December 20, 2011
-James Storm is THE star of TNA right now. He's been doing the best work of his career for the last several months. It dawned on me last week that I don't enjoy the show nearly as much when he's not on it and that clinched it for me. Storm is the top babyface on this show even though he's not technically in the world title picture at the moment and his elevation has been a joy to watch. My hope is that management will continue to roll with Bobby Roode as the world champion, have him successfully defeat Jeff Hardy and start building up to the eventual grudge match with Storm, hopefully at Lockdown. Storm vs Roode for the world title is pretty much the biggest money match this company could make that involves 2 homegrown stars.
-In contrast, the Bobby Roode angle has been a bit hit-and-miss IMO. It hasn't been BAD, but the James Storm storyline has been consistently great and I don't feel like this has been of the same quality. That has nothing to do with Roode necessarily, but the booking of him hasn't been as effective. His a-draw-is-as-good-as-a-win mentality that we saw at Final Resolution was very off-putting to me. #1) It feels too similar to Austin Aries' win-at-all-cost gimmick, and #2) not only does it make Roode look weak when he can't beat an injured opponent, but the finish of the match was extremely frustrating, and not in a "getting heel heat" kind of way.
Having the finish on the TV show the following Thursday didn't help matters either. Many of the PPV buyers probably felt ripped off after the finish to the main event they paid for happened on free television. TNA needs to be very careful with stuff like that because it could eventually cause a fan backlash; I just hope Roode doesn't get blamed for it. I will say that Roode looked much better at the end of iMPACT WRESTLING last week, than he did at the end of Final Resolution, but he needs to look consistently strong if they're going to legitimize him as the champion, which is very important, seeing as how it's his first run with the world title. They don't want to pull a Ken Anderson with him.
-Speaking of Ken Anderson, this guy's stock has fallen big time since the new regime took over. I get the feeling Prichard isn't a fan.
-TNA making the TV show more important than their PPVs is baffling to me. Just because they get most of their revenue from the TV deal with SPIKE, I don't see why this means they have to make their PPVs seem second rate. But apparently, people in the company think the best way to prop up iMPACT WRESTLING is to make the PPVs appear less important by comparison. Why the two can't be of equal importance, I don't understand. Yes, PPV buyrates aren't great, but it's almost as if the company doesn't even care at this point. When you train your audience to think that all the really important stuff happens on free TV, why should they spend money on PPVs? TNA may be of the belief that the PPV industry is dying, but there's no reason to encourage this when there's still opportunity to make money off it.
-The pairing of Samoa Joe & Magnus in the Wild Card tournament this past week looked completely random on paper, but having seen them in action, I warmed up to the idea very quickly. They may have little in common in terms of their personalities and gimmicks, but as characters, they're both men in need of an opportunity, so in a weird way it fits. They worked surprisingly well together, displaying a fair amount of chemistry, and looked great in demolishing Robbie E & Doug Williams. If it means a push for both men, I can get behind this in a big hurry.
I've said this many times before: if TNA actually got serious about pushing Magnus, he could be a star in 5 minutes; he has all the tools. Hell, if he were in WWE, they'd probably be giving him the Wade Barrett treatment. And Joe... well, they've been missing the boat with him for ages. I'm crossing my fingers in the hopes that this a sign that both men will be on their way back up the card in 2012.
-I've started checking out the OVW product, which is conveniently uploaded on their website every week. I've only watched a little bit so far, but from what I've seen, they have some promising talent that I'd like to see get TNA contracts and some other talent that you couldn't pay me to watch. It's a mixed bag, but there are some diamonds in the rough there.
-One of my twitter followers asked me which of the OVW female talents I thought would be good in the Knockout division. First of all, the Knockout roster is getting pretty full, and if they want to add more new women, they would do well to get rid of some of the current girls first since some of them are just spinning their wheels at this point. But if they did decide to trim the fat, there are a couple talents in OVW they might want to take a look at.
With the way the OVW women's matches are booked, it's hard to judge properly, but if I were to bring in any of them for tryouts right now, it would probably be the Blossom twins, Hannah & Holly. They're like the Bella twins by way of the UK, but more athletic. Again, it's hard to really gauge their talent with the way OVW's women's division gets treated, but they seem the most ready for TV at the moment from what little I've seen. They could be a nice addition to the Knockout tag team division and I could easily see them turning heel and being paired up with Magnus, which would fit his narcissistic ladies man character perfectly.
Also, I would encourage TNA to keep an eye on newcomer Taeler Hendrix. Of all the women in OVW, she stands out the most to me. She's a definite work in progress right now, but if there's one woman in the company that has the 'it' factor, it's her. She certainly looks like a star -- hell, she looks like she could be on the cover of Maxim. And I've seen enough of her to think she has the talent to become a strong worker in the future. I wouldn't put her on TV right now; she needs a lot of work still. But TNA ought to think about a developmental deal for her, maybe give her a dark match to evaluate her in a year or two when she has more experience. If she can improve her in-ring work, she could be a good investment. She needs to develop more as a wrestler, but there might just be a potential star there.
And sorry, Lady Jojo -- a.k.a. the artist formerly known as SomeJobber Bolt -- but you don't count. You just don't.
-There is apparently interest in bringing in John Morrison and Melina. With the way I feel right now, I would pass on both of them. Melina is a good worker and pretty charismatic, and if they signed her I wouldn't protest too much, although I think they have more than enough former Divas on the roster already.
However, I've always felt Morrison was overrated. He's an incredible athlete, sure, but he was a product of the WWE marketing machine. By that, I mean that if you take away all the glitz and glamour and the flashy entrance, there really isn't a whole lot that separates Morrison from every other high flyer out there -- certainly not his personality and mic skills (such as they are). He strikes me as someone who might make a big splash when he debuted, but whose novelty would wear off pretty quickly (Bobby Lashley, anyone?). While the idea of Morrison vs Austin Aries would be very interesting, honestly, I don't think Morrison would be worth the money.