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A State of TNA Address by Steve Shooter

December 15, 2010   ·   0 Comments

My eye (and keyboard) turns to TNA Wrestling. During a year of tumultuous ups and downs for TNA, there have been great highs but also some horrible lows.

I believe I have to begin with the same accusations levelled at TNA for the last couple of years by many, many people.  Namely, that they have great talent but dont know what to do with them.  It would be unfair to level all of the blame for TNAs issues at the feet of Hogan, Bischoff and Russo, but it is not a bad place to start.  We saw during his GM run on Raw that Eric Bischoff can still be a great heel on screen character, but the key is onscreen.  I dont know what the actual off screen involvement in TNA is with Hogan/Bischoff but on screen Im seeing way too much of them both, not to mention Ric Flair.  We are supposed to believe that the current Immortals storyline was the original plan since day one?  The removal of Dixie Carter from onscreen control was a nice move, and I think Fourtune is a good idea. Or it would be if they could make up their mind.  So far there have been 7 members of a group with the word 4 in the name? I can see the logic behind playing off Flairs Horsemen legacy but a 6 man group plus Flair? It seems short-sighted to have them form and then split within 6 months. Granted, Matt Morgan leaving to fill the face spot of Kennedy, sorry, Anderson was a good (and necessary) move but then having Fourtune be a part of Immortal reminds me of the Corporate Ministry.

Having Jeff Hardy be the lead figure for Immortal seems an odd choice to me.  On the one hand, he has been a proven World Champion in WWE, and does have his fan base, but on the other, he still has a Federal court case over his head, and has never been the most reliable of characters.  How long till he decides he is bored with wrestling again and no shows? I dont believe in him as a heel, and despite all the claims, he is not a particularly charismatic leader.  Why would AJ Styles, Beer Money and the rest follow him?  Id have to assume the suspension of disbelief is based on Hogan, and the belief that wrestling fans will follow him everywhere.  Not long ago TNA was the house that AJ Styles built, what changed there?  How long before an AJ face turn makes him interesting again?

Moving down the card, there are a massive host of talented guys lost in the shuffle.  RVD is feuding with Rhino.  Abyss gets more TV time than Samoa Joe.  Hernandez has disappeared; the X-Division is virtually non existent.  Egos being fed at the top of the tree and the genuine talent being all but ignored, seen that before?

When Team 3D said they were retiring, and had a very classy ending to their mini program with the Machine Guns, I said good, they were vaguely interesting 11 years ago during Attitude but since then?  Dragging it out with what is sure to be an ill fated singles run for them both is folly.  At least the EV2.0 run seems to be over, thank whichever deity you pray to.  Stevie Richards, RVD & Rhino still have something to offer in the ring. 

There are a whole host of other guys (and Knockouts) being ignored but I will get to them at some point in future columns.  For now, some positives, and there are a fewbut only a few.

Great to see the Motor City Machine Guns getting a positive run, well deserved titles and some decent TV time, a couple of very good matches with Generation Me recently, not to mention the excellent Best of 5 series with Beer Money in the summer.  These guys are money.  I see Beer Money/Machine Guns having the same potential for great TV as the Hardy/Edge & Christian run.

Jay Lethal & The Shore have had some interesting run ins in recent months, potential in Robbie E and Cookie, especially if the X-Division reclaims some of what stopped it just being a cruiserweight division.

The addition of Mickie James has been a good thing for the Knockouts.  Her interactions with Tara have been interesting and exciting, and the Steel Cage match on Impact was a better main event than many we have seen recently.  It will be interesting to see where the champion, Madison Rayne, fits into the picture, or indeed where they intend to involve the former Katie Lea Burchill, now portraying the mysterious Winter.  I look forward to finding out though.

Mr. Anderson making a proper breakthrough to the main event is nice, as is his unexpected (at least by me!) likeability.  I knew he could be funny, but by embracing his natural asshole-ness he has taken that step up.  His move up and following concussion have also given Matt Morgan a very positive push.

The other big issue I have is both a positive and a negative.  Introducing Reaction to the schedules was a smart move, offering a backstage glimpse and some great character development.  I do have one major complaint however, the fact that Reaction follows Impact directly.  This means that several big main event matches have not had a conclusion on Impact.  Not a major issue in America, but considering how strong the ratings have been overseas. It leaves us short-changed.  So frustrating.

So, in conclusion, there are some things TNA is doing really well, but so many more things they are screwing up.  Ill get into it more in the weeks to come, but that was a quick overview of where I see things.

Why not follow me on Twitter? www.twitter.com/stevecult I usually tweet while watching WWE/TNA programming.


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