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April 11, 2008

TNA produces strong go-home show

What a difference two months makes. Back in February, I was writing about what a horrible job TNA did to build interest for the Against All Odds pay-per-view. Last night, however, in the final episode of Impact before Sunday’s Lockdown pay-per-view, TNA did a fantastic job of hyping the show and making the Kurt Angle-Samoa Joe match for the TNA world title seem like an epic confrontation.

It’s really just Booking 101, but the company seemed to have a difficult time grasping the concept – and the low buy rates have reflected that difficulty. I would be surprised if TNA doesn’t see an increase in buys for Lockdown.

The promos and video packages for the Angle-Joe match have been tremendous. The serious tone and MMA-influenced build are far superior to how the match was booked the last time these two met on pay-per-view, when Karen Angle was an integral part of the feud and her heel turn was predictable. It’s nice to see the focus entirely on the two competitors in the main event and not some cliffhanger about which side this guy or that guy is on.

In addition to Angle-Joe, TNA also did a nice job of promoting several other matches on Sunday's card, specifically Team Cage vs. Team Tomko, Robert Roode and Payton Banks vs. Booker T. and Sharmell, B.G. James vs. Kip James and the Queen of the Cage women’s match.

I would love to hear from the TNA fans out there. Do you like the new creative direction, or do you prefer an emphasis on comedy, skits and soap opera-like drama?

Other thoughts on last night’s show:

Having Angle and Joe both wear suits for the contract signing added to the big-match aura. It also was a nice touch to end the segment with the two rivals shaking hands rather than the typical pull-apart or physical confrontation. …

Kevin Nash’s promo, in which he said he is in wrestling strictly for the money and that he will always go where the money is, seemed to suggest a heel turn. If he isn’t turning, then that sure is an odd motivation for a babyface. …

Brother Ray and Christian Cage both cut very good promos in the opening segment. Ray actually comes across more like the leader of his team than Tomko, who really has lost steam as a character since his ill-advised heel turn. …

In the tag-team main event between Team 3-D and Nash and Sting, it looked as if Tomko and A.J. Styles were supposed to break up Nash’s pin attempt, but their run-in was a split-second too late. …

I still like the idea of the “Rough Cuts” segments with B.G. James and Kip James, and I hope TNA uses this feature to get over other angles moving forward. However, while B.G. did a great job of making his comments seem like a shoot, Kip again hurt the segment by giving a wrestling promo. I had to chuckle when Kip started talking about wanting to be the world champion, but I guess if David Arquette and Vince Russo could be the world champion, anyone can. …

Consequences Creed was impressive in his debut and will infuse some new blood into the X Division. However, Carlito called and wants his hairdo back. …

It was kind of funny to see the young girls almost in tears when Scott Steiner was cutting Petey Williams’ hair. Steiner with a pair of scissors was a scary sight, but not quite as scary as Sid Vicious. …

Although the Motor City Machine Guns lost to Steiner and Williams, they looked great in defeat. Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley are the most exciting tag team in wrestling. I would love to see them wrestle Paul London and Brian Kendrick. …

ODB is getting better on promos. It’s either that or else I’m just becoming more used to her style…

Roxxi Laveaux debuted a spine-jarring new finisher in her win over Angelina Love. Having Laveaux lose all the scary makeup was a good call. …

Gail Kim was right when she said in an interview with me two weeks ago that TNA does a great job of giving its women distinctive looks and gimmicks as compared to WWE. There’s a reason why women’s matches are often the highest-rated segment on Impact, while they are bathroom breaks on WWE shows. …

I know we’re not supposed to take the Super Eric character too seriously, but if the idea is that Eric Young doesn’t want anyone to know it’s him behind the mask, shouldn’t he refrain from wearing tights that have his moniker of “Showtime” on the back. Or maybe that’s done on purpose because the Young character is so goofy. …

My biggest beef with this episode: No Curry Man and Crystal dancing together.

Note: My Q&A with Rhino will be posted sometime this weekend.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 3:07 AM | | Comments (11)


Wow , Petey Williams has now earned the moniker " Little Petey Pump ", a day to rejoice . I am happy to see TNA focus more on wrestling lately . Some snipets of comedy is fine throughout the show as you said Kevin , as long as it is also funny . Admittedly that wasn't always the case . ... Off the topic Kevin , I often wonder about Sting and his choice to return to wrestling given his ultra christian beliefs . Could it be $$$ , Could I be so niave ....Konichiwa !

I was also impressed with last night's show. Possibly because I'm not used to seeing it until Sat night.

I was expecting Kurt to say something about not reading the contract first and you just signed up for blahblahblah stips - which seem to be a TNA staple. Glad to be wrong on that account.

Speaking of stips, I think Queen of the Cage has some pretty dumb ones. Like starting outside and maybe you'll be lucky enough to get in the ring? At a wrestling PPV? No matter how nicely promoted - no thanks.

Kevin's promo may have been odd, but I found it funny. (Haha, that is.)

As I did Kip's promo about being World Champion. Of course, if that's not your goal, then you have no business being in the business. Or so I've heard.

When Scotty put the headpiece on Petey, I almost puked.

I also wondered about the big EY on the front of Eric's t-shirt. Why not SE? I guess we need to be hit over the head with it.

I wasn't that impressed with Consquences Creed. He had too many moves that were just wasted motion and didn't make sense.

The funniest part of your review was the paragraph on the WWE's women's matches. I'm sure you didn't mean that "bathroom break" comment the way it sounded....

I think TNA has taken a turn for the better ever since the fantastic Global Impact that aired.

I'm really looking forward to see Morgan in the ring.

The next thing TNA has to do is cut the cord on Dustin Rhodes.

I definitely like the new direction, although it still has a dose of comedy for those that like that.

I just hated how before, it seemed all the heels were comic heels, excluding Roode and Abyss.


I just think Nash was being Nash. Although he did say that he goes where the money is. So unless Team Tomko is financed by DiBiase or JBL, I doubt a heel turn will happen.


And I'm in mourning for Petey's hair :(
Although...if you really wanted to make Steiner a true heel, after shaving his head, he could've just turned on him and not have any biz with him.

You know, I've been watching TNA since it was on weekly PPVs, and I'll admit that the past few weeks of pre-Lockdown Impacts have been some of the best 2 hour programming the company has put together. It's not xXx vs AMW, but between an actual women's WRESTLING division and the actual tag team wrestling, it's been well worth spending 2 hours on Thursday watching the show. I haven't ordered a PPV from TNA since about August of last year, but I'll be watching this Sunday.

I completley agree, TNA seems to be moving in a great direction while WWE seems to stay in the same place. I perfer a big emphasis on wrestling as opposed to storylines we have seen a million times. TNA is doing a good job of puching mid-card talent, where-as WWE has the saem champs and the same guys fighting for the title.

Hey Kev , your little references to David Shultz , this time Sid Vicious , etc . haven't gone un-noticed by us old-timers .

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: Guess that makes me an old-timer, too. How'd that happen?

I was trying to repress the memories of Easy E mentioning that on live TV to a complete "THUD" from the crowd.

Well at least if TNA changes gears again and goes back to comedy and the Angle show we'll always know that...

Rellik is Killer spelled backwards.

mr bronson , you did not go there !

Off this topic , just perused another internet wrestling website and it credits our own Kevin Eck with his often excellent articles . Kudos to Kev !

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

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