KELLER'S TAKE KELLER'S TNA IMPACT WRESTLING BLOG 2/9: Evaluating the final Against All Odds PPV hype, Garett the future of the business?
Feb 10, 2012 - 12:33:51 AM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
KELLER'S TNA IMPACT WRESTLING BLOG
FEBRUARY 9, 2012
TAPED IN LONDON, ENGLAND AT WEMBLEY ARENA
AIRED ON SPIKE TV
-The show opened with a mix of Star Wars movie footage and Eric Bischoff-Garett Bischoff footage with a parallel drawn between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader and the Garett-Eric situation. Yes, there is an evil father and a lost soul son, and it's sort of cool (and a big cheesy) to mix Star Wars footage with TNA footage, but it seems like such a waste to dedicate the open to the show on non-money, ratings-killing storyline like the Eric-Garett situation.
-When Bully Ray complained about Robert Roode not having his back in the opening promo segment, it would have been good to have a brief video clip that showed what Ray was referring to.
-When Sting announced that the "Insane Icon" would be teaming with James Storm against Ray & Roode later, I wonder how many people had no idea who the Insane Icon was. The announcers, at least, clarified that Sting is the Insane Icon.
-I get wanting to use Sting from time to time in the ring, especially to please the fans in London, but it seems ideally it would take something pretty significant to get the babyface G.M. figure drawn out of semi-retirement and into the ring. There really wasn't a story to support his putting himself in that match on short notice.
-In general, the teasing of tension between Roode and Ray makes sense given the Against All Odds four-way main event that's scheduled.
-Taz touted that the fans were packed to the rafters. They should have chosen their camera angles a little better as during ring entrances, you could tell the rafters to the left of the stage were completely empty. It was still an impressive crowd overall, but if you're Taz why put yourself in a position to lose credibility with viewers like that. Viewers should trust the announcers will cut through the b.s. and tell you the truth; they need credibility to get storylines over and sell PPVs.
-The lack of a big stage and pyro didn't hurt the ring entrances. I liked the camera just behind the wrestlers' shoulders as they walked to the ring. It was different than WWE and put the viewer in a position where they saw what the wrestler saw on the way to the ring.
-Good to see a video package on the Christopher Daniels-A.J. Styles-Kaz situation before the Styles vs. Daniels match. I think having brief backstage promos from both Styles and Daniels would have been a good investment in a match as long as this one. You really need to get viewers invested in seeing Styles win and Daniels lose to keep at least a certain type of fan tuned in that long, and a quick backstage promo from each would definitely help in that regard.
-Kaz continues to play the reluctant partner in crime with Daniels well. He's pushing it on overacting, because he doesn't have to go quite so far for viewers to get he's not enthusiastic about working against Styles like this, but in general it's a decent mid-card storyline hook, wondering what Daniels has over Kaz to make him do this.
-Magnus showed in that promo he has a swagger and confidence on the mic that is worth investing in. He also has a good look and carries himself like a star. He felt more at home in England than Orlando, too. Samoa Joe was good being the bad ass partner standing next to him, kind of Road Warrior Animal to Magnus's Hawk.
-Again, some promo work from Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, and Douglas Williams was in order. This wasn't a very long match, which in and of itself is disappointing given the potential of the match, but they need to give viewers a reason to care and give the wrestlers a chance to show off their characters and express their motivation in the match. The bookers need to book matches that have a purpose - where the fighters have something to gain or lose by winning or losing - and then give the wrestlers a chance to express that in character on the mic before the match. It's not complicated, but that shouldn't stop them from going forward with the obvious and simple and most effective approach to getting people to care about a match. They're usually better about this, so maybe just being in London threw them off of their routine of sports-like backstage set-up promos before matches.
-Shelley pinning Aries before their title match on Sunday with Shelley challenging Aries made booking sense. The announcers did a nice job touting how long Aries has been X Champ and how he brags about being the best ever. I don't like the idea of a three-way match being a set-up for a one-on-one title match, though. The three-way match ideally should be saved for when there are three wrestlers whom are all feuding with each other, and singles matches between any two of them is a big deal, but there's intrigue in what would happen if all three were in the ring (Shane Douglas vs. Sabu vs. Terry Funk in ECW popularized three-way matches and it came about organically). TNA uses it (and WWE, too) indiscriminately as a way to get three people in a match without any backstory to support it. In this case, they threw in a Brit to please the locals and save the "one on one" Aries-Shelley battle for the PPV. In a situation like this either build toward this for weeks so there's a purpose to Williams being in the match and something on the line if he wins, or else just make it a tag match with Shelley & a partner against Aries & a partner.
-Did Taz really say Velvet Sky looks like "Princess Layla?" At least he was aware that he might have gotten it wrong. As Mike Tenay said, Taz is not going to enter any Star Wars Trivia contests anytime soon.
-Hulk Hogan and Sting were unintentionally funny in trying to find a way to express how much they appreciated and loved each other. Sting: "That's a load off my plate, the world off my shoulders." Hogan: "A monkey off your back." And on and on. When Sting hugged Hogan, you could see him trying not to wince in fear that Sting would hurt his back. Having major back problems is no fun, and Hogan seems to walk around in fear of something causing more painful problems.
-Hogan telling fans to cheer Garett Bischoff is like your dad showing up at junior high school to tell the jocks on the football team to stop picking on your nerdy son. It's not going to work and it makes Garett look pathetic that he needs someone to tell the fans to cheer him rather than just earning it like everyone else. I mean, calling Garett "the future of this business" is just so forced and overstated, they're dooming Garett to years of being booed. Not since Donald Trump's son was featured on "The Apprentice" has a son been pushed so above his earned level in a TV series. It felt like "Take Your Kid To Work Day - And Make Him a Top Executive."
-Maybe most embarrassing of all is that when Hogan called him "the future of the business," you could hear a huge eruption of cheers, but if you looked at the actual fans in the arena, they were not clapping or cheering or yelling. They were sitting there with their arms by their side or folded making no noise at all.
-How are fans supposed to feel back in the U.S. on Spike TV that Hogan just said U.K. fans are the best in the world?
-Hogan set up this week's show to make him look good ratings-wise by putting himself in the Q5 segment that is typically the highest rated of the show, and with two commercial breaks in Q4, the ratings will be down, so he has a chance to look like he popped a big rating. To add to it, he threw a brawl between two Knockouts - Gail Kim and Tara - and the Knockouts typically draw the biggest ratings of the show.
-The video package on the Against All Odds main event was well-done, giving each of the four wrestlers a chance to talk about what the match and the TNA Title means to them.
-It's good to see Sting in shape again where he doesn't have to wear the big oversized "girlfriend nightgown" t-shirt anymore, but has a fresh singlet in which he looks like an athlete taking his presentation seriously. He does seem a little shaky in terms of balance when he tries to pivot into the full Scorpion Deathlock these days, though.
-The finish of the main event - where Ray had a chance to help Roode break free from the Scorpion but deciding not to since it helped his chances in the four-way World Title match at Against All Odds was a good angle to set up their dynamic in that four-way. What I don't get is how they didn't give James Storm - one of the best promos guys in the sport when given the spotlight and something to talk about - wasn't given a chance to talk in front of that large crowd. Yes, the video package was nice, and I suspect Storm isn't winning so they made the faulty decision to not have him declare his desire to win the title as not to get fans' hopes up and then let them down - but Storm can sell PPVs. He should have been given a chance to turn himself into a bigger star by holding that large crowd - the largest he'll likely play in front of this year - in the palm of his hands. He seems to have actually lost some of his confidence and bravado as the weeks have gone on since his breakup with Roode.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**