In a recent interview with 4th and Pain, Mr. Anderson mentioned that he expects to sign a new deal with TNA within the week. This is an interesting development as he had been removed from the company's roster page recently, indicating that perhaps he was officially done with TNA. I'm sure there will be more to come in the next few days and weeks. In the meantime, check out Mr. Anderson's interview below.
28 September 2013
27 September 2013
After combining the visuals of the crowd and the data I have collected by tracking the sales, the final attendance numbers I have for last night's Impact sits at around 2,600. This was one of the better attendances in recent time and more than likely made a case why TNA should return to either Little Rock or Jonesboro, AR in the future for a TV taping.
Well, I think it's safe to say that the roles got a little more defined during IMPACT last night amongst Hulk Hogan, AJ Styles and especially Dixie Carter. Hulk got exposed last night for being, as Dixie put it, "just an employee". His power is limited and even Hogan has to answer to Dixie. AJ looked to be the face of the company as Dixie ripped up his "contract", drawing all the heat on herself. Mrs. Carter looked more comfortable in her heel role and shifted things even more into "sassy-southern-rich-lady-boss" mode. She is really honing this character and for me it's fun and interesting to watch.
As you all know, there was a brief vignette that appeared during last night's Impact announcing the arrival of a new TNA wrestler named Ethan. "Ethan is Coming", read the caption. We do not know his identity nor has their been any announcement by TNA thus far. However, there have been some details that emerged after the show, giving us perhaps a hint on whom the new wrestler might be. A young indie wrestler known as Ethan HD tweeted the following late last night on his official Twitter account:
...and I'm just sittin' here whistlin' Dixie.
— Ethan HD (@REALEthanHD) September 27, 2013
Coincidentally, Ethan HD's profile is also featured on the TNA Gutcheck site so it appears that he's been on the company's radar. And finally, his nickname in the indies is "The Chi-town Urban Emperor", which would certainly fit the bling-themed name we saw on Impact. Again, this is all speculation until we hear something official from TNA but there are quite a few coincidences to indicate that Ethan HD is indeed the newest member of the Impact Wrestling roster.
26 September 2013
Unlike No Surrender, the tracking for tonight's show in Little Rock had no real issues therefore I was able to track sales until about 2 hours ago when they went down. The only change to the sales were on Tuesday night, when TNA took sections 110-115 off sale to try and fill sections 107,108 & 109, which are directly in the view of the hard camera. This is the same technique they used for No Surrender in St. Louis, and seems to be the norm now for most events.
We thought it'd be fun to watch last week's intense segment involving Dixie Carter and AJ Styles one more time before tonight's Impact Live. This one's a game changer, folks, so cherish it. I have a feeling we will all look back on this segment as the moment that TNA came back to us - the true TNA.
A couple of days ago PWInsider reported that AJ Styles' promo from last week where he mentioned several former X Division stars was possibly foreshadowing the return of several former talents, as well as maybe some new recruits. It was also reported some time last week that TNA were looking to elevate the X Division and current champion Manik, this is the reason behind the Manik vs Jeff Hardy match last week and tonight's X Division Title match between Manik and former World Champion Chris Sabin.
After making several appearances throughout the year, I'm hopeful both Petey Williams and Sonjay Dutt become regulars on TNA TV once again. They would be solid members of the division and could also temporarily fill a void in the tag division either together or with other partners. Homicide is another name that comes to mind, but if he were to return, I'd rather it be for an LAX reunion.
- Tonight's Impact Live is one of the most anticipated shows of the year, in my opinion. All week we've been speculating on how the Dixie Carter vs AJ Styles conflict will play out so it'll be interesting to see what happens next. It is supposedly Hulk Hogan's turn to speak his mind tonight, and as GM of Impact Wrestling, his opinion will most certainly provoke a reaction, presumably from Dixie Carter.
- Speaking of Hulk Hogan, his contract will reportedly expire on October 1st so I imagine we will get some indication on how contract negotiations are going tonight. Personally, I'd like to see Dixie Carter "fire" Hogan.
24 September 2013
23 September 2013
After rumours of both Mr Anderson & Mickie James' current contracts coming to an end this month, both performers have been removed from the ImpactWrestling.com roster page. Normally when TNA removes someone from their roster page, it is confirmation of their departure from the company. It's disappointing in both cases, as James' character over the Summer had been some of the best in her career, and made her a joy to watch as Knockouts Champion. Mr Anderson in his last two appearances had shown glimpses of the Anderson who became one of TNA's top stars back in 2010/11, and looked to be working hard to get back to being one of TNA's top babyfaces. Hopefully this is just a formality and both performers are still in negotiations to sign new deals, as both could be valuable assets to TNA going forward after doing some of their best work in some time.
Since last Thursday, I've watched the segment between Dixie Carter and AJ Styles a handful of times - TNA have generously posted the segment in its entirety on Youtube - and I must say, I'm having a difficult time picking a side here. Much has been said, in recent days, about Dixie's supposed heel turn but I'm not quite sure there's a clear bad guy in this equation. In fact, both made valid points. I noted in my Impact review, this week, that the line that's been drawn in this conflict is that of two fanbases - the old school TNA fans vs the Hogan-era Impact Wrestling fans. Let's begin with AJ Styles' frustrations. As TNAMecca supporter Tyler Gale noted recently on Twitter, the chronology of his events are a bit off but I think his point still stands. Look no further than the Hogan era, circa early 2010, when talented wrestlers such as Christopher Daniels and Desmond Wolfe were essentially pushed aside in favor of Sean Morley, Orlando Jordan, and others. That's not to say that the trend started when Hulk Hogan arrived but it was arguably the most blatant example of Styles' argument. Conversely, Dixie Carter's anger, I believe, was warranted. After shunning and disrespecting her and everyone in TNA for months, Styles publicly attacked her credentials and questioned her ability to run her company upon his return to Impact. Yes, he's been back for a few months but he has said very little until now. It's clear to me that he waited to guarantee himself a world title shot at Bound for Glory before going in for the kill. I don't think either Dixie Carter or AJ Styles is a heel. Both have legitimate reasons to resent the other. It's now up to the fans to decide whose side they are on. I like both of them, and I feel that they've each earned my respect for different reasons. For this reason, I will take neither side...for now.
21 September 2013
20 September 2013
Earlier today, Dave Scherer of PWInsider mentioned, during a Q&A, that some within TNA have told him the current Dixie Carter/AJ Styles angle is leading to a new creative direction. If this is the case, I'm not at all surprised as it's been evident that something has been brewing behind the scenes for quite some time. Personally, I'm looking forward to the new direction, especially if it includes the end of the Aces and 8s storyline and the departure of Hulk Hogan. It's simply time that TNA returned to its roots and made Impact Wrestling a true alternative to the WWE.
I have to admit that when I first read the spoilers for last night's IMPACT a week ago, I was very surprised at the reported Dixie Carter heel turn. However, after watching how it unfolded last night, I am very impressed at how it came off. The most poignant part of it was portrayed, in my opinion, in the tight camera shot on Dixie and AJ's faces. I don't remember seeing that camera angle in any other TNA promo I have ever seen, and it really added to the intense promo with no crowd distractions involved. Dixie did a wonderful job of starting out in the segment sounding meek and soft and then building to a startling crescendo of pure "vindictive boss" mode!
19 September 2013
TNA is now listing Lei'D Tapa as the opponent for ODB during this weekend's house shows in El Paso, Texas and Tucson, Arizona. Gail Kim was originally the scheduled opponent to face ODB at the house shows, but that changed on Wednesday. This is a very interesting development as there has been speculation of Tapa possibly being called up to the main TNA roster in the near future. With the diminishing number of Knockouts in TNA, we may see Lei'D Tapa sooner than expected. You can read my recent column on Lei'D Tapa coming to TNA here
17 September 2013
Earlier today, Pro Wrestling Net reported that Hulk Hogan's contract with TNA expires on October 1st, less than a month prior to the company's biggest show of the year. Under normal circumstances, this would be a big deal but the fact that TNA's most famous name could depart a few weeks before Bound for Glory makes it even more complicated. This is something I'm sure the Hogan camp will use as leverage when negotiating a new deal but if TNA truly want him to appear at Bound for Glory, they can simply agree to a short extension. There's no need to re-sign him for another year or two. Personally, I hope to see Hulk Hogan move on simply because I feel as if his salary does not justify his spot on the Impact Wrestling roster. He's essentially a high-priced veteran who hasn't brought in viewers, at least not enough to match those who have stopped watching Impact since his arrival, and whose performance on a weekly basis is, at best, clumsy and awfully stale. The biggest reason, however, I believe that Dixie Carter needs to let Hogan walk is this...if the rumors are true that Impact will be pulled off the road and taped in one location, it is simply a public relations disaster to then keep Hulk Hogan on the payroll. It would leave a sour taste in my mouth and quite frankly, the thought of watching Hogan botch his promos at the new Impact Zone makes me cringe. I believe TNA need to return to their roots and the first step in that process is the departure of Hulk Hogan.
16 September 2013
According to Pro Wrestling Net, TNA are discussing the possibility of pulling Impact from the road and returning to one location at some point next year. I can't say I'm surprised and although it might be a bit deflating initially, it could be the best decision for the company and its employees. Pro Wrestling Net claim that Las Vegas and Orlando are the two locations being considered. I'm sure we'll hear more in the next few weeks.
According to Pro Wrestling Net, Mickie James is officially a free agent after she and the company could not reach an agreement on a new deal. Evidently, TNA made her an offer but James rejected it. This is another blow to the Knockouts Division as Mickie James was doing some of her best work in recent months but it might be a blessing in disguise as it will force TNA to bring in some fresh new talent. Next week, on Impact, James is scheduled to defend her title against ODB. I think it's safe to assume that we will see a new champion crowned.
Last week it was reported that former TNA wrestler "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero (aka Elijah Burke) made his return to Ohio Valley Wrestling winning the company's T.V. title. Of course, with OVW being TNA's developmental territory, this led to speculation that Pope may be headed back to TNA, especially since he won a championship. Now, just because he is working in Ohio Valley doesn't necessarily mean he is on his way back (we see a few wrestlers that TNA recently released still working shows there) but it means that there is a possibility he could work for the company again.
I always felt Pope was a great character that had no direction; flip flopping from heel to face seemingly every week. He was always popular, but usually just sort of there. He was hot in 2010 when he was put into a title match with then champion AJ Styles at Lockdown, but come 2011 he was in two of the worst TNA feuds in recent memory. One with Samoa Joe; where Joe hired Okada to follow Pope with a camera and reveal his secrets (I still don't get why Joe wanted to do that) and then with Devon, where Pope tried to steal his family (Why Pope Why?). Now, he's been gone for almost a year and I'm sure fans would love to see a return of The Pope, but TNA needs to have a direction for him. I think one angle that they could do is with Sting. Pope's character pushes the envelope on religion, this could have some reality worked into it with Sting's personal beliefs, the promos alone could be riveting. There is also the potential for his revenge on the Aces and Eights for "injuring" his shoulder, putting him out for almost a year. Pope vs. Aries, Hardy, AJ, Daniels, Joe (minus the Japanese man with the camera), Manik or even Joseph Park could all be money feuds because we all know Pope can equal Dinero.
However, is there room for Pope on the roster right now? Perhaps if Mr. Anderson doesn't renew his contract they could have a spot for him. He could be saved for a big post Bound for Glory return; word is that Bruce Prichard's "creative arc" is over at BFG, perhaps Pope returns as a way for the new team to shake things up. I do feel that TNA does need to bring in a some new faces to give the show some new match ups and Pope would be a great guy to use in that respect, plus he is a fresh character now; fresh, but also familiar and that's pimpin'.
14 September 2013
13 September 2013
Since the on-sale launch, I have been tracking sales for tonight's No Surrender/Impact in St Louis. Normally I would have an exact number that would be accurate as of sales being taken down, however there have been several issues over the last 24 hours.
This week, there has been constant changes to the set-up and tickets prices for tonight's show. On Monday, the available sections in the upper bowl of the arena were taken off sale and yesterday, sales were taken down to change the pricing of some sections. Since this change, there has been problems accessing the interactive chart on Ticketmaster. The last time I was able to update the report was last night, so here is a breakdown of sales as of last night.
12 September 2013
During tonight's No Surrender, TNA announced that the October 24th Impact will be held at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, I could not find any information regarding the tapings on either TNA's site or the arena website. After contacting TNA's Senior Director of LIVE Events, Rafael Morffi, he confirmed the location, as well as the date that tickets go on sale: September 20th. This is my hometown so I will have exclusive reports from the first Post-BFG IMPACT tapings right here on TNAMecca.
Dixie Carter posted the following on her official Twitter account this evening:
Happy to announce "Countdown to Bound for Glory" will air live on @SpikeTV one hour before the PPV event on Oct 20th!
— Dixie Carter (@TNADixie) September 12, 2013
This announcement indicates that the pre-show for Bound For Glory will be a one hour show on October 20th, leading to the start of the PPV. This is a nice addition to the biggest TNA PPV of the year. I believe they did this once before - I can't recall if it was last year or the year before - and although it wasn't executed perfectly, it's still a rather good idea and something I'd like to see TNA and SpikeTV do for all PPVs. Hopefully, we'll get a bonus match and some commentary by Jeremy Borash and Christy Hemme as opposed to a barrage of pre-taped video packages.
Bully Ray has been on a tear as TNA World Heavyweight Champion and much of that has to do with him being the President of TNA's faux biker club the Aces and Eights. Mr. Anderson has had his character go through a bit of a change since joining the club late last year. Gone were the dropping mic and the echo of his name, now he is more of a thug with a new swagger about him, moving up the ranks to become Bully's "number 2 man." Lately, there has been friction between the President and his new V.P culminating in Anderson abandoning Bully in his loss to Sting recently. When Hulk Hogan announced that a member of the Aces and Eights would challenge for the title at No Surrender, I don't think anyone was surprised to see Mr. Anderson step up to the plate showing us some signs of the old Mr. Anderson...Anderson. These two had a great match at Bound for Glory 2011 and one would expect the same type of wild brawl here (we'll likely see one of those last minute changes to a no DQ match). Other matches on the card may have more in the work rate department, but this match has story, intrigue and two big names battling it out for TNA's biggest prize.
11 September 2013
According to Brian Cannon, The Pope D'Angelo Dinero appeared at tonight's tapings for this week's OVW TV. In his return, he wrestled Flash Flanagan for the OVW TV title....and won! This is a very interesting development. What it exactly means, we do not know, but I can't imagine he'd appear on OVW TV if there wasn't a plan for him to return to TNA. More to come...
The photo below was taken moments after the Pope defeated Flash Flanagan to become the new OVW TV champion.
Courtesy of Brian Cannon
The photo below was taken moments after the Pope defeated Flash Flanagan to become the new OVW TV champion.
Courtesy of Brian Cannon
Finishing as the points leader in the Bound For Glory Series, AJ Styles had the choice of who his opponent would be in his Semi-Final match. Out of Magnus, Austin Aries & Bobby Roode, Styles chose Austin Aries, stating his reason was because of his loss to Aries several weeks ago, calling Aries the one man he didn't want to lose to. Both men have established themselves in recent times as "Lone Wolves" both turning down offers from power groups in TNA. Styles & Aries are driven to stand alone, but also to stand atop of the TNA mountain. While the other Bound For Glory Series Semi-Final may be filled with faction interference, these two former champions know what their match will be, one on one, between two of the top athletes in the industry today. The only question remains, who will secure their spot in the BFG Series Final?
10 September 2013
09 September 2013
ImpactWrestling.com has now officially listed an Impact TV taping for November 7th in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Cincinnati Gardens. The last time TNA held an event in Cincinnati was Lockdown 2011, which attendance wise was a success. Cincinnati is now the third post-Bound For Glory TV location announced along with Baltimore and Philadelphia.
It is interesting to note the size of the Cities and the amount of time in advance these tapings have been announced. The three Cities are notably larger than the majority of the Impact locations in the last few months, and the on-sale time of the events will be much longer than recent events. With these three locations announced, it will be interesting to see the other locations of the post BFG tapings, and from what I have read, we will be finding out the location of the post BFG Impact this Thursday.
Factions, factions, factions. It was all the rage in late 90's wrestling and it seems like TNA has always made them a big part of their show. When things get dull TNA forms a group, sometimes out of nowhere with guys that have little in common (eg. Immortal), and we get a takeover angle with lots of beat downs and run ins. Currently, TNA has the Aces and Eights doing a takeover, the response was the Main Event Mafia opposing them and now we see E.G.O forming because Bobby Roode, Chris Daniels and Kazarian need back up. Most fans have groaned and complained about the amount of factions in TNA right now, but it's noting new. Back in 2003 we had S.E.X (Sports Entertainment Xtreme), Extreme Revolution, 3 Live Kru, Disciples of the New Church, and The Gathering. I like factions and I think they serve a purpose as TNA's roster is too big for a two hour show, it gets wrestlers involved that otherwise may have been left out. In the Asylum days, it was a way to bring in outsiders and use them because they were "part of the group" - we saw it with the first group of ex ECW wrestlers that came in then as part of Extreme Revolution. Factions create merchandise opportunities as well (we all know it's all about merchandise sales these days). If all the guys wear the same shirt, fans want to wear it as well so they too can join the group, it was a huge seller for the nWo back in the day. But with TNA forming so many different groups, it seems silly to make so many T-shirts... anyone still have a Fortune shirt? How about that Front Line shirt? I think factions are a necessity in TNA because we need a Lethal Lockdown match every year and it would seem strange to haphazardly throw 8-10 guys in a match so brutal without having each others back, so I don't think they are going away anytime soon. So this got me thinking, with the return of the Main Event Mafia, what other old TNA factions could they bring back? Personally, I think there are some that could be a really good fit in the current TNA universe, so get your crew together, wear all the same shirt, expand the cage to fit about 100 people and lets look at three factions I would like to see return to TNA.
08 September 2013
There has been A TON of speculation, rumors and news surrounding AJ Styles and his contract/future with TNA Wrestling in recent weeks. While it's difficult to separate fact from fiction and reality from "work", the most recent AJ rumor/news is that Styles is re-signed to a short term contract only through Bound For Glory. Who's to say that AJ isn't actually signed to a contract past BFG (one that would be a new long-term deal)? To pretend that the IWC knows the exact situation in this regard is pretentious and ridiculous. Last time I checked, TNA was still a privately owned company that doesn't give those details every single time that someone is re-signed, especially in this kind of scenario where the contract deal is woven into the actual storyline. The IWC regularly gets "worked" by TNA when reporters mistake rumors and rumblings as facts.
According to PWInsider, TNA will be holding an IMPACT TV taping in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 7th at the Cincinnati Gardens Arena. Even though this has not been officially announced by TNA, it seems legit. There should be an announcement on TNA's website or official Twitter account soon, as the post-BFG TV taping locations are starting to be solidified now.
07 September 2013
Dixie Carter posted the following on her official Twitter account this evening:
1st-ever @Impactwrestling TV from Philadelphia, PA on Fri 12/27 at the Liacouras Center! Tix on-sale Fri 9/13 10am http://t.co/9QFHTIu0Qz
— Dixie Carter (@TNADixie) September 7, 2013
Quite frankly, this decision boggles my mind. A city like Philadelphia, which has historically drawn some of the best crowds, will essentially get two taped episodes, during a holiday week. Philadelphia doesn't even get a live show. On the bright side, TNA will tape the first two episodes of Impact of 2014 so I'm sure the company plans to make the shows feel special.
06 September 2013
Last night on Impact, Jay Bradley announced that he had been hired by a certain organization to essentially take out one individual in the BFG Series gauntlet match. It was quite an interesting development simply because Bradley's character, although clearly a heel, hadn't been well-defined until now. That's not to say that his character made much progression last night but it was a good start. Equally as interesting is the motive behind Bradley's actions, claiming that he was paid a good amount of money to prevent one particular wrestler from winning last night's gauntlet match. That wrestler, presumably, is AJ Styles. But which organization would ultimately have the most to gain by making sure Styles isn't in a position to compete in the BFG Series final four next week. The Aces and 8s immediately come to mind as it's something they've done before - if I recall, they paid off Bobby Roode, last year, to hurt Jeff Hardy. But I'm not so sure the Aces and 8s would target only one individual in a match featuring several of whom are gunning for them, including Magnus, Samoa Joe, and Jeff Hardy. So I turn my attention to EGO, based on their history with Styles and their desire to add another one of their members to the final four. Not a single time, however, did Jay Bradley and the members of EGO appear to work together during the match. So who hired Jay Bradley to target AJ Styles? I suspect that it was neither the Aces and 8s or EGO. I also do not believe it was the Main Even Mafia. So who's left? Could it be that a secret organization is targeting AJ Styles, the face of TNA?
05 September 2013
Welcome everyone to Behind The Curtain. This series is dedicated to going behind the scenes of TNA Wrestling and analysing the actions and decisions made backstage, looking at the possible reasons behind those actions with the aim to get the clearest possible picture concerning the topic. So now you know, let's begin.
If you haven't been keeping up-to-date on the situation between the WWE and Chris Hero (Kassius Ohno in NXT), it appears that the company is not pleased by Hero's inability to stay in shape, or lack of commitment rather. As a result, the WWE pulled Hero from NXT television recently. Unfortunately for Hero, it sounds as if things are about to get much worse for him. A report came out today that the WWE have, apparently, pulled Hero from the opening of the NXT show. Obviously, I'm speculating but this could be an indication that the WWE is preparing to cut him. With that in mind, is Chris Hero someone whom TNA should pursue if he were let go? I'm not a huge fan of his but I think it'd be a good decision for TNA to do their due diligence and, at the very least, give him a tryout. He's, by no means, a young prospect but if TNA signed him, they'd get an experienced worker in his prime - he'll turn 34 in December. I'm not at all concerned about his physical condition simply because I don't believe he's ever been in tip-top shape, at least compared to some of his colleagues, but he's always been in great wrestling shape. It's also important to note that Hero was arguably most successful as a member of a tag team in the indies, primarily with Claudio Castagnoli as the Kings of Wrestling, so he'd fill an immediate need in TNA's barren tag team division. Interestingly enough, he would've been perfect as James Storm's partner but you can just as easily partner him with a Knux or Jay Bradley and they'd make a perfectly legitimate team. Like I said, I'm not a huge fan of Chris Hero's but if the WWE do indeed release him, it makes too much sense for TNA not to sign him.
04 September 2013
In an effort to bring the TNA community of fans together, our trusted affiliate FTWPodcast will be doing a "TNAMecca Question of the Week" segment on their weekly show. This week, they discuss TNA's approach to Impact Live and whether it's a good idea to make every show based on a theme. Again, this is apart of our partnership with FTWPodcast to bring to you some of the best TNA commentary on the net so please make sure you check out the video above. Also, be sure to visit FTWPodcast for TNA news, commentary, and more.
A perennially bloated roster was a luxury that TNA had been previously able to afford but with the rising costs of taking Impact on the road, the company was forced to begin the process of trimming their roster via talent cuts in recent weeks. With this in mind, I've decided to take a closer look at the current roster and share with you my opinion on whether or not each individual should remain with the company or be released.
Before I begin my analysis on those who have seemingly been spared a pink slip, I'd like to go on record as to say this: although I hate to see anyone lose their job, the replenishing of a pro wrestling roster is imperative in order to continue to produce quality television and to keep costs to a minimum. I had absolutely no issue with TNA's decision to release the talents that they did. Most of them were simply not being booked and/or not in the company's future plans.
03 September 2013
"The Knockouts will Bow Down to The Queen"
01 September 2013
OK folks, I have a confession to make. This may shock and appal you, it may make me the black sheep of TNAMecca, but I need to come clean and be honest with you as I have always felt honesty is the best policy. So here it goes: I like the Aces and Eights. I like the gimmick, the storyline and even most of the guys in the group. I was hooked by the angle right from the beginning and am still very much into it. From what I read and hear most fans do not feel the same way I do, they feel the group has run its course (or never had a course to begin with) and should be put on the shelf. It's hard to argue with those fans when the ratings haven't been reflecting how I'm feeling about the Aces and Eights, and while I can understand some of the criticism the group gets, I do believe that a lot of it is for the wrong reasons. I feel that most fans aren't looking at the purpose the Aces and Eights serve in TNA and what other possibilities the group has. So let's put on my kutte, patch me in, and ride down the aisle and into the cage, as we show some sympathy for the deadman's hand.