TNA Monday Thoughts

So TNA has now had two regular Monday shows. They have a big pay-per-view tonight before the third Monday Impact!, so I figure this is the best time to discuss their new efforts. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear they listened to my complaints, because I genuinely enjoyed these two shows.

And this is only going to be about Impact! and TNA, because it’s a subject that deserves its own discussion without being compared to anything else, at least for now.

When I watched the March 8th episode, I was completely blown away, because it felt worlds better than the last of their Thursday shows. The fact that Hulk Hogan wrestled twice should have been more than enough for me to totally hate it, but I didn’t even mind that. The March 15th episode was a bit of a step down, but I still really liked where they were going with it. I would actually consider ordering Destination X if it weren’t a week before Wrestlemania XXVI. It’s just beyond my fandom and finances. (Not to mention that the show is now already on the air, because I suck at time.) Anyway, I originally wanted to break things down by segment, but since some segments were so short, and there’s two different shows to cover, I’m going to go by the different angles instead.

Abyss vs AJ Styles
As Styles said, the “magic ring” deal is pretty ridiculous, as is the fact that Abyss is apparently becoming Hogan Jr. I guess being Foley Jr wasn’t good enough to main event a pay-per-view…? But aside from that, the fact that he idolizes Hogan is still pretty believable and logical, and makes a good counter to Styles’s alliance with Ric Flair. It definitely seems to be working well for Abyss, which is what matters most. They way they’re building this up, I actually would like to see the feud continue, but D’Angelo Dinero is already the #1 contender for the next pay-per-view, so that’s probably out of the question. The monthly rotation apparently continues.

Oh, and of course, both guys have been great physically, so I’m sure their Destination X match will be great as well.

Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Sting
The troubles between Hogan and Flair may as well be their own separate angle, especially now that Sting has been factored in. Flair is still the man, and Hogan was surprisingly entertaining in the ring, but I really hope he keeps his word about staying out of the ring. On that note, I found his daughter’s involvement surprisingly effective, but I don’t know why exactly. I guess it was just logical and realistic.

Sting teaming up with Flair and Styles is also logical and realistic, seeing as how his last non-cameo appearance was as Styles’s other mentor, and the fact that his history with Flair is a little more pleasant than it is with Hogan. And after all, he always talked about Flair positively, since well before Flair joined TNA. Of course, attempts at turning Sting heel don’t have a great success rate, but I do think it could work this time, after what he did to RVD, of all people. I just wonder where they’re going with this, though.

Jeff Hardy
At the end of the March 8th episode, I thought to myself, “It’s almost like Jeff Hardy is more important than the world championship.” And then on the 15th, he got a fairly clean pin over the champ. The homegrown, TNA-original champion pinned by a guy who just came off of a hugely popular and successful WWE run. By a guy who is potentially going to prison very soon.

I’m not denying that Jeff Hardy is a great asset. I really enjoyed his work with CM Punk last summer. But as I probably said back in January, banking on someone with such serious legal problems is a huge risk. And the fact that they’re putting him over AJ Styles, who they’ve been hyping as the best of their originals, is basically like admitting their inferiority to WWE. Which is obviously not a good message to send the viewers.

Rob Van Dam
If he were in Jeff Hardy’s position (TNA-wise, not legal-wise), then I would be a very happy camper. I’m glad to see they’ve scooped him up, but they really killed the momentum of his big debut by having Sting trash him for a good five minutes or so. I like that he got a little bit of revenge on Sting the next week, but he needs more than that. This is the sort of thing that should be settled in a big pay-per-view match. Hell, even without all this, these two are huge, popular names that have never worked together prior to this. I doubt it’s anyone’s dream match, but it’s still a very unique combo that could generate some interest.

Eric Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett, and Mick Foley

Bischoff seems to be in some kind of war against the old management, and I have found a lot of his punishment for Jeff Jarrett amusing. But it’s also a little confusing, because at times it’s hard to tell whether he’s supposed to be the new jerk who’s kicking out the old hero, or the new savior that’s getting rid of the guy that ran the company into the ground.

With Mick Foley, things aren’t much clearer. I can understand Bischoff possibly wanting to mold Foley into one of his stooges, but why does he care what Foley looks like? And haven’t I seen Bischoff get his head shaved somewhere else before? I do love Bischoff as a heel, but I just hope these angles develop into something a little more, I don’t know, consistent.

Kurt Angle vs Ken Anderson
Sometimes Anderson can be entertaining, and other times he’s just bizarre. Did he really have to straddle Angle like that? And I kind of wish they’d find a better source of heat than the military, because it comes off as really cheap. I love Kurt Angle, and I’m sure he’ll carry Anderson to a decent match, but I think the only part of this feud I’ve really enjoyed is the Kurt Angle impression. And I think that was on the last Thursday show.

Eric Young and Kevin Nash vs Scott Hall and Sean Waltman
I like that the “Band” story is finally going somewhere, and the introduction of the potential contracts is a nice touch. As much as I love Scott Hall, I’d really prefer to see the two of them go away, but I get the feeling that Nash may be setting Eric Young up. Also, that “go five minutes” shtick was kind of amusing, because it’s very rare that any match lasts that long nowadays. And naturally, this was not one of the exceptions. Not that I’d want to see Hall and Nash attempt to last five whole minutes anyway.

Desmonde Wolfe and D’Angelo Dinero
I thought this was going to be a match at the pay-per-view, but apparently it’s not…? In fact, neither of them are even scheduled to compete. Huh. I’m actually shocked, because this has been a great feud that’s gotten a lot of attention. But in retrospect, it does seem like they’re only using them now to plant seeds for Wolfe vs Abyss and Dinero vs Styles at Lockdown. What a waste.

Nasty Boys and Team 3D
On the other hand, this one would be a waste if it were on pay-per-view. The Nasty Boys in general are a waste. Go away. But I do like the return of Spike Runt. Nice to see him again.

Beer Money vs Matt Morgan and Hernandez
These guys are great, and I expect they’ll all have a great match. The Beer Money heel turn, while a little perplexing at first, does make a lot sense, in retrospect. But it looks like Beer Money will probably win, and Morgan may get frustrated and turn on Hernandez, setting up a feud between them. I would approve of both situations.

Doug Williams vs Shannon Moore
While I’m sure this will be an awesome match, Shannon Moore just kind of came out of the blue and instantly got a title shot. I’m not sure I like that. Moore’s promos are pretty awkward and bizarre, though.

Kazarian vs Daniels vs Amazing Red vs Brian Kendrick
This is also going to be awesome, but I hate that the build up for it and the other X-Division matches seem to get squashed together into individual segments. I’m actually surprised they’re going to have multiple matches at the pay-per-view.

Motor City Machine Guns vs Generation Me
This is another one that seems to mostly get lumped into single X-Division segments, but I really did like the promo they did in the ring on the 15th. There’s not much to say about these feuds, other than “Hooray, they’ve been on TV,” which itself is rather bittersweet.

Tara vs Daffney
It doesn’t seem like this feud has gotten much play, at least that I can recall. I don’t even remember how or why it started. But like the X-Division, women’s stuff seems to be getting less time and crunched together, too, as evidenced by the crossover with the Beautiful People vs Angelina stuff.

Beautiful People and Angelina Love
Speaking of them, this is something that’s easy for me to get behind, but there’s not going to be anything about it on the pay-per-view. When’s the big Angelina vs Velvet match? But I do like that they finally remembered the tag titles exist. Unfortunately, there’s not much competition left for them to defend against, with the women’s division being gutted the way it has. It’s a shame.

Brutus Magnus vs Rob Terry
Last, and definitely least, is a feud that’s gotten very little attention recently, and was only announced as being on the pay-per-view a few days ago. Well after the most recent Impact! episode. In fact, were they even on either Monday show? My notes suggest otherwise, so maybe I shouldn’t even be discussing this. If they’d built it up a little better, I might actually care. But even then, I don’t think Rob Terry has ever had a match that’s lasted a full minute, and I’m betting there’s a good reason for that.

Although it may not seem that way from my individual comments and criticisms, I am definitely liking the current direction of the company. But I’d really like to see more time devoted to the mid and lower card stories, as well as the X-Division and Knockouts. (The fact that I’ve had less to say about those things is mainly because they just haven’t given me enough of it to think about.) I also still hope they stop bringing in new talent and actually use what they already have.

And where the hell is Samoa Joe?

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Categories: Pro Wrestling, Review

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