Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - The gimmicks TNA needs to bring back, explanations of Dixieland, a random title change, and Feast or Fired!
By Will Pruett
TNA is attempting to return to an earlier era. They're doing so by using many of their earlier gimmick matches. Before 2009 when I thought of TNA, I tended to think of crazy gimmicks. I'll say this for them: they were willing to try anything and try it on national television. No matter how the gimmicks turned out, this took some courage. More often than not, the gimmicks were silly, but that shouldn't be a deterrent.
The first gimmick to bring back would kind of relate to the absurd Dixieland match TNA introduced on this show. I want to see the return of the King of the Mountain match. Ladder Matches can be crazy enough. When you have a five man one, craziness is guaranteed. When you add in pins, submissions, and a penalty box things get interesting. The King of the Mountain concept could even take place inside of the Dixieland match the belt isn't hung, but has to be hung, three guys are added, and a penalty box is placed at ringside. Do it, TNA.
What about after next week's show? TNA is going to need to determine a number one contender for their new champion. What better way to do so than a Reverse Battle Royal? If you haven't seen this gem of a match, seek it out now. Wrestlers began on the outside of the ring and rushed in. Once in, a select number had a regular battle royal, until finally two men remained. Those two men had a normal match. What better way to determine a contender to the winner of the equally silly Dixieland match?
With a new X Division Champion, it's also time to look at the specific gimmicks to this division. We all know about Ultimate X, but what about the Terrordome? This match style has been dormant since 2009 when TNA debuted on a Monday night. The chosen winner of the match (Homicide) could not scale the structure, which was the only way to win. This was one of those embarrassing moments TNA was known for at the time. The match is ridiculous and silly, but climbing the structure should be the only requirement to be in the X Division. Bring it back and watch people climb the big red jungle gym!
None of these gimmicks are as absurd as the Feast or Fired match is. Wrestlers are literally fighting for the a one in four chance of being fired. Why not just walk out and challenge the champion you want to fight? Title shots aren't as valuable as this match makes them seem. TNA has produced some silly match concepts in the past (and will in the future), but Feast or Fired represents the ultimate logical fallacy.
I know briefcases are cool, but TNA should have resisted the temptation to put four of them on poles.
Picking up the pieces:
- This was not a wrestling-heavy show, but it did set up next week's pseudo-pay-per-view show fairly well. I wasn't enamored with a lot of what I saw, but certain programs were built decently.
- Kurt Angle should have knocked over the Wheel of Dixie two months ago.
- Angle and Bobby Roode didn't produce an amazing segment as they did in months past. Instead, the had a passable segment to set up what could be an amazing match. The two of them in a two out of three falls match could be spectacular.
- The worst part of the "You are Abyss" reveal from Eric Young was the commentator's shock. I'm interested to see where this goes, but the path to the reveal in the last three months has not been pleasant.
- Rockstar Spud was better this week than he was in the past two. He downplayed many of the mannerisms that made him obnoxious. The singing was still too much and the cowardice with A.J. Styles was weird, but Spud didn't make me hate him, like I expected him to.
- I am so glad to see Ethan Carter III progressing beyond the non-wrestler and jobber opponents. His promo with Sting was really well done. His performance in the Feast or Fired match also fit his character well. More than anyone else in the match, him competing made sense. Even if fired, EC3 could easily return.
- Lei'D Tapa's ring gear is the silliest ring gear I think I've ever seen.
- The return of Madison Rayne to the Knockouts Division is a very good thing. She looked great in the short run in and she can add some babyface spirit. Rayne vs. Kim could be a heck of a feud.
- The continuing tension between James Storm and Gunner took a step forward on this show. I'm hoping to see Storm turn instead of Gunner, mainly because Storm needs a character refresh desperately.
- Dixieland sounds like one of the most arbitrarily convoluted matches in TNA history. Here's hoping it turns out to be as absurdly entertaining as it sounds.
- Dixie Carter's onscreen performances kind of freak me out. She moves her head in an awkward manner and it's just weird. Carter is not a compelling character, even if she does get good heat. It's time to reduce her role.
- Does the new TNA Champion have to be Dixie's sex slave, or did I hear that wrong?
- Jeff Hardy and Magnus both cut quality promos about their eventual TNA Championship match. I'm predicting Magnus turning, as TNA has been building him to, and winning the title. This should also help get rid of the weird babyface vs. babyface tension between Hardy and Magnus.
- Austin Aries won the X Division Championship in a match that wasn't about him at all. Aries was the tertiary player after Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky. I'm curious to see why this move was done. Aries and Sabin also failed to have a match on the level of their effort going into Destination X last year.
- Is the idea of Bully Ray's attack to produce a Ken Anderson injury angle?
- I want Bully Ray to speak only in song lyrics all the time. Make it happen, Dave Lagana.
- The Feast or Fired match was a fun spot-fest. They tried to tell a lot of stories in it and tried to ignore the odd conceit of the match. It worked for entertainment, but it didn't work for logic.
- Chavo Guerrero, who apparently still works for TNA, grabbed a briefcase. Should I be happy for him? Is he the next World Champion? I know which one I hope he got.
- Gunner's briefcase could be a fun one to watch play out. I wanted Gunner to be Dixie Carter's muscle a month or so ago, but now I am not sure.
- DJ Zema now has a briefcase. Can he carry his equipment in it? Will a turntable fit inside?
This show did a nice job of setting up next week's, but it didn't produce a ton of great action. I can excuse a lack of wrestling for a show meant to build into another. I didn't love all of the silliness here, but TNA tried to throw a lot at us. It is starting to feel increasingly Russo-esque with the gimmicks and the shifts in character, but this may also be a consequence of TNA restructuring. I'm willing to see where this all ends up once TNA has their pieces together once again.
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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