Next Thursday TNA goes live with a special “Before the Glory” edition of Impact featuring a 25-man battle royal main event with $100,000 on the line.
The other big advertised match for the live show next week is a Last Man Standing battle between Mick Foley and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
That’s right, two legends in the pro wrestling world who have both retired and un-retired numerous times will duke it out next week on live television.
Forgive me for being skeptical of this decision by the TNA booking committee.
Make no mistake about it, Ric Flair and Mick Foley have my utmost respect. These are guys that helped me fall in love with professional wrestling.
Watching Flair and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat go at it in classic match after classic match during the late ‘80s is a big part of what made me a fan of wrestling in the first place.
Flair is perhaps the greatest performer to ever lace them up. Even his doubters have to admit that, given his spectacular body of work and his contributions to the business, he certainly belongs in the conversation.
Mick Foley’s exploits as Cactus Jack during the early ‘90s in WCW were perhaps my first exposure to “hardcore” wrestling. His Texas Death Match against Vader at Halloween Havoc in 1993 blew my young mind and instantly made me a Foley fan.
Who could ever forget Foley’s legendary run as Mankind in the WWE, where he feuded with the Undertaker and took a death-defying fall from the top of the Hell in a Cell cage? In that moment, Foley earned his permanent place in the WWE history books.
His feud with Triple H is perhaps the most underrated feud of the “Attitude” era and helped turn Helmsley into a main event player who helped carry the WWE into the new millennium.
There is no denying that Flair and Foley have both given us countless memorable moments during their careers, but their latest fight is another example of TNA simply trying too hard.
It is no secret that Flair and Foley have had their personal differences in the past. In fact, those once real-life differences were played up in 2006 when the two feuded in the WWE. Their rivalry culminated in an “I Quit” match at Summerslam that year, a match which Flair won.
These days Flair heads up the Fortune stable in TNA, a group consisting of impressive talent like AJ Styles, Kazarian, Beer Money Inc., Matt Morgan, and Doug Williams.
Since “The Whole F’N Show” special last month, Flair’s group has been involved in a bloody feud with Foley, Tommy Dreamer, and the rest of EV2.0. This feud promises to culminate at Bound for Glory when the factions meet in a Lethal Lockdown match.
Before that goes down, TNA has decided to give us this Last Man Standing match between the respective mouthpieces of each faction, Foley and Flair.
The ratings for Impact have not been stellar as of late. TNA appears to be in a holding pattern in terms of viewers. They are not losing many but they have rarely seen their numbers go up. For much for 2010 TNA has hovered around the 1.0 mark.
Do they think that Flair and Foley will help those numbers? Perhaps the nostalgia factor will draw in a few new fans, but the words “blockbuster main event” do not belong anywhere near Flair and Foley in 2010.
On last night’s Impact the two men went back and forth in the ring in what was a disappointing segment. The promo seemed more like they were both simply ranting, with each man constantly interrupting the other.
Flair grabbed a copy of Foley’s new book, “Countdown to Lockdown,” then proceeded to drop an elbow, and then a knee, onto it.
Then, of course, came the proverbial cherry on top of the uncomfortable segment. Flair punched himself in the forehead a few times and began to bleed, much like he did several months ago on Impact. Foley took the opportunity to follow suit and do the same.
After all was said and done, the match was set for next week’s live broadcast.
For the most part, TNA has been giving us a decent show each Thursday night as of late. The build towards the Bound For Glory pay-per-view has been interesting and the company appears to be pulling out all of the stops in anticipation of their biggest event of the year.
This match between Foley and Flair, however, is another prime example of why TNA has really failed to break out of their shell and become a larger player in the ratings game.
Ten years ago, this could have been a feud and a match for the ages between two of the biggest names in the business.
In 2010 it just seems like another desperate attempt by Dixie Carter, Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, and Hulk Hogan to cash in on the names of superstars who are long past their prime.