As promised after hearing about this Monday’s episode, I gave iMPACT! a watch tonight.
The first thing that must be said is that this show had nothing if not a great reaction from the crowd. There’s no detracting from that, though I am sure the smaller venue and ‘underdog’ status contributes to that as much as the actual product does.
The first third of the show was incredibly poor in my opinion though. TNA promos seem to consist of incessant shouting and incoherent rambling, and seen as this took up a long first segment, this hurt the opening of the show for me, though the announcement of a TNA title match did redeem it somewhat by giving the night more of a PPV feel.
The first match (that I remember anyway) was the knockouts match. The wrestling was of a comparitively high standard compared to the divas, though this is of no shock. However, the fact that the knockouts either look like strippers (‘The Beautiful People’) or just plain ridiculous (ODB and Daphne) really hurts the division and undermines its credibility. In some ways, it was the hardest segment to watch, due simply to how outdated TNA’s treatment of its female talent is.
The Flair-Hogan stuff is quite simply, a pile of crap. Its ridiculous that they even take any sort of in-ring limelight, but when the premise is so flimsy (fighting for some unclear kind of ‘control’ of the company, HoF ring transactions), its only worse. Plus, Sting and JJ aside, I have very little respect for the talent involved, especially Desmond Wolfe, who I find very objectionable with his crude, lazy two-fingers taunt. The match was ok, simply due to how long it was. It dragged, but at least the climax had lots of build up. Now, i’ve never been a big Samoa Joe fan, but I must say, his intensity and in-ring ability really impressed me.
The real strength of the night was the title defence, with RVD at its heart. Not only did he do double duty (or quadruple duty over the 24 hour period. Kudos.), but he left everything he had in the ring and duly got a big reaction. The two matches were good, but not great. One problem was the abruptness of RVD becoming #1 contender. This seemed arbitrary, devoid of reasoning and even a bit ridiculous given that AJ had just defended his title the night before in a storyline that had nothing to do with RVD.The match with Hardy was probably the best because the ending was better, the AJ Styles ending being a bit abrupt for my liking. Nonetheless, if people like RVD stay, the company has a chance of survival and establishing itself as a mainstream company (though it will never challenge WWE).
Overall, I can see why people liked this episode. As I say, it had a PPV feel. However, for that reason, they wont be able to pull out shows like that consistently. Even if they did, it was still mostly pretty poor. The pacing was, well, ‘nonstop,’ but that’s not a good thing, what with all the shouting, rambling and general confusion, it was hard to follow and tiring to watch. For me, there is also a simple problem of class. I couldn’t imagine real top stars such as Orton, Jericho and CM Punk in that environment, at least nowadays. They’re work is too subtle, too intelligent, something i’m not sure TNA fans would have time for. This is not a slur on the fans, but on the style of wrestling they happen to prefer. Watching this, I understand what Vince McMahon means when he says TNA is in the ‘pro-wrasslin’ business. Its simple, and often boorish, and not really for me.
I didn’t mean for this to be quite so negative. As I say, the atmosphere was good, as were RVD’s two matches, but aside from that, the rest just outweighs that positivity, partly because I know it wont last. In the past when i’ve tried to watch iMPACT!, i’ve thought to myself “why should I watch this?!” I didn’t think that this time, but i’m still not drawn to watch next week, not unless I hear they’ve done another packed show and one that makes slightly more sense than this one.