When most people choose to eat popcorn, they eat it as a snack. I’m not sure many people sit down at the dinner table and prepare a steaming plate of popcorn as their choice meal for the evening. Also, many people don’t sit down at a restaurant and ask, “I didn’t see the price for the Popcorn Meal on the menu. I was hoping you could locate that for me!” If you meet a person that does either of these things, back away slowly, and run in the opposite direction as swiftly as possible.
This is the same mentality I take with TNA Addicts because they devour Popcorn Wrestling every week on TNA iMPACT. Total Non-Stop Anticipation is responsible for more ADHD outburst than a fireworks and laser/lights show in a room with tear away walls…wait…that IS the iMPACT Zone…
The Popcorn Wrestling that I’m referring to is the idea that a company can have a product that has a number of pop-up moments that are exhaled by the ADHD (IWC) wrestling fan base. Ultimately these Popcorn moments do not lead to anything.
After last night’s (1-17-13) episode of TNA iMPACT, I realized something very important. I am not conditioned to watch TNA due to my heightened level of analysis! TNA Addicts watch iMPACT in an episodic manner. They can celebrate every episode because that’s all they are looking for, a weekly fix.
I, along with many other members of the L.E.W.D. Crew, analyse the product for the value that it brings and the value that it provides for both the past and future product. Unfortunately, TNA does not present a product that is promising for either the past, present, or future.
SO…Last night, the wedding of Bully/Buh-Buh/Mark (he was referred to as all three last night) Ray and Brooke Hogan was to take place. The wedding went as a wedding is supposed to until it was time for the presiding official to declare them husband and wife. Tazz then proceeded to interrupt them with two points: 1. Nonsensical babbling about whether or not Bully Ray wanted to do this. 2. “Is it just me, or is it hot in here?” Then he removes his tux jacket to reveal that he was wearing an Aces & Eights vest…
This is where the separation between me and the TNA Addicts comes in. Beyond the fact that it provided a “Moment” that will be talked about in the collective basements of the 40 Addicts convulsing from their overdose of Anticipation, what good came from last night? (I’ll wait……………………………………………………….)
Let’s look at this in the three categories of time.
The biggest issue I have with this is that TNA and their Addicts have boasted about how their product is “Cutting Edge,” “Not the WWE” and “Pro Wrestling”…Now maybe I am just…NO!! For almost a month now, the show has been closed out with the “Worst GM in Wrestling” “The Infamous” Hulk Hogan, his ravaged daughter/”Knockout’s GM” Brooke, a suspended talent/”Best heel in the business” Bully/Buh-Buh/Mark Ray (Whom is now a face…), and a band of biker men that don’t have contracts or personalities but can cause chaos for the sake of chaos given that we still don’t know their motives. Pro Wrestling right?
The most recent episodes have featured the TNA Champion Jeff Hardy (carrying 2 belts) in the opening segments and maybe having a match preceding the dramatic close not involving said championship, thus making the main event the aforementioned debauchery!
Maybe I’m wrong…NO!!! That is Sports Entertainment be definition!
A moment…That’s all it was. (Thanks Da Infamous DiZ)
Tazz took off a jacket, became a public member of Aces & Eights, and this provided a brief moment of WTF. But as my good friend Mr. Quinn Gammon stated, there are 2 types of WTF’s. One is the expression of Shock and Awe, and the other is the expression of confusion and distaste. The problem with this “Moment” is that the percentages for the WTF had to be 40%/60%. This would mean that more than half of your live studio audience was confused as to what was going on, and why is the announcer guy joining the other team.
Mr. Ashley Morris brought up a great point as well in a conversation that Tazz is the “Human Suplex Machine” only to those who knew of him in his ECW days. He had a very short (unmemorable) stint as a wrestler in the WWE, so to the vast majority/casual fan, Tazz is no more than the announcer guy, and given that you can’t hear the announcers during a live recording, most of the Addicts in the arena, whom are regulars, will not be familiar to Tazz’s contribution to the product, therefore causing confusion as to why it is important for him to go to the “other side”.
Not much of one with this story…
What happens now? What value does the A’s & 8’s get with the addition of Tazz? They already have sponsored segments on the show anyways. They already have infinite access to the arena. If they can just learn how to wrestle in matches, they may actually make an impa…NO!!! They simply do not matter! We still do not know why they exist. Every other Hostile Takeover that has happened has had an immediately stated motive as to why they do what they do…except this one! That is not innovative or groundbreaking, that’s just STUPID!!!
Popcorn Wrestling is just something that I can not get into simply because I look at wrestling to be thorough entertainment. There is a big difference between whimsical and nonsensical. I will watch (and sometimes enjoy) the whimsical over the nonsensical any day. Don’t get me wrong, I love some good old-fashioned wrasslin’, but I like to deal with organization that don’t have an ongoing identity crisis!
What do you think?
Rt. Rev. Showtime
For those of you just now joining our conversation, here’s Pt. 1 of our discussion on Claire Lynch.
I’ll admit that the title of this two-part post is a bit misleading, particularly because I’ve attempted to show how the story line doesn’t have anything to do with Claire Lynch really.
The real issue is that fans have associated the story line with Claire Lynch, thus believing that her hasty exit from IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! and TNA meant the end of the story. From that perspective, yes Claire Lynch is good and gone from our television screens.
What remains is a bitter rivalry between AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, one that reaches way back into the early days of TNA Wrestling. Kazarian simply adds a new face to a symbolically ancient feud between two off-screen buddies.
Why is any of this significant? Without going into deep detail of the personal relationship between the two men, Daniels and Styles work well together in the ring because of their relationship outside of the ring. It’s no different than the bromance between BFFs Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
Collectively speaking Styles and Daniels are one of TNA’s greatest assets when it comes their product and talent roster. Both men are capable of having excellent matches, but they’re even more capable of having five-star matches with one another. This isn’t saying that all of their matches have been MOTY candidates, but 9 times out of 10 you can count on them to put on one hell of a show at any given moment.
This also happens to be one of TNA’s greatest weaknesses. The company relies heavily on these two, and when creative seemingly can’t come up with anything to do with either one of them individually, they just slap them together and let nature take its course. This creates a major problem: what exactly do you do with Daniels and Styles when the honeymoon is over? This problem is complicated further when you’ve slapped the tag team titles on Daniels and “The Other Guy.”
In three days Kazaniels, also known as the World Tag Team Champions of the World, will be celebrating the two month anniversary of their second reign as tag team champions. From June 28th (when they won the titles) up until today, they’ve only defended the titles once: on the August 9th episode of IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! against the team of Garett Bischoff and Devon.
It’s ludicrous to believe that Kazaniels should be defending the titles every week, but consider the fact that TNA proudly promotes the “wrestling” side of its product more so than the “sports entertainment” aspects and fans can begin to make some important connections between points A and B of this story line.
The World Tag Team Champions of the World are/were wrapped up in the Claire Lynch portion of the AJ Styles “golden boy” story. To place them in a significant feud with another tag team would complicate their involvement with Styles. Therefore any title matches not involving AJ Styles would only be necessary for the sake of saying that the belts have been defended.
Here’s a real rib-tickler: who would Kazaniels defend the titles against? There are very few, if any, established tag teams left in TNA right now. So even if the WTTCOTW’s were not involved with Styles, who would they defend the titles against? Hernandez y Guerrero? Kid Kash and Gunner? Magnus and Joe?
Idealistically Claire Lynch’s departure would free up the tag team champs, enabling them to get involved in a feud that value to the titles and prestige back to the division. Hell, even the Aces and 8s could provide invigoration and new blood for the failing division.
That’s not going to happen though. The tag champs are still involved in a story line with AJ Styles and adding two more individuals to the story line would unnecessarily complicate the already convoluted story line. But the story line has ended, right? That frees up AJ, Daniels and Kazarian for new story lines. Wrong again; it’s anybody’s guess as to who will win the BFG Series now that the Aces and 8s story line has taken center stage.
Here are some facts we know: the top four men in the BFG Series are (from the top down) James Storm, Samoa Joe, Rob Van Dam, and AJ Styles. The next four competitors with an immediate chance to rise above the red line of death are (from the top down) Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson, and Jeff Hardy.
The round robin portion of the BFG Series will end in two weeks on September 6th, and the four competitors above the red line of death will compete in a single elimination tournament at the No Surrender Pay Per View on September 9th. The winner of that tournament will move on to become the number one contender to face the TNA World Heavyweight Champion at the Bound for Glory Pay Per View, which takes place on October 14th.
Austin Aries, the current TNA World Heavyweight Champion, was attacked by the Aces and 8s gang on last Thursday’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! Former champion Robert Roode has lost the right to challenge Austin Aries for that title after losing to him at the Hardcore Justice Pay Per View on August 12.
Here is a bit of speculation: Austin Aries may have suffered an injury that will keep him from competing, forcing him to vacate the title. If he’s forced to vacate the title a series of matches may take place to crown a “new” champion in a main event match at No Surrender in two weeks. Robert Roode could easily end up in the tournament and regain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, moving on to the Bound for Glory Pay Per View to face James Storm, the winner of the BFG Series and the superstar who has a major grudge to settle with Roode anyway.
Or…Robert Roode returns and demands that as the former champion and previous number one contender, he deserves the right to be crowned the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Interim General Manager Sting, or General Manager Hogan, places him in matches to determine the new number one contender culminating in a championship match at No Surrender. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Austin Aries, still hell bent on regaining his title, will return more focused on seeking revenge against the Aces and 8s, taking him out of the title hunt for awhile. Everyone else rallies once again against the scourge that is the Aces and 8s, including AJ Styles. But AJ has been thoroughly humiliated by Kazaniels two times, when they accused him of having an affair with Dixie Carter and when they accused him of siring Claire Lynch’s unborn and fictional child.
Logically speaking Styles cannot simply walk away from this situation. One week ago the man wrestled Daniels just to gain the right to have a paternity test to prove he wasn’t the father of the baby because he couldn’t remember whether or not he actually slept with Claire Lynch. He avoided talking to Claire, was accused of running away from his responsibilities when he went to Australia to do a promotional tour for TNA. The message from Claire’s attorney was cute and sweet, but it doesn’t explain AJ’s silence or confusion on the matter. It also doesn’t solve the initial problem: Kazaniels dislike of Styles’ golden boy image.
And there’s the question: what do you do now with Styles and Kazaniels?
The answer is simple; you keep the story going between the three of them and conclude the drama at the Bound for Glory Pay Per View OR with another Wild Card Tournament beginning in December for the World Tag Team Championships. Whatever the case may be, the feud between Kazaniels and Styles is not over and done with. With no competition, Kazaniels can still work to prove that AJ Styles isn’t as clean cut as he makes himself to be.
Styles, on the other hand, needs at least one more episode of IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! or a Pay Per View match to put Kazaniels out of their misery to move on to bigger something else. A really good way to stick it to the team would be to take the tag titles away from them again…much like he and Kurt Angle did at Slammiversary 2012; but that’s just wishful thinking. Or is it?
My last thought is this: TNA can drag out a story line for at least one year, and the true beginning of the drama between Styles, Daniels and Kazarian had nothing to do with Claire Lynch. With Lynch gone, the absurdity of the drama can be replaced with a more compelling and intriguing finish to the 500th iteration of Styles versus Daniels. At this point we can only hope that things won’t get as worse as they already have.
Thank. You. Wrestling. gods.
Thursday night’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling Live! had very few redeeming qualities, but the one silver lining bordering that dark cloud was the presumed end to the disastrous story line involving the Claire Lynch character.
For those who didn’t see the show, the story line ended like this: AJ Styles gets a paternity test, Daniels and Kazarian come out and slander his name, Claire Lynch’s legal representation shows up and reads a notarized statement from Lynch that reveals that she was blackmailed by Daniels and Kazarian and forced to drug AJ and take compromising pictures with him and that she was never actually present, AJ’s name is vindicated, he attacks both Daniels and Kazarian, and the story ends.
For the few sick sadists who want a more thorough explanation, the following video is for you:
We shouldn’t pop bottles and revel in newspaper riddled ticker tape parades of mediocrity so soon, however; unfortunately for you and I, this story line is faaaaar from over. Note the heavy emphasis on the word far back there.
The problem with celebrating the “abortion” of this story line (shout out to Da Infamous DiZ for that zinger of ironic proportions) prematurely is that we can get wrapped up in the euphoria that comes with the random abrupt ending. However, just because AJ Styles’ name has been cleared doesn’t mean we’ll hear the last of this epic and unnecessary waste of precious wrasslin’ time.
Consider these few thoughts before we jump into the topic:
- The Claire Lynch story line officially started on July 10, 2011
- Since the story line is at least 1 year old, does the disappearance of Claire Lynch mean that it’s over?
- Daniels and Kazarian have literally not defended the Tag Team Titles since winning them for the second time.
- Uhm…what the hell is up with AJ Styles’ character now?
Go back and watch the video starting at 00:37. At that point Kazarian addresses AJ Styles from the ramp:
“Whoa whoa whoa, AJ shut up for Godsakes! [dramatic pause] After all this time … you expect us to believe that? [dramatic pause] Even now, in the final hours, you’re still more concerned with protecting the AJ Styles brand than you are your own flesh and blood; AJ, you still care more about yourself than that damn demon seed you put in Claire’s womb.”
That line of dialogue from Kazarian wasn’t included in the segment for s**ts and giggles; Kazarian was reminding fans of the moment the feud started, which inevitably explains why the Claire Lynch blackmailing scandal happened in the first place.
The beef between “Kazaniels” (shout out to Mr. Gammon for that moniker) goes back to July 10, 2011, the date of TNA’s 2011 Destination X pay per view. Styles defeated on-again-off-again friend/foe Christopher Daniels in a match, prompting the latter to badger the former for a rematch.
The two faced each other again on the September 1 episode of Impact Wrestling and Daniels, after picking up the victory, refused to shake hands with Styles. For the next few weeks Daniels refused to give Styles a rematch, gloating over the victory and turning heel in the process. The two finally faced off one more time at the October 16 Bound for Glory in an “I Quit” Match that Styles won.
Styles then went on to wrestle in a tournament for the TNA World Tag Team Championships with Frankie Kazarian, who also turned heel on Styles and abandoned the Phenomenal One during the final match of the series. Kazarian then begrudgingly aligned himself with Daniels, who continued to taunt Styles. Here’s the most important question: why did Daniels hate AJ so much?
Wait…I think it was because AJ was the golden boy of the company and got the spotlight when stars like Daniels and Kazarian played the background. This is what we would refer to as foreshadowing. Literally everything that Kazaniels did after this point was designed to besmirch and sully Styles’ reputation, ultimately proving that he wasn’t the “golden boy” he appeared to be.
More matches between the three and some others take place until it is revealed that the only reason Kazarian joined Daniels was to keep him from spilling the beans about a “secret” that would ruin Styles’ career. That secret involved photos, video footage, and a taped phone message implying that Styles was having an affair with TNA President Dixie Carter. Kazaniels vehemently believed that Styles’ prominence in the company was only because he was sleeping around with the president. Carter’s husband, Serg Salinas, even makes a guest appearance on the show and levels AJ with one mighty right cross to the chin.
Raise your hand if you remember that part of the story line.
From that point Claire Lynch is eventually brought into the story line and it is revealed that the supposed intimate moments between Dixie and AJ were actually instances where AJ and Dixie were attempting to help Claire battle through her substance abuse problems. It’s also at this moment when a few fans noticed that Claire was pregnant; this too was a bit of foreshadowing.
Fast forward some more and Kazaniels begin insisting that AJ Styles is the father of Claire’s baby. There’s some back and forth, blah blah blah, Dixie disappears from the picture and we finally get the resolution to it all this past Thursday night. Or so we think…
TNA is known for its provocative, year-long storytelling; the original Immortal story line actually began way back in January 2010 when Hogan joined TNA and didn’t get revealed until one full year later. The Claire Lynch drama evolved from the Dixie Carter drama, which evolved from…you guessed it…Kazaniels being upset at AJ’s high status and regard in the company. The story line was never about Claire or Dixie, but rather about bringing AJ down a peg or two.
This is one reason why the story could continue without Claire, as she and her situation were only pawns in the grand scheme of things much like Dixie was. Don’t think so? Check out this interview with AJ Styles and pay attention to what he says about the story line, particularly how it would have “unexpected things we never would’ve thought AJ had done.” As it turns out, AJ never did any of the things Kazaniels accused him of, so…how is it this story line interesting for fans again?
It’s interesting because there’s more to it than we believe. If the story line was never really about Claire then it can surely continue without her…
Click here for Pt. 2 of this series.