I tuned in to iMPACT! this week to see the conclusion of the best-of-five series for the TNA tag team championships. I actually joined when Jeff Hardy came out to issue his ‘open challenge.’ This seems to be an angle that has been universally criticised, and rightfully so. There was simply no point to it. He and Shannon Moore wont be entering a programme surely (or if they do, it’ll be terrible), neither of them really benefitted from it. The fans certainly didn’t care – it wasn’t even that good a match, with Hardy looking pretty out of shape. Eventhough this would have been an anti-climax too, it was rumoured that Gregory Helms would be showing up to face Hardy. Again, other than him being a new face, so what? As it stood, we didn’t even get that. They sold it like they were finally facing each other and showing each other respect etc. That didn’t come across.
Then came the final and deciding match of the best-of-five series between the Motor City Machine Guns and Beer Money inc. I wont smother this in compliments – i’ve run out of superlatives for this series. Has it changed tag team wrestling? No. Was is absolutely excellent throughout, raising the bar in terms of standards? Definately. The only part i’ll point out for particular praise is the springboard dive/suicide dive to the outside by the Guns, them crossing over and coming from different directions. Simple, but visually arresting. My only criticism is the ending. For one thing, of all their double teams the Guns use, the neckbreaker/crossbody combination is my least favourite, and the ending would have been much more effective had they just won with one at the end, instead of just doing it twice in a row. By that time, the near-falls were in danger of becoming unbelieveable, and the repetition seemed pointless to me. That’s not to detract from a great match and a great series. Just a shame this didn’t make the PPV, missing out so people like Sandman could stink out some TV time.
Then came the World Title match, and this undid a lot of the good work done by the Guns and Beer Money. After seeing an exhibition of great (and not to mention PG) wrestling from the tag teams, the world title match was some sort of blood-soaked hardcore characature. Abyss – as usual – killed the pace and interest in the match. RVD was watchable, but with Abyss waddling between various ridiculous weapons, it just became a progression of one needless hardcore spot to another. Also, why the hell was Bischoff there! Pointless! Senseless! Eventhough I really don’t Abyss, by the end I didn’t care who won. That’s how offended I was by this match. It didn’t seem like a big match like it should have, and to be honest, it wasn’t.
Then EV2.0 came out, and I admit, I groaned. Dreamer in a suit looking like he was going to cry again was enough to make me furious. Hogan (you know Hogan, the biggest ‘Sports-Entertainment star of all time) being there, trying desperately to get a rub from the ECW guys was straight-up sickening. So I was glad when Fortune came out to ‘take back TNA.’ Finally, a semblance of the right direction for the ECW involvement! It smacks a little of a counter angle to Nexus, but at least now some blue-collar TNA guys will get a rub from this ECW crap. I don’t have high hopes that the angle will last long – at best it will last until their next PPV, but nonetheless, a better use of the ECW guys.
The angle was filled, just like the main event, with weapons and blood, and this is emblematic of TNA’s problems. They are trying to compete with WWE, which is ridiculous enough, but they are trying to do so by catering to limited demographic of fans, and doing so in a way that will never be as good as the original ECW. They’re perpetuing the idiotic idea that is you cater to kids, you can’t cater to adults, and for a company to try and grow, it seems stupid to me that they are deliberately limiting their viewership, especially when the best parts of the show are PG anyway.
TNA has another problem. Because they had to make way for the ECW, this week’s iMPACT!, which many are calling the best ever, was essentially a PPV, seen as what we saw this week was initially intended to be the PPV card. So the fact is that TNA wont put out a product of that (limited) quality every week, especially now they’ve lost they jewel in their current crown, the best-of-five series. Without that, iMPACT! will be barely watchable!