TNA had a wonderful opportunity tonight to showcase what they’re all about by going live and head to head with WWE. After having some time to digest the show, I am willing to say that it failed to make an impact.
This was the debut night for Hulk Hogan, so I’m still very much in the “wait and see” camp as the product moves forward. Only time will tell what’s going to ultimately come of this partnership.
Here are some my off-the-cuff reactions and opinions regarding what I watched tonight.
Going live is a big step forward for iMPACT. I thought the show went off well, with few glitches. With all the Hogan hype, it made the crowd super hot the entire evening. People seemed to be generally into what was going on and reacted well to the action.
It is my opinion that TNA needs to consider doing more live iMPACT shows. I think tonight’s episode proved they can do it well from the production standpoint.
In my opinion, the first epic failure of the night was the Asylum match. You have great workers in the X-Division in this match. You also have some of the brightest young stars that TNA has on their roster in this match. Sadly, the match was not really given that much time and the ending was poor.
Tenay and Taz hyped up the X-Division before that match, talking about how the X-Division is all about no limits and how they were different from the heavyweights. The crowd was hot during the match, chanting “X-Division!” at times. For the time allotted, the match was ok, until Homicide pulled out the baton and started beating everyone down.
The crowd immediately told TNA what they thought with “This is bull**it!” chants. TNA took the part of the company that really put them on the wrestling map and really did it an injustice.
They used that match as an opportunity to introduce Jeff Hardy into the program and apparently the company. Even Jeff’s entrance was not that well done, though he was given his moment to shine and the crowd was hot for him.
They hyped up the Knockouts Championship match fairly well, but the match itself was a bit of a letdown. While it wasn’t completely horrible, there wasn’t much time allotted for it as well.
It’s not something we haven’t seen before and likely the feud between Tara and ODB will likely continue since ODB pulled Tara's tights to get the pin.
In a match that made no sense, Dr. Stevie and Raven took on Matt Morgan and Hernandez. The winner of this match is to receive a TNA World Tag Team Championship shot against British Invasion. The match lasted all of about two minutes, if that, with Morgan delivering the Carbon Footprint to Dr. Stevie for the win.
Morgan and Hernandez are two that Dixie has said she is high on, and she wants to push Hernandez. On their biggest television event to date, they were booked in a squash match. These two deserved much better booking for this event, especially if they want to push them as future stars.
The Pope, D’angelo Dinero, put on a good backstage interview tonight and probably put on the best promo of the night. Dinero has a good gimmick and his talent allows him to pull it off well.
When Orlando Jordan interrupted him, I stared at my TV thinking “who is that?” which points to how relevant Orlando is to me these days. Orlando left WWE on bad terms too if I recall, which leads me to question why he's been signed at TNA.
The match that followed with The Pope and Desmond Wolfe needed a bit more buildup from Wolfe, but it wasn’t a horrible match. Again, time was a factor here. It was a short match but worked decently. Apparently they wanted more time for security segments backstage, where Hogan's friends were being stopped from coming in.
I thought cutting Daniels’ interview was a great injustice. Daniels came off a great performance at Final Resolution and has been apparently getting a push these days. To sacrifice his segment time for a Mick Foley storyline was poor in my opinion.
By far and away the match of the night was Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles. The two men put on a pay-per-view quality match, hands down. Chants of “This is awesome!” and “Who Needs Bret?” rang through the crowd during the match.
The match was given plenty of time and the two really put on a show. This was a great success in my opinion. They needed to do more of this throughout the show and really highlight their talent.
TNA really needed to end on that note, but they didn’t. They chose to end on a Foley/Bischoff/Hogan angle where Foley said he refuses to work for Bischoff. He then gets beaten down, “nWo” style by Waltman, Hall, and Nash.
Suffice it to say that the ending took the luster off the AJ/Kurt match, in my opinion. Had they ended with Styles/Angle, it would have given viewers motivation to tune in to the next iMPACT show.
Some of the backstage skits were not well thought out and some we have seen before. Val Venis joining in the Beautiful People’s card game was not a good surprise. Val’s gimmick is old and worn out, quite simply. Seeing Angelina Love back tonight would have been a better surprise and it’s been spoiled all over the Internet.
Three segments were devoted to the Nasty Boys getting into the arena. We all knew this was going to happen, though most if not all of us wished against it. Knobbs and Saggs worked a Smackdown match a few years ago and were called “unprofessionally stiff” and could barely move. Here they are in TNA, obviously setting up a feud with Team 3D.
This, along with the motorcade and limousine arrival, received entirely too much television airtime. That airtime could have been better spent by giving matches more time and really showcasing their wrestling product, but TNA elected to not do that.
They also had segments involving Jarrett, Hogan, Bischoff, Foley, and the matter of control of the company. If you don’t know the back story on that subject, or were a first time viewer tonight, you got confused by these things. A new viewer to TNA would have changed the channel.
Lance Storm said it best in that there needs to be clear storylines, faces and heels. This is a prime example of an unclear storyline. It is one that is likely confusing and tuning out viewers.
All in all, TNA failed to make the big Monday Night Impact that they wanted to make. For a company that sells themselves on being Total Nonstop Action, they spent far too much time talking. The show also felt very disorganized and scattered as if not much thought was put into it from the start.
They also failed to spotlight their own talent. On their biggest night, some of TNA's own big-name talents were nowhere to be found. They missed a tremendous opportunity to showcase their homegrown stars, yet chose not to.
Time will tell, but I do hope that this is not the kind of product we will be seeing from TNA going forward.