June TNA Report Card!

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
The June TNA Report Card
The Kingfish Arnie Katz files his June report card for the good folks at TNA.

About the Report Cards
Each month, I issue a report card for TNA. I examine and grade the promotion in all the vital areas. I discuss strengths and weaknesses and chart the ups and downs. The grades in parentheses are for the previous report card. The grades in parentheses represent the previous report card.

Slammiversary, which featured a very strong line-up topped by the two “King of the Mountain” contests, helped an up-and-down June close on a particularly strong note. It remains to be seen whether TNA can build on this momentum through July, but this is an opportunity to take inventory of the promotion and hand out the June grades.,

Talent Pool
The acquisition of Tara is already paying dividends and will do even more if they write some decent material for her. The Knockout Division needs some new wrestlers, but Tara versus Angelina Love is a program that can capture fans; attention while TNA continues the search for additional female talent.
Grade: B (B)

Star Power
Jeff Jarrett has now fully returned to main event status. That’s no small thing. The promoter’s son still has gas in the tank and it’s plain that fans are ready to back him to the hilt.

The Main Event Mafia is in turmoil, which has lessened the visibility of Scott Steiner and Booker T, but it’s also true that TNA had already diminished both through bad writing and inconsistent support. It looks like Big Poppa Pump is a mid-carder, at least for now. Booker T may suffer the same fate, though a return match for the Legends belt and the return to TV of Sharmell would be big positive steps.

Samoa Joe worked Slammiversary with a triceps injury and he reportedly appeared on the taping, too. Either his injuries are a fake, which is not likely, or TNA is trying to finesse his absence as much as possible. Unfortunately, he probably won’t be able to do much besides talk and that will lower his heel heat.

The British Invasion came out of the tag team tournament as a highly visible heel tag team. Since the Motor City Machine Guns are very involved with the X Division title picture, it left a vacuum that the British Invasion is trying to fill.

Daniels’ victory over Shane Douglas added another solid victory to his resume. TNA could do much more with him, because he excels both in the ring and on the microphone.
Grade: B (B-)

In-Ring Action
If TNA ever gets good writing and booking, WWE will have to look out. The motivations don’t make sense a lot of the time, but TNA wrestlers deliver when the bell rings.

Daniels is a terrific wrestler. Any match that includes him is going to be at least decent.

Amazing Red may be small, but he works an exciting match. The recently returned Red might benefit from repackaging, but he whizzes around the ring like Mysterio.
Grade: B+ (B)

Booking & Dramatics
TNA has made a tangled and confusing muddle of the story involving Foley, Jarrett and the Main Event Mafia. Things change so fast that it’s hard for fans to tell who is allied with whom.

The Eric Young turn looks like a dubious project. Fans love him and his real personality seems to be more suited to the babyface role. Playing against type sometimes works, but it has not yet done so in this case.
Grade: B- (B-)

Announcing
Don West is handling the heel role much better now than when he first did the walk-outs and began pushing the Main Event Mafia. He’s not as predictably pro-heel as he was at first. He can still improve a lot, but this is so much better than when he was Little Sir Echo to Mike Tenay.

Lauren didn’t have a great month. She did fairly well with abyss, but she also conducted some fairly limp interviews. She’s also not taking enough care with her appearance. This is Show Business and she needs to look the part.
Grade: B+ (B)

Overall
It’s hard for TNA to maintain momentum. What it gains with in-ring excellence, but often loses with poor continuity and pointless stories.

Right now, TNA is on the upgrade. Let’s see if the promotion can sustain it through the long hot summer.
Grade: B (B-)

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily pro wrestling column. And I’d deeply appreciate it if you brought some of your friends with you..

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]
(6/25/09)