher just a tad too lightly.
Kim certainly had her way with Tessmacher for large portions of the match and probably could have put her away in several spots. But she didn’t take advantage of those opportunities to go for a cover, instead electing to deliver some more punishment but also allowing Tessmacher several chances to get back into the bout.
Kim got so cocky late in the match that she practically shoved the Knockouts Championship in Tessmacher’s face and told her that she wasn’t in her league. Kim then went to the opposite corner so she could charge in with an elbow to the stomach of Tessmacher. She then laughed at Tessmacher and called her a joke before ascending to the top rope. She came off with hopes of landing a leg drop, but Tessmacher had enough presence of mind to move out of the way. She then waited for Kim to get up so she could lift the champ up and slam her face-first right into the mat. Tessmacher transitioned right into a cover that went to the three-count and scored her a huge non-title victory over the champion.
It’s true that she was on the defensive end for most of the match. But Tessmacher held on and looked for that one opportunity to catch Kim’s ego getting in the way. When that finally happened, she pounced on the champion and likely earned a future shot at the Knockouts Championship as a result.
2. Samoa Joe and Magnus – for holding on to the TNA Tag Team Championships after having to wait all night to find out they would be facing Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy:
One aspect of Open Fight Night is that Hulk Hogan gets to select a champion (or set of champions) to defend their titles on that particular week’s broadcast. They have to be ready to go and accept what challenge comes their way – whether they like it or not. And since the fans supposedly have a say in this by making their voices heard by Hogan, though I do suspect he’s deviating from that just a bit, it’s all the more imperative that each champion in TNA be ready to go as to not be caught off guard.
After rounding up the champs at the very top of the broadcast and delivering a little speech to them, Hogan revealed that it would be the TNA Tag Team Champions – Samoa Joe and Magnus – who would be competing on this week’s program. Joe and Magnus didn’t seem to have a problem with that, but they would need to wait basically the entirety of the show before finding out the duo they’d be putting the straps up against.
To ease the surprise a bit, Hogan did name four teams that stood a shot at being named their opponents. And those duos included Daniels and Kazarian, The Motor City Machine Guns, Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy, and ODB and Eric Young. Hogan spent the night eliminating a couple of teams from this bunch until it was just between Daniels and Kaz, and Anderson and Hardy. And after sending both teams out to the ring before making the call, he finally settled on Anderson and Hardy to get the title shot.
As intriguing a team as they are, and as talented as they are as individuals, it was really tough to figure Hardy and Anderson, considering their history, could work together well enough to handle facing the strong unit that Joe and Magnus have become. They worked well enough together in spurts during the match, but there was simply way too much miscommunication between Anderson and Hardy to make this thing work.
They did come close, though. With Anderson and Magnus battling on the outside, Hardy was able to drop Joe with a Twist of Fate inside the ring with perfect positioning to follow up with a Swanton Bomb. But Hardy elected instead to deliver a closeline to Magnus on the outside.
Anderson moved back into the ring at this point and hoped to nail Joe with a Mic Check after ducking a closeline. Joe battled out with some elbows, but Anderson was able to duck the last one and latch onto the back of Joe as he charged to the ropes. Joe bounced off them and Anderson was able to roll up Joe for a pin attempt. But Joe got out at two and flipped Anderson over so that he could apply a rear naked choke. Hardy tried to get in for the save, but Magnus grabbed hold of his foot and Anderson was forced out by submission.
Joe and Magnus left with their belts in hand as Anderson and Hardy proceeded to argue in the ring. The smiles were turned upside down on the champs, however, when Daniels and Kazarian attacked them from behind on the ramp. That was a bit unexpected but makes it clearer as to who will likely be next in line for a crack at the tag straps.
Regardless, Joe and Magnus were able to handle the first Open Fight Night as the champions having to defend their straps at the ordering of Hogan very well. They didn’t know until the last minute exactly what team they’d be defending the Tag Team Championships against, and just rolled with the punches when it came down to Anderson and Hardy.
1. Devon – for making another successful weekly defense of the Television Championship with a big win over brother and former Team 3D partner, Bully Ray:
When Hulk Hogan made the announcement last week on IMPACT Wrestling that the TNA Television Championship would be defended on a weekly basis, the current holder of the title Devon had absolutely no problem with it. He made it clear that he wanted to be a fighting champion and being featured every single week would help him achieve just that.
Devon is so on board with this idea that he didn’t wait very long to get going with his match on this week’s very first edition of Open Fight Night. He hit the ring to open the broadcast’s in-ring action and called out his brother, Bully Ray, for this bout. Ray initially came out to tell Devon that match would not be taking place, as he had no intention of making a star out of his former Team 3D partner by simply being in the same ring with him. But since that kind of attitude did not keep with the Open Fight Night theme Hogan had envisioned, Devon immediately cut Ray off when he tried to leave for the back.
The match officially started when Devon nailed Ray from behind on the ramp and they battled a bit on the outside before finally working their way back into the ring. Devon remained on top of Ray heading into a commercial break, but it was a back elbow from Ray during that break that reversed their fortunes and put the man with the self-professed largest calves in the world into control.
When Ray noticed Devon was starting to get his bearings back during a nerve pinch, he head for the ropes only to catch a spear from the champ on his way back. When both men got back to their feet, they traded some right hands until Devon started to gain some momentum and went for an irish whip. Ray managed to reverse, but Devon still came back at him with a spinning back elbow. Devon then booted Ray in the gut, delivered a knee to his face and planted him down on the mat with a neckbreaker.
Devon was all pumped up at this point and charged in at Ray in the corner, only to catch a boot straight to the face. Ray dropped him with a closeline in the center of the ring and went right for a cover that Devon kicked out of at two. Ray waited for Devon so that he could go for a Bully Bomb, but he instead settled for a cutter after reversing a reversal from his brother. Ray went for another cover, but Devon kicked out yet again at two.
Ray waited for Devon to get back to his feet and charged in at him full speed ahead in hopes of landing the final dagger. But Devon caught him and planted him right into the mat with a spinebuster. Devon hooked the leg and scored the three-count to win a nice opening contest on Open Fight Night.
It’s been a while since those two had anything to do with each other and it was a nice surprise to open the broadcast of this week’s show with a match between them. I wouldn’t expect Ray and Devon to have much to do with each other going forward, as that seemed like a one-off deal just to put some extra oomph behind this Open Fight Night concept and Devon’s weekly defense of the Television Championship. But for what it was, the matched was decent enough for what these two are capable of doing against each other and provided Devon with a tremendous win that will add a good deal of credibility to his title reign.