Coming off of last week's "Whole F'n Show" Pay Per View for TV, I was convinced that TNA President Dixie Carter, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan had finally figured it out.
They had momentum on their side to go along with real and sustainable upward mobility, a first under the Hogan/Bischoff regime.
After all, as I stated in my article last week which I won't even bother to reference now, they had a new formula for pro wrestling. Knowing that they only had two hours for on-air programing, they finally realized that TNA fans want to watch wrestling when they tune in to their wrestling show.
Nevermind the fact that last week was essentially a Pay Per View, I stupidly (and erroneously) thought for sure that TNA created Reaction for the sole purpose of advancing storylines, back stage promos, previews for next week and the next pay per view as well as peddling their merchandise.
Much like last week, when I was so hyped up after Impact that I knew I had to sleep on it before providing my critique, I decided to take the rest of the night to calm down after what I saw yesterday.
I will say this however: When it comes to my belief that TNA was finally starting understand their audience, to understand that the fans want great wrestling action, young stars and a bright future, well to say that I'm eating crow right now is an understatement.
While Matthew Hester, in his article entitled "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: A Look At Last Night's Impact," provided an excellent analysis of the highs and lows of the most recent TNA episode, I would disagree with him on one point: Last night's show wasn't average.
Compared to last week's episode, this weeks show was a downright insult, a slap in the face to the fans that foolishly believed TNA had finally turned the corner.
Of course, some people might point out the fact that last weeks episode was intended to be the PPV in style due to Dixie handing Hardcore Justice off to EV2 or EV2.0 or whatever. The old ECW guys.
You'd be correct in that assessment.
However, I was under the mistaken impression that Reaction was debuting last week to show fans a new formula for wrestling, geared specifically toward the TNA type of audience. That formula, which I wrote about extensively after last weeks show involved less talk, less story, less promos and general BS.
Basically, I thought that TNA was going to save all of the supplemental garbage that kills the fan enthusiasm, the show momentum and leave all of that for Reaction, allowing the fans to watch a good, high-octane wrestling show that featured some of the best wrestling talent, young and old alike, in the world.
I should have seen the writing on the wall. Earlier in the week, Eric Bischoff lashed out at the WWE for their failed youth movement, talking about how it's the names in this business that put butts in seats and money in the promoter's pockets (I'm paraphrasing, of course).
As soon as I saw this, I realized all over again that Bischoff truly doesn't understand his audience. He doesn't understand that TNA fans will pull for the best wrestler, cheer for the big spots (regardless of who pulls them off) and while they have their favorites, they just want to see quality action.
The fact that a wrestler cuts a scathing heel promo before their match couldn't be any less relevant.
It's reason number one why AJ Styles will never be a heel in TNA. The fans recognize what he's done in TNA and they love him for it. When he was talking last night about TNA being AJ Styles? The crowd loved it and whole-heartedly agreed. Mind you, again, this was intended to be a heel promo.
But this wasn't the only oddity, the only mistake, the only painful moment in an episode that was so bad, so dull, so opposite of last week in terms of quality and even quantity.
I took the liberty of jotting down notes from last night as I watched the train wreck of an episode and as I viewed the opening paddy-cake/fake punch competition between Hardy, his blurry butt crack and Abyss, I knew immediately that I simply can't go back to this.
I can't go from the style of show last week to what ended up happening last night. I can't pay $35 to see a good program when I know they're capable of having it on TV if they'd just cut out all the nonsense. No TV show should make fans suffer just to get a few moments of elation and/or justification for their fandom.
Maybe I could tolerate it or even like this kind of Impact show in the past, but no more.
Here now are my notes from last night's Impact, and why Hogan, Bischoff and Carter have so thoroughly dropped the ball with both their own locker room as well as the TNA fans that clearly deserve better: