28 April 2014

That Twisted Road to Slammiversary

So here we are now after the Sacrifice Pay-Per-View.  The direction of the company has been fairly unpredictable the last 2 1/2 weeks with Eric Young winning and retaining the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.  Now we have The Wolves in possession of the Tag Team belts, much to most fans delight.  Angelina Love secured the 3rd recent title change and has set a record for the most Knockouts Title runs in TNA history.  The divisions are continuing to evolve and take shape, which I notice is testing some TNA fans loyalties.  It must be a difficult job to run a pro-wrestling company in the national spotlight.  You just simply cannot please all of the people all of the time, no matter what you do.  What you can do, however, is focus on certain audience demographics.  The trend I continue to see Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling gravitating towards is a more and more adult-oriented that is more crazy than we've ever seen before.

Are you ready for some dark carnival characters? You better be because it sounds like Knux is bringing "Crazzy Steve and The Freak" to join himself and Rebel (Tanaya) on IMPACT.  I touched on this new faction recently in the comment sections but I really think TNA is attempting to hook onto a currently-popular niche audience here.  People are often drawn to the bizarre and freak-show type of entertainment.  If you have ever been to a Cirque Du Soleil show, you'd know that they specialize in spectacular illusions and amazing circus art.  They currently hold 8 different shows in Las Vegas alone and are gigantic money-makers.  Knux' Freak Show (or whatever they'll be named) will obviously not be on that level of grandeur, but the same appeal is there.  Fans want to see weird shit.  These carnies are coming to provide you with some small-town carnival shenanigans, and I am very intrigued to see how it all pans out.  At one point we all kind of thought that Knux and Tanaya were a feel-good story of rekindled romance and small-town values.  Well, all the sudden this storyline seems to be gaining traction with a maniacal and twisted turn.  Can you imagine Knux walking to the ring bellowing sinister laughter (think Stromboli from Pinocchio) while Rebel is doing her fire dance nearby?  Crazy Steve and The Freak will also be in tow providing their own spectacle (whatever that is) in a nutty parade  to complete this dangerous 3-ring circus.  I have envisioned what it might be like and it makes me smile.

Never would I have thought that TNA would have all these intense and/or mentally deranged characters.  Willow is another example of a unique and unconventional persona that has surfaced lately.  He is very over in the Impact Zone and got a nice reaction at LockDown.  It seems as though fans are becoming more used to this alter ego all the time.  Then there's the recently committed Samuel Shaw.  He represents yet another part of this "more mature audience appeal" movement with his sociopathic antics.  Both Christy's (Hemme and Creepy) are constantly on his radar which will warrant some psychological treatment, as I am sure we'll get some Funny Farm vignettes to further his character soon.  Samuel Shaw is not going away.  He is simply getting a break from actual in-ring wrestling while we get to learn more about this very complicated creature.

That brings us to Abyss and the assumed return of one Father James Mitchell.  In some ways, the wrestlers that I outlined above make Abyss seem somewhat normal (and that's pretty hard to do).  It's no coincidence that James Mitchell has been referred to as much as he has recently.  I'm sure at some point he's going to poke his demented, devilish head into the fray with his son.  I won't delve into this particular storyline too much as that is reserved for a future "Into the Abyss" column, but needless to say, what's coming for Abyss is very appropriate.  Bully Ray also had a psychotic vibe to his character before his face-turn.  All these characters fit into the same genre of horror, thriller, fear, shock, savagery, etc.  Judging by the current movie industry and other popular TV shows, there is a significant audience that enjoys these types of things.

Sure there will be multiple facets of TNA that are not involved in these intense, peculiar storylines.  On the other hand, all of these abnormal performers will need wrestlers to feud with.  I believe there's a way to make it all succeed as each unconventional character will have individual nuances to them.  The entire group does possess an overall foreboding theme that will scare some and excite others.  This element of alternative culture is not completely new to TNA as we have seen other groups like Disciples of the New Church and The Gathering in the past, but has it ever been this eerie?  It feels like something is shifting as far as the extent that they may be willing to go.  It's evident that TNA Creative currently feels like it's the right time to go heavy on this genre.  Meanwhile, we have an alternative World Champion in Eric Young that told Abyss a few weeks ago that he himself was crazy too (and he is, just in a different way than all the others).  The Road to Slammiversary is about to get more twisted, unpredictable and abnormal than we've ever seen.  What are your thoughts on this outlandish movement (no-spoilers please)?  I personally love it, but I'm kind of a twisted freak myself so that's no surprise really.   

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