The Stomping Ground: A TNA Diatribe

You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead — your next stop, The Stomping Ground.

I wonder how many of you are TV-savvy enough to get that reference.

Last week I promised to give my thoughts on the SummerSlam card in this latest installment. Imagine MY surprise when I woke up this (Wednesday) morning and realized……there’s only a half-assed card. Seriously. FOUR matches have been announced.

SummerSlam is supposed to be the “Wrestlemania of the Summer” and we have FOUR MATCHES ANNOUNCED JUST DAYS AWAY FROM THE EVENT?!

Last week I brought up the development of the midcard and my expectations for a totally stacked card of 8-9 matches. Other than Sheamus/Mark Henry, not one of those midcard feuds seems to be headed for the PPV. Okay, maybe Dolph Ziggler vs Alex Riley, but it’s not like they actually ANNOUNCED it. Now, I’m not taking away from the main event, but the company should have focused on building the rest of the show as well as the two title matches. The ‘E is making my attempts at analyzing the midcard push extremely difficult!

With that being said (hey, ever notice everyone uses that phrase in their columns?), I decided that this week I will enter uncharted territory…the dreaded Bermuda Triangle of Wrestling that is TNA!!!

Those who have been reading my work for the past six months (that’s right, EVERYBODY) know that I rarely, if ever, comment on the floundering mess of a promotion known as TNA. The reason for this is that I do not watch their programming and honestly have no right to gripe about things I have not personally witnessed. I have watched bits and pieces of Impact and in fact the only full episode I saw was the first-ever January 4th live edition they did two years ago.

I DO read the taping spoilers and the reviews and across the board I can say with certainty that the company does one thing right: TNA is consistent.

Consistently shitty.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but a wrestling company builds up its stars so that people can get behind their characters. This makes the audience want to PAY to see some great wrestling and PAY for PPVs and PAY for merchandise. Am I right so far? I mean, isn’t that how you build fan interest and make money?

If that’s true, then why does TNA feel as though they need to keep turning wrestlers face and heel so damn often? Yes, Virginia, here there be SPOILERS!

Okay, now that those of you who have turned away because I will be spoiling the next two weeks of Impact tapings are gone, let’s get down to business. Within the next two weeks, we have Kurt Angle (fresh off a sympathetic feud against Jeff Jarrett), Ken Anderson (mere weeks after joining Immortal), and Abyss (who has turned so many damn times I’ve lost count) all switching sides for one reason or another. How are we as fans supposed to rally behind a wrestler when the company has decided to keep switching allegiances? One week the audience will cheer for Anderson, and the next he’s a heel that gets booed across the board. Is the crowd supposed to get behind him now that Immortal has beaten him to a pulp? I wouldn’t; who knows when he’ll conveniently turn heel again? It’s not like the company is good at using logic in their storylines, but at some point you’ve got to stop.

The audience should be exhausted after screaming their lungs out for a great match; not tired because of one too many swerves in a night.

My second real gripe is something TNA is known for all too well: overuse of aging stars. Yes, this argument has been done to death, but when was the last time the TNA title picture involved someone other than a has-been or WWE cast-off? What is this bullshit between Sting, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan that should have been put to rest over a decade ago? Why are we revisiting Rob van Dam and Jerry Lynn when Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, and AJ Styles are languishing in the midcard (or in Joe’s case, lowercard)?

I flat out refuse to take anything TNA does seriously. They have people behind the scenes who KNOW how to run a wrestling promotion (Dixie Carter be damned). They have capable, young talent ready and willing to put their bodies on the line for our entertainment. If they want to repeat the errors of WCW circa 2000, then that’s their prerogative.

They just won’t get any of my money in the process.

Mike Gojira’s Fave Five

1) CM Punk: Phil delivered another awesome promo this past Monday night on Raw when he called out Triple H’s business dealings (as in “future endeavors”) and The Rock/John Cena for being phonies (what is this, Catcher in the Rye?). Plus, he blasted Johnny Ace in the head with a kick.

2) Sheamus: If you saw Smackdown this past Friday, then you saw Sheamus work a miracle when he gave Great Khali a passable match. Blair may think Sheamus has nothing to offer (I felt the same way when he made his debut) but there’s clearly some potential here. Give a felluh a chance!

3) Christian: Captain Charisma got a clean win over Randy Orton on Smackdown last week and I couldn’t be happier. What’s that? R-Truth distracted Orton? Not my problem. Randy should have been paying better attention. Maybe those voices in his head should have warned him.

4) Daniel Bryan and Tyson Kidd
: DB and Kidd share the Number 4 spot this week because of the outstanding match they had last week on…you guessed it…Smackdown. Noticing a theme here? I wouldn’t mind a feud between the two, but Barrett is next in line to take an ass-whooping from Mr. Money in the Bank.

5) Beth Phoenix: I’m excited to see Beth on top of the Divas division because, honestly, it’s where she belongs. Obviously, the ‘E is taking Kharma’s angle and thrusting it upon Phoenix and Natalya, which is perfectly acceptable for me. I’ll never buy Kelly Kelly as a good wrestler. Is she drop-dead gorgeous? Duh. I DO have a pulse. Can she improve over time? Maybe. But a champion she is NOT. Let’s go Beth!

Honorable Mention: Gail Kim: Three cheers for Gail Kim for doing the right thing and getting her ass out of Dodge while the gettin’ was good. I think Gail was only re-signed to the WWE in the first place because it dealt a serious blow to TNA’s Knockout division (which they have yet to recover from). It’s a shame that she was relegated to backstage appearances, mindless tag team matches, and dark/Superstars bouts while the Bella Twins and Kelly Kelly got the spotlight.

No Cheap Plugs this week, on account of me being a lazy bastard. Besides, you guys know how to find the other columns.

I’ll be a part of the SummerSlam Roundtable courtesy of the lovely Miss Kelly Floyd (who is NOT being underutilized) so you can see my picks this weekend. Also, Happy Seventh Birthday to Inside Pulse!

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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