- Tonight's live episode of Impact is the first since the fiasco that was May 8th, also known as the episode that Bully Ray returned and brought his girlfriend, Velvet Sky, with him. Bully Ray was the huge surprise Dixie Carter and others within TNA were teasing for days, the surprise that made even Billy Corgan tweet "Wow" upon seeing who it was backstage before the show. Corgan will fit right in with that kind of overhyping but I digress. May 8th was a show that was quite consequential, at least for me personally, because it left me with feelings of discontent with the TNA product and continues to do so to this day. Although Destination X exacerbated those feelings, it was May 8th that precipitated them. So I'm hoping tonight's show will do what May 8th did not, and that's deliver in a way that awakens in me a feeling of great enthusiasm for the product again. I want to enjoy the shows and feel genuinely excited for Wednesday nights again. Last week's show was a step in the right direction, as I stated in my new column Regal Time, but it's important that tonight's show follows suit and even improves upon the positives of last week. I think it's also important to lower our expectations for tonight's show simply because more times than not our expectations will not be met, and not because TNA can't deliver but because our expectations can often be unrealistic. This was certainly the case on the eve of May 8th when some predicted that the former world champion returning would be AJ Styles or Samoa Joe. I know because I was one of them.
- That's not to say that I'm not excited about tonight's show because there are many things that I'm looking forward to, and on top of that list is Full Metal Mayhem involving the Wolves and the Dirty Heels. It's the fourth match in this fantastic series that started as a rivalry between two top teams but has of late turned into a fully established feud due to the antics from Austin Aries and Bobby Roode. Typically, a match of this caliber (and stipulation) acts as the grand finale of a series so I'm curious to see how TNA proceeds because a win by the Heels tonight will undoubtedly up the ante for the final match. But where exactly does one go after Full Metal Mayhem?
- I'm typically not a big fan of open challenge angles simply because I feel that the execution and/or endgame are often underwhelming and I can't help but feel that Bram's is headed in that direction. I think the writers did a poor job setting up the storyline in the weeks prior to Bram's first open challenge, and as a result, his motives aren't clear or well-defined. A few promos backstage leading up to his first open challenge would have made quite a difference, in my opinion, and it would have created a sense of anticipation amongst TNA fans. Instead, I get the sense that fans are more interested in who will be next to accept Bram's challenge as opposed to the storyline and everything that leads to the eventual conclusion. But putting aside its execution, I wonder, what is the endgame here? Could TNA have a former wrestler in mind who would accept Bram's challenge and ultimately go on to feud with him for a few weeks? And if so, who could it be? Is it the Pope? If it is, I like the way TNA have re-introduced him to the show and it would make sense for Bram to pick a fight with the Pope, a former TNA wrestler, who will be at ringside with Josh Mathews for tonight's show. My gut however tells me that, although the Pope and Bram may clash at some point, he is not the endgame. Who it is, I don't know. I just wish the writers did a better job getting us to this point.
- And lastly, I feel that I need to express my thoughts on a topic that I don't normally do. Every week, when the viewership info for Impact and Ring of Honor is posted, the usual suspects, mostly those who are anti-TNA, seem to rush to defend ROH's low numbers and spin them for obvious reasons. We all know they're practically salivating over the possibility that Destination America brought ROH on in order to replace Impact. Personally, I hope DestAm continues to promote Wednesday nights as the night for wrestling, and ultimately decides to keep both Impact and ROH on the air. I say this because ROH's run with DestAm will conclude later in the year and I'd hate to see it end. I've come to enjoy my three hours of wrestling every Wednesday night and it'd be a shame if it were to end. For this reason, I hope ROH's ratings will improve because the fact remains that they still haven't drawn over 200,000 viewers for their first run show at 8PM EST on Destination America, which is a primetime slot on a weeknight.
If I'm being honest, I'm surprised that Ring of Honor fans and those who constantly praise the company haven't made more of an effort to support the show on Destination America. After all, this is a big opportunity for ROH. You wouldn't know it, however, by the lack of commitment shown by the ROH masses. If it's a choice between watching ROH on Sunday morning at 1AM on a Sinclair channel or Wednesday night on a national cable network in primetime, I would think they'd make the sacrifice and choose the latter. Or they could choose to watch it twice. And if they don't have Destination America, then they can upgrade to a package with their cable or satellite provider that does, like many TNA fans did. Because that's what fans do. They support the company they love, and sometimes they put their money where their mouth is. But I guess it's easier just to be a loudmouth on the internet while illegally watching ROH online. Destination America has given ROH fans and the know-it-all smarks an opportunity to show why Ring of Honor is the best wrestling promotion. And yet, three weeks into its run on DestAm, they have failed to show up. A group of fans who talk the talk but when it comes to supporting what they so passionately call the best wrestling show in America, they're nowhere to be found. But seriously, where are the ROH fans and why aren't they watching ROH on Destination America?