TNA: Bi-Polar?

January 21, 2008

I watched all three hours of TNA Impact this week. I watched the regular 2-hour Impact as well as the 1-hour Global Impact that followed. When I was done with my marathon of TNA watching I was left in a state of disbelief. I canít figure out how it is possible that the same company produced both shows. How can the same people be behind such an amazing great show and one that is so mind bogglingly stupid.

Global Impact was fantastic. Everyone and everything on the show got over. This show treated the sport of pro-wrestling like it was a sport and everyone on the show could be taken seriously and in the end had credibility. There was only the one match on the show but it was great. Two top guys competed to see who the better man was, and the better man won decisively. The clips from other matches made me want to see more and everyone who spoke sounded intelligent and professional, which gave credibility and importance to what they did. If I told someone I was a pro-wrestler and they werenít sure what I meant, I could show them this show to explain pro-wrestling and be proud of my chosen profession. If I had never seen or heard of TNA before this show it would be my favourite company and I would order every PPV they produced in a heartbeat after the way TNA came off on this show.

In contrast to that if I told someone I was a pro-wrestler and showed them this weekís regular Impact show as an example, I would be embarrassed and want to put a paper bag over my head and slit my wrists. The Shark Boy stuff over shadowed all the hard work of those who wrestled on the show and TNA has once again regained the crown as the biggest disgrace in wrestling history after WWEís brief lead when Hornswaggle ran through the spray painted hole in the wall.

Letís be honest, comedy can be a fun part of the show. Booker and Goldust at the Movies were funny. E and C were hilarious, but the Shark Boy segments this week on Impact were stupid, insulting, and perhaps more importantly extremely bad for business. Itís the bad for business part of things that drives me crazy with TNA. If they just did stupid comedy segments on their show I could stomach it, but segments like this have far wider ramifications and no one seems able to get their head out of their @$$ long enough it realize it.

Letís look at the fact that TNA spent approximately 7 minutes of airtime on the Shark Boy skits. That is more airtime than was given to any of the matches on the show outside of the main event, and is actually 16% of the total airtime on the show. 16% of the show was spent on a Ďjobber comedyí character that does not appear on PPV, or draw a dime of revenue for the company. The skits were insultingly stupid and undermined the credibility of every person who took part in them. At least the Hornswaggle thing only made a midget comedy character and a guy who was (at the time) quitting, look stupid. TNA parades Ĺ their roster through these imbecilic segments.

If that isnít bad enough, and this is where the short sightedness of the creative team shows through, by doing this stupid injury angle gimmick with Shark Boy they are sabotaging their own company by wasting potential money drawing angles on this comedy character. How can TNA book an injury angle with anyone else on the show when Shark Boy comes to the ring in a near body cast and on crutches? The spirit of 76, never say die baby face character, is a proven money draw, when done properly. Tommy Dreamer and Dusty Rhodes used it many times and it always got over. TNA canít use it now because they wasted it on a comedy skit. If Christian or Kurt Angle wants to play up an injury and come out bandaged up to get over the violence of their feud, they canít, Shark Boy already did it.

Having Shark Boy working ďagainst Doctorís ordersĒ kills another great angle. Suppose they wanted to keep Gail Kim and Awesome Kong apart for a while. One of the easiest means to do so would be to play up Gailís concussion and have her unable to get medical clearance to wrestle. That angle can no longer be used because TNA booked Shark Boy when he was seriously injured simply because Shark Boy asked to. They actually stated the Shark Boy was wrestling against Doctors orders. So thatís another potential angle flushed down the toilet.

Granted TNA will likely still use these types of angles despite them not making sense any longer, because having segments on the show that contradict each other is a TNA staple. How many times have we seen wrestlers in TNA demanding matches that they donítí get, and complaining that they canít get enough airtime? Iíve seen Robert Roode do it, Samoa Joe do it, Chris Harris does it, to name just a few. They constantly complain, asking what a guy has to do to get the matches he wants. Oddly enough the near dead Shark Boy is wrestling every week and the explanation given as to why he is wrestling, despite being near death each week is that, ďShark Boy demanded the matchĒ. Last week he demanded a match with a top contender and got a match with Tomko. How is it that an undercard nobody who canít even get medical clearance is being given what he demands while other top stars are ignored by TNA management? This company makes no sense at all, at least not in this hemisphere. In Japan on the other hand, they are fantastic.

Yours in utter confusion,
Lance Storm