Impact Zone #3: Hardy Leaves, a Ray of Hope

Last month I discussed how Fortune were unlikely to receive their deserved push thanks to the return of Sting.  Well, I’m sure you’re aware, about a week after I wrote this, TNA’s main event heel Jeff Hardy showed up to the PPV after getting stupendously Krunk off his face.  He was in no fit state to wrestle, and after playing a fun game of “where shall I put my t-shirt” lost the title in 30 seconds and has not been seen again since.  It was embarrassing for Jeff Hardy and it was embarrassing for TNA. Why they went ahead with the match instead of re-jigging the card and doing one of their infamous “found unconscious backstage angles” is beyond me, I can only assume that they weren’t completely aware of Hardys condition until he was on his way out to the ring.

This has left a massive gap at the top of the roster, but with Fortune turning face, they’re not the ones able to fill it right now, and TNA seem to have little confidence in the rest of the heels on the roster, so who better to be Immortals number 1 heel than…..Bubba Ray Dudley.

If you’re not a regular viewer of TNA, you might read that and think TNA have finally completely lost their marbles, but you’d be very very wrong.  Bully Ray has come into his own in TNA and is the best character reinvention since Chris Jericho smashed Shawn Michaels head into the Jerichitron 3000.  People may moan that once again TNA isn’t pushing the young guys, as usual they’re getting behind the geriatrics, but at the moment, it’s the veterans that are stepping up their game.  Sure there’s those like RVD, who completely phone it and have their most memorable piece of television being them acting stoned off their face, but then there’s guys like Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett and now Bully Ray, who’s character developments are real, and who modern wrestling fans can relate to and sympathise or loath.  If more people would be bothered to follow their example, TNA would be a very interesting television show to watch. So many there have let their characters go stale: Abyss, RVD, Bischoff, Steiner, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and countless others that you could easily be watching reruns of them from years past.

What the Hogan-Bishcoff regime has completely failed to realise in their now 15 month tenure is that the wrestling audience isn’t that same as it was 10 – 15 years ago.  We don’t want to watch old WCW tapes and if we do, then we can (It’s not like it was, when promoters could continually rehash old storylines and characters for new generations, because now it’s all readily available online or in WWE’s vast back catalogues) we don’t want to see the next nWo or the next DX.  We want something new; we want modern storytelling with modern characters.  Hopefully the fact that they’re pushing Bully Ray is due to the fact that they realise how good his new character is, and not just for political reasons, and if that’s the case, hopefully more will continue to reinvent themselves and the writers will finally find some inspiration to come up with something new.

This coming Sunday it’s TNA’s best event of the year Lockdown (They try push Bound For Glory as their flagship PPV, but Lockdown always seems to be the most memorable).  A show that’s filled with just cage matches wouldn’t work in WWE, but with TNA’s varying styles of wrestling, you generally get a good all round show with some top notch matches (and thanks to the cage structure every match shouldn’t end with a run-in).  Had Jeff Hardy not sabotaged his career again, the card would have been even stronger, with the blow off match between “Bully” and D-Von as well as Angle vs Jarrett, but with Bully’s attack on AJ Styles sparking the return of Daniels, there’s still plenty of bad blood to look forward to.

Heel and MVP

Jeff/Karen Jarrett

You’d think after everything I’ve said, “Bully” would be all over this, but once again Karen and Jeff are the most loathsome of the month.  It got off to a confusing start with a bunch of video packages which put over Jeff as a kind and genuinely loving father.  But forgetting that, the two have been on top form again, they’ve continued to build up the feud superbly to the point that Angle vs Jarrett in a cage has got to be one of TNA’s most anticipated matches in a long time.

Face Of The Month

Kurt Angle

With Sting, Anderson and RVD all acting very heelish this month it was pretty easy for Angle to win this one.  Angles character has been completely broken down by the current storyline and he’s really had chance to show off his acting skills. Whether it be his crazy fake smile during the wedding, his snap straight afterwards or his acceptance that he’s been outsmarted by his ex wife he’s done it all superbly and has come off very human in the process.

Knockout Of The Month

Winter

I’ve never rated Winter as a wrestler (or a trainer), and winning the Knockout of the month in my column is no exception to this rule as it’s the easiest prize to win since I was given a certificate for “taking part in book week” at middle school.  Her acting is terrible, she has a horrendously fake British accent for a Brit, and she hardly lights up the ring.  However her character creeps me out and I wasn’t going to give this award to Angelina for having a blank look on her face.  Well done.

Please Fire

Rob Van Dam

Really, what is the point in RVD being in TNA? Does anyone enjoy watching him anymore?  There was a time (at least 5 years ago), where RVD would come out and you knew you were going to get a great match.  That is no longer the case, if anything you know that you can switch over and still know exactly what went down and in what order.  His character is non-existent, he doesn’t seem to care about anything so why should we care about him and his dazed and confused promo was baffling.  Perhaps he’s just out of ideas and a heel turn would re-vitalise him, but maybe he just wants an easy pay day and to smoke a lot of weed, lucky fella.

You tried to have me killed” – RVD said casually with no conviction to Jeff Hardy on Impact…

Honourable Please Fire Mention

The TNA off Camera Interview Dude

What a rubbish interviewer, he sounds like he’s everybones mate who just chats to them backstage, which leads to him mumbling half of his words and leaving everybody watching uninterested.  He should come out to the crowd so they can give him a well deserved Lance Storm style chant.

Worst Moment Of The Month

Brilliant to watch, probably not if you paid for it or expected a match though.

GIMMICKS

Gimmicks that you’re unlikely to remember due to repressed memories…

1. Black Reign

Not just number 1 on this list because he was the easiest to find a photo of, but also because it lasted too long.  Black reigns gimmick was basically that he’s a weirdo that hangs around with a rat and has really awful matches (I assume that was part of the gimmick?).  The best thing about Black Reign was that they usually paired him with Relik and Abyss, so you only had to fast forward one segment instead of 3. [Watch]

2. The Johnsons

The Johnsons were a tag team that dressed in penis suites and pretend to be human penises.  Try explaining that one to your non wrestling buddies. [Watch]

3. The Rainbow Express

Just a couple of dudes with an alternate lifestyle, alternate of course means gay in wrestling.  Being gay and in wrestling they had to be really weird and lude.  Bruce of the duo then decide to become a transvestite and went on to win the crown of Miss TNA.  You can’t make this stuff up. [Watch]

4. Trytan

The idea of Trytan came when the head writer at the time (presumably Vince Russo) saw a film that practically no one else had seen. He was able to pull it off as an original idea that could easily work in the wrestling world allowing you to completely suspend your disbelief, that film was The Terminator.  If the vignettes, dress code and mannerisms didn’t give it away, then the finisher name T-3 probably did.

5. Puppet The Midget Killer

A midget who went around beat the crap out other midgets with whatever weapons he could find.  His biggest highlight was of course when he was found taming his snake in a bin, hilarious stuff. [Watch]

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