Greetings and welcome to Headlines and Scrutiny, your weekly analysis of the TNA product and everything that makes it happen.
Before I begin today, I want to put the spotlight on Chris Vining for a moment who wrote a general examination of the state of TNA which you should take a look at, especially if you aren’t familiar with the product. You can click here for that.
Also over at the Rajahwwf.com section called The Oratory, Xavier Von Erich has a column up about how Dutch Mantel has and will ruin TNA. You can read that here. The column is a fairly lengthy look at what are perceived to be Mantel’s transgressions over the past six years. It’s biased and preachy, and doesn’t really focus that much on Mantel and TNA as much as attack Mantel. My thoughts on Mantel’s run so far is that it has left much to be desired. Mantel does things his own way and that’s not always the best thing and he comes off as abrasive to the talent. The TNA PPVs have been mediocre and at times ass-backwards but the column suggests that this is something new and that TNA has otherwise been very good. No. Do I love the TNA product sometimes? Yes. Do I hate it sometimes? Yes. The TNA product is sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes a mixture so when the column suggests that Mantel ruined the company, they’re giving him a lot of credit for the work already done by the Russo-Jarrett era. It, however, is too early to pass judgment on Mantel’s performance, and anyone who does so is jumping the gun. We’ll give it some time, and see how he turns out. Whether he turns out to be a puppet, a bad booker, or a good one, and an evaluation period is more than necessary. Ignore the author’s melodramatic plea for attention and see what Dutch can do in TNA.
Why is it a leap of faith to think TNA can get it done? Well, because they’re main-eventing with AJ Styles and Abyss. AJ Styles, who was buried last week; and Abyss, who hasn’t really brought much to the table since coming to TNA as the monster behind the gate.
No advancement with Raven and the Gathering tonight, I suppose to sell the house of fun match. Chris Sabin went over David Young in 2:24 in what looked like it was the start of a feud because Sabin beat Young with some ease and Young is in line for a push because Dutch Mantel is hot on him (really). And then there was a boring match with Swinger and Diamond and the 3LK, with the big news being that Rudy Charles decided to hold the title belts up.
Sonjay Dutt went over Christopher Daniels and X in 10:48. This was the solid match the PPV needed, but in the end, X being a part of it, was at the expense of a lot of people and TNA doesn’t seem to understand that. TNA has done many things in one year and one of them is take the X Division from being one of the most praised things in wrestling, to nothing, to a joke.
Jarrett turned his eyes to Hogan which I’m not sure makes any sense considering Hogan is no closer to being confirmed for any date than he was last week. But Hart says the “bandages are off” and that Jarrett’s “challenge will be answered soon.” Great! Apparently the Red Shirts (which if you missed the press bulletin now includes Just Joe Legend) and Abyss, led by Don Callis, who is becoming as annoying as his role, to take out Raven (plus his new buddy Sandman and Erik Watts, who, now with Goldylocks, is doing nothing) and AJ Styles (who is now managed by Jimmy Hart) in respective matches. And what about Sting, you ask? Shhh, his contract expired. He went from top face to, well, gone. Talk about a useless arrangement. Anyway, the first match was the Red Shirts (Ryan Wilson, Kevin Northcutt, and Legend) against Raven, Watts, and Sandman in a Clockwork Orange House of Fun match. After a bloody match, the faces won, thanks to some help from Goldylocks. I thought they learned their lesson when they replaced her with Terry Taylor and Scott Hudson and everyone from the viewers to the wrestlers to the management was happy and they bring her back as a valet. AJ Styles did a sit down interview with Tenay, defending himself against the naysayers by saying that he’s always been told that he couldn’t compete at the top level and he always proved them wrong. Two problems. The message is not clear. Why? Because AJ Styles is saying the same thing he is saying all the time but this time HE’S NOT PROVING ANYONE THAT THEY ARE WRONG. Last week, there was no payoff. Think about that. Second of all, why is there no mention of the fact that AJ Styles was, in the four-month period that extended between June 11 to October 22 of this year, the World Champion of the National Wrestling Alliance (not to mention defending his title far more than Jarrett)? Mike Tenay saying it during the match doesn’t count. Is the message that the title is just a prop and the only one fit to hold is Jeff Jarrett, who no one excepts as champion? So, AJ Styles wins the main event after a stunningly good, up-and-down contest against Abyss at 13:55. Dusty Rhodes came out after the match and next week they set up a main event of Dusty Rhodes vs. Jeff Jarrett. OK I supported the last Dusty main event but they are testing my patience. The match will be a “Fans’ Revenge” match with nine lumberjacks chosen from the crowd and Jimmy Hart as well.
News: The information reported last week on Rhyno is false. Rhyno met with Don Callis (TNA performer) and Scott D’Amore (TNA management) and it was primarily a social get-together. Wide reports were overblown and Rhyno is likely to stay put in WWE (considering his contract does not expire for a year) since he has a young daughter and WWE is more secure than working dates on the indy scene… Jerry Lynn has not been used by NWA:TNA since a temper tantrum he had on the Oct. 8 show. The reason is due to his reluctance to sign a contract with the company, even though he did move to Nashville to be closer to the company, where he had been booked for most of their existence… MLW, when they do come back, won’t be on the Sunshine Network, so they’re not likely to be of as big importance to TNA anymore.
Matchmaker: Trevor Hunnicutt
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