Katz Files: November TNA Report Card!

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz

The November TNA Report Card

The Kingfish Arnie Katz files his November 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.

Now that the pay per view is past, let’s take a close look at how the promotion is doing in key areas:

Talent Pool

The promotion has gotten a few new faces in recent times. Mick Foley’s debut got the most camera time, but the infusion of talent that includes Sheik Abdul Bashir, Tanahashi and Volador may well have the larger impact on action in the ring. (Mick is not looking to wrestle, to say the least, and probably won’t do more than one match, if that.)

The return of Scott Steiner is also big news, since it and a potential main eventer to the mix.

Grade: B (B-)

Star Power

TNA took a major, constructive step with the formation of the Main Event Mafia. For the first time, really, they are playing up credentials that separate those five – Christian Cage’s role is still uncertain – from the mid-carders and enhancement wrestlers.

The promotion has not yet, at this writing, established a similar group among the nebulous TNA Originals faction. When that takes place, TNA may begin to make much better use of its talent by pushing the stars.

TNA’s recent change in approach has vaulted Eric Young into the forefront. The blond has always had star potential, but goofy characters sabotaged fan support. You just couldn’t take him seriously when he was flopping on the ramp or cavorting in his Super Eric costume. Turning Point proved to be his “coming out” party as a major player by winning the X Division Seeding Match and then delivering the single best promo he has ever cut.

Tanahashi is a star in Japan, but TNA hasn’t done much to make him a star here. The athletic Asian sure has the goods to be a top performer, even if he can’t do dramat8ic scenes. He has looked incredible in his TV matches, but his star print is roughly zero.

Grade: B- (C*)

In-Ring Action

The cluster schmazzes and gimmick matches still dominate entirely too much. The action in the “crowded ring” contests is fast and furious, but it’s also hard to follow. Worse, it sometimes degenerates into a high spot demonstration and it becomes hard to pick one memorable moment out of several that occur in rapid success.

The logic of the matches is not always strong. As in the old ECW, TNA loves to see those high spots. The wrestlers use moves like Suicide Dives even when they don’t seem warranted by what has been happening up to that point.

Grade: B+ (B+)

Booking & Dramatics

TNA has gotten more serious. It’s hard to know if this is a serious commitment or a fleeting though; only time will tell. Meanwhile, though, it has cut out the worst aspects of TNA and given more TV time to more interesting storylines.

The focus of the booking is now the feud between the veteran stars and the young lions. Turning Point was the obligatory total triumph for the Main Event Mafia. They went home with everything but the ring posts and reign supreme in Total Nonstop Action.

They haven’t firmly established the TNA Originals group, though they took steps toward that goal during the pay per view. The Alex Shelley sub-plot is a nice frill.

Grade>: C+ (C-)

Announcing

Things are pretty stable in this area of the show. They same interviewers and announcers have been in place for some time.

Grade: B (B)

Overall

The more serious tone helps iMPACT a lot It’s hard to build excitement for characters who look and act like clowns. There’s still plenty of work to be done, though, in elevating the promotion’s real stars so that fans perceive them in that light.

TNA has made good progress since the last report card. Let’s hope the promotion can maintain its new attitude rather than compromise it with a lot of bad, on-the-fly booking.

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
[email protected]
(11/12/08)