Last night on Impact, the number two promotion in North America crowned there sixth World Heavyweight champion: Rob Van Dam. This is a mere mumbling from myself a somewhat loyal TNA fan. Just some back story, I remember my first pay per view from TNA being Victory Road 2007. This marked my first real exposure of TNA, I liked what I saw; I liked seeing Team 3D take on Kurt Angle and more so seeing Daniels win some gimmick match.
This made me stick with company, and to show loyalty I've watched through the whole MEM, Lethal/Val "wedding" fiasco and I even bought the Impact Video game. I've never been so invested in a product, that has been consistently declining in quality material like I have with TNA.
But last night was a diamond in the rough, a glimmer of light at the end of the Hogan ego trip. A new champion was crowned, but I'll get on to that later, we saw Rob Van Dam against Jeff Hardy. A match that had me marking out like I did back in the Invasion days when they went at it. It was televisual gold. But to do it when Raw was coming on the air was even better.
I know as many of the readers here on Bleacher Report do that TNA seemed to have taken a step back by moving time slots. But I'm betting that the ratings were significantly higher than previous weeks. Partly because of the star power last night in that match but more importantly the smart placement on the card.
Next we saw the knockouts in the first match, I hated it. Absolutely hated it. But enough on that.
Joe returned. Wait...? Joe returned! Yeah! Despite forgetting about his little video a week or two ago, Joe returned and despite popular opinion I think he looked trimmer than his "Nation Of Violence" return. I was definitely psyched for his return and what made it more special was the crowd; "Joes gonna kill you!" reminded me of a 1PW show back in 2006. I was 15 and the crowd were going nuts, despite Joe not being there (a different story). He got his face pop but how long will he be here this time? I hope it's a while, at least more than a month.
Also the new attitude he brought was well put over by him, reminded me of a somewhat watered down version of Austins DTA. But whatever it worked!
Next I'll move on to Big Rob Terry, the big man on campus, the Animal...Wrong promotion: The Freak. I usually hate the "big guy" who gets the mega push and you can tell Bischoff or someone down there in TNA see the "Next" (pun intended) Goldberg in him. However when he was given the chance, he botched which is fair enough but how many times will they be giving him chances. Lets hope next time he won't botch with a valuable commodity like Wolfe. Despite that moment, I thought Terry did a good job (he needs to lose the Batista mannerisms however).
Personally I thought the rematch of Lockdown was alright, however it seemed to go on longer than needed. This could have the mistimed commercials which cannot be helped at times. This was a good match however and served its purpose well.
Finally, the changing of the guard. No more faces chasing the heel, now its Mr Monday Nights time to shine. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Rob Van Dam. However this match has many a consequence and reasons behind it:
- Stops D'Angelo Dinero's push dead in the water.
- Makes it easier/sometimes better to book the title (face vs face/heel).
- Makes it look to the fans like another WWE guy getting a push (by the way only half of the world champions in TNA have worked for WWE previously).
- Makes TNA more marketable to the occasional wrestling fan.
- Keeps the title off Hardy (the other top face) incase the trial goes badly. Oh think of the public relations!!
But in my own opinion is that the match should have been on Pay-per-view, why? Not because of buy rates because TNA's PPV business is trash, but through DVD sales, wouldn't the TNA loyalists want the night when Rob Van Dam won the title in there collection? I believe so. But the match being on Impact jsut gives me the impression that TNA/Bischoff are trying the same sh*t (pardon my French) they did in WCW (and to quote PWRShow, which is now a defunct wrestling company which was bought out by Vince McMahon). Ratings, seem to be the driving force for Eric and if thats what it is then do it somewhere else.
The win for RVD also gives the validity to the fans/haters claims that you can walk in there a former WWE guy and win the gold. Van Dam done it within 6 weeks of being in the company and to make it worse they had confetti and the locker room to come out and celebrate with him. To me it looked false, he'd been in the title picture for two hours (the length of Impact) and they make the biggest deal of it.
Lets hope that TNA can stay on the same wave length when they bring back the regulars like; the Guns, Pope, Williams and Kazarian. Despite the negatives, Impact delivered last night in a big way and kudos to TNA Wrestling for producing their best show in months.
- Steven D
(By the by, this is just a collection thoughts rather than a finely crafted article as you can plainly see)