KELLER'S TAKE KELLER'S TNA IMPACT WRESTLING BLOG 2/2: Random thoughts in chronological order on big show from Wembley Arena
Feb 2, 2012 - 10:20:23 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
-Bully Ray began by saying if you're here to see Jeff Hardy, too bad, he's not here. It's risky to open the show by saying possibly the no. 1 star won't be there, swerve or not.
-I don't know if anyone has brought up someone's great calves in a wrestling promo since Buff Bagwell showed them off after he got implants.
-The atmosphere with a full looking big arena is so different from the Impact Zone. It really does send a message to fans that this company is going places and the wrestlers in the ring are stars. It's not about "this week's TV ratings going up," because how would they or why would they? What it's about is taking the usual audience and convincing them to watch every week not just every two or three or four weeks because these TNA wrestlers are big stars playing in front of big crowds.
-No shock that Hulk Hogan, ever the savvy politician when it comes to trying to make himself look like a big draw, would return to be on this show since it's taped in front of a huge crowd. It's the same as when he added himself vs. Goldberg to the Georgia Dome show after it was clear they were going to draw 30K+ in the venue without his name being advertised. WCW blew a huge seven-figure payday in terms of attendance and PPV buys when they threw that on Nitro with just four day's notice (they literally didn't announce it on the previous Nitro, but just on Thunder that week), all so Hogan - in front of the local Time-Warner big-wigs - could create the perception he had something to do with most of those tickets being sold, which he didn't.
-The rules of the tag match were absurd. What explanation is there for setting up a match where one team, via coin toss, gets to have both members in the ring at the same time against one opponent from the other team at a time? It's just so arbitrary and makes TNA out to be a joke of an organization. If the wrestling matches are serious, and the outcomes matter, there can't be stupid rules like this just thrown in there without any rhyme or reason. It's like the NBA announcing randomly that one team gets eight men on the court at a time against four from the other team. Why, and what in the hell would it prove?
-So TNA books Magnus & Joe to have the heel advantage, which in theory should give Morgan and Crimson "underdog sympathy" for battling uphill against two opponents. But then Magnus gets a win fair and square and the crowd pops for the one wrestler in the match from their country. The whole thing was a mess. I can't even imagine the logic that went into booking it that way. Even worse, Tenay said, "What else but a tag team title shot could be in their future?" You know, as if winning a coin toss and having a major two-on-one advantage says they're the top contenders. All it says is together the can beat one opponent. My mind is actually fatigued from trying to keep straight what happened in that overbooked debacle.
-Magnus throws the best looking top rope elbow drop in wrestling. He really has a chance to be a big star if his strengths are accentuated and his weaknesses aren't used behind the scenes to define him as "too green to push" for years to come.
-Does anyone think that this Bischoff father-son storyline is a good use of television time, and not just transparent nepotism at its embarrassing worst level? "It's off the chain, brothuh?" said Garett while talking on his cell phone in the middle of the ring. Seeing a son of a promoter on TV getting overpushed trying as hard as Garett to be cool is just uncomfortable. Whatever chance Garett has to be a star, this is just pushing him too hard too soon in a situation that brands him forever as being given a pass to the front of the line. Eric may think he earned the right to do that with all he's done in pro wrestling, and that's fine and he might be right in some respects, but what he's doing isn't a favor for his son. It's building resentment that will be used against him long after Eric isn't involved in this industry anymore.
-They set up, for U.S. viewers, Austin Aries as a babyface defending the U.S.A. against a cocky young English wrestler talking a big game. Taz played into that set-up. Isn't the larger goal in TNA to get Aries over as a big heel? Adding to the craziness of TNA's twisted booking, they were dealing with a crowd that immediately chanted "Austin! Aries!" as the match began.
-The missed shooting star press by Mark Haskins during the match against Austin Aries was scary looking. He got a mat burn on his forehead and nose from it, and landed very hard on his upper chest and face. They replayed it from five angles afterward. Scary looking, although he staved off serious injury by a couple inches.
-A commercial aired for the Lockdown PPV showing a bunch of cage match highlights. It said it's coming to Nashville, Tenn., but didn't list a date for some reason. They're trying to sell that it's one of their marquee PPVs by hyping it like this ahead of time. It's another reason they should cut back to six PPVs per year and treat them all as "must-see" instead of this "every other" or "every third" PPV is important approach.
-The way Tenay and Taz had to play dumb about Hogan being the most likely person to be training Garett really made them look either dumb or deceptive.
-It had to feel great and be so motivating for the TNA wrestlers to work in front of such a loud, responsive crowd. It has to be so tough for them to move back into their "comfort zone" of the Impact Zone which has a totally different kind of energy. Whether it's wrestlers who have been in WWE before or those who rarely have worked in front of crowds that size anywhere but perhaps Japan tours (and those were ilkely in front of smaller crowds), it had to be a special break from the "smaller-time" feel they're used to touring with TNA in the U.S. Maybe most of all it had to feel good to Hogan to be in front of a crowd that large again. How long has it been since he was in front of a crowd over 5,000?
-I can just hear Hogan's rah-rah speech about TNA being on the brink of greatness and he just needs to be the hood ornament to help them see through the fog being delivered to Dixie Carter previously. I wonder if she sees it for what it is, whether it's for TV or behind the scenes, or is she that easy and unable to see the self-serving motivation of Hogan to keep talking this way.
-It's amazing how much healthier Ray appears just in his face, not even counting how much better shape his whole body is in. I'd be curious to know what he's done lifestyle-change wise to achieve such dramatic changes. I wonder if he'll ever wrestle in regular trunks without a shirt just to show what kind of shape he's gotten himself into.
-A good main event from two pros who told a solid story. Not an off-the-charts must-see match, but it very much fit the story of the feud and of the night. I'm not crazy about Sting giving Storm his wish to fight both heels in one night, as it made Storm out to be brave but Sting out to be lacking when it came to looking out for Storm's overconfidence and overeagerness to try to get revenge on the two heels. Sting ultimately put Storm in a position to get hurt by granting Storm his wish.
-Overall, a good solid show, although the Garett push is going to turn some people off, understandably so. Mostly a maintenance show, other than Hogan's return, but that's fine as long as there is some good wrestling and nothing too frustrating or aggravating. It's the first week in a while they didn't have an Eric Young comedy segment. They also didn't do much with the T&A aspect of the program, as they had one straight-up Knockouts match and no other backstage segments with them.
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He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
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