-I liked Eric Young’s suit. The whole Pied Piper of TNA gimmick is really shitty. But the suit and the blonde faux hawk is a good look. If Wrestling Society X gets off the ground I imagine Jimmy Jacobs vs. Eric Young worked as a Chris Carrabba vs. Paul Weller type feud might be really fun.
-“ROWDY PIPPER”~!!!! TNA puts together a video package advertising their “best moments” A.K.A. moments involving guys who no longer work for the promotion. Hey I remember that time Chris Rock showed up. Hey “ROWDY PIPPER”.
-I liked Buh Buh’s back stage mic work setting up the Naturals match. Fine intense mic work. Not sure if it’s the lighting but D-Von appeared to have two differently colored aureolas. Kind of distracting.
-Lou Thesz is such a carny.
-I really liked the Christian vs. Rhino cage match. In the past I’ve talked a lot about the WWE bloodless televised feud ending cage matches…where feuds end in spotfest cage matches. Here this wasn’t really aspotfest cage match. It was an “escape the cage”rules cage match but both guys were working it as though primary purpose of cage match was to beat the shit out of opponent and winning the actual escape”part was secondary. I kind of liked the whole ridiculous Worlds of Warcraft/Dungeons and Dragons style booking. It was very Russo but on some level really also felt very much like the type of gimmick booking KevinSullivan would have done in Florida. And while Russo matches are built around finishes, this was about the beatings..this garbage match wasn’t about the final garbage spot it was about the bloody match body (failure of the Naturals vs. 3D was failure to get this). Christian was really great in this taking some nasty garbage bumps (including crazy one on the chair ) nice basic wrestling bumps (high back drops, etc) showing a ton of passion and really doing everything in his power to make Rhino’s stuff look good. Commercial break was shitty as Christain coming back from commercial break bloody is really anticlimactic. The first shot that draws blood is a big spot in this type of brawl…doing that over commercial break is like doing transitions over commercial break..it fucks up match flow
WHAT DIDN'T WORK:
The 11/9/06 Impact was bad in interesting ways. It was filled with stuff that on paper are no brainers, stuff that should be impossible to fuck up and yet they fucked it up. This week most of the bad stuff was predictably bad.
-Two Hours??? TWO HOURS??? HA! One of my favorite goofy TNA apologist talking points is “all these problems would be eliminated if they were given two hours”. You know if only the Clippers were allowed to play twenty four minute quarters. If the NFL moved to a forty week season then people would notice how great the Lions really are. “Unhappily Ever After” has a really great cast, but what can you expect them to pull off when they only have a half hour show to work with. The problem with “Mama’s Family” is that they really can’t get off the comic bits in the 30 minute framework. If they were only given an hour “Mama’s Family” would be really funny. That’s not the way it works.
-Other general presentation things: If you want to make the Impact Zone look more like an infomercial shoot lots of confetti. Even Ephesians 6:12 couldn’t save the embarrassing Sahadi video packages.
-With the exception of the cage match there really was no good wrestling on this show. Samoa Joe v. Jay Lethal is normally a good match up as they’re both really good at eating their opponents stuff, but tonight it just laid there and was a nothing and really you shouldn’t be working a competitive squash in under two minutes. If you’ve got a squash that goes under two minutes, that isn’t enough time to work it competitive. Dutt comes in to make the save and Sabin refuses to make save. Is Samoa Joe supposed to be a heel now. Or is this one of those there are no face-heel type things. Naturals vs. Team 3-D should be better than this. Well this wasn’t a match just was a finish. Neat finish with the Shane Douglas sacrifice but still for a tables brawl to mean anything you need to have a big brawling section before you move to the interesting finish. You need a big bloody brawl for the table spot to feel like a climax/finish (whatever). You kill the tables gimmick if it takes place after under 2 and a half minutes. Chris Sabin working heel spots is better than Chris Sabin working wrestling spots but damn that three-way X division match was all about preposterous “all three guys executing moves at the same time” spots. It was like I was watching a Comedy Sportz team do an improve warm up exercise. The MC “all three of you are connected as part of a machine, now there’s a power surge, the machine goes into overdrive. Good job now give Daniels a belt”. And well YOWZA! Remember when people were pimping Abyss as being better than Mark Henry. I don’t remember an Angle v. Henry match this bad. I mean there was really no reason to believe Abyss vs. Angle would be any good…but I thought it might be a poor man’s Abyss vs. AJ Styles. I mean I guess the lesson of Whitney Houston is that if all you are is you’re ability to do histrionic vocal singing, you should stay away from crack…as it will ruin your voice. Angle throwing Abyss isn't as impressive as Angle throwing an actual tall wrestler: Tomko or Edge. Its about as visualy impressive as Angle throwing a chubby Charlie Haas. Does Abyss normally throw suplexes? I can’t remember him ever throwing a suplex before…amused that he adds a suplex to his arsenal when working an Olympic gold medalist. Is Abyss'character a guy who understands move reversals? The Orlando TNA crowd is a very generous group and Angles in ring debut was met with the same sustained pop that they had used for the TNA in ring debut of Spike Dudley, Sting and Christian. The Orlando crowd did surprise me by being more critical than one would expect, and there was no “You still got It”’chant. This stank. The booking of having Abyss loose cleanly before his PPV match is dumb. The post match lots of commotion happening didn’t really heat up anything.
-This Voodoo Kin Mafia thing is bad. I mean Voodoo Kin Mafia segment was so bad that you forget the stupidity of the opening section where Johnny Devine topes a steel chair for no reason. So bad that you forget the ridiculousness of Kip James'' red died hair. So the James Gang quit two weeks ago and they come back with “creative control”…Who gave them “creative control “? And when given “creative control” instead of setting themselves up for title shots, they use it to get on the mic to try to settle personal grudges. And they declare “War” on “dx” and VINCE Mcmahon. The actual story of DX and the James Gang is an amusing story. HHH and Vince when they restarted DX wanted to bring back the New Age Outlaws, but then they found out that the Outlaws had been talking all kinds of shit. No one minded that they were talking about Vince but when Helmsley found out that they were talking about him, his ego was bruised and he nixed bringing them back. Its amusing story that makes Helmsley look pathetic. Some how they totally fail to get that across and instead make themselves look pathetic and silly. Why can Nash call HBK Shawn Michaels but the James Gang can’t? Why did they set up a Voodoo Kin Mafia vs. Serotonin match for the PPV without ever mentioning that Michael Shane was Shawn Michaels’s nephew?
I figured that I really covered all the structural background on shoot angles last week. I was kind of hoping that I’d cover it thoroughly one week and just be able to repost it every week that Russo ran another poorly executed shoot angle. But watching this angle it’s clear that I missed a bunch of structural points. The general point from last weeks report still stands. “Speaking truth to power” doesn’t automatically create fan loyalty to wrestler. There needs to a motivation for why the wrestler is “shooting” and why the audience should trust that that “shoot” is the “shoot” truth. This angle failed to do that. But it also failed in lots of other ways.
1) Brand loyalty is often won by painting self as put upon underdog. WWF painted itself as underdog being attacked, ECW painted self as underdog. WCW was "trying to put WWE out of buisness" by "stealing all their talent" but "not having the creativity"...WCW and WWF were trying to put ECW out of buissness. We fans must ally ourselves aginst them. Painting yourself as defending your own company hopefully will create a sense of alliance between the wrestler and the audience. Attack on the fed is attack on the fans of the fed. The fed and the fans are defending their way of life-- fighting for same cause thus also giving audience an investment in the fight.
2) If you’re going to take shots at opponents company, they need to be tasteless. I mean maybe Gillberg isn’t tasteless but to get the audience to think “Ooh that’s below the belt, the WWE is going to have to respond or they’re pussies” it needs to actually be below the belt shot. Again this is an underdog move. May not be as rich as your opponent may not be able to fight back against their advertising budget but you can hit them where it hurts.
The Voodoo Kin Mafia gimmick is not about WWE hating TNA and going after it. It’s about TNA bringing the “WAR TO THEIR FRONTDOOR”. It’s a pathetic attempt to get recognition, instead of an attempt to defend against attack. And really there is nothing the least bit tasteless about the Voodoo Kin Mafia gimmick.
I don't particularly care for "shoot angles"where you make fun of the opposition in an effort to create fan loyalty. But if thats the goal this was just poorly written. The James Gang aren't the most talented guys out there but damn this really feels like a waste of their talents.
-Wow. You know the Petey Williams LAX angle was bad when it was clearly actively dumber than the Voodoo Kin Mafia segment.That LAX. Petey Williams angle may have been one of the top ten most embarrassing things in the history of TNA booking. I keep on reading about how TNA wants to run border town shows with LAX main eventing, but damn the whole LAX angle is written by idiots. I mean I thought the LAX (when it was two Puerto Ricans and a Cuban) vs. LA Migra match made people look stupid. Flag burning is not just immoral, but also a “federal offense”?? Petey Williams soap boxing “this flag may stand for politics and greed and war but it also stands for opportunity”… They’re going to run a Petey Williams, Sonjay Dutt good immigrant vs. LAX bad politicized immigrant feud?? Mike Tenay gets serious and I start cracking up. “I want to get serious for a moment, I want to take a moment to say something about Petey Williams. The kid who wouldn’t succumb to peer pressure, you’re the real hero”…Disappointed that they didn’t have a chorus humming the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” behind Tenay. Fuck that should be a weekly segment. This week on “Tenay Gets Serious For a Moment” while a chorus sings “His truth is marching on” in the background. Glory, glory, Hallelujah!!
Who knows these days with injuries and comebacks...no one thought Shawn Michaels would ever come back, and now he's bumping all over the place. Heck, even Rick Rude was planning a comeback before he died.