Revisiting TNA’s Destination X 2013

destination xThis is the final part in a ongoing series, looking TNA’s product from a non-fan perspective. Check out Week One and Week Two.

Apologies for skipping last-week’s IMPACT WRESTLING (see, you have to bold it like that because it artificially makes the product more exciting). Some stuff happened, sure, but none of it felt terribly important. I know, I know… Rampage Jackson joined the Main Event Mafia last week. Big news. Should have covered it. So here’s my week-late article:

Rampage Jackson was announced last-night as the 5th wrestler celebrity of the NWO Main-Event Mafia. Because out of all the talent on the TNA roster to recruit from, Sting, Samoa Joe, and Kurt Angle felt it best to pick somebody who has never wrestled before to join their Main-Event level squad.

In the words of Damien Sandow: You’re Welcome.

Of course, I made that comment about Rampage Jackson before TNA fired about half of their personnel in series of cost-cutting moves (read: Hulkamania is expensive). So maybe I should cut TNA a little slack.

Last night on Twitter, I was told that Rampage Jackson is the “muscle” of the group, which is why he doesn’t have to wear a suit like everybody else. I can buy that logic. But I don’t understand the booking logic in advertising Destination X as the pay-per-view event of the summer, and then delivering with a series of qualifying matches for next week’s Impact Wrestling.

Right, because it makes the most sense to hold the popular Ultimate X match until the week AFTER your pay-per-view show, which is supposed to highlight the X Division. Of course, when a show in the year 2013 opens up with Hulk Hogan, Bully Ray, and Brooke Hogan, you know that TNA Creative doesn’t quite have its priorities in check. Not that I don’t love me some Bully Ray (his heel schtick never gets old), but at least let him kick off the show with somebody NOT named Hogan Bollea.

Speaking of “kick off the show,” did anybody else notice Taz was missing at commentary? Me either. Moving on…

What was on display was just alright. The Ultimate X triple-threat qualifying matches proved entertaining. Even more entertaining? Listening to me attempt to pronounce Trent Barreta’s real name after a few glasses of wine… (“no, I got it this time – MAR-Soup-E-uhl. Huh? A Kangaroo?”)

The Main Event Mafia at least delivered on their promise to fight Aces and Eights. Or, at least, they tried. Sting, Angle, Joe, Mangus and Rampage all puffed up their chests and called out Bully Ray’s rag-tag Son’s of Anarchy knockoffs. But surprisingly, In one of the most realistic creative decisions in the entire history of professional wrestling, Aces and Eights just refused. Like, “nah, we don’t want to fight. Nevermind.” So what did the Main Event Mafia do? Run backstage, and let professional wrestling’s only Olympic Gold Medalist get kidnapped in the back of a cheap pickup truck. That’ll teach ‘em!

 

 

Don’t worry, Angle was back in about 15 minutes with ZERO explanation of what went down. I’m guessing he just hopped out. I mean, pickup truck beds are wide open – Bully Ray didn’t think through that one very well, did he? Also, is anybody else bothered by the fact that TNA REGULARLY uses kidnapping as a plot device? This is a serious issue. Apparently, backstage security must absolutely suck at all TNA events. If you have an average of one kidnapping plot per year, effectively carried out on high-level athletes all IN THE SAME WRESTLING ORGANIZATION, isn’t it time to do something about it? Maybe look at the guy who walks around as a “lone wolf,” regularly wearing a hoodie and acting depressed. Oh, right, sorry Dixie, forgot about the cost-cutting measures…

Bully Ray and Sabin put together a fun show. Most fun was the unanticipated arrival of Aces and Eights, the Main Event Mafia, the Four Horsemen, Immortal, S.C.U.M., the J.O.B. squad, and the cast of Happy Days. I’m not sure why, but with a smaller wrestling ring and less space around the outside, TNA feels the need to crowd as many people out there as possible.

But in the end, Sabin finally won, and captured the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Mike Tenay said it was “poetic justice.” I think the hammer in Sabin’s hands probably had something to do with it.

If these past few weeks have taught me anything, it’s that I’m a lot more bitter towards TNA’s product than I realized. Either that, or this sarcasm is a normal reaction that every TNA fan has. I can only imagine how much more entertaining Impact Wrestling would be with the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 in the front row…

Agree? Disagree? Still pining for a Hulk Hogan title run in 2013? Just enjoy sarcasm? Let me know in the comments below, or follow me on Twitter @therealwiseman.

Revisiting TNA’s Impact Wrestling: Week 2

Impact Wrestling Spike logoThis is part two of an ongoing series, looking at TNA’s product from a non-fan perspective as it builds towards Destination X. You can check out week one here.

Last week, Impact Wrestling was a disaster of a show. Between Hulkamania running a little too wild, a weak X Division title change, and overbooking in every segment, I had minimal desire to tune back in this week. My final thoughts were, “is this what TNA fans really want?”

No, it’s not. What TNA fans really want are chants, like “T-N-A” or “This-Is-AWE-SOME!” Apparently, they really miss ECW.

But this isn’t ECW. It’s not WWE, it’s not ROH, it’s not NWA. After existing for more than a decade, TNA still can’t quite find an identity. (For example, am I supposed to call the product “Impact Wrestling” or “TNA” or “TNA Wrestling” or what? The re-branding with the term “wrestling” from a few years back still has me confused).

The July 4th edition of Impact Wrestling proved a little more coherent. I’m totally on-board with the Bound for Glory series – this is how you make matches meaningful. While WWE has a TON of matches every week, only a few of them seem important in the bigger picture. What TNA has done with the Bound for Glory series is give their cards a sense of purpose.

Does it always work out? No. The Joseph Parks DQ against Jeff Hardy seemed a little cheap. Also, I’m not digging the way Joseph Parks is still having “flashes” of Abyss. I’m pretty sure he was doing this exact same thing last summer when he had his feud with Bully Ray. Has his character not evolved AT ALL since then? Maybe TNA is just recycling the same storyline.

But the in-ring product overall was solid. A great tag-team match, and killer main event. Was it as awesome as the TNA fans in attendance seemed to think? Maybe. Then again, I’ve heard fans in the Impact Zone give the same ovation to Hulk Hogan in a walker. Chris Sabin and Austin Aries definitely have chemistry in the ring together. But they were simply overshadowed by the 1,540 other people at ringside during their match last night.

I also think I’m pretty much done with the Main Event Mafia. Didn’t these guys originally debut as heels in 2008? The “wrestlers-in-suits” gimmick just makes them look like they take themselves too seriously. Plus, it doesn’t really fit the kind of relatable persona this faction is trying to develop. It would have been like the WCW making the NWO turn into faces… oh, right.

And I’d like to return this emo-AJ Styles look-alike, please. His constant look of constipation is bothersome. I know Taz and Mike Tennay like to say he’s “a loner,” but I think that’s just a nicer way of saying, “he looks like the guy from the 7-eleven security cam footage.”

Destination X is only two weeks away – July 18th, live on PPV Spike TV!