While I want to be thrilled that TNA/IW, they keep doing things that make me question the company as a whole. Scotty Steiner leaves the company in such a vocal way, then AJ comments about having maybe 18 seconds on the past two weeks of Impact – there's obviously serious issues. AJ was and should be the face of TNA/IW, yet we rarely see him on Impact, and when we do he's still feuding with Daniels. How many years has this feud been going on? How many years have they been in TNA/IW?
Richard hit the nail on the head in his first answer on Ask WNW today. While I don't always agree with Richard's view of the wrestling industry and what they're doing (he was so sure this past year that Cena had to win, I just knew he wouldn't) – but that's part of what makes WNW so interesting – he was right on when talking about WWE bringing in big stars. Yes, some of the roster might feel a bit pushed aside, but these wrestlers are helping the company as a whole. All anyone has to do is watch the April 2nd RAW and compare it to the March 29th Impact. RAW started with Rocky and the fans were hot. All night they were chanting "YES!" for indy grown Daniel Bryan, then when the face of RAW came out the chanting started for Brock. I will fully admit that the WWE had WrestleMania on their side, so the fans were a thousand times hotter, but I can see a lot of this wild shows on the horizon now that Brock has been confirmed over the next month.
WWE brings in former wrestlers and their buyrate shoots way up. You can't tell me that a big part of that buyrate was for Rocky and the possibility of Brock showing up. Yes, much of the fans who bought the show are people who would have bought the show even without Rocky because they buy it every year, but that extra group was brought in for the big name.
TNA/IW might have big names, but they're not names that are bringing in the fans. I will agree that some of it is TNA/IW's lack of advertising and that they're taping only in Orlando, but at this point Hogan, Flair and Bisch are older and not at all controversial. Both Rocky and Brock are young enough to work the ring, have very much been in the public eye since they left the WWE. The interest they built outside of the WWE brings their new fans back to the company with them. The only things Hogan has for a recent following outside of wrestling was his reality show and American Gladiators, and I can't say those were worth the time it took to watch them. I was discussing all of this with Gesus earlier (we really get each other riled up when we talk about wrestling, especially TNA/IW), and I asked if he wanted to put his two cents into it all.
Gesus' 2 Cents
I am a little confused with TNA lately. What are they trying to prove? There is only one explanation I have for Hogan being in his new role in TNA. That is that Bruce Prichard is behind the wheel. Before you jump, I am happy with him and where he has been going with TNA. I just fear that he forgot that a mere six months ago Hogan and the rest of Immortal were taking over TNA. Yeah, new writer new direction and everything before is forgotten. How can you pass this over though? Does TNA think we are stupid? My answer is yes. No only do they expect us to have such a short attention span, they expect us to forget that “the company up north” has the same G.M. gimmick. I have been beyond irate over this. I hate when watching a wrestling promotion feels like pulling teeth. I understand you need to get Hogan on TV, otherwise you are wasting even more money. Getting him on TV like this is just an insult not just as a casual fan, but someone who has put time and money into this company for several years. I am just waiting for a “wait until you see the bigger picture” tweet mocking us yet again.
Video > D
If Hogan had closed the book on that part of his life, then why is he still sucking a huge paycheck? And I think that was AJ's 18 seconds on TNA/IW. Sorry, I'm just not impressed, and there was nothing great about the production of that video to interest me.
In Ring Segment > D+
I will say that I love Dixie's dress and wish I could wear something like that. They might be trying to look like the roster is out there at ringside, but that can't be the whole roster. Do they all get TV bonus for being ringside, or does TNA/IW only give their bonuses for actual mic or ring work? Hogan actually met with creative? He actually did some work? Crimson and Morgan in a cage? Shocker!
I will say I loved that the fans were behind Velvet as soon as he brought up who should be in the ring with Kim. I will say I liked Hogan bringing Anderson into the ring and gave him props, but what about AJ? Then Angle vs Hardy? Things don't seem to have changed that much to me. All I saw was a whole lot of bluster and very little substance. Only change I saw was that the fans were a lot hotter, and I have to give that prop to the WWE.
Angle vs Hardy > B+
Hardy is really enjoying painting eyes on his lids, and playing it up well. Yes, I am saying something positive Hardy. Even further, that head scissors move on Angle was tight and fast! If Angle hadn't hit his head on the barrier the way he did, I'd also say that Hardy's double kick through the ropes looked good as well. I don't want to be enjoying this match because I'm still mad at Hardy and think Angle has been acting like an idiot on Twitter, but I have to admit that they're both looking solid and the match is entertaining.
Considering how little wrestling we've been seeing on Impact lately, I should just shut up and enjoy the match for what it is. Not only that but Angle bleeding without people trying to hide it with towels. Hardy's bright lime green sleeves with blood stains and smears all up and down them actually made me grin. Angle left a few splatters on the mat, but he wasn't gushing the way Flair used to. That little color added so much. Heck, if it was Hardy who had been busted open in that spot, we might not have even known it had happened.
I will admit that I wish this match had a clean finish, but I understand why they did what they did and it will just add to Lockdown. Angle pitching a hissy was funny, but not over done. I can't believe I'm admitting that this was a well booked match on Impact. I can't believe I gave it the grade I did, but compared to most of what we've been seeing lately – other than the X Division boys in the ring – that was almost stellar!
Winner – Hardy via countout
Backstage Segment > D-
Yippy, we get more of old Flair complaining to Bisch on his cell. I found it rather pathetic that the cameraman was hiding, but we still heard Bisch clear as day. Yes, he was on speaker, but it was still lame!
Backstage Segment > C-
Calvezilla trending worldwide? Highly doubt it! I know he's mocking Rocky, but it wasn't his best promo. When he moved on to talking about A Double he got a little better, but not great. Bully has been great lately and this was just okay.
In Ring Segment > B-
Okay, Bully was better once he got in the ring, but then it was all A Double. AA looked great, he was on. Then he was gone. I was wondering how they were going to handle this without making Bully look weak and not totally crapping on the X Division as a whole. Well, they almost did it, but then that powerbomb and the X Division looked a lot weaker. Hopefully they'll pick AA up, dust him off and have him go after Bully again. If that one move, no matter how strong and sick looking it was, doesn't keep A Double down, then I'll be happy.
Backstage Segment > C+
'Joseph' has quite a nice smile and his charisma is coming through so different; compared to when he's Abyss. But as I said last week, it's time to step things up with this. It's getting a tiny bit old. They keep going at this rate and his hair is going to be grown out again when he finds Abyss!
Backstage Segment > A-
Poor AJ, delegated to talking up Storm? I love Storm but... Okay, putting AJ in the ring with Storm could be fun. Could be a lot of fun! I'm actually pretty happy with that.
Knockouts Challenge > C+
Here we go again! Either a challenge or a tournament, TNA/IW just can't help themselves, no matter who's at the helm of creative. I know I've been talking down Mickie and how she hasn't been ring ready, well Winter is more than ring ready! Her body looked amazing. I thought Tara was going to drop Winter on her head at one point, but they pulled it out. But why wouldn't Winter face Love?
Mickie drop kick almost missed Love, but it was sold well. Mickie's neck breaker on Love looked really great. I will give them props for that. Velvet in really put her whole body behind her shoulder blocks to Love. She was working her angles and and looked good working with her former partner.
Madison's tactics were interesting, but would have been better if she was screeching the whole time. As if Tenay and Taz weren't bad enough, we have to listen to that? I will say that finisher type move Love hit on Madison was sick. Honestly, it could have been her regular finisher; it's been so long since we've seen her in the ring that I just can't remember! The widows peak looked sick, then Winter's finisher decent, but then there was Mickie. I'm sure there will be fallout between Velvet and Mickie, but hopefully not until after Velvet wins the strap. About the grade – there was some seriously nice looking moves and some ring psychology going in in that match. That actually gave me hope that TPTB might think the Knockouts are worth watching again. One can hope.
Winner – Velvet Sky
Backstage Segment > B
Roode's security is is there for Anderson? Honestly most of them don't look like bodyguard material. I'm sure they're wrestling students, or indy boys, but I won't believe anything about them until we see it. I do have to say that they're building well toward Roode's match with Anderson later in the show. Creative did a nice job with it, I just hope they fallow through without something screwy happening in the ring or some strange ending that doesn't make any sense. At least it's not an a$$hole on a pole match!
Video > C+
Hardy and Storm looked like they had a blast at the ACMs. Good for them.
Backstage Segment > D+
Just hearing that they were doing EY's bachelor party made me nervous. I thought it would be bad, but fantasy baseball? I will say EY is getting the best parts of this storyline with ODB.
Storm vs AJ > A
I enjoy matches between guys that know each other so well, have worked with each other so much and show the camaraderie while they're in the ring. We've seen many matches with this type of feel, Trip and HBK come to mind first. Their moves were well hit, well countered and well reversed, but they were also well worked and well sold. Each move looked they they were putting everything behind it. AJ ate that top turnbuckle full on and sold it. Storm took pele and looked rocked from it. I really didn't think Storm was going to hit the last call. That he did actually worries me that Storm won't be beating Roode at Lockdown. I did love that he ended with match with a small comment, didn't drag it out, but ended with his famous line.
Backstage Segment > D
I'm so burnt out on Hogan and he's just returned. We just saw a really great match that could have gone on a couple minutes longer if not for more of Hogan needing to be on the screen. If he's not drawing the fans, why are you pushing him down our throats?
Backstage Segment > D+
Of course they had to have Montgomery Gentry backstage with Storm. I'll admit that I was waiting for something to happen there with Roode. Of course Storm was in the shower through it all. I don't see why he couldn't have jumped out to help his friends!
Guns vs MexA > B
I'm thrilled to finally see Sabin back! Hopefully we'll see some real tag matches now! Joe and Magnus vs the Guns? That's a match I would pay to see! Sorry, but MexA just are not interesting these days. Anarquia is boring and Hernandez is not looking as imposing as he was. They're a cliché that is more pathetic than anything. Against MexA, the Guns couldn't show off just how great they really are. The Guns looked great in this match and it's time to send them after bigger fish – Joe and Magnus.
Winners > Guns
Backstage Segment > F!
Why are Flair and Bisch so imposing over Hogan? Flair and Bisch are in control of TNA/IW? Since when? I know they're arrogant, but even that's a bit much. They're just taking up time that should be used by younger guys with talent.
In Ring Segment > F-!
Someone, please, shoot me! Bisch should go into politics. He constantly spouts about politics online, seems to think everyone is doing everything wrong, plus he loves to hear the sound of his own voice and usually thinks he's the only one who is correct in any argument. He's very closed minded and overly arrogant to boot – perfect politician!
So, Lockdown is a replay of Team Teddy versus Team Johnny! They couldn't even wait until the first Smackdown after WrestleMania to take the WWE storyline and run with it? Like WrestleMania, it's darn obvious who will be walking out the winner. I'm not saying I give a flying fig, though the elder Bisch is more annoying. Then again, he's had more years crafting his annoying traits and putting them to good use on us harmless fans. I'm just floored at how opening pathetic this looks for the TNA/IW creative team. Just, wow.
Video > B+
Arg! They throw that blithering crap at us and we're supposed to be able to enjoy the Storm video right after it? I love Storm and thought that video was solid. Him sitting there with his son on his arm was just so sweet, really played up what a kind and gentle man Storm is when he's not in the ring. Normally I'm terribly annoyed when the kids are drawn into a storyline, but this didn't bother me in the least. It wasn't storyline, it was just Storm sitting there talking with his baby in his arm. Nothing at all threatening about that.
Anderson vs Roode > C
It was nice to see Baby Hebner throwing out all of Roode's security. The match started well, but then Anderson's selling got a little over the top, even a bit goofy before he started mounting an offense, just prior to the ref bump. Actually, I expected a lot more from this match. The fan sold losing his beer pretty well, but the fake glass all over the ring and Brian being that 'groggy' over the bump was sad.
Anderson proved here why Flair was such a great bleeder in his day. That white blond hair shows blood beautifully. Actually, I think this could have been a rather good match, given the time. I was annoyed when Hogan came out and overturned the match. I know it's just another way to get under Roode's skin, the problem is that TNA/IW is known for bad and clichéd booking, so the underdog getting the upper hand could only bode bad for him at the PPV. I'm loving Roode in this role, but it's time to change things up a bit. Isn't that what Hogan said? Is overturning the match part of this wonderful change?
Winner via Hogan – Anderson
Hogan is going to bring about change? Does that mean he's going to give the fans what we want? Is he going to put the X Division back together and show them off on Impact and PPVs? Is he going to give AJ, Joe, the Guns, and other wrestlers who have given their all for TNA/IW, the time and storylines they deserve? Is he going to shut his yap and stay out of the way of the cameras? Is he actually going to push TNA/IW when he's not actually on Impact? I didn't think so.