Reality From Ringside #39
November 16, 2009
By: Doug Lackey of WrestleView.comTurning Point 2009: The Hangover
Throughout my lifetime of ?hangovers?, I?ve always seemed to have ones that I just can?t describe. I?ve never had ones that I can never recollect or rehash what happened the night before? I?ve never been one to blackout and have no memory at all from the previous night's festivities or revelries.
However, I have had hangovers where I sit on the edge of my bed, review the previous night's happenings, and not have any true or concrete feelings over what exactly happened. It's like going to a party that one of your friend's put together but this friend has had a reputation for throwing lackluster get-togethers? reasons can range from no-shows and less-than-impactful entertainment to attention-hogging acquaintances and drama-filled moments that take away from the actual reasons for the party.
The difference? This time the friend actually left me with a lasting impression.
After ?Turning Point? last night, that's exactly I felt. TNA has always had this reputation for putting together pay-per-view cards that made little-to-no sense and over-booking programs just to remind its viewers that certain talents were still alive and a part of their company. In a very odd and optimistic sense, I was left feeling satisfied with some matches but also wondering if more/less should have been accomplished.
With that said, let's dive headfirst into the questions we?re left answering?How much longer will TNA hold onto the IWGP Tag Team Titles?
Established in 1985, the IWGP Tag Team Titles have been defended not just in their home organization (New Japan) but overseas in the early-90's with WCW but CMLL in 2005 and TNA currently. After apprehensions of NJPW recognizing championships switching hands overseas in TNA, the titles have been defended within TNA five times since their acquisition last January by Team 3D.
Of all the titles in professional wrestling that we hear ?belt marks? gripe over, very seldom do we hear about these and the unique situation they seem to be in.
Of how much importance are these titles to New Japan? I would imagine that if they wanted to, they could very easily send talent of their own overseas to retain the titles and bring them back to the motherland? but they have yet to do so.
American competitors vying for titles that are formally recognized in Japan but have not been defended in Japan for over ten months; something tells me that NJPW could care less about them and TNA seems to regard them in the same fashion. In their previous two defenses, they have been involved in stipulation matches either coupled together with TNA's Tag Team Titles or in triple threat matches that deteriorate their status as questions loom over who the true ?number one contenders? are for them.
For all intents and purposes it would be better for TNA and NJPW to come to an arrangement for their defense and reclamation in Japan. There is far too much confusion right now within TNA when it comes to these titles? especially after a pay-per-view like this where they were not defended, much less mentioned within TNA's own weekly television programs.
Finally, if these titles are so important, why isn?t Team 3D recognizing them and calling themselves ?24-time World Tag Team Champions??Was ?Angle-Wolfe? productive for all involved?
After watching this match and reading everyone's varying opinions on the wrestling clinic put on display, I was left feeling very conflicted. As a professional wrestling fan, I loved it. The moments of suspense turning with every move ? counter-move ? counter-counter-move left me at the edge of my Ikea recliner. Remarks of ?Match of the Year? flooded chat-rooms and program reviews everywhere I turned.
However, from an entertainment standpoint I was left uneasy. Was a 20-minute wrestling clinic warranted when we had only three weeks of build leading up to it? How does the typical professional wrestling fan react to Desmond Wolfe, making his pay-per-view debut and performing in his first ?real? TNA contest, matching move for move with the technically-invincible Kurt Angle?
Don?t get me wrong, I loved the match? I just didn?t like the time and place for it. A match like this should have taken place a couple of months down the road. Have Wolfe perform in some squash matches. Angle could also be placed in some matches as the ?ambiguous honorable wrestler? returning to his Olympic form squaring off against other competitors. More could have been done to build this match into the epic confrontation that we were lead for it to be.
While Wolfe might have confirmed all of our assumptions in his abilities previously in Ring of Honor and his match against Kurt Angle truly memorable, the typical professional wrestling fan that does not peruse news websites and over-analyze mat technique is left with a look of confusion than a look of astonishment.
Who is this Desmond Wolfe? Where did he come from? Every wrestler has seen Kurt Angle's matches inside and out? how come he seems to be the only one who gave him a run for his money?
Speaking of the differences between typical wrestling fans and over-analytical ones? we come to the biggest question of them all?Who is booking TNA: TNA Creative or Impact Zone and Internet fans?
?Turning Point's? main event involved a rematch of ?Unbreakable 2005's? Triple Threat X-Division Title match consisting of Daniels, Samoa Joe, and AJ Styles with TNA's World Title hanging in the balance on this occasion.
The match was what I expected it to be: Set spot after set spot after set spot, action moving at such a frenetic pace that I?m left wondering who actually received every maneuver, and wrestlers popping up off the mat after being destroyed time and time again from these bone-crushing moves.
?This is wrestling!? was being chanted through the rafters by the Impact Zone audience throughout the contest.
Really? Really? Really?
In my mind, I was chanting ?This is gymnastics.? It was as if I could have grabbed my Playstation 3 controller and felt like I was controlling any one of the three's actions all by frantically pressing on the X-button. The only difference between the video game experience and this one was that I could pause my video game, rest my eyes and mind, and resume. The pace was so hyperactive, as if they had only 10 minutes to cram every set spot known in their repertoire.
?This is wrestling!?
Really? Really? Really?
For the past three weeks, we were left with questions about whom the ?ninja assassin? was jumping Styles from behind and attacking him. Arguments between all involved with no resolution to the conflict? all while there is a World Title hanging in the balance for their match! Three weeks of build to this ?epic rematch?? and not one mention about how badly any one of the three wanted the belt they were competing for.
?This is wrestling!?
Really? Really? Really?
Hearing the chants by the Cheetoh-eating, Mountain Dew-fueled, late-teenage-to-mid-20 virgin male crowd led me to wonder who actually booked this match and all of TNA for that matter. For two weeks? worth of television tapings, TNA Creative is seeing the same audience in the background. The focus group is no longer what it was? is has now become conditioned.
With Dixie Carter establishing a Twitter account now and hopefully tongue-in-cheek implying that all suggestions will be utilized, my fear and prediction is being realized. TNA is no longer interested in building its fan-base or acquiring new wrestling fans at all. TNA is more interested in keeping the fans they have right now.
There is one big problem with this business strategy. WWE realized this recently and adapted to it quite flawlessly. People age. These virgin males in your audience will soon realize that they have lives to live? they may discover a career at some point their lives? hell, they may learn the touch of a woman, develop meaningful relationships, and god forbid? mature!
Sure there are many others that will age into the demographic that TNA accommodates to right now, but how will TNA convert them to their product if they aren?t ?obsessive? professional wrestling fans?
?Turning Point? was definitely one to say the least.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
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