Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Dixie Carter decides to be evil, A.J. Styles speaks up for the little guy (or a number of them), Aces and Eights question Bully, and more!
By Will Pruett
Dixie Carter has shifted her character from being an on-screen figurehead normally placed about storylines to the lead heel of the promotion. This comes just two years after Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, as co-lead heels, were running the promotion in a way essentially unfair to babyfaces and drunk with power. It didn't work with Hulk and Eric, and I strongly doubt it will work with Dixie.
The performance of Carter on Impact this week was not awful. When I initially heard what would happen, I braced for the worst and was surprised. Carter's anger felt almost genuine. She seemed to take the insults being hurled at her by Styles (and mostly created by meta-fans who watch and criticize TNA) and release something akin to true anger, passion, and possibly how she actually feels.
Now, I don't see Dixie actually believing A.J. Styles is marginal, although I am sure she has been told so. One telling part of this program was Dixie's tweets after the show went off the air. She mentioned taking "#askdixie" public. Is the idea of this program to take the backlash against Dixie when she let Jesse Sorensen go (breaking a promise she made to him) and released a ton of other talent and allow Dixie to respond to it in character?
While heel authority figures can be compelling, the results are often mixed. WWE struck gold with Vince McMahon and Steve Austin, but have been trying to do so again ever since. TNA has run through Bischoff, Jarrett, Hogan, Russo, Cornette, and Dusty Rhodes as authority figures. They have all had opportunities as both heels and faces to get over. They didn't.
The problem here is not Dixie turning (although week after week of he acting may become cringe-worthy), but wrestling's over reliance on authority figures in an attempt to recapture an era of success wrestling will likely never see again. Over and over, a parade of on-screen authority figures has marched around TNA, sometimes many of them at once, and it just feels like watching the same movie over and over. TNA, whenever they have the chance to try something different, feels content with doing the opposite.
What effect does this turn have on the rest of the roster? TNA's lead heel is now Dixie Carter. TNA's lead babyface is now A.J. Styles. Of course, the two of them should meet in the main event of the biggest show of the year. Sadly, Dixie is a middle-aged P.R. person and not a trained professional wrestler. Has Styles even mentioned Bully Ray since winning a title shot? Does he know that is who he will eventually fight?
The problem with this program is the shift of focus. Much like when the TNA World Championship represents an indefinite amount of power, this program puts the focus on an authority figure and not a wrestler. TNA would be wise to retire authority figures altogether and not rely on the occasional deus ex machina effect they can provide.
Picking up the pieces:
- This show was quite poorly edited. From the first few odd jump cuts to the camera focussed on Dixie showing a different darker color scheme than the rest of the show, it was poorly produced.
- Opening the show with Magnus disappointed in his loss in the BFGS was fantastic. This should be a major moment for Magnus and his reaction worked for me.
- I feel like the feud for Magnus is not going to be with anyone in EGO, but with Sting. Sting has shot him looks of doubt in the past couple weeks and the baseball bat finish of last night's show has be believing Sting will face Magnus.
- Chris Sabin's heel act will probably be fun to watch, but I don't see why he is turning now. Sabin had a good babyface comeback and was shining in his role. He is undersized and has crowd-pleasing offense. His music also rarely produces a reaction. Why not get him over, then turn him?
- Jeff Hardy and T.J. Manik had a match that can only be described as manic. I don't think a four minute effort counted as Manik giving Hardy his best.
- Chris Sabin vs. Jeff Hardy would be a pretty decent match for Bound for Glory.
- ODB vs. Mickie James was a fine Knockouts match with way too sudden of a finish. I'm not into ODB as a lead babyface, but it seems like TNA doesn't have another option. James' swan song was quiet in TNA. It's sad to see such a compelling character leave.
- The segment with Eric Young and Joseph Park against the Bro-Mans was basic wrestling comedy, but I didn't really enjoy it. It took up too much time and made the show feel longer than it was.
- Bully Ray's segment with the Aces and Eights kind of undid most of what happened within their club last week. I'm not a fan of them self-destructing. I would rather see a babyface group take them down. Is there something wrong with the babyfaces getting over with these built up heels?
- Chavo Guerrero is doing kind of a weird heel act right now. I can't get into it. I also can't help but think of how irrelevant he is on this roster. His team with Hernandez doesn't do much for me.
- Speaking of not doing much for me, what's going on, James Storm?
- EGO vs. the Mafia was a nice six man tag. Victories like this help make EGO look more formidable, although I don't see where they are going. If the goal is to make Magnus, Samoa Joe, and Sting look vulnerable, it is working.
- Seriously, why can't A.J. Styles mention Bully Ray?
This show was not good. The final segment left a giant question mark hanging out and set up the same story for the tenth time. The rest of it was just kind of there. TNA can do better. They have done better. Why can't they produce better right now, at this crucial time, when good story telling could elevate a roster quickly being depleted?
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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