Posted by Sean Prem
TNA Impact witnessed the revelation of the highly anticipated August 1st Warning. It had caught the attention of the wrestling world, in a frenzy trying to speculate on the list of possible suspects. TNANEWS.com analysed the situation by suggesting their perceived possibile suspects. TNA and Hulk Hogan used an enticing video package to build on the hype, a tactic that is notorious for TNA and Hulk Hogan like with the 10.10.10 build up. Despite the host of wrestling names, the big names not associated with WWE, being a possibility, TNA surprised the whole world with who it turned out to be. None other than an established physical contact athlete, with a daunting reputation due to his menacing career in the UFC and MMA related sports, Tito Ortiz. The query is, was this a valid move by TNA or is this a flop, warranting the phrase ‘April 1st warning’ aka Aprill Fools? Let’s review.
Last TNA Impact, despite the suggestions of a host of wrestlers either part or not part of the TNA roster, the person behind the August1 Warning turned out to be an entirely different entity. An athlete of an entirely(thesaurus) different background, the reputable mix martial artist, Tito Ortiz. Is this the right move TNA or is it another 1st April aka April Fools? Let’s review this move by TNA.
TNA are in a wrestling world where WWE are beginning to expand into a bigger monster within the industry. They are reinjuvenated with the presence of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, while TNA had to rebuild after the Jeff Hardy – Sting calamity at Victory Road 11 as discussed in a previous article. TNA have been able to recuperate to an extent, by establishing new stars like the exhilarating Austin Aries, the tenacious Bobby Roode and the aggressive Bully Ray. But WWE has been able to lure the mega names of the wrestling industry with the likes of The Rock and Brock Lesnar enjoying commanding reigns in the WWE. While TNA Lockdown 2013 was portrayed as 2 guys with a long history fighting for their perceived most coveted prize in the business, Bully Ray vs Jeff Hardy, Wrestlemania 29 around the same time had 3 mega main events with Brock Lesnar vs HHH, The Undertaker vs CM Punk (my favourite match) and The Rock vs John Cena. Despite successful and intriguing storylines, TNA were being alienated by WWE. In a business perspective, TNA who are already behind WWE, want to try to catch up as much as they possibly can, which was emphasised with them performing shows at different venues. They have ups and downs in the ratings department and need to deliver ideas to help their steady progression. TNA Impact last week had inferior ratings to WWE’s debuting reality show, Total Divas. That says it all.
TNA had been subjected to a sort of invasion by a group of bandits, the Aces & Eights. Amongst other events at TNA Impact, there has been the return of a group that like Aces & Eights, had victimised the Impact Zone, The Main Event Mafia. But it doesn’t end there, in a chaotic environment full of unrest, TNA were able to unearth a new crown jewel. Undoubtedly a big name in physical contact sport with his reputable career in UFC, combined with a successful transition to the world of Hollywood with blockbusters like ‘The A Team’, Rampage Jackson’s arrival caused shockwaves in the world of wrestling. This helped Rampage to achieve a long life dream of becoming a wrestler while TNA were able to acquire a big name to their roster. Not only that, Rampage’s arrival was cultimated with his intense showdown with who many perceive is the best wrestler in TNA, Kurt Angle. If that was enticing, then how TNA have used Rampage has been positive. With someone who understandably has a limited wrestling skillset, being more in the MMA mould, thus needing time to adapt, TNA haven’t wasted time in using him. Rampage Jackson being part of the Main Event Mafia helps to add some creditibility to a group that flatters to deceive its original group, but that’s for another article. This helped to give the Main Event Mafia, the firepower to neutralise the seemingly invincible Aces & Eights.
All of this has provided the platform for last night’s highly anticipated TNA Impact, with the world buzzing about the August 1st warning video package. TNA were able to pull off another big name, by revealing the arrival of another athlete whose aura of having a tremendous career in UFC. Ofcourse the buzz across the wrestling world right now, Tito Ortiz. The topic of discussion is not solely based the quality of their wrestling ability but what they can bring to the ratings of the business. TNA have delivered high octane wrestling for a number of years, yet AJ Styles unjustly prevails in terms of reputation to the untalented but megastar John Cena. John has been advertised well whose commitment outside of the wrestling ring, for the business is astounding. He is unrivalled in granting wishes for the ‘Make a Wish’ foundation, that helps him to have a large mass of loyal fans of the Cenation. TNA have to consider alternative appeals, and I’ve mentioned John Cena, as TNA possess his prototype, Hulk Hogan with the Hulkamaniacs. Terry Bollea did a number of activities outside of the square circle, including his movie appearance in the blockbuster, Rocky 3. Specially in a wrestling world that is no way near its optimal state during the Monday Night Wars, as discussed in a previous article, TNA need to consider all of the possibilities.
Whatever our interpretations to last night events, it can’t be ignored that TNA is being spoken about. Any talk about something is surely positive right ? But what is the sacrifice TNA are doing ? Let’s assess the role and reasoning for Tito Ortiz appearing. Its quite adamant that Tito Ortiz has no reservation in physically competing in the TNA ring. Under those circumstances, it isn’t dissimilar to his previous appearance in TNA as an enforcer at Hardcore justice 2005 for the match between Jeff Jarrett and AJ Styles. This automatically limits the effect of Tito Ortiz arriving to TNA. To counter that statement, Tito Ortiz arrived in dramatic fashion, confronting a rival with a similar professional background, Rampage Jackson. This will add spice for MMA and UFC fans, seeing two big, talented fighters enticed in what resembles the tensions in the Impact zone with the Aces & Eights and the Main Event Mafia. This envisages the impending bout at the Belatore pay per view in November. In a weight division dominated by Bones Jones, alternative fights in the division are necessary for these guys, and making it personal with this form of advertisement will benefit the fighters. It also helps to draw alternative, new fans to TNA. Its as if it reminisces the Hugh Jackson appearance on Raw to promote his then upcoming movie, Real Steel who ended up punching Dolph Ziggler and ‘breaking his jaw’. A guy showing some physical acts as an one off. Or its like another guest host of Raw, like Bob Barker who provided some comedy genious with the Ayatollah of Rock and Roll, Chris Jericho. I mention this, as one of Alex Assumption’s recent tweets pondered the query that wrestling fans dispute mma fighters but are open to wrestling collaborating with comedy. Both are outside factors, and was a topic also discussed with WrestleTalk tv, who said both mma fighters and comedy, are tools that should be used, as there are a range of different background fans with various taste, as discussed in a previous article. So it helps to entertain a wider audience. Let’s not forget, Rampage Jackson himself was one of the many guest host of Raw, with the A Team.
It begs the question, how will this effect the morals of TNA. TNA was designed to be a company of a seperate entity to the rest of the world of wrestling, as discussed in a previous article. But like their hall of fame plot, TNA have decided to take a different road and take a similar approach to what Vince does with WWE. But this can be a negative. It will get ratings today, but what about the following weeks? The video package, as mentioned above, is notorious with TNA. Every time a wrestler returns, there’s a date involved and it mostly always is Sting. Like with the flaws of Aces & Eights having familiarities with NWO, being repetitive isn’t the best thing to do, which I said in a previous article. WWE wasn’t exactly thriving with the cliché of Super Cena prevailing against everyone after being beaten up, and it took a gutsy promo/shoot by CM Punk to spark up WWE back to life. Vince was then forced to accept changes. The day Nexus began, which I discussed in a previous article saw in that week CM Punk get trounced and his Straight edge Society get tossed a side like a secondary group to the newly formed group. While also in that week, Daniel Bryan was also fired for what was claimed for his choking on Justin Roberts, but what could of been his aggressive approach to John Cena. But today, these two guys, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, are now peripheral figures in a company that has altered its philosophy and approach to wrestling entertainment. Something TNA will need to do. The video package was good, but its been done before, and it feels like a waste to use it for just a guy who is using TNA as a form of advertisement for their own gain. Its as if the world of MMA have used TNA as a pawn, making TNA look weak. You would never see WWE allowing UFC do that, and in fact we saw The Undertaker trying to take advantage of UFC with his interaction with Brock Lesnar.
Everything would be criticised, but not only the revelation of Tito Ortiz should be analsyed but the entire show should be. Bob Holly in the pictures shown, is right to say that Tito Ortiz won’t guarantee the ratings of TNA Impact in the future. So TNA having the August 1st warning video, ultimately causing interest amongst the audience, had to have an entertaining show. This is vital to help to show the product of the company by using the best of the roster effectively. I believe TNA were able to do this well. The newly crowned World Champion, who has predominantly spent his career either as a tag team wrestler or as an X division star, Chris Sabin, got to have a champion vs champion match, with the X Division champion, Manic. Manic was just crowned the X Division champion from last week, so to combine the two, with the man of the moment, Chris Sabin, becoming a champion after being injured for two years, in a high octane wrestling match, helped to promote the X Division and advertise Chris Sabin, to legitimise both factors further. But the best part was to have in my opinion, the best two competitors in TNA, Austin Aries and AJ Styles, to deliver an exhilarating match. I won’t state who was better because I want it to happen again! That’s how good it was. All I’m trying to say is, while people wondered who was behind the August 1st Warning, TNA had to deliver a great Impact show, with the wrestling world watching. These two wrestlers are very talented, and embody AJ Styles’ old nickname, phenomenal.
They are entertaining with Austin Aries being compared with CM Punk since they both speak their mind well with brilliant mic skills combined with mesmerising wrestling ability, while AJ Styles who has delivered countless of jaw dropping moments over the last decade at TNA enabling him to be the original triple crown winner, is being reinjuvenated in his new intriguing storyline enabling him to build his character which was his only weakness. No doubt these two are better than the vast majority of the wrestlers worldwide. This was my Bound for Glory dream match certainly. So to combine these two will show TNA is a legitimate and major wrestling company. TNA have the wrestling talent but not the demand or the resources to attract a more mainstream market, which was brought up by RvD, stating his WWE Money In The Bank advertisement package did him more justice in terms of promoting him than his entire TNA career. So in that sense, TNA finally got the spotlight they needed, and were able to combine the two.
In hindsight, the magnitude of the investment given in the video package and promotion doesn’t warrant the security of the long term future directly. Tito Ortiz is not going to compete for TNA, and symbolises that UFC are using TNA as a form of advertisement, making TNA look weak. Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson are not as big as the multi disciplinary Brock Lesnar and The Rock, who can compete in wrestling matches. This would indicate as if this was an April Fools Prank by Dixie. A lady whose contribution to the wrestling world is under scrutiny from the critics, as discussed in a previous article. But what the arrival of Tito Ortiz has done, has given TNA much needed mainstream media appeal. By just doing that, it has been successful for TNA, and they need to capatilise in the moment, with a continuous set of enthrilling matches and promos. Indirectly, Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson have helped TNA to make the step up, and for that reason, ultimately, it was a good move to do.
Goodluck Hulk Hogan and TNA. The world is watching, think constructively and give us a show, and make the days that Total divas beat TNA Impact, a thing of the past. Because Hulk, what ya gonna do, when the mainstream wrestling world is watching yooooooooooou? The million dollar question indeed.
If we ignored the internet, then who would of known that the WWE Raw show this week wasn’t live? Not much reference to the location being in Texas, except by Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel. Speaking of Curtis Axel, the wrestling world is his oyster. He has been able to brawl with an array of established stars. He seems to be capitalising well, performing to an acceptable level whilst maintaining interest amongst the crowd. This is a sign of WWE development of their young stars. Curtis has improved immensely, with his vocal and wrestling skills. May it continue. We saw how Tensai was given the chance last year but the crowd were harsh in accepting the most successful foreigner in Japanese Wrestling History.
Sort of like how Ryback keeps on changing, to try to lose his Goldberg chants, but its ruining a star who was promising. From dominating Cena and Punk at Survivor Series 12, he’s a shell of what he was then.
For Curtis Axel to be involved with the CM Punk feud is beneficial not for himself but for Brock Lesnar too. Both fighters being Paul Heyman clients, Brock automatically is involved without directly being there. Brock has done more than enough and doesn’t need to use too many of his contractual Raw appearances. He has brawled and attacked CM Punk. Paul Heyman does the talking for a guy who can talk well himself like he did in his feud with Cena. But by just wrestling it helps to support his image as the beast incarnate who just fights and destroys with an intimating factor. At the same time Curtis gets to develop more by fighting the gifted CM Punk. He gets to put his name on the map. That’s a good sign.
I am so grateful in how AJ Styles is developing. He needed to be recreated, as he had endured unfair circumstances in recent years. He’s been the best wrestler for years, and now he has a splendid gimmick. One of the best TNA entrances and his acting skills has improved. I was sceptical to those who thought if he would return to WWE then he would falter, since he was already faltering at TNA. But that has been addressed quite well, as his good guy persona ran its path. He has had 2 great bouts in the last 2 TNA Impacts, with Jeff Hardy and now Austin Aries. Credit to TNA management for addressing the problem effectively thus far. May it continue.
A special thanks to Bob Holly for taking his time in talking to myself and Alex Barie. With TNA Hardcore Justice set to come who have witnessed Bob Holly before, along with Brock Lesnar and CM Punk set for a brawl, who both have enjoyed long feuds with Bob Holly, he is certainly one of the most appropriate people to talk to, outside of TNA.
By Sean Prem
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