Looking at the Good, The Bad and The Ugly of TNA Impact Wrestling (6.12.14)
Posted by Justin Watry on 06.12.2014
411’s Justin Watry looks at the latest edition of Impact Wrestling…
For the first time in over a month, I am taking the plunge into watching TNA Impact Wrestling. Since this is a give and take world, whenever I watch - I feel the need to promote myself and write about it. No way will I simply watch TNA and not get something in return for it. The next few Thursdays are likely to get my view as well but nothing permanent past July. The tapings in the northeast are too interesting to pass up. We shall see how that goes. Okay, no more blabbering about nothing. I think I wasted enough space. When finished with this, go read my new column already posted. For now, bring on TNA Impact Wrestling using my classic Good/Bad/Ugly format to recap!
Opening Segment Talk, Talk, Talk - Please, I beg of you. Next week, when you are on the road, start Impact with something new. Something unique. Something different. Something eye catching. Something! Anything but your standard run of the mill talking segment. The quarter hour ratings speak for themselves. There is no more getting around it. People tune in, see the same thing for the 450th straight week, and numbers plummet throughout the rest of the show. It is not like changing up the script can HURT numbers; they can not get much lower. Have a 20 minute X-Division match kick off the show next week. Have Sam Shaw stare at the camera for 10 minutes straight for all I care. Begin with a brawl all over a bar with James Storm. Seriously, anything but your dry, dull talking segment. Again, it is not like ratings will suffer any worse regardless.
Bobby Lashley VS. Eric Young - I do not like guys competing more than once a night. Especially since Eric Young has been thrust into a position he should not be in, he is the last person I want to see in multiple segments per night. Yeah, the story told was clear - weaken the champion before the PPV...but no thanks on your top champ losing right before a PPV. Not even a brawl between Samoa Joe and Lashley afterwards could save this. I am just so beyond caring about TNA super groups.
Kenny King VS. Eric Young - The next match in the series for Eric Young on Thursday night was against Kenny King. Remember the vignettes from Las Vegas and all that? Not sure what that meant, but it certainly does not including winning matches. Really just a bad match to have. King should not be losing nor should Young. Also, for those wondering, no - no matter what Eric Young does as TNA Champion, it will not boost TNA business or register in any meaningful way. The whole experiment/joke was an ill advised move from day one. Hopefully, that is within the next month or so.
Bully Ray/EC3 Segment - Oh look, there is Brooke! Glad she is back...to doing nothing. Another one of the man talent just kind of coming and going on air. Wish her well on The Amazing Race though. It is just difficult to care about Bully Ray as a face, while he keeps the name BULLY! Especially after how he and Brooke split up - now all is well again? Riiiiight. All the while, we are well past the point of getting Ethan Carter III into an actual match. More than a few minutes and not filled with Rockstar Spud silliness that is just a waste of time. Seriously, Spud rambling on is not funny nor adds a single dime to the company's bottom line. Not now, not ever. A real match against a real opponent is what EC3 needs. Sadly, that will have to wait even longer because TNA just haaaaaaaaad to add on a last second stipulation. A Texas Death Match? Pretty big deal there, must admit. Wow, with a full three days of anticipation.
Gail Kim - It looks like we have our TNA Knockouts Championship match for Slammiversary. Gail Kim was able to beat Brittany and Madison Rayne on Impact to earn a title match against Angelina Love. Cool, nothing against the women - they are usually the best parts of the product. However, at the end of the day, it is Gail Kim vs. Angelina Love. Not exactly the freshest matchup in the world. Something we have seen YEARS ago. On top of that, this was (again) something added to the "big" PPV event a mere three days before showtime. Just ridiculous. TNA has only a few of these shows all year. Yet, it is so laughable how it is simply thrown together. Then people wonder why nobody buys their PPV events.
Main Event - Pop quiz! What is worse than a Slammiversary main event of Eric Young vs. MVP for the top prize in 2014? Answer: Eric Young vs. MVP three days before said title match to main event Impact. Again, I understood the point, but it did not work at all. Keep in mind I was in FAVOR of TNA signing MVP back in early 2014. I was all for it. However, if this is the best you can do for your main event feud, there are issues. Of course, because this is TNA, Eric Young picked a steel cage stipulation for the title match this Sunday. Sure, why not? Add on another stipulation. Not a doubt in my mind that will draw in the PPV buys; no doubt record breaking numbers because that was slotted in three days before Slammiversary. Not like you had the past month or anything. Yay?
Magnus/Bram VS. Willow/Abyss Nonsense - Ugh. Is Abyss back to being a face? Really? Wasted two years with the Park garbage, before helping Magnus with no payoff whatsoever, being a stooge for money, and now back to this. Unreal. Why is Bram even there, when Magnus was already showing aggression before he showed up? I thought Willow already beat them on Impact in handicap and solo matches. Who cares about it in tag team form now? Plus, on that note, can this "Willow" thing end? Wonderful, Jeff Hardy is creative and is artistic. Cool. Now take off the mask and get back to being Jeff Hardy. Just completely mind boggling you TAKE AWAY his name value and cover his face! Ranks right up there with turning him heel. Whatever, there is a tag match at the PPV...and yes, that is what Jeff FREAKIN' Hardy is doing in June 2014. Random tag matches added three days before a major event. Must be more of this beloved 'long term vision' TNA love to gloat about.
The Menagerie/The Bro Mans - Embarrassing segment. Just dreadful. Both acts need to be removed from TV as soon as possible. This entire 'feud' is going to make a fine chapter on the eventual Fall and Fall of TNA DVD. Just scrap the carnival idea, keep Rebel, and move on.
X-Division - Hey, how is that X-Division working out? Oh, right. Almost that time of the year to pretend to care and then move on a week later.
Tag Team Division - Yep!
Talent Use - No Gunner. No Sam Shaw. No Mr. Anderson. No James Storm. No Eddie Edwards. No Manik. No Tigre Uno. No Sanada. Some of those guys are not on the PPV, but most of them are. TNA has always had this problem, and it still is there. Talent are there for a few shows in a row, then disappear. Then they pop up backstage, then are gone. Then they miss a week but are on the PPV card. Just too much to keep track of. Seems simple - if you are in a feud, you appear. If not, then get off the show. Hey, what do I know though? TNA just had to have The Menagerie/Bro Mans trash on the go-home show and let Eric Young wrestle three times.
*No wonder the Impact Zone lost its passion the past few years...*
Impact Zone - Once again, TNA says goodbye to the Impact Zone (for now). We all know how 2013 on the road went, so history tells us they will be back at some point. Regardless, there are a few points to make with the Impact Zone.
1. Studio wrestling CAN work. WCW did it. ECW basically taped in one building. NXT is living proof of that right now. Just a couple hundred fans but a GREAT atmosphere with rabid wrestling fans. Heck, go watch some old school TNA from the Impact Zone. That place was jumping! Taped or not, the fans were into the product and cared. A blanket statement of "The Impact Zone sucks" only goes so far. Over saturation certainly killed off a lot of that enthusiasm but so did pointless matches, worthless gimmick matches, long-time talent leaving, tons of talking segments, nothing exciting, etc. That falls on TNA, not the Impact Zone.
2. No matter what happens, the next few episodes of Impact will be worth watching. Yep, you read that right. It is a win-win situation in my mind. If the shows in Pennsylvania and New York stink, those "smark" fans are going to let TNA know. They will not just sit there and gobble it up like the faithful in Florida. If The Menagerie and other nonsense is presented in the northeast, the chants/boos will immediately hit. That makes it must-see. On the flip side, it is also a win if TNA decides to present a good product they care about. That means it would be an entertaining show, which is all I can ask for. My prediction...
3. Believe it or not, I think TNA will come through with their tapings in the northeast. I do. Even TNA has to know that Willow, The Bro Mans, Menagerie, or anything Dixie Carter related will get dumped on in a hurry. TNA has to know that going in. Their current direction is NOT going to fly for the next month or so. For that reason alone, I believe TNA will feature Austin Aries more, Let Bully Ray be himself, focus on lengthy X-Division matches, make Samoa Joe a destroyer, etc. All of that...for the next couple tapings only. Then all will go back to normal.
Summary: So much amazing talent. So much! Just a shame what TNA writing does to everything. The job of a go-home show is to sell you on buying the pay-per-view. That is the purpose. Not to be entertaining. Not to be a "solid show." Not to be fun. No, the goal is to get viewers watching to plunk down $40 for the PPV on Sunday. Otherwise, it is a failure. Needless to say, I am not spending a dime on TNA Slammiversary...nor do I expect many others reading this to either. The illegal streams will surely be fired up, once again showing all these supposed die hard TNA do not actually support the product. Look no further than (rumored )PPV buy rates, live event attendance, falling television ratings, or any other measure of business success for more examples in 2014.
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Thanks for reading. What did YOU think of TNA Impact Wrestling tonight?