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Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

There’s a line from an old nursery rhyme from my parents’ time. It perfectly described this past week’s TNA IMPACT debut: “When it was good, it was very good, When it was bad it was horrid”.

Unfortunately, there was lots of bad., and not much good.

You’re TNA. You have the opportunity you’ve been seeking for years…prime time TV on Spike TV opposite Monday Night RAW….the chance to be the competition you’ve told everyone you were. A good thing for wrestling fans, who always benefit when there’s competition on a nationa level, which we haven’t had since WCW and ECW closed down.

So you’re TNA. What do you feature? Do you feature the six-sided ring you borrowed from AAA that at least gave you a different look? Nope, got rid of that weeks ago. You look the same as every other wrestling promotion.

Do you feature the X Division that made you stand out from your competitors who pump out large, tanned wrestlers who work formula matches? OK…somewhat. You had the returning X Division Champion Doug Williams in a match with Kazarian and Christopher Daniels.

Do you dedicate the show to the fans who stuck with you from the beginning? Nope, some of them are back in Nashville, a fact you never acknowledge. As for the fans who were with you from the beginning in Orlando, those who believed you were something different…you ran many of them off with a Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff live on air tirade. Now your TV taping and many PPVs have as their front row of fans, a bunch trained seals who follow a disc jockey who spews hatefilled stupidity at people who just suffered a natural disaster.

In all the many ads you bought on many different platforms, did you announce your acquisition of Rob Van Dam, one of the few remaining free agent wrestlers that people want to see? Nope, you don’t announce him officially. You let Hulk Hogan “slip” and unofficially announce it, leaving it to the wrestling websites run by us marks that you claim not to like when they criticize you; wait until halfway into the show, have him come through the crowd work a match of only 90 seconds against newly turned heel Sting, have him go over, only to get a baseball bat beatdown from Sting and leave it there.

Do you feature the fact that you’re different from WWE? Nope. The biggest star of your show was the face that most casual fans of wrestling identify with WWF/WWE….Hulk Hogan. You shove him down the throats of people who don’t really want to see him…over and over and over again. You feature Hulk Hogan (and his daughter) over and over and over again, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman, Scott Hall, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Jeff Hardy, and Kurt Angle (OK, nothing wrong with Angle). Meanwhile, while the WWE Seniors Tour was on our screens, was Samoa Joe…the multi-time TNA World and X Division Champion…in a match? Nope. In storyline he’s been kidnapped….or something.

To give credit where it’s due, the best done segment of the entire show not involving the X Division was the segment with Kurt Angle, where a US Army humvee with Kurt Angle pulled up in the backstage area, with members of the Army lining the ringside entrance ramp. Angle put over his storyline with Mr. (Kennedy). Anderson cut in on the TNA tron, Angle ran to the backstage area and dragged him to the ring, where Angle fought off Anderson and even let the troops get some shots in before hitting his Angle Slam on Anderson and waving the US flag over him. The troops then lifted Angle on their shoulders in celebration. This segment actually got over one of the TNA storylines, and looked good on TV.

So all these things and more happened, to the point that TNA’s ratings for its Monday night regular debut were a disaster…a 1.0, well below what they had been doing up to the last month. Tonight isn’t likely to be much better, as TNA runs a taped Impact against Steve Austin as guest host on RAW with the McMahon-Bret Hart contract signing (presumably with the payoff angle

News to Dixie Carter: I tell my graduates in the schools I’ve worked in, that they have only one cahnce to make a first impression. You just blew yours bigtime. The sad thing is, very few people would hav ebeen happier than I would have been had you made a good impression. A competitive second national touring promotion would have kept Vince McMahon honest by forcing him to compete for viewers and PPV buys.

Until next time….

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