By Haydn Gleed
So you’ve heard a lot of people say that TNA Impact recently has been really quite good and if you have given up on them in the past you should check it out, so why should you? After all, you might be like me and been turned off by the insane storyline of James Storm pushing Mickie James off a platform or some other “only in TNA” moments over the years. Well, my friends, here are four reasons why you should be checking out TNA Impact on Pop TV in America or Challenge TV here in the UK.
1. The Main Event Scene. Matt Hardy is doing the best work of his career, not just as a heel, but in general the best work he’s ever done. The amount of heat that he has been able to generate alongside his wife Reby and Tyrus has been nothing short of outstanding. You watch him perform and you want to see whoever he is facing shut him up, whether it’s by using heel logic or simply acting like he’s better than anyone in the room. On the flip side, EC3 has been brilliant since his babyface turn, and this is coming from someone who thought it would be nearly impossible to turn the man successfully after everything he did as a heel. He is managing to garner sympathy from the same fans that two months ago were baying for his blood. This feud is one of the best in all of American wrestling right now in my opinion.
Added to this, underneath the top feud you have Drew McIntyre who is the stereotypical babyface, but you don’t hate him for it as it comes across as completely natural. Mike Bennett has only been in TNA for five minutes, but he’s established himself as a good heel. There is room to improve but that’s part of the fun of following the act. Currently, you have Kurt Angle on his “retirement” tour taking up some of the main events, which are highly entertaining and added to that is an intriguing Bobby Lashley, something that I thought I would never write.
All in all, the storylines at the top are not only compelling but the performers are doing a great job with storylines that are not overly complicated and make logical sense.
2. No heel authority figures. If you were worried that Dixie Carter was still hogging the majority of the show, then you would be wrong, we barely see her. In fact, we hardly see any authority figure unless there’s a storyline reason to. Even when we do, they are not babyfaces or heels, they are simply impartial. Take last week’s show. Grado, a babyface who has been fired as per the Feast or Fired gimmick was thrown out of the building by Billy Corgan again in a logical way.
Not only are the authority figures impartial, there are no power driven storylines where one person or group of people want to take control which overpowers everything on the show. They have simply taken a backseat and let the wrestlers do their jobs, and the shows feel refreshing as a result.
3. Things have a reason for happening. Unlike Ring Of Honor, where the main events are thrown out there without any build, a high percentage of the matches put on by TNA are happening for a reason. We have already discussed the main event scene, but even below that level there’s a feeling that the things we are seeing backstage ultimately will lead to confrontation in the ring. Take for example the storyline involving the Decay (Crazzy Steve, Rosemary and Abyss). For weeks, we have been seeing UK Indie Star Jimmy Havoc confronting them about Rosemary being his ex. Ok, not the most compelling earth shattering innovative storyline in the world, but it did lead to a pretty darn good match between the two on this weeks show. In addition to the top storylines such as Hardy vs. EC3 or the Kurt Angle retirement tour, you have these little feuds bubbling underneath like the Havoc/Abyss feud or even Beer Money vs. Bram and Eric Young, which was given a build rather than being thrown out there. Thus, most things feel like they have a purpose.
Added to this is the fact they own their creative direction. By that I mean if something is in the main event it is treated as such. It’s not like WWE where it feels sometimes that the main event is made and forgotten about, like they are ashamed that wrestler X (Roman Reigns usually) is in the main part of the show. They hype the main event through the night and they also give the full looking backstage at the wrestlers arriving and preparing routine. As a viewer, it would make you want to stick around to see what happens.
4. There’s something for everybody. As I’ve always said, a good all round product should produce a show that is like a circus. You don’t like the clowns, then you can watch the elephants. In TNA they have the ability to cater for whatever type of wrestling you most enjoy. If you enjoy tag team wrestling, then there are teams such as Beer Money and especially The Wolves to keep you interested. You like more of a hardcore or tough guy style? Fine, Abyss or Bram are your guys. Comedy is your wresting palette choice? Grado is your man (although they really needed to establish his persona to the American audience before the recent storyline but I digress).
So you see, there’s four good reasons for you to give TNA another shot. They are not perfect by a long shot. The X Division is nowhere near as strong as it should be, with essentially a rotation of four men facing each other time and time again. The live experience is also not great, which I know is a strange thing to say, but because they tape so much television before it airs, if you go to a show, you can sometimes feel lost and as a result the matches you see make it feel like a glorified house show. For example, I went to the London tapings that aired last week last night, and I wasn’t too impressed. Everything seemed out of place and it just felt like an exhibition of random matches as opposed to a TV taping. I got this feeling mostly because they don’t show the backstage vignettes or allow the viewer to see anything previously taped, therefore it can lead to the reaction that show was ok but disappointing. Upon viewing the actual final product, I was blown away by how everything made sense and everything had a purpose. Because of TNA’s budget and their need to bulk record shows, I’m not sure what the answer is, but it’s something they have to keep in mind in terms of new fans coming through the door to see a show being recorded and converting them into long term fans.
So TNA has a solid platform. Again, they are not perfect but they certainly seem, for the first time in a while, to have a direction and are pulling in that way instead of trying to go 16 places at the same time. I recommend giving TNA another go, and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Well said, and I hope some of your readers will be inclined to give the show another chance. I’m not pretending to be impartial – I’m a diehard TNA fan, but it’s nice to see someone who’s been both critical and positive about the promotion complimenting the recent shows. Impact has been consistently good this year, and even as a diehard, I would not say that if I didn’t mean it.
This article is spot on!
I completely agree with you on this. In fact, i’ve written about this on my blog. TNA has meaningful main events that are about quality rather than quantity matches that WWE for instance puts out there. TNA also builds up new talents through popular talents.There are soo many reasons why TNA is a must-watch for wrestling fans. I will be writing more so feel free to check my blog out.