24 February 2014

#REWIND365: 10-23 Feb 2014

Welcome to #REWIND365 Where the Reaction Never Ends, a selective look at the fortnight's offerings from #IMPACT365.  As TNA continues its UK tour with two weeks in Manchester, it is really becoming apparent just how much work TNA creative put into not only creating meaningful shows in the week they were filming in the UK but also thinking ahead and setting up the building blocks for what should be a great Lockdown PPV.  It has been a while, but TNA has again been using #IMPACT365 to its full potential, resulting in a World Title showdown with a PPV main event feel to it.

Stuck trying to download some old WCW PPVs from this Network everyone is talking about?  No problem, take your mind off it with a look at this pick of videos FREE from #IMPACT365.

Bronze:  The Hunt Is... Over

It was only a matter of time before The Wolves took the titles, and whilst it didn't occur under ideal circumstances, I am glad they decided to upload a section of the match so soon to #IMPACT365 with hopefully more of it to come in the not too distant future.

As much as I have enjoyed the growth of The BroMans as a team and individually as performers, they needed to lose the titles sooner rather than later.  Wolves aside, there are only two other viable tag teams on the roster, both of them heel.  We already have TeamDixie thwarting peoples' attempts to strip Magnus of his belt, so if they are planning to revitalise the Tag Team division without it becoming stale as the BroMans adopted similar dodge tactics, it was a good choice to give the belts to the Wolves and have the BroMans/Bad Influence doing the chasing instead.

I won't speculate here on what pushed TNA to have the titles change hands in this way, all I will say is that I am finding it incredibly difficult to imagine how they will explain this paradox if the BroMans show up with the belts on the taped show in Wembley.  I have not been this confused since the last episode of Lost.

Silver:  Magnus Makes an Asset of Himself

On the first Impact show from Manchester when it was announced that Gunner would be cashing in his briefcase for a title shot against Magnus the following week, I have to admit I wasn't terribly excited by the prospect.  Fearing a similar fate to Zema Ion's X-Division briefcase, Gunner cashing in his World Title shot now seemed an utter waste when a Magnus vs Samoe Joe main event at Lockdown was pretty much a given.  Gunner had been carrying that case for so long and whilst he popped up now and again trying to cash it in, the storyline was largely subsumed and sidelined by the goings on between TeamDixie and MVP.  I was not overly invested in last week's main event.

That is until all these awesome promos started popping up on #IMPACT365 to build up the match!

To that end, Magnus earns himself the Silver for sparking a war of words with Gunner ahead of their showdown and giving the fans a reason to care about their match.

In the days before the World Title Match between Magnus and Hardy at Final Resolution, we heard a lot about how the World Champion is expected to be the torch-bearer of the company, the long hours travelling the World with Dixie and her team to be the spokesperson for TNA.  Up until this video, I hadn't given much thought to what exactly this entailed, and certainly on screen it didn't seem to amount to much more than Magnus walking down to the ring in a suit when he wasn't wrestling.  This video did a lot to clarify the role Magnus has at Dixie's side behind the scenes, and in turn afforded Magnus the opportunity to tell Gunner precisely why he isn't ready to be a World Champion.

The verbal assault from Magnus gets very personal at times, and dangerously close to the sentiments shared by some fans (myself included until very recently) about whether Gunner was ready to be placed in the World Title scene.  Great stuff!  I only hope Magnus begins to incorporate his calm, collected, calculated attitude into his in-ring style.

Gold:  Gunning For The Top

In direct response to Magnus' verbal slap in the face, this edition's Gold medal goes to Gunner in recognition of quite possibly his best promo to date.

Mister Intensity, Modern Day Viking, Saint and Sinner.  Despite all of the monikers that they have tried to stick on Gunner, up until a couple of weeks ago a lot of fans were questioning whether or not Gunner was ready for a shot at the World Title.  It wasn't until the first live show from Glasgow that TNA finally struck gold, when talk of his time in the marines drew a "USA!" chant from the Scottish crowd, and more people began to take notice of Gunner as a potential contender.

Given that TNA creative have done such a great job since Bound For Glory of combining fact and fiction with character development and storylines, it makes you wonder why they didn't utilise Gunner's military past a lot more and sooner as a means to put him over.

Forgive the oxymoron, but there is something refreshingly old school about the way they have been building Gunner up as a face in the past two weeks.  A man that has dreamt of being a wrestler since he was a kid, has spent years working hard to make it in the industry, has fought for his country and is now fighting a war to prove his detractors wrong and win the World Title.  He doesn't have any over-the-top gimmicks, any contrived catchphrases, he is simply a decent guy trying to get to the top of the ladder and someone that could be a role model to others.  The shots of him as a kid and as a teen I think are pretty aspirational to the younger viewers out there that dream of becoming a wrestler when they grow up.

One of the main criticisms I have heard about Gunner is limited mic skills, but after watching this video I would argue that his mic skills have been limited by a lack of meaningful storylines rather than a lack of ability.  It is only recently with the break down of his tag team and his attempts to cash in his briefcase that he has been given the opportunity to prove himself on the mic, and he has been doing a great job so far. 

Fantastic promo here from Gunner, impossible to fake the level of sincerity with which he delivered it.  You ask if Gunner is ready for the World Heavyweight Championship?  When Gunner responds with "My answer is yes", it is hard to tell if he is addressing Magnus or those of us in the TNA fanbase that doubted his legitimacy as a World Title contender.

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