19 December 2013

TNA Thursday Randomania - Dec 19, 2013

- The AJ Styles story just doesn't seem to want to go away and if you think it's not by design, you're being naive.  This week, once again, kicked off with Styles' official statement, perfectly timed to be released the morning after the WWE PPV.  Three days later, and his statement is still being scrutinized.  "Is it real?",  "Is it a work?",  "Would AJ use scriptures if it were a work?",  "If it is real, why is AJ questioning his place in pro wrestling?".  I'll be honest with you.  I have maintained all along that this is a work and, this week, I began to question whether I was, perhaps, in denial.  That feeling lasted for about a few minutes, however, because my gut tells me otherwise.  This is a work, folks.

- For those who've used the scriptures to argue that the AJ Styles story is real, I present to you this evidence: "The statement Styles issued yesterday was a work, and a blasphemous one at that," a TNA source told Wrestlezone.  Blasphemous is a term typically used to accuse one of being sacrilegious against God.  I don't, for a second, believe that anyone at Wrestlezone has the creativity or imagination to make up the quote above so I tend to believe that it came from someone within TNA - someone who gets paid to, well, be creative.

- One thing about TNA that some underestimate is their ability to work the wrestling media.  Every single top wrestling site that I visited, following AJ Styles' statement, reported his free agent status as if it were news.  All of them.  TNAMecca is one of the few blogs to simply post Styles' statement without a response from its writers.  We wanted his official statement to stand on its own and to allow the readers to determine for themselves whether or not this is real or storyline-dictated.  Not even a day passed before one site reported that Styles re-signed with TNA.  Then, another reported that it might indeed be a work.  Who knew?  I suspect more sites will backtrack in the coming days and weeks in order to save face.  They will undoubtedly report that Styles re-signed with TNA when the reality, I believe, is he may very well have never been a free agent.

- One site that hasn't backtracked, interestingly enough, is PWInsider.  They were the first, and only, site to report the AJ Styles contract story a couple of months ago.  What struck me about that initial report was how specific it seemed to be.  They knew exactly when Styles' contract would be expiring, as well as other details.  They followed it up with another report that TNA and Styles had agreed to a short term extension.  Again, very specific.  Recently, they reported that Styles' extension would end on December 16th, making him a free agent.  It doesn't get any more specific than that, considering it was the exact date that AJ Styles released his official statement.  Not a day later, PWInsider are given an exclusive interview with AJ Styles.  A coincidence?

- TNA posted an updated list of the wrestlers who will be part of the UK tour in February.  I was pleased to see Zema Ion, Samuel Shaw, and Ethan Carter III added to the list.  I was disappointed, however, to see Manik's name removed (he had been on the initial list).  I have to wonder, at a time when the writers seem capable of finding a role for Rockstar Spud, Norv and Dewey, and others, why is it that they can't do the same for Manik (or Kenny King, whose absence I recently discussed)? 

- And finally, 2013 unfortunately will not be looked back on as a good year for TNA for obvious reasons, but from a storyline standpoint, the disappointing Aces and 8's angle dominated the show, as well as the Hogan family drama.  Those are the two things viewers will remember from this year, perhaps even the disaster that was the Bound for Glory series.  But as underwhelming as most of the year has been, the company is ending on a high note.  As 2014 approaches, the Dixie Carter/AJ Styles drama is climaxing, Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode are embroiled in a good ol' fashioned feud, the Joseph Park/Abyss mystery has been rejuvenated mostly due to Bad Influence, the Bully Ray/Mr Anderson feud has turned into a sadistic affair highlighted by piledrivers and Motley Crue lyrics, Ethan Carter III has caught the attention of Sting, James Storm and Gunner are stewing, Samuel Shaw is threatening waiters, Zema Ion and Rockstar Spud have found their niche as the Bro Mans' DJ and Dixie Carter's Chief of Staff respectively, Gail Kim and Lei'D Tapa are dominating the Knockouts Division, Austin Aries is the new X Division champion, and Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky are interesting again (something they haven't been since the Motor City Machine Guns and the Beautiful People split up).  There's so much to be excited about right now if you're a TNA fan.  I've mentioned some of the current angles, but the thing that excites me the most is the new emphasis on the TNA of old.  The fast-paced booking that creates an adrenaline-filled show.  The new characters that will constantly be brought in, even for one appearance to keep things fresh (a la Curry Man, Sharkboy, etc).  The old gimmicks like Feast or Fired that will make a comeback.  But most importantly, the return to the days when TNA were truly an alternative to the WWE.  That TNA will make 2014 a year to watch.

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