While having a few weeks off, I’ve had the chance to sit back and watch more of TNA and WWE than in the recent past. I’ve noticed that a few superstars that have struggled in the mid-card and lower, such as R-Truth, have stepped their game up (both in-ring and on the mic). There are a few, however, that have gone/are going in the opposite direction and fast. These are stars with big-time name recognition and hype but have done little in the past year or so. Who are they and what can be done to get them higher up the ladder?

1) Ted DiBiase. Think back to the days of Legacy… of the 3, who did you think would be the one who would do very little after the breakup of the group. Raise your hands if you thought it would be Cody Rhodes (*hand is raised*). Instead, it’s been DiBiase. He had a little thing going with Maryse and the Million Dollar Title but has done crap since. The son of the “Million Dollar Man” should be AT LEAST in serious contention for the U.S. Title, if not on the outside of the WWE/World Title pictures, not having the very rare backstage appearance before a commercial break.

2) Drew McIntyre. For nearly a year, he ruled the mid/upper-mid card as the IC Champion, with some VERY good matches against Kofi Kingston and John Morrison, among others. After losing the title, he basically became an afterthought (I still can’t believe he lost CLEANLY to Chris Masters on Superstars a few weeks ago). There is simply TOO MUCH TALENT in McIntyre to not have him causing havoc in the Title pictures.

3) Samoa Joe. He had a nearly 2 year unbeaten streak in ROH. He had another 18-month unbeaten streak in TNA. He (along with AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels) was not only the best thing going in the X-Division at the time, but perhaps all of TNA. So what’s happened in the last 6-8 months? Losing to Crimson in under 3 minutes? Walking away from potential fights? Not being mentioned in the TNA World Title picture? Or the X-Division Title picture? Even the TV Title chase??

What can these 3 do to get out of their slides? Well, in Joe’s case, I think one of 2 things can help:

a) He can go completely bad-a$$ heel. I talking about loose-cannon, destroy anything that moves, heel. His target(s) should start with Fourtune and Styles and/or Daniels (re-capturing the “magic”, unless TNA screws it up). If/when that ends, he should turn his rage on the X-Division until he gets the title. Have him hold the belt until someone can finally step up and end his reign of terror. It gets him a belt, gets his “name” back, and he can actually DO something other than lose.

b) He could become the “franchise” of TNA by going after Immortal and taking them out, one by one. Again, this depends on TNA’s writers not screwing things up.

In DiBiase and McIntyre’s case, it may involve Arn Anderson, a few months, and a stable.

Arn could be sitting ringside, watching matches and “taking notes”. Whenever he see DiBiase and McIntyre lose, he gets increasingly frustrated. After a few weeks (say, 3-5), he gets fed up and rips them a new one publically. He decides to take them under his wing to get them to reach “their potential”. As they wrestle with Arn in their corner, the wins start coming… as does a newly found cunning (DiBiase) and ruthlessness (McIntyre). Arn also adds a 3rd star to this stable, based on his notes, to help them along (Daniel Bryan? Justin Gabriel?). Arn, after a while, decides that they “are ready”… and reveals the leader and 4th member (see where this is going now…?). Yes, reviving the 4 Horsemen through McIntyre and DiBiase, while not likely, is not a bad way to jumpstart their careers.

Whatever solution is out there, Samoa Joe, Drew McIntyre, and Ted DiBiase really need to get going.


I have had enough: TNA Impact 3/3/11

I have taken as much as I can take from TNA.  There are only so many times one can watch TNA hint at getting better, only for them to slam on the brakes and turn it right around the other direction.

For example, last night on Impact, we found out that Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan’s blatant use of fraud to get control of the company from Dixie Carter was perfectly fine, and the courts upheld it.  So we get Immortal once more in control of the company – for good this time.  But that really doesn’t matter, as “The Network” now has booking authority over even the owners of the company and get to decide who is in the main event.  And even better – “The Network” doesn’t even have to tell the people in charge of the company who it is.  But we’ll get back to that.

We had a former Jersey Shore castmate not only show up but get booked in a match for next week.  We had an NFL player fight the best talent in the company (Kurt Angle).  We had not one, but TWO weddings between Jeff Jarrett and Karen Angle (both of which sucked).  We had Gunner and Murphy challenge for the tag team titles.  We had a match between Scott Steiner and Rob Terry.

Oh yeah – and we had this:

As speculated after the universally panned “3/3/11” promo video, Sting was the mystery challenger for Jeff Hardy’s title, as apparently “The Network” can order even people who walked out of the company back to work.  Sting showed back up in a truly hideous red and yellow bedazzled jacket complete with tassles and sparkly red patches on his tights.  And shortly thereafter, THAT became THIS:

Not only did TNA bring Sting in, but they immediately put the TNA Championship on him, ending the running storylines dealing with Mr. Anderson and Rob Van Dam in the process.  TNA seems to have taken the excitement of Sting in the WWE as simply excitement to see Sting, so they brought him in and made him the champion.  Ongoing storylines be damned.

Well, that’s it.  I’ve had enough.  Until further notice, I am ending my coverage of Impact.  I might toss out bullet points, but I simply cannot stand it right now.  I’m burned out.

It’s been fun – perhaps in a month or two, I might check it out again.

Directionless: TNA Impact 2/24/11

The “rematch clause” – the ‘contractual stipulation’ that a former champion gets a rematch against the opponent he lost his title to – has become an accepted part of wrestling to the point that we don’t even question it anymore.  So it came as no surprise to see Mr. Anderson kick off Impact demanding a rematch against Jeff Hardy for the title he lost at Against All Odds.  But Eric Bischoff’s not a fan of contracts (obviously), so he let Anderson know that he would have to earn his shot.  Oh, and Anderson brawled with Rob Van Dam because all of the babyfaces in TNA are really stupid.  Long story short, it would be Anderson vs. RVD on Impact wrestling for no reason at all.  Oh, wait, toss Kurt Angle in there too.

The match itself was not bad until wedding music began playing and Jeff and Karen Jarrett walked out onto the stage in wedding attire.  This distracted Angle, who had the match basically won, causing him to get nailed by Anderson’s Mic Check and get pinned.  But TNA wasn’t done – oh no, they had their BIG SURPRISE that they had been touting for Impact.  The show ended with a video of black boots standing in pouring rain ending with “3 3 11” appearing in burning letters on the screen.  You know – just like WWE did to promote the return of the Undertaker.

Seriously.  They did that.

Rest of the show after the jump.

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Now booked by the “Network”: TNA Impact 2/17/11

With Jeff Hardy’s title victory over Mr. Anderson at Against All Odds, Immortal was riding high.  Sure, a month ago they needed all the titles in TNA to hold leverage over Dixie Carter’s court battle to regain her company, but despite losing three of the company’s six four titles (two to defection and one to murder) they seem to be willing to float upon the TNA Heavyweight Championship through to March 3rd in which something will happen.  We hope.

But unfortunately for Immortal, Eric Bischoff was informed by “the network” that a match between Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy for the TNA title must take place, and so it was booked.  That didn’t sit well with former champion Mr. Anderson who was unwilling to wait for a title match while someone else got a shot, and demanded to be put into the match.  Instead, Bischoff put him into the title picture with the statement that if Hardy didn’t retain, Anderson would be unable to prove that he could beat him.  We’ll deal with THAT statement later.

Also of note was the return of Ric Flair, who managed to find his way back to the Impact Zone with little to no reasoning over why he had been gone for the past two weeks.  After a uncomfortable confrontation with Immortal, he greeted Fortune and told them he was on board with them, and even Iced the three present, and joined them in chugging Smirnoff Ice.  James Storm even chugged two.  But Flair lived up to his “dirtiest player in the game” moniker when he turned on the group he formed, pushing A.J. Styles off of the top rope in his match against Matt Hardy, giving Hardy the win and left Styles massively pissed off.

At the main event, RVD and Jeff Hardy finally met for a rather basic match with Anderson not playing favorites to either man.  The finish came when RVD pushed Hardy into the corner and directly into Anderson (who actually had to dash to get in between them and the corner).  Anderson stared down Hardy, who used the distraction to kick RVD in the “yambags” (as Taz would say), which opened him up for a Twist of Hate and Hardy retaining his face the title.  Anderson raised Hardy’s hand, then planted him with a Mic Check.  RVD then took the opportunity to yell at Anderson over the missed low blow call and received a Mic Check of his own.  And thus we have a cliffhanger.

Rest of the show after the jump.

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Fortune fallout: TNA Impact 2/10/11

Immortal was shocked last week to learn that the prophecized “THEY” had been traitors in their own ranks, as the four members of Fortune left the group to stand up for the history of TNA.  Immortal wouldn’t take it lying down, opening the show with an Eric Bischoff speech (as always) followed by Jeff Jarrett calling the group out.  Insulting was done until Robert Roode cut Jarrett off and insulted him back, even using his old WCW insult of “slap nuts” (best left in 1999, thanks).  Apparently, thems were fightin’ words and Immortal began the first of several beatdowns through the episode until Crimson, Kurt Angle and Scott Steiner arrived to make the save.

Fortune members Robert Roode and A.J. Styles were set to face Jeff Jarrett and Jeff Hardy in the main event, but Roode gave up his spot to Kurt Angle in thanks for all he had done for them in the past weeks.  And by that, I’m assuming he meant all the beatings Angle suffered at the hands of Immortal and Fortune.  Anyway, Jarrett wanted no piece of Angle and spent the entire match avoiding him, which ended up costing him when A.J. came off the ropes and nailed the distracted Jarrett, leading to the pinfall.  I would assume that Jarrett and Styles were the legal men, but really they quit tagging in and out not long after the match started.  After the bell, Jarrett took out both Styles and Angle by himself, then Immortal dismantled Fortune, Scott Steiner, Crimson and Rob Van Dam until finally Mr. Anderson came down and cleared the ring.

Anderson himself had been in action earlier in the night.  It was announced that whoever was champion would be facing Jeff Hardy in a ladder match at Against All Odds, but to get there Anderson would have to make it past Matt Morgan.  Morgan was a more than suitable challenge for the champion, but unfortunately, Eric Bischoff had rather easily convinced the returning Hernandez to align himself with Immortal, and thus SuperMex went looking for revenge against his former tag team partner, Morgan.  You know…again.  Anderson took advantage of the beating and pinned Morgan.

Rest of the show after the jump.

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A colossal letdown (or epic damage control): TNA Impact 2/3/11

The February 3rd edition of Impact was supposed to be a huge deal with four advertised happenings: 1) Hulk Hogan was supposed to return for the first time since Thanksgiving; 2) Dixie Carter was supposed to have her court verdict on Immortal’s takeover of her company; 3) the TNA Championship rematch between Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy; 4) the THEY advertised by Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner and Crimson would be revealed.  The build to this episode had been running for weeks and was the most interesting that TNA has been in some time.  If you tuned in for the episode for those three reasons, you were probably very disappointed.

Right off the bat in the obligatory “Immortal stands around while Eric Bischoff talks” segment, Bischoff knocked out the first two points by saying that Dixie Carter had been granted a continuance and thus Hulk Hogan still couldn’t be in the building.  No verdict, no Hogan.  But he switched gears immediately and tried to get Scott Steiner to abandon Kurt Angle and join Immortal.  Big Poppa Pump answered Bischoff like only he can (with several words beeped out) and refused, with Angle and Crimson arriving to remind everyone about THEY’s arrival.

Throughout the show we were given numerous reminders about THEY’s arrival.  Kurt Angle took a call from THEY and told Steiner and Crimson to go over their plan.  Bischoff began panicking over it (which is a sharp turn from last week) and lamented the disappearance of Ric Flair who was also MIA, while Immortal tried to keep him relaxed about it.  Even Eric Young kept his role of dropping into whatever storyline he pleases for unneeded comedy relief going by telling Taz and Mike Tenay that he had seen THEY but couldn’t say who THEY were.

But Mr. Anderson had bigger fish to fry as he called Jeff Hardy out to the ring for a pre-match talkin’ to.  Anderson cut a promo basically saying that WWE management (without saying the name) had tried to control them, and the two were in TNA because they were their own people.  Then the insults flew and Anderson challenged Hardy to fight their match with no interference from Immortal.  Hardy agreed and even demanded to Bischoff that he keep Immortal away from the ringside area.

But when it came time for the match, Hardy was not a man of his word (he is the Antichrist, after all).  He started the brawl match by attacking Anderson while the champ was announcing himself during his intro, and then the two brawled until Al Snow came down to break them up.  One commercial break later, the match was underway.  The turning point came when Hardy went for the Twist of Hate, which Anderson shoved off, pushing him directly into Rookie Referee Extraordinaire Jackson James who sold it like he had just been hit by a ton of bricks.

Hardy hit another Twist of Hate, then called out Immortal.  The non-Fortune troops came out first and began beating on Anderson.  The Fortune arrived and joined in on the celebrating.  But as Hardy pulled Anderson up to be hit by Styles, A.J. stopped, threw up the Fortune sign, and then Fortune attacked Immortal, knocking them out of the ring.  Hardy stared in disbelief, only to be leveled by Robert Roode, then dropped with a Styles Clash.  The ref was revived and Anderson retained his title, which was handed to him by A.J.

Eric Bischoff came out to throw a bunch of childish insults at A.J., as Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner and Crimson arrived to stand with the newly turned good guys.  Styles explained that Bischoff had run a million-dollar company out of business (WCW, duh) and they would not let that happen to TNA.  Since his and Hogan’s arrival, they tried to change TNA and bring in a bunch of people who didn’t belong in wrestling.  Bischoff responded by setting a new “must watch” date for March 3rd in which Hogan would return (we promise this time, really) and they would officially take control of TNA.  Again.  I guess.

Plenty of comments this one after the jump and the rest of the show’s results.

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Holla if ya hear me: TNA Impact 1/27/11

There was an ominous feel to the Impact Zone just one week before we get Hulk Hogan’s return, Dixie Carter’s court verdict and the deadline of Crimson’s new “THEY”.  What are the odds of all those happening on the same night?  But Kurt Angle is still upset about his ex-wife and Jeff Jarrett, whom he wants in an actual match (rather than the “match” they had at Genesis).  This call brought out the whole of Immortal, with Eric Bischoff telling Angle that he is no longer employed by TNA due to his own stipulation and no one’s going to be reinstating him, let alone giving him Jeff Jarrett.

Until, that is, Ric Flair reinstated him and gave him Jeff Jarrett.  Following an Immortal beatdown that was broken up by a baseball bat-wielding Crimson, a flabbergasted Flair reinstated Angle and put him and Crimson into a handicap match against Jarrett and six other members of Immortal.  Flair’s thinking was that with the looming threat of THEY and the prospect of losing the company back to Dixie Carter, Immortal should do its all to take Angle out for good, and that meant putting him into a legitimate match, rather than the series of beatdowns that he had been given.  Eric Bischoff, convinced that there is no THEY, was furious at Flair for bringing Angle back.

The match, closing out Impact, went about as well as a 7-on-2 handicap match would.  Angle and Crimson did the best they could, but ultimately fell to the numbers.  Jeff Jarrett, who did not come to the ring until well into the match, actually took some damage from Angle, but ultimately took the win after Immortal continued their beatings.  With the match over, Matt Morgan arrived to try to even the odds, but could not swing momentum from Immortal.  With things looking bleak, suddenly the lights went off and a theme unheard in TNA for some time hit the speakers.  When the lights came back, Scott Steiner was standing in the ring with weapon in hand.  Immortal got the hell out of Dodge quickly, and thus the show ended.

Rest of the episode after the jump.

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