Monday, October 11, 2010

TNA makes my brain hurt

I'm often criticized as a WWE fanboy that never gives TNA a fair shake. Well, if you watched Bound for Glory last night, now you know why. Admittedly, I don't follow TNA that closely anymore, I try to keep up on spoiler reports and PPV results, but I rarely watch the shows because they're just so damn frustrating. This promotion has every tool at their disposal to put on an entertaining wrestling program, and while there are some lingering issues (like the fact that they don't tour), they could be good, they just choose not to be.

But last night, things just took a turn for the completely absurd. After months of hype, the group known simply as "THEY" were revealed: Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, and a newly heel Jeff Hardy. Yes, they turned Jeff Hardy heel. Why? Apparently because he was the least expected to win the title at Bound For Glory and no one would see him turning heel and winning the belt coming. Welcome to TNA, where if it's not a swerve, do not serve.

First off, turning Hardy heel and putting the World Championship on him seems like quite the gamble. I don't know Hardy's personal business, but I do know his 2009 arrest is still a lingering issue that has yet to go to trial. But let's assume that nothing's going to come of it, they still put the belt on him while putting most of the focus and hype for the match on Kurt Angle and Mr. Anderson. Reminds me of Chris Jericho winning the Undisputed Championship in 2001 when everyone expected it to be about Steve Austin and The Rock. Jericho's run as Champion isn't generally looked at as anything special, but at least he has the "first Undisputed Champion" thing, Jeff Hardy won't have that luxury.

And Jeff Hardy doesn't exactly scream "top heel" to me. Obviously it's too early to judge, but the guy has never really been a heel before, and it seems very dangerous to throw a title on a guy and turn him heel when he's completely untested in that role. Hardy as the ultimate babyface works, he's a guy you sympathize with like Ricky Steamboat and his presence and ring work captivates the audience like Rey Mysterio. He's never gotten far on his mic work, but it's okay because you loved him anyway, but a top heel needs to be strong on the mic.

A Hardy heel turn is the least of TNA's problems though, because this overhyped THEY storyline wound up being nWo rehash #499 and TNA power struggle angle #716. I get the logic behind it, Bischoff and Hogan are just doing what they always do, Jeff Jarrett's bitter about being stripped of his power last year, Abyss is the muscle and Hardy is the guy to get the job done in the ring, but what makes this any different than any of TNA's many other past evil stables hellbent on conquering the company stories? And who's on the opposite side? Dixie Carter and her band of heroes? Hardly inspiring. TNA is still desperately stuck in this 1990s nWo vs. WCW mentality, whether it's THEY, the Main Event Mafia, Planet Jarrett, S.E.X., or any others.

Contrast this with Nexus, which is a similar idea, but put together in an entirely different way. Barrett and his gang came into WWE together, and they made their splash in a debut that no one saw coming, but not because it was the least likely scenario, because it was genuinely surprising. If TNA were booking Nexus, John Cena would've just joined the group one day he felt like turning heel, not because he was forced to. Oh and Teddy Long, William Regal, Jonathan Coachman, and any other WWE authority figure, past or present, would be a part of the group too.

I don't understand why TNA wants to bark up this tree again, it's never worked for them before, and instead of trying to come up with something new, they just go to the latest swerve for swerve's sake. They have a truly talented roster, but eight years and several shake-ups later, still no idea what to do with them. Instead? Let's just do the stuff that worked 15 years ago with new guys!

I don't know, maybe this is finally "the one" for TNA, perhaps they finally found that story that will get them out of their perpetual creative rut, but we've been down this road so many times before that it's hard to be optimistic. Finishing up their equivalent of WrestleMania with an overbooked, unnecessarily complicated clusterfuck is an all too accurate summation of everything wrong with TNA.

4 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. As I said in my review, I'll give them credit for doing something that I didn't see coming, but just because it was a surprise doesn't mean it's actually good, and the end result of all this is that I'm still not going to watch Impact. It hasn't made me want to watch it the slightest bit more.

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  2. I agree with you and ToeKnee. I think TNA Creative is definitely in a rut, but they just keep asking for more shovels.

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  3. The worst thing is that the Reaction "look" is what professional wrestling needs, even if it is about five years too late. Right there, they have access to creating fresh storylines because of the different presentation. They could do anything with it, make us care about the characters, see a realistic, human side to them instead of the "diva", "big me" development TNA is stuck in.

    Yet they decide to redo the nWo, which isn't even going to be the sole creative direction of TNA. I hardly see them cancelling the likes of the Shore angle for this. How is this going to help make wrestling cool again as Paul Heyman proposed? Why should people watch TNA over the likes of the WWE and UFC, which is putting out genuinely exciting stuff right now?

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  4. I tried watching TNA back in around '05. I thought it was cool but I didn't get the stories back then, so I never really went back to it. I checked Impact-Reaction last week, and BFG this week, and my dear lord I really, really don't want to see it ever again. It blows my mind how so much can fit within a two hour period.

    And BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. J-Woww is gonna be on it. Sucks, I thought the jersey shore shit would happen EVENTUALLY with Zack Ryder... even IF he's jobbing out BIGTIME.

    Mick Foley vs Flair at Impact came up in a conversation I had with a friend, who practically lives off ECW Philly and Attitude Era stuff. She said TNA is 10 times better because they do what wrestling shows did in their glory days. I got up her ass on how Nexus and the new kids on the roster are bringing a different side to the WWE, but its kind of futile. I sort of realized that this if this is how it works for her, then this is how it works for some people too. Some people would rather see Mick and his barbedwire baseball bat against Ric Flair rolling round in thumbtacks. It's not only disturbing but its... you know... immoral. Sorry if I get all christian on this.

    ...the world of -pro wrestling- sports entertainment baffles me. I think I'll stick to ROH, WWE and Chikara. :D

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