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02 January 2014

TNA Thursday Randomania - Jan 2, 2014


- This week, I'd like to begin with my thoughts on the latest AJ Styles development.  As many of you know he has agreed to work a few dates with Ring of Honor starting January 4th, all of them I'm assuming for their television show.  I think this is a misstep by Styles if he plans to re-sign with TNA at some point.  For one, he risks alienating TNA fans or at least coming across as disloyal to them and the company he's called home for over a decade.  Personally, I was taken aback by the news simply because I felt that working for ROH is more of a statement by Styles rather than a long term plan to make a living.  This decision isn't about money.  It's about showing up TNA.  It's a slap in the face of TNA and its fans.  

Secondly, by making the decision to walk away from TNA and working for a competitor for less money, Styles has, in my eyes, essentially forfeited his spot in the company.  No longer is he the face of TNA nor is he someone the company should push as one of their top stars.  If AJ Styles ever returns to TNA, I'd be shocked if he were written as a top star.  And it'd be deserved.

Now don't get me wrong.  I don't begrudge a man trying to make a living.  But like I said, this has nothing to do with money.  AJ Styles will have you believe that it's about providing for his family now and in the future.  His actions, however, say otherwise.  He has said that he hasn't burned any bridges with TNA but he's shown that his loyalty to the company goes no further than, dare I say, Rob Van Dam's.  That's the sad part about this.  At a time when the company needed its top star to make certain concessions, Styles would have none of it.  This is not to say, however, that I wouldn't welcome Styles back to TNA.  On the contrary.  But only as a midcarder putting over the next generation's stars.

- What makes the AJ Styles story even more troubling is its possible connection to the departure of Jeff Jarrett.  This is what we know.  We know that TNA and AJ Styles were reportedly close to a deal.  On December 23rd, Jarrett announced his resignation via Twitter.  A few days later, Styles' agent reached out to ROH and the two sides agreed to a deal to have Styles appear on the January 4th show.  So what happened to drastically disrupt the negotiations between Styles and TNA since Jarrett's announcement that prompted his client to contact ROH?  And how exactly does it involve Jeff Jarrett?

- For the reasons I've outlined above, I think there's a changing of the guard movement going on in TNA, behind the scenes and on-screen.  With the potential departures of Jarrett and Styles, I look for Dixie Carter to take control of her company and lead it in a completely new direction, with new faces, new ideas, and new top stars.  I can't say I'm disappointed because I think it's the right thing to do.  You can only live in the past for so long.  I'm optimistic about TNA's future because I think the company is finally acting like a responsible wrestling promotion and the television product will benefit because of it.  They aren't trying to compete with the WWE.  They aren't trying to raise the bar.  They're simply going back to basics - telling good stories with interesting characters that culminate in great feuds and matches.

- As for the show tonight, I'm looking forward to it as we will be treated to the official coronation of the new TNA World Heavyweight champion, Magnus.  Knowing TNA, it will be a huge spectacle that will entertain us and leave us wanting more.  In addition, it will be the in-ring debut of Samuel Shaw tonight, which is something I've been anticipating since his first segment with Christy Hemme.  It also looks like the Gail Kim Open Challenge is back this week.  All in all, I have a feeling TNA will produce a fantastic first show of 2014.  However, I don't think we'll fully get a glimpse of the company's new creative plan until Genesis on January 16th.

- And lastly, as a special treat, I'm including a couple of fantasy booking scenarios, courtesy of TNAMecca supporter, Vincent Is Valentine.  Enjoy!

[Before anything else, I have to provide a heads up that this is composed of two angles, one for the current timeline and the other at a later point where there is a sufficient number of female wrestlers in the roster. I will also be providing inserts of commentary just to further clarify my opinion on every detail. So let's begin... ]

~SALVAGING WHAT'S LEFT OF THE CURRENT TNA KNOCKOUTS~

During a backstage segment with ODB, a masked attacker jumps her from behind and proceeds to lay her out with steel chair, leaving ODB incapacitated for the rest of the night. 

Later, Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne check up their friend at the trainer's room, this prompts them to go out to the ring to cut a promo calling out Gail Kim & Lei'D Tapa and blaming them for the attack on ODB. Of course, the Champion feigns ignorance about the whole thing, but still accepts the challenge.

With the match under way, Velvet starts off the bout, going in first. As things progress, she is unable to overcome Gail & Tapa's combination of brain and brawn, preventing her from reaching Madison. But after a short miscommunication between the Champ and her bodyguard, Velvet finally makes it to her corner. Now just as she's about to tag in her partner, Madison pulls away her hand and elbows Velvet in the face. Thus, Gail & Tapa go to work in further decimating Velvet before finally ending the beatdown with the pinfall victory. Madison gets on the mic to insult the fans on how they were gullible enough to believe the ruse, declaring that the she & Gail are still BFF's and simply untouchable. 

[Bonus points if Tapa raises both of them on her shoulders for a victory pose. Additional bonus points if ODB runs in (still looking beat up) to try and help out Velvet, only to get completely owned by the three heels.]

This event leads to the next Impact where Gail & Madison gloat and call out ODB & Velvet, threatening them with another butt-whippin'. Though ODB & Velvet do arrive on the stage, they admit that they're in no condition to wrestle as per doctor's orders. However it doesn't mean that they can't have someone else to fight in their place. This leads ODB & Velvet to introduce their replacement challengers... Hannah Blossom, Candice LeRae & Cherry Bomb! 

Cue the Knockouts Brawl.

And from there, the story is to be continued... 

[Hey, Norv & Dewey are getting screen-time even though they have yet to win a match, why not those three women?! Case dismissed. Enough said.]

____________________________________


~REBEL WITH A CAUSE~

[You can change the players with whomever you please, but I still think the ones I chose have merit for their respective roles. Lastly, this is a tweener faction, which will be explained further along the story. So let's get to it... ]

During a standard one-on-one match between two mid-card Knockouts, Melissa Anderson --

[Let's be honest, the girl deserves a big-time push ever since she worked in TNA & Ring Ka King as herself & her alter egos. Also take a gander at the attached image file and tell me that the woman in it is not an image of a true wrestling champion. I dare you!] 

 -- enters from the crowd, interrupts the bout and obliterates the two exhausted participants. She proceeds to do a shoot on how TNA has debased what was once their glorious Women's Division, placing the fault at the hussies in the current roster for going along with it. More importantly, she places blame on Dixie Carter for being so caught up catering to the boys, while completely making the girls look like afterthoughts. As Melissa declares her intention to start a revolution that will expose the travesty that has befallen women's wrestling, Dixie Carter arrives and orders security to escort the girl out of the building, but Melissa escapes into the crowd for her exit.

The next week, Melissa once again attempts to spoil another Knockouts match. Having wised up for this situation, the two Knockouts set aside the contest and takes on the intruder. Looking as if the home team is about to get the best of Melissa, several unknown females... 

[In reality, they're a bunch of unsigned talent from the indies] 

... arrive from the crowd and demolish the two and assist Melissa in making her escape. 

This leads to a segment where the rest of the Women's roster demand a meeting with Dixie. Still busy with other things going on in the company, the TNA President merely dismisses their request to fix the problem and tells the girls to sort it out themselves. 

As the weeks progress, Melissa and her growing legion cause all sorts of havoc like interrupting more Women's singles/tag team matches, harassing the commentary/announce team, and vandalizing the Knockouts dressing room. Two particular accomplishments they manage to pull off, showing that these women really mean business was taking out Lei'D Tapa and driving Dixie Carter into a mental breakdown.

In Tapa's case, she made the challenge to Melissa for a match. However the rebel leader declined and instead gave the task to one of her girls with the stipulation being, if Tapa wins, then she can be granted a match. Before the scheduled contest, the Knockouts (the faces) volunteer to serve as backup for Tapa, but the proud Amazon-like warrior would not hear any of it and threatens to crush anyone who dares to intrude in her business. As Tapa heads to the ring, the the heel Knockouts enter the scene to laugh over the face Knockouts' after their attempt to help was rejected, and more than ever the rift between the two sides of the Women's Division grows even wider. 

The bout itself was mostly in the Tongan woman's favor and just as she's about to deliver the finishing blow, a couple of Melissa's underlings came ringside to distract the giantess. The match ends in a DQ for Tapa as she fights off the incoming interference. But what followed next was a display of sheer brutality as more of the other rebel girls enter the ring and swarm on the larger woman, beating her down until she was practically on her knees while being restrained by the other rebel members. And from the crowd, enter Melissa Anderson who is brandishing a kendo stick. Just as she's about to enter the ring, Rockstar Spud quickly runs from the back to stop her, but only receives a shot to head for his troubles. With the pest out of the way, Melissa gets on the mic to state the following:

"Women are not just after-thoughts taking a backseat to the men. And it's about time that people take notice of this injustice.This demonstration is our message to the wrestling world. And if TNA still wants to turn a blind eye to the matter at hand, then so be it. Let the chaos begin!"

Like a public execution, Melissa delivers shot after shot to Tapa's back for what almost seems like an eternity, but just as the rebel leader is about to deliver a deadly strike to Tapa's head, the Knockouts (both faces and heels) finally arrive for the save. After a short scuffle, the Melissa and her invading group are forced to retreat back to the crowd, as medics arrive to tend to the fallen Tapa.

In the days leaping up to the next Impact, Dixie Carter finally decides to take matters into her own hands and states that she will addressing the ongoing rebellion that's been plaguing the TNA Women's Division. Unfortunately for her, Melissa Anderson and her team strike again with another set of mischief as they trash her main Nashville offices. In addition to that, her cars were also included on the hit-list with all the tires blown out. And if that wasn't bad enough, Dixie gets drenched with spoiled milk from the rafters just as she's delivering her announcement. To cap off the night, Melissa appears on the big entrance stage screen to advise the TNA President to never take their cause lightly, and punctuates it with "tweet that" just as the show comes to a close.

Following that humiliating turn of events, Dixie takes a sudden sabbatical and leaves her Chief Of Staff Rockstar Spud to handle the asylum. Realizing that the pint-sized Brit is just as bad as Dixe, if not worse, when it comes to handling these predicaments (plus the fact that he has been caught peeking in the Knockouts shower room more than once), the faces and heels among the Knockouts are forced to band together and fend off the invaders. For the most part, the Knockouts fail miserably because of the classic miscommunication bit, thus hindering them from their goal and allowing Melissa & her squadron to stand tall top on the mountain, so to speak.

Speaking of being on top, among all the accomplishments that this group has ever pulled off, none would compare than the coup that would take place after a PPV Knockouts Championship title match... 

[Let's say Gail Kim is the Champ and she's defending the belt against Velvet Sky.]

... After an intense back-and-forth action, the Champion retains her title and is about to bask in her victory, but not before a familiar theme tune blares through the arena. From the entrance, out comes Lei'D Tapa (in a neckbrace), who has yet to be seen during the past month after being shelved on the injured list. As Gail was the closest person to ever befriend Tapa, she greets her with a hug which the Tongan accepts as she raises the Champion's arm, only to deliver a devastating clothesline on her now-former friend, leading to Tapa ripping off the neck brace. After a brief struggle by Gail, Tapa overpowers the worn-out Knockouts Champ before laying her out with her finisher. Now, just as Tapa is about to exact more punishment, out from the crowd comes Melissa Anderson and her Valkyries, who begin to surround the ring, with Tapa and the out-cold Champ still in it. Slowly, Melissa enters, followed by the others... 

[Before we go for the climax, let's answer a nagging question here. Why exactly is this faction able go in, out and elude Dixie Carter's security as they please?]

[Because as another cost-cutting measure, she released half of the personnel -- JOKE! LOL!!]

[But seriously, this is where it gets interesting. All the time, the rebel faction always had a mole in the company that has given them secret access. And that mole, is none other than Lei'D Tapa.

... with Tapa and a still laid out Gail surrounded, Melissa grabs a mic and declares that Tapa has officially passed the test. All along, Tapa has been in cahoots with the invaders and the entire "caning" was part of a ruse. With that, the two shake hands and they all proceed to destroy Gail Kim with finisher after finisher. While this is going on, the other members proceed to take out any of the incoming Knockouts and security personnel. Taking the Knockouts Championship belt with her, Melissa raises high up and declares the title is now their "hostage", she then issues a challenge to any female wrestler in the world that Dixie Carter can find to try and stop their revolution.

From here, this all becomes a prelude to an even bigger picture. The conflict here would be a torn roster between the women of the company. You got the Knockouts who are still fighting among themselves and you got Melissa Anderson, Lei'D Tapa & their tight-knit Valkyrie army who have proclaimed themselves as the "True Wrestling Knockouts" that the industry should take notice. So it all becomes a series of clashes where, try as they might, the original TNA Knockouts are still at a disarray, while Melissa and her rebel faction are just one step ahead. Of course, Dixie Carter cannot do anything hasty since Melissa has the Knockouts Championship belt and has made threats to bring it to other promotions not to defend it but to make a mockery of it. Thus, all of this leads to an official contract signing where Dixie Carter is forced to give in to the demands of the rebel group, who just so happens to have hired a female attorney that will serve as the group's legal representative. Among the list of demands would be to grant the women individual contracts and if Dixie tries to fire any one of them, then she will be sued for every single penny that Panda Energy is worth, and with that, the story is to be continued...

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