Gut Check: The Façade of TNA’s Evolution – Dixie Carter, AJ Stlyes, Christopher Daniels, Brooke Hogan

For this second week of Impact airing live over the summer, we open up the 10th Anniversary of TNA with a video package of the current ‘reality-line’ between Dixie Carter and AJ Styles. This is followed by Dixie addressing the Impact Zone on the current situation, and then Christopher Daniels and Kazarian come out to address Dixie. As soon as Daniels lands his hands on Dixie, AJ comes to the rescue. But so does Dixie’s husband Surge, who then lands a fist in the face of the Phenomenal One. Surge leaves the ring; AJ hugs Dixie for a brief moment and exits the Impact Zone with Dixie.

Ever wanted to be witness to the filming of a soap opera? Dixie announced this week that the multiple changes made within TNA should be considered an ‘evolution’ of the company, not a ‘revolution’, which led the likes of WCW and ECW into bankruptcy. A major change that we have seen implemented into fruition is the ‘reality’ angle. We see this in the video package of Dixie Carter, storming her way through the backrooms of the Impact Zone. I admire the initiative of TNA to try something different but it seems like TNA are very much hit and miss with this idea. The fact that a love-angle between AJ Styles and Dixie Carter is the first story-line to have this ‘reality’ theme applied doesn’t give the new theme much of an Impact. The storyline itself screams of poor writing. Even with Russo gone, I fear his style has rubbed off onto others. Not only do I fear the writing for the reality theme will be poor as displayed but I fear that too much time will be spent on it. TNA already has a problem of concentrating too much on bizarre storylines and not enough time on wrestling.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. This angle could be used to great effect if they really believed in it and took a gamble with it. Don’t rush to the mainstream idea of a reality storyline like a love triangle. Don’t rush to personal feuds involving families. You are using the right ideas TNA, but you are not executing it properly. If you want to be different, become more than lazy reality programming.  If you’re going to do something different to what the standard is, be original about it.  Be against the grain. Have an original reality idea. Follow a wrestler after the match as he goes to the back-room; let’s see him talk to another wrestler. If we are to believe this wrestling show through a reality lens, then be real. Have real discussions among the roster, have real feuds. Don’t have these two dimensional story lines. Let’s see character depth that has never been able to be achieved before in any other format. This could be something huge and original and it’s not too late yet. However, Brooke Hogan’s debut as the manager of the Knockouts shows me that TNA is going down the path of a cliché reality program.

One aspect that I do admire is the extension of the ‘set’ of Impact. Judging by the reaction of Dixie in the video package, they aren’t afraid of dropping a few explicit words. But then that juxtaposes Dixie’s attempt at an explanation to the crowd. I get it that it was meant to be an ‘off-camera’ thing, but here is another example of where TNA have confused themselves. I thought that the point of this reality theme was that we get to see a lot more of the happenings of Impact. If that was the case, the video package at the start of the show belonged in the pre-reality era of TNA. Dixie’s character threatened those that left the show running, yet her announcement on behalf of TNA indicated that she welcomed this opening of the backroom happenings of TNA. This would normally be fine, if her character wasn’t playing a ridiculous part of this ridiculous story-line. Even though Hulk Hogan addressed the need to look past their personal problems and concentrate on wrestling, the fact that the segment and all of its replays took up the majority of the first half of the show indicates to me that they are concentrating too much on the reality theme and are heading in the wrong direction with a right idea.

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