There’s been a lot of talk on the interwebs about Impact last night, in particular the final segment of the show. We’ve seen everything from people who absolutely loved every moment of it to those who felt it was a complete garbage segment. I’m sitting a bit in the middle on this topic, I’m not really sold on it being that great but I also don’t think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen, I mean I HAVE watched Ryback try to craft a promo. I did have problems with the segment, while they may be things that are somewhat exclusive to those of us who are diehard fans; they’re still problems that could have easily been fixed before the segment was ever filmed, and especially before it ever went on the air.
One of the most obvious problems is that AJ Styles has been playing this loner gimmick, where it’s all about HIM and nobody else. The gimmick was actually pretty decent, even if he looked a bit like a knockoff of the Crow version Sting when he first came about. This made him a bit edgier and being a loner gave him the ability to do things for himself in order to get a win. Out of the blue AJ starts talking about how he’s going to win the TNA title for the fans, for the boys in the back, yadda, yadda, yadda, all while killing his “all about me” character just a little bit more. If you’re supposed to be all about yourself, why would you care what the fans or “boys in the back” cared about your match? This just made no sense whatsoever to me, maybe a casual fan would get it but seriously, they need to work on their psychology.
Another problem I had was the claim by AJ that he “doesn’t have a contract” despite what’s being reported on the internet. First, as Kendra said, this is a huge plot hole, why would she not just throw him out of her building and bar him from ever being allowed re-entry in order to make sure he didn’t cause any more problems? This point ate away at me because he missed the opportunity to actually throw some speculation out that would have either made him the biggest heel in the company with fans hating him because he mentioned turning his back on them. Instead of his “for the people” speech, I think that AJ should have said he planned to go on and win the title and as soon as he wins it, he’ll be taking it with him to New York. This could have given him damn near nuclear heat with TNA fans, garnered interest from the trickled over WWE fans, and maybe even caused a ground swell making people tune in for the “what if” moments.
The biggest problem I had with the segment is the heel turn for the President of the company, Dixie Carter. My opinion is that this is a bad move on the part of the creative think tank in TNA right now; I just don’t see any way this could possibly work out well. Dixie Carter is NOT a natural heel, and nothing about her says “evil” in any way, shape, or form. She’s a lot like Linda McMahon; she’s that motherly figure that you just see as not being able to really do anything bad. There have been moments in the history of the business where certain characters were “turned” and it just didn’t go over with the fans because they couldn’t possibly buy into it, once again I’m looking to Linda McMahon. Some people can play heel but not face, some people can play face and not heel, others can transition from one to the other, Dixie Carter doesn’t fit the transition role and she certainly doesn’t fit the primarily heel role. Most of the McMahon family can transition back and forth, even as a face they have something to them that makes you feel that “they have some evil motive to this, sooner or later they’re going to turn,” this is a trait that Dixie doesn’t possess, I just can’t buy her as a heel under any circumstance.
This isn’t the worst segment I’ve ever seen but unfortunately, for the “high spot” and the closing segment of Impact it’s one of the more mediocre I’ve seen in some time. From Dixie’s unbelievable (not in a good way) heel turn, to AJ’s complete change of character from being a “loner,” all the way down to her insistence that AJ hasn’t had a “five star match” in a long time (let’s forget that whole AJ vs. Aries deal a few weeks back) it just lacked psychology and sense from top to bottom. Maybe it’s because I demand so much from wrestling, maybe it’s because I look deeper than just the surface a lot of the time, or maybe it’s just that I’m actually right for once, but this was NOT a great, banner moment in TNA Impact history. Is there a chance that this somehow comes off well and actually gains interest from fans? Sure, but they sure as hell better get acting on it quickly because people are already dropping like flies from what I’ve read online. This was a big letdown, on par with the Tito Ortiz debacle, hopefully TNA can somehow find a way to bounce back from it, and I sincerely hope it’s possible.