Reality From Ringside #35
October 19, 2009
By: Doug Lackey of WrestleView.comBound For Glory 2009: The Hangover
I have always been one to admit when I am wrong. At times I may be stubborn but that is only when it comes to my belief systems and political philosophies; professional wrestling, on the other hand, can cause me to sway my opinions on the word ?entertainment? like the wind causes paper to flutter in all directions.
Early Sunday morning, WrestleView.com's own David Stephens (ECW Recapper) urged me to give TNA's flagship pay-per-view a chance. I had every intention of giving it a chance? I was hoping to be thoroughly entertained in some way, shape, or form. Even our own resident teacher Mr. V implored me to keep an open mind while watching the program.
I hope that I never need to explain myself again when it comes to my opinion of TNA, nor do I want to try to differentiate said opinions from most others you read where they are so straight-forward with no evidence or descriptive analysis to warrant such. In layman's terms? I don?t ?hate? TNA, never have and never will.
?Then why the hell did you predict them to fold in five years?? you may be asking me through your monitor.
I did not predict TNA to go under in five years because I hated them, I just don?t believe they will survive. There is still time for the organization to help sway my opinion.
?Well if you don?t like them, why the hell do you still watch them??
I never said I didn?t like them. I watch TNA for two simple reasons.
One: Because I write for WrestleView! If I wasn?t a columnist for what I believe is the greatest and most credible professional wrestling news website on this little green orb called Earth, I would be watching my usual political news programs and occasionally getting angry for no reason.
Two: In order for me to have a valid opinion on something, I need to watch it! If I just said that ?TNA is horrible? but had not watched it for well over a month, my opinion would be completely invalid and irrelevant. The landscape of professional wrestling changes so quickly and missing even two television broadcasts can leave you with an expression on your face that resembles a dog that's been shown a card trick. Staying current and relevant? that's why I need to watch it.
With all of this said, it's time to root through what has been left behind from TNA's latest pay-per-view?Is it in TNA's organizational protocol to have a stipulated, X-division, multi-man match at every pay-per-view?
There has been a stipulated, X-division, multi-man match in eight of the last twelve pay-per-views TNA has broadcasted. ?Feast or Fired?, ?Ultimate X?, ?Xscape Match?, ?King of the Mountain? and ?Steel Asylum? matches involving anywhere from five performers all the way to thirteen! The sad thing is these are not just for the X-division title, some of these were for a number one contender spot, and some were even just for the hell of it with no story to back it at all!
The biggest difference between WWE and TNA pay-per-view cards are just that. Do you ever see a match on a WWE card and ask yourself, ?Why?? You may ask that occasionally but not to the extent or frequency of a TNA card.
This has nothing to do with building legitimacy for the X-division title but more for building legitimacy to the people involved. The action in the ring is frantic and spot-heavy but it is supposed to be, the unfortunate thing is there is no drama or suspense building up to it.
Now that Amazing Red has won this clusterfuck of a match, what do they do now? Will we have another multi-man bumper car contest next month, or will we see a rarity? a one-on-one contest between two X-division competitors with over two weeks of story-driven fire to make it meaningful?Are thirteen ?Knockouts? enough to warrant having singles and tag team titles?
Last night, five Knockouts were involved in the tag-team title match. Four were involved in the singles title match. Two were involved in other matches. Take a look at TNA's current roster and start asking yourself these sets of questions:
Who are Taylor Wilde and Sarita going to face for the tag titles? Who is the number one contender for ODB's title? Is Daffney done with the on-going story between Abyss and Dr. Stevie?
With an inevitable split between Raisha Saeed and Awesome Kong looming, will they feud with each other instead of vying for titles? After Kim Couture tugged on Tara's hair, will that lead to a feud away from the titles? Is Lacey Von Erich ready for in-ring action? Do Traci Brooks and Sharmell even qualify as in-ring talent with the limited amount of appearances they have had inside the six-sided ring?
The biggest question that needs to be asked though is this: With all of these questions on the horizon, is the Knockouts division within TNA on its way to a steep decline? What was once lauded as the number one reason to watch TNA could suddenly fall flat on its face. I hope that doesn?t happen, but all indications are there?Has Hernandez become the victim of a great match?
Of all the matches on last night's card, I was genuinely impressed with the Triple Threat Legends Title match between Kevin Nash, Eric Young, and Hernandez. Storylines, character development, and inherent feuds were abounding. The disintegration of the teamwork between Nash and Young culminating with Young's double-cross and snatching of the Legends Title left me wanting more.
?Yes!? I said to myself, ?THIS is how you build a match and have an ending that keeps the fans tuned in to your promotion!?
However, what was a great match has now left me wondering about the future. Who will Eric Young face for his title? Will they continue the World Elite angle between him and Hernandez or will they capitalize on the new angle they just hatched between him and Nash? Hernandez has suddenly become the odd man out and is now left on the backburner with no one to legitimately face and no title to compete for.
Now would be a great time for TNA to build him for his inevitable shot at the TNA World Title, but not immediately throw him directly into the fray. How does a number one contender's match between Hernandez and Kurt Angle sound? How about beginning a new rivalry with echelon-ascension implications, like against Matt Morgan, Samoa Joe, or the improbable choice of Bobby Lashley?
The options TNA has are limitless and the routes they have to choose from are fairly easily to achieve. The biggest question: Does TNA have the ability to achieve something so simple? I think they do.What was the REAL purpose of last night's main event?
AJ Styles is ?the backbone? of TNA and the World Champion, it was a long and tumultuous journey for him to win this title and retain it. Sting is TNA's ?icon? and, according to the final five minutes of last night's program, just wrestled his final match.
Was this contest supposed to validate AJ Styles, give Sting a worthy send-off, or both?
I can definitely understand that the match was supposed to do both and reflect the incredibly obnoxious term of ?passing the torch?, but I just couldn?t get that vibe. Maybe it was the ending of the match itself. Maybe it was the seemingly dull build-up for the match that lessened the importance of Sting's spontaneous send-off behind the microphone.
I truly feel that only one of the two purposes was met, the problem is I don?t know which one was actually achieved. If this was Styles? time, then why was there a consolatory speech by Sting? This takes away from his achievement, making it more about Sting and less about Styles. If this was about Sting's retirement, then why wasn?t it built to astronomical proportions within the three-week span leading to the pay-per-view?
If this truly was Sting's final match, then I feel like he has not been given the rightful send-off he deserves. If this was Styles? confirmation as ?the new icon?, then I believe more needs to be done to cement the notion. Another defense should be in order, sure he could go against the predictable crop of contenders (Angle, Morgan, Foley, etc.), but I believe a match against Jeff Jarrett would do the trick.
Styles-Jarrett cannot be spontaneously realized though; it needs to be built in the span of two or three months. Jarrett cannot just come back into the fray and immediately get a title shot; he needs to be slowly ushered in while at the same time running segments reminding Styles that he is coming for what is rightfully his.
The options are there and easy to accomplish, but the question is asked again: Does TNA have the ability to achieve something so simple?
Even though I still see the organization folding in five years, I have faith in them. Bound For Glory made me a believer? not following on blind faith, just an optimistic observer.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
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