Five things TNA could do to improve

One of my harsh realities is that I am a fan of TNA.  While I often scream at its ridiculous plotlines week in and week out, I do tune in every week to see what Hogan and Company have in store for me.  And I really do wish TNA could turn the ship around and become a competitive force against the WWE.  I, like every other wrestling fan of the time, miss the Monday Night Wars of the late ’90s.  But there are some things that TNA does over and over again that hinder their product.  So here, TNA – five things that would immediately make your show better.

1. Give Immortal a mindset and stick with it.
One of the more frustrating aspects of TNA since the Immortal takeover at Bound for Glory is their rapid-fire changes in motivation for what they’ve done.  As the whole thing was supposed to be one big heel turn, it can be safely assumed that both Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan took control of TNA because they are egotistical power-mongers who aren’t happy unless they have control of the organization.  They lack care for the company itself and are only interested in pushing those who are on their side.  This would be backed up by the new intro for Impact showing only members of Immortal and its allied group Fortune.

But being that consistency is not one of TNA’s stronger aspects, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff have stepped off the usual path and instead talked about taking TNA to that “next level” (apparently the 17th one they’ve reached since arriving in January) and pushed Dixie Carter out because she was running the company into the ground.  These characterizations put both Hogan and Bischoff in a much more positive light, showing that they actually do care about what the company does and were just trying to better it, something the delusional Dixie Carter wouldn’t allow because of her…well, delusions of grandeur.  This is backed up by their allowing babyfaces opportunities at various titles, and not going after some of the lesser belts like the X Division or Tag Team titles.

Obviously, these two faces clash with one another.  Being that they switch back and forth between them often in the same promos, it becomes glaringly obvious to the fans that are trying to keep up.  Are the likes of D’Angelo Dinero, Matt Morgan and Douglas Williams good guys for going against Immortal and sticking with Dixie Carter?  Or are they bad guys for trying to stick to the old ways of failure and prevent Immortal’s vision for a better future?  The answer to that changes numerous times in each episode of Impact.  TNA needs to pick one – preferably the first one – and stick with it.  Set your good guys and your bad guys in stone.  You can change them later down the road.

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On blood and its importance

We’ve seen the picture a thousand times.  In the heat of a match, one participant takes a big hit and a red spot appears on their forehead.  Before long, the spot has spawned a crimson trail down their face, staining their body, the mat, and even their opponent.  The commentators cry that he’s dawned the crimson mask, and the match comes off as more intense and important because of it.

You lost a lot of blood, Shawn, but we found most of it.

As wrestling entered the “Attitude Era” of the late 80’s, bloody matches became far more frequent.  As the product got edgier, so too did the matches within.  Hardcore wrestling saw the less-technically gifted guys beating the living crap out of one another with everything from cookie sheets to bowling balls.  Blood was no longer something special when it inevitably showed up in matches.  It was just a regular part of the show.

So it came as something of a shock when WWE scaled back the blood-letting early into its PG era.  The first thing to go was blading, or using a concealed razor blade to slice the forehead to cause bleeding.  Then, matches were actually stopped in progress in the event that one of the participants was busted open legitimately to treat the wound.  Today, you’ll likely only see blood in a WWE match if somebody gets caught in the nose and a small trickle forms.

But the question raised is this – has the banning of massive blood-letting really hurt the product any?  Is there anyone clamoring to see the mat stained in red at least once a month?

After the jump, we’ll take a look at what blood does and doesn’t do for the product, as well as taking a look at TNA’s ridiculous use of it.

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Giving thanks (to WWE): TNA Impact 11/25/10

Impact was on Thanksgiving night this week, though I didn’t watch it until today, as I refused to let it ruin my mood for the weekend.  And good thing, too, because as is normal with Impact these days, there were very few matches, a whole lot of talking and yet another Knockouts brawl for no real reason.

Matt Morgan kicked off the show to remind us that he won not only a title shot at Final Resolution, but also the right to name his own referee for the match (who will inevitably betray him).  Recent ex-Fortune member Douglas Williams came out to volunteer for the position, taking a moment to tell some British jokes about the various members of Fortune.  This brought out the sophmore class group themselves, with Kazarian saying that he wanted to follow the tradition of live wrestling on Thanksgiving (even though Impact is, you know, taped) by having an eight-man elimination match against Morgan, Williams and two partners to be found later.

That’s right – TNA spent Thanksgiving paying tribute to WWE’s Survivor Series.

Throughout the show, Williams and Morgan recruited Samoa Joe and D’Angelo Dinero, though both were reluctant to join as they are far too stupid to get backup cautious of the former Fortune members, but  eventually agreed.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t Williams or Morgan that they should have been suspicious of, but rather each other.  Both men made a blind tag to Douglas Williams but couldn’t agree on who would go into the match, so they ended up brawling to the back.  Seriously, with all the crap going on in TNA, Samoa Joe and D’Angelo Dinero decided to fight each other because they couldn’t decide who should go into the match.  That’s stupid.

But their idiocy, nor Douglas Williams’ elimination because of it, would cost Matt Morgan the match.  In fact, nothing would.  Jeff Hardy came down to low blow Morgan (since Fortune is the least effective stable at doing anything right EVER), but rookie referee Jackson James (the one who screwed up the finish at Turning Point) didn’t call for a DQ, but instead got in Hardy’s face and suffered a Twist of Hate for it.  And that’s where it ended, with yet another non-decision to end Impact.  But by this point it was into Reaction, so it’s not like many people were watching it.

The other main point of the show was Eric Bischoff inviting former President Dixie Carter to the Fortune/Immortal Thanksgiving dinner.  Seriously, this was the main promoted segment throughout the episode.  Dixie Carter.  But as much hyping as they did for it, and there were like 70 backstage segments at that damn Thanksgiving table, the segment never happened during Impact.  I guess it was supposed to be somewhere on Reaction, but if they want to trick me into watching it, they’re going to have to do a lot better than Dixie Carter talking to Eric Bischoff.

Rest of the show after the jump.

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AJ’s Not The Last Sumo/Diva Standing – NXT 11/23/10

In the second to last episode of this season of NXT it was the pint-size gamer AJ who was eliminated. So I officially no longer care about NXT. But this weeks show was really good in-ring for the first time.

WWE Trivia Challenge

Just like the 2 seasons prior, the last challenge is trivia. And just like every challenge this season involving WWE knowledge, AJ swept the competition. It wasn’t even fair after a while. Especially for Kaityln who ended up with 0 points after blowing out Matt Striker’s eardrums.

Last Sumo Standing

So it’s your go home show before the season finale. What challenge do you have 3 beautiful young women compete in? A Sumo wrestling contest of course!? Each Rookie came out in a sumo suit as Striker explained the rules. Two Rookies start inside a circle and try to knock their opponent out of it. AJ was given a bye for winning the first challenge. Kaitlyn quickly eliminated Naomi in a somewhat controversal finish (Naomi was the first to be completely out of the circle). Kaitlyn won round 2 as well after holding off a surprisingly tough bout with AJ causing a restart which she dominated afterward.

As for the matches…

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WWE Champion The Miz: A lesson of hope for unlikely contenders

When Mike Mizanin debuted in the WWE in late 2004, he didn’t have a lot going for him.  He was a Tough Enough contestant – and not even the Tough Enough that served as its own program.  Instead, it was a series of competitions shown on Smackdown.  Mizanin had a bit of face recognition, but not the kind that would benefit him in the world of wrestling.  He had been a cast member on the Real World in 2001 as well as a number of its spinoffs.  Mizanin didn’t even win Tough Enough – he came in second to Daniel Puder.

But it wasn’t Daniel Puder who had his arm raised as the new WWE Champion on Raw last night.  Nor was it any of the countless people who doubted that the Miz couldn’t make it in the WWE.  Through unfortunate positioning, aborted storylines and seemingly endless adversity, the Miz became the top dog.  So what if he did it the cheap way, with a Money in the Bank cash-in?  Multi-time World Champion Edge got his first one the same way.  And maybe his reign won’t last long…but it hardly matters.  The Miz has won the title and shown that the hard path can be travelled, if one has the dilligence and fortitude.

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Raw is Awesome: Raw 11/22/10

After Orton’s win at Survivor Series, would we ever see John Cena again?  How would Wade Barrett and The Nexus react to their defeat?  Who from Raw will qualify for King of the Ring?  Will CM Punk join Lawler and Cole on commentary?  Has The Miz finally found the right time and cashed in his Money in the Bank contract?  Would I bother asking yes or no questions if the answer wasn’t yes?  Find the answers to these questions in the Quick Match Results below, and the full review of the show after the break.

Quick Match Results
King of the Ring Qualifier:  Sheamus def. R-Truth by pinfall.
King of the Ring Qualifier:  Ezekiel Jackson def. Alex Riley by pinfall.
King of the Ring Qualifier:  Daniel Bryan def. Ted DiBiase by submission.
Natalya def. Alicia Fox by submission.
King of the Ring Qualifier:  John Morrison def. Tyson Kidd by pinfall.
WWE Championship match:  Randy Orton(c) def. Wade Barrett by pinfall.
WWE Championship match:  The Miz def. Randy Orton(c)  by pinfall.

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Cena’s fate sealed?: WWE Survivor Series 2010

A lot was riding on the championship match between WWE Champion Randy Orton and Wade Barrett, leader of the Nexus, but far moreso for special guest referee John Cena than either of the participants.  Forced into the Nexus two months ago, Cena was under strict orders from Wade Barrett that if he did not win the WWE Championship, he would use his authority to fire Cena from the WWE.  Randy Orton was well aware of the stakes at hand but had tired of worrying about Cena’s decision and instead vowed to do what he had to do to retain his championship.

The two engaged in a fierce match (with no-DQ in effect to prevent what occurred at Bragging Rights last month) with Cena staying true to his word and calling it straight down the middle.  Barrett seemed to have the championship won after he nailed Wasteland on Orton, but the champion managed to grab the ropes, causing Cena to break up the pin.  Barrett allowed his frustration to get the better of him and slapped Cena, which caused the ref to shove Barrett back, right into the waiting Orton’s RKO.  Cena then made his final decision and counted the three count for Orton to retain.

Orton and Cena stood side by side to fight off the attacking Nexus.  With them dispatched, Cena handed Orton his title and the two embraced.  As Orton headed to the back, Cena thanked the fans, then took off through the crowd for perhaps the final time.  Yeah, right.

Rest of the show after the jump.

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