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Posted in: The Crow's Nest
The Crow's Nest - Thoughts on TNA's Current Affairs
By TheCrow
Mar 3, 2012 - 11:38:02 PM



1) Thursday Night Tribute (01/03/12)

2) The Feedback Edition (02/03/12)

3) Thoughts on TNA's Current Affairs (03/03/12)



3) Thoughts on TNA's Current Affairs



I enjoyed doing this style of column a little while back, so why not do it again? There's been more than a few pieces of news involving TNA over the past few days, and I'd like to address some of them and offer my thoughts.

A little advanced warning though. Point #2 contains spoilers for this week's episode of iMPACT. I usually avoid reading spoilers for a show that I actively follow, but for some reason I gave in this time. So one last time, let me make my point very clear:

IF YOU DON'T WANT THE RESULTS OF THIS WEEK'S IMPACT TO BE SPOILED FOR YOU, DO NOT READ POINT #2 ON THIS LIST. YOU HAVE BEEN OFFICIALLY WARNED. DO NOT BLAME ME IF YOU SPOIL THE SURPRISE FOR YOURSELF.

1) Chris Masters wants to make an impact

I knew it was only a matter of time before this happened, especially given that he's a part of the Ring Ka King roster, I'm just surprised it took this long for him to directly express an interest. I'm a big fan of Masters, and it's really too bad that WWE didn't do more to push him upon his return to the company. His in-ring work improved quite a bit during his latest run and his matches on Superstars were regularly the better ones on the show. Character-wise he was kind of weak, but only because he wasn't given a whole lot of time to develop a new one. His "Masterpiece" gimmick was a great bit of entertainment, and I believe that had he gone back to that he would have been a staple of the upper mid card in WWE today. Unfortunately things don't always work out the way we'd like them to.

Would Masters be a good fit for TNA though?



If the X-Division didn't have the weight limit of 225 pounds as they do now, I'd love to see him there. It would be very much like Doug Williams' time in the division where he's not exactly your typical X-Division competitor, putting Masters in the perfect position to come in as a top heel with some kind of "I don't need to do backflips to be better than you" gimmick.

Since that's not a possibility, Masters could come into the TNA mid-card and finally give the belt some much needed credibility. Robbie E is entertaining and all, but he doesn't have the kind of lasting power that a guy like Masters has. Masters is talented enough in the ring that he can work with a variety of opponents, and given how deep the TNA roster is, that's a lot of potential feuds to have.

I don't think he should be rushed to the main event since he's largely untested in big-time programs, but I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility if he shows that he's capable of carrying the mid-card as TV Champion. Either way though, I think Masters would/will be a great addition to the TNA roster as they'll give him a chance to shine and show the fans what he's truly capable of doing.

2) Mr. Anderson returns to iMPACT

As many of you may know, I'm what you might call a "big fan" of Ken Anderson. That being said, I'm not above criticizing him when I feel like he screws up. In fact, I've said on more than one occasion that my biggest complaint about Anderson is that he only ever seems to be at his best when he is pursuing the World Championship; but when he finally captures that belt or isn't involved in a main event program at all, he just seems unmotivated and sloppy.

Anderson hasn't appeared on TNA programming for close to 4 months now, and hasn't even appeared at live events since January. The creative team of TNA used that old excuse of "sorry, we have nothing for you right now". Now that he's returning, it makes me wonder what his place is going to be. The main event scene is pretty congested right now, he has no established partner that he could be put into a tag team with, and I would argue that he's too big of a name to bother with mid-card titles. What does that really leave him?

Well according to the results of the upcoming episode of iMPACT, Anderson is about to be placed into the ongoing storyline between Kaz, Daniels, and AJ Styles as Styles' partner. It's an interesting placement given that the two don't really have a lot of history with each other, and given how often Anderson seems to switch between being a heel and being a face, I have to wonder how long this is going to last.

Is Anderson finally going to find his place in the company as a face (or at the very least a tweener)? Or is he going to end up turning on Styles within a couple of weeks? Hard to say, but I'm hoping for the former here. Anderson is never going to be able to progress as a wrestler if he doesn't establish a firm character for himself, and choosing one alignment is crucial to that.

I'm excited for his return and very curious to see where it leads.

3) Ric Flair and the WWE Hall of Fame

So if the news reports are to be believed, Ric Flair is going to be at the HoF ceremony regardless of whether or not TNA allows it. At first glance, this may not seem like a major news item, but there's a few consequences that need to be looked at.

Say that TNA decides to refuse Flair's request to attend the ceremony, but he goes anyways. Do you really think that TNA is just going to sit back, shrug their shoulders, and say "oh well, that's Ric for you!". No. Flair will at that point be in breach of his TNA contract, and TNA will be well within their rights to take legal action against him. I'm pretty sure Flair can't afford a big lawsuit given how public his financial troubles have been, and honestly he would be stupid to risk everything to go to a ceremony that really doesn't mean anything important anyways.

Would TNA be in the right by refusing Flair's request? Absolutely. Flair is under contract to their company and they have every right to restrict his appearances with other companies. But does that mean that TNA should refuse Flair's request? In my opinion, absolutely not. TNA should be supporting Flair all the way.



By having Flair appear at the WWE HoF Ceremony, TNA stands to benefit from exposure as fans may see Flair and wonder what he's been up to lately. Maybe those fans go ahead and check out his Wikipedia page, see that Flair's been involved with TNA for a while now, and check out an episode of iMPACT. That sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

As for Flair actually appearing on camera, that's a decision that I think should be up to WWE. TNA should support it for the reasons listed above, but does that mean that WWE should be rushing to put him on camera? My answer to that is both yes and no. Yes, because it's bound to get a reaction from his fans, ESPECIALLY if they let him give a speech. But also no, because at the end of the day he is still a member of a rival company, and no matter how small TNA may be compared to WWE, it just doesn't make good business sense to promote your competition for free.

I do think that WWE and TNA are going to come to some sort of formal agreement, and even if TNA charges WWE a bit of coin to let them use one of their talents, the pros far outweigh the cons of letting it happen. I just hope that in the case of TNA refusing the request, Flair is smart enough to listen. He can't afford to be unemployed right now, and the chances of a return to WWE might not be as hot as they once were.

4) Vince Russo to shoot, LIVE!

Yesterday a news article popped up that said that former TNA head writer Vince Russo would be participating in a live shoot interview on June 1 as part of the "Legends of the Ring" weekend. I was pretty excited to see this at first if for no other reason than Russo has proved in the past he's not afraid to say some controversial things. Unfortunately, he's also shown in the past that he's capable of (and likely to) spin some facts to make himself appear as the victim who the world conspires against, refusing to acknowledge what he has done wrong.

Given how his tenure in TNA ended (being demoted from his Head Writer position) I'm certain he'll have some things to say about Dixie Carter and the rest of TNA management, and I'm pretty excited to see how that turns out.

I've made it pretty clear that I'm happy about Russo being out of TNA as I feel he has been a major part of why TNA hasn't evolved a whole lot over the past few years. Given how TNA has improved over the past little while (more on that in a bit) since Russo was removed from his position at the top, I'd say that my accusations were at least somewhat well founded. But that's besides the point here.

This shoot interview is going to be worth the watch. Russo may be an arrogant son of a bitch, but if this shoot is anything like his shoots from the past, it's going to be a must-see. It's still a couple months away from happening, but you can bet I'll be watching on June 1.

5) TNA fails to make an impact

Reports state that the March 1 episode of iMPACT drew their lowest ratings of 2012 so far, and a lot of the mindless TNA haters out there are taking this as an opportunity to have a laugh. Similarly, a lot of Russo supporters are taking this as an opportunity to say that this proves Russo was not behind TNA's failure during his time with the company. To both of these groups of people, you clearly don't have a clue about what's going on.

Yes, the ratings for the episode are unimpressive. To the company, that probably doesn't look so good. But how on Earth does that affect the fans?

That particular episode of iMPACT was actually quite good, contrary to what the ratings may say. The thing about TNA and these ratings are that there is no correlation between the ratings and the quality of the show. Same goes for WWE. RAW may draw a 3.2 rating, but that doesn't mean the show was good. If iMPACT had been promoting some huge debut/return to the company or the continuation of a big storyline leading to a PPV, this kind of rating would definitely indicate something was wrong. But for your average weekly episode?

This is just another example of people hating on TNA because they think it's the cool thing to do. If people bothered to watch an episode of iMPACT with an open mind and make ANY kind of effort to enjoy the product, they would be pleasantly surprised to see how far they've come. TNA is far from perfect, but they've at least been better than RAW over the past few weeks.

All in all, this rating means nothing to me as a fan. Sure, TNA is going to need to strive for higher ratings if they ever hope to be seen as real competition in the North American wrestling market, but considering how far they've come in the relatively short amount of time they've been around, I'd say they're doing just fine. I know that TNA is improving, whether or not the ratings reflect that is not relevant. Get a clue haters.

******


I'm on a bit of a roll it seems in terms of posting content. 3 columns in as many days. Can I make it to a week? Probably. Will I? Who knows, it will depend on if I get a decent enough idea. I'll say this though, I don't know how Hustle did it for so long without losing his mind, it cannot be easy to go 600+ days putting out new content. So keep your eyes peeled for new columns from yours truly, I'll do my best to deliver.

On that note, I'm out. Feel free to shoot me some feedback through one of the methods below. Preferably through email or PM. I'm looking for new questions to address in another "reader feedback" edition, so if you want to have something addressed please do shoot me a message. Until next time though, stay well my friends.

************


Get In Touch With Me

Feedback Thread:
Here

Email: lopcrowsnest@aol.com

Facebook: TheCrow

Twitter:


Skype: thecrowlop

******


2) The Feedback Edition



Woah what's this? Two columns in as many days? That's not like me.

Well, thankfully my schedule has begun to clear up a bit, so I'm hoping I'll have more time to write a little more regularly. Don't expect a 600+ daily streak like fellow MP columnist Hustle, but a couple per week isn't unlikely.

So for today, I figured I'd address a few questions I've received from readers over the course of my last few columns. For some reason the stupid comment section below here isn't letting me post direct replies right now, so I'll grab a comment or two from there as well.

******


Question #1: Do you think James Storm is the next Shawn Michaels?

I could not believe I received more than one email asking me a question along these lines. It may have only been two or three, but that's enough to warrant a direct reply in a column.

First of all, where are you people drawing these comparisons? The only comparisons I see between them are that they are both from the Southern United States, they both wear a cowboy hat on occasion, both used to be in successful tag teams, and both use a super kick as their finisher. But where on Earth does anyone see any true similarities between Michaels and Storm?

Look, I'm a big fan of James Storm, I've made that perfectly clear since I started writing about TNA back in the Columns Forum. I've also said on occasion before that I'm far from Michaels' biggest fan, and while he is certainly one of the best of all time, he's not the second coming of Christ. That being said, Storm isn't in Michaels' league. Michaels is superior in the ring, superior on the mic, and has superior charisma. Storm isn't the next Shawn Michaels. He's a hell of a talent in his own right and is likely going to win the World Championship at some point this year, but in 30 years I'm pretty sure most people will have largely forgotten him. That hurts me to say, but it's likely true. Michaels has a legacy that will live on in the record books, Storm will never be able to say that. At best, he'll be remembered as one half of one of the greatest tag teams of the 2000s.

But he's more likely to be the next Shawn Michaels than John Morrison is, I'll say that much.

Question #2: "Seriously not trolling at all, but did you feel the same way when Owen Hart and WWF did the same basic thing?" (from SmplyPhenomenal)

Considering I was 8 years old when this particular incident occurred, I'm going to say that I probably didn't. That being said, if I had experienced then all that I have now, I would absolutely feel the same way. I know that professional wrestling isn't real, and I know that this kind of thing happens to get heat on the guy who did it, but that doesn't make it any less wrong.

Zema Ion already had loads of heat as a result of the work he was doing both in the ring and on the mic. He did not need this cheap promo to get more. I'm mad at TNA, but not in the way that they want a fan to be mad at a heel wrestler, more so mad in the way that I almost turned off my TV when it happened.

What happened to Jesse Sorensen was a tragedy, and it should be treated as such. This kid could have had his career ended in a split second, and more importantly he could have had his quality of life forever lessened.

My disdain for this kind of crap doesn't just apply to TNA though, it's something I think should apply to any wrestling company. Serious injuries like that shouldn't be turned into something to mock on TV. I thought TNA was better than that when they used Ken Anderson's real concussion as an opportunity to educate the fans about how dangerous that injury can be, all while making it a storyline. THAT is the kind of thing they should have done in this case as well.

I've cooled down a bit last night, but I'm still not pleased. Having been in Jesse's position before, this issue strikes hard for me. It's just not something that should be joked about.

Question #3: Does Jeff Hardy really deserve another chance?

In a word, yes. But I'm hesitant to commit fully to that answer.

There's no denying how over Hardy is with live crowds, and that makes him a valuable asset to whichever company he happens to be wrestling for. On the flip side however, he has proven in the past that he can be unreliable due to a problem with substance abuse, and this has ruined many a chance for Jeff Hardy before. Most recently of course would be his title match with Sting at Victory Road in 2011 where TNA officials had to cut the match short because he was in no condition to compete.

Hardy has since stated that he is clean and spent some time (kayfabe, at least) asking everybody in the company for forgiveness, and also for "one more shot". To me it seemed as though he has truly put in the effort to clean up his act, and I really hope that he realizes how lucky he is to even be alive at this point.

So does he deserve another shot? Part of me wants to say yes, because I don't think the man should be turned away if he has truly cleaned up and started down a different path in life. TNA benefits from having Hardy at 100% because, like I mentioned before, Hardy is crazy over with the fans and is easily one of their top merchandise sellers. It also obviously benefits Jeff himself as it keeps a paycheque coming his way.

However, another part of me wants to say that he doesn't deserve another shot simply because of how many chances he has blown in the past. WWE was giving him the world and pushing him as one of their top names, but Hardy decided he wasn't going to put in the effort needed to remain at that top level and left for an easier schedule with TNA. Then he gets back to TNA and blows a title match with Sting because he was too messed up on drugs to even walk down the ramp properly.

In conclusion, I'll stick with my answer of yes, but with conditions attached. The SECOND Hardy starts to show any signs that he's relapsing, TNA needs to kick him the hell out. There is no reason for TNA to risk Hardy injuring himself or another competitor, regardless of how popular he is with the fans. This is Hardy's absolute last chance in my eyes, and I really hope TNA sees it that way as well.

Question #4: Will Vince Russo leaving TNA really make that big of a difference?

Yes, absolutely.

To clear something up though, I don't put 100% of the blame for TNA's lack of real growth over the years on Russo. While he certainly had a large influence on how the company proceeded as a head member of the creative team, he didn't have absolute control over everything. He was merely one part of the problem. While Russo hasn't been the head writer since October 2011 when he was replaced by Bruce Pritchard, he still had a hand in the creative direction of TNA. With him now gone completely, it only follows that things are going to be different.

Of course the question then becomes, will this be a change for the better? See that's where things get really interesting. The past couple of months in TNA have been significantly better than anything they've done in the past couple of years, and I really don't think it's a coincidence that improvement started to happen once Russo was no longer in charge. Now that he's gone completely? Things can only get better from here.

That's not to say that I think TNA is all of a sudden going to start beating WWE in the ratings on a weekly basis, but the quality of the product is going to get better, and that is going to bring fans in. Just look at the attention that columnists on this site are giving to the company right now. There's more than one guy in the forums writing about it, Hustle has done a couple of iMPACT reviews recently, SuperChrisss wrote about Bully Ray's massive improvement over the past 12 months, etc. This is a great indicator of just how much better iMPACT is getting.

So has Russo leaving made a big difference? Yes. Has it been a change for the better? You're damn right it is.

******


Four questions seems to be a good spot to end things for now. I do have quite a few more questions I could potentially address, but I'll save that for another day. If you have any burning questions you want me to address in a future column, shoot me an email. Have your own opinions on the questions I addressed today? Shoot me an email. You see the pattern here I'm sure. So until next time, stay thirsty my friends.

************


Mentioned it in my iMPACT review last night, but I figured I'd bring it up again. James Storm's new theme is all kinds of awesome, so for your listening pleasure I have posted it below. Enjoy.



************


Get In Touch With Me

Feedback Thread:
Here

Email: lopcrowsnest@aol.com

Facebook: TheCrow

Twitter:


Skype: thecrowlop

************


1) Thursday Night Tribute





Segment 1: Kurt Angle (Backstage)

I usually don't like to say negative things about Kurt Angle, but damn he has got to be the worst fake laugher in the world. He's good at a lot of things (#Pause), but faking a laugh is not one of them. Hopefully his promo about why he supposedly hates Jeff Hardy is a little better.

Segment 2: Kurt Angle (In-Ring)

So Rock keeps promo notes on his wrist, Angle brings out a set of cue cards for his. Not a good start to this.
"Jeff Hardy has lots of hair, and I don't." - Solid reason to hate someone I guess?
Alright, someone please just come punch this guy in the face. I can see what Angle's trying to accomplish with this whole thing, but he's failing. That hurts me to say. He really should have just come out with a mic and done what he does better than a lot of people in the industry.
Not surprisingly, Kurt goes to the whole "My son is a bigger fan of than he is of me". That seems to be a standard in this kind of promo.
Okay seriously, someone just end this segment. At this point I would rather be watching a Jinder Mahal vs. Great Khali iron man match.
While I'm happy that Hardy finally made his way to the ring to end Angle's monologue, it's not like he's much of an improvement in terms of mic skills.
Thankfully my worries were unfounded and I didn't have to listen to him try to talk…dammit, he grabbed a mic.
At least I know that their match at Victory Road is going to deliver the goods. They've shown it before, and I have no doubt that they'll show it again.

Segment 3: Bobby Roode (Backstage)

Can't help but agree with Roode here, Sting really has no place in the main event of a PPV, especially when it means a World Title match won't be taking place. That ain't right.
Aries mentions his Twitter beef with Sting, awesome. This guy is pure gold.
I can deal with this potential partnership. Aries getting anywhere near the top of the card can only be a good thing.

Match 1: Christopher Daniels (w/ Kazarian)VS AJ Styles

So if Styles manages to beat both of them (I'm assuming in back-to-back matches, the announcers weren't super clear), we're supposed to get an explanation as to why Kazarian has been acting the way he has been lately. Interesting bit of drama added, this could easily go either way.
Even though this is about the millionth time I've seen Styles and Daniels face off against each other, they always manage to deliver. Not always at the same 5-star level that they have in the past, but who could really expect that.
Damn…I cannot get over how cool that Pele Kick move looks. I mark out every time, no jokes.
Great back and forth going here. If every iMPACT could start off with a match like this I think people might be more willing to give them a shot.
Smart move on Kaz' part to interfere there. It might have cost Daniels the match, but it made his own victory pretty damn easy.

Result: AJ Styles wins via DQ (5:41)

Match 2: Kazarian (w/ Christopher Daniels) VS AJ Styles

Not really a match here, just a pinfall really.

Result: Kazarian wins via pinfall (0:03)

Segment 4: Madison Rayne, Gail Kim (Locker Room)

I'm actually loving the growing tension between Rayne and Kim. They are easily two of the most talented female wrestlers on the roster, so a nice program between them could make for some entertaining television. Not to continue beating a dead horse, but WWE could REALLY learn a thing or ten from TNA on how to run their women's division.
So as a "gift" for her "friend", Gail Kim has set Madison up with a warmup match against ODB. Understandably, Madison isn't too fond of this gift.

Match 3: Madison Rayne VS ODB (w/ Eric Young)

No Taz, the opposite of smoking is NOT flaming. In fact, those two things are usually related. #TazNeedsEnglishLessons.
"It's a sour, pissy smell. It's like urine." - Taz on Eric Young's beard.
"ODB is built like a small man" - In what universe is ODB considered small? She's not a cow or anything, but she's bigger than a lot of guys I know.
Damn Taz, why you gotta hate on ODB like that? First you diss EY's epic beard, then you go and make a smelly vagina joke? You're just a hater.
First Taz says ODB is small, then he compares her to a big truck. Make up your mind you knucklehead.
Oh right, there's a match going on. Well it was far from the best Knockouts match of all time, but I think half of that was due to the piss poor announcing. Seriously, Tenay and Taz are even worse than usual tonight.
Unsurprisingly, ODB takes the win there. Not that I'm complaining, it was definitely the right call as it allows Kim and Rayne to continue building tension, but the match should have been given at least another minute. Either that or some announcers that give a shit.

Result: ODB wins via pinfall (2:56)

Segment 5: Bully Ray (Backstage)

Damn, Ray's just not a nice person is he? Telling a woman she looks worse every time he sees her? That's just cruel bro.
Roode and Aries come to join the party and rub some salt in Ray's wounds about what happened to him last week. Then they decide to try and recruit Ray into their little anti-Sting movement.
This could very well be a great heel stable developing. I know TNA overdoes it with the stables, but could you imagine how damn amazing the promos would be with both Bully Ray AND Austin Aries involved? Damn, just bring Steiner into the mix and you've got yourself the best episode of iMPACT that has ever aired. Period.

Segment 6: Velvet Sky (Backstage)

Surprise, another promo from Velvet Sky about how she works hard and deserves a shot at the Knockouts Championship.
It's really not that hard to throw a fake punch Velvet. It's also not that hard to pretend you're getting your ass kicked. You got slapped in the face, not shot in the gut with a couple of shotgun rounds.

Segment 7: Ric Flair, Eric Bischoff, Gunner, Garret Bischoff (Backstage)

For **** sakes, why on Earth is this idiot still pretending he's a wrestler? He's just awful. Zero redeeming qualities. Get him all the way the **** off my TV set, permanently.

Segment 8: Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Bully Ray (In-Ring)

"Forget about the pigeons, let the calves loose." - I don't get why Bully Ray is so in love with his calves, but at least he's hilarious while he does it.
It really is amazing how quickly Roode became a main event player just by turning heel. I thought he was ready for it when he was still a face, but I can't imagine it being more entertaining than this heel shtick. Roode has absolutely established himself as a main event name.
Without any exaggeration, I think that's about the 10th time they've shown the clip of Bully Ray getting put through the table tonight.
Yup, that Aries/Sting Twitter feud is definitely becoming part of the storyline. All three of these guys have now said "I am done".
Every time Aries gets on the mic, he just continues to show why he should be a main event talent.
I understand why Sting might be pissed off at these three guys saying they're "done", but threatening to fire 3 of the top talents in the company you run? That's just bad business.
Main event is all created for tonight, and I've gotta say it's about time Aries, Joe, and Magnus are all in a main event. It might just be as part of a 6-man tag match, but it's a start.

Video Package: Jesse Sorensen

Damn, this is a hard segment to watch. It would be an emotional video package regardless, but seeing both Jesse and his mother crying about this is heartbreaking.
Words do not describe how much I want to see Sorensen make a full recovery. I've been in a situation where I was temporarily paralyzed due to a neck injury before, and it's terrifying.
I'm glad that didn't go on much longer, because I was ready to start crying like a bitch. Mock me if you want, but I can relate to what he's going through.

Segment 9: Zema Ion

I know this is professional wrestling, and I know Zema Ion is playing a character, but that promo shows an absolute lack of class from TNA. They should not be having a guy come out and laugh about what he did to a fellow wrestler when it was a legitimate injury. Sorensen could have had his career ended, not to mention his quality of life changed forever, because of that injury. I'm not saying it was Ion's fault or anything, because it wasn't completely his fault, but still. Sorensen's injury should not be turned into a joke for storyline purposes. That's just disgusting.

Match 4: Shannon Moore VS Zema Ion

#****YouShannonMoore
At least Zema Ion can wrestle a decent match, even against a subpar talent like Shannon Moore.
I guess Moore is just going to be fodder for other X-Division talents now that Ink Inc is no more. I can deal with watching him getting his ass kicked, so I guess that's okay. Even if it means he'll be on TV.

Result: Zema Ion wins via pinfall (3:26)

Match 5: Angelina Love & Sarita VS Mickie James & Velvet Sky

Did Taz really just suggest that Madonna and Joe Francis (founder of Girls Gone Wild) should have a match on iMPACT? Really? REALLY? And then he goes and says he's a big fan of Lindsay Lohan as well and can't wait for her appearance on Saturday Night Live? Get the **** off my TV Taz. Please. At this point I'm starting to think that Michael McGillicutty would make a better commentator than you do.
This is yet another solid Knockouts match, and for the second time tonight TNA is showing WWE how to do women's wrestling.
I feel like this feud would be more interesting if the Knockouts Tag Titles were involved, but oh well. Still a perfectly good feud if it continues.

Result: Mickie James & Velvet Sky win via pinfall (5:45)

Segment 10: Samoa Joe, Magnus, James Storm (Backstage)

"A Brit, a Samoan, and a Tennessee Cowboy…" - Is it just me, or does this sound like a setup to a really bad joke?
Gotta agree with Magnus there. Most people (myself included) weren't so high on the team of Magnus and Joe when it was first announced, but I can't deny how successful they've been. For one of the more random seeming teams in the industry, they've developed some solid chemistry.

Video Package: Abyss

No Taz, no one gives a shit where Abyss is. He can stay missing for all I care. He's just such a waste of skin and REALLY doesn't deserve a spot in the #2 wrestling company in North America. He's basically Mick Foley, only without the wrestling talent, charisma, or mic skills. Sure he can land on a pile of thumb tacks, but he can't hit a move without looking like he's about to kill his opponent, and not in the good way. Taz, why don't you do us all a favour and disappear along with Abyss. #****YouTaz.

Match 6: Bully Ray, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode VS James Storm, Magnus, Samoa Joe

I would not be at all surprised to see Abyss make a surprise appearance here, and if that's the case then TNA has officially ruined an already shitty "surprise". Why air a video package about a guy that no one really cared was missing, especially making a point about how Bully Ray was the last guy to see him? That's just poor planning.
I really like James Storm's theme song for some reason. I guess it's the redneck in me, but it's just a catchy theme.
Not a whole lot of time left in the show, and they're not even done ring introductions yet. Either this match is ending quickly (possibly via Abyss interference), or they're going to go over their time tonight.
Finally Taz says something I can agree with tonight and echoes the sentiments I made earlier regarding how nice it is to see Magnus and Aries in the main event. Don't worry folks, I'm sure it won't be long before he does something to piss me off again.
It really is nice to see Samoa Joe getting some love from the crowd again. The guy's been misused for so long now it's relieving to see people haven't forgotten how awesome he is.
Jesus Christ, Joe's chest is getting chopped RAW tonight. It's turning purple in some parts. I'm surprised he hasn't snapped and clocked Bobby Roode at this point.
Hey Taz, I've got a tip for you. I know you're not going to understand, but when there's a match going on in front of you, it's kind of your job to call the action. At this point in the show it really doesn't matter how hot you think the Knockouts are or how much you admire Garret Bischoff. So sit down, focus, and do your ****ing job.
Smart move keeping Storm and Roode mostly away from each other in this match. It's amazing how small things like that can add so much drama to an upcoming match. That's why tag matches are perfect for this kind of situation. It gets future opponents in the ring against each other without ruining that future match.
Joe looks like he's in legitimate pain because of his chest there. Can't say I blame him, damn those chops looked tough.

Result: James Storm, Samoa Joe, Magnus win via pinfall (11:26)

Bully Ray stands tall at the end of the match as he smashes the faces with a steel chair. On the plus side I didn't have to see Abyss tonight. On the down side, Abyss' stupid video package took some valuable TV time away from other matches on the show. #****YouAbyss.

******


Match of the Night: Bobby Roode, Bully Ray, Austin Aries VS Magnus, Samoa Joe, James Storm
No contest here. This match was great from start to finish and did a great job of keeping every single competitor looking strong. More importantly, it did a great job in building some drama for Roode and Storm's future title match. Easily a 4 star match here.

Superstar of the Night: James Storm
This was a little more difficult to call, but in the end I had to give it to Storm. The dude put in hella work in the main event and is on a roll in terms of entertaining me while he's on TV. I'm looking forward to seeing him and Roode square off again, and tonight's performance solidified that even more.

Asshole of the Night: Taz and Whoever Wrote Zema Ion's Promo
Taz for the obvious reason (he's a terrible announcer). But also the person in charge of writing Zema Ion's promo. I already ranted on why it pissed me off so I won't bother doing it again here, but it was just truly uncalled for. TNA should not be joking around about what happened to Sorensen.

******


All in all, that was another solid episode of iMPACT. TNA seems to be improving as 2012 goes on, and despite what many of the mindless haters would have you believe, it is regularly a better show than what WWE puts out on a weekly basis. I'd even be willing to say that iMPACT has surpassed RAW in terms of average show quality for the majority of 2012 thus far. The ratings may not reflect that, but since I'm not an employee of TNA I really don't care about that very much.

Seriously though, now would be a great time for some of you to give TNA a real chance. Leave all your bullshit preconceptions at the door and just watch the show.

But that does it for my sales pitch, and also for my column tonight. Hopefully my schedule will stay open and I'll be able to do this review on a regular basis again, but I'll keep you all updated. Until next time though, thanks for stopping by.

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