This Week’s Review:
“IMPACTful Thoughts With TNAte” ~Or~ “The Young & The Restless”
Greetings, “True-Believers.” I hope everyone’s had a great weekend. Last week was one of the wildest seven days in Pro Wrestling history. The WrestleMania festivities, the untimely passing of The Ultimate Warrior, Jeff Jarrett’s big announcement and a new TNA World heavyweight Champion. This was a week for the ages. But now that we’ve had some time to catch our collective breaths, it’s time to catch up with the happenings in everyone’s favorite second-place wrestling promotion. TNA is a lot of things, but boring is never one of them. And to capture the spirit of the company, I’ve decided to reformat my weekly Impact reviews and go away from the traditional show recap. I want to talk about where we’ve been, where we’re going and break the show down to the nitty-gritty. I’m gonna tell you what was good, what was bad and what were those “WTF” moments that made you think Vince Russo is back in the building. So without any further ado… Let’s get to the show!
Where We’ve Been:
The lackluster reign of Magnus as TNA Champion continued, The Beautiful People reformed, Kenny King came back and engaged in some Black-on-Black crime with MVP, Bully Ray is still trying too hard as a baby face, Samuel Shaw is still employed (despite harassing his co-worker ON CAMERA) and Willow is… Willow.
Where We’re Going:
The major news from this week’s show is that “Showtime” Eric Young (Yes, THAT Eric Young) is your new TNA World Heavyweight Champion heading into the Sacrifice Pay-Per-View. Also, the Shaw-Anderson feud is far from over, Angelina Love is now the #1 contender for the Knockouts Title and Dixie Carter is back (with a drinking problem apparently).
– Eric Young
As much as I disliked the title change (more on that in a second), I really like Eric Young. Of course the obvious comparisons to Daniel Bryan Danielson are there. But the underdog baby face that rises up and beats the odds is a long-standing trope in professional wrestling. I’m sure that the higher-ups in TNA and/or Spike saw DBD’s ascension over the last few months and wanted to recreate that. That doesn’t mean that EY’s story can’t succeed. The Beatles had the Rolling Stones, Michal Jackson had Prince, The Backstreet Boys had N’Sync. Variations on a theme can work. Young is a guy with a built-in earnestness that fans can buy into. He’s a credible worker in the ring and he can cut a promo. Would I have put the belt on him this soon? No, but that doesn’t mean an EY title run can’t work.
– The Wolves
Week after week, Richards & Edwards continue to show why they are one of the best tag-teams in the world. Despite a lackluster storyline (and a confusing choice of hairstyles by Davey), the Wolves’ crisp in-ring style is one of the highlights of Impact each and every week.
This is another character that works in spite of the booking. MVP is a great worker that feels like a big deal on this show. His mic skills alone make him one of TNA’s Most Valuable Performers (See what I did there?).
– “Baby” Ray
Remember how awesome heel Bully Ray was? Remember when he was often the only palatable portion of the Ace’s & Eights buffet TNA served us every week?? Remember the guy that used to quote Coolio songs??? I miss that guy. Bully is still a quality talker, but the generic babyface pandering doesn’t suit him or where his character should be right now. He should be either a tweener or a cool heel but not a full-fledged good guy.
– Et Tu Brutus (Magnus)?
The downside of EY’s emotional title win is that it signals the end (for now) of the reign of Magnus. Magnus is a blue-chipper, one of the brightest young stars in the industry and he’s a homegrown TNA guy. With all of those good qualities behind him, TNA still chose to handicap his title reign. I’m sure he’ll win the belt again (maybe even within the next month), but they really dropped the ball on his first title run.
– The Samuel Shaw/Christy Hemme/Ken Anderson Segment
Ok…Where do I start? Congratulations to Miss Hemme on her recent promotion to the TNA creative team. That milestone aside, this entire angle is mind-boggling. Shaw is trying his hardest to make this character work, But it doesn’t and neither does the story surrounding it. Not only did we get a segment featuring Christy doing baby-talk (ok… that kinda worked, then again I have a thing for red-heads), but we also got an over-the-top Mr. Anderson and yet ANOTHER inconclusive finish that will lead to a match that very few people actually want to watch. Also, I hate to be “that guy” who nit-picks wrestling angles, but that’s kinda my job here. Anderson was able to commandeer a “Psychiatric Services” truck, but when Shaw ran away (on foot), he couldn’t hop in the truck and follow the creepy bastard? Come on, man!!! If not for Willow and the “Breaking Knux” (The Walking Knux?) vignettes, this would be TNA’s runaway worst angle of the year.
Final Thoughts: I didn’t watch this episode live because I was recording the Kings Of Sport “WrestleMania Recap” show (available on this very site). I finally got around to watching everything recently and I gotta say, I wasn’t impressed. I love TNA and the roster, but creative has been in a slump ever since the company returned from its UK tour. I’m willing to give the EY storyline time to grow, but I don’t see it being a game-changer. In addition, with the impending end of the Spike TV contract and the announcement of Jeff Jarrett’s new GFW company, TNA could desperately use a game-changer right about now (I am available for hire, guys).
Well, that’s it for the recap this week. I hope everyone enjoyed the new format (kind of like our version of the “Justice League” to “JLU” transition). As always, any feedback and/or constructive criticism is certainly welcome. I’ll see you all back here next time as we talk about week one of the Eric Young title run. Will it be the start of a new era or just a new error? Find out next week!