Welcome to Open Fight Night. The first rule of Open Fight Night is: you do not talk about Open Fight Night. The second rule of Open Fight Night is: you DO NOT talk about Open Fight Night! Third rule of Open Fight Night: Hulk Hogan makes the rules, brother.
Starting next week, Impact Wrestling will present a once-a-month television event known as Open Fight Night. On this night wrestling fans will witness a non-contracted wrestler showing off their skills in front of a panel of judges …and Hulk Hogan. (This is starting to sound like Tough Enough…) If the judges deem that the wrestler has what it takes, he or she will earn an Impact Wrestling contract. Secondly, any wrestler in the TNA locker room can make an open challenge to another wrestler, and that wrestler has to accept the challenge. And lastly, a champion of Hulk’s choosing must defend their championship… no “ands..” “ifs…” or “buts…”
Are the rules clear? Now we must ask the question: is this a good or bad idea?
The first condition of Open Fight Night sounds a lot like the Proving Grounds concept of Ring of Honor Wrestling, where non-contracted wrestlers face champions in time-limit matches. This doesn’t mean that TNA can’t do the same, just stating that it’s being done elsewhere. The only way that this concept could fail is if TNA goes out of their way in picking vanilla-looking jobbers; similar to the ones WWE are feeding to the RVD-Goldberg love child Ryback. But seeing as their X-Division tournament from the summer gave us Austin Aries, the possibilities of which rising independent star graces the Impact Zone are endless… and exciting.
However, there’s the gimmick that each unsigned talent will be judged. Who will be the judges? Will it be TNA contracted wrestlers? Will it be Dixie Carter – who has proven to know the ins and outs of the wrestling business (cough… cough…) Having judges could make the selection process either serious and meaningful, or a comedic waste of time.
Then there’s the Open Challenge. A great way to further storylines between feuding wrestlers. AJ Styles can opt to challenge Kazarian or Christopher Daniels, Matt Morgan can call out Crimson, or Austin Aries can goad Bully Ray into a match by placing his X-Division title on the line.
Which brings us to the third concept of Open Fight Night, all champions must be ready to defend their championships at Hogan’s will. With Hogan’s other announcement that the TNA Television championship will be defended on every Impact Wrestling from now on, this third concept runs the danger of over saturating the program with too many title defenses.
While Devon will finally get the singles exposure that he rightfully deserves, Hogan’s first order of business will more than likely be forcing Bobby Roode to defend the World title in a “Lockdown rematch” against “The Cowboy” James Storm. Open Fight Night needs to be a success, and how better than to give away a pay-per-view caliber match on free television? This concept will assure that each champion gets an opportunity to defend their title and prove why they are the one to beat.
Depending on the quality of the unsigned wrestlers brought in to compete; the seriousness of the judges critiquing; the progression of storylines brought on by the open challenges; and the number of title defenses… the concept of Open Fight Night every month can be good for Impact Wrestling.
That’s it for this post, feel free to check us out on YouTube – WTX Video Podcast. My buddies and I perform a wrestling video podcast where we talk wrestling, which then leads into crazy comedy sketches. Support us on YouTube, like us on Facebook, and follow me on the twitter @WrestlingTimesX.