By Will Pruett
I have never really liked Gunner. Everything about him, including his facial expressions, his name, his silly nickname, his beard, and his in-ring work has not been enjoyable for me. From his debut as a member of Main Event Mafia security in 2009 to this past week, there has been maybe one or two Gunner moments I found passable.
Gunner was made into a major star and a major babyface on Impact this week. The video packages building him up throughout the show were really well put together. His promo segments getting ready for his match were nicely done. His performance in the ring was superb. Gunner went from an over pushed afterthought to a legitimate main event babyface.
The way Gunner played to the Manchester crowd and whipped them into a frenzy by the end of his match was excellent. He was more over in one moment than he has been through his entire career. While I have not enjoyed most of what he has done up to this point, the followup with him actually has me intrigued. TNA can take Gunner, treat him well, and have a legitimate contender for the latter half of this year. Fans will support him if they're given the chance.
Much like every rose has its thorn, every strong babyface needs a strong heel to stand against. James Storm became this heel through his actions. His perfectly timed Superkick to Gunner was the turn his character has needed for a long time. After failing to capture the TNA Championship at Lockdown 2012, Storm has been lost. He has floundered as a character and nothing involving him has worked. Storm turning and having a natural foe gives him a nice program going forward.
With their main event segment, TNA further revitalized their main event scene. It's impressive to watch this happen. The external causes for this reinvention fail to matter when the reinvention works. I never thought I'd enjoy watching a Gunner match, but I was proven wrong. Hopefully I will continue to be wrong about him going forward.
Picking up the pieces:
- The opening segment, featuring a face to face confrontation between Magnus and MVP had a few nice moments. It sadly continued the storytelling dissonance between comedy and seriousness on the top of the card in TNA.
- Rockstar Spud, speaking of storytelling dissonance, doesn't belong in the main event program. He is doing a nice job as a pest heel, but seeing him doing a comedy routine while attempting to take MVP and Dixie Carter seriously is weird.
- Speaking of Dixie Carter, she also lacks the seriousness to be in the story she is in. Her over-acted heel routine doesn't mesh with MVP, Magnus, or almost anything else happening on top.
- As much as I like Samoa Joe at this moment, I didn't enjoy the way he defeated the TNA Tag Team Champions and Zema Ion. The Bro-Mans should be at least a little better than this. Also, Joe looks more stupid than brave for taking all three men on at once.
- The Samuel Shaw and Christy Hemme story on this show was awkward, more than slightly creepy, and had a little too much of a rape-ish vibe. This story isn't really working for me, despite a decent performance from Shaw.
- Bobby Roode and James Storm seem to be teasing some sort of Beer Money reunion as heels. I am perfectly okay with this.
- MVP approaching Austin Aries about being on his Lethal Lockdown team was a nice way to feature Aries. I'm curious to see where the characters closer to tweeners in TNA land in this power struggle.
- Madison Rayne and Gail Kim's street fight was clunky and illogical. Why would Rayne go into a street fight against Kim, who she knows will have Lei'D Tapa, and not bring backup? Is this just a situation where babyface bravery is also babyface stupidity?
- Ethan Carter III teasing a retirement from Kurt Angle assures it won't happen, but it also assures some entertainment from EC3.
- Bobby Roode's promo threatening to go home didn't really work for me. This is partially because everyone in TNA is either threatening to go home, about to go home, being forced to go home, or at home. Does anyone want to be there? This isn't the way to present a sports-like vibe. It makes what should be a very rare story very commonplace.
- If Dixie Carter gives up ten percent of TNA to Bobby Roode, doesn't she stop being an equal owner with MVP? Even if Carter does win at Lethal Lockdown, she would own less fictional TNA stock than MVP. Am I following this correctly?
- I know a ton of people wanted The Wolves vs. Bad Influence to be the classic indie-style tag match these two teams are capable of, but I was satisfied with what we saw. It's not time for a team to challenge The Wolves to go at their indie pace yet. They're still being established. It also doesn't match sense of an entertaining afterthought like Bad Influence to be the team to challenge The Wolves. TNA isn't planning for Bad Influence. They're planning for The Wolves. This match made The Wolves look great.
This show was decent. It didn't have too many moments that made me wish it would end. It did have a couple entertaining matches. It told mostly entertaining stories. TNA is hit or miss right now, but this show definitely counts as a hit for me.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - I am proven wrong as TNA makes Gunner into a star, James Storm forgets to Be a STAR, Magnus continues his reign, and more!
Feb 21, 2014 - 04:23 PM
Feb 21, 2014 - 04:23 PM
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