Last week I started the year end news and awards columns by giving you the Ring of Honor Year End Review. This week I am coming back with TNA. While there are some who would tell me not to, I will apologize beforehand for not getting this out of the way earlier in the week and concluding the year end with WWE but real life got in the way. I am hoping to wrap up the year end reviews and awards by this weekend but for now we will just have to wrap up the year that was in TNA…you’re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
Big TNA News Story #1- Hulk Hogan and Co. debut on January 4th
All that was talked about as 2009 came to a close was how Hulk Hogan was coming into TNA and it looked like he was going to finally help TNA get over that hump to not just become respectable but also to compete with WWE for number one amongst wrestling fans. In the time preceding the show we heard rumblings about Hogan’s role in TNA about how he would be “The Vince McMahon” of TNA and how he had Eric Bischoff and other surprises that would debut with him when he arrived. Well he arrived as advertised to a hero’s welcome on January 4th. He didn’t get the parade that he got in WCW but it was still quite a reception and with him he bought Ric Flair, Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, Sean Morely, The Nasty Boys, Val Venis, Shannon Moore, Eric Bischoff, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman and Bubba “The Love Sponge”. Mind you this was all in one night. Reviews for that first Impact were mixed as there were fans who were excited about all the incoming additions and for the simple fact that maybe for the first time ever Impact had become must see TV. Hogan’s debut even scored an all time ratings high for TNA. However other fans (me included) could only wonder how TNA could follow up the mountain of debuts the week after and well here we are a year later and TNA is no better and some would argue worse than they were before Hogan got there.
TNA Wrestler of the Year- AJ Styles
This was a very hard pick for me but I gave it to Styles who started the year off as TNA World Heavyweight Champion and reign comfortably until April attaining the longest TNA world title reign in company history. He even became the first TNA wrestler to gain the celebrated number one spot in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500. While he has his critics he was the champion when TNA was probably at its all time ratings high and after he was dethroned as champion ratings dipped. He would go onto enjoy a very surprisingly entertaining heel turn with Ric Flair as his manager and help to co found Fourtune and enjoy a reign as TNA Global Champion which he promptly renamed the TNA World Television Champion. AJ Styles is my 2010 TNA Wrestler of the Year.
TNA Tag Team of the Year- Motor City Machine Guns
2010 was the breakout year for the Guns as they finally won the big one and became TNA World Tag Team Champions. If there was anything keeping tag team wrestling alive in mainstream US wrestling it was there feud with Beer Money and they even had several entertaining matches against Generation Me. While I don’t expect the Guns to reign throughout 2011 as all good things must eventually come to an end there title reign has been one of the few feel good stories throughout TNA in 2010.
Big TNA News Story #2- TNA moves Impact to Monday nights in their attempt to ignite a new “Monday Night War”
After January 4th TNA and Spike TV felt like they had enough weapons in the chest to take on WWE and decided to move Impact off of its longtime Thursday night time slot and put it head to head with Raw. The move would wind up being one of the most disastrous in company history as ratings plummeted quickly and forced TNA to try to change its start time to 8pm and eventually forced them to move the show back to Thursday where it took them months to regain the ratings standing that they had before the show ever moved to Monday. While they weren’t putting out a good show I suppose there were a few things that were hurting the move to Monday such as the fact that the show still replayed on Thursday which showed viewers that if you didn’t want to miss Raw you didn’t exactly have to, it also didn’t help that the show seemed to be moved around all the time whether it was date or time and there was no advance notice from week to week so viewers just didn’t know they were on and just threw their hands up and gave up on the show. Regardless of the reasons or excuses as to why the move didn’t work nothing could change the fact that it didn’t and while it may have been nice for one night to have a “Monday Night War” I would personally much rather have TNA just focus on creating a strong show on Thursday night.
TNA Match of the Year- Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money 2 out of 3 Falls August 12th Impact
Say what you want about TNA creatively but there were plenty of good wrestling matches to choose from and it was a hard decision narrowing it down to this one as it meant I had to exclude several other strong matches but this one stood out. This was the final match of a best of 5 series between the two teams and I think most fans at this point were wondering what more could these teams do and were pleasantly surprised by this match. This match sort of restored my faith in tag team wrestling as it showed if tag team wrestling is done right in the right scenario fans will get with it. Here is hoping all major companies take notice of that and something is done but for now this was my TNA Match of the Year in 2010.
TNA Show of the Year- Against All Odds 2010
TNA had many bad shows this year in my opinion but if I had to pick the best one this was one was probably it. Admittedly I am very partial to tournaments and this one had a halfway decent tournament with their 8 card stud tournament for a title shot at the Lockdown show. Other than that there was nothing really great about this show but when I look at most of the other shows of the year there was really nothing exceptional about anything in TNA.
Big TNA News Story #3- The formation of Immortal
For months we hear about the coming of “They”. Most wrestling fans correctly guessed that this was the foreshadowing of a heel turn for Hulk Hogan but what most fans didn’t guess was that it was also the beginning of a very questionable heel turn for Jeff Hardy TNA’s most popular star. TNA tried to catch lightning in a bottle with their version of the Hulk Hogan NWO heel turn with Hardy and so far have come up empty but this was the angle they spent majority of the year building to and have come into the new year with as Immortal has combined with Fourtune to become a super faction and even has storyline ownership of the company. It didn’t pay off dividends in 2010 but maybe, just maybe (I’m not holding my breath) that will be the case in 2011.
TNA Feud of the Year- Ric Flair vs. Jay Lethal
There was really no feud to get excited about in 2010 in TNA and this one was at least the most entertaining as the two feuded over a Ric Flair impersonation and WWE Hall of Fame ring. The promos between the two were awesome and the two matches they had were halfway decent. It’s a shame since Lethal has pretty much been kept in the background as X Division Champion and Ric Flair shouldn’t be wrestling but these two did have the feud of the year in TNA.
TNA Breakout Star of the Year- Matt Morgan
This was one of those awards that were sort of given out by default as TNA had a lot of halfhearted pushes throughout the year. They came in strong with The Pope and then for no real reason cooled him off, it seemed as if they had something with Jay Lethal and just forgot about him, we heard for the longest they had plans for Hernandez and then out of nowhere they shipped him off to Mexico. Matt Morgan gets this award not because he was impressive but simply because he was the guy who got a push and somehow maintained it in 2010.
I realize this year end column came off as a bit of a downer but well 2010 wasn’t a good year for TNA and if these awards are any indication there just wasn’t much to be excited about. On a positive note it could be stated that TNA has nowhere to go but up from here and I sincerely hope that they do it. It doesn’t give me pleasure to give TNA awards because I don’t want to come across favoring WWE or ROH but at this point it’s one of the reasons why I kept the awards columns separate this year because TNA wouldn’t stand much of a chance of winning anything. I hope 2011 puts 2010 to shame in TNA but I expect more of the same.
Let’s wrap this column up for the week. I am going to try to finish the awards this weekend if possible but I will steer clear of promising that as I have much on my plate but if I can get to that I also would like to get in a “Eye Gouge” and an “Outside Interference” blog during the week as well, but that may be just a little too ambitious. I guess I have to give you all something to do and with TNA’s Genesis PPV this weekend I guess I should plug that but I wouldn’t be true to myself if I told you that was something you should see. I will plug the Dragon Gate USA show which should be debuting this Friday on PPV if you would like to see some good, solid, old fashioned wrestling. I also expect to conduct an interview along with David Stephens with Ring of Honor owner Cary Silkin this week for the Wrestleview VIP section as we concentrate on expanding our Ring of Honor coverage. Of course if you have anything you want to comment on or ask, including any questions for Cary Silkin please email at firstname.lastname@example.org and well that’s it for this week, next week I will try to do better and until then I am out.