Powell's TNA Sacrifice Hit List: Don't blame the flat crowd, Eric Young vs. Magnus, Gunner vs. James Storm, The Wolves and Angelina Love win titles, Downtown Dixie, Sam Shaw committed
By Jason Powell
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TNA Sacrifice Hits
Gunner vs. James Storm: An intense I Quit match with great effort from both men. The live crowd was really tough here as they just weren't buying in. The live crowd cheered spots rather than babyfaces, which made it especially tough here since Gunner spent the majority of the match working underneath. I like the way Storm is playing a true heel now rather than being a cocky heel delivering cool one-liners. I'd like to see him take it one step further by going after the fans during his promos. Forget about "Sorry, not sorry" bit and go for big heat.
The Wolves vs. BroMans and DJ Z: The Wolves finally beat the mid-card comedy heels to take the TNA Tag Titles. I like Robbie E and Jessie is much better than I expected him to be, but creative has to know that the silly comedy heel act can only go so far. I actually believe these guys could be more than comedy heels if their characters are given more of an edge. Meanwhile, the Wolves took the tag titles and I'm left wondering now what. They are an excellent team in a company without a real tag division. Will Beer Money reunite to go after The Wolves? Will Austin Aries find a tag partner since he doesn't seem to have anything going on the singles side? Will TNA re-sign the talented Bad Influence team? Or are we stuck with The Wolves vs. BroMans since there don't seem to be any other teams in the division right now?
Bully Ray vs. Bobby Roode: The carnage loving crowd was into the tables match gimmick and Ray is clearly one of the most over wrestlers in the company. As such, this is one of the rare times when it seemed like the crowd was actually a lively bunch. Downtown Bruno, er, Dixie Carter in drag interfering doesn't seem to lead to anything, but it gave Roode the win and made for an interesting moment since the live crowd clearly didn't know who the "bearded man" was when she initially appeared. Hey, whatever keeps the owner engaged, I guess.
Kurt Angle and Willow vs. Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud: A straight forward ass kicking for the beloved babyface duo. I like the way they kept EC3 out of the finish as they continue the build to Angle vs. EC3. I'm not sure where they will go with Willow from here and I'm still not convinced that putting Jeff Hardy in this gimmick is doing any good.
Eric Young vs. Magnus: A minor Hit for match quality and the fact that TNA creative didn't overthink things by sending out Abyss or anyone else to interfere. The wrestlers worked hard and I appreciated the straight forward wrestling match after watching so many gimmick matches, but it just didn't feel like a big main event. Young is in a tough spot in that most fans like him, yet it doesn't seem like they've bought into him as champion. Thus, a good match isn't going to be enough to turn the tide. He really needs to wow viewers with his performances to make people see him as a quality champion and a main event player. He also has to know that his title reign is viewed by many as a Daniel Bryan impersonation. It's not helping his cause to perform the Ric Flair corner flip in search of an easy "wooooo" from the crowd. If some viewers see him as an impostor for one wrestler, it's not going to help him change the perception by paying tribute to another wrestler.
TNA Sacrifice Misses
Overall show: TNA did deliver an overbooked main event title match nor insult the intelligence of viewers (well, maybe the committed match). This show wasn't a Miss for the usual reasons, but it was still a big Miss. It was an ordinary wrestling show put on by a promotion that has had the life sucked out of it. The TNA brand feels dead. Sure, apologists will blame the burned out Orlando fans for not getting up for certain matches, but the truth is that the booking has not inspired the fans to care about the babyface vs. heel dynamic. Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy, and Kurt Angle are examples of babyfaces the fans still care about. The problem continues to be that the company refuses to give their heels any sense of in-ring credibility. Name a TNA heel that you could see beating one of those wrestlers clean. Magnus, Spud, EC3, and BroMans are all soft pest heels who cheat or they lose. Bobby Roode has some credibility but fans have seen him do it all and the act is tired. The vast majority of the TNA heels are not positioned as real threats to the babyfaces and therefore there's not real money to be made with them in top programs. There's certainly a place for pest heels, but TNA has yet to learn that you can't have an entire roster full of them and expect to make any money. Getting back to the fans, sure, if this same show had been on the road then I'm sure they would have had a more excitable crowd that is happy to be seeing pro wrestling in their town. In this case, the Universal Studios crowd showed TNA how many of who watch the program on a weekly basis feel about the product. Here's hoping the company officials will spend more time being introspective than blaming the crowd.
Mr. Anderson vs. Samuel Shaw: A ridiculous concept that required viewers to turn their brains off. You know, because there's a mental institution that would agree to take in the loser of a wrestling match. Sure, Shaw's character has mental issues, but can anyone explain what would have happened if Anderson had lost the match? We're they going to commit the married father of newborn twins whose character hasn't shown any signs of insanity? Even putting that aside, I did not enjoy watching Anderson play the part of a watered down Rock by cracking one-liners during the match. I actually though the Shaw character had some odd potential because he played the part so well. That hope is long gone, and I suspect he was committed so that the creative team can do skits with him inside the mental institution.
Sanada vs. Tigre Uno: Decent effort by the wrestlers, but the fans had no reason to root for one man over the other. Sure, we've seen some Sanada video packages recently which merely told us that he was going to win the match, but it's not like those videos were enough to help get him over in time for this match.
Angelina Love vs. Madison Rayne: Another example of the crowd not caring about the babyface. And why should they? What do we know about Madison? Last week we learned thanks to The Beautiful People that she has a young daughter at home. We also learned that she can be really bitchy to newcomers based on the way she ripped into Brittany. Beyond that, we know she was in the Beautiful People at one time. There's been no real character development since then. Meanwhile, I remain stunned that TNA blew the first month of The Beautiful People reunion.
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