IMPACT Wrestling Review 1-17-13, a.k.a. “One Wedding and a Funeral”
The numbers are in, and last night’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling pulled in 1.6 million viewers, giving the show a 1.15 ratings share. This is up significantly from the 1.3 million viewers that gave the show a 1.09 ratings share last week. What could have possibly brought in 300,000 more viewers to the show Thursday night?
Was it the return of world-renowned wrestler and the 2011 recipient of the Dean Malenko “Iceman” Award, Low-ki?
Did Bruno Sammartino win a 30-minute, Triple Threat Iron Man match against the reanimated carcasses of Frank A. Gotch and President Abraham Lincoln?
Well what in the blue hell gave TNA a surge in viewership? Believe it or not it could be one of two different things (or both), depending on your perspective.
You could take into account that TNA’s “competition” also received a surge in ratings as of late, so the increase in viewers could be due to the lack of stiff competition pro wrestling faces with the end of the regular football season. Or, on the other hand, you could openly admit that the soap opera inspired storyline wedding between Brooke Hogan and Bully Ray brought in 300,000 viewers to a two-hour pro wrestling show that only featured twenty-three (23) minutes of actual pro wrestling…
Sadly most people will easily agree that the Ray-Hogan Wedding brought in the viewers.
The past three IMPACT Wrestling reviews emanating from the L.E.W.D. site have consistently said the same thing: TNA has overtly delved into the world of sports entertainment. The frustratingly amusing thing about it is…the fans don’t care and STILL love the product. To each his own I guess.
The truth of the matter is that TNA’s ability to showcase good “wrestling” died the moment Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan exchanged their vows. For the “We Are Wrestling” company, where “Wrestling Matters,” whose fans cheered in glee-filled delight when their “We Want Wrestling” prayers and Twitter hashtags were answered, “sports entertainment” took up fifty-four (54) minutes of seventy-seven televised minutes (1 hour, 17 minutes according to YouTube) of the show; and from all accounts, the show was “solid and good.”
It’s very confusing to understand how fans who hate sports entertainment with a passion can admit to enjoying what, by TNA’s standards, Thursday night’s average IMPACT Wrestling show. The entire show…I repeat, the entire show…revolved around the Ray-Hogan Wedding and whether or not Hulk Hogan would walk his daughter down to the ring. Once again we must remind ourselves that this storyline, a major storyline in TNA at this point, has yet to involve or contain any wrestling whatsoever. We also can’t forget that Bully Ray, a suspended TNA superstar per order of General Manager Hulk Hogan, has still appeared on TNA television (a lá John Cena).
Come to think of it, when has Hulk Hogan managed anything in TNA, generally speaking, since this whole mess started with his daughter and Bully Ray? And why hasn’t he done anything about the Aces and Eights? I guess to find out the answer to these questions and more we’ll have to tune into next week’s episode of
SOAP…err, I mean IMPACT Wrestling.
Oh, and Tazz is a part of the Aces and Eights.
Here’s what stood out to me:
- Legend Status: Jeff Hardy > Ricky Steamboat
- Butt Puppets and Three Whole Wrestling Matches
- Jay Bradley: Welcome to the Show
- Remember when Don West was an alcoholic?
- A Synopsis of the Ray-Hogan Wedding and Taz
If you start the video around the 3:30 mark you’ll notice the fans start a “You Still Got It” chant aimed towards the legendary veteran Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. In the world of pro wrestling such a chant is ofter reserved for wrestlers who are no longer active competitors and have returned to the ring usually for a one-off match with an up-and-coming wrestler and/or superstar.
Why in the hell did TNA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy, very much still in active competition, receive this same chant on the show?
While I’m not the world’s most devoted Jeff Hardy fan, and while I do recognize his contribution to the sport, it seems weird that anyone would give him a “You Still Got It” chant, particularly since there’s yet to be a question of whether or not he lost “it” in the first place. The moment was awkwardly flattering, the same awkwardly flattering moment when the school’s biggest nerd asks the school’s hottest girl to the prom; she tries her best not to laugh and in the end thanks the dork and kindly replies “…nooooooo.”
Someone could’ve started a “Jeff!” chant, or a “You were awesome!” chant; instead the plucky fans at the Impact Zone essentially told Jeff he’s in the same class of athletes as Vader and Steamboat. It’s an honor to be in their league, but it’s also a slap in the face to be in their league and still in active competition as a World Heavyweight Champion.
In an opening segment the team of Bad Influence interrupted Jeff Hardy’s speech about his victory at the Genesis pay per view. Kaz used the word “butt puppet” to demean the fans at the Impact Zone. I thought that was funny.
What wasn’t so knee-slappingly gut busting was the fact that only three (3) matches took place on IMPACT Wrestling. I won’t rehash the argument here from above, but it is something to think about if we’re going to be real when talking about the good and solid “wrestling” that only happens in TNA.
“You [pointing toward Tazz]…talked about guys getting to ‘hump the highways…’ let me tell you…I’ve humped so many highways, I probably owe a few child supports…”
Then Bradley goes on to say this:
“…now I’ve been trained by the best…to be one of the best…”
The promo was far from being the most scintillating mic work in pro wrestling but it was very effecting in selling fans on the potential of Jay Bradley. In my opinion Bradley showed more promise and potential than any of the other Gut Check competitors and winners that have been featured on IMPACT Wrestling outside of Taeler Hendrix.
From what I’ve seen of his work his match with Brian Cage last week was not his best outing. However that says nothing against his abilities, as Bradley definitely has the talent, size, presence and personality to bring some much needed life and fresh air into the relatively stale IMPACT Wrestling roster.
My only concern is that Bradley would fall in the same trap as other wrestlers on the roster, getting lost fairly quickly in the shuffle and relegated to the role of putting over Rob Van Dam or Chavo Guerrero. If he manages to avoid those twin perils, he could easily end up like Crimson and disappear for an indefinite amount of time in OVW, despite having traveled, wrestled and trained all over the world.
Here’s to hoping the company does the right thing with Jay Bradley as he could immediately bring some life and zest into TNA’s product.
Does anyone reading this remember the time right before Don West’s commentary in TNA started getting really good and his character was an alcoholic? I liked that Don West character.
If you’re wondering what this has to do with Thursday’s show, I figured it was a good time to reminisce on something random in TNA before we start the discussion about the wedding and Tazz’s heel turn…seeing as that heel turn was just as random as a drunken, on-air commentator.
Wrestling fans are not strangers to the “let’s get married inside the ring” storyline and angle. This has been done to death and by now we’re all use to it happening. Bully and Brooke’s ceremony was no different than any other wedding we’ve seen take place in the ring, including the standard attack and utter destruction dispensed by wedding crashers (in this case, the Wild Bill Hickok Social Consortium). It’s a waste of time and energy to ramble on about the specifics of the actual wedding segment; it’s a wrestling storyline and it was what it was.
What didn’t make a lick of sense was Tazz’s arguably shocking revelation. At the most inconvenient time during the wedding (WAAY the hell after the whole “Does anyone object to this union” part of the ceremony), Tazz interrupts the justice, asks Bully if he’s sure he wants to get married to Brooke, then takes off his tuxedo jacket to reveal an Aces and Eights’ vest. Immediately the motley crew of bikers swarms the set, lays waste to all the men, and Brooke’s boobs pops out.
…the f*ck sense does that make??!?!
The Rt. Rev. Showtime already elucidated on the logic behind Tazz’s heel turn so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel on that one. As eloquent as his perorations are, I disagree with anything that attempts to justify the need to be even mildly excited about this latest development involving the Aces and Eights.
The fact is that fans and detractors of IMPACT Wrestling can at least agree that the Aces and Eights storyline is dead weight at this point. Having Tazz join the group is a sorry ass way of getting fans to at least give a damn about the group once more. As it stands right now we’ll have to wait until next week to hear and see the logic behind his association with the group, because as of this moment it is simply inexplicable no matter what direction or rose-tinted spectacle you view it from.
A lot of fans were shocked to see Tazz join the group, but the shock ends right there; it’s not shocking because we knew all along, but was “shocking” because we never saw it coming. Tazz joining the Aces and Eights was unpredictable and in some circles, simply being “unpredictable” is a good thing even if there’s no good reason for being unpredictable. Because of such the show gets a good review because something unpredictable happened at the end, a poor man’s cliffhanger if you will.
I don’t buy into that one bit because in at least two instances on the show Tazz openly revealed that something was up. He stated to Mike Tenay and Todd Keneley that he didn’t make Bully Ray’s bachelor party because he had “prior engagement.” Later on he excuses himself from the announce table to take care of “wedding stuff.” Those things, however, meant nothing while watching the show; no one would’ve ever expected Tazz to be in cahoots with the gang by those statements alone.
Even with the moment being unexpected there’s still no good reason (that we know of right now) for Tazz to be affiliated with the group, and we can’t get giddy about the future prospects of the group or storyline because of this one unexpected filler. To be honest, Devon’s involvement with the gang was a far better unexpected development than Tazz’s. We were all led to believe that Devon was done with the company, and the next thing we know he’s unmasked and back in the company. That bit of unexpectedness worked because a) we thought Devon was actually done with TNA and b) the storyline was still relatively fresh and new.
To unveil Tazz as a member of the group now, after months of languishing and still having not revealed their intentions in TNA, is just a cheap and easy way to get a rise out of the audience. It would’ve been more rational and unexpected to have Mike Tenay revealed as a member of the group.
Here are some other things to consider:
- Two weeks ago Mike Knox had his mask removed by Kurt Angle after the club’s President made it known that the remaining masked men should keep their masks on at all costs, as “anonymity” gives the group a certain level of power. One week ago, Knox was mere moments away from being kicked out of the group because he lost his anonymity. This past Thursday, Tazz openly admits to the world he’s in the group…think about that for a minute…
- The interruption and destruction of the wedding would’ve been more captivating and compelling if Tenay and Keneley remained silent as the set and the guests were being destroyed.
- When was the last time Hulk Hogan did anything related to his duties as a General Manager? When asked the question earlier in the night, “Hogan, are you here for the wedding?” Hogan’s immediate response (in the event he chose to make one) should’ve been, “No, I’m here to do my f*****g job, I’ve got a show to run! Now get out of my face!”
- When the cameramen are hiding outside of the trailers, how are they able to get quality audio from the people talking inside of the trailer?
- What if the Aces and Eights storyline turns out to be a little more than an up-to-date, more convoluted and excruciatingly longer version of the yearlong Immortal storyline?
- Have the Knockouts ever had the show closing main event spot of a pay per view? If they haven’t, considering how “good” the division is, why not?
But those are just my thoughts; what do YOU think?