February 27, 2012
How great has Daniels been lately?
Christopher Daniels has been doing the best character work of his career for the last few months. This guy has really come out of his shell since Bound For Glory. It's amazing to me how long he spent with the quasi-religious Fallen Angel gimmick (which seemed like a bit of an awkward fit in hindsight) when all it really took for him to start to blossom was this more simple smarmy, wisecracking, manipulative asshole character. Judging from his recent twitter activity, it's clear he's having a lot of fun with this new development, and I think that's because it's more similar to his personality in real life. I hope the creative team will reward him for the great work he's been doing and give him a run with the TV title. He really deserves it.
Bully Ray has the Midas Touch
It took me a while to get on board with the idea of Bully Ray as a singles competitor, but I'll be damned if this guy hasn't made a believer out of me. Everything he's touched lately has turned to gold. He singlehandedly transformed the Brandon Jacobs angle from a blatant and transparent PR stunt into something genuinely entertaining and I'm starting to think he could get just about anything over if he put his mind to it. I have to give the man huge props for completely reinventing himself at this stage of his career. I have no idea how it happened, but Bully Ray is now right up there with guys like James Storm and Austin Aries as one of the characters I most look forward to seeing on the show every week.
No invisible cameramen
Something I greatly appreciate about TNA is the fact that the stars always seem to be aware of the fact that there are people with cameras standing around filming everything they do, and if they aren't aware of it, it's because the cameraman is "hiding" and filming them without their knowledge. I can't tell you how annoying it is when I watch a WWE show and one of the stars will say something that's supposed to be a secret because they think they're alone and are completely @#$%ing oblivious to the fact that there's a camera right in front of their face, broadcasting what they say to millions of people. Every time this happens, I can't help but feel that the WWE must think their fans are complete idiots.
On a recent episode of RAW, Eve Torres bragged to the Bella Twins about how she had used Zack Ryder and John Cena to get attention for herself, then freaked out because Cena was behind her and had heard everything she said. This entire angle was asinine because why the hell would Eve be so horrified that Cena discovered her true intentions when the TV camera literally 2 ft away from her had already shot and aired her evil confession to the whole damn world? I'm grateful that this is the kind of stupid crap the TNA production team seems to take steps to avoid.
The Sheiks? Really?
To all you people who are saying that TNA should bring in the Sheiks from Ring Ka King and add them to the tag team division, I ask you to remember Shawn Daivari's last run in this company. Do you not remember how freaking boring this guy was? Frankly, I've never been impressed with his work at all. Doesn't the fact that he's never done anything worth talking about in any company he's worked for make you wonder? Not to mention the fact that he seems forever pigeonholed in this stale-as-shit, cliched anti-American gimmick. I know TNA is hard up for tag teams right now, but come on, people, we can do better.
What is Mike Tenay still doing there?
I don't know how this is even possible, but Mike Tenay just sounds more and more bored as time goes on. You can change the venue, you can film TV overseas, you can bring back big stars from the past, you can have celebrities on the show, but Tenay can just never manage to drum up an ounce of genuine enthusiasm or excitement for any of it anymore. He can see the greatest thing ever happening in the ring and he'll announce it in the exact same uninterested monotone voice he uses for a 60 second throwaway match. The last time I remember him even raising his voice was when James Storm won the world title, and that was months ago.
For the life of me, I do not understand why management has kept this guy as lead announcer for so long when it's so blatantly obvious that he couldn't give less of a crap about what he's watching at this point. One of the reasons why people loved Jim Ross so much was that JR always sounded like he loved what he was doing and this elevated the WWE product even when it was completely terrible. Unfortunately, with Tenay always sounding bored out of his mind, he takes a show that is already hampered by the terrible iMPACT Zone crowd and makes it worse. Can we PLEASE have Jeremy Borash replace him already? JB shows more passion for his job while announcing Xplosion than Tenay does announcing the main events of PPVs for crying out loud!
Velvet Sky hurts her opponents more than she helps them
One of the things I find so frustrating about the continued push of Velvet Sky is how she effects the other Knockouts she competes against. Sure, I'm not going to break new ground criticizing Velvet's in-ring work, but there are plenty of people in the business who aren't necessarily the best workers, but can at least carry themselves well enough so that this doesn't negatively effect anyone else, and in many cases their performance can be somewhat elevated by a strong opponent. The really distressing thing about Velvet is that she seems to do the exact opposite and most of the time ends up dragging her opponents down to her level.
Maybe this doesn't happen in every single match she has, but it does happen in most of them. I'm not attacking Velvet's lack of effort; she seems to work hard to the best of her ability. The problem is, as a wrestler and an athlete, she's really just not that good. Her poor sense of timing is hard enough to take, but what really bothers me is that her offensive move set is so weak-looking and unconvincing that, more often than not, when her opponents sell for her they just look ridiculous.
This element has become more and more obvious as her push has increased. In the recent battle royal for the #1 contendership, when the match came down to her, Angelina and Sarita, Velvet was going back and forth between them, attacking both heels at once. As I was watching this, I kept wondering why they didn't just brush off the shots she was throwing at them and dump her over the top rope. They kept selling her moves, but said moves looked so weak, the idea that they actually hurt as much as they seemed to was laughable to me.
Compare Velvet to someone like Alissa Flash or Sara Del Rey. These women are extremely hard-hitting competitors. When they're on the attack in their matches, they make you believe that their opponents are really getting the crap beaten out of them. With Velvet, I can just never manage to suspend my disbelief that far, and it's one of the main reasons why I've never bought into her being pushed this much.