Check This Out...

3.21.2008

Tha "iMPACT!" Dispatch: School Is In

No disrespect to Tyson Dux, but I'm going to steal his gimmick for the purposes of this article. It seems like every week, we're bashing what sucks about any given episode of "iMPACT!". This is interspersed by occasional articles that talk about TNA's problems on the whole, as opposed to citing specific examples of everything that's wrong with them.

I would like to put the two together, and using what I believe to be a standard model for how a wrestling company should be run, show how TNA's operations stack up, and what they need to do, specifically using examples from last night's show. So, get your notebooks out, because class is in session.

#1-Give a straight payoff for a money feud.
Last night, "iMPACT!" kicked off with Booker T welcoming back Sharmell. So far, I don't have any complaints with how this angle has been laid out. It gives Roode a little extra shine while taking absolutely nothing away from Booker. However, the standard formula says that hot feuds wrap up at the big shows, and as far as TNA is concerned, Lockdown is one of their big pay-per-views.

It should be Booker T vs. Robert Roode, one on one, to wrap up the feud. Instead, we're getting a rematch from Final Resolution inside of the cage. Not to be condescending, but Robert Roode and Booker T supposedly hate each other. A match between these two in a steel cage would be an O-tastic spectacle, and I can't help but feel that having the two girls involved will take away from the match.

#2-"Tweeners" are bad.
As the lightest skinned member of Tha O Show, Dan-e-o, once pointed out, TNA is notorious for being the home of the "BabyHeel". It's fine to have a guy be a tweener for a little while if you're waiting to spring a heel or face turn, but there are a lot of guys in this company that seem to be permanently stuck in that role. Now, I realize that TNA's audience is more smarkish, so they won't cheer or boo someone just because they're told to, but TNA doesn't necessarily help the situation.

The example I will cite is Scott Steiner and Petey Williams. Steiner was a face when they started feuding, has done nothing to create a solid heel turn, yet he still acts in a very heel manner. Given the nature of this storyline (and the fact that he's already tried to drown Petey), a strong heel turn probably isn't going to happen. Considering that Steiner is still in line for two title shots, that's not really good from a drawing standpoint. Nobody will ever fork over money on a regular basis to watch a guy they're only lukewarm on.

#3-Anyone who cares, knows.
Is it just me, or does it seem like everytime I watch TNA, it's like sitting through a history class? Wrestling fans who care about the history between two wrestlers already know about the history, and if they don't know but care, they'll find out on their own. Spoon-feeding the fans with video packages before every match is pointless. I mean, seriously.

To illustrate this, Rhino and Christian Cage were face-to-face last night, discussing the possibility of Rhino joining Cage's team for Lethal Lockdown. The summation is as follows-"We had a feud two years ago, but I want you to be on my team because we're both good guys now." There's really no need to make a major point of their history. A footnote, maybe, but a major point? It just seems weak to me. Anytime WWE does this, they only allude to what happened, which I think is better.

#4-Don't fix what isn't broken. Don't even modify it. For that matter, just keep your goddamn hands off it altogether. Now take 20 steps away. It's working. Fuck off.
This one's pretty self-explanitory. Don't deviate from what made you guys popular, and definitely don't keep trying the same broken thing again and again. This is a twofold point. The first part is to say, stop having the same fighting lover angle over and over with Karen Angle. It makes you seem like a really bad reality show, or a really bad soap opera. Having storylines is an essential part of any show, but when an irrelevant storyline starts to overshadow top workers, it's time to pull the plug on it. Yeah, so she's fucking your champion, I don't really care because she's not a good actor, she doesn't cut good promos, and she probably has no in-ring training. Pacman Jones was more valuable to TNA than Karen Angle currently is.

Now, the other Angle, Kurt, is preparing for a match against Samoa Joe at Lockdown. Can anyone tell me why, even though this is a wrestling match, both Joe and Kurt are training with MMA specialists? Okay, fine, UFC is popular right now. Guess what? You're not UFC! You got popular because you had good wrestling. Most UFC fans will not cross over to TNA just because you guys are having a bastardized attempt at MMA.

Kurt and Joe are the two best workers in that entire company. There's no need to jazz up a match between the two of them. Throw them in that cage at Lockdown, say "may the best man win", and let them put on a Match Of The Year candidate.

#5-Instead of fixing what isn't broken, fix what is broken.
Black Reign and Rellik are not over. They will never be over. TNA would be wise to let these guys go. Sure, it's mean, but this is business, and you can't always protect feelings when it comes to business. They didn't want to pay Junior Fatu what he wanted several months ago, but I'm pretty sure that if they weren't paying Black Reign and Rellik, they'd be able to cover that difference, no problem.

#6-Learn what an announcer's job is.
This one we've been going at all wrong. We keep saying that Tenay and West suck, and that they're no good, but rarely do we ever stack them up to what commentators should do. So here's a quick breakdown of what commentators are supposed to do, followed by what Tenay and West do.

Play-by-play: should focus on calling the moves, highlighting what has just happened as though the match were a shoot and nobody knew what was going to happen. Occasionally, he should ask the color commentator for his expertise on match strategy, or the effect of certain holds. Overall, the play-by-play man should add an extra element to the match, making it easier for the fan to follow and get excited about. Mike Tenay, however, keeps giving TNA one big handjob while discussing what's about to happen, which completely kills the notion that kayfabe even exists within a ten mile radius of their studio. He's also boring as shit.

Color commentators: should be able to explain the effectiveness of certain holds, and discuss how strategy and psychology come into play in a match. They should help the viewer at home better understand why a wrestler is doing something in the match, and be able to highlight the science that goes into the art of wrestling. Don West screams nonsensically while acting like a big, fat "Yes Man" to whatever comes out of Mike Tenay's mouth. He very much resembles the guy who walks into a movie theater drunk and keeps yelling at the screen. Nobody likes a screaming fat guy. Oh look, another example to the right!

Alright, class is dismissed, James E. Cornette. You and the rest of TNA, go learn something from what I just said. If it's this obvious to a guy who has no booking experience in his life, how you guys keep missing the boat is beyond me.


6 comments: on "Tha "iMPACT!" Dispatch: School Is In"

Matt said...

another thing commentators should do is shut the fuck up when spmebodys cutting a promo. I'm sick of tenay cutting in between each sentence it makes the promo so much harder to follow and takes away a lot of heat. My ears were sore after last night. And they completely ruined the sting comeback tease too.

Christopher Casúr said...

Shit, I knew I forgot something. Good call, Matt. I hate that Tenay and West chime in in between every sentence. Also, tell me if this makes any sense. They both act shocked when Sting's music hits, and then ten seconds later, tell us that Sting will be on "iMPACT!" nezt week. How does his music playing in any way mean that he's showing up next week?

Anonymous said...

The 'tease' for Sting's comeback would have been better if the Sting video entrance clip wasn't played and the announcers didn't start yelling "sting, Sting" right away. They should have played it like maybe it is Sting maybe it isn't.

The Angle MMA thing is lame. We all know how much Angle keeps talking about how he wants to go into MMA, etc. But this is just plain bad. Bringing in real MMA fighters like Trigg won't make this anymore credible either.

Dante Ross said...

I pray for the day West and Tenay lose their voices. I liked Tenay in small doses in WCW during lucha matches. But having him there every single week is just grating on me. West should never be allowed on TV. He doesnt have the voice, look, or skill for announcing. They actually pull me out of matches. Notice how Lawler stopped piping in every second during promos?

I looked at the TNA roster a minute ago. They have about 45 active members on the roster. Think about that shit! And you cant come up with something I wanna see every week? I should be DYING to watch TNA! They have Angle, Christian, Booker T, Styles, LAX, Roode, Sting, Samoa Joe, and The Dudleys! They can have dream matches every damned week. You should have to TRY and have bad matches with that roster.

Anonymous said...

Good read,

I remember when Booker T first came to TNA. Tenay and West were yelling his name out before his name even hit the screen. They talk wayyyy to much but I have to wonder if that is more ad-lib or if their shit is completely written. Either way they do need to tone down a little..As for Losing their voices? I heard Don West lost his voice during last weeks taping and that they had to do a re-edit of the audio over the show..I don't know how true it is, but im not surprised. West and Tenay should stick to being on the website..Hire some better commentators. How about Paul Heyman and i dunno Scott Hudson? Zybyzsko? Schivone? anyone but these guys. oh NOT MARK MADDEN!

Chris said...

Well thought out article, I disagree with much, but well thought out.
#1. okay, I agree with this. I dunno maybe their saving the big payoff for the Chainsaw-X match were they're both strapped to rockets wielding chainsaws inside a cage lined with dynamite.
#2 Waterboarding is 'in', so says George Dubya.
#3 hmm, if they didn't mention their past you'd be complaining about that. I'm tired of wresting shows acting like I have the attention span of a house fly. I'd rather they spent a little too much time on something like this than none at all.
#4 I think Karen is way better on the mic, or in the ring than Pacman. AJ is in a storyline, which will hopefully culminate in a fued with Angle. Angle has always been big on squash matches, Angle challenge anyone? Personally I think the screwy part is Joe crying how if he doesn't get the belt he's gonna quit. Man up!
#5 Rellik is killer spelled backwards, how can that NOT be cool? Seriously though they're using non-TNA guys to build up TNA guys. You'd rather EY was fueding with a guy who can't even be bothered to remember who he's having a match against? Whose biggest claim to fame is his Ass?
#6 okay Tenay does pbp about once a month, for maybe five minutes. And to their credit they didn't use the term 'The numbers game' once this week! West sucks, I totally agree. I'd like to see him replaced with a former wrester, I've always been a sucker for a heel commentator.