Katz Files: August TNA Report Card!

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz

The August TNA Report Card

The Kingfish Arnie Katz walks by night and knows the secrets denied to ordinary men. He also has his August 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.

Let’s take a close look at how the promotion is doing in key areas:

Talent Pool

It’s ironic that TNA has a relatively small talent pool compared to RAW, but it still has trouble utilizing what it has, even in the expanded two-hour format. Strange to say, TNA may need to harden its heart a little and concentrate on prioritizing TV time rather than doling it out as fairly and evenly as possible.

TNA has added some new talent and regained some tried-and-tested performers in the last couple of months. The most significant additions were: Abyss, Taylor Wilde, Sting and, apparently, Jeff Jarrett.

The wrestlers who starred in the World X Cup have returned to their home countries. That’s too bad, really, because some of them would be fine additions to the roster.

Kaz would be a major loss if he is actually going to leave the promotion. He has a hot hand in TNA and even his loss in the finals of the World X-Cup didn’t drain his popularity.

TNA is somewhat deficient in the tag team division, but the promotion is clearly trying out new teams (Beer Money, Creed-Lethal) and repositioning older ones (Machine Guns, Rock n Rave Infection).

Grade: B

Star Power

TNA still has trouble building stars – or even maintaining one. Everybody tends to move toward the middle of the card due to parity booking, too many group and gimmick matches and wavering storylines.

Awesome Kong and Kurt Angle are examples of TNA performers whose star power has declined due to mishandling by the promotion. Kong became one of the biggest attractions in pro wrestler almost overnight and has since seen her star steadily dimmed by matches against nonentities and that pointless $25,000 Challenge.

Kurt needs to fight and beat Samoa Joe. He should take the title, if only for a month or two, to restore his standing. They ought to use Tomko for something else, since Frank Trigg is enough of a side man for the former Olympian.

The Styles plotline needs to end, if only to free the Phenomenal One from his connection to Karen. His ring persona has changed so much in recent months that the “schoolboy crush” doesn’t fit today’s hard-edge Styles.

Grade: C

In-Ring Action

TNA mostly avoids the big, slow-moving guys who often clog up matches in rival promotions. As Hard Justice demonstrated so beautifully, TNA regularly gives fans B+-or-better matches, despite some strange booking and far too many gimmicks.

The August PPV had several matches that would have been better if they’d lost one or more of their multiple gimmicks. The Black Machismo/Jay Lethal showdown actually didn’t need more than the chain; the tuxedo part was just a distraction – and the fans didn’t seem to like it when clothing removal took over form wrestling during the contest.

Grade: B+

Booking & Dramatics

This remains TNA’s Achilles heel. The continuity tends to be convoluted, confusing and contradictory. It is unsettling when something that happens one week is un-done or un-said the next.

The romantic triangle is a traditional wrestling storyline, but somehow TNA has done poorly with both Black Machismo-SoCal ValSonjay Dutt and Kurt Angle-Karen Angle-AJ Styles. The former went into a prolonged stall and featured some of the most unlikely female behavior imaginable. The latter simply doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The Prince Justice Brotherhood truly is a “super” gimmick. Who’d have thought that one angle could stunt three careers at the same time?

Grade>: C

Announcing

Lauren has improved the backstage interviews a lot. She brings her personality across so that she’s more than a human microphone stand.

Don West has shown some improvement, too. He sometimes calls holds, often correctly, and is less prone to just echoing everything Mike Tenay says, only louder and more enthusiastic.

Grade: B

Overall

TNA will never get its ratings up if they don’t make some changes.

Grade: B-

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another fresh take.

— Arnie Katz
[email protected]
(8/12/08)