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The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
My Weekly TNA Notebook
The Kingfish Arnie Katz provides insight and analysis based on the 7/21 episode of iMPACT.
Dixie Carter’s announcement about Foley, Dreamer and friends, supposedly the centerpiece of the episode, didn’t come off very well, but a good but an appealing state of matches produced a fairly good, action-oriented program.
The last few TNA cards, including both iMPACT and the July PPV, have been unusually enjoyable. Part of the reason is the (temporarily) reduced roles of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff.
The ratings have inched up slightly, o a little more than 1/1 during this period. That’s encouraging news for a promotion that seldom gets closer to “the next level” than talking about it incessantly. If TNA can add strong booking and exciting mic-work to the in-ring excitement, he company might really see some significant upward movement.
Let’s look at some of the things that happened on the7/21 episode….
Dixie Carter’s Big Announcement
The recent death of George Steinbrunner reminded sports fans that the Boss’ tenure as owner had two distinct phases. In the first, he tried to run the team directly, hiring and firing as he saw fit. In the second, and much more successful phase, he brought in knowledgeable baseball men to run the team.
That sounds like a plan Dixie Carter should emulate. Her segment was hard to watch and, except for Tommy Dreamer’s emotional monolog, painful to hear.
And it was tough viewing, indeed. Dreamer’s injury was the sour icing on the stale cake. The Innovator of Violence will likely recover, but his condition underlined the fact that the members of the five-man faction are all well past their primes.
Adding an extreme element to TNA is a good idea and so is evoking the ECW mystique to give it a boost. So far so good, but then TNA fell down on the job.
1. The timing was wrong. The faction should’ve hit the ring before TNA advertised Hard Justice. That way, Dreamer’s request and Carter’s decision would’ve seemed meaningful.
2. If the main event for Hard Justice is, as reported, Van Dam versus Jerry Lynn, then Lynn should’ve been part of the storyline.
3. Raven is, sadly, at the end of his active career and Steve Richards should be, too. Dreamer is injured and Foley’s story doesn’t fit the overall storyline too well.
The “one night stand” for the former ECW guys may, or may not, work out fine, but Dixie Carter’s segment sure got it off to a limp start, despite Dreamer’s Herculean efforts to inject some life and emotion.
Styles Wins the Global Championship
Putting the belt on AJ Styles is certainly an upgrade. Rob Terry has a great look and he appears to be learning, but he wasn’t ready to assume the mantle of champion.
Rob Terry may develop into a solid mid-carder if he works at it, but TNA obviously knows he’s a work in progress. That’s probably why he is the company’s least visible champion.
An intriguing question is whether the switch to Styles also means altered plans for TNA’s rumors Thursday night flanker shows. The Phenomenal One would make a much bigger attraction for a one-hour show.
On the other hand, the Global Championship looks like a distraction from the current Styles storyline. Maybe TNA has finally realized that AJ doesn’t really fit well with Ric Flair, but it is at least equally likely that Styles will drop the strap to the next long-term champion.
Don’t rule out the possibility that Doug Williams will drop the X Division title and quickly take the Global belt.
Kurt Angle’s Climb
The former Olympian is piling up some impressive victories in very good matches as he ascends the ranking for his inevitable shot at the TNA World Championship. It’s a smart way to keep Angle prominent in the mix even when he isn’t actively contesting for the title.
The retirement stip is a two-edged sword. Kurt Angle obviously realized this, because his recent references to it have injected some uncertainty.
Telling fans that Angle will retire if he loses takes a lot of the drama out of his matches. Fans are pretty certain that Kurt will win everything until he gets to the title match – and he may well win that, too.
The retirement stip was marginally acceptable for the first match or two in this program, but it’s time to let it die. After all, losing to one of the two or three top contenders wouldn’t be such a shame that Angle would quit wrestling in disgrace. Based on his established character, such a loss would make Angle redouble his efforts and seek a vindicating rematch.
That’s all for today, but I’ll be back on Thursday with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising pro wrestling column. I hope you’ll come back then and, please, tell your friends about the column, too.
— Arnie Katz