SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Steiner Shows Up: Well, this wasn’t quite what I was hoping for but Scott Steiner had to show up eventually to hype Slammiversary. Jeremy Borash and Joseph Park got a call from Big Poppa Pump and, believe it or not, he wasn’t very personable. I’m always up for one of his inane, rambling, crazy angry promos, though, it would have been nice had the production values been better so we could fully understand exactly what he was saying. Because with Steiner, this is already a bit of a challenge.
Dutt’s Win: The smallest of hits I can give here. The hit is because this was a feel-good story featuring the great visual of Sonjay Dutt celebrating in front of the India crowd after winning the X-Division Title. But it was far from perfect. First, they gave away the finish when out of nowhere, Dutt basically said he’d quit if he lost. Second of all, Low Ki was the best champ the X-Division has had in a long, long time. Now that’s over with. Another problem was that the finish fell flat as Sonjay dished out a mere splash for the win. In 1987 that would have sufficed (or if Dutt weighed more than 200 lbs) but considering this was designed to be the absolute pinnacle moment of his entire career, busting out something a little flashier would have fit the occasion better (though maybe the eye issues came into play here).
Swoggle: The former Hornswoggle is just one of many bad comedy elements dragging down this show. Think of it. Swoggle was no longer funny to Vince McMahon, a man who is legendary for his awful sense of humor. Swoggle was a played out joke in WWE and then Impact decided to pick him up to continue running that joke further into the ground. For all I know, the man could be hilarious in real life and could cut entertaining promos. Maybe he has a killer standup routine in him. But all he’s asked to do is be the butt of short people jokes on a weekly basis. It’s horribly dated and offensive. Move on Impact.
Park and Borash: Yep, more campy humor. Joseph Park and Jeremy Borash would have been fine on a TGIF show that aired after Step by Step in 1998. Hell, as a kid I would have tuned in every week and laughed at their wacky adventures. Park’s brother Abyss is coming over to dinner the same night that J.B.’s boss is?!? Count me in! One of their skits on Impact really stood out to me as they showed the two quoting Bare Naked Ladies and then the next segment featured LAX at the clubhouse. Total cheese followed by something actually cool. Impact’s tone is all over the place, which makes it hard to recommend for anyone.
Mathew’s Match: Hey look, even more dumb comedy! Instead of ragging on the entire segment, I’ll just state that it’s simply bad for the entire wrestling industry if the Josh Mathews character can so easily bust out a Swanton Bomb. To his credit, it looked good but a joke of an announcer shouldn’t be booked to deliver an iconic finisher with such ease. Case in point, his move was far more impressive than what Sonjay used to win his title match.
Lashley Runs: In all of Impact, Bobby Lashley is the last person who should be running from a fight. Literally running. But that’s just what he did when Alberto El Patron came after him. Now, he can step away from a brawl and stare his opponent down but running in terror is an idiotic way to book him. Would WWE have Brock Lesnar straight up sprint away at the sight of Samoa Joe?
Lee’s Job: The most frustrating thing I’ve seen on Impact all year. Trevor Lee is a potential big star in the making. Treat him that way! Braxton Sutter is a decent talent but he’s not in the same league as Lee. He’s not even in the league below him. Therefore, Lee should not be jobbing to him cleanly in two minutes. It’s that amazingly simple. Once again, Jeff Jarrett has proven to have a good track record of hiring talented people and then having them put over less talented people. That will be one of his enduring legacies as a booker.
Slammiversary Hype Video: A garbage buffet. I mean, it looked nice but the content was terrible. “Slammiversary 15, the Jarrett family is back,” Karen Jarrett. Please tell me why anyone on the entire planet not related to a Jarrett would be more likely to order the show because of that. And please tell me how having heels like Magnus gush over the pay-per-view and not themselves helps the product! Why does Alberto El Patron care about the quality of his match? Shouldn’t he be more interested in winning? It was fourth-wall breaking pandering and the company should be focusing on actually making the show sound exciting rather than just proclaiming it’s going to be without the well-booked television to back that assessment up.
Moose Overcomes: Ah cool, they can call off one Slammiversary match right now! Moose was jumped from Eli Drake and Chris Adonis and then got back up and fought them both off. If he can take them 2-on-1 so easily then there’s absolutely no need for him to even have a tag partner. More sound booking on display!
Overall Show: As you can guess by now, I strongly disliked this show. If it was somehow possible to throw an entire episode of TV off a cliff I would like to see it done with this one. I’ve been far more optimistic about Impact over the past few months in general but this was simply a bad, short-sighted effort. They didn’t bother to put any heat on the heels (did they think the fans in India would leave the arena or something if a heel looked remotely credible?). As previously stated, they also had way, way too much cheesy comedy. They did more damage to Trevor Lee than ever. As a whole, there isn’t any sort of direction in play here. It’s just a lot of goofy, random, largely unfunny nonsense, which is then followed by something fairly entertaining like a LAX segment. But it’s so inconsistent that you don’t know what you’re getting from this promotion from one segment to the next, let alone week-to-week.
Recently, I’ve been reading old Torch issues from 2004 and a few wrestlers in the newswire complained about Dutch Mantell not being the answer to the company’s booking problems. That was 13 years ago and here we are doing much of the same nonsense that didn’t work in the first place. Unfortunately for TNA, they no longer have hundreds of thousands of more viewers to lose.