Say It Like You Mean It: The Impact Preview, 12/5

Like every other wrestling company, TNA creates a weekly preview of its flagship show, Impact Wrestling. And, like every other wrestling company, they don’t always tell the truth when hyping their product. Thankfully, Dave is here to try to figure what TNA is trying to say, and tell you what he thinks, so you don’t have to do either.

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TNA Says:

Next Thursday, it will be the Semi-Finals of the ongoing World Heavyweight Championship tournament, with the two winners advancing to the FINALS to crown a new titleholder! The Final Four are set, and one of these four superstars will become the NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Kurt Angle or Magnus!

WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL

Tables Match

Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode

WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL

Last Man Standing Match

Kurt Angle vs. Magnus

What This Probably Should Mean: Three of the most talented, over wrestlers in the TNA and the company’s rising star put together two strong wrestling matches. Hardy and Roode bump all over the place for each other, with Hardy eventually getting the win on one of his signature big spots to cement his return to the main event. Magnus and Angle work a long, physical match that puts over the toughness and desire of both men. Magnus gets the win, dropping Kurt Angle with his Michinoku Driver for the clean pin.

What This Probably Shouldn’t Mean: These matches are rushed at ten minutes each so the crowd can be treated to more time with Joseph Park and Dixie Carter. Both matches have B.S. injury finishes, with Hardy crashing and burning when he flies too close to the sun setting up the crowd-thrillingest spot of all time and Angle slipping on a banana peel and “injuring his neck” again.

Dave Thinks: While there’s always the loud (and often correct) contingent of TNA fans who ask “Where the hell is Samoa Joe?” TNA has brought this title tournament down to as good a final four as they can muster. Angle is a massive star who, in spite of his recent troubles, is still over like crazy and would make a credible champion at any time. Roode is the most underrated main eventer currently on TV, and would also make a great champion, as he seems at the height of his powers in the ring. Jeff Hardy is one of the most over babyfaces of the last fifteen years and, when he feels like it, can have a great match with a sack of potatoes. Magnus is a terrific wild card, as he is young and fresh, albeit unproven. TNA has made more booking mistakes than you can shake a stick at, but they’ve done well with this tournament.

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TNA Says:

Christopher Daniels and Kazarian have informed TNA officials that they plan to EXPOSE Joseph Park once and for all on Thursday night! According to Daniels and Kazarian, they took a road trip this week to find out the truth about Park – and came back with evidence that could destroy him! What will Daniels and Kazarian reveal about Park this Thursday? Tune in and find out!

What This Should Mean: This should mean that Joseph Park is successfully “EXPOSE[d],” turns back into Abyss permanently, and returns to kicking ass unapologetically. Daniels and Kaz bump like wild men, displaying for everyone that Abyss is back and ready to become a tank.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: Take 27 of the following sequence:

“I’m not Abyss!”

“Yes, you are!”

“No, I’m not!”

**Sloppy brawl in which Park gets busted open**

“Rawr!”

**Park Black Hole Slams Kaz and Daniels, then just stands there looking at himself, befuddled**

Dave Thinks: You know when the police put down those spike strips that pop the getaway car’s tires, but the crooks keep trying to drive away on the rims in a shower of sparks until the wheels are so hopelessly bent that they can’t move anymore? Joseph Park is that car.

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TNA Says:

In addition on IMPACT, World Tag Team Champions The Bro Mans will battle the former titleholders James Storm and Gunner

What This Should Mean: Gunner and Storm both take turns looking strong against The Bro Mans, who stall and beg off like cowardly heels. Ultimately, DJ Zema Ion creates some kind of distraction that leads to Robbie rolling up Gunner for the win. Storm looks frustrated, but ultimately consoles Gunner after the match.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: An unbelievably lightning quick victory for the heels that makes Storm and Gunner both look like (1) weaklings and (2) idiots. Gunner and Storm immediately start doing the back-and-forth-shoving tag team breakup thing, culminating in Storm knocking Gunner to the ground and storming (Ha! Get it?) out of the ring.

Dave Thinks: This feud would actually make sense: The Bro Mans are goofy 2013 Honky Tonk Men and GunStorm are no-nonsense, ass-kicking babyfaces. The only problem? It’s hard to see this match being much more than a chapter in the GunStorm breakup angle. If this was happening before Gunner threw in the towel for Storm, I’d be excited about the prospect of these two teams mixing it up, but as it stands, I’m already cringing, waiting for the miscommunication spot that leads to Storm jobbing and glaring at Gunner.

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TNA Says:

Plus, TNA Knockout Champion Gail Kim’s Open Challenge continues – is there anyone that can step up to beat the Women’s World Champion?

What This Should Mean: Kim faces a challenger from the indy circuit who can have a smoother match than her previous opponents have given her. Kim actually shines the babyface and looks to be in danger for a minute before cutting her opponent off, hitting her finisher, and retaining.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: Kim squashes her opponent in 30 seconds, then Lei’D Tapa comes into the ring and beats the girl down more. They pose. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Dave Thinks: Gail Kim’s open challenge gimmick has officially run up against the rule of threes with this match. Kim’s a great worker and a tremendous champion, but by the end of January, 2014, there needs to be an actual Knockouts Division for her to defend against. Fresh faces are great, but if you don’t have an established base of talent, “fresh face” just starts to look like “next warm body through the revolving door.”

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TNA Says:

Ethan Carter III (aka EC3) is going to challenge a Legend!

What This Should Mean: EC3 calls out a returning TNA star — let’s say Jimmy Yang (one of the interesting/funny things about Impact being back in Florida is it’s actually feasible that random wrestler could show up at a moment’s notice). Yang, or whoever, gets in a crowd-pleasing spot or two against Carter, but ultimate takes EC3’s headlock driver and the clean pin in the middle of the ring.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: Wow, I could rattle off a pretty damning roll call of D-list wrestling “legends” if I wanted to… but I’ll go with Koko B. Ware on this one. EC3 should not wrestle Koko B. Ware

Dave Thinks: It was a good (albeit belated) move last week for EC3 to go over a real jobber in Shark Boy and not a comedically jobbery jobber. It feels like whoever is behind this angle feels like they’re being “old school” in the way they build up EC3, but the fact that he hasn’t even glared at a serious babyface is officially starting to catch up with him. He officially needs a breakthrough, over match against an established TNA babyface — Eric Young sounds like the perfect opponent.

Final Thoughts

This show looks frustrating on paper because what TNA’s presenting is utterly schizophrenic. On one hand, we have two serious match-ups between some of the company’s top stars, but on the other, we’re presented with Joseph Park and The Bro Mans. As long as they try to play the WWE’s comedy sketch game, TNA will continue to struggle. If they don’t embrace the fact that the million or so people who actually tune in every week are hardcore wrestling fans (as in serious, not trash can lids and barbed wire) who want to see in-ring action, they’ll never rise above the level of second-rate ripoff artists.