I know TNA is not the WWE, and they don't have the cash flow that the WWE has, but there's certain promises that have been made, and certain things that you just do not do. In all honesty, Dixie had no obligation to keep Jesse Sorensen on, but she said she would. Some people say that she said she'd keep Jesse on while he was rehabbing, but that wouldn't have impressed me, so she had to have said he had a job with TNA for as long as he wanted one. That he was released just feels dirty to me. I know they're restructuring, but your word is your bond, and if you don't stand by your word, then you have no one to stand by you. McMahon has done a lot of dirty crap in his life, and in business, but one of the things he's done right is to give Droz a paycheck. Droz works for it, it's not a handout, but it's the fact that McMahon has done right by Droz. I know Droz is in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and Jesse isn't, but that doesn't mean that Dixie shouldn't stand by her word. The other releases recently have felt a bit dirty, but this is the worst in my book. This is even worse that Bruce Prichard being blamed for the licensing issue in Missouri, which is all total bull as anything that he might have done has no bearing on things after he was released. Though I have to say that the convenience of it looks mighty interesting!
TNA has had a lot of controversial issues arise over the last month with all of the releases they have conducted. But with all of that controversy, Dixie Carter thought it would be a good idea to take questions on her Twitter account. When that blew up in her face, she issued an open letter to all of us fans that you can read here. But after reading the letter, I was left with a very bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that she felt the need to talk down to the very fans that support the company that she operates shows that her priorities aren't on straight. Sure they are taking strides in the right direction via taking Impact on the road and to a lesser extent reducing the Pay-Per-View schedule, however there is such a thing as too much too fast. When you cut 10 wrestlers in 3 weeks, which was 20% of TNA's active roster, fans are going to question the stability of the company and the decisions that were made that resulted in the talents departures. And you can't justify it to them by just saying that “We are making structural changes within the company”. You have to be forward with us. And saying that you are bringing back talent doesn't prove anything either, as they are apparently not under a contract since they are not on your roster. And she really thought that she was giving us an insight into the company, but she didn't explain a damn thing! All she did was strategically evade the questions that we fans wanted answers to by using political double-speak. But all of the half truths and misnomers in the letter aside, Dixie pulled out one move that was even more ignorant than I thought was possible: She let the fans know they got under her skin. By doing so, she is now bringing out the worst side of the IWC, the troll brigade. As of this writing, there are thousands, if not millions, of asinine comments and questions on the hashtag. How stupid do you have to be to provoke that kind of reaction? It's like she doesn't know her own fan base. I'm sorry if this seems overly negative, but we aren't the nicest people in the world. And after 11 years in this business, you would think by now that she would have known that. I don't know if TNA is in trouble, as I can only speculate based on what little I know of the financial side of operating an Indy promotion, but treating fans the way they have over the last month shows that there are much bigger issues than the money.
Video > B-
I honestly didn't have a problem with them recapping for Sabin, the X Division Title, and Destination X, but I wish they had focused solely on that, I didn't need Kim and Mickie in it. I thought it took away from the video in a huge way.
In Ring Segment > B-
Sting's best night in professional wrestling was Sabin beating Bully last week? I call BS on that one! Angle, on the other hand, picked up the ball and ran with it on mic. Angle really came across strong here and saved the segment.
What is up with Rampage's chain sash? First off, he doesn't look like he fits in with the group as he's not in a suit – I know Joe wasn't either, but it was obvious that he was in a match later in the show – but that chain slung like a beauty pageant sash was a bit much.
Sabin looks so small in the ring with MEM, but he absolutely deserves to be TNA WHC. Further, he was pretty solid on mic. It seemed as though Shelley did more of the talking in the MCMG, but Sabin came off really strong here.
Bully's lawyer? Interesting direction to take things, though I'm not sure how I feel about it. The lawyer came off like a Laurinaitis wannabe, but creeper – something I didn't think possible.
Video > D-
Marasciulo's video was a total production mess! Did they hand this off to a group of middle school kids to put together? No, they could do a better job. My youngest is going into 5th grade and it looks like something she'd come up with.
Backstage Segment > C
Hogan was short and to the point with the legal question. Much better than what he could have done.
Video > D
TJ came off great here. He is very well spoken, and showed his passion for the industry. The problem is that I couldn't hear most of it for the music playing over his words. Again, production dropped the ball, and dropped the ball on someone I truly believe in. Marasciulo was solid speaking in his video as well, but I didn't get the heart I got from TJ. I feel bad giving TJ the low grade, but it's not for him, it's for production! (Also notice that Dutt didn't get one of these videos. That's total crap in my book.)
Ultimate X for X Division Title – Manik vs Greg Marasciulo vs Sonjay Dutt > A-
I love Manik's way of stopping in the ropes, it's so creative, and he does it so well. I should have known it wasn't TJ under the hood the night Aries swiped the outfit, because of how Aries stopped in the ropes. It just wasn't the way TJ does it.
SoCal Val moved out of the way when the fighting was right in front of her, but Hemme wasn't as smart and almost got nailed by flying feet! But flying feet, and bodies, are what I expected from this match. Ultimate X matches should be crazy like this, though I will say that these three really put it all out there.
I love that they had to build the scaffolding when they realized that the original structure they had wasn't enough to hold Joe. The work on the metal X above the belt was sick, and showed some serious work by both Marasciulo and Dutt. I hope both of them stay around in TNA, because while they're restructuring, and cutting costs, those two men could bring in revenue.
I think it was pretty obvious that Manik was going to win the X Division Title going into this match, but he sure looked good doing it. Okay, they all looked great in the ring, and this is where having three guys in a match actually makes sense. Now, if they would only get rid of the rest of the Triple Threat Matches for the X Division, these three, and the rest, could really show us so much. Also, as much as I dislike gimmick matches, I love the Ultimate X Match, and thought these three did a great job of working it the way it should be worked.
Winner & new X Division Champion – Manik (14:02)
Backstage Segment > B
I'm still saying that Anderson is a mole. He's selling things well, but he's also showing something more in his character. The way he stares off into space when Bully is talking to him makes me wonder if there's more going on there.
BFG Series – Hernandez vs Anderson > C+
I honestly wasn't overly impressed with this match. Hernandez hasn't been impressing me at all lately, and while Anderson was better, he was not fantastic. Anderson looked strong, and kept Hernandez on his toes more than that, but neither of them have done much interesting or exciting recently. I'm glad Anderson came out on top here, and hope that Anderson does something with his character soon because he's just not worth the time. Hernandez, on the other hand, needs to do something to make himself worth watching, because right now he's just filling a slot in the BFG Series, and that slot could have been filled by almost anyone else and it would have been more gripping.
Winner – Anderson +7=14 (5:00)
Video > C
Recapping the opening segment does make a lot of sense here as it opens a whole can of worms.
Backstage Segment > B
EY and Joseph? I think this is great! I see their chemistry being great, and EY showing Joseph that video – as if a wrestler wouldn't be watching the videos of his ring work – was great and handled really well.
In Ring Segment > B-
Velvet Sky looked fantastic in simple jeans and tank. She looked dang sexy, and prettier than I remember seeing her in a long time. She also came across very strong on mic, stronger than I remember her being in a long time.
Knockouts Title Match – Mickie James (c) vs Gail Kim > B+
Two heels facing off for the Knockouts Title? That makes little sense, and the fans who were both dead, and chanting for the ref – ODB – showed that this match was badly booked. Yes, the men chanted for the big moves and sexy women, but that was about it. These women worked hard (I haven't seen the Ladder Match yet, so I cannot compare to that), and is great to see compared to the crap we see from the Divas most of the time (though they've been looking better – when the Bellas aren't in the ring). Kim and Mickie hit a lot of solid moves in this match, and I hope they continue to push the Knockouts to be stronger and stronger. TNA could have something big with the Knockouts again, if they tried.
Winner – Mickie (7:02)
In Ring Segment > B
I was thrilled to see Brooke come out and rip Kim for hitting ODB. I've been thrilled to see ODB in the ring regularly, as I'm a huge fan, but I miss seeing her work the ring. I'm thrilled that she's going to be working with Kim, though I worry that Taryn might get pushed aside after the amazing work she's been doing.
Backstage Segment > C
Dixie's whining went right through me. Honestly, I know Dixie said that Hogan doesn't have the pressure she has to show us fans that Hogan isn't the big wig that many think, though I still don't believe that.
BFG Series – Daniels vs Joe > B+
Tenay, why is 7 points now more important than 7 points two weeks ago? What a daft comment! What wasn't daft was the work in this match. Joe and Daniels are such different men in the ring, their builds alone are extremely different, but the way they work together is just amazing. Two of TNA's work horses going at it in the ring is always going to be a lot of fun. They both went out there and gave their all, and other than being a BFG Series Match, there was little more to it. There isn't a feud, it's no a PPV, yet they both went out there and worked it hard. That's why they're as respected as they are by their peers and their fans.
There were a few issues with the match, but few matches go off without a glitch. Daniels' BMEs – both of them – just were not up to snuff. He didn't really hit Joe much with either of them, and because of that, they're staring me in the face. Most likely because both of these men are so great that I notice those things more. Beyond the BMEs, this match was a joy to watch.
Winner – Daniels +7=21 (5:58)
BFG Series – AJ vs Hardy > A-
Hardy looked like he got attacked by a child with an old-lady-pink lipstick. Normally his face paint is precise, and everything that wasn't pink was precise, but that pink was strange! Beyond Hardy's face, this was quite the hard hitting match. I always expect grace, finesse and flight from these two, but this was as much ground and pound as floating through the air. AJ might have been a heel before, but he's never changed up his ring work to coincide with his turn like he has this time. It's like watching a different man in the ring, but someone who can channel AJ's moves – the way Eugene channels almost anyone's moves. The thing is that AJ didn't hit most of his regular moves in this match, yet it was still very much AJ. Further, the change in AJ's work made Hardy change how he works the ring. Hardy hit some of his regular moves, but he had to do different things to make those moves work. This match was such a blast to watch, that I went back and re-watched it as I wrote this segment out. I've been so down on the work and direction of AJ lately, but it looks as though the BFG Series is exactly what AJ needed!
Winner – AJ +10=22 (12:57)
Backstage Segment > B
Hogan and Dixie are on the same page? Didn't sound that way earlier.
In Ring Segment > B+
"…Because I told you to do it, and you're intimidated by me." I love the way Bully turns a phrase. I'm a bit annoyed that Sabin keeps talking about his career almost being taken from him, but it's the whole underdog thing that is working for him. Though it's added so much to his confidence on mic. Both Bully and Sabin were strong here, and Sabin was much stronger than in the opening segment.
Hogan also was quite strong there and rounded out the segment well. He didn't take any of Bully's crap, and gave Bully what he deserved. Hopefully there will be more tries and swerves by Bully in the next couple weeks leading up to Hardcore Justice. It should be a lot of fun. Watching Bully and Hogan butt heads is amusing.
There seems to be too many people who cannot look at TNA for the beauty of what it is, and rather have to compare every little thing to the WWE. TNA is not the WWE, they're not WCW, they're not even ECW. I know I complain about a lot of aspects of TNA, but I also give TNA props where they deserve it. TNA is a young company, and a work in progress. While I have serious issue with how much of the company is being run, what I don't have issue with is how they put on some seriously great wrestling matches each week, and their storylines and characters have long term cohesion. It's obvious that they plan out their storylines well ahead of time, because they continue with twists and turns almost seamlessly. Kim's feud with Taryn might be over, but Kim continues to have issues with authority. That's not just storyline, that's Kim's character continuing forward, not just dropping that aspect of who she is because that feud has ended. It would be as if Bully stopped being a domineering jerk because he's no longer TNA WHC.
There's been storylines and directions that TNA has gone that I've absolutely loathed, but most of the time the good – in ring, on mic, with characters and storylines – have been very solid. There's things I'd change, but we all feel that way about some things, right down to the most famous novels we've read and movies we've seen, but in reality much of the time TNA puts on better wrestling shows recently than they were last year at this time. The X Division is finally getting some serious growth, and hopefully the Destination X Impact ratings will continue to remind TPTB that the fans really do love the X Division. And more than anything that TNA does right is the ring work. I know when I turn on Impact that nine times out of ten I will get to see a couple of matches that make me smile, cheer, or just stare in awe. TNA's wrestlers are some of the best, and something they've done better than the WWE for a long time. Because of Bryan, Punk, Cesaro, Rollins, Ambrose, etc., the WWE's ring work is improving by leaps and bounds, but it's not the same as knowing that there will be great matches every Thursday night.
But back to my original issue, people who cannot see the light for their self-imposed darkness when it comes to TNA. TNA isn't the WWE, it will never be the WWE. If you have such a huge problem with TNA, why do you tune in every week? Is it more fun to bash TNA than enjoy the so many things they do so wonderfully? I honestly cannot believe I'm defending TNA the way I am, but if I'm this riled up about people bashing TNA, then it's obvious that the bashing is so much more, and so much uglier than I've ever done!
The Queen of WNW has spoken! (KB)