Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Willow gets all sorts of weird(er), MVP doesn't do much, Lockdown fallout, terrible weapons, and more!
By Will Pruett
TNA has presented Willow as the alter ego of Jeff Hardy. I want to point this out first and foremost in this column. Willow is Jeff Hardy and no one is trying to hide this.
Willow is Jeff Hardy under a weird giant mask wearing velour sweatpants. Willow is the "new and more aggressive alter ego" of Jeff Hardy. TNA is taking their most recognizable (and likely one of their highest paid) talents and putting him in a mask, so he can be a "dark" umbrella-toting character. I'm not going to pretend to understand where this story is going. I'm also not going to pretend it makes sense.
This attempt at randomly rebranding Hardy as a darker character was quite prevalent on this show. He was in the rafters (hopefully Sting didn't leave anything up there), backstage, apparently in a forest doing psychedelic drugs, and expecting rain somewhere else. Willow was constantly shown, and never quite explained. This was pretty weird.
Even weirder was how Willow acted in his match against Rockstar Spud. Spud was acting quite sympathetic while mentioning how small he is. Willow used his umbrella (of death) as a weapon, then used a ladder and brutalized Spud. Willow was really aggressive and not at all fair. Mike Tenay and Taz didn't seem to know how to react. The fans didn't know how to react.
This seems more like allowing Jeff Hardy to assassinate his own character in the name of "art" than a real attempt at professional wrestling promotion. Willow seems like what Jeff Hardy's heel persona in TNA could have been, only in sweatpants, a felt mask, and actually sober (hopefully). Is it all an experiment from Hardy because he was bored of his current act?
If Hardy had to pick a place to experiment, TNA is probably the right one. People won't really see it, and fewer will talk about it.
Picking up the pieces:
- MVP and Magnus' opening segment didn't really excite me. MVP's new rhyming vision for TNA somehow doesn't include banning interference or anything like it. He doesn't seem to know the actual problems in his company. Maybe MVP is neither the leader we need or the leader we deserve.
- Abyss looks absolutely ridiculous in his new outfit. It's like he took Kane's new mask from the beginning of 2012 and spray painted it orange. This was some really bad professional wrestling.
- Samoa Joe vs. Abyss was the tale of two wrestlers who have gained the weight of Bobby Roode in the last year. Joe is still capable of getting it done in the ring with his excess chub, but Abyss looks really bad.
- How is it possible that Abyss came back Sunday and I'm already bored of him? Oh yeah, TNA.
- Why doesn't MVP just ban Abyss from interfering in any matches? He has the power. Logic gaps in wrestling shouldn't be this easy to point out.
- One of the really good things TNA did on this show was bolster the Knockout Division. While I'm not a fan of either of the segments it produced, the additions of Brittany and Angelina Love help to give TNA's women some fresh life. This was quite necessary. Now, let's see some good stories with them.
- Brittany's win over Gail Kim was quickly forgotten once Lei'D Tapa and Kim got into it. This seemed like an odd way to introduce a new wrestler. "Hi! Welcome to the division! You're an afterthought."
- In the continuing narrative of serious moments and comedy intersecting with poor results in TNA, Zema Ion shouting over an ultra-intense Bobby Roode backstage moment was super weird.
- To continue to lackluster "Impact Debut" night, Tigre Uno and Sanada didn't receive individual personalities and were simply presented as two flippy-floppy guys fighting the comedy tag champions. Weren't they supposed to be unique and different? Wouldn't individual matches against opponents meant to make them look good be better?
- The backstage moment with Great Muta and Sanada was nice, but I don't think it really established him well.
- Where were The Wolves this week?
- Rockstar Spud and Ethan Carter III was unexpectedly awesome in their comedy segment paying tribute to Dixie Carter. They cracked me up multiple times and Spud was especially great.
- MVP was not so great at authority figuring. Maybe this wasn't the best choice. He's an upgrade over Dixie Cater.
- Keeping Lashley from talking was a fantastic idea.
- Did TNA blow their entire weapons budget on Lethal Lockdown? They had to use a white board, a large photo of Dixie Carter, a piece of cardboard, and an umbrella. TNA's weapons are quite sad.
- Sam Shaw lost to Ken Anderson after bringing out half of a mannequin. Why is this happening to me?
- The segment with Angelina Love and Velvet Sky went on far too long, seemed insincere, and turned out to be pointless. Why not build up to a potential Beautiful People reunion instead of awkwardly shooting it down quickly?
- See if you can follow this logic: Bully Ray kept Bobby Roode from winning at Lockdown in a completely fair manner and cheated to cause Roode to lose. Roode sought vengeance because of this and beat up Bully Ray. Bully then best up Roode. Who is the babyface here? If you answered Bully, you must actually work for TNA.
- The logic behind Bully Ray's explanation was not good. It didn't make sense in TNA's own story. It didn't work.
This episode of TNA was a complete creative disappointment. Even the promising ideas (bolstering the Knockouts Division and introducing new X Division stars) were not executed well. The follow up to Lockdown involved a bad costume change for Abyss and MVP not solving the problems he came to solve. TNA isn't impressing me right now.
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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