15 May 2015

TNA Friday Randomania - May 15, 2015


- I can only speak for myself but I feel that TNA shot themselves in the foot, last week, by bringing Bully Ray back, albeit for one night. The reveal of Ray's return in the opening moments of Impact caused me to emotionally check out of the rest of the show, and as hard as I tried, I simply could not invest in the action after that. Not a single thing resonated with me. I was done. Looking back now, I still question the decision to bring back a wrestler which a good portion of the fanbase has soured on, especially since his return felt so random and unnecessary. In my case, it affected my enjoyment of the show greatly and more importantly, it has left me less than enthusiastic about the current TNA product. I have to wonder if there was any benefit to bringing Bully Ray back, especially since the viewership for last week's show was disappointing. The drawbacks, however, were aplenty.

- I'm hoping tonight's episode of Impact will reignite my enthusiasm for the TNA product but admittedly, it will take a concerted effort by the company to draw me back in. And they can do so by getting back to being a wrestling-first product, which they've strayed from in recent weeks. In my opinion, there was far too much talking on last week's show and the very little wrestling we did get seemed rather inconsequential. When one of those matches is for the TNA world heavyweight championship, that's a problem. It sends a poor message to viewers. Similarly, the build for Mr. Anderson vs Ethan Carter III deserved so much better than a short overbooked mess that saw the company's supposed brightest young star require the assistance of his bodyguard to defeat a mid-card veteran. Some would argue that EC3 is a heel who cheats to win and to that I say, perception in wrestling is reality. A heel who can not win on his own, whether it'd be clean or not, will not be seen as a serious threat by fans, especially if the goal is to make him a world title contender, or at least a threat to the title. We saw this with Magnus' title reign last year. Magnus as champion simply could not recover once the perception of him was that he needed others to win his matches. Compare that to Bobby Roode's heel title run in 2012, a run in which he cheated on a weekly basis. It's a title reign that wrestling fans look back on as a successful one because Roode did it on his own. In my opinion, Ethan Carter III has crossover star potential with the proper build, booking, and exposure but it's dependent upon the booking and writing staff making the right decisions for him and his character. EC3 has done his part; it's now up to Creative to do theirs.

- I think it's important to note that the Revolution (sans James Storm) were nowhere to be seen on last week's show nor were they mentioned. This is significant because it's often the case that a new set of tapings typically brings with it new storylines, feuds and in some cases, a reset. I, for one, hope that we've seen the end of the Revolution, in its present form at least, simply because its members other than Storm have at times shown to be as incompetent as their counterparts in the Aces and 8's. The Revolution, although an intriguing concept at first, has unfortunately not panned out and much of that is the writers' fault. An argument can be made that at least two members, the Great Sanada and Manik, were better off on their own. And a third member, Abyss, for whatever reason never quite seemed to fit in. That leaves Khoya, who's the only member one could argue has benefited from his time in the Revolution. If it's true that the current version of the Revolution is done, the question now becomes does James Storm replace them with new members or simply discard the whole thing. My answer? If I were in a TNA creative summit, I'd vote for the latter.

- And lastly, I can't help but feel that TNA missed a huge opportunity last week to show the wrestling world that Impact is a wrestling-first show with great storylines. It was an opportunity to hook viewers by showcasing everything that makes TNA so different from other promotions, the things that make TNA a hybrid of great in-ring action and nuanced and complex storytelling. Unfortunately, what we witnessed was an underwhelming and frustrating show with lots of talking and very little wrestling. Even worse, TNA couldn't be bothered to give the X Division one segment while giving the Knockouts two, both of them in the second hour of the show. It could be that plans were changed last minute to accommodate the return of Velvet Sky but once again, TNA has shown that the X Division is simply not a priority. It hasn't stopped Josh Mathews, however, from boasting on Impact that TNA listens to their fans as the reason why we're getting more Knockouts and X Division action. You could've fooled me.

But getting back to my original point, I think it's mind-boggling that it took TNA almost two months worth of creative summits to come up with last week's live show. Let me repeat...it took TNA almost two fucking months worth of creative summits to come up with last week's shit show. I hope that those in Creative aren't patting themselves on the back because the truth is they had almost two months to prepare for the live May 8th episode and the best they could come up with was the returns of Bully Ray and Velvet Sky, two wrestlers who lack the self-awareness to know that they're not as popular as they think, a win for Tyrus over Mr. Anderson, the BDC and the Rising basically repeating the same segment that we've seen from them for weeks (MVP and Drew Galloway cut long promos, the two sides agree to a match, the Rising wins, the Rising gets beaten down after the match...lather...rinse...repeat), and finally, Kurt Angle defeating Eric Young in a TNA world title match which played second fiddle to Bully Ray selling an injury to his balls. That was the first live episode of Impact in four months, folks. In any case, I think I've made my point but I will leave you with this: as of tonight, TNA will have to regain my support as a fan and as a viewer.

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