So often we like to bash TNA for not doing what we think they should do.
It's easy because we want them to succeed so badly, that when they make a poor decision, we slide right into jumping on them for it.
When TNA started to become WWE-light, it was a horrible step down and left a bad taste in a lot of the fans' mouths. Cries of near-the-end WCW started lighting up message boards left and right.
Thankfully, over the past few months or so, it seems like the ship has righted itself.
TNA's last PPV, Turning Point 2009, was one of the best I've seen them put on in quite some time. I'll be using that show as a reference throughout because it's a great example of so many of the great things TNA is doing.
So let's make a change and talk about what TNA is doing right these days.
Before I get into it, I want to be completely honest. Last year, I was in Orlando and attended an iMPACT! television taping. It was by and far the worst live wrestling event I've attended. Because of that I haven't been too high on TNA for about a year now.
But I wouldn't be talking about them if they hadn't done something to change my mind. Believe me, my mind is changed about TNA heading into 2010.
I left that taping glad that I didn't pay any money to get in. It was great to see how a TV taping works with all the pyro and stuff you don't get at house shows.
Not to mention it was awesome to see my favorite childhood wrestler, Kevin Nash.
Unfortunately, TNA burned the crowd out quickly and executed so many things with misguidance. When I watched the show the following week, it had clearly translated to TV.
Horribly convoluted storylines peppered the show, and frankly, I stopped caring about TNA in general.
Now, one thing that's become apparent with me is that those problems only seem to extend to the TV tapings. Those crowds are full of people at Universal on vacation, not a bunch of rabid wrestling fans.
The PPVs taped in Orlando, like Turning Point 2009, are full of those wrestling fans. You actually have to pay to attend, so it weeds out those vacationers.
The atmosphere there for a big PPV show really comes across well on TV. The crowd was into it, thus getting the viewer into it. The total opposite of the crowd I was a part of for the iMPACT! taping.
Chants and big pops for every match made it a very enjoyable PPV to watch. This is something the WWE can't do because of the massive crowds they attract.
Sure, TNA wants the big crowds, but for now, what they have at the iMPACT! zone works.
Moving on from the live atmosphere, let's look inside the ring.
Lately TNA has done the best thing possible and moved the focus away from aging veterans at the top. This past PPV, we saw a World Title match with young guys who can go like few can in the ring.
The Joe, Daniels, and AJ three-way was a fantastic contest that is a great counter to what the WWE offers in many of their PPV World Title matches.
Not only did we see a great main event, but also a great co-main event. Desmond Wolfe showed why he belongs at the top of the card against a huge name like Kurt Angle.
Sure he lost, but I don't buy him any less as a serious threat towards Angle. He's got "future champion" written all over him at this point.
The match was structured to make neither man look weak. Instead, we got a fantastic back-and-forth competitive match.
This feud between Angle and Wolfe seems to be on solid footing, giving us something to look forward to.
This is very unlike the WWE style, where a newcomer gets a chance against a HHH or John Cena.
Typically, in that situation, you'll see a burial that pushes the newcomer down in the ranks and in the eyes of the fans.
You can lose and maintain your momentum, but you can also lose and be made to look like you don't even belong inside a wrestling ring.
The X Division even had a nice showing on the card. Usually we get multi-man matches or some sort of tag-team bout. Instead, we get a nice singles match for the title.
Red and Homicide went out there and put on a great opener. It got the fans ready, and did a fantastic job of showing that TNA puts on competitive matches. If it was your first time watching a TNA PPV, this was a pretty good introduction.
Getting away from Turning Point 2009, I want to talk about something TNA does in general with PPVs. It's a small detail that probably doesn't provoke a thought from most, but really gets me excited.
It's the fact that TNA gives their big-time matches a big-time feel. They get special video packages, special introductions, the whole nine yards.
There is nothing like the pre-bout activities in a big-time boxing match or even an MMA bout, and TNA does a great duplication of that.
Sure, Jeremy Borash is no Michael or Bruce Buffer, but it's something we don't see anywhere else right now. It's a unique thing, however small, that separates TNA from its competition.
One thing that really caught my eye during Turning Point were the on-screen graphics they used to set up each match. This is something we've seen from most promotions, but TNA put a nice little twist on it.
Each wrestler had their height, weight, and signature move attached. Small details, but it's the small things that, when put together, make something special.
Finally, I want to praise TNA on how they set up their feuds.
Now I'm not deeply invested in some of what they have going on, but from what I can see, every rivalry is centered around something wrestling-related. This isn't Bossman stealing Al Snow's dog—even though that gave us some great moments.
No, TNA seems to be putting the emphasis on title belts, and seeing who the better man or woman is.
That's what I want to see in wrestling.
Most times the belts are an afterthought. Sure, they're just props, but that's still what sticks out in the mind of a fan. They want to see who's on top. TNA really hits the nail on the head with this.
Of course, all of this might be for naught, as Team Hogan arrives next year.
With them comes a lot of questions and uncertainty. If they do take away everything that has made TNA great in late 2009, I guess we'll just have to chalk it up to bad luck.
Until then, though, check out the next iMPACT! Sit back and don't be overcritical. It's just wrestling, after all.
Thanks for reading and as always, please drop a comment below.