Well … what is there to be said about TNA Entertainment, LLC that hasn’t already been said …?
It was difficult reviewing this episode of IMPACT Wrestling because of … well … the obvious. Contrary to popular belief I do indeed make it a point to intentionally watch IMPACT each and every week, silently hoping each time I tune into Spike TV (HD channel 1145 with AT&T’s U-verse® service) I will find something strikingly awesome and energizing about the product. The problem is that rarely happens, and each disappointing viewing draws me one step closer to succumbing to the warm embrace of sheer insanity. Insanity, of course, is that invasive habit of repeating the same actions and expecting different results each time; what could possibly be more insane than watching a show weekly and expecting it to be different than what it is?
This is why it was difficult to review IMPACT given all that has (or hasn’t) occurred in the last week and a half. In order to enjoy the show for what it is, as opposed to watching it with an expectation that it’ll be more than that, I had to completely disregard everything I knew or thought I knew about the product and its stars. I had to ignore completely the fact that the show was taped some time ago and that I already knew what was going to happen because of the spoilers; I had to dismiss the hearsay about the promotion’s television deal with Spike. I had to pretend like I didn’t see the closing video package last week that prematurely promoted the end of Dixie Carter’s table dodging days, as well as overlook the angle’s astonishingly similarities to the storied Stone Cold Steve Austin/Vince McMahon rivalry that defined the Attitude Era. Simply put, in order to enjoy the show I had to literally approach it with my mind as clean and clear as a blank slate, reading and willing to absorb everything as it happened and fully appreciate the development of stories and characters as it happened in front of my eyes.
There within lies the problem; I can’t truthfully comment on whether or not the show was “good” based off of that criteria alone, specifically because this show – much like most episodes of IMPACT – featured “good” wrestling … and that’s something that TNA does more consistently than anything else. It is extremely rare when TNA will produce bad wrestling, and even rarer when they produce something that is smash-the-gas-pedal exciting from start to finish. So I apologize in advance for being the Negative Nancy that refuses to celebrate the mediocrity of an “okay” show highlighted by a man slamming his female boss through a table.
No one celebrates an “okay” show; if anything, people rush to their computers to tear apart shows that are simply okay, dismantling every single minute piece-by-piece, noting how certain stars are being further buried and how much more stale the product is becoming as time rushes forward. Every segment is heavily scrutinized, each minor slip up dissected with a fine-tooth comb, and minor inconsistencies magnified and palavered upon prominently on message boards, blogs, and Twitlonger tirades.
Pro wrestling fans long for non-stop action and excitement from beginning to end and it’s those types of shows that receive and should receive our praise, accolades, and adulation. Damn being drawn in for one or two segments here and there; we want the entire show to capture our attention and hold it for its duration. We want something that excites us, something that intrigues us profoundly, and an exhilarating exhibition of athleticism and logically engaging drama that forces us to literally stand up in our homes and scream along with the fans gathered in the arena.
Thursday’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling didn’t do any of that for me … at all. But that’s just my little ol’ opinion.
For ever sarcasm drenched comment made here there are at least ten proponents of the promotion who not only loved the show but can also provide you with the minute details on all the things that made the show awesome. Complimenting those thoughts are the legions of perspectives that can go on and on about how great and awesome the New York tapings have been for the company, the first of three sets of tapings scheduled to happen in the Hammerstein Ballroom of the Manhattan Center.
Perhaps the episodes feel fresh and great because they’ve moved away from the dull and lifeless tourists of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Maybe the brighter lights attract our attention a bit better than the dreary and dim lighting of the Impact Zone; perchance the simple and more focused storytelling captures our imagination differently than it has in episodes prior. It’s quite possible that the moral of the wrestlers has increased, comingling with the electricity of the live crowd and permeating through our television screens in an oddly positive Poltergeist-ish way. Who knows?
What I witnessed and saw Thursday night was no different from the other IMPACT Wrestling broadcasts that were just as “good,” or “phenomenal.” It was an okay show that revolved around Dixie Carter going through a table, something that was revealed last week, discussed about this week (by Bully Rayand Dixie Carter), highly promoted Thursday night and executed at the end of the show. Fans are currently riding high on this singular moment, feeling that the Toss Your Boss moment will give the promotion enough momentum to convince Spike officials to renew their TV contract … but I’m not supposed to consider anything outside of the show, right?
Enough of that; here’s what stood out to me on the show:
Let’s not kid each other and pretend that the episode was noteworthy for much else outside of Dixie Carter going through a table. There were other matches and the wrestlers did well in them, but the whole show – its feel and the execution of everything else in the show – all played third fiddle to highly publicized table spot. In terms of what happened tonight, Bully Ray made good on his promise and along with Dixie Carter provided a huge moment for fans that will go down in the promotion’s history books as one of those moments. The crowd literally erupted when Dixie went through the table, and Twitter was alive with tweets and excitement and the like as soon as “it” happened.
Okay, I’ll cheat just a bit. #ItHappens did remind me of something I’ve seen before …
It cannot be denied that fans ate this moment up, but we have to wonder what’s next in regards to the Dixie Carter evil authority figure story. Where does she go from here, and where does Bully Ray go from here? There are tons of possibilities, but we’ll have to wait until next week to see exactly how the next chapter in the saga unfolds. The major issue facing the promotion is that after such a major television moment, they’re going to have to top it with something as equally massive or ride the momentum of the moment until the next major pop comes along.
Well … there was a video package in the middle of the broadcast that talked about Team 3D facing The Hardyz in what was described as an epic match … but if it hasn’t happened, we can’t speculate on it. With all that being said, however, Dixie Carter going through a table at the hands of Bully Ray during a time where men are being heavily scrutinized and sanctioned for promoting violence against women is one ballsy way to separate one’s company from its competition. *slow clap for TNA*
I’m sure that you’ve got far more interesting things to say about tonight’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling, so feel free to share those thoughts. But as for this particular blog and perspective, we can only look forward to next week’s episode to see just how earth-shattering the ramifications will be for Dixie Carter’s demise. Feel free to leave your thoughts, because this is all I got.
*Honorable mention – Are we fine and dandy at the fact that Rycklon Stephens and Gene Snitsky were hired to work in the promotion for literally three weeks? We’re cool with that? Okie Doke.
On Sunday, February 23, 2014, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards defeated Robbie E and Jessie Godderz at a TNA Live Event to become the new TNA World Tag Team Champions. Congratulations to Richards and Edwards on their title victory, their first title run in the company after debuting five weeks ago on IMPACT Wrestling.
I only have one question, an honest question that has very little to do with The Wolves’ victory or the numerous explanations that “justify” why they were thrust in the spotlight so soon in their stint in TNA Entertainment, LLC…
What the *&#! is up with the BroMans???
From our L.E.W.D. offices it seemed as if very few fans gave a good damn about the BroMans losing their titles during a live event match. To be a bit more accurate, it seemed as if fans were thrilled that the Wolves—a supposedly more marketable and beloved team—knocked off the BroMans at a non-televised event. Any chase or hunt (pun intended) that could have happened, and the tons of money that could have been made from it, all gone in the blink of an eye in Morgantown, West Virginia.
We get it; the BroMans are already two dance contests deep in being just another set of jobbers used in between thrilling matches on IMPACT Wrestling. We’ve been given very few reasons to take them seriously as tag team champions, let alone as a tag team in the first place, and at best their 126-day reign was transitional, something to keep the tag team division relevant until a far more qualified tag team that wasn’t Bad Influence showed up.
Over time the pairing of Jessie “Mr. Pectacular” Godderz and Robbie E showed signs of growth, development and maturation that spoke highly of their depth as wrestlers and performers. It also gave fans a reason to believe that TNA was truly beginning to develop a new era of TNA Wrestlers. No one will ever…and I mean ever… speak of the BroMans in the same sentence as The Midnight Express, The Rockers, The Road Warriors, Demolition or the Four Horsemen (except for this one instance here), but they grew to be way more competent in the ring than anyone would’ve ever guessed.
To say it differently, these two as a tag team deserve way more credit than what they’re given.
This is why I’m particularly confused and slightly concerned about our reaction to the Wolves’ title victory this past Sunday. There was so much talk and focus on the guys who won the match more so than the guys who lost, even though the guys that lost the titles put in their fair share of work when it came to adding prestige and value to the titles and the tag team division.
Say what we will about the BroMans, but they held the titles and defended them often in a division that only had enough tag teams to fit into a Geo Metro. If TNA’s Tag Team Division could be personified as the Land of the Blind, the BroMans were effectively the cycloptic monarchs of all they surveyed, and it says something about the promotion and the division when challengers for the tag titles have to be imported to be competition for your champions.
All that being said, TNA is once again placed in the unenviable “damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t” position. The BroMans had a terribly cheesy chickens**t gimmick that they turned into chicken salad, and just when the opportunity for fans to take them seriously popped up, they’re unceremoniously defeated for their titles and fans are instantly more interested in the two new non-TNA guys than the homegrown stars. Lord knows that if a certain other promotion did something similar half the doggone IWC would be brandishing their torches and pitchforks before the end of this sentence.
I guess that’s the crux of my problem; despite having the titles for four months, despite growing to be a solid in-ring tag team, despite making the media rounds for the promotion, the BroMans get the bum’s rush for a five week old tag team. The same thing happened during AJ Styles’ first run as TNA World Heavyweight Champion when he was defeated easily by Rob Van Dam, who had only been in the promotion for six weeks at the time.
If a conclusion must be drawn from these two instances, it could be that the promotion stays true to what has been the case for sports entertainment ever since the very first WrestleMania: a promotion will do what’s necessary in order to make money. When thinking of it all from that perspective, it’s mere elementary to see and know that Rob Van Dam stood to get more revenue for the promotion than did AJ Styles, just as The Wolves stand to make a bigger splash for TNA than the BroMans. That, regardless of whether we want to admit it or not, is truly depressing; it’s depressing because even when fans think we’re getting what we want, the bottom line always revolves around money.
It’s at times like these, particularly during TNA’s self-proclaimed #RealNewEra, that fans get to witness the rise of the next big thing in “the business.” As easy as it is to blame the promotion for the title change, we also have to wonder whether or not Robbie and Jessie truly capitalized on the precious opportunity awarded them. Taking all of their development into consideration, it’s pretty crappy that they weren’t even given the chance to lose the titles after a lengthy and fabulously constructed feud.
Not only that, but they were also defeated for their titles with two more taped episodes of IMPACT Wrestling from the UK ready to be aired on television, meaning that these two taped episodes will show us whether or not this title change was predetermined well before the Wolves were even introduced to fans in proper fashion. And if that’sthe case, the whole element of surprise that’s coupled with the “anything can happen at a TNA Live Event” chatter is riddled with duplicitous half-truths…but I digress.
The focus of this piece revolves around Robbie E and Jessie Godderz, a tag team given a priceless opportunity to raise the stock of TNA’s tag team division and how they capitalized off of that opportunity. We can only assume at this point that the spotlight pointed in their direction has slowly dimmed leaving them barely visible in the grand scheme of things; if there is any truth to the speculation surrounding their loss (I heard that the Wolves were more popular in Japan, and seeing as the big Wrestle-1 crossover is looming on the horizon, it would make sense for the more popular team—as opposed to the already established one—to defend the titles against one of Japan’s finest tag teams), these assumptions are generalizations sturdy enough to build a two story house on. With James Storm currently in the beginning stages of a heel turn while holding a Feast or Fired briefcase for a future tag team title shot (which will inevitably be accompanied by a reconciliation with former tag team partner Robert Roode), there’s no reason in the wide World According to Garp for us to believe a program between the BroMans and the Wolves will grace our screens anytime after Lockdown in two weeks. And let’s just be honest with one another…do any of you reaaallly want to see a month long feud between the BroMans and the Wolves? Didn’t think so.
Mr. Christopher Lamb coined a phrase that succinctly describes my perception of the greatest asset of the Attitude Era: “professional competition.” The Attitude Era wasn’t great because of the rampant nudity, vulgar language and extremely violent matches. On the contrary, the Attitude Era was great (in part) due to rosters loaded with athletes who were not only passionate about their craft but also determined to be the best in their promotion and in the business. These wrestlers would approach 9 out of 10 of their matches desiring to not only make their opponent look good, but also raise the bar to show the suits that they should be highly considered among their peers to be the one and only top dog in the promotion. Very few of the stars were complacent and most of them made great use of the time they were given in the ring, be it forty-five seconds or forty-five minutes. If there’s anything “wrong” with the current era of the business, it’s that too many stars show that fire inside of the ring and opt to use Twitter to vent their frustrations; that’s honestly just wasted energy.
In regards to the BroMans, and with no malice or ill-intent towards their work and work ethic, it’s questionable whether they or their tag team cohorts have that same level of professional competition to give the TNA suits a valid reason to have their title change televised instead of taking place at a live event. It’s one thing to want to give the fans a great show; it’s another thing to want to make TNA the best sports entertainment promotion in the world. It’s a completely different thingto want to be the best at what you bring to the table and to empower those around you to want to do the same. The difference between Grade A work and Grade C work can’t be found in terms of what was done correctly or incorrectly; the difference is found in how well one does what one does and then exceeds that level to an unfathomable degree. The recent and “surprising” turn of events suggests that TNA felt very comfortable with passing the torch to the Wolves as a reward for the BroMans’ average work with the titles.
All of this could change in the upcoming weeks; I’ve read the spoilers and I’m aware of the unique situation both teams are placed in heading into Lockdown. That being said, the BroMans are trekking to Miami as the former champions, and as of right now they are not slated for a rematch until after the show…unless the titles change hands again at another live event.
At this point the only thing any fan can do is trust that the promotion knows what it’s doing and wait to see where the ride takes us. For what its worth, I do still feel as if the BroMans got the raw end of the deal and hope that in the upcoming weeks their foppish chicanery turns into a serious quest to prove their mettle as one of TNA’s #RealNewEra home grown tag teams.
For what it’s worth, Thursday’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling wasn’t as disastrous as it has been or could have been. Sure we here at L.E.W.D. give TNA more hell than what seems necessary, but as it was mentioned to me by a dear friend on Twitter, a broken clock is right two times a day. Backhanded compliments aside, there’s no real reason to be crass when all is right in Dixieland. The show was aight, as the young people say.
To say the show was “aight,” however, is not to excuse it from critique or constructive criticism. While one can always nitpick and find reasons to be upset, there’s still the prevalence of unanswerable questions that can plague a product easily, hovering over the landscape like vultures waiting to feast on the carrion decaying below. And believe you me there’s plenty of dead flesh to go around.
For starters, TNA has chosen to begin its #RealNewEra with a familiar face in pro wrestling history. As we’re all well aware Montel Vontavius Porter—also known as MVP—was revealed as the company’s new investor. We can all expect the “TNA is hiring former WWE wrestlers” accusation to follow, but there’s no siding with TNA when they continue to … well … hire former WWE wrestlers. And here’s where the gift and curse of WWE steps into the arena.
A good number of fans hate the fact that the WWE machine takes indy wrestlers, strips them of the identities they crafted prior to joining the company, and gives them completely different (and sometimes terrible) gimmicks that change the character the diehard fans came to know and love. Over a period of time, these gifted athletes athletes take these gimmicks and actually make them work. Unfortunately for fans a wrestler becomes known for his or her most popular gimmick, the gimmick they crafted and honed, becomes just as much a part of them as their very own face; for fans it’s difficult and impossible to separate the character from the real person and their most popular gimmick from the company they utilized it in.
While it’s very true that MVP actually began his nationally televised wrestling career in TNA as Antonio Banks, his rise to notoriety happened as MVP in the WWE’s massive shadow; and even though MVP owns the rights to the name he used in WWE (hence why he can be referred to as MVP in TNA), and even though he’s spent a significant amount of time wrestling and making a name for himself in Japan, most fans will only remember him for the time he spent in World Wrestling Entertainment as Montel Vontavius Porter. That’s a stigma that can’t be removed easily from a former WWE Superstar/Diva that has spent more than a cup of coffee on one of the main rosters.
On the flip side is the fact that there was no way TNA could’ve filled the new investor’s position with a name that fans weren’t familiar with. MVP is a great choice, especially given his notoriety in Japan and TNA’s growing relationship with Japan’s Wrestle-1 promotion. But what we’re seeing, what we’re getting is yet another power struggle storyline that is as intricately woven into the very fabric of the company as the “pro wrestling” they showcase regularly.
So once again the promotion is in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation; fans are told that there’s a #RealNewEra that arrived with the two-part Genesis free pay-per-view, but here we are with a familiar face locked in another power struggle storyline with the company’s president while the asylum’s inmates meander through overbooked dusty finishes and gimmick matches. It seems that only the players have changed and the game is still very much the same. All things being equal, TNA is still in its #ReconstructionEra more so than anything else, still working feverishly to fine tune its identity as they lurch forward into 2014; one month down, eleven more to go.
Here’s what stuck out to me while watching the show:
The Glasgow Crowd and Taking the Show On the Road
Samoa Joe Out for Blood
Samuel Shaw …
We’ve Got the Wrong Idea About Magnus
The first stop on TNA’s UK tour was Glasgow, Scotland. The annual UK tour is typically the highlight of the promotion’s year, as the UK fans tend to be more … shall we say excited … about TNA and its product than North American fans.
We all know why TNA was forced to bring IMPACT Wrestling back to Orlando, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the product comes off far more entertaining and exciting when the promotion visits its fans instead of having make merry jaunts down to Orlando. It also helped them to have filmed the show in an arena that was larger than somebody’s backyard …
Kudos and thanks to the fans who gathered in the SSE Hydro in Glasgow for the first pro wrestling event in the arena since its completion in September 2013. You guys were a welcome breath of fresh air from the tourists in Orlando who’d sit on their hands even if Jesus Christ returned in the middle of a Dixie Carter in-ring segment.
With Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, and Sting reportedly “gone” from TNA and IMPACT Wrestling, a void has been created for wrestlers eager to grasp the elusive brass ring of main event. In some ways TNA has also suffered from the same problem that plagues other wrestling promotions, taking far too few steps in cultivating main event talent as time passes on.
Enter Samoa Joe.
Joe’s utilization as of late has been mostly underwhelming, but the absence of hard-hitting heavyweight star power has created a perfect situation for Joe to rise to the occasion, bringing a different type of intensity and seriousness to TNA’s main event scene.
The Samoa Joe character creates an intrigue for me that could not be seen with Magnus’ other opponents on his road to glory. Magnus versus Jeff Hardy seemed flat, while Magnus versus AJ Styles seemed forced; Magnus versus Sting just honestly felt unnecessary.
But Magnus versus Samoa Joe—a pissed off and relentlessly vicious Samoa Joe at that—forces me to sit on the edge of my couch to watch how violent things could get. Given how Magnus’ character is being defined (poorly in my estimation, but we’ll get to that later), I find myself wanting to see him escape the seemingly inevitable onslaught of kicks, body blows and submissions that Joe unmercifully barrages his opponents with. To say it differently, it was easy to believe that Magnus could overcome anything thrown at him by Hardy, Styles and Sting. Can Magnus overcome an onslaught from Samoa Joe … I want to see him accomplish this even though I have no doubt that he will eventually come out on top of this feud.
That’s the thing that makes pro wrestling and sports entertainment exciting for fans. While MMA fans often go in on how “fake” pro wrestling is and how much more “real” MMA is, wrestling fans are less concerned with who wins the match and tend to be more concerned with how a particular athlete wins a match. I’d compare the art of pro wrestling to the “sweet science” of boxing. Any yahoo can throw a punch, but it takes an artist to know when to throw a particular punch with a certain amount of power and speed that creates those classic KOs or scorecard decisions that give us reason to cheer.
This isn’t to say the same art or science isn’t present or prevalent in MMA, I just personally get the feeling that MMA fights are simply two guys or gals trying to beat each other up. It’s hard work, it’s taxing on the body and requires years of training and discipline that the rest of us cream puffs can’t even think about doing without having an asthma attack; the same is true for pro wrestling, and one doesn’t have to lust for blood in order to understand that the hows of a pinfall or submission are just as important, if not more, than the pinfall or submission itself.
I think about all of this when I imagine Joe being the man threatening Magnus’ reign as TNA World Heavyweight Champion. The Samoa Joe character has been stale for some time and hasn’t been involved in too many noteworthy feuds or matches, but taking the character back to basics and unleashing that fury on Magnus is must-see TV for TNA and its fans. I have to give them kudos and credit for that.
I have very specific feelings about the Samuel Shaw character, feelings and thoughts that aren’t shared by most fans who enjoy the character and feel as if this type of character is great and refreshing in “the business” altogether. The Shaw character is different and unique, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying his development is akin to winning $7,000 in a scratch off.
Most fans are all excited that Samuel Shaw is a take off from Patrick Bateman, the character made famous by Christian Bale’s stunning performance in the motion picture American Psycho, and not by Bret Easton Ellis’ classic and controversial 1991 novel. After seeing the very first video introducing the repackaged Shaw character, I felt that the comparisons to American Psycho, particularly the Christian Bale depiction of Patrick Bateman in the movie,were superficial at best.
To begin, we can’t ignore the fact that with his hair slicked back and to the side, Samuel Shaw kinda resembles Bale’s Patrick Bateman:
Other than that … the buck pretty much stops there.
Patrick Bateman, as depicted by Christian Bale in the film adaptation of American Psycho, was a wealthy yuppie investment banker living in 1980’s New York who, after engaging fellow yuppies in conversation about high fashion, business, and elitism, would exact his psychopathic fantasies on unsuspecting colleagues and hookers. He was obsessed with his looks and his physique, he had a eerily vast knowledge of ’80s pop music and icons, and either wore expensive three piece business suits or trounced around naked as he killed his victims. Not to mention that often times when he killed people he was loud and made quite a mess.
Excuse the following language, but how the f**k did Samuel Shaw exhibit any of that during his repackaged video???
If anything, and the word anything is highly stressed at this point, the Samuel Shaw character is a hybrid of Christian Bale’s depiction of Patrick Bateman and the Dexter Morgan character made extremely popular by Michael C. Hall’s performances in the Showtime TV series Dexter, which is also based off a series of novels by author Jeff Lindsay.
If you’ve seen the Dexter series, you’d immediately recognize some of Samuel Shaw’s traits and characteristics. Blood splatter analyst by day and serial killer by night, Dexter Morgan has a dark history that gave birth to his insatiable desire to kill.
Taught at an early age to channel that thirst in a way beneficial to both him and society at large, Dexter uses investigative techniques and stealth to locate his targets (usually criminals who evaded the long arm of the law), kidnap them, and execute them all while making sure to cover all tracks that could lead to his own eventual arrest and execution.
The way Dexter incapacitates his targets is pretty awesome; after confirming that his intended target is truly guilty of committing an unsolved crime or was not truly brought to justice for committing a particularly gruesome crime, Dexter will make physical contact with the person under an alias in order to learn their habits and scope out a way to kidnap and murder them undetected.
Once he’s completed his reconnaissance, he infiltrates their location and puts them to sleep by using a specific drug delivered to their body using a hypodermic needle …
Yes … Dexter puts his victims to sleep before kidnapping them. Oh, and he does so by wearing the nifty little outfit you see in the picture to the right of this paragraph … the outfit that looks oddly similar to the get up Samuel Shaw wears during his matches:
It is also worth noting that Dexter is typically calm, cool, and collected when making his kills. Although prone to sudden outbursts of anger, Dexter typically keeps himself under control when out on a kill or even living his life as a father, widower, brother, and Miami Police Department consultant.
All this is to say that the Shaw character was probably inspired by several different sources, most of which have little to do with American Psycho. It still remains to be seen if the Shaw character will make highly anticipated waves in TNA expected by some, but at least the promotion is stretching and flexing its creative juices by capitalizing on the creepy and unnerving characters that are more cerebral and calculated in their actions and demeanor. I’d love to see more of the character, especially in the mid-card division which seems to be lacking direction and attention (hi, X-Division and TV Championship!), but right now the focus is squarely on the main event scene and ending the Hogan/Bischoff/Prichard Era storylines.
I really despise the fact that Magnus is constantly referred to as the “paper champion.” Logically, I also realize it is a way (as far as the “storyline” is concerned) for characters to taunt and get under the champion’s skin, a method in which they can psych out the champion and force him to make rash and foolish decisions as he attempts to legitimize his championship reign.
If we briefly recall the aforementioned thoughts on how a scripted match is won as opposed to whether or not a win is scripted, it’s the little things in a pro wrestling bout that can make or break an intended storyline or character’s development. In regards to a “paper” champion, there’s a stark difference between Magnus being given his championship reign and Magnus being protected during his championship reign. Magnus, for all intents and purposes, is being protected during his championship reign which calls for an entirely different type of heat than what he’s receiving as we’re conditioned to believe he never deserved the top spot at all.
It cannot be denied that Magnus’ climb up the TNA World Heavyweight Title Tournament ladder was riddled with suspicious fluke victories. It cannot be denied that interference from Rockstar Spud lead to Magnus’ victory over Jeff Hardy to win the TNA World Heavyweight Title. It can’t be denied that tons of wrestlers helped him defeat both AJ Styles and Sting, enabling him to retain his title and usher both men out of the company for the time being.
The interesting thing about pro wrestling is how we perceive a match or storyline, taking what we hear and see as the end all be all without attempting to understand what we know about what we have heard and seen. For example: Ladder Matches and Steel Cage Matches are also No Disqualification Matches because authorities acknowledge the fact that wrestlers can use the same tool they need to win the match (the ladder and the cage) as a weapon. If the combatants in a No DQ match cannot be disqualified, they are extremely susceptible to outside interference, which is exactly what happened in Magnus’ match against Jeff Hardy for the World Heavyweight Championship. Hell, Magnus was also attacked in that same match!
When Rockstar Spud pushed Jeff Hardy off of the ladder on the ramp, his actions had more to do with not wanting Jeff Hardy to win more than their desire to see Magnus as the champ. In the end, Magnus was able to climb the ladder and grasp the title when Jeff Hardy was not; as much as we can say that Magnus would’ve never won the title without their help, we have to remember that “anything goes” in a No DQ Match. Utilizing help in a No DQ Match is just as “unethical” as smashing a man’s face against a steal cage or smacking him with a ladder.
When Magnus faced AJ Styles it was unbearable to see the Styles character portrayed as the face while Magnus was placed to be the heel defending his rightly earned title. The AJ Styles character is the one that abdicated his position as champion by leaving the company; the AJ Styles character was the former champion stripped of his title, thus vacating the championship and legitimizing the tournament for that championship. Yet here Styles is, goading the champion into a match that he (Styles) honestly didn’t deserve and shouldn’t have received by preying on Magnus’ inferiority complex as a competitor and a champion. Once again, Styles accepts fighting the real champion in a No DQ Match, and fans are “furious” when outside interference occurs. Exact same situation when Magnus faced and defeated Sting.
Let it be known that I may be one of the few people that like Magnus as champ, as he’s been hailed as the future of TNA since his debut some odd six years ago. What I find peculiar about his reign is the underlying notion that he hasn’t truly earned his spot or the championship, that he was handed all of his opportunities while the other “hard-working, more deserving” wrestlers fell victim to Dixie Carter’s reign of terror that only manifested as such since she received more on-screen time. He’s being depicted as a weak champion for sure, leading some of us fans to question whether or not this is good for the character and Nick Aldis’ TNA career. One can only hope that this direction won’t damage Magnus’ credibility as a main event start.
Take WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan as an example. A large contingent of fans would and could successfully argue that the way Bryan is being booked now is atrocious, particularly in light of Batista’s Royal Rumble win one week ago. Many pundits have argued that Bryan is booked as being weak and his character is being buried or misused by WWE top brass and creative. These accusations have led many to comment that if Bryan doesn’t headline WrestleMania 30 or fails to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion before WrestleMania 30, then all is lost for any hope in the character, the person Bryan Danielson, and the WWE for being something different than what his has historically been for over five decades.
Magnus is in a similar situation. After cutting his teeth and paying his dues in TNA for some years, the way the character is now portrayed as champion is simply ridiculous. The Dixieland/New Investor storyline has more weight and prominence than Magnus’ reign as champion, both AJ Styles and Sting were booked as super huge babyfaces on their way out of the company while Magnus was booked as a weak champion, and the magnitude of Magnus’ reign as champion has been dwarfed by the news of people leaving the company, the speculation of where they’ll end up next, and the importance and weight of a name well-known outside of TNA coming into TNA to “set things straight with such a crooked company.” How does any of this make Magnus look like he deserves to be in the spot that he’s in, and what does it all say about this #RealNewEra where the younger stars are being primed to lead the company into the future?
Again, we can only wait and see how things unfold for Magnus and Nick Aldis. I just feel like we’re getting a substandard push for Magnus, a push that could’ve started as something far more exciting and jaw-dropping than what it has been so far. Seriously: Magnus was the first ever British World Heavyweight Champion in 100 years, and people were more flabbergasted about the two falls Jeff Hardy took in their Dixieland Match than they were about him winning the championship.
But alas, those are just my thoughts. What are yours?