THE SPECIALISTS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE - 3/5 TNA IMPACT: A lack of babyface Knockouts, the woes of text messaging, and George Thorogood is still alive
Mar 6, 2009 - 3:04:46 AM
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By Curtis Shanks, PWTorch Specialist
Welcome to the TNA Impact edition of Under the Microscope. We're here to review all those little observations and tidbits you may have missed. This is not a detailed recap of the show, but a review for those of you that saw the show but didn't actually "watch" it.
After last week we know that Abyss is a Jonas Brothers fan, Rhaka Khan is not very good in the ring, and Don West does not work well with others. But what else is there to notice? Let's see what we can spot. Cue the opening pyro.
Don West and Mike Tenay are still announcing tonight (who else does TNA have that could fill an announcing role). Tension is still present, as Mike Tenay says announcing with Don West for two hours tonight will be as fun as an emergency landing in the Hudson River. This is in reference to a US Airways flight that had to land in the Hudson River a month and a half ago after striking a bird upon takeoff from a New York airport. All 155 people aboard the plane were uninjured, as the pilot was praised as a hero for his handling of the situation.
Kiyoshi gets a shot at Alex Shelley's X Division title, and he's brought some friends with him. Accompanying him to the ring was the tag team "No Limit," whose members have wrestled in NJPW with Kiyoshi. The No Limit team consists of Tetsuya Naito and Yujiro - the team Shelley and Sabin defeated to win the IWGP Junior Hvt. Tag Titles. No Limit held the titles for almost 15 months before a loss to The Guns in early January. The team was featured on a ROH video release from last September, The Tokyo Summit. No Limit was victorious in an opening contest vs. Genba Hirayanagi & Kotaro Suzuki. My spell check has got to despise me by now.
Before we head to commercial after a quick LAX promo, we see Booker T in the Mafia locker room talking to a mystery person on his cell phone about something going down later in the show. The segment set up some intrigue for later in the show, as we are left guessing as to who he could have been talking to. Only one problem with the segment. For the first time in ages, TNA treated the segment as though the "WWE invisible camera" was present. No interviewers, no acknowledgement of the camera. Just Booker talking as though he were alone. TNA does a great job of keeping logic in check by always acknowledging the camera, so I can only hope they do not shy away from that trait.
Rhaka Khan and Sojourner Bolt recently split from the Kongtourage after Bolt gained #1 contender status for Awesome Kong's Knockouts title. While not a clear-cut babyface turn, in appears TNA has plans for the two to make the transition away from heel personas. Bolt and Khan made their entrance for tonight's four-way tag match from the babyface entrance tunnel.
With newcomer Madison Rayne turning heel after attacking Taylor Wilde last week, TNA strongly needs a top tier babyface in the Knockout division. With Christy Hemme's neck injury and Sojo and Khan currently tweeners, that leaves only ODB, Roxxi, and Taylor Wilde as the only fan favorites among the 13 female wrestlers. While Daffney "Governor Palin" could still become a regular roster member, that still does not even the odds. Perhaps the dissension within the Kongtourage was meant to even the sides a bit rather than further a title storyline.
I don't know if anyone else sees the same connection, but Rhaka Khan reminds me a lot of former WWE valet Shaniqua. Shaniqua was the dominatrix valet of the Basham Brothers on Smackdown a few years ago and has a similar build and look as Khan. Both followed a similar "reality TV" path into wrestling as well. Shaniqua tired out for and won season two of Tough Enough, and Khan was one of the final 25 in the WWE diva search a few years ago.
Before his promo was abruptly ended by an attacking Kurt Angle, Eric Young referenced the late George Thorogood. Thorogood was the lead of George Thorogood and the Destroyers, notorious for their hit "Bad to the Bone." Young more than likely knows this, but obviously is not a huge fan. Thorogood is still alive and well at 59 years of age, so is undeserving of the "late" moniker by Young.
Have you ever sent a text message to the wrong person? Ever sent one you regret sending after the fact? Those in TNA probably felt the same way with the TNA Mobile text messaging service. LAX answering the Off the Wagon challenge by Beer Money was not a secret, as TNA sent out a text message hyping the match before Impact aired. Only one problem. I received the text message Wednesday night, hyping the match "Tonight on TNA Impact on Spike."
TNA has been hyping the return of the Ultimate X match at Destination X later this month. The match has been featured on Rough Cuts as well as in promo videos throughout the shows. It's reverse booking by TNA, in a way. Usually the match-up is determined before the stipulation. But TNA has been promoting the match without officially announcing any participants. It's easy to see that The Guns, Lethal Consequences, and Suicide will be involved, but no official announcement has been made that they are actually in the match. If the storyline between these five followed a different path, who would TNA have put in the match?
Numbers crunched harder than an unprotected chair shot to the head: professional wrestling is about characters, feuds, story-telling, and athletics. While the first three are prevalent in every show, the athletic aspect (lengthy, competitive matches) can be sacrificed at times to focus more on promos and skits. PPVs seem like the only sure-fire choice to see lengthy matches, but exactly how often do we get to see them?
Since November 2004 (the first monthly PPV), TNA has delivered 428 PPV matches, of which 269 (62.9 percent) have gone longer than ten minutes. In that same time span, WWE has presented 452 PPV matches, with 258 (57.1 percent) going past the ten-minute mark.
While those two numbers are close, WWE is the clear front runner when it comes to 20-minute PPV matches. TNA has only given us 25 in that time, while WWE has featured 61 matches longer than 20 minutes.
If 20 minutes still doesn't do it for you, there is the 30-minute match. Aside from the five Royal Rumble matches, WWE has had three matches last longer than a half-hour on PPV. TNA is right on pace if you don't count the Rumbles, as they have three 30-plus minute matches as well. If another half-hour TNA match is still to come it should be easy to pick out, as all three of their past 30-minute matches have been Iron Man matches.
Curtis Shanks is a self-described wrestling nerd. Who else understands what Matt Striker is talking about all the time. Feedback is welcome, as comments, suggestions, questions and grocery lists can be sent to Curtis at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments section below.
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