Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Nostalgia matters as Sting returns like it's 1997, Hulk Hogan mentions 1983, Aces and Eights continue to dominate, and more!
By Will Pruett
I'm a sucker for nostalgia. As someone who has watched wrestling for most of my life, I love it. Walks down memory lane come often for me, whether it's through watching DVD's, seeing older wrestlers at an indie show, or gimmick like "Old School" Raw. When I get to relive my childhood wrestling love, I'm usually a very happy man.
There are moments when nostalgia doesn't quite work. Most of the time, they come when nostalgia takes the place of something current. Nostalgia is great, until it gets in the way of progress. This is and has always been one of the biggest issues for TNA.
At the end of Impact, the Aces and Eights were closing in on Hulk Hogan when suddenly the lights went out. When they came back up, Sting was in the ring pointing his bat at his former ally. He turned toward his enemies and began taking the entire enemy faction out with his baseball bat. If this sounds familiar, it is. This was the end of many a WCW Nitro episode in 1997. The only difference is Hogan being on a different side of the bat.
Elsewhere on the show, A.J. Styles looked on from the stands as these enemy combatants took out his former friends who have turned against him. Styles didn't laugh or smile, he simply watched with sadness in his eye. Sound familiar? This is exactly how Sting spent 1997.
Nostalgia isn't always a bad thing. It doesn't hurt to sprinkle a little in on occasion. Nostalgia becomes a hindrance when it takes the place of stories being currently told. This isn't simply telling a story vaguely resembling a story from the past, this is telling the same story many of the same creative forces were telling 16 years ago. Isn't it time to move on?
- The opening segment of Impact was kind of a mess. I enjoyed seeing James Storm open the show, but the following with Bad Influence and A.J. Styles didn't impress me at all. The beat down after that was more of the same. TNA went for chaotic and they ended up with sloppy storytelling.
- A Fortune reformation to fight Aces and Eights feels an awful lot like the proposed Main Event Mafia reformation to fight Immortal back at the beginning 2011. The major difference: TNA already has access to all of the players in Fortune (aside from Ric Flair), so there's no danger of them showing up at a WWE show.
- What was the point of the "Hogan has left the building" drama? He didn't make a triumphant return. He just kind of showed up backstage. It wasn't impactful. It clouded the situation.
- Taryn Terrell is showing some promise in the ring. Her selling is getting better and she shows decent fire when she needs to. She isn't great, but she's passable. Her gimmick as the "Hot Mess" with anger issues is questionable (and also pretty funny given some of her real life exploits).
- Rob Terry will probably run wild squashing folks for a while. What will happen when he is in a real feud?
- The video promoting Chris Sabin was great. If only more of the X Division stars were presented as actual stars.
- Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez vs. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode was not as good this week as it was two weeks ago. This show could have used a standout match, but it was pretty flat.
- Matt Morgan's look has evolved from polished, to intimidating, to silly mountain man with odd spiky hair. Morgan's promo skills still aren't up to the standard they should be for a star with his level of experience and charisma. His promo addressing Hogan served a purpose, but wasn't great.
- Hulk Hogan's face-to-face with Morgan seemed like the payoff for a storyline TNA abandoned months ago. The mentioning of the silly looking robe hurt the segment. I also felt like this face-to-face decreased the impact of the Bully Ray and Hulk Hogan segment later in the night.
- Apparently Suicide still exists in the X Division. Who knew?
- Mickie James was playing a subtle heel in her Knockout's Championship match, but I have to wonder if that is as far as this goes. She lost in a flukey manner, so I could understand a turn coming down the pike. This was another odd match from James, but she worked better with Velvet Sky than she did with Brooke Tessmacher last week.
- It seems like TNA is trying to tell multiple stories with the Knockouts. I appreciate this.
- The final segment of this show left me completely underwhelmed and unimpressed. It was a nostalgia kick presented as a main event.
- If the plan for Slammiversary is Sting vs. Bully Ray in the main event, TNA is making a tactical error. Sting is alright in a semi-main scenario, but as a main event and World Championship competitor, his time should be up.
This show just felt off. There was the odd nostalgia kick, the lack of any standout match or segment, the weird stuff with Matt Morgan, and an awful lot of wheel spinning going on. It wasn't just that this episode didn't advance all that many stories, it's that it was a bad way to spin the company's wheels.
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.
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