Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Low rent production moments kill what could have been a compelling show, Samoa Joe becomes a contender MVP debuts as The Investor, and more!
By Will Pruett
I think TNA is in worse trouble than we all thought. I'm not the type to predict doom. In fact, I often try to be optimistic about TNA while many colleagues of mine are not. I want TNA to succeed. After last night's show, I believe TNA is in terrible shape.
Why is this? They can't even afford to do a reshoot on a pre-taped show. They also cannot afford anyone in charge of quality control. There was a few moments on this show, two minor and one major, that absolutely killed any momentum it could have had. These moments were not supplied by sub-par creative, but by horrible production.
Let's cover the minor moments first. Before the Tag Team Championship match, an X Division Championship graphic was shown. This isn't the biggest deal, but on a pre-taped show (the show was taped hours before it aired on Spike TV) it should never happen. Someone pushed the wrong button from the production position and, rather than go back and fix it in post-production, TNA left it in. They could have even cut out the moment when the graphic was shown, but they refused. It's not a huge deal if this happens on its own, but there was so much more to come.
A second minor issue was the box Bully Ray used to push the coffin from backstage to the ring. It was a basic road case, probably used to transport production equipment from city to city. Instead of fully covering this, TNA used a piece of black drape that didn't reach the bottom. Instead of not shooting the bottom and showing the wheels of the case, TNA chose to make Bully Ray look like an idiot. This could have been solved with simple camera work, but the director of the show wasn't smart enough to ask his camera men not to get to bottom of the box. Once again, this could have been fixed in post-production. It could have been edited (since this is a pre-taped show), but it wasn't.
The biggest problem came when Bully was pushing his coffin backstage. He walked by a table with Rockstar Spud, Dixie Carter, Kurt Angle, Magnus, and James Storm hanging out around it. This was kind of odd. At the beginning of the show, in the backstage area, Angle was trying to run over security and had to be pulled off of Magnus. Why was he just sitting next to him? Dixie Carter was throwing a fit for the whole show, yet she seemed pretty calm here. Rockstar Spud probably shouldn't be buddying up with Angle backstage either.
This moment violated the story TNA was trying to tell on TV. It didn't just violate it, it confirmed to viewers that the story is not true. It was one of the most low-rent things I've ever seen on a wrestling show. How hard would it have been to reshoot this backstage moment? Was Kurt unable to stand? Did Magnus need to be there with him? Where was Dixie asking to preserve her own character? How did no one in this moment or in the production station or in creative scream and yell about the main story of the show being shredded to pieces in one moment?
It isn't hard to reshoot one backstage walk. It wasn't essential to the show and could have been edited out as well. TNA either has no respect for their fans who watch the show weekly (possible) or they just cannot afford to have anyone taking care of quality control. It's sad to see a wrestling company put such a bush league production on television. This should not fly in any performance environment and especially not on wrestling television. I get that things happen, but these things that happen shouldn't make it to TV.
I'm worried about the state of TNA, because their production team has given up. They don't care anymore. Why should I?
Picking up the pieces:
- You know who does care? Jeremy Borash, who shines on commentary every time he is give a chance. He's so much better than Mike Tenay and Taz are. Isn't it strange to see a wrestling company cutting back the talent budget, but reaching out for big name commentators? They have a great one sitting on the bench.
- I enjoyed opening the show with Sting's departure. It was a good confirmation of the reality of the situation.
- The opening promo segment was pretty good. Magnus getting heat with Scotland was fun. It'll be more fun to see how his home country responds to him. I'm hoping for a full-scale Bret Hart in Canada in 1997 situation.
- Samoa Joe can be such a bad ass when he is motivated. All of his mic work on this show was really great. His video package highlighted him well, although it was startling to see how much weight he has gained in the last nine years.
- The tension between Magnus and EC3 is interesting. Magnus' alliance with the Carter family doesn't exactly seem stable, which makes these segments work.
- As bad as the two minute Knockout tag match was, the breakup angle with Velvet Sky and Chris Sabin was worse. Why put people who can't act in angles that require them to? Then again, why put Velvet, who can't wrestle, in matches that require her to?
- The backstage attack on Bobby Roode was one of the most logical things TNA could have done. Roode's confrontation with Dixie Carter later in the show was also a nice logical touch. I am very intrigued to see where this goes heading into Lockdown and beyond. TNA is setting some interesting things up with Samoa Joe, Magnus, EC3, and Roode.
- Gunner would like us to know he was in the Marines. In fact, he was a gunner for them which is why his name is Gunner. Did I mention that he's named Gunner?
- Gunner and Storm's promo segment did nothing for me. Neither guy seems to have "it" right now and neither guy is connecting well with the fans. Storm needs some character evolution desperately and Gunner needs to be a better character.
- Gunner also needs to not be an idiot and not put his title shot briefcase he risked his entire career for on the line in a tag match. It's completely illogical.
- Rockstar Spud is really good at doing what is asked of him. He is a fantastic over-actor. He is a perfect cartoonish character for a wrestling show. He just isn't used correctly. Spud, in a serious situation, plays for laughs. It doesn't work.
- Could someone please teach The Wolves how to wear a suit? They looked horrible in this segment with Spud. Come on, Eddie Edwards, who rolls up their sleeves under their jacket? Act like you've worn a suit before!
- Edwards' promo about the investor worked for me. It was refreshing to know interference would not happen in the main event.
- Abyss vs. Eric Young doesn't excite me at all. I'm not sure who to cheer for or how this whole Abyss thing works. I'm also not sure why Young suddenly wants to have a super violent hardcore match where the competitors are kept in cages for 24 hours without food prior to the match with Abyss. It doesn't sound fun for anyone.
- Does every TNA talent have cameras in their houses, or is it just Sam Shaw? Is this what people in TNA are watching instead of checking their own shows for mistakes? Maybe they should watch Shaw's shrine to Christy Hemme a little less and watch Impact Wrestling a little more.
- Do we really have to sit through more of Bully Ray threatening Anderson's wife and kids? We get it. He's a bad person. It isn't effective and Ray looks like an idiot. I'm glad he enjoys pushing around a casket (which is the perfect size for a Hornswoggle vs. El Torito casket match), but it doesn't work.
- Maybe Mr. Anderson's new contract stated he could only have matches with Bully Ray.
- I know TNA contracts and careers aren't worth much because everyone is willing to put them on the line in one match.
- I enjoyed the main event tag team match. Everyone performed well and it was nice to see Samoa Joe pick up a victory and become number one contender. He should be a solid challenger for Magnus.
- The end of this show was super weird. First, Kurt Angle announced that after barely winning a cage match by escape and being on the winning end, but not being the winning wrestler in a tag match, he now felt ready to go into the TNA Hall of Fame. Apparently the bar was pretty low. Then, Dixie started screaming things. Then, MVP debuted. There was too much going on.
- Is TNA going to create a backstory for how MVP had so much money? Is he flipping houses on the side? Does he have a successful chain of IHOP restaurants? How is he so rich now?
This show could not be taken seriously because TNA didn't take producing this show seriously. No matter how good a creative effort is, it can always be screwed up on the basic production level. This was a bush league effort from TNA. They can and should do better. I don't quite understand how they didn't. All it would have taken was one voice backstage asking for a reshoot.
TNA, I know you're not better than this, but please try and pretend you are from now on.
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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