DR. TNA: Send the Fans Home Happy

Three weeks.  Three weeks is the amount of time it took for TNA to do what I, and I suspect others, were afraid they would not be able to do after they shifted so much of their talent to the heel side of the equation – send their fans home happy.

Thursday’s iMPACT closed with the events below.

Notice two things: the cheers of the crowd and the chants for Matt Morgan.  You further hear those cheers as Morgan signs his contract.  This seemed to be one of the more positive fan reactions I’ve seen to close an iMPACT in many weeks, including many prior to the emergence of the Immortal/Fortune faction.

Given that, I think it’s worth reflecting a bit on how we got there.  As you likely know,  Mr. Anderson was injured on iMPACT two weeks ago.  The chair shot he received gave him a concussion.  This was not a work, as I understand it, and Mr. Anderson stated that is has led to TNA banning unprotected chairshots to the head.  The injury left TNA without a title match for Turning Point, as Anderson was set to face Jeff Hardy.

This also left TNA at a bit of a crossroads.  Even once you have decided Andersen is not wrestling with a concussion, do you acknowledge the concussion and the accident that cause it, or do you write a different explanation and not address the concussion?  The current emphasis on concussions in the NFL, combined TNA’s (or any major entity’s) inability to prevent the spreading of information under today’s social networking age, made this an easy decision.  TNA worked Mr. Anderson’s concussions into the storyline of the past couple weeks.

In response, much of last week’s episode centered on Matt Morgan trying to prevent his Fortune and Immortal brethren from forcing Mr. Anderson to wrestle with a concussion.  This angle did what would have otherwise been very difficult.  It turned Morgan into a face in 120 minutes.  By the end of last week, TNA fans were already cheering Morton.  This week, Bischoff finished his conversion.

I realize that Eric Bischoff has his detractors.  I also will not claim to be an insider who can confirm or deny those detractions.  However, I do believe that TNA has taken what was a very ill timed negative and made it a positive for many people, including Mr. Anderson who seems to be even more popular with fans.  To the extent Bischoff was in on the planning of that, he deserves credit for it.  Regardless of whatever role he played in that, he deserves credit for his role on Thursday.

I’m aware this is viewed differently by others and I admit I may be wrong, but what I saw on Thursday was Eric Bischoff portray himself in a light that basically made him a joke in an effort to put Mr. Anderson  and Matt Morgan over with the fans.  Everything from the introductions he prepared for himself and Mr. Anderson, to the drastic difference in his actual and self perceived ability in martial arts, to his transparent desire that his challenge remain unanswered, reflected poorly on him, personally.

This was not a evil genius role where he outsmarted everyone (as he has played before) or a heel who loses but is able to attack the face, post match, to maintain his street cred.  This was a boisterous heel who obviously could not deliver on his claims and who received an outright KO as punishment, while being out smarted for good measure!  Sorry to those who disagree, but I saw this as a team player move.

However, regardless of your perceived motivation for his role, the result was louder crowd pops for both Anderson and Morgan.  I think we can all agree this is a good development and well time.  Going into Turning Point fans have a true face in Morgan.  While I don’t believe he will win the match with Hardy, I do like his current role and hope TNA continues to push his development.

Regardless, I’m happy to see the fans sent home happy this week.

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