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February 1, 2008

Did A.J. Styles see his shadow?

A stream-of-consciousness look at last night’s TNA Impact:

In honor of Groundhog Day, TNA is making A.J. Styles participate in the same lame story line over and over. First, Styles had to choose between Kurt Angle and Christian Cage, and now it’s between Angle and Tomko. Here’s the larger question: If Styles sees his shadow, does that mean six more weeks of bad television? Actually, the way Styles’ character is written, if he saw his shadow he’d probably be afraid of it. …

In the very first segment, Angle and Styles already are arguing. Has the Angle Alliance even been together long enough for dissension to mean anything? Also, if Angle was trying to put together a heel faction, doesn’t he need more than one member? That reminds me, didn’t Robert Roode join the Angle Alliance a while back? Did I miss the scene where Angle booted him out? …

The Motor City Machine Guns and Jay Lethal did a funny parody of Team 3-D and Johnny Devine, although I’m not sure everyone watching would remember that Brother Ray used to do a stuttering gimmick. …

TNA ruined the parody segment by having Team 3-D and Devine attack TMCMG and Lethal. This is backwards booking if I ever saw it. It makes the babyfaces look ridiculous to have them make fun of the heels and anger them, and then have the heels attack the babyfaces and lay them out (while they’re still dressed in their comedy attire). Plus, it was a three-on-three fight. The babyfaces weren’t outnumbered and they still were no match for the heels. …

Speaking of heels, I thought Brother Ray cut a great promo until he actually used the word “heel.” I don’t think wrestling vernacular like that should be used in the context of the show. …

I think Scott Steiner committed gimmick infringement when he asked Crystal her name and then cut her off by saying, “It doesn’t matter what your name is.” Hey, maybe Steiner will get a bigger push if he can do a good imitation of all The Rock’s catch phrases and moves. …

Speaking of gimmick infringement, Jillian Hall is much more entertaining doing the bad singer shtick than Christy Hemme. By the way, I thought Hemme was annoying in WWE, but she’s taken it to a new level in TNA. …

Steiner turned on tag-team partner Petey Williams. Does that mean Steiner is a heel? More importantly, does anyone care about these guys trading the briefcases back and forth? …

I was just thinking that we needed to see more dissension among factions, and then Kip James fired Roxxi Laveaux. And did I actually hear James make fun of how someone else dresses? …

Father James Mitchell was awesome on the microphone again and I’m into the Judas Mesias character, but I couldn’t be less interested in this story line with Abyss. For the good of the game, please end it soon. …

TNA obviously has no clue how minor league “Stone Cold” Shark Boy makes it look. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that. …

I don’t understand what makes Kevin Nash’s character a babyface. When a tough-guy babyface is challenged to a fight by a heel, he should respond by saying “Anytime, anyplace” or “Let’s do it right now” rather than “Sure, if you give me $100,000.” …

When Jim Cornette threatened to terminate Styles, I wonder if Styles thought: “That’s OK. I bet I can still get that developmental deal WWE offered me several years ago.” …

I’m glad that Awesome Kong did not cut a promo. Remaining silent adds to her mystique. It was a bait and switch, however, to promote it and then not deliver it. …

Usually when wrestlers act as guest referees, they still look like wrestlers by cutting the sleeves off the referee shirt or wearing a super-tight referee shirt. Styles, however, actually looked like a referee. Either that or the guy who sold me my shoes at Foot Locker. …

I’m guessing that the “White Sunshine” promo was an attempt to give Kaz some personality. Better go to Plan B. …

Cornette forgot to bring a pen to Samoa Joe’s big contract signing. Now that didn’t seem contrived, did it? …

Angle is defending the TNA title against Cage on pay-per-view on Feb. 10, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a build for that match. Angle vs. Tomko for the title would be a lot more intriguing. Honestly, how can you have Angle and Cage, the two most entertaining guys in the company, wrestling for the title on pay-per-view and not come up with a compelling story line?

Posted by Kevin Eck at 2:11 PM | | Comments (18)


Shark Boy does do a pretty good Stone Cold, though. It's a pretty lame gimmick, but not a bad imitation with tone and cadence.

Couldn't they make a stable with Kaz, Roode, and James Storm? Wouldn't that make sense?

TNA never makes any sense. At least they have Booker's all junk save for a pretty decent women's division.

admittingly tna talent isn't as strong , and storylines are impossible to follow . i refuse to watch any vince mcmahon product . if you'll excuse me i've got to return to "you tube" for the conclusion of the kevin sullivan/steve kiern match . thats when wrasslin' was wrasslin'.

Brother Ray's promo he cut was the same exact promo that he cut when they left ECW for WWF. The only difference is, at the end where he says "If God were a heel, He'd be a Dudley"

Someone has to help this show ! The WWE needs the competition and old wrestlers need the work .

Its really hard to take TNA seriously after watching an amazing ppv like the Royal Rumble which WWE put on.

I'm supposed to be captivated by crap like Shark Boy as Stone Cold and Kip James with that lame gypsie, after watching John Cena making an amazing comeback and going at it against Triple H at the greatest venue in the world? Give me a break. WWE will always dominate TNA.

TNA is a joke. If I was AJ Styles or Christian, I'd be intentionally trying to get released by this point.

A true wrestling journalist would never, EVER! have left out a analysis on the compelling Armstrong Father/Son training regiment segment, reminise, renamis, raman-, reminding me of the glory days of Armstrong's Army...What with Armstrong Frere taking Armstrong Pere under his wing and teaching his son who has been wrestling professionally for only 15 years and has won 15 titles how to, er, train to wrestle...
That aside.
Stone Cold Shark Boy is entertaining but I cannot see how it can possibly last another month except in TNA...
I see Nash and Samoa Joe and for some reason I think Abbott and Costello...
BG James firing Roxxie was a great payoff to an angle that had been building up for 45 seconds. And that line about her talking too much? Classic TNA!
Another great Womens match...tho the OBD slamming Love after the match wasnt needed... Better to have Love, pointing to her noggin as she left the ring... to prove she has brains besides the comely looks of a Peggy Williams in her prime.
speaking of stealing gimmicks, at least Petey Williams does it right in Steiners face for the reax... but can someone remind me what the cases are for again? I lost track... or maybe interest?

Otherwise, good report big Kev....

Stewy Smoot
The Masqued Debateur

Another great article written by Kevin Eck

I personally thought this was one of the better Impact shows from the past month or so. The comedy skit that the MC Machismo Guns did was hilarious but far too short. Angle-Tomko ended well, but sadly, you didn't put much effort into writing about it. Not surprising, as you seem to be a huge WWE fan, and you like to jab at TNA whenever you get the chance.

And let's be serious- Cena had to be on steroid suspension. Yeah, WWE swerved us all, but let's take a second to recognize that Jeff Hardy is now relegated to mid-card status thanks to Cena's return.

If this sounds like a rant, I apologize. I have been reading your blog for quite some time, and I have enjoyed it for the most part. I guess I just expected a blogger like yourself to exhibit more professionalism when writing about TNA. They aren't great, I will admit that. But when you write an article that is 90 percent disrespect, you show a lack of fairness. Where is your critique of WWE? Are they really THAT GOOD? Or do you honestly think TNA is THAT BAD?

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: You asked valid questions that deserve a response. Actually, if you go back through the archives and read a blog post from Aug. 9, I addressed whether I had a WWE bias, but I'll restate my feelings. I absolutely think WWE puts out a much better product than TNA. That's my opinion. If you have a different opinion, I respect that. I vowed in my very first post on this blog that I would try not to be overly critical of any wrestling company -- and I meant it. I think there is far too much negativity on wrestling Web sites. But -- again, this is only my opinion -- TNA is deserving of criticism. I decided to take a humorous tone when writing about Impact because I figured that if they want to treat wrestling as a joke and do what is largely a comedy show, than I will have some fun as well. Am I a WWE fan? No, I am a wrestling fan. I enjoy WWE, but nothing would make me happier than for TNA to get its act together and provide real competition for WWE. I remember how great wrestling was when WWE and WCW were going at it in the late 90s. TNA frustrates me because they have a nice roster, but Ithe booking just turns me off. As far as criticizing WWE, I call it as I see it. I have been critical of Hornswoggle, the Teddy Long wedding angle, the Cryme Tyme skits, the choice of Jonathan Coachman as Smackdown announcer, etc. I also posted a lengthy, two-part interview I did with Rob Van Dam in which he was very open in his criticism of WWE. And I do praise TNA when I feel it is warranted.


If it was any easier for you, you don't have to write about TNA anymore.

I'm tired of these idiots talking about a TNA bias. Even Stevie Wonder can see that the WWE is the far superior product right now. Gee whats more exciting, the upcoming Elimination Chamber matches or the always exciting Shark Boy wasting 15 minutes of our time?

I'll have to think about that one for awhile. Eck, I think you should just ignore TNA completely until it improves, that way you won't have to listen to morons like Chris.

First, your post certainly lives up to your name as it obviously came from the John.
You must be one of those Prime-Time connoisseurs of Professional Mens Wrestling, who has never seen it on Saturday morning, never seen in Indy card in Fort Ashby or Keyser WV, and most certainly has never drank beer on the porch in a trailer park.

Ive started watching WWWF when Nature Boy Buddy Rogers and Cowboy Bill Watts were fighting up and coming youngsters like Bruno Sammartino and Gorilla Monsoon (from Outer Mongolia). Ive watched them through the Hogan Years and their rise to popularity thanks to Cable.
Ive watched them changed their name from WRESTLING to ENTERTAINMENT...

Ive watched them drop Kayfabe..

So dont EVER! talk to me about VKM putting out a quality WRESTLING product...

Its "smarks" like you that slavishly support VKM, the huckster that gave you the Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon, Tiger Ali Singh, and Mae Young, which make me sick.. always looking for what can entertain ME right now! As if your viewing habits should be my viewing habits...

Big Kev, last week I wrote that the American viewer is more sophisticated than the Japanese viewer... I should have included elitist and snobby in my descriptor. Please have your web lackey modify my comments..

Thank you
Stunning Stewy Smoot
The Masqued Debateur

kevin, chris wrote about the percieved bias toward wwe. its apparent in most of your blogs.(which however i enjoy reading). forget about the $$$ end of it and just accept some of us prefer the "scaled down" version of the business. i cut my teeth on "wwwf" with bruno,vince SR. etc .but these days i would never take my kids to see a wwe event. believe me i'm no prude but wwe is not family friendly.

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: I hope you're not saying TNA is family entertainment. There is significantly more cursing, bathroom humor, sexual innuendo and leering camera shots on TNA.

re: chris' comments on cena, i've been involved in powerlifting for 30 yrs. and i've never seen a torn pec that didn't have some disfigurement wheather repaired from surgery or natural healing. hmmm

Hey Kevin,

I've been reading your blog since it began and it is great. It's the only blog written in journalistic style and I enjoy it...

Anyway, I also believe that it would be great if TNA would improve its product and become a greater competition with WWE. I'd love to see that and I know you would too. I think TNA needs to find a way to start from scratch on storylines because many of their top figures have had their characters marred by horrible writing - be it Vince Russo, Jim Cornette or whoever has "the stroke" over there. Everyone in TNA should take responsibility, not just those guys, for the poor quality of that show...

WWE, on the other hand, is putting together good programming for the most part. It's not great right now, mainly because of the lower quality of Smackdown and ECW right now, but WWE programming is good and substantially better than TNA which is viewed as a minor-league wrestling company along with the NWA territories and independents...

WWE, I believe, could be much better if story-lines continued from RAW to ECW to SMACKDOWN. If the company and the players are worried about overworking the wrestlers, then write breaks into the storyline. Guys like CENA, HHH, HBK could take the "full journey" of programming one week and guys like Undertaker, Batista, Edge, Kennedy could do so the next. They could switch this up and alternate between all the wrestlers...

Brand extension is a good idea but, obviously, does not work as well as many thought with the current rosters. I think the titles, especially the prestigious World Heavyweight title, would have more meaning if it were not only showcased on Smackdown and ECW but on Raw. Who says that if a guy like Cena or HHH wins that title, he should be exclusively on Smackdown or it will take away from Smackdown? Either man could be on the Raw roster and still appear on Smackdown. Just write it into the storyline. Write a Smackdown/ECW guy winning the WWE title into the storyline. It would be an underdog tale and would be better than having the title ALWAYS end up with guys like Cena, HHH or HBK. Possibilities are endless. It could be the rejuvination that the MLB received when it added interleague play. Who wants to see the Mets and Braves all the time when they can see the Mets and Yankees or the A's and Giants every once in a while?


Its not my fault I'm not old like you.

At least I don't pretend to be a kayfabe character on a message board.

Er, who is pretending? Ive been not only a viewer but a Professional Men's Wrestling analyst for many years. Ive appeared on WGN-TV with a post-election analysis of the Jesse Venture win some years ago, and I still have a copy of an article I wrote for the Chicago Tribune on how Vince McMahon ruined the sport. I am highly sought out.

This is in addition to my long-running Stew's TNA Stewpot forum which has followed TNA since its ineption, and my Cable ACE award-winning Stew's Beef website which I proudly billed as the "worlds only professional wrestling website"

I provided a link to my internet resume, for your perusal if you wee-ill....

Read it...
then weep....ok?


Thanks for the quick response to my comments. That's exactly why I keep coming back to this blog. It is written in a professional manner, and more importantly, you always address the concerns of your readers.

Thanks again,



No offense, but that website of yours is a piece of trash.

Put a shirt on and get a life.



Stewy,have you ever touched a weight in your life ? have you ever looked at a weight in your life ?

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.

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