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March 21, 2008

Now that’s how you book Kurt Angle

The defining segment of last night’s TNA Impact occurred when Jeremy Borash walked into Kurt Angle’s dressing room and asked him what he thought of the latest development with his wife and A.J. Styles.

Angle violently grabbed Borash and said that he was through with all that. He was nearly frothing at the mouth when he said, “No more fun! No more games! No more BS!”

Ah, music to my ears.

It looks like TNA has figured out that the buildup for the Angle-Samoa Joe match at the Lockdown pay-per-view on April 13 needs to have a serious tone, with the focus placed entirely on the two competitors. The last time they wrestled on pay-per-view, the focus was on Karen Angle, who double-crossed Joe and made him look silly.

After Angle’s interview with Borash last night, he had an MMA-like sparring session in which he quickly dispatched of four opponents. He was especially stiff with the last guy, as he busted him open with a series of strikes to the head. After it was over, Angle held up his bloody fists and cut a promo on Joe.

That was a tremendous segment, as Angle is at his best when he’s portrayed as an intense, no-nonsense fighting machine. When given good comedic material, he can make viewers laugh, too, but the drawback is that laughs don’t translate into pay-per-view buys.

Will this new approach spike the buy rates? I don’t know, but I do know that what TNA was doing before – having main event angles full of comedy, swerves and convoluted story lines – wasn’t working.

Other thoughts on last night’s show:

For the third consecutive week, Impact was more wrestling- and promo-oriented and less reliant on comedy skits. As I’ve said before, comedy is an essential component of wrestling, and I enjoy the “sports entertainment” aspect of the business. The problem with TNA was that there was too much comedy, and a lot of it – in my opinion – just wasn’t funny. I hope TNA sticks with this new direction, because Impact has gotten a lot better recently. Either that or TNA supporter and Ring Posts reader Jack from Hebron finally wore me down. …

The big angle at the end of the show was the revelation that Sting was returning next week. Using Sting for special appearances rather than having him on every Impact episode and pay-per-view is the right role for him at this point. …

I really like the “Rough Cuts” segments with B.G. James and Kip James. TNA needs to do things that differentiate it from WWE, and these realistic interviews are a great way to accomplish that. If TNA was just doing a typical wrestling angle with these two, I wouldn’t be the least bit interested in it. But these segments humanize them and actually make me want to see them wrestle each other.

Even though this is a story line, it seems like there either is or has been some real tension between the former New Age Outlaws. I did have one minor complaint: B.G. James is supposed to be the babyface here, but I don’t think a babyface should talk about blowing off going to the gym with his partner because his priorities have changed. While it’s admirable that B.G. wants to spend time with his family, it makes it look like he’s less dedicated to the business than his partner, who seems justified in turning on him. …

The video package on the history between Christian Cage and Rhino was well done. The old clips of them together from early in their careers were a nice touch. I thought it was unintentionally funny, however, when Mike Tenay, conducting a sit-down interview with Cage and Rhino, told Cage that if he tried to embarrass Rhino, he would never be allowed on his interview set again. No more interviews ever with Tenay? Cage’s proper response should have been the Scott Hall “Ooh, I’m scared” facial expression and hand gesture. …

The Black Machismo-SoCal Val vignettes in which Sonjay Dutt keeps showing up on their dates are pretty amusing. …

Dutt’s slip off the top rope during his match with Homicide didn’t at all look like a planned spot, but it quickly became apparent that it was by the reactions of Homicide and SoCal Val. …

When LAX attacked Dutt after the match and stole the money out of his tambourine, Salinas was sticking the bills down her top. I wonder if that’s the first time she has had singles stuffed in her cleavage? …

When Booker T. said that Robert Roode was going to be facing a living legend, I figured Larry Zbyszko was coming back to TNA, but he was referring to himself. …

Gimmick infringement alert: Brother Devon ripped off Tazz’s catch phrase when he said, “Beat us if you can. Survive if we let you.” …

Kaz had the move of the night when he delivered a reverse piledriver to Petey Williams. …

The videos for the return of Consequences Creed have been good. For those who don’t remember, he took the place of Adam “Pacman” Jones as Ron Killings’ tag-team partner at the Bound for Glory pay-per-view in October. …

It appears that Eric Young thinks that Super Eric is a different person. Great. Now we have two characters in TNA with split personalities.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 3:56 AM | | Comments (7)
        

Comments

I agree that the direction they're finally going with Impact seems to be the right.

It looks as though Angle and Joe are working on having a MMA style match at the PPV which could be pretty entertaining. Angle's more fitted for the intense shoot style gimmick anyway...

Although Curry Man can be amusing at times, I'd still much rather see him back as Christopher Daniels. I'm tired of seeing Eric Young and Shark Boy take up valuable time on the show. It's really lame.

I know the show is edited ahead of time but isn't it amusing that everytime there's a confrontation in the ring Cornette somehow just magically pops up at ring side?

Another couple things:

Why did Jarrett hire Don West in the first place? He's been there since the begining and still doesn't know half the moves. They should have someone like Nash or another veteran that's got good mike skills take care of the color commentary.

Why does every wrestler have to have a nickname?

Why does Tenay call people by just their initials?

And if you didn't already know that Rellik was Killer spelled backwards, well they reminded us again just in case.

Oh and I sure hope the "Impact Zone" isn't the long term solution. As much as I like the concept of having heels and faces coming out of different sides, I sure hope they look to move their Impact events from city to city.

I'm not really liking that crowd encouraging all the cheesy characters like Super Eric, Eric Young (they're two different characters apparently) and especially Shark Boy.

Everyone should just embarce Kurt Angle and his long socks. He is the best pro wrestler today. Simply put, he's the MAN!

Oh it's true... oh I mean real...

Gimmick infringement alert: Brother Devon ripped off Tazz’s catch phrase when he said, “Beat us if you can. Survive if we let you.” …

This is nothing new for the Dudleys. After all, Mick Foley has referred to Bubba Ray (tongue-in-cheek, of course) as a "Cactus Jack ripoff".

"Scott Hall “Ooh, I’m scared” facial expression"

Classic. I loved that face. I did it to my mom a couple times but it didn't turn out too well.

The Kurt Angle MMA segment was exactly what MMA is... pure garbage and a waste of time and effort. That pill popper is a bigger cancer in TNA than Hogan, Hall, Nash and Hart ever were in WCW.

But at the least, there was no overrated Samoan on the show to slow things down.

Hey Kev , thanks for the mention . I didn't wear you down , you just came to your senses (joke). I' d have been the first to post if my internet hadn't gone down ...darn that verizon . TNA has seemingly gone in a little bit of a different direction of late . Even I have to admit that it's been for the good . The Angle "angle " was very good except I thought his sparring partners could have given him alittle bit more competition . I was beginning to wonder when we would see the return of Steve Borden as well . - As far as Charmelle , I think I'd kinda like getting beat with a strap by her . What was that you asked me to do about WWE Kev ?? ... nevermind .

OMG!!!!!
Kevin Eck spelled backwards is kEvin ecK

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