Column: The Impact of Impact and Reaction
by Paul Allen
The Impact of Impact and Reaction:
For the past several months I have sat and watched Impact with the hopes that changes were coming. We are less than a month away from the one year anniversary of the signing of Hulk Hogan to TNA. From this moment TNA wrote promos and segments hyping the change that was coming to the company. To make matters all the more confusing, the president of the company comes forth on Twitter not once but multiple times over the last few months stating that yet again another change was coming to TNA that would change the company forever. After what has been presented on TV, I hope she is right. Here is what I am to understand from Impact from this week.
The Opening Segment
In the opening segment Hogan and Bischoff come out and hype how controversial their decision is to have the men competing in the quarter finals for the World Heavy Weight title is to compete in tag team action tonight. What I donâ€™t understand is the over use of the word controversial here. If anything itâ€™s anything but. This in fact is very common practice. Itâ€™s booking 101 to have people that are going to face one another to team up before the big PPV. The only difference here is that there are two big matches being promoted so you have two teams. Does everyone forget that Austin and Undertaker became Tag Team Champions the show prior to their PPV battle? How about the other times that WWE booked their main event on the same team? This sets up additional drama while often giving the established tag team they are pitted against the rub. If you have a tag team like Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“The New Age Outlaws” and they get a victory over a team of Austin and Rock then all the better and it doesnâ€™t hurt Austin or Rock, in fact, just the opposite. It gives them a reason for additional conflict without forcing an in ring promo.
You know whatâ€™s more controversial? Taking the title off of someone immediately after an injury without having them looked at by a doctor or to determine if they are to mend. What makes the matter worse is that this champion was promoted as the new face of TNA. This champion beat not only a multi-time WWE champion in Jeff Hardy but also beat TNAâ€™s Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“IT Guy” in reigning champion AJ Styles. To add to the issue no one got the benefit of this booking. RVD got over on two guys and no one benefited by him returning the favor. I am just as big of an RVD fan as anyone else but couldnâ€™t they found something to protect RVDâ€™s status and elevate another talent?
What I find even more confusing is how Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“managementÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“ is claiming that this match is a test to see if they can carry the championship. Isnâ€™t that the point of the match? You are fighting for the title because you earned a title shot. If you win the title in your title match I would deduce that you are fit to carry the championship belt.
Another problem with the opening was the fact that Abyss comes out to address Hogan and everyone else about Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“They” and promote their arrival at Bound For Glory but then it goes south. After Hardy hits Abyss they announce needing to cut to commercial. This wouldnâ€™t have been a big deal if it wasnâ€™t for the fact that all 4 men in the ring have a beef with Abyss for what he did to RVD and they have him outnumbered and he is without Janice because he left it out of the ring. Did all of them get their revenge? Nope, we come back from commercial with no mention of what happened during the break and instead we have the Knockout Segment hyping the Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“Big Mystery” of the bodyguard.
Abyss and Stevie
Now I am not sure why this is different from last week when Stevie took on Abyss but the promo beforehand was far more revealing. How revealing was it? Iâ€™d say an Explosion and a quarter of impact much. You see when they filmed Stevieâ€™s pretape in the back they decided to leave the format white board in the background. Seeing the format for the show as its happening has got to be a first in wrestling. I canâ€™t be sure that this is something that you want to have happen but itâ€™s certainly breaking down the forth wall, even more so than Reaction. Congrats go out to Stevie for a great match as he is often under appreciated. My problem with this segment though is that I knew that it was Kendrick running down to save Stevie but the announcers didnâ€™t? I understand playing dumb when itâ€™s the return of someone but this is someone on the active roster. He isnâ€™t wearing a disguise or even anything new for attire. He is wearing what he always wears and there isnâ€™t a lot if any who dress like him on the roster so I think itâ€™s pretty clear who it is. Is it me or has the professionalism of Mike Tenay gone south since the arrival of Taz? Tenay is more about goofing around and making jokes with Taz than fulfilling his original moniker of Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“The Professor”.
Fortune and The Television Title
When the Legends title was created it was almost certainly treated as a joke. For months pros have speculated that TNA could stand to have a secondary heavyweight title that could be used to prepare and groom a would be world champion. Not so much now but in the past the WWE treated the Intercontinental Champion as the soon to be number one contender to the title. Titles after all are designed to help bring attention to a talent to get them over with the audience. This however did nothing for Booker T.
It would later be renamed Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“The Global Title”. Rob Terry carried the belt for a while in what can only be thought to be a gimmick for their European tour. After this Terry is named Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“The Freak” and runs roughshod over numerous opponents. That is until TNA decides to give the title to AJ Styles.
Now that AJ has the title he renames the title AGAIN. Not only has he held the title when it was the Legends Title, and The Global Title, he decides to rename the title Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“The Television Title”. Along with renaming the title, he cuts a promo on how the title is going to be defended EVERY SINGLE WEEK on Impact. Thatâ€™s a great idea, its classic and sets up matches without the need of a buildup. Oh yeah but they forgot one thing, you have to remember you said that because AJ has defended the title 1 time since that promo. If they plan on legitimizing that title anytime soon they best remember they have it.
Now we look to Fortune. It appears that they received a cease and desist order from WWE because the members are no longer holding up the Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“Four Horseman” signal. When they cut the promo about the announcement of Fortune, Flair said that it was the same gesture, different name and meaning. Now they are doing a gesture that has all the fingers up with the ring finger down. Although I am just as confused as everyone as to why they insist on having more than four members in the stable yet all the members hold up four fingers.
Is It-Misc Notes
-Is it really intimidating to tell someone Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“Come On” and they come forward and you step back? Sure the guy has a bat but you are asking for it.
-Is it really smart to promote the arrival of a character based on a TV show that has their new episodes premiere when you are on? This would mean that those that are real fans of the show are in fact not watching TNA but watching that other show.
-Isnâ€™t it time that Matt Morgan progress past bodyguard?
-Is it me or do MCMG not wear the Tag Team titles because if they did it would be like a normal person wearing a hula hoop for a belt?
-Is it more insulting to call someoneâ€™s Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“privates” some sort of small knife when comparing it to a sword instead of just saying it would fall short? How about Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“If this was a sword fight then he is carrying a letter opener”?
-Is it odd that Jeff Hardy stole the Undertakerâ€™s Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…“fan base” by calling them creatures of the night with no ties to being goth?
-Isnâ€™t it time for Beer Money to carry the tag titles?
What is ReAction? From what was described as the concept of the show was to be a way to progress TNA storylines and blur the line of reality. In fact, not only blur the line but cross it. They were going to break the fourth wall and show things in the back and give it a sense of realism.
The first thing that is noticed is the way itâ€™s shot. Itâ€™s filmed using a digital SLR camera thatâ€™s used for Still photography. The claim is that this gives a rough look and not like anything on TV. Truth is, the reason itâ€™s not used for video is because of the focus issue. The DSLR cameras use an auto focus feature that jumps focal points. This becomes very apparent while watching a promo because the person goes in focus and then for no reason at all the object in the back come in focus and the subject becomes blurry.
One thing I can say for ReAction is that this is demonstrating firsthand the effect writers have had on the business. Talent isnâ€™t very on point with promos and tend to stammer on without getting to the point. Perhaps this is a great argument that writers are a necessary evil in todayâ€™s wrestling, especially for the younger talent.
I have noticed something, what happened to the locker rooms along with Hogan and Bischoffâ€™s offices? Donâ€™t you remember when Team 3D feuded with the Nasty Boys back on the Jan 4th show? They trashed this huge locker room. What about the locker room Kurt had and MEM shared? Why donâ€™t we see those anymore? TNA hasnâ€™t changed locations, they still film in the same soundstage so what happened? Was this another soundstage? Did they cut the budget? This hasnâ€™t been seen in months on TV.
Another thing is whatâ€™s with all the trailers? From the way ReAction is filmed we can see that the entrance ramp goes to the back and the back goes to the outside so itâ€™s assumed that the trailers are the dressing rooms maybe?
Hereâ€™s a questionÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬¦if ReAction is supposed to be real, then would it be announced that there was a fight between Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle backstage following Impact? Would it also be announced that Pope and Anderson fought backstage after the show?
I will say this much, ReAction is a good vehicle for progressing story lines that donâ€™t make it into the show. I think it would be better suited for a half hour like the pilot episode because it could help things flow easier. It seems like an hour is a lot of time for them to fill. In fact, itâ€™s half the time of their flagship program so it should be hard to fill.
Why is some of the footage shot as if the people are being spied on?
After all this is said and done, TNA is looking to us to purchase a PPV this weekend. If you donâ€™t purchase the PPV? Well you have to wait 2 weeks for Impact to return or go online and watch them. Didnâ€™t they go online when they lost the Fox SportsNet deal? This is a shame that they are getting postponed and not even preempted but off the schedule for the next 2 weeks.
Fear not though, Dixie Carter has announced that Change is coming to TNA again and that a Live show is airing on October 7th, the Thursday prior to BFG. If the changes are anything different than what we have seen since January then itâ€™s welcomed!