Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - The pros and cons of Tito Ortiz, Chris Sabin is downplayed again, Austin Aries and A.J. Styles have a good match with a bad finish, and more!
By Will Pruett
Tito Ortiz was revealed as another surprise wrestler/fighter on Impact Wrestling this week. Tito was an MMA superstar from the mid-2000s who had amazing success playing the character of "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy." Seeing as I am not a fan of MMA (watching it is one of the more boring experiences I've had) I only really know him peripherally. I would like to use this space to look at the pros and cons of this moment.
Ortiz has a personality (or a fake personality) perfectly suited for wrestling. He's obnoxious and a big talker. Fans may believe in him as an antagonist pushing against one of their heroes. Of course, they may also see through the act, which often seemed too staged for MMA. Would it seem too staged for wrestling as well?
As a surprise, Tito was spoiled a bit by his big (and almost identical) reveal the evening before on Bellator's broadcast. This is something TNA should really think about. I know they're excited about being paired with a MMA company and Spike/Viacom are going to want to promote their MMA property on the (highly rated for Spike) wrestling show. I also know seeing big surprises spoiled by MMA results is a bit of a bummer. TNA seems to be getting big stars at a heavy discount with Viacom footing the bill. I won't complain about ditching lower card wrestlers for Tito and Rampage, because they're likely still saving money.
I have no confidence in a future wrestling match involving Tito Ortiz. By all expert accounts, his body can't really handle the grind of MMA anymore. Wrestling is tough and learning to wrestle is tougher. Can Ortiz do this? Is he worth much to a wrestling company if he can't? Would he be able to fake his way through one or two showcase matches? What is there to gain from those matches?
Right now, I must wonder if TNA knows what to do with these MMA guys coming or if they're simply trying to plug them in when they pop up. The late timing of the August 1 vignettes indicates a last minute deal. Is this Spike/Viacom taking the reigns a bit too much? I'm not at all excited by the MMA invasion in TNA right now. I hope something can be done to make me change this.
Picking up the pieces:
- Taz being locked out of the building was great. We got another week of Jeremy Borash (the best commentator in TNA)!
- Austin Aries is becoming a babyface again, which I fully support. He was a good heel, but the initial turn felt forced and his tag team with Bobby Roode wasn't my favorite. This is a nice path for him to go down right now.
- Bobby Roode's promo was nice and focussed right up until "It pays to be Roode," which has never been a great catchphrase.
- Hernandez is impressing me more in singles matches than he has in the past.
- I am a bigger fan of T.J. Perkins than I am of Manik. Did TNA invest a lot of money in that mask or something?
- Manik is a symbol... of what happens when a wrestling company tries to mimic an odd created video game wrestler.
- Why would any wrestling company in any year after 1999 for any reason at all have a white Hummer pull up outside?
- Jay Bradley vs. Joseph Park was a guy pretending to be a wrestler against a guy pretending to not know how to wrestle. Confused yet?
- Olympic wrestling is less exciting than MMA.
- Manik and Chris Sabin had a really good match together, but I expected better from Sabin in his first televised match as TNA World Champion. I guess I just wanted to see more emphasis put on Sabin, but he is currently playing eighth or ninth fiddle to the Aces and Eights, the Main Event Mafia, Hulk Hogan, and others.
- Gail Kim is going to spend the next three years in TNA wrestling referees. Her match against Brian Hebner is going to be awful. The Earl Hebner Ladder Match will be surprisingly good.
- Emotional A.J. Styles gets worse every week.
- TNA did real damage to the Bound for Glory Series by having a major main event match in it go over 15 minutes. They should know better than to allow these inconsistencies.
- Aside from the match length, I really enjoyed Styles vs. Aries. I had hoped for this match to occur at last years Bound for Glory and am happy to see them get a chance to shine.
- I can't say I loved all of Aries vs. Styles, simply because the finish bummed me out. The match was too good to end the way it did.
- The Main Event Mafia and Aces and Eights segment and future match was odd. I guess it'll be interesting to see who gets eliminated from either group, but I'm not going to count on a big development. Knowing my luck, it'll be Magnus, just because I like him.
This show was not super impressive. There was a fair amount of good in-ring action here, but bad finishes and poor booking kind of killed it. Add in the lack of surprise or reaction to the major surprise and the show just felt pointless.
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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