03 April 2014

TNA Thursday Randomania - Apr 3, 2014

- I've found TNA's inability, or unwillingness, to fully commit to the X Division on a weekly basis quite frustrating the last several years but I have, time and time again, given them the benefit of the doubt.  The fact remains, however, that every time there has been some sort of effort to re-establish the division since Austin Aries cashed in his title to challenge for the world title via Option C in 2012, TNA has dropped the ball.  This year has been no different.  With the exception of a ridiculously contrived feud between Austin Aries and Chris Sabin that did neither wrestler any favors, the division has once again struggled to gain any momentum.  Last month, WRESTLE-1's Seiya Sanada defeated Aries to become the new X Division champion and although the title has received some recognition in Japan, we've yet to see any sort of sustained effort by TNA to capitalize on it by having Sanada defend his title on U.S. soil against an X Division wrestler.  Instead, he's been teaming with Tigre Uno in the Tag Team Division.  As much fun as it is to watch the two international stars combine their strengths, why exactly aren't they wrestling each other?

- Which brings me to the reason that provoked the above reaction.  On tonight's episode of Impact, Sanada and Tigre Uno will apparently compete in the first match of a best of three series for the X Division championship, which is wonderful news.  However, TNA essentially buried this news in a preview on their site, literally ignoring it everywhere else.  There wasn't a single mention on their show last week nor has there been one on their Twitter account.  Would it have killed TNA to spend a couple of minutes to advertise the match plus the concept on social media throughout the week?  Yet, they can advertise an absurd BroMans music video on all their social media accounts plus their Youtube account repeatedly.  For the life of me, I can not understand why the X Division continues to be treated like an afterthought?  In any case, I'm still looking forward to Sanada vs Tigre Uno tonight, which should be fun.

- I keep getting asked about Bad Influence and Austin Aries on Twitter so I will, once and for all, share with you what I know about their status.  I know nothing.  Nobody who's not in the know does.  I will say this however...their appearance at Dragon Gate USA's show this week is not at all an indication of whether or not the tag team will re-sign with TNA.  On a good note, DGUSA is advertising them as TNA talents.  But again, it ultimately means nothing.  My gut tells me that both Christopher Daniels and Kazarian will re-sign with the company as I don't believe their salary demands will be a deal breaker.  As for Aries, I don't believe his contract is due to expire anytime soon so his status is a non-story right now.

- Some have mentioned to me recently that they're feeling a disconnect from the current TNA product and I believe that's largely due to two things.  Firstly, the lack of longtime veterans.  We are, by nature, forces of habit so change is never easy for viewers.  There's a comfort level with a familiar face, one that we've watched on Impact for over a decade.  Such was the case with AJ Styles, who was a constant on Thursday nights.  So was Sting.  And to a certain extent, Jeff Jarrett as well.  These men were all part of the fabric that was the TNA we fell in love with and supported for many years.  And now they're gone.  And they've been replaced by newcomers, strangers even.  The reality is that change is difficult on fans who are emotionally invested in a product so as a result, some haven't completely embraced the new faces just yet.  And secondly, TNA have recently incorporated a new method of storytelling that once again takes fans out of their comfort zone.  The writers are creating unorthodox characters that don't quite fit the pro wrestling mold and are essentially placing them in situations that, at first glance, aren't analogous to the wrestling industry.  In essence, TNA are tearing down an abstract fourth wall in a way that's never been done before in pro wrestling.  As a result, segments in which two characters go on a hunt for another in the woods is jarring to some.  The same can be said about an obsessive compulsive lunatic who has created a shrine for a Knockout in his apartment.  TNA are pushing the envelope in a way that they've never done before in their entire history and I, personally, applaud them.  I feel that they've given the viewer a reason to think, to stimulate their mind, and to awaken their senses at a time when the pro wrestling industry has needed it.  Some will never give TNA the credit they deserve but the fact is that they're currently reinventing what it means to be a pro wrestling show and I, for one, will sit back and enjoy the ride because I have a feeling that TNA have only scratched the surface of this new creative direction.

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