Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Sting announces a Main Event Mafia return, the Bound for Glory Series competitors are named, Mickie James continues to shine, and more!
By Will Pruett
On this show Sting announced his intention to form his own, new Main Event Mafia.
I'm going to give you a minute to let this sink in.
Sting is forming a new Main Event Mafia.
Originally created in 2008, the Main Event Mafia was a heel group consisting of Kevin Nash, Booker T, Kurt Angle, Sting, and Scott Steiner because they felt disrespected by younger talent. The five men were lead by a combination of Sting and Kurt Angle based on who had the TNA World Championship and who had "the power" (which is a nonexistent measure of how important one is in TNA). The mission of the group seemed to be getting the TNA Frontline (a group of younger talent) over as babyfaces. It failed. Sting eventually lost the title to Mick Foley. The Main Event Mafia dissolved heading into Bound for Glory 2009 and has been mentioned once since.
The original grounds for joining this group was having won a World Championship at some point in your career. You had to have main evented in order to be in this mafia. This creates some problems as TNA tries to create a new version of this group. Who can TNA bring in for this? More importantly, when TNA is utterly failing in creating a youth movement, why promise to bring in acts who have already been there and done that? Sting is asking for help from the past instead of looking to the future.
This hurts TNA. This really hurts TNA. When I look at WWE, I see youth rising to the top of the promotion. With The Shield, Daniel Bryan, Fandango, Curtis Axel, Dolph Ziggler, and so many more, the younger wrestlers in the promotion are being pushed. In TNA, there doesn't seem to be any new talent. Even the wrestlers who began as "TNA Originals" or made up the Frontline are now cresting over 40 with over 10 years on the national wrestling scene. This isn't to say there isn't a place for them, but what is next?
The idea of bringing in a group of former World Champions to feud with a lackluster faction lead by a wrestler who broke into prominence in the 1990's isn't going to attract new eyes. The same feuds with different, younger, talent would. TNA has shown time and time again a reliance on the past and it has constantly hurt them. A year ago, with James Storm, Austin Aries, and Bobby Roode topping the promotion, it seemed like TNA had finally learned their lesson. Sadly, they have not.
Sting is bringing back the Main Event Mafia. If this works out and produces compelling television while allowing young acts to get over I will happily write 500 words about how wrong I was. I'm not going to start drafting that essay yet.
- This show was a strange followup to last week. Instead of featuring Brooke Hogan (who was a main player in last week's ending) she was nowhere to be seen. It was atonal. TNA should straighten up their storytelling and make sure actions one week produce reactions the next.
- Jeff Hardy and Bobby Roode being announced for the Bound for Glory Series due to their wins in the last two years worked for me. Hardy and Roode could be a fun feud to carry through the series itself.
- I enjoyed the Royal Rumble-style match to open last year's BFGS more than this episode featuring qualifiers.
- The gimmick of the BFGS is really fun. It opens up so many storytelling possibilities and allows for talent to get over in a unique way. I hope TNA is more focussed on more than the top three guys in the series this year. The wrestlers finishing in the middle could have compelling stories as well.
- It worries me to hear about the Aces and Eights targeting all the wrestlers in the BFGS. I hope we don't see a regression into cheap eliminations from the tournament as we did two years ago.
- I was hoping for more from Bad Influence vs. Gunner and James Storm. It was a short and unimpressive match.
- Crowds are getting into the poorly-tattooed Gunner. I may soon have to eat my words. He looks much improved in this run.
- With Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, Bobby Roode, and Hernandez all in the BFGS, who are James Storm and Gunner going to feud with? Is this the time we finally see an Aces and Eights tag team? With Doc on his way out of this group, would Knux team with a younger member? I don't want to watch a Garett Bischoff or Wes Brisco match (ever), but one of them could learn in this scenario.
- Crimson seems to have grown a little charisma in the last year. Interestingly enough, the little brother of Amazing Red originally called for a second "They" to come in 2010 as TNA attempted to bring back the Main Event Mafia to battle Immortal (Remember Immortal?). Now, on an episode where a Main Event Mafia return was announced again, Crimson is there. Yay for coincidence!
- Crimson's loss to Jospeh Park was kind of odd. Park in the BFGS could be very bad for his character. Park won't work if he loses too often, yet his wins all have to be flukes. Park will have a weird path through the series. Add to his already odd act the Abyss and Television Championship twists and this makes no sense to me.
- Mickie James and Velvet Sky put together one of the best segments on this show. It was really entertaining. It was very compelling. It painted the two characters perfectly. Velvet Sky came across as a character I want to cheer for. Mickie was perfectly disingenuous.
- The turn of Mickie James is now complete. After teasing it and being a tweener for a few weeks, James had the hard-turn moment here. As the heel on top of the Knockout's Division, I truly believe James will shine.
- Matt Morgan is still a thing. Who knew?
- Kenny King vs. Magnus vs. Matt Morgan vs. Rob Terry was one of the oddest matchups we've seen in a long time. Morgan and Terry both fill the same role and probably shouldn't be losing random matches. Magnus is always on his way to a big push, but not quite getting one. Kenny King is an X Division guy. It was weird.
- You can't convince me Matt Morgan would not have been a more compelling choice in the BFGS than Joseph Park.
- Eric Young vs. Austin Aries was funny, but it went on too long. I'm all for Austin Aries being in the series and I know he'll have some great matches, but having a long match with a comedy character rarely featured on the show is not great.
- The return of Destination X as an Impact episode is interesting. Chris Sabin debating his choice could make for a few fun and compelling weeks. I'd like to see Sabin get a competitive match against Bully Ray where he can claim to get close, but not quite make it.
- The Aces and Eights battle royal produced a cool moment (with Doc seemingly breaking out) and told a decent story. I didn't love how they got there and Anderson in the BFGS doesn't do much for me, but Doc stood out. Could this be the beginning of a fun push?
- Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles was decent, but I couldn't get into the match. They always work well together, but after the last three years where the match has been used so often, a technical classic isn't enough. I need to see Styles and Angle produce a compelling story.
- Speaking of story, I felt like the macro-story of Styles was lost here. The announcers never mentioned his down year. They didn't speak of Bound for Glory as his first available title shot. Styles' character is motivated by this, but it was ignored.
- Rampage Jackson likes Kurt Angle, but wants to fight him. I would have rather not seen Rampage on this show.
This episode of Impact Wrestling underwhelmed me. It set up the Bound for Glory Series, but it needed a little more. The Aces and Eights drama was alright. Hulk and Bully seem to be entering a holding pattern. The matches didn't impress. The Knockouts were, once again, the highlight of this show. I enjoy this fact, but TNA obviously isn't pushing them as the most important part.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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