April 10, 2012
Motor City = ratings
After promoting the return of the Motor City Machine Guns with hype videos for several weeks, TNA was rewarded when Sabin & Shelley drew the highest rated segment of the 4/05/12 episode of iMPACT WRESTLING. FTR, yes, I credit that rating to the Guns, and I think it speaks volumes about their popularity and marketability that they're just as over, if not more so after not teaming together for over a year. It's true, Hogan & Bischoff also appeared in that segment, but every other major appearance of Hogan on the show tanked in the ratings, so that rules him out as far as I'm concerned.
Shocking that something TNA hyped in advance like it was a big deal got them ratings? Not to me, but maybe to TNA officials. It's like I've always said: If you promote something like it's a big deal, that's how the audience will perceive it. However, if you just throw important things out there with no hype or fanfare, this is far less effective as it hinders, rather than maximizes whatever drawing power these things might have.
It baffles me that TNA have not yet learned their lesson in this regard. During the recent impromptu Kurt Angle/Jeff Hardy match that took place on that same episode, the announcers were actually saying what a great thing it was when big matches were booked at a moment's notice with no build up and given away for free. Anyone else think that line was fed to them by someone backstage as a huge middle finger to the internet community?
Sure, the Angle/Hardy match did garner a ratings increase for that segment. But just imagine if the match had been hyped up for several segments before it happened, OR, God forbid, announced a week in advance and been promoted during the week. Now which of these methods do you think would have been more effective in drawing eyeballs to the screen?
James Storm going mainstream
I've been thrilled with TNA's recent efforts to introduce James Storm to the mainstream audience. Let's face it, there are a lot of casual fans out there that still don't even know that TNA exists; these people need to be educated, and this is something TNA has always struggled to do. However, James Storm has been showing signs of becoming a breakthrough performer for the company in recent months, and I couldn't be happier.
Things like making a music video out of his entrance theme and having Montgomery Gentry appear in it can do wonders for Storm's mainstream exposure. Sure, I have no idea who Montgomery Gentry is, but fans of country music who don't watch TNA might learn about James Storm through stuff like this. Also, having Storm appear at the Country Music Awards was bigger than you might think. Plenty of media outlets saw him mingling with celebrities at the event, taking pictures with KISS and things like that, and all those media outlets now know who James Storm is.
This is the kind of thing TNA needs to be doing more of, taking their most marketable home-grown stars like James Storm, Austin Aries, the MCMG, etc, and getting them out there for the world to see. They're not going to break into the mainstream consciousness if you just keep them on iMPACT.
The tag team division still needs work
Samoa Joe/Magnus have been an unexpected revelation and the return of the Machine Guns has dramatically improved the tag team scene, but the division itself is still a shadow of what it once was. A lot more work is still needed to bring TNA's tag division back up to par because right now they only have 4 teams to work with, 2 of which (Hernandez/Anarquia and Robbie E/Rob Terry) are completely worthless. Joe/Magnus vs the MCMG is the only compelling tag team feud you can make right now and that feud is going to have to carry this division until more viable teams can be introduced.
Personally, I'm hoping that Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls from OVW will be signed. They compete as the tag team TMDK (The Mighty Don't Kneel) and had a tryout at the last set of TV tapings, which was followed by them appearing on the show as Bobby Roode's attorney and one of his personal security guards respectively. Having watched a bit of their work now, I would strongly encourage TNA to sign them. I would definitely rank them high above both Mexican America and the Robbies in terms of wrestling, personality and mic skills. IMHO, they would be a fine addition to the the tag team division.
OVW female talents are hoping to get into TNA
Nothing shocking here. I'm sure the same thing applies to pretty much every woman (and man) that wrestles for OVW, but in the case of Taeler Hendrix and the Blossom Twins, they're the only female talents that I could see actually getting contracts. The rest of the women can stay in OVW, but if it were up to me, I would bring the Blossoms up to the main roster and think about a developmental deal for Hendrix.
And if TNA has any interest in the Blossoms at all (and if they don't have any, they should) I would urge the company to offer them a deal sooner than later, not only because the Knockout division feels so stale right now, but with the news that the Bella Twins may be leaving WWE in the near future, company officials may be looking to replace them with the more talented Blossoms, and TNA would regret it if WWE got there first.
Velvet Sky still sucks
Throughout the years of their respective tenures in TNA and WWE, nearly every Knockout and Diva has shown at least some improvement in their wrestling skills. The one exception (two, if you count Rosa Mendes) is Velvet Sky. I swear, this woman has not improved AT ALL since her debut back in 2007. If anything, she's gotten worse. It's reached a point now where the production crew has begun blatantly post-producing her matches, switching to different camera angles when she hits a move to cover up her botches in the ring. Her timing is atrocious, her wrestling has just never gotten any better. And THIS is the women they've chosen to book in a title match with Gail Kim at Lockdown -- a match where she will be completely out of her element and they will be unable to do anything to cover that up aside from cutting to shots of the crowd every time she goes on the offense.
It says an awful lot about Velvet's lack of talent that rookies like Brooke Tessmacher and WWE's Kaitlyn have already surpassed her skill level when she's been wrestling for something like 10 years now. In a perfect world, she'd be a manager who never sets foot in the ring. I'm not denying that Velvet is very popular, but TNA can't ignore the fact that, as a wrestler, she's just embarrassing herself.
Putting Velvet in a singles match at Lockdown is a horrible idea. No other show TNA puts on all year would expose her more than this. She can barely get through a normal match without looking ridiculous; how on earth do they expect her to deliver a watchable cage match? If the writers have any sense at all, they'll let Gail carry the whole match, but even then, the odds of this being any good at all are not in their favor. Good luck, Gail; you'll need it.