It’s been quite awhile since I’ve reviewed a wrestling show and perhaps even longer since I critiqued an episode of TNA IMPACT! or Impact Wrestling LIVE! This ought to be interesting…
Despite popular opinion, we here at L.E.W.D. Central try to be somewhat “unbiased” when flexing our analytical muscles on all things regarding sports entertainment and pro wrestling. That’s not saying we succeed at it more often than not, but at least we try; some folks don’t even do that…you know who I’m talking about…
However in the spirit of objectivity, I’ll attempt to do my best and remain fair with my critique of last night’s stellar exposition of that good ol’ fashioned wrasslin’ we love so much. Again…heavy emphasis the word attempt here…
I can’t bring myself to talk poorly of this particular episode of IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! On the other hand I can’t really say anything glaringly and over-enthusiastically supportive of the episode. IN FACT, I can’t even stay planted in the lukewarm, gray area of indifference and apathy either. I do believe this is a first for me in my tumultuous relationship with the company; my feelings on the matter are indistinguishable.
Tonight’s episode on the whole was…unbelievable. Yes, it was unbelievable. That’s the perfect word to describe the previously indistinguishable feelings I have for the episode!
The episode was unbelievable in the sense that after several weeks of pleasuring fans with five-star shows and super-standard story lines, the creative and brilliant minds at TNA decided to reward it’s loyal viewers with one massive, mind-fluking (if you watched the show, you’ll catch the reference) menagerie of crap. That’s right; the company under Bruce Pritchard’s glorious reign finally laid its first goose egg.
Unbelievable, right?!?!? I KNOOOOOOOOWWWW!!!
The episode didn’t fall short because of the wrestling, as TNA will deliver eight times out of ten when it comes to match quality. What stunk to holy hell was the quality of the story lines highlighted on the show. With one slight exception in the very prominent “Aces and 8s” story line, everything else on the show, creatively speaking, fell about as flat as an open bottle of day-old soda.
Given that the show’s ratings haven’t been great since IMPACT Wrestling went live, started one hour earlier, and since Vince Russo left TNA, it will be interesting to see a) what this week’s rating turns out to be, b) how the company will salvage these stories, and c) if the focus of the product starts to slowly creep away from the World Heavyweight Title. TNA has been riding a particularly high wave of momentum for almost three months now; it’d be a shame for us to find them with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel at this point in the game. 10 years in, this type of mess is bush league and beneath a company of its “caliber.”
Anywhoo, here are a few of the things that stood out to me:
- Claire Lynch, Katie Vick, and YOU!
- AJ’s Stipulation = *headdesk*
- Taryn Terrell and
BrookeTessmacher: Didn’t See THAT ONE Coming
- Aces and 8’s: PLEASE Thicken the Plot…PLEASE…
Let’s cut the “holier-than-thou” stuff right here and right now; there are some story lines that have no business making it on the air, period. The problem is that once one of those story lines squeaks past Standards and Practices, it eventually crosses the threshold of the point of no return, meaning that we’ve got to put up with the damn thing until its run its course.
With each passing day more drama unfolds and it gets worse and worse and worse, and no matter how hard we pray or plead it just seems as if we’re being punished until this thing leaves on its own accord. Remember that one kid that came to your house for a sleepover party but stayed like two extra days after all the other kids left? This story line is that kid.
This whole Claire Lynch thing is inching towards Katie Vick territory, feeling and coming off as being as popular as a wet fart in church. Most fans will easily agree that this thing should’ve been aborted long ago, perhaps right after the point where it was revealed that AJ didn’t Spinal Tap Dixie Carter. But alas, the plucky “We want wrestling” minds in TNA decided to push forward and give us this…
These words (or a variation of them) actually crossed AJ Styles’ lips last night: “I’ll tell you what…you and me have a match tonight; if you win, I’ll admit that I’m the father of that child. BUT, if I win, not only will I get the points, but I also get a paternity test. How do you like THAT?!?!”
You know…I don’t care about the logic of the story line or any obvious plot holes that might exist in it. What really pushed me to the limit was the fact that this was a part of the big grand scheme. Someone had to green light this idea and that’s what I find most insulting. Claiming (or denying) to sire a child is one thing, as we’ve seen that type of drama between the ropes of a wrestling ring (i.e. Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, and Dominic).
What absolutely floored me was that AJ Styles uttered those words seriously because that’s the intended direction for his never-ending feud with Daniels and Kaz! Believe it or not, this whole mess has been dragging on for over 1 year!!! Seriously; what started out as Daniels’ heel turn has now regressed to AJ Styles being the father of a drug addict’s baby…REALLY?!?!?!?!
Keep in mind that TNA Entertainment, L.L.C. is supposed to be the company where the focus is primarily on the “wrestling.” Every time you pop on Twitter there are tons of fans praising IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! for the “wrestling” that the “wrestlers” “wrestle” between the hours of 8-10 PM, Eastern Standard Time. With so many claiming “we want wrestling,” and for a company that proudly proclaims that “wrestling matters,” what in the sweet cream on an ice cream sandwich does the Claire Lynch baby mama drama have to do with anything? For the life of me I can not think of TNA Entertainment, L.L.C. being a “wrestling” company when this mess reeks of “sports entertainment.”
And when was the last time those tag titles were defended?!?!?!
Since we’re on the subject of title defenses our attention is now focused squarely on the sorry state of the Knockouts Division. As of late it’s difficult to remember the time when the Knockouts were known for their anti-Diva-ish performances in the company. At one point even the most dense of fans could’ve easily made the case that TNA had the best women’s division on television in the United States; try defending this s**t now.
Madison Rayne won the belt from Ms. Tessmacher at Sunday’s Hardcore Justice Pay Per View, and even though the victory was tainted it was still a victory. Fast forward four days to the live broadcast of TNA’s flagship show, and not only does Tessmacher defeat Rayne soundly (as she should’ve in the first place), but she also does so with Taryn Terrell serving as the guest referee.
For those of you that don’t remember (or don’t care), Taryn Terrell is WWE Superstar Drew McIntyre’s ex-wife. She also use to be a WWE Diva. And yes, her credentials must be stated in that particular order.
I’m never against new stars debuting for any company, as the fresh faces bring with them the hope of exciting match-ups and creative character development. TNA had a golden opportunity to develop Ms. Terrell as an “IMPACT Wrestling Original,” someone with a clever name and gimmick that would really be remembered for her work as a TNA Professional Wrestler. The plus was that very few people in the live audience knew who she was!
But no; she debuts to fanfare as if she were Debra Miceli returning to the ring and she does so as the prop in a clusterfluk of a match for a title that’s becoming as valuable as salt water taffy in Sub-Saharan Africa. At least some folks are merciful enough to only make us sit through 43 seconds of this type of fluff. It’s a sad day when the most memorable thing about the entire affair was when Brooke Hogan bust her ass on the the stage before the match even started or Taryn Terrell rose unsuccessfully from the ashes of mediocrity.
Once again…veering dangerously close to that “sports entertainment” area…
The BFG Series and the Aces and 8s are currently the two most prominent stories featured on IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! I’ve got some thoughts about one star in the BFG Series, but that’s another blog post for another time. As far as the Aces and 8s are concerned, I don’t have any major gripes with the progression of the story.
What I am anticipating is taking that story beyond a roving gang of miscreants attacking wrestlers at random. I’d even argue that the men could remain masked for another month or so, but there has to be some sort of plot twist or complication that takes the effort in a different and unpredictable direction fans haven’t seen before.
Folks are already speculating about the identity of the mastermind of the group, but at this point they’re still a bunch of marauders interrupting matches; no other reason than to cause chaos for the sake of causing chaos. While I’m very aware of the fact that there are individuals who simply want to see the world burn, I do not get that feeling about this group. They act and move with an agenda other than just causing chaos; that’s what Joey Ryan is for.
I’m looking to seeing more depth and development from this group soon. If there is any truth to the rumors and speculation about the identity of the group’s members, then there has to exist some depth in order to compensate for the ambiguous identities of the “new” wrestlers that will debut without having the benefit of hiding behind masks.
But alas, those are just my thoughts. What do YOU think…?!?!?!