May TNA Report Card!

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
The May TNA Report Card
The Kingfish Arnie Katz files his Ma 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.

Sacrifice has become pro wrestling history, albeit it as a very minor footnote, so it’s time to evaluate the Total Non-stop Action promotion.

Talent Pool
After a somewhat static period, TNA has gone through quite a few personnel changes and is poised to make even more. Gone are Petey Williams, Lance Rock, Roxxi, Rhaka Khan, Curryman, Jacqueline Moore and Sonjay Dutt.

The wisdom of getting rid of several of those is certainly debatable, but TNA has brought in quite a bit of new talent. The names, in approximate order of importance to the show, include: Daniels, the British Invasion, Jethro Holliday, Madison Rain, Sojourner Bolt, Kyoshi and Cody Deaner. Coming in soon are Shane Douglas and Raven, with Taz scheduled for a July debut,

Daniels and the British Invasion are obviously the most important additions, though TNA obviously hopes for good results across the board.
Grade: B

Star Power
As usual, TNA is having trouble maintaining the status (and drawing power) of some of its stars. Samoa Joe has reached a pretty low ebb in star power and the Main Event Mafia is rapidly becoming a negligible factor.

It appears that TNA is starting to focus on a main event group of Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, Sting, Beer Money and Team 3D. This has tended to raise Jarrett, Foley and restore Sting and Angle to former high status.

Now it’s time for the promotion to turn its attention to the X Division title and create a similar, though lesser, group to compete for it. They’ve made a start and are starting to home in on Lethal Consequences, the Machine Guns, Daniels, Styles, Bashir and Kyoshi. This process is not nearly as advanced, so the composition of that group could change any week.
Grade: B-

In-Ring Action
Sacrifice had some weak matches, especially the two Knockout contests, but TNA continues to do a fairly good job inside the ropes. The reliance on gimmick matches actually lessened a little in May and Sacrifice had only three matches that weren’t singles contests.

The Ultimate Sacrifice match showed a lot of ingenuity. I especially liked that the title didn’t change hands on an indirect pin.

Daniels has been terrific, almost a guarantee of an exciting match when he is involved.
Grade: B

Booking & Dramatics
Inconsistency is still the bete noire of TNA. They have done better in May, though the seemingly unprovoked Foley turn that led to the Ultimate Sacrifice match at Sacrifice won’t earn anyone the Pulitzer Prize.

The Knockout Division is in chaos. Too many changes of allegiance in too short a time have left fans wondering who is fighting whom. They have also not booked the Awesome KongAngelina Love series as well as they might’ve. One or the other needs to become someone the fans can root home to victory. It seems like the writers can’t make up their minds and shuttle back and forth. The result is that neither woman is over with the fans as a babyface, reducing the heat of their matches.
Grade: B-

Announcing
Don West’s turn, though it can be annoying at times, has eased him out of his “Little Sir Echo” role. That’s why Team 3D can run smack on him about it at the pay per view.

Speaking of which, Lauren showed great improvement on Sacrifice She looked awful on the April PPV and seemed to be dazed and confused, especially during the pre-show.
Grade: B+

Overall
TNA has reached ratings highs in the last two months, but the pay per view buy-rate is not improving as would be expected. Some of that is the economy, but poor promotion and unappetizing matches also must share the blame.

TNA improved in several categories this month. Further improvement, especially in booking and star power, could finally have some impact on those low pay per view numbers,.
Grade: 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]
(4/28/09)